In recent years Dr Fay Nqoloba has been at the forefront of mobilising intercessors across Africa to unite in prayer against evils confronting the continent. In this testimony she shares how the battle became personal in 2021 when her health came under double attack. The Cape Town-based president of Warrior Women of the Kingdom and Talitha Cumi Foundation writes that while her personal battle is still ongoing, so is the prayer battle for Africa
As one year has drawn to a close and another is just off the starting block, I feel it impressed upon my heart to praise the Lord for all of 2021 — the victories and the losses, the battles and the celebrations, the trials and tribulations that have shaped our faith and our character.
In ministry I saw many victories through Warrior Woman and Talitha Cumi Foundation, hosting multiple “prayer connects” aimed at waging spiritual warfare against many of the giants of our time, such as gender-based violence, suicide, bullying and Covid-19, among many others. The prayer connects were hosted on Zoom, connecting participants at physical events with others online all over the African continent. They were also live-streamed via other social media platforms. Praise be to the Lord most High for every single victory against “the uncircumcised Philistine that dares to defy the armies of the Living God”.
In my personal life, I celebrated my 70th birthday in April in style and I was surrounded by such love and deep gratitude. I truly felt blessed by my Father in Heaven to have reached this personal milestone.
The real test of my faith came in the form of my health in 2021. I have never really been sickly and have always been quite resilient and in tip-top shape — especially for my age. On July 13 I was faced head on with the giant that is Covid-19. I had been feeling under the weather for quite some time and finally decided to get tested and the results came back positive.
The next two weeks were critical and I thank God for every prayer warrior that rallied around me to fight the spirit of death that hovered around me at the time, threatening to devour me. The road to recovery was a slow and steep one, with some days being better than others. Unbeknown to me, the greatest battle for my life was still ahead of me and I am now in the thick of it — the battle against cancer.
While preparing for a prayer connect that was hosted on September 25, I started feeling some pain in my lower back that then progressed to pain in my right leg, making it difficult to get out of bed on some mornings. I made an appointment to see my GP on September 24 and he sent me to get some x-rays of my lower back. I was diagnosed with a pinched nerve, given some prescription meds to help manage the pain and instructed to undergo physio to help manage the pain.
I started physiotherapy on Tuesday September 28 and the physio suggested we try traction therapy to alleviate the pain I was experiencing in my leg. It really helped a lot. Dissatisfied with the rate of my progress and curious to see if there had been any change to my spine, the physio ordered another round of x-rays on October 25.
The x-rays told a story of speedy osteoporotic degeneration of my lumbar spine, with what appeared to be fractures or lesions in three of the vertebrae. I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in spines. At my appointment on November 5 the surgeon immediately wanted to admit me for further tests to determine whether I was a candidate for osteoplasty. But we hit some steep hurdles with my medical aid plan and he was unable to admit me.
By then, walking was almost an impossibility and I was able to get around with assistance from others but could not stand for any amount of time. On November 13 and 14 the pain in my lower back and my leg was unbearable and on the 15th I went to the casualty and was admitted by a neurosurgeon. The hospital controlled my pain well through a drip and for the first time in two months, I was pain free.
The neurosurgeon ordered an MRI on the 16th, a CT scan on the 17th and then delivered the news that he would not be able to perform the osteoplasty or any other surgery because scans showed metastasis in my spine which was a sign of cancer. They needed to run more tests to determine the source of the cancer. He ordered a mammogram on the 18th, and blood tests on the 19th. One of the scans had indicated a small tumour at the top of my spine (just above the nape of my neck) and I was scheduled for a biopsy of the tumour on November 20.
The first biopsy results came back on November 23, confirming a carcinoma-type cancer. I met with an oncologist on November 25 and I officially became a cancer patient. The lab results did not reveal any new information on where the cancer had started as no cancer was found in any of my soft tissue. All the doctors knew was that it was in my spine and was quite aggressive.
On November 29 they gave this goliath that I was facing a name — Stage 4 higher grade neuroendocrine cancer. Inoperable, incurable and highly aggressive. They advised that all treatment options would be palliative, aimed at making me more comfortable but not aimed at eradicating the cancer. The first option on the table was chemotherapy.
By then I was completely bedridden. I had been in hospital for six weeks and due to my high-schedule pain medication, I had lost some cognitive function. On December 8, 9 and 10 I had my first round of chemo in hospital with little to no side effects and was discharged on the 13th.
I have continued to contend for my healing and to trust the Lord with the testimony that is being woven together through my journey. I had a second round of chemo from January 4 to 6 and am going for a third round from Wednesday to Friday this week.
I have recovered a lot, although it is still difficult to walk. I also want to give thanks for the outstanding services that I got from the clinic and hospital that dealt with me and the wonderful care of my oncologist. But ultimately my faith is not in the medicine but in Jehovah Rafah, my healer.
I am also excited to say that we are preparing for our first prayer connect of 2022 and first one since October. Our focus at this ever on March 21 will be on Covid, cancer and mental illness and we are hoping to have some medical experts participating as we want to raise awareness as well as pray. Once again the format will be both live and webinar with streaming on social media.
2 Corinthians 4: 8 – 12 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
I thank God for every single prayer that has gone out for my healing from every part of the world. I praise Him for His mercy, grace and favour that He has lavished upon me and my children during this time — including the prospect of me moving into an exquisite retirement village in October. Like David, I continue to stand with my slingshot in my hand armed with righteous indignation before the uncircumcised Philistine that is cancer and I believe it WILL be defeated in the Name of Jesus.
May 2022 be the year when we, as Christians, come to fully comprehend 2 Cor 4:8-12. May we take ground for the Kingdom every day in every way and in every sphere that the Lord has placed us in. May we be those that are filled with the Holy Spirit and who heed the Great Commission of spreading the good news of the Gospel. May we live lives that honour the Lord our God and may we not neglect the practice of taking up holy communion in remembrance of what Christ has done for us.
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