I was informed in January 2012 by my GP that I had cancer, and subsequent tests revealed that it was, in fact, Advanced Metastatic Prostate Cancer, Stage 4 with a Gleason score of 4+3. Stunned, shocked, and in self-denial, I sat and listened to his distressing words. As we conversed, I felt a strange angelic presence surrounding me, and it remained throughout my entire journey. Due to the severity of the diagnosis, time was of the essence, and a GP oversight meant we were already behind. I had passed the stage of surgery, and the only option available was a revolutionary medication: the newly available drugs, abiraterone and Prostap®.
“Normal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels go up to 2.5 nanograms per millilitre for ages 40 to 49; 4.0 nanograms per millilitre for 50 to 59; 4.5 nanograms per millilitre for 60 to 69, and 6.5 nanograms per millilitre for 70 to 79,” according to MedicineNet. These figures vary by race. My PSA level at the time was 509 ng/ml.
I sat in front of different oncologists, nurses and specialists, who could not believe what was unfolding in front of them. Then one day, in late 2012, I attended my sister Doreen’s church in south London, where I was introduced to Pastor Stephen Ramos. The pastor prayed for me in church and also outside of church. Being a very open-minded individual, and someone brought up in the church in my younger years, I received the prayers warmly. A message was passed on to me from my sister that the pastor had a message from God. I was stunned. The message was “This man is going to be OK.”
A few weeks later, the cancer pains became aggressive, and I was blue-lighted to hospital. For over four hours, in the presence of my family, the doctors and nurses attempted to alleviate my pain. For the next five days, I remained bedridden in hospital as they investigated the cause of this lower back and spine pain. Amongst my visitors was Pastor Ramos, who again informed me that he had engaged in banter with God, and had asked Him again about my condition. The answer came back: “I have told you already that this man will be fine.” With this firmly entrenched in my mind, my recovery started to accelerate, and days later I was discharged.
A few days after my discharge, Pastor Stephen Ramos died unexpectedly of a brain haemorrhage. This messenger from God had attended me at a time when I needed spiritual comfort. You need to know that for years I did not live a ‘religious’ life. I couldn’t be called a ‘practising’ anything from the time I was aged 15. I guess I was a backsliding Christian, if you’re familiar with the term. I believe now that you are either on the Lord’s side or you are on satan’s side. I guess I know where I was standing for all those years from 1973 to 2012. But God had not given up on me like I had on Him and, like I said earlier, the moment I was diagnosed, I always felt that some form of angelic being was walking next to me. Couple this with the late Pastor Ramos’ words, and you begin to see what I mean.
The question on my mind and all around me was, why had I been spared? There had to be a reason, because my condition was one of death. I overcame things that would make a soldier blush, things that I would prefer to keep private. People cannot understand how I thank God for the cancer. I have to thank God for all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I know I was not taking care of myself with good food, rest and care, as I should have been.
My cancer diagnosis had given me a wake-up call. There was so much that I needed to be doing that I had never thought of, before I came to realise that God is in control, not I. God is so wonderful, I have lived to see my granddaughter, Jaya, growing into a beautiful, loving, kind child. Being able to impart my story as a sinner saved by God’s grace is the most important thing in my entire life. I continue to tell anyone who will listen or read my blogs and articles about my life story. Maybe this is my future, to be a messenger just like the late Pastor Ramos.