Me Before You

This is the title of a movie I watched during my flight back home from Peru. Yes, I was in Peru once again for a very specific assignment from the Father. I’m not at liberty to discuss specifics but I really need to share some of the emotional experience during my time there. 

The film had me in tears as it clearly defined a love story that portrayed a vision of what I believe to be true Love. Today, love is defined by how happy one can make you feel, or by what people can give you so you feel happy. The film completely ruptures this pretentious belief and defines love as Jesus does. Putting others first, choosing relationship over being right, and showing compassion to those in need. 

This assignment required me to make choices beyond my comfort yet isn’t this the way He usually operates? Loving Jesus comes with much joy and many blessings. It also invites you to get out of your comfort zone in order to follow through with what He’s entrusted you with. It can get very uncomfortable, very emotional, very messy very quickly yet in the midst of this process He reveals His heart to you and through you to bring love, peace, joy, and healing. In the middle of this messiness, He shows up bigger than our circumstances and His mercy thrives over our sinful ways. 

This divine assignment also gave me the opportunity to be at the right place at the right time. To be there for my dear cousin Sandra. Sandra and I grew up together, she’s like my sister, we share things in common. We are the same age, we both have 10-year-old little girls and we both have been touched by this awful disease… cancer. Yet years apart living in different countries has not changed our love for one another. Our relationship has always been fueled by our loving childhood memories and today’s life forthcomings.

Sandra has recently been diagnosed with leukemia and left the hospital in victory just a few weeks ago after being hospitalized for over a month in a very critical condition. Doctors weren’t very optimistic about her outcome but God showed up and by our prayers & His grace and mercy, she’s now stable. Today, she’s out of the hospital but faces many challenges not only in her health but also with her finances, her family relationships, and choices she must make as to what protocols to follow. Her current state is very serious and critical. I know she’s barely getting started on a very long journey of restoration, discovery, and self-growth. 

A few days ago I was able to be with her during a follow-up visit to her oncologist. You would think this was easy for me to take on as I have personally visited many doctors in my own healing journey… But Wrong!! I did not expect what I saw. I witnessed things I’ve never seen before. We are extremely blessed to live in the United States because even if you don’t have the means you would get treated. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Sandra and although she’s now under the care of a government program that is poorly run, the system lacks the attention & infrastructure that is highly required to support cancer patients. 

Visiting the INEN (Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplasicas) in Lima Peru was like taking an undesired field trip to an oncology ward from a third world country. In fact, that is exactly what it was. This place is big and the only public oncology hospital in Peru, managed by Peru’s Public Health Department. People with low income from the entire country ends up here. As such you can imagine the limited resources, the poor attention and the great need of these cancer patients. I watched patients of all ages wait for their turn to get called for chemotherapy. The chemotherapy rooms were lined up one after the other. It reminded me of how cattle are treated and fed corn row after row. Some areas smelled horrible and the waiting areas were covered by a painful atmosphere that you can almost touch. I couldn’t help myself to think over and over how much these people suffer, the frustration in their faces for waiting long hours and not getting answers. Witnessing this truth, was very painful and it impacted me greatly.

At this point, I knew my cousin Sandra was not only part of a broken system but it was very hard to process how much she’s had to endure so suddenly and in such a short period of time. She has recently divorced and thankfully got out of a very toxic relationship that kept her in a chronic emotional turmoil for years. During this process, her daughter was taken away from her for two years, thankfully, my niece is now back with my cousin. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of corruption in the judicial system that if you have the connections and money you can probably get away with a lot. Sandra has also suffered the loss of her mother, my dear aunt, an unexpected death a year ago to be exact. Pain and grief have covered her heart for so long that I believe became the trigger point for cancer to develop in her body.

In my walk with cancer, I have personally witnessed the pain of many many people from all walks of life. Cancer does not discriminate. It has no barriers of gender, borders, age or social status. One thing that I do see in common with ALL cancer patients is the deep emotional wounds that are tied to perhaps unresolved trauma or emotional pain. I am no doctor but as a patient, it is my sincere opinion that all cancers are rooted in some unresolved emotional wounds. And as I have said before, cancer is an invitation to resolve a conflict, resolve an issue that is out of balance in our lives. This would entail your physical, emotional, & spiritual being.

I am extremely hopeful and encouraged for my cousin Sandra. I know she’s facing a very challenging situation, but I TRUST the Lord is faithful in meeting her right where she is at, and if she’s willing, Jesus will walk beside her this long road of recovery. I also know this journey will change her to the core and I pray her immediate family will support her through it all. I am helping with what I can, and somehow me writing this with her permission feels like it will bring some sort of relief on her behalf. I am grateful for her brother Herbert, her closest living relative, for his kindness to be a helping hand for her as I know it is not easy when you are filled with responsibilities. I pray God will continue to work on the hearts of those around her and that she will be empowered to take charge of her health and her future.

Just like the film, “Me Before You” I pray my beautiful cousin would be seen with eyes of love by her siblings, her children, her doctors & her friends. I pray that she develops deep bonds that change her heart and those around her in ways never imagined. Love you always Sandra and I know you will finish your race in victory.

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1 Comment

  1. Elizabeth Bustamante on December 3, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Lamento mucho la situación de tu prima. Lamento también que nuestro sistema en el Perú, esté tan saturado en tantos aspectos. Un mensaje de luz para ustedes. Mi hermano volvió a Lima. Sigue con quimioterapia y acaba de empezar con immunoterapia con el Dr Nunez. No me respondiste al ultimo email pero no importa. Estamos dispuestos a tratar de todo y ojalá algo funcione. Hang in there!

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