God Found Me Dying

Brandon Slesser
Change Your Mind Change Your Life
12 min readApr 9, 2024

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Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

God Found Me In A Hospital Bed

For a while I have been putting this off, really sharing my story of how GOD FOUND ME IN A HOSPITAL BED. I never really talked much about it, other than a few post I put on Facebook. I never really explained how God found me the way He did.

Before I realized that I cancer, the months leading up to it were beyond draining. I had no energy and I was constantly hurting. Not like minor aches and pains, deep hurting in my bones. Each time our cat could climb on my chest I would have to get her off because the small amount of pressure that she put on me was almost crushing. I never thought much of it at the time. Even all the different times I had to go to the emergency room and miss work, I never thought about what was actually happening inside my body. I ignored it. My partner was getting annoyed with how much work I was missing, especially since nothing could be found that really stuck out to the doctors. It wasn’t until I went and seen my specialty doctor that helps treat my HIV, was something actually brought up. She told me that my T cells were very low and consistently dropping. Again I just brushed it off and never thought to much about it. Even though I was turning a blind eye to it, something in me was telling me that everything was not okay.

I remember I pulled my phone out and started to look up side effects for cancer. I broke down. I knew in my heart that’s what it was, but again I brushed it under the rug. Even my own parents told me not to worry about it and that I needed to stop diagnosing myself before I actually knew. A few more weeks went by and I had another appointment to get a PET scan done on my body. The scan showed swollen lymph nodes in my chest, abdomen, and groin. Along with that, there was an abnormality in my left hip. A large black mass that couldn’t be identified until I got it checked. It wasn’t long after that, my specialty doctor had me admitted into the hospital to get a bone marrow biopsy done. I was only supposed to be there for a day, but that day turned into four. The first night I was a wreck. I tossed and turned and tried to get to sleep. Tried to rest, but my mind was racing. My emotions were starting to grow out of control and that’s when I knew that the only way for me to get through this, was to pray.

That night I prayed for God to send me His angels to watch over me and to help me. I hadn’t done that in many years. To be completely honest, I didn’t think I could. Being gay and also believing in God wasn’t something that I was raised on. It was a sin and my life was against what God wanted from me. That night, I didn’t care what I was taught. I decided to cry out to Him and beg. I knew that I was not in the state of mind or physical state to do this on my own. And wouldn’t you know it, He came to me. I felt His spirit in that hospital room that night. I felt the love he had for me that night and knew that it was going to be okay.

The next day, I was greeted with some of the best nurses I had ever had. Even though God didn’t send me physical angels from Heaven that I could see, he sent me nurses that embodied those angels. He knew what I needed and the people that needed to be there. Day after day I started watching God work in my life while I was still in that room and on the final night he told me and spoke just as clear as a concentrated thought “You will make it. You will live. This will not be your end.” I held onto those words with a fierceness. I knew that God was now in control of this situation. On the final morning in the hospital, my partner and I had been waiting to get the results from the bone marrow biopsy that was taken three days before. Throughout the wait, I knew in my heart what I was going to be facing. It’s a knowing that wasn’t my own, but what God revealed to me.

The doctors had finally come in with my results and announced that I had stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma with an 80% Survival rate. 80 is pretty decent but I knew that I was going to beat that score. I had God on my side. I remember them talking and all the while I was falling apart within myself. I could feel every part of who I was dying. Once they left, I looked at my partner and broke. For the first time in all of this, I really broke apart. I remember as he held me I said “It’s my fault, I should have gone to the doctor sooner. I should have cared more.” Reassurance, that’s all he could give me.

Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

After the Hospital

Once I was out of the hospital, I felt a series of different emotions that I hadn’t expected. I was placed on anti-anxiety meds that helped me cope with what was going on and that helped.

It was during the holidays, which could have been really bleak, but what God did is something great to speak about. I was going into a depression that was dangerous enough that I knew I had to take seriously. Thoughts of suicide went through my head, just ending my life because it was already over. Then I remembered what God told me. He said that I was going to make it through this and that it would not be long. After a week of crying and feeling sorry for myself, I finally dug out of the grave I was putting myself in and brushed off the dirt. I wasn’t going down without a fight. So I began praying again and this time, it wasn’t for angels to watch over me, it was for God to fill me with strength, bravery, hope, and above all, joy. I decided at that point to give all of my pain and hurt to Him because it wasn’t mine to hold anymore.

November and December were hard months really. It was the first time I had spent the holidays away from my family, and it was the first time I had ever had to deal with cancer. I was weak, but little by little, I was getting stronger. Eventually I was able to be seen by an oncologist who informed me that the cancer was only in one spot. It had not moved and that my lymph nodes were pretty swollen. She was actually the one to tell me that it was stage 4. I held it together the best that I could until we got back to the car and that’s when I broke down. I felt so defeated, but I knew that this wasn’t going to defeat me. I would overcome this. I think the hardest part was when my parents came to see me, they had to see the feeble version of me. They didn’t stay long, mostly because I think it was hard for them to see me that way. There was a moment that one of my parents felt that I was giving up. I was just allowing this to happen because I wasn’t fighting as hard as I should have been. I was angry at first, but then realized that we all process things differently. I turned to God for this and was revealed that I needed to give grace. So I listened and I did.

A month had passed and it was January. I was scheduled to start getting chemo after I got my port put in and ended up being placed back into the hospital for a fever. I was there for another four days. I didn’t get my chemo and I was going to have to spend Nee Years Eve alone. Thankfully, my partner was there with me that night. We looked out the window of one of the hallways and watched the fireworks. It was such a beautiful moment and one that was happy to be spending with him. It was New Year’s Day When I was able to get my first round of chemo. I handled it well and then was able to go home after that. I was so happy to be home. I was ready to start the healing process this time.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

CHEMO COCKTAILS

The month of January was rough. Every other week I was sent to the hospital to get chemo done. Thankfully none of them bothered me, but I also knew that God had his hand in that. I continued to keep my faith strong and rely on what he was doing for me. There was no other option to it. I knew that the only way for me to go through what I was having to go through was to rely on God and know that He was with me each time.

During this time I wasn’t able to really walk by myself and had to rely on a cane that I bought from Amazon. It allowed me to get around, but it was a constant reminder that I was fighting for my life. But I knew I wasn’t fighting alone. I think it’s important that I point out that as the month went on and I continued to rely on my faith and trust in God, I did eventually get stronger. The chemo was doing what it needed to do. I was able to drive myself back and forth from my treatments. It was t the strength that I had, it was the strength that God gave me. During this time my partner was having to run his business which meant that he wasn’t able to go to the appointments with me. At first it bothered me a lot and if I’m honest it continued to bother me. I felt like I was alone in this fight. I was reminded though that even though he was not with me, God was right by my side. He was by my side though each injection, bloodwork appointment, and even when I felt alone…he was right there with me. I continued my strength and held onto my faith. Through this process I was able to keep up with my family via phone calls and FaceTimes since we don’t live near each other. It kept my sanity and helped me through the darker moments when I didn’t feel like I had anyone else to turn too. The days were very hard and I pushed though them the best that I could.

The hardest day was the day that my hair started falling out from the chemo drugs. I broke down all over again. There is something to be said when you are in the shower and you see chunks of hair rolling down your body because the water was washing it away. I cried and began punching the shower wall. I hated it. I hated life and I hated this sickness. I knew that I had to take my power back. So I did the one thing I never thought I would do. I shaved it off. I couldn’t control what the chemo did to my body, but I could control my hair and when I was going to lose it. I remember a peace coming over me that night and knew that God was right there with me. He hadn’t left my side.

What Faith Can Do

At this point February was coming to a close and I had already gone though five treatments of chemo. Each one harder than the last, but I was still thankful that God was keeping my body strong. I never got sick like all the horror stories I have heard. Things were starting to get better. I had hope and joy in my heart that wasn’t my own. It was planted there by God. I couldn’t have done it without Him.

As the month of February ended it was time for my second PET scan. Going into this, I knew that everything was going to be okay. I knew that it would be good news. What I have failed to mention was that within the month of January, I would see my oncologist and she would review where the cancer was and how my body was doing. The cancer never left the stop it was at and my lymph nodes were shrinking tremendously! She was as amazed as I was. Now fast forwarding to the second PET scan results I really wanted my partner to go with me for these. I wanted him to be there when I got the good news. He was worried that it was just going to be more bad news. Funny thing is throughout the past months leading up to this, I told him and my family that I would have this beat within three months of doing chemo. No one really believed that. I told them what God told me. He said that I was going to beat it and then he revealed to me a timeframe.

The day of my PET scan results, we both sat patiently in the room waiting to see the doctor. When she walked in, she smiled and said the words I knew she was going to say “YOU ARE IN REMISSION.” This was God not only showing up, but showing out. It sparked my faith again in a way that I had never felt before. All it took was a lot of God and only 2 months and 1 day of chemo and I beat the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

Photo by Rachel McDermott on Unsplash

Rebuilding

This is the hardest part I have found after beating cancer and still finishing my treatments. I have been trying to rebuild who I was before and realized that the person I once was died in that hospital bed the night God saved me. Through the process of trying to discover who this new version of me is, I found myself in Limbo just trying to find my way. I have continued to pray and ask for Gods guidance and I was told to just be patient. That’s never been my strong suit. But I know that God has a plan for me and that He has bigger things for me to do.

Recently I have been looking for jobs since I have been not working for since November and I found something that might interest me. Through this time of rebuilding I have spoken to my grandmother about getting a job and she told me to take a leap of faith. So I began applying for jobs and the one that came back to me seems good, but I have learned by now to lean on God and He will direct me. I had gotten to where I was willing to take the position but knew I needed to pray on it. That’s when God revealed to me that the true leap of faith was not accepting this job and trusting in him. Trusting that He still has it under control. I prayed more about it and this was what was revealed to me…

I was these words that I knew that I had to stop trying to do things myself and continue to rely on God. People may try and steer me in the direction that they think is best, but my biggest advisor is Him.

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

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Brandon Slesser
Change Your Mind Change Your Life

Free spirited, open minded, hopeless romantic, a little stubborn, and an avid thinker.