How God guided and protected City Harvest Church staff member Amy Tan during a major health crisis this year.
It was meant to be a routine medical check-up, one that the CHC office offered its staff as a benefit. On Aug 26 this year, Amy Tan, 42, a senior member of the Graphics team, was pondering whether to opt for the basic package for $38 or a full screening for $500. “I thought I’d go for the $38 one because $500 is a lot of money,” she remembers. “But the screening personnel asked me if I had ever done a full check, and when I said no, she said really loudly, ‘You should do the full screening. Don’t just save a few hundred dollars. This is your health that’s at stake.’”
Her words shook Tan to her core. “It was like God Himself was speaking to me,” she says. “I decided to go for the full package. And now, looking back, it really was God intervening.”
The results of the screening came back the very next day, flagging elevated breast cancer marker and ovarian cancer marker. Tan was very shocked. “I expected myself to be in the clear—I have no family history of cancer at all,” she says. “I was devastated. Many thoughts ran through my mind, but I could not talk to my husband till I had calmed down. Finally I told him that evening; he was shocked, but his first reaction was ‘It may not be cancer’. But no words could make my feeling of dread go away.”
On the advice of a friend who had survived cancer, Tan went to see a gynecologist who is also a cervical oncologist. She was hospitalized for half a day to undergo a full suite of screenings, including a mammogram and ultrasounds for her womb and her neck—she also had a lump in her neck that had been growing for a few months. Upon reviewing the results, the gynecologist revealed to Tan that she had three fibroids that were filling up and stretching her womb: two the size of golf balls, and one as big as a large pomegranate. Those had to be removed.
He was also concerned about a mass that showed up in her right breast, as well as the lump in the neck, both of which looked “abnormal”. Immediately, he sent for a neck doctor to see Tan, who suggested removing the growth. After her discharge, Tan also went to see a breast doctor recommended by the gynecologist. The breast doctor ordered a Doppler ultrasound for Tan, to check if the was a blood source feeding the mass.
“She said if there’s color, that means there’s blood, and that’s bad,” recalls Tan. “When I saw the screen, it was so colorful, I panicked! The doctor said, ‘It’s not a normal cyst, and it looks like it’s inside the milk duct, so it could be DCIS (ductal carcinoma-in-situ, which is non-invasive cancer).’ She also said it could be bad because it’s so big—seven centimeters—and because it’s so big, it likely has spread.”
While the breast doctor was reluctant to pronounce the “abnormal cells” cancerous, she was adamant that Tan had to go for surgery. She would use a freezing method to prevent any cancer present from spreading, and a pathologist would be in the surgery theater to test the tissue.
Surgery was scheduled for the removal of all three on Sep 26, a month after the health screening. Tan has thalassemia, which puts her at risk of cardiac arrest and other complications during long surgeries. Her gynecologist placed her on two weeks of iron intake to prepare for the surgery.
“I felt I needed to get everything out at the same time,” says Tan. “It was not the physical pain, but the emotional and mental torture that had to go away.” Many tried to dissuade her from doing all three surgeries at once, but Tan was adamant.
Since the day her screening results came back, Tan had been praying fervently and asked for prayer from pastors and friends. She prepared herself spiritually by listening to sermons on healing by CHC’s senior pastor Kong Hee and watching YouTube sermons of healing evangelist Kenneth Hagin. One particular sermon by Hagin moved her greatly: he had prayed a prayer of healing for a mother of a sick girl, but the girl wasn’t healed. God then revealed to him that he had to pray instead for deliverance. The mother of the girl repented of her reliance on her own strength to help her child, and the girl was healed.
“I felt so moved by that sermon, I repented and I told God I was sorry I depended on my own strength,” says Tan. “I felt something broke at that moment. Kenneth Hagin taught the mother to receive the healing, so I did the same. I declared, ‘On 24 September at 9.15am, I received my healing.’ The moment I said it, I felt the cancer was gone. The next minute, Pastor Eileen (Toh, from CHC) sent me a text saying, ‘I prayed for you and I felt peace.’ I felt that was a confirmation of my healing.”
Tan came out of her nine-hour surgery in great pain, but within five days she was discharged and went home. Four days later, she went to see her doctors. “That morning, before I saw my doctors, I confessed, ‘I receive the manifestation of my healing on 2 October at 10.15am,” Tan remembers. “I felt peace and warmth. What was the worst that could happen? I go home to God. After thinking about that, I suddenly felt not so bad!”
While her gynecologist and neck doctor were happy with the results of the surgery, her breast doctor was stymied by what she discovered. “When the breast surgeon sliced open the breast there was no blood, which we all saw when we did the ultrasound,” describes Tan. “She was very puzzled. She had the tissue tested on the spot, and the report came back saying that the cells looked like they had been through chemotherapy for a few years, and there were no live cancer cells at all.”
Tan recalls, “The doctor said, ‘I don’t know how this is possible. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years as a doctor. It’s a miracle.’” To satisfy her curiosity, the doctor even had Tan’s tissue sample sent to a world-renowned pathologist to get a second opinion. That second report came back with exactly the same findings.
“My doctor asked me, ‘What did you do?’” says Tan. “I told her, ‘I prayed.’ She said to me, ‘You must have prayed very hard!’”
After two months of resting at home, Tan has returned to work. “Spiritually, mentally, I feel good,” she says. “It’s like a new body, like God has given me a second chance. I am taking better care of myself now. I feel stronger, and I’m spending more time in solitude (instead of packing all my hours with activities). I’m also spending more time with my husband.
“My doctor said that the cancerous cells won’t die just like that, there must have been a Higher Being controlling this skillfully and beautifully and it was definitely not her. She is right: it was God.”
by Theresa Tan