Finding God Amid Diabetes, Blindness, and Kidney Failure
By Patricia Chua
When I was 10, my mother noticed ants crawling around the toilet bowl after I had used it. I had also suddenly become prone to fainting spells, and could not put on weight no matter how much I ate. So my mum brought me to a doctor, and it was then that we learned that I had diabetes.
Here’s a quick rundown on diabetes: it is a chronic condition that affects the way our bodies regulate sugar in our blood. People with diabetes have high sugar levels in their body which, left unmonitored, could cause complications such as blindness, kidney failure, or even death.
After receiving the diagnosis, my mum started me on a strict diet, on top of which I had to be injected with insulin daily to keep my blood sugar level under control.
As a young girl, I couldn’t understand why my mum had to put me through all of that, and so I hated her for it. In retaliation, I would deliberately eat what I was told not to—all the food and sweets I love, especially fried chicken, soft drinks, noodles and cake—and binge on them during school recess without my mum knowing about it.
This went on for about 10 years. During my follow-up appointments at the hospital, I was required to show the doctor the results of the blood glucose tests I had to do at home. So whenever I did these tests, I would always record more “normal” (i.e., lower) readings to convince my doctor that I was doing well.
However, the tests done once every three months at the hospital would show otherwise. Despite my doctor’s persuasion that having high blood sugar levels won’t do me good in the long run, I refused to follow her instructions. I wasn’t experiencing any adverse symptoms at that time, and I simply didn’t like being restricted.
Eight years later, what the doctor said really came true—
From that point, over the course of a year and a half, I underwent seven operations on my eyes, to save what was left of my vision. But things didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. I was told that, if my condition doesn’t improve, I would be completely blind in three years.
I quickly fell into a deep depression, to the point that I even thought of doing stupid things like drinking shampoo to kill myself; thankfully, I got distracted somehow and ended up not doing it.
Losing My Sight, Finding Jesus
At that time, the person who encouraged me most was Auntie Cindy, whom I’d met through a mutual friend. She took time to share with me her testimony on battling cancer and how she got to know Jesus.
I found her stories and experiences very relatable. As someone who also grew up in a family that worshipped idols, Jesus was very foreign to me. Yet, despite my incessant prayers to these idols at home, I did not receive any healing. But Jesus is different, said Auntie Cindy. “Whenever you are in pain, lift up your head and speak to Him,” she told me.
The night before my eighth operation, I was in great pain. Then I remembered what Auntie Cindy said, so I prayed. “God, if you are real and are listening to me, please keep me safe and alive through the operation.” I was pushed to pray because the doctors had said that if the operation did not go well, I would fall into a permanent coma.
The next day, before my operation, I prayed again.
As it turned out, my operation was a success, and I did come out of the hospital alive and well! After that, I quickly told Auntie Cindy that I wanted to know more about Jesus. A week later, with prayer and thanksgiving, I gave my life to Jesus.
After knowing Jesus, I began to see myself and my circumstances differently. I came to learn that God works not only externally but also internally. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I started to have better self-control in watching my diet and following my doctor’s instructions. Miraculously, the vision in my left eye was restored to about 50 percent visibility!
Still, there were times when I couldn’t help but ask the Lord, “Why do I have to go through all these?” And His reply to me was, “To bring glory to My name.” God has a plan and a purpose for my life, whether as a diabetic or someone with sight impairment. Slowly, I learned to trust Him. But, trusting in God doesn’t necessarily mean things always gets better.
My Worst Fears Coming to Pass
At one point, the consequences of my reckless living in the past finally caught up with me. In June 2020, my doctor told me that I was in danger of kidney failure within six months. What I had hoped would never happen was coming to pass.
The doctor prescribed another set of gruelling routines. I wasn’t allowed to drink more than 500ml of water daily, plus I had to start a no-salt diet and undergo a form of water dialysis.
Honestly, I struggled with thoughts of running away again and not undergoing the treatment. But I was prompted by a still voice within me, saying, “Everything will be well, and you have to do this.”
I knew it was the Holy Spirit speaking, and His word gave me the strength to carry on. Instead of falling into depression again, I was reminded of what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:7, “ . . . the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Whether it’s facing diabetes, loss of sight, or kidney failure, I know that the hand of the Lord is on me. His love, peace, joy, and encouragement help me stay on the path He has purposed for me.
Life with Jesus
My condition has since improved with the help of the water dialysis. I have never felt so content about being able to drink two litres of water a day, have light seasoning in my food and a better appetite, and put on some weight. I know that it is the Lord who has brought me through all this.
To have gotten to where I am now in my walk with Christ, I am thankful to the Lord Jesus, and to my sisters and brothers in Christ for their love for me and how they stood by me through it all—encouraging me with His Word, bringing me food, taking special care of me when I’m in church, and laying hands on me in prayer.
As you read this, if you too are suffering from health issues that have led to other conditions and complications, I hope that my testimony can point you to the One who saves and heals—Jesus.
He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6), and only in Him can we find true comfort and absolute healing. Even though our bodies will eventually fail, we have comfort and assurance, knowing that He can save our souls and will eventually put an end to all our suffering.
If you would call out to Jesus as I did, I pray that you too will receive life, peace, and encouragement for whatever situation you are facing.