Rody was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in 2002

Rody’s Story Rody was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in 2002 “But you are a Chosen Race, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, a People for God’s Own Possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9, NASB) 

I am taking this opportunity to impart the testimony in my struggle and triumph with leukemia. 

I was very healthy and in the middle of my studies at BCIT to get a certificate for Airport Operations. I was working as a sales distributor for a kitchen equipment and cookware company. I was also busy raising a family of four children. I was a health nut, exercising daily to relieve stress, taking multi-vitamins and carefully watching what I ate. I was also a regular blood donor and was given a pin for my 25th donation. 

It was March 2002 when this dreaded disease struck me like a thief in the night. At first, it came as a terrible headache which was diagnosed as severe migraine, then diagnosed as acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV). This verse has been my guiding light in my struggle with leukemia. The chemotherapy treatment was arduous and frustrating. I lost my strength, appetite and felt severe pain. I was at the point of losing my will to survive and losing my senses. 

I felt relief after the treatment, but they said I was only in remission and that the necessary thing to do was to have a bone marrow transplantation. 

After a month of waiting, an unrelated female donor from Antelope, California donated her bone marrow to me. The bone marrow was transplanted on July 11, 2002. There was no pain; it was just like having a blood transfusion. 

Graft-versus-host disease set in and the treatment was again difficult. I hated living, but prayer sustained me. My family, especially my wife Dorothy, and friends were all there to provide support throughout this dilemma. 

I regained my strength gradually. They discharged me from the hospital but still I had to go back every day for checkups and blood transfusions. Everyday checkups became every other day, then three times a week, two times a week, once a week, twice a month, once a month, twice a year and now once a year. 

I don’t worry too much these days, because I think it was one of the causes of my illness. Jesus Christ said it clearly to his disciples: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT) 

What were the ingredients in my survival? I can definitely say that it was the grace coming from God, the prayers and support of family and friends, the unceasing care coming from my doctors, nurses, VGH staff, social workers, volunteer drivers and the will to survive. 

My life has changed a lot – habits, relationship, personality, and priorities. I became prayerful and more loving with my family. I value very much the second life that God gave me. I actually accepted my illness as a blessing because my family became much closer to each other and to God.