The one question that I always asked myself and the one thing that had never been clear to me was “what is my purpose and am I living it out?”

I spent years trying to figure it out, it was the most important thing to me because I would feel so empty inside, like I knew there was something missing, I found myself trying to fill the void by doing stuff to get money, my end goal was if 1+1 equaled money then I would rush at the opportunity to do it. My self motivated spirit yearned for more and my stubborn personality didn’t sit and find reason, it just saw an action list so I had to act, not realizing that you can go around being consistently busy but actually you are consistently busy doing nothing.

At the end of 2021 my whole mindset drastically changed because I was shoved in the deep end of having to live out what I had been meditating on and that was “God is my source” because I single handedly had to look after myself, my daughter and the house without a steady income but I was meditating, praying and trusting in God so it had to work out… Right?. That is what I kept on telling myself but I just didn’t know how. As time passed my mindset continued to change and steer me in the belief of I could do anything I wanted to do and be genuinely happy, even though I was no where near living life the way I planned but I found happiness and being content in where God wanted me to be and the best part was, I could finely do what made me happy, that also showed up in my health and how well I was doing. On the 22nd of October I got results back from my CT Scan, my oncologist told me that the water that was in my lungs had resolved and my tumor was shrinking… Let me stop there for a second…. Yes you guessed right, CANCER… I was diagnosed with stage 3 Breast Cancer in 2017 then later in 2020 I was diagnosed with stage 4 which metastasized to my lungs. Let’s take a few steps back to 2017 and set the scene.

It was August of 2017, I was told in the comfort of my home by my cousin who had helped in getting the tests and results done so quickly. As I sat there with her and my aunt I cannot articulate the thoughts that were going through my mind but just remember being in a daze, thinking about everything I had heard about Breast Cancer and how deadly the disease can be, I remember thinking of Chemo and suffering and not being able to continue to fend for myself in the future. But in that moment, it was my aunt and my cousin’s strength that helped me get through the day, it was their faith that continued to carry me through what I believed at the time was going to be a road of hospital visits and a feeling of weakness and despair. They allowed me to see that it is not the end but just the beginning of a new normal for me. They reminded me that God is our source and through my relationship with God I would be able to get through it all. And as true as Bob, I got through it. While I was taking chemotherapy, I did go through some days of feeling weaker than normal but it was never a case of me being bedridden because the side effects were bad, I actually didn’t have the same level of side effects that were spoken about in the corridors of 985 by people waiting to see the doctor or go for bloods or for chemotherapy.

The main side effect I would say I had was learning life lessons: let’s look into lesson number one; Support. Since the chemotherapy didn’t get me down physically it definitely got me down emotionally and that is when nothing else matters but people, no amount of money could ever equate for the amount of support I received from family and friends and in particularly my partner and now the father of my beautiful, health daughter. I say in particularly my partner because… SIGH… Lets side track a bit and biblically look at the meaning of the word love; Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. You see I received the biblical meaning of word love from one man that chose to stand by me and everything I was going through, he taught me another level of loyalty and commitment and how you cannot just quite on something because it is not going the way you planned or the way you were going to benefit from it . Even through my challenges, in his eyes I was still the same person he wanted to be with.

I have so many highlighted moments where my friends also stood by me through it all but there was one time in particular where I was blown over by the lengths they went through to make sure I was good. They surprised me with an all-expenses paid weekend away, they found a way to get me to pack my bag by getting my aunt and brother in on it too so I don’t ask too many questions because I can be one stubborn lady, wanting to know everything that is going to happen. Unforgettable memories were shared in that weekend and life was put into perspective to be able to continue the road that lay ahead of me. Scene set…

Now let’s fast track to 2019 and 2020 these are the years that changed the game in the way I prayed, loved and trusted in God because He kept me. By the end of 2019 my breast got worse to the point where it became an open wound and the pain was so excruciating, I never knew that a human body could absorb such high levels of pain the way mine did and in March of 2020 I found out I was 3 months pregnant and the cancer had spread to my lung with me having  to entertain the idea of aborting my unborn baby because my doctors were unsure on how the chemotherapy would react to my body whilst being pregnant. I was still in my window period of being able to abort so my gynaecologist explained how the process would go if I did choose that option, truth be told some nights I found myself psyching myself up and convincing myself that it was a good option for me but all of a sudden feel sick to my stomach at the thought of letting go of what is growing inside of me. I chose to stand by the word of God and not abort. The months leading to my third trimester were an absolute breeze, actually most of my pregnancy was a breeze giving the fact that I was also taking Chemotherapy. In this season the hospital was my best friend, I was going to the hospital so often for my regular pregnancy and oncology check ups that I overcame the fact that I didn’t like hospitals and was more thankful to the fact that I was doing well.

Those 2 years were fundamental in my relationship with God, they are the years where I spent unlimited amount of hours praying and having conversations with Him, asking for advice on what to do and how to do it because from the naked eye all anyone could see was a complicated mess. This is where I put my aunts teachings about God and how to take the scriptures I was meditating on as food for my spirit. It was not about saying I trust in God but actually believing that I trusted in God. I was going against what medical doctors and people where saying; I silenced the world and heard from Him, I learned to listen to Him from my heart and stand firm in what I believed in. But it is as though, when you take the decision to trust in Him alone all hell breaks loose.

Closer to the end of my pregnancy, I started swelling up and finding it difficult to breathe; laying completely flat on my back was something that I could not do, I ended up having to lay at a 80 degree angle to try and get a good nights rest, I also picked up an uncontrollable cough that only came in the evening when I wanted to sleep so you could imagine, sleep was just a dream…

One morning I went to the hospital for my routine check-up and as per usual I went to take my weight and blood pressure. “Miss Serote, sorry but you cant go back home and I am going to have to admit you, your blood pressure is too high” those are the words that changed everything.

I called my mother to let her know what happening because I was staying with her at the time and asked her to bring an over night bag not knowing an over night bag would lead to me being admitted for about 2- 2 and a half weeks. I had routine check ups with my gynacologist, speaking about my birth plan because they were more worried about if I was going to make it alive. A few days before giving birth one gynacologist saw that my swelling in my legs was not going down and referred a cardiologist to come see me and we did some tests. “Hi Miss Serote, we would like to let you know that you have heart failure. A normal heart beats at 70% and your heart is currently beating at 30%, we suspect that it is because of the chemotherapy that you have been taking.” When I heard heart failure, I just went numb and said okay; at this point I had heard so much negative feedback regarding my health that nothing else could get a reaction out of me and I guess I didn’t have anymore tears left to cry all I could do was run to God, I literally had Him on speed dial, by this time I knew Him in such an intimate way that made sense to me and Him alone.

The results of my heart condition changed my birthing plan completely, giving birth normally would cause way too much strain on my heart with the potential of it stopping. The new plan was C-Section under anaesthesia then rush me straight to ICU to keep me under observation then High Care for further observation. On the 11th of September 2020 that is exactly what happened, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl and on the 12 of September I woke up not knowing where I was, when I opened my eyes it took about 10-15minuites to fully come back to my senses. I was in ICU for about a day or 2 then taken to High Care then wheeled to the women’s ward where I was finely able to see my baby.

When they brought her to me, the first thing I did was open her blankets to see her properly because in the back of my mind, I still could not believe we both made it alive. I was taken a back on how small she was, the doctors said it was because there was not enough blood circulation due to the chemotherapy and guilt started to fill my heart but I quickly stopped the guilt and filled my heart with gratitude. We were both alive and God did that. It is hard to articulate in words the love I have for her because she is my purest form of love, she is my example of determination, trust, a fearless spirit and faith.

With my current mindset and close relation with God, I don’t question my purpose anymore. I get to have honest conversations with God, pray in and out of season and live with gratitude knowing that He saved me.  To me Anashe is God’s ability to provide, protect and love. My health and Anashe will always be reminder’s of how God is in control of every situation I am in and that He is the one leading my path. Right now; nothing is perfect, I still go to hospital for check-ups but I serve a perfect God because I still am able to exercise, live, be a mother, do the things I love and always wanted to do. In 2017 doctors gave me a year to three years to live but in 2022 I say I still have many years to continue living.

God rescued me.

My story will continue as I grow because I have not been medically declared cancer free, but when that day does come, I will live in my purpose, I will live in my happy place and I will walk knowing that I will be declared cancer free because God is in control.