by Julia Seeley
ENC finance coordinators Jan Weisen and his wife, Sheryl, shared their testimony in chapel on Friday of how Jan was given a second chance at life after a month-long coma.
In 2012 Jan was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. After the initial diagnosis, doctors recommended various treatment options and chemo trials, but Jan said it was difficult to find one that worked for him. The cancer kept coming back with each try.
Doctors decided the best solution was to do a stem cell transplant, which resulted in Jan experiencing “graft vs host disease.” The donor cells Jan received began attacking him from the inside out. Sheryl said she noticed mental and physical changes in Jan during this time.
“I was noticing each day he was a little slower to find words to respond,” she said. “He wasn’t as coordinated when he would get up to walk. He was slower, he was shuffling his feet more.”
During one of the nights spent in the hospital, Sheryl said she came to Jan’s room and found a mess of doctors scrambling in and out.
“I stood there and I took a step closer and I’m looking at the room and going, ‘Thats Jan’s room,’” Sheryl said. “A nurse immediately found me and she asked, ‘Who are you here to see,’ and so I told her and she said, ‘Are you his wife,’ and I said, ‘yes,’ and with each question my heart’s dropping a little further and she said, ‘Well why don’t you come with me. He’s had a seizure.’”
After the seizure, Jan slipped into a coma. Jan said she waited by his bedside for him to wake up.
“From that moment on, he was asleep for four weeks,” she said. “Not communicating, not acknowledging. I would talk to him, I would pray over him, I found on YouTube the ‘Be Still My Soul.’ I would play that and sing with it, but there was no response from him for four weeks.”
Sheryl said she prayed over Jan everyday and asked God to take control of his future.
“Everyday I would walk into his room and I would say, ‘Lord he is yours. You love him far more than I am capable of loving him,’” she said. “‘From day 19 on, everyday I walked in to his room and I would pray that same prayer. ‘If You are calling him home, than help me to accept that and to let him go.’”
Jan began to wake up after four weeks of being in the coma. Jan said he knew it was the sole work of the Lord that brought him healing.
“I’m here today because when the men and women who were taking care of me in the hospital didn’t know what to do, that’s when the Lord took over,” he said. “Just know that it was the hand of the Lord, period.”
Now, Jan and Sheryl wait on the results from the transplant.
“[Jan] will have a PET scan and the results of that will tell us whether or not there is any lymphoma still lurking,” Sheryl said. “The goal and hopeful outcome is that the new cells have taken over the cancer cells and he is cancer free.
Jan said he was honored and amazed by everything the ENC community did for him and his wife during their crisis.
“I was blown away by the support of the ENC and Wollaston community and the friends we have around the world. Just absolutely blown away,” he said.
Sheryl said she wouldn’t have been able to get through such a strenuous time without the prayers and kindness of those around her.
“It’s the prayers of people around the world, in your acts of kindness with meals and things that gave me the strength to face whatever we may encounter each day,” she said. “So thank you, as a community, for your love and support.”