15th December 2012, by Adeline Lum CM-
Owen Kwong’s story is a powerful testimony of how God’s hand came into play. He was described as an “energetic and strong-willed rascal”. Amy, his mother, thought “God spent more time taking care of him” because he would get into horrible car accidents and bicycle mishaps. Once, while he was playing with barbeque skewers during his youth, one fell and pierced his thigh! But Owen survived them all!
First blow… I have cancer
In year 2007, during his third-year as university student in Melbourne, he realized things were not quite right: he was craving and drinking a lot of ice-cold water during winter, secreting double to triple the amount he drank, and also losing weight rapidly. Finally, he decided to do a check-up with an endocrinologist. A growth at the pituitary stalk was found. Although a growth of this nature is benign in most cases, his biopsy showed that he’s was malignant.
“God was with me since day one of my cancer,” said Owen.
He stopped studying for a year to receive medical treatment. The medical team were all Christians who loved him, especially the endocrinologist whom Owen described as his “second mother” due to her seriousness in taking up his case. Before he left back to Malaysia, she even took a picture with him for keepsake. In year 2010, Owen completed his degree in engineering and returned to Malaysia. Although he was in pain, he did not resent his condition.
“I really did not see it as a bad thing as long as something can be done. It is not the end of the world. And it did not matter how much pain I have to go through, as long as I can live,” said Owen.
Second Blow… they were about to lose me
Returning to Malaysia, he worked in Ipoh for six months and did a scheduled MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan. Bad news, he sent the images back to the oncologist in Australia. It is confirmed that the cancerous tumour recurred. Quitting his job, he subsequently left to Melbourne in February 2011 to do chemotherapy.
After the first chemotherapy, he underwent a septic shock and went under induced coma for 17 days. His right lung collapsed and his blood pressure fell. There was nothing the medical team could do but accept his imminent death. Turning to God, his endocrinologist rallied her prayer group to pray together for him.
Amy also called her pastor in FGA KL to rally the church to pray for Owen.
“Although Owen’s blood pressure is dropping, I had peace because I know that God would heal him. God would bring him back!” said Amy.
After that night, his blood pressure miraculously rose and came back to normal.
“From that time onwards, Owen was on a continuous track to recovery,” said Amy. Doctors wanted to perform a surgery on his lungs but Owen’s incredible recovery rate negated that.
Third Blow… Radiotherapy and chemotherapy, my only chance to live
On November 2011, Owen returned to Malaysia once again. He went for a blood test and found that his HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) was up, a red flag for a worsening condition. An appointment for MRI was fixed in University Hospital in June. But the doctor said that he could not wait so long. Hence, a MRI scan was fixed in March 2012.
This time, the cancerous cell had spread all over his brain, affecting the pineal gland. Because of that, flashes of light would appear in his vision. The oncologist asked Owen whether he wanted to do radiotherapy and chemotherapy which she warned can cause blindness and kidney failure respectively. If Owen’s kidney showed signs of failing, then chemotherapy had to be stopped.
Despite its risky side effects, Owen responded an immediate yes to his oncologist to her surprise. She advised him to go home and think about his decision but he was firmed with the decision.
“What needs to be done has to be done. I believe that God is with me all the time and He sees me through all the treatments, chemotherapy and radiotherapy” said Owen who sees the procedures as his only chance to live.
“Positive thoughts will lead to positive outcome. It is better than negative thinking, where you will not have the will to go on. The more you think negatively, the more likely negative things will happen,” said Owen.
A chemotherapy session has four cycles. During his third cycle, he experienced constipation and then diarrhoea after the administration of medications. His blood was found to have bacteria and he was placed under isolation for two weeks.
“Owen’s immune system was almost zero. Doctors and nurses, including me, would have to wear mask and be perfectly sanitary when visiting him,” said Amy.
But praise the Lord, the bacteria were get rid quickly with the right administration of antibiotic.
Trouble after trouble, but God sent help!
Meanwhile, his expensive medical expenses have depleted the family’s financial resources. But God sent help!
Johnnie Liew, one of Amy’s cell group members, in particular offered to run to raise funds for Owen despite not being a jogger. With chest pain and eight panadols to restrain the pain, he ran a total of 22 km raising a fun of RM37,000 for Owen. Such is the love of a friend for a friend!
What Doesn’t Kill you Make you Stronger
Owen was able to complete his final cycle of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Since July 2012, his blood and HCG test all went back to normal. He had been on remission since then! Hallelujah!
When asked whether Amy was angry with God, she replied, “Cancer can happen to anyone. This incident helps him to be humble… and not to think too highly of himself too,” said Amy.
He is definitely a changed man now. Before the condition, he was easily irritated and impatient. But now, he mellowed down a lot, being soft-spoken and a lot more patient.
“God put me through this to encourage Christians and non-believers for God’s love. When your future seems bleak, asks God and he will light your path to direct you,” said Owen. “My faith in God is definitely stronger now. What doesn’t kill you make you stronger.”
Amen to that.
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