My childhood was joyful and happy. Maybe it was because I was the first child in my family that I received so much care and affection. I especially liked it when my mom would teach me to cook. It was so much fun to roll out fresh spices. Mmmmm! Such wonderful smells!
One day when I was 10 years old, I felt a severe pain in my chest. Later that day, I noticed a lump sticking out of my back, and the pain gradually went away. When I was busy during the daytime, I had no pain. But after going to bed at night, it seemed like there was a constant pain in my back.
A few days later my parents took me to Pirgonj Hospital. They gave me some medicine which made me very sleepy, but I felt no pain. After about a month, I felt good enough to go to school again. But while walking to school every day, it seemed like my left leg was getting weak, and soon I had difficulty walking. Dad brought home some herbal medicines, but they didn’t seem to help. My parents took me to a homeopathic doctor, and he gave some different types of herbal medicines that tasted really bad. Yuck! Mom had to make me swallow the medicine. They also got some sort of liniment to rub on my legs. The liniment felt good, but it didn’t really make me any stronger.
Three months went by and the tumor on my back grew bigger. One day, the tumor hurt me so bad that I had trouble breathing. Alarmed, my parents took me to Dinajpur Government Hospital. At first, the doctors told my parents that I had no liver. After taking blood tests, they said that I did have a liver but needed to have surgery. When I was taken to the Operating Theatre, we were told that there was fluid in my lungs and that I should go to Dhaka to have it treated. My parents were really afraid when they heard this because neither of them had ever been to Dhaka and didn’t know anybody there.
Finally, the doctors advised us instead to go to Rangpur Government Hospital.
There, after examining me and reading the papers we had, the doctor said that this treatment wasn’t available at the government hospital and that we should go to a private clinic. So I was admitted in a nearby private clinic where the doctor prescribed some very expensive drugs and advised that these should be started as soon as possible. We were told that if there was no response within 24 hours, that there would be no hope for my life. My breathing trouble did decrease, and they began to get me ready for surgery. But the next day, the doctor told us that he couldn’t do the surgery after all, and just sent us away.
We didn’t know what to do.
My father went from clinic to clinic talking to the doctors. Finally one doctor agreed to see me and diagnosed tuberculosis (TB). TB medicines were started, and I was sent home. After two months we returned, because the tumor was still growing and my leg was almost totally numb. They took fluid out of my chest and blood out of my back.
Finally we were told that I had cancer and nothing could be done at all. They said I would die within three months.My parents were devastated. They loved me very much. We had no idea what to do. My parents talked with the village Hindu priest who prescribed other herbal medicines and ointments. But when he finally saw me himself, he said that I had been attacked by the monkey god (Hanuman) and that is why my legs were weak and numb. He demanded six pigeons to sacrifice on the altar of Hanuman. I was told that I had to put new plaster on the altar and serve the god every day. While down on my hands and knees, I mixed new mud plaster for the floor in front of the altar. I was having so much pain that it was hard to do this work, but I finally got it done. I served Hanuman every day for two months, but I didn’t feel any better at all. Then one day, there was more pain than usual in my chest, and I could no longer walk. I lost all control over my urine and stool.
What should we do? None of the doctors we had seen had helped me. The monkey god, Hanuman, did not respond to my pleas or my service to him. No medicine helped and the tumor kept getting bigger.
Finally my parents took me to Dinajpur Mission Hospital. This was only a small hospital but it was part of LAMB Hospital. They sent me to the main hospital, thinking that the doctors there could help. After the doctors saw me, we were told that I had very large tumor in my chest that needed surgery, but they did not have a surgeon who could do it. They said there was a surgeon at Memorial Christian Hospital in Malumghat who could do the surgery.
Where is Malumghat? It is so far away. Dad said that Dhaka is a long distance away but Malumghat is even further. It would take three days travel by bus. We didn’t know anyone there. My father did not have the money for the bus because he spent so much money on the other medicines.
While I was in LAMB Hospital, one lady gave me some books to read. They were all about a man named Jesus, who healed all kinds of sick people. I thought if I read these books Jesus might cure me. So I read all of the books, but nothing happened.
A few days later, the doctor came and told my parents that LAMB Hospital would pay for all my medical expenses at Malumghat Hospital as long as my father would provide all the food for me.
In November 2005, we arrived at Malumghat Hospital and Doctor Kelley saw me. After reading all my papers, looking at the x-rays, and examining me, his face was very grave and solemn. He told my father that the surgery could be done, but chance of my survival was very small. Dr. Kelley said, “If God shows his power, your daughter may live.” Malumghat Hospital was so different from my home. Even the language was different. They were all strangers to me. But every day two women came to visit me. Sunoti and Martha were very kind and so pleasant to be with that I felt encouraged. Like the lady at LAMB Hospital, they also told me about Jesus and read to me from his book. By hearing God’s words, I became hopeful that Jesus will help me and make me well. I didn’t feel so lonely any more.
One day, Sunoti and Martha told me that if I believe in Jesus, I will go to heaven after I die. I gave myself to Jesus and accepted him as my Savior. I even told him that He could use my life as He wants. That day, all my fears and disappointments left me, and I felt so free of the things that worried me before.
My operation was successful and Dr. Kelley removed an eight kilogram tumor from inside my left chest. I found out that I was given eleven bags of blood! Wow! Where did all the blood come from? So many people that I didn’t even know came and gave their blood, as a gift of love!
Gradually I am getting better. I have three big sores on my hips where all the skin is gone. Dr. Kelley said that when I am stronger and the pus is gone from the sores, he will put new skin on them.
I am filled with so much peace. All the doctors and nurses give me such love and affection. Even Phorti, my sister, who fixes my food feels this way. Do you know? She also asked Jesus to be her Savior. Now we are sisters two different ways! We were so hopeless before, but not anymore! Even though my legs are still numb and I can’t move them, I am so happy because I know Jesus.
My sister and I go to church in Chabagan, a village near the hospital. Dr. Kelley takes us in his car along with his family. We really like all the singing the people do there. My sister and I talked about it and then we asked Sunoti. We said that we want to be baptized. You should have seen Dr. Kelley’s face that day when we told him. He was so happy for me. We got baptized with seven other people at the church. Well, actually it wasn’t at the church. It was in a pond about a quarter of a mile from the church. Dr. Kelley pushed me there in my wheelchair. When it was my turn to be baptized, do you know what Dr. Kelley did? He picked me up out of the wheelchair himself, carried me down into the water and then Pastor Goni baptized me! It was a beautiful day! Dr. Kelley didn’t even mind getting wet!
Mom and Dad came to visit us. My sister and I had really missed seeing them. When they heard what happened to us and saw my condition, they wanted to know more about Jesus. Isn’t it wonderful? They also asked Jesus to be their Savior, too! Now everyone in my family are believers and we will be in heaven together. I think that is why I got so sick with this tumor. I’m so glad God brought us to Malumghat!
Postscript to Lata’s story:
About two month’s after relating her story, Lata developed a recurrence of her tumor (called a sarcoma). The tumor spread and grew very quickly throughout her chest and liver. It did not take very long before everyone, including Lata, knew that she was not going to recover. Typical of her enthusiasm, Lata exclaimed, “Good! Now I won’t have to go home to my Hindu village. I can die here and be buried among my new Christian family!”
Lata never complained even though everyone knew she was having more and more pain. Instead, you would hear her quietly singing praises to her new Savior or reading from her Bible. As it became increasingly more difficult for her to breathe, Lata talked and sang less and less. Still, she loved to hear others reading to her from Scripture or singing hymns of praise to her Savior.
Our Heavenly Father took Lata home to be with Him in heaven – a place where she is no longer in any pain or suffering and she can join in the heavenly choirs giving praise to her Lord Jesus!
Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow! Even the blessing of a malignant tumor! God did indeed show His mighty power and Lata is living in heaven today.