Grown Men Don’t Cry
After being diagnosed and treated for two types of Cancer in 2010-2011, I wrote my own book to help others who may be going through the same struggles. In the book titled Grown Men Don’t Cry, I share how I had to put on a mask to go through the emotional ups and downs, and in turning to Christ, I found an inner peace. You can read about how I would say the Lord’s Prayer over and over again during the radiation treatment (at times forgetting the words), and the 20 minutes’ under the lasers would feel like 5 minutes. Looking back, the journey through aggressive chemotherapy and radiation at the same time could send anyone into a tailspin of depression. But truly Nothing is Impossible with God. I had my family supporting me, the priests and the Catholic community praying for me, and many friends who turned out to be my angels who lifted me up with their caring ways. Indeed, we never walk alone.
Soon it was nearing the 5-year milestone and the family was looking forward to hearing the good news that the Cancer was in remission. However, in 2015, I suffered a Stroke at midnight and was rushed to A&E. The doctors discovered a brain tumour which required major surgery to remove it. A metal plate had to be inserted and screwed to the back of my head. The lab tests revealed metastatic brain cancer – the cancer had travelled to the brain. Even the doctors were mystified. It was now Cancer Stage 4. I had to undergo radiation treatment to the head.
The toll on the family was heavy but with God’s providence, we made many decisions. We downgraded from a two-storey masionette to a smaller older HDB unit and we sold the car as I had to give up driving as the stroke caused me to lose 25% of my peripheral eyesight in both eyes. However, our move to Whampoa has been truly blessed as we experienced the amazing outreach from the Jalan Bahagia Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCC). The family continued to participate in church ministry activities, and I carried on trying to help others with Cancer and to raise funds for the Church through the sale of my books.
Fast Forward to January 2018
In November 2016, the Cancer reared its ugly head again and I had to undergo radiation treatment for lymphnode Cancer in the chest. The latest scans in January 2018 revealed another three Cancer cells in the chest. The Cancer was spreading. This time no surgery or radiation was possible, it was chemotherapy or nothing.
The prognosis was not good. The chemotherapy would help extend my life but my quality of life would suffer. It was my ‘5th’ Cancer and with the Lord’s help it wasn’t going to defeat me.
I postponed my chemo treatment till end April with a CT Scan scheduled for mid-April. I continued to take care of my wife Karen who had two surgeries in quick
succession − a hysterectomy at end 2017 and the removal of a kidney due to a Cancer tumour in March 2018. With God’s help and many prayers, she was given an early surgery date and has recovered quickly to help me should I take up the chemo treatment which may last three months. In early April, I witnessed my youngest son’s matrimonial vows.
During all these trials, I have never given up believing in God, in fact it has strengthened my belief. No matter what illness you have, just accept it’s God’s will. Stay positive, continue to pray and trust in the Lord as He has a plan for all of us.
I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit. Out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, A hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
By Michael J Roberts
To help raise funds for the Church of St Michael (CSM), my book Grown Men Don’t Cry is available at the CSM religious shop. I will gladly sign a copy for you and your friends who may find comfort in my words and in my sharing.
Priced at S$20.00 per copy. 50% of proceeds go to the church.