My battle with cancer began 18 years ago when I was diagnosed with a malignant growth in my left kidney. Plans were made for removal of the infected kidney, our Bishop asked ward members to fast for me, and I was given a priesthood blessing.
When I was being prepared for surgery, my doctor gave me an analysis of what lay ahead. I told him about my blessing and he gave me an undertaking that, before he removed the kidney, he would assess the situation carefully and, if a miracle had been performed on my behalf, he would not proceed with the operation. Having received that assurance, I was wheeled into theatre for surgery.
When I awoke and found myself surrounded by medical equipment, I knew that my kidney had been removed. I felt at peace, God had made His decision and I accepted what had happened. Days later I awoke one morning with a feeling of impending doom. My wife arrived later with the news that my mother had died.
The prognosis was that I would need 2 months of recuperation before returning to work. I could literally not put one foot in front of another - the task was too painful and physically impossible. My priesthood blessing came to my rescue for, within 3 weeks, I was back at work. Attention now moved to my bladder. Every six months for the following five years I returned to theatre to remove signs of infection. When it became evident that we were fighting a losing battle, the bladder was removed.
I feel that I have borne my trials with great resignation. Nobody but my immediate family knew my true situation. I was never one to burden others with my tale of woe. Friends have attested to this, saying that I never complain and always have a happy disposition. I have this legacy of pain in my left side where the operation was performed. Thankfully it does not inhibit me from experiencing a happy and fulfilling life.
However, I have had my personal struggle, unseen by anyone except God. One night, during all these trials, I felt very depressed and forsaken. I felt that God had forgotten me, and I wanted assurance that He was still mindful of me. While I was recuperating from surgery I chose to be in a separate bedroom from my wife so that she could sleep peacefully from the exertion of caring for me.
On that particular night, filled with these feelings of depression, I decided to pray and ask God for a special blessing. I told Him that I would hold my hand up in the air, and asked that He would please take hold of it in a token that He was still mindful of me. I rested my elbow on the bed for support, lifted my lower arm and hand into the air, and fell into a state of semi-consciousness.
After a short time, to my great joy, I realised that someone was holding my hand. I awoke and looked in expectation of seeing some heavenly being, but saw instead my dear wife who had been awakened with the distinct impression that I needed her. I am not sure why she took hold of my hand, the exact blessing which I had prayed for.
Later I came to understand more fully how God interacts with us, His children. He often answers our prayers through others. It is not always necessary to send a heavenly messenger for that purpose. He loves us and is mindful of us and what we are going through.