by Dominique Yon When I was younger I thought that ‘faith’ was one’s religion, a belief system that one practiced. Growing up with a traditional Catholic family I thought that attending Mass every weekend, being an altar server involved in ministry and praying eight times a day at a Catholic school meant that I had a lot of faith and that it was all I needed to be truly faithful. For me this thought completely changed on 8 April 2010. I was newly confirmed and a helper for one of the Confirmation groups at my parish. That previous day I was at a prayer meeting for the upcoming Confirmation weekend when I felt a severe ongoing pain in my stomach and I couldn’t contain anything I had eaten. My parents and I thought I simply pulled a muscle as I had done some heavy lifting that week but after a sleepless night and ineffective painkillers I was taken to my GP who sent me straight to the hospital. After a few scans I was told that both of my ovaries had large growths on them and that the only way to know more and treat it would be to operate that evening. I was completely confused and had no idea about the severity of the situation. I had never had an operation before, I was rarely at the doctor for anything and everything was happening so quickly. Before I was taken to the theatre, my best friend and Confirmation coordinators visited and prayed with my parents and I. I immediately felt a sense of calmness and thought that everything would be okay. Before I knew it I was waking up from the anesthesia. To my shock, I was told that both of my ovaries had turned and cut themselves off from blood circulation causing it to sort of rot which caused the pain. The growths were over 15cm in length and because of this, both ovaries had to be removed. There were no cells left to try and save. I was seventeen years old so I had no intention of having a baby any time soon, but the possibility of having one in the future had then become a problem. This result had never crossed my mind before and took some time to sink in. I couldn’t believe how this could happen to me and continuously questioned God. While in hospital I received an abundance of support from friends and family and one of the messages I received via SMS was from Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is being certain of what we hope for, and believing in what we cannot see.” I read that verse over and over again and it hit me – faith as a Christian is not only believing that Jesus Christ is our savior and all the things He did in the bible, but it is also about fully believing in the power of God NOW and what he can still do in our lives. I realized the difference between hope and faith, that with God there is no uncertainty of his power and that we cannot truly have faith if we have the slightest doubt. I knew that I would never have to worry about any problem that I would face if I gave my life to God and that’s exactly what I did. After a week, I was released from hospital when I received the results from my blood tests. I found out that I had stage two cancer which spread to my uterus. Although the extraction of my ovaries removed most of the cancer cells, I had to undergo months of chemotherapy to be completely safe. I lost all of my hair and missed a lot of my final year of classes due to the extreme nausea from the chemo. I also gained a lot of weight from what was in my chemo and my hormone imbalance. I had to gain confidence with my new self-image and adjust to the situation at school, catching up with all of the work I had missed to matriculate and get accepted at a university. This situation wasn’t easy but through everyone’s prayers I could feel the Holy Spirit coming over and completely relaxing me. God put amazing people in my path that helped me through it all and my new-found faith made me realize that God doesn’t let us face anything we cannot handle and that with His help, I was then able to allow Him to heal me. Through the grace of God I am in remission, have recently graduated and have continued to serve in youth and outreach ministries while working part time. Although it seems like this incident happened so long ago, I will never forget the impact it had on my life and is a continuous reminder of the power of faith in the Lord. This experience taught me to find the light in any situation and gave me a new perspective on life and what is truly important. Life is too short to worry, I have learnt to trust completely, forgive quickly, to fully embrace every minute of the present and that if something is not what God wants then it isn’t worth pursuing. My experience may have seemed horrible and it certainly wasn’t one I expected, but it has brought me closer in my faith and made me the person that I am today and I wouldn’t trade that for anything! I am nowhere near perfect and continue to go through obstacles but I know that no matter what happens, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. About the Author Dominique Yon I am a marketing graduate, cat loving, Netball playing Manchester United supporter from Cape Town with a passion for working with the youth and community development.