How do you keep your faith going when you have yet to see a breakthrough in your health crisis? One courageous cancer patient shares her inspiring, ongoing journey.
Eileen Wee, 43, is a business owner, wife and mother to two beautiful girls aged 12 and 6. In 2017, she discovered she had breast cancer, and it has been an ongoing challenge for her. Her deep, insightful reflections reveal the poignant and valuable lessons about life, love and faith that only someone who has walked that narrow, unlit path with God can talk about. While she has yet to see that breakthrough in her health, Eileen has seen God’s goodness in her marriage, her family life and in her business. In the midst of COVID, and despite her physical condition, her company Touch PR and Events has been thriving, winning both the Gold and Silver awards for Best PR Campaign- Entertainment at the recent PR Awards 2020.
October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, we invited Eileen to share her journey and the revelations both she and her husband Vincent have received from the Lord.
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In November 2017, after going through a very tough season in my life, I discovered a cancerous lump in my breast. I went through eight months of intensive treatments: a 13-hour surgery, followed by 16 sessions of chemotherapy and 28 rounds of radiation.
I was shocked I had cancer as none of the women on my maternal side had ever suffered from breast cancer. It helped that my doctor had good bedside manners and shared the news in a non-alarming manner. My husband and my close friends were with me to support me when I received the news. That helped too, because naturally, your mind goes blank with an overload of medical jargon. When the emotions finally take over, you have the assurance that you will not journey through this alone; you have your loved ones there for you through thick and thin.
I’ve been a Christian for almost all my life. However, in the year leading to this health crisis, I had drawn away from God, caught up the busy-ness and demands of life. The saving grace was that, from young, God put this sense of resilience in me. Because of that, I was able to take the news of cancer fairly calmly. I also found courage and strength to take each day as it came.
Having said that, it is by far, the toughest challenge I have had to go through. The gift of faith is precious and not something to take lightly in this whole journey.
The hardest part about having cancer was going through a long season of obscurity. I was used to be out and about, being involved in the day-to-day of my business, attending events, organising family and church outings, and activities. It was also tough being patient about the treatments while keeping a good attitude about it. I had to be single-minded about recovering, despite all the discomforts and side effects that came with the treatments.
I spent that time doing a lot of self-reflection and seeking God, and I think it would have to be the best part of this journey, as God drew me to Himself and revealed His love for me.
Back then, my husband and I were leading parallel lives due to our stressful careers, but when cancer happened, we experienced a “love revival”. We started to be more communicative, caring and loving towards each other—I am so blessed to have him in my life.
A SEASON OF CHANGE
Cancer caused many changes in my life. I used to be so performance-driven, but I discovered that my identity is not in how well I perform, but the fact that I am the child of God. In one of Pastor Steven Furtick’s sermons, he reiterated that God validates us based on relationship, and His love for me is not based on my performance. With this revelation, I’ve learned lessons of dependence, humility, adaptability and faithfulness.
I have a sweet tooth but now anything with sugar and processed food has to go. I consume more vegetables, especially cruciferous ones, and a wide variety of supplements to build my immune system.
I also keep active. My husband and I go for morning walks and this really helps increase my endorphin levels. Plus we enjoy our couple communication: we walk and talk about life, about God, children, our business and it really sets a nice tone for the day ahead. I highly recommend it for couples.
I sleep at least seven or eight hours a day, with a short nap or rest in the middle of the day. I have learned to listen to my body, so some days, I try to rest more and take more regular breaks.
Having cancer has sharpened my priorities. My relationship with my spouse is closer than ever. True to what Pastor Kong recently preached, the daily taking and giving of the three “vitamins of love”— attention, appreciation, affection—works.
In my personal opinion, respect, honor and trust are also key in a marriage and family. I try to listen more and nag less, especially to my tweenager—that’s still a work-in-progress.
When I was first diagnosed, I tried to keep my children’s daily lives as normal as possible—I did not want them to be traumatised or fearful. Also, there was a lot going on with the treatments and so I redirected my energy and emotions to writing journals. My younger daughter is still a bit young to fully comprehend the complete details, but she supports me by praying for my healing when we gather together as a family to take Holy Communion.
I recently shared the full journey with my older daughter. It made me feel vulnerable, but it was powerful. I think she appreciated the heart to heart talk as it shed a lot of light on where I was coming from in terms of decisions and actions that I have made. She was a lot more open and understanding after that.
FAITH MUSCLES STRENGTHENED
My faith has definitely been impacted by this experience. I used to rely on my own strength to make things happen and to achieve my goals. However, this incident has increased my dependence on God to lean on His grace, and it has taught me to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit, which are lasting and eternal. My faith muscles have been strengthened.
As I dig deeper for God’s plan for me, I know that it is one of redemption, restoration and new beginnings.
Pastor Bill Johnson says that our faith is strengthened by the words we use and the thoughts we permit to occupy our minds. This could not be more true.
From my experience, to preserve our faith, we need His grace and wisdom to organize both the physical and spiritual environments that we live in. In this aspect, my husband Vincent has been my strong pillar. As I am a career-minded individual, work priorities have always occupied my life. Three years ago, Vincent left his full time corporate job to join my agency. This was a strategic change for us as it allowed me time and space to have my physical rest and at the same time, continue to grow the business with him.
Spiritually, Vincent has been my unceasing prayer warrior. He received a revelation from the Lord found in Genesis 2:23 where Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.’ God has made all married couples one. Given this verse, Vincent believes that every day as he intercedes for me, it delivers the same spiritual impact as my own prayers do. This journey has also deepened his prayer life and walk with the Lord. Together, we learn how to bear the fruit of the Spirit. It’s beautiful!
When I feel anxious or discouraged, I reach out to my larger spiritual family at City Harvest Church to intercede for me. There is a special chat group that has been set up among my close friends for constant updates of my health condition. These prayer warriors have been my lifeline and it will take many lifetimes—eternity even—to thank everyone who has consistently and constantly prayed for me without ceasing, especially Pastor Kong and Sun, Pastor Ming, the leaders and my cell group members. Their prayers and faith for healing have availed much.
I’m reminded that we’re all triune beings. Spiritually, our heart is the central residence of our Spirit. We need to guard our heart and protect the very issue—the source—of our life. When your spirit is renewed and connected to the spirit of God, your soul and body will start to heal. Forgiveness is part of it, so is confession, which breaks the power of sin and connects us to the power of God’s grace.
GRACE UPON GRACE
Our business Touch PR and Events has experienced blessing and growth during this season. I’m extremely thankful for God’s anointing and favor in the marketplace and for the people and teams He has surrounded me with.
Vincent and I believe that what we are doing at Touch is ministry first, then business. Ministry is about people. By His grace, we are blessed to have an extremely capable team with hearts in the right place. We also started bi-weekly devotion sessions with a few of our staff members, and embarked on our very own CSR effort where we donate funds annually to SGH (Pathology division) for their research work in finding a cure for breast cancer. I feel that God will always honor our obedience to do what’s right as we continue to sow good seeds, and not lose heart.
To quote Christine Caine, “Sometimes, there are giants we can defeat only because we’ve been seasoned long enough by our wilderness years to know we can.” There were many years of sweat and tears running Touch, and I’m glad to see it pay off with a thriving culture and a happy team.
What keeps me going? These five things:
Thanksgiving. To quote Pastor Erwin McManus, “Gratitude may be the most significant lubricant to mental acuity and adaptability.” Really, adopting a posture of gratitude for each new day—that I can experience God’s grace and mercy, share life’s milestones with my husband and children and be surrounded with love and prayers from friends—keeps me going. The joy of the Lord is indeed our strength.
Peace. It may seem a painful wait for healing. However, in the wait, I tell myself I’m making progress. Never give up, have unwavering faith, even when you have a setback, a bad scan or blood test result. Setting my mind on God’s goodness keeps me secure in the realm of peace.
Word. Declare and meditate on the Word. It changes our perspective (from disappointment) to hope.
Trust. Trust in the finished work of Christ, knowing that God is still in control.
Worship. Turn your worry into worship. When I enter into God’s presence through worship, I am refreshed, energized. My guitar teacher says praise and worship is our weapon to fight. In God’s presence, there is life, miracles, deliverance and power. In His presence, the impossible becomes possible.
I am praying for more of God’s presence, deeper encounters with Him, divine health, renewed strength and energy. To be a steady helper to my husband at work, at home and in our future ministry. To watch my children flourish and step into the full strength of their gifts and calling in Christ and have kids of their own who will bring them immeasurable joy. We do not want to be robbed of any more time to fulfil our destiny and purpose in God.
WHAT EILEEN MEDITATES ON
Isaiah 58:11 – The Lord will guide me continually and satisfy my soul in drought. And strengthen my bones, I shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
Prov 4:21-22 TPT – Fill your thoughts with my words until they penetrate deep into your spirit. Then, as you unwrap my words, They will impart true life and radiant health into the very core of your being.
Psalms 103:1-5 TPT – You’ve healed me inside and out from every disease. You’ve rescued me from hell and saved my life. You’ve crowned me with love and mercy. You satisfy my every desire with good things. You’ve supercharged my life so that I soar again like a flying eagle in the sky!
John 15:2 – Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Heb 4:12 – For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow.
Isa 26:3 – Keep me in perfect peace (divine health, prosperity, wellness of being, soundness of mind) whose mind is stayed (braced, lodged in inmovable position) on Him.
1 Tim 6:6 – Godliness (God aware) with contentment (trust in Jesus) is great gain (true wealth).
TD Jake – Your miracle is never in what you lost—it’s in what you have left! If you’re down to two fish and five loaves of bread, that’s all you need.