6. One more testimony, with all humility

When I think about how, in the last year, after having cataract surgery on my right eye that was not exactly a success, I was at least three times at the Cleveland Clinic – recognized as one of the top three hospitals in the world – and at least nine others at my regular eye doctor, with increasing discomfort in the right eye including the extraction of a small infested cyst on the right eyelid, and that no one noticed the problem I had, blaming it on me having dry eye, I realize the circumstances so improbable that they led to the discovery of the same.

My friend Mary wanted me to come on a tour with her and her husband Michael hers to Colombia, staying in her apartment, her nephew Carlos and her wife Claudia hers in Bogotá. I casually asked my hostess Claudia if she knew a good ophthalmologist. It turns out that they have a couple of close friends with whom they often hang out, and that Pedro Salazar, the husband, is a renowned ophthalmologist and oncologist in Bogotá. As soon as he was asked, Pedro agreed to see me right away and when he did, he immediately noticed that the lower eyelid tissue of the right eye looked abnormal, and he recommended a biopsy, which I agreed to and he performed a few days later, as soon as there was space available in one of the clinics where it operates.

During the 14 days that I spent waiting for the results of the biopsy, I spoke often with our heavenly Father. At first, I wondered if it wouldn’t be selfish for me, 75 years old and retired, to ask him to get rid of that threat when surely there are many others in a similar position or even worse (fathers or mothers of small children, religious giving their all for others, good people, younger than me, providing help to many others…) more deserving of His help. Suddenly I fully understood Jesus’ words: “nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done,” and I asked God to give me the strength to walk in peace and accept whatever his decision was. Amazingly, from that moment on, I began to feel a great peace that I had never felt before, and that did not change with the diagnosis. I clarify that I am not a person given to hysterics and that I usually remain calm in the face of difficulties. It is difficult to describe how I felt, without concern or fear for what would happen, as if I was looking at what was happening from the outside and with absolute calm and confidence that went beyond what could happen.

Finally, in ten working days the result arrived, aggressive cancer in the upper eyelid of the right eye.

Considering objectively the succession of events that occurred:

  1. travel to another, more underdeveloped country, with the idea of doing tourism,
  2. that it occurred to me to ask my hostess if she knew any good eye doctors,
  3. that my hosts had a close friend, Dr. Pedro Salazar, not only an ophthalmologist but also an oncologist, graduated from Philadelphia and Toronto,
  4. who examines me right away, and as soon as they do, they catch a possible problem when observing the abnormal tissue under the eyelid, which several specialists in more than 13 previous visits had not seen, and order the biopsy,
  5. The cancer is discovered, and Pedro agrees to operate on me as soon as possible.

  As a mathematician (researcher and teacher with 41 years of experience), I objectively believe that the probability that all these events occurred in succession must be extremely small. Many will say that it is a matter of being very lucky… perhaps, but I believe that it was undoubtedly God’s plan.

Five days after the diagnosis, a week ago, I had surgery. Based on the biopsy, the surgeon cut 4mm along the length of the right eyelid, cleaned out additional tissue under the rest of the eyelid, and replaced it by grafting similar tissue that he removed from the left eyelid. Within ten days it will be known if the inner edge of the removed piece of eyelid is negative, if not, I think it will be necessary to operate again.

Yesterday, a few days earlier than expected, the result of the last biopsy was known, everything is clean except for one point that I have started to treat with chemotherapy via drops.

The fact is that I am not oblivious to the pain that this disease creates, and that has touched me closely. I saw my wife, the greatest gift I have received from God, fight for 10 years with cancer initially of the breast, then of the trachea, and finally I saw her die with her hand in mine, a victim of lung cancer. Likewise, my father, who loved me deeply, taught me to love nature, and made extraordinary sacrifices to help me study, passed away from stomach cancer.

If I share what happened, it is because I think that the least, I can do is give this testimony. I have been a believer since I was a child, and I have not hesitated to ask the Lord for help in difficult situations in my family life, which were not few, often with positive results, but I have never felt anything like the absolute peace that I felt on this occasion. We all know the words of Jesus «ask and it will be given to you,» but I wonder if I had never internalized them as on this occasion, or perhaps I never asked with such faith and trust, but without a doubt I felt the hand of God as I had never felt it before.

Thank you, Father, for your unconditional love and mercy!

Por Antonio R Quesada

A esta altura de mi vida reconozco que lo que creo saber es ínfimo comparado con lo que desconozco. Usando mis experiencias, trato de profundizar en algunas ideas espirituales básicas que comparto con toda humildad a fin de animar a otros a que hagan lo mismo. Agradezco de antemano cualquier sugerencia o corrección que reciba. ________________________________________________________________________________ At this time of my life, I acknowledge that what I think I know, is minimal compared to what I don’t know. Using my experiences, I try to deepen on some basic spiritual ideas that I share with all humility, with the purpose of encouraging others to do the same. I thank you in advance for any suggestions or corrections that I receive. ________________________________________________________________________________ Dr. Antonio R. Quesada, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at The University of Akron. Ohio Teaching Fellow. Director of Project AMP. T^3 International Emeritus Professor.

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