“How I Fight Illness with Faith,” New Era, Aug. 2019, 22–23.
When I was seven years old, I saw a picture in a Bible of Jesus getting baptized. I thought it would be cool to get baptized too. One morning I told my mom, “Look at this picture of Jesus. He’s getting baptized. Why am I not baptized?” After that, we started looking around at churches to join.
That same year, I got sick with leukemia. Doctors found a lymphoma on my chest, and I had to stay in the hospital for three weeks. After that, I would go to the hospital for four days and then go home for 10 days. I did that six times. Going through chemotherapy was really bad, but it made the tumor shrink. Later I got fungal pneumonia and had to spend more time in the hospital.
When my mom was young, she was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I got sick, she started reading the Book of Mormon again. My family took the missionary discussions later, and we all started going to church. My dad got baptized first. After he got the priesthood, he baptized my brothers and me. My sisters weren’t old enough yet. Getting baptized made me feel really good even though by then most of my hair had fallen out because of my chemotherapy.
During that time, I prayed a lot. When I prayed, I felt like it wasn’t the end of the world. I got lots of priesthood blessings. They were really good and helped me with my faith. Medicine helped me too.
For a while, I didn’t feel like getting out of bed or doing much, but I told my mom I knew that Heavenly Father was going to protect me. I just had a feeling I would get better. I saw that the doctors were super confident. That made me confident too.
My brothers and sisters helped me feel better when I would come home from the hospital. It was nice to play with them. They had faith that I would get better.
I was still sick when I started tae kwon do. It’s really fun, and it’s what I like to do. I couldn’t go to tae kwon do class during flu season because I had to watch my immune system. Tae kwon do helped me not think about being sick. I have my green belt now, and I want to get my black belt. That will take me a few more years.
In March 2019, I finished the chemotherapy and my last round of steroids. I feel really good about not having to do that anymore.
If someone is having a challenge or is really sick, I would say to read the Book of Mormon and have faith that Heavenly Father has a plan for us. That will help them. It’s pretty bad if someone is sick and doesn’t get better, but at least they will see Heavenly Father sometime soon. He knows what’s best for us.
The author lives in Alabama, USA.