I’m a strong believer that each person has a mission on this earth. The Universe shapes one in preparation for your calling and does not make mistakes. Discovering the reason for your being is what makes life worth living.
Backtrack to November 2017.
“Nurse! Please nurse, help me!” No response was heard from the nursing staff, and I could go as far as to say that they really did not care about the fellow that was lying opposite me in a forgotten Rob Ferreira hospital ward. It didn’t take much to motivate me in assisting my new friend with a small by almost meaningless task. After all, the only thing the dying man needed was a glass of water…
The doctors had been whispering “looks like it could be cancer, but let’s do some more tests.”
Hearing those words block out all other sounds. What you consider problematic in your life disintegrates. The man had been so thankful for the glass of water and looked deep into my soul as if I had given him an extra hour to live. When I got back into my hospital bed, the night became still, and I was inspired to ask my Creator for another 10 years on His beautiful earth. I proceeded in prayer. “Please, give me ten more years as I’m only 25, and I’d like to prove my worth in this life. I’ll make a true difference, and forget about my yearning for financial gain.”
Everything was uncertain at this moment in time, but would soon come together as if it were written long before I was born. Jolandie was at my side the next day, and I was bursting with excitement. “Help me in sticking to my oath, let’s forget about our ambition to collect material things, and be part of something bigger.” She agreed, almost instantly.
A couple of months went by, and my condition worsened. A diagnosis was made, but it would be the first of three – Aplastic Anemia. The daily running of our carpentry business was interrupted with emergency blood transfusions, waiting in casualty wards, and swallowing down copious amounts of medication that seemed to make me sicker. We were sent from city to city and ended up at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town – on the opposite side of the country. After a total of 6 painful bone marrow biopsies, the doctors had finally seemed to have a solution. I was dying and needed to undergo a bone marrow transplant. We were engaged at the time and had planned out our wedding. “Go and get married, close down your business in Nelspruit, and get back here as soon as you can, it’s your only chance.”
We got married on the 5th of May 2018 and received my second diagnosis two days later. “I’m terribly sorry for doing this over the phone Mr. Lewis, but the results came back, unfortunately, it’s Leukemia – blood cancer”. I looked over at my new wife as she was waiting in the bakkie, and took a deep breath, she cried, and yet, I still had a true calmness in my soul about it.
We had one month to prepare and had to start the process of laying off our guys. We decided to use our last remaining resources at our business to build a home-on-wheels on the back of Gertha – our trusted Ford F250. It had been a lifelong dream to live on the road and explore long forgotten places in Africa. We closed down, and our friends and family assisted us in the build. We set sail to Cape Town, not really a honeymoon, but we made the best of the journey.
Before treatment started, the doctor decided that she wanted to run one more test, which resulted in the final diagnosis, it shadowed the others, as it was the cause of both. Fanconi Anemia. A rare and incurable genetic condition, that affected very few people in the world. It basically causes cancer, and it would be part of our lives for the rest of my life. I had a calmness to me, which most couldn’t understand, but the following words shook my core, I still get goosebumps thinking about it. “You’ll have a 30% chance of surviving the transplant, in the case that you do, you’ll have a life expectancy of 35 years.” I was given the ten years I asked for, and Numinous Expeditions was branded to the top of my to-do list.
I booked into the F4 isolation ward at Groote Schuur, and what lied ahead could only be described as the most challenging experience of our lives. Isolated from the world, we had to fight it together. Jolandie was at my side every step of the way, she held my hand when I shivered uncontrollably, she cried when I cried, she tickled my back when I didn’t have enough strength to get up off the bathroom floor and bathed me in bed. The idea of suicide crept into my thoughts many times, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy – if I had any.
Almost five months later, I was discharged from my room and wheeled out of the hospital in a wheelchair. I had lost 18kg’s but gained a new perspective as if it were just a lesson that needed to be learned.
Numinous Expeditions was embedded into our daily lives, and we took every opportunity we had, to stick to the oath.