A friend diagnosed with tumor shares his spiritual journey. How he found his new self, the second time.

Just heard the news one day that a brother in Christ was admitted to the hospital, then, later on, went through a spinal operation. Thought to pay a visit to him but to when hasn’t decided yet until one fine day, as requested, I needed to visit him and it made me more eager to see him hear his so-called “ spiritually high” status. By his term and by its meaning – he’s at the full pinnacle, being one with God.  A night before, I couldn’t sleep, I can see his face clearly with my eyes closed. I thought of grabbing my phone beside my bed and wanted to message him to say “I’ll be there tomorrow” – but I didn’t; I was too sleepy, my daughter was so sick. I got up the next morning and found his message “Sis, kelan ka makakapunta dito?” Say no more, I called a half-day to my boss and without any question (that was the first time) – Yes, you can go. I was smiling as I realize I was really meant to go visit him and respond to his request.

Saudi German Hospital, Al Barsha. Just as I arrived, he was being transferred to a room for a bone scan. Waited for an hour while his wife, whose face still full of sweetness and courage told us a brief story of his suffering before he was admitted. He used to be sick every time the weather changes, they thought just like any other individual would say “nagpapalit lang kasi ang panahon”. He experienced numerous back pains but ignored it and continue working and serving in the community (CFFL) then it came one day to a horrible pain that he’s unable to walk normally and his left leg began to numb. They didn’t realize it was a serious one until an MRI report has confirmed a lung tumor went down to his spinal bone compressing it. The doctor in SGH advised him for an immediate operation to remove the tumor which decompresses the bone and so the operation was done.

Agustin “Teting” Codog – “mag ju-jueteng noon, naka move-on na ngayon”.  He was shaking (probably he didn’t notice that) in his excitement as he entered back his room and immediately told the caregiver pushing his wheelchair not to lay him on his bed but instead to place him beside the window glass, drank a bit of water and we started with a prayer. Briefly, he shared that he used to live in a gamble (jueteng) and so he shared his life’s ups and downs connected with numbers and their meanings. He should be somehow feeling better after the decompression/operation. He was able to walk and eat his favorite Mhadbi but then he was unable to discharge bowel…for eight days! He should have cleared his stomach before the operation as per the procedure but it didn’t happen – he didn’t know why and his agony started. It was so tough, the heaviness in his stomach, pain in his body and most of all, his agony is killing him…he was crying. On the 8th day, he couldn’t stand the pain and apart from it, he’s feeling hopeless. His wife helped him walk thru the toilet, he’s crying in deep pain and he sinned as he asked HIM to end the pain and cut his life. But because HE is almighty and he is a servant of the Lord, there’s suddenly a reflection of God in his thought who died on the cross for him and realized then that HE suffered more than his and so he asked for forgiveness. He whispered “My Lord, forgive me for I have sinned” and then suddenly…the eight days of agony, eight days of suffering has ended. He discharged it and his tears bursts — he said it out loud “Praise God! Thank you Lord!” and while smiling he thought to himself “mas masarap pang dumumi kaysa kumain”.  Along with this experience and recalling the stories untold connecting the numbers (memorable date of his life, the 9th bone on his spinal where the tumor was, his birthday etc.) and their meaning – he gave me a sum of 25 and he connected it to the birth of Jesus, HE was with him during his sufferings and is with him all the time. He couldn’t contain his happiness, he couldn’t believe that he is again able to feel that comfort. He was “high” spiritually that he was unable to find a good night sleep in his excitement and wanted to share his upgraded version of faith and his affirmation that he’s no longer himself but a revised version of God’s and said: ” This is a new beginning of my Life with Jesus on my back ”

The conversation boiled down to the doctor’s findings of his health condition –although not documented yet, he stated he was told that the tumor taken from him is cancerous, malignant stage 4 cancer. The tumor was removed, but he was told that there’s found the third one in his gastro intestine << Rewind<< 5th March 2016; It was murmured to him by one of his sister in Christ during a healing pray over that there was something wrong with his stomach ~. This was later on confirmed by physicians and concluded as an ulcer.

I can clearly remember during his sharing on one of the talk session that he was knocked and called out loud by God after he’s been saved from a serious car accident. The car being driven by his colleague (with him on the driver’s passenger seat) was half wrecked just an inch away from his seat. A day before the incident, he didn’t realize that his colleague mistakenly took his car key and so he needed to pick him up as he left his car in the company’s parking lot. For some reason before riding the car, he took the rosary guide that was being kept in their altar for years, put it in his bag and place it at the back of the car and left. While on the road, his colleague told him ” I’m sorry Codog, I didn’t know I took your car key” and he replied: “Maybe God has a purpose for it” then suddenly – their car was hit from the back by a truck who nearly wrecked him if not because of his bag kept at his back seat.  Thanking God for he is not injured and so that is why he was in front of us affirming that he is responding to HIS calling. As he stated, the incident happened in January 2011. The same month of the previous year ( January 2010), he was appointed to lead a Christian Life Seminar which he just ignored and he didn’t even show up. After the car incident, he was again given the second chance and asked to lead the CLS and replied: “ tatanggi pa ba ako dyan, baka sa susunod matuluyan na ako”.

For others, blessings are counted on every good opportunity. Not looking at wealth, comfort, capability or any other fair condition, blessings are given to each individual equally. You may be ill which can lead you realizing how soon you’ll be leaving your human body but you’ve had the opportunity to live and when you suffer, there’s the opportunity given to you to join Christ.

God bless us all!