My life and experience with NET cancer

My story with NET cancer is a story of encouragement for those living in fear of this disease taking your life quickly. My journey with this disease now spans more than 50 years. As such I had to look at the most pertinent parts of it, but I will try and keep it as brief as possible. For the sake of clarity, I had to deviate from the illness itself and give a background of other circumstances that influence me and also have a serious impact on my medication and medical outcomes.

But let us start with the beginning. I started life as all other people as a fetus, but during my moms pregnancy she ended up with a burst appendix. The doctors literally had to take me out, remove her appendix or what was left of it, put me back inside her again and sew her up. So when the time came for me to born, I was born at home like most other people in those days with only a midwife present. I only realised 60+ years later, that her appendix could actually have been NET Cancer of the appendix, as she always complained about hot flushes which most doctors put down to menopause. The only problem is that it continued until her death in 2013 at age 95. Other symptoms were the spider veins on her upper right inner leg, always complaining about being bloated, and a total collapse of her sexual life. I know as a kid you are not supposed to know this, but boys will be boys. Especially if you are part of four mischievous brothers.

My early life in school

I had a normal life as a small kid but had a problem with my bladder. Every now and then I would wet my bed even at age nine and ten. The other problem that was also caused by my bladder was that I would take ages before starting to urinate. Sometimes at school I would be late for class as I had to wait for the bladder to decide when it was time to open up. I can still remember one day in my teens when the teacher would not let me go to the toilet while we were writing exams and I ended up wetting myself. Fortunately, by the time we had our normal midday break my trousers were fairly dry. But it was humiliating.

At other times I would see blood in my urine and our doctor diagnosed it as bilharzia and told me that it will happen every now and then that my urine will be red or that I might find small traces of blood in my urine. I then had to see him again and go through a process to kill all the parasites and it would be fine again. As kids we used to go swimming in all sorts of water so it was probably the easiest conclusion for him to make.

Then as I turned 15 or 16, I had these experiences where I would have severe sinusitis and the doctors could never find the cause. I was just told that it was just another thing that I was allergic to like all the other things I was allergic to and that was it. Something else that happened was that I would have this severe pain that felt like an appendix problem or pain in the abdomen but normally the next day or hour it would be better or gone, or I would give it a couple more days and then it will be all gone again. Later on in my working life I realised I had this temper that was difficult to control but I worked on it and fortunately as I worked mainly with clients in their offices it did not interfere at work. I still had a bit of a short fuse wire then, but nothing is left of it today. So I try and avoid situations that could cause conflict as I know what will happen. I will explode. Some of the over the counter medicines at times helped, while other would cause me to what I can only describe as putting me on a trip. As someone who has never used drugs, I can only assume that is what they would feel like.

I am also a very inquisitive person. When we moved into another house as a teenager, I found that the previous owner left a lot of chemicals in a room outside and I would try and identify what it was and what happened when you mix some of these things. The one time I made this yellowish substance that looked like yellow smoke only to find out that it was chlorine gas. So, I was always looking for ways to make something easier, or just look at how things are made.

During my teens my blood pressure would just go mad but by the time I got to the doctor nothing was found. This happened quite frequently but I learned how to cope with it and what the warning signs were. Remember this was early 1960’s, so very few doctors have ever heard of this condition, and in South Africa even today medical doctors are trained that when they suspect NET cancer, they can contact the university that will assist them and tell them what they have to do. Then I also knew that I could not leave home without taking an OTC medicine for an upset stomach with me whenever we would go out. At times I was nauseous but that was not really a problem like the upset stomach was. I found that I got tired but tried to remedy that by taking my bicycle and go on a forty-mile ride to increase my stamina. At work I did not see that as a problem as I just took a couple of minutes resting time, even if it was just a walk around the office or home, and then I would be able to continue again.

One of the things we were taught at home was that even though we were seen as poor people, it did not matter as you can achieve anything if you put the time in that is required for a specific task to do it. The only problem with that was that if you did not have exposure to certain vocations, you did not know what was required to qualify for that specific vocation. And the teacher we had at high school that was supposed to give us some guidance was close to retirement so his knowledge was not really up to date with what types of people were required.

I decided to take the easy route and that was to become a chartered accountant. My accounting points were always above 80% or even at times averaged above 85% for the school year. Coupled to mathematics which I enjoyed and I had the privilege of being the first student to score full marks for an examination, it looked like the best route to follow. It was just those subjects that I would enjoy, but the rest of them I did what was required to pass them all through school. I remember when my parents took me to a university to help me decide what to do with my future and what I should consider studying that the examiner told me that my marks shows me as a very lazy person, as I should be able to get 80% + in all my subjects. I knew it but was not interested in studying history and Shakespeare as I could not see any benefit in spending time trying to remember dates and names and battles. To me it was a waste of time. I needed to either do something that came naturally, or something where I had to think about a situation or problem, and then come up with an answer.

Something that I know most people do not know about, and that includes people close to me today, is that the NET cancer caused severe nervousness. As an example, if I knew I had to study or do something at work, but because I did not feel competent enough to do it and nervous about the outcomes of these events, I would wait till it was virtually to late to do it properly, and then still be surprised that I actually managed to do something. That was one of the reasons for my marks at school, as I still do not know how to study. As long as I can find a formula or a set of sequences that I would work out myself, it is fine, but do not expect me to get something in my head that requires me to give a word for word representation. Even presentations and sermons and lessons I taught at Bible studies and delivered at churches, what I present is always about 50% of what I would write down. And that is what made writing about the Bible so easy. Once you understand what the LORD wants from us, I can answer any question you throw at me of the cuff. Because I understand the message of the Bible, no question is to hard.

In my final year at high school all the students, those that could afford it, went to a place called Loskop Dam for a weekend. Things at home were changing financially and I could actually afford to join them. We had a party the Friday night and then on Saturday we were all just relaxing. Some of us played a game of cricket while others went fishing. The afternoon was set aside for a tour through the game park on the other side of the dam which was really a wonderful experience for me as it was an experience that I never had in my life before. Even growing up in South Africa, as we did not have spare cash, the only animals of Africa that I saw was at the local zoo. Up to that weekend, I never had the opportunity to see these animals in their natural surroundings. While still cruising through the game park I started sneezing and by the time we got back to camp I really thought that I had either the flu or that I was allergic to some plants or trees we drove past. This was not the first time that I had this type of situation as I was used to it happening normally first thing in the morning but by 10 o clock in the morning it would be gone. All the local doctors used to tell me was that I was allergic to some stuff in the air but never sent me for any tests. But this time it was different. I really felt bad and was told to stay in bed while everybody else enjoyed another party. One of the nice things that happened was that some of the girls would come and check on me during the evening but when I fell asleep the visits also stopped.

The next morning, I was still in exactly the same situation and by the time we arrived back at school my parents were told to take me to the doctor to see what was wrong and that they will only allow me back once I was over this. I went to the doctor the Monday morning and was given medicines to take and was out of action for a week. But I still had these times when I would get “hay fever” that would last for a day or two. And then at times I was sort of lightheaded and knew I had to either sit still or go and lie down. We have to remember that this was in the late sixties and I am living in South Africa where even today when I see a doctor and I tell him I have NET Cancer he takes out his notebook and asks me to tell him more about it.

I was also nauseous at times and it was all explained as maybe the food being too rich, or just that I must be thankful for cleaning out my system on a regular basis.

Early adult life

After school I started studying and working at the same time as an article clerk at a firm of auditors and public accountants, but after eighteen months found out that there were these fascinating machines called computers, and that there was a high demand for programmers and trainees. I went for some aptitude tests and training at a college in COBOL, and within a day after finishing the course, I landed my first job as a programmer and found that this was really the job I always wanted. I could use my knowledge of accounting and the applicable laws and regulations and talk to all the accounting people because of my background, and within weeks they would have a custom-built system running on their own computer. It was so much fun that at times I would get to work at three in the morning as I suddenly worked out how to do something my client wanted and got up and drove to work before I would forget what the solution was. It was also extremely interesting to find out how these machines worked, and before I knew it I would make changes to the actual operating systems and send it to the developers in the USA and they would incorporate it with the next release of the operating system. I ended up as an explorer, except I was paid to do it, and I could really explore things that most other programmers would frown upon.

I ended up as a real bits and bytes guy enjoying programming in assembler as using low level assembler language, I could control what this machine was actually doing. Now these were the early seventies where most programmers were depicted as the hippies smoking dope and not having any real people skills. Outside people could not understand that there were also guys walking around in three-piece suits and working as systems analysts, designers and programmers that had to dress up to see clients on a daily basis as all these computer people were seen as some weirdos.

During the beginning years in the computer industry I also met the wife of my dreams, got married and four years later started with a family. The one thing that was still bothering me was the fact that I had these hay fever stories, but I made it off as probably allergies coupled with an injury I picked up in my final year at school when I was training for a gymnastics display at school when I broke my nose which left me with difficulty breathing as the wall between the nostrils were so out of place that I found it difficult to breath at times.

The only thing they found was when I went for an insurance check-up for new insurance much later in life that the insurance company specified a three-month waiting period instead of the standard one month waiting period before they would start paying for disability insurance. No reason was supplied and I did not question it.

So to me, I had an answer for my hay fever as it either pointed to the broken nose or to a probable allergy. Like all things in life if it happens frequently you get used to it and is accepted as the norm, and that was exactly my case. I knew I had trouble urinating and had to take my time and got used to never leave home without my bottle of Kem-o-dene, an over the counter medicine for an upset stomach.

Then in 1982 our son went to hospital as he also had a problem wetting his bed at age seven, and the specialists decided to look at his bladder. What they found was that the valves in the front of the bladder were facing the wrong way around. This caused him to retain his urine until he was completely relaxed in bed, and then the urine would escape causing him to wet his bed. It would also cause reflux to his kidneys which was a major concern. They fixed that and we were really pleased as I then knew what my problem was but it was not causing me any embarrassment so I decided that my bladder probably sorted itself out and I did not complain about waiting at times of fifteen minutes or more before I would start urinating.

Shortly after that I went to hospital to get my nose sorted and it was such a relief to be able to breath like a normal person finally after probably 15 years after the event where I broke my nose.

Then in 1986 I went in for a scope of my bladder as I had blood in my urine again. This time the doctor, a new guy as we moved town, decided that he would refer me to a urologist for a scope to see if there was anything wrong inside my bladder. I went to the hospital and when I came by after the scope, I was told that they found a tumour in my bladder that was malignant, but they removed it. All I had to do was go for a scope every year, so no scans afterwards, and after three years of going for a scope I was declared cancer free. What type of cancer it was I never found out as to me cancer was cancer, as in my circle of friends and family most people that had cancer would die or were on their last legs. My wife lost her mom to cancer about a year earlier, so that was my frame of reference. I was just glad that they found it and removed it. At that time, I really prayed and asked the LORD to at least see my youngest daughter become an adult as she was only four years old. Today she is a mother with 2 kids and going on 39. To me it was like a death sentence as everybody I knew who had cancer was either already dead, or dying.

But I still had the same symptoms I had as a sixteen-year-old boy with occasional severe pain in the abdomen area and sinusitis and what I found out later was flushing episodes and humongous amounts of histamine that was released by another tumour that nobody identified was there. At times where people would complain about constipation, I would tell them that for me I had to go to the toilet either once or sometimes twice a day. I know it was not an easy thing to get used to as everybody would complain about the smell afterwards, but that was just me. You can only spray that much air freshener to take away the smell, but the smell was still horrible. Another problem was that when I did go to the toilet it always sounded as if someone was trying out some new explosives, as it was really explosive.

The one thing that bothered me was this feeling of nervousness I had. I was always nervous and I really had a hard time cold calling at my job which by that time had progressed to selling and being in marketing as a product and marketing manager in the IT market. While still working as a programmer earlier on in life it wasn’t a problem as I would normally have time to work with my new clients and it was not that I was the one making first contact. But in selling once I opened the door to a new prospect, I was all right, or if I had to do a presentation, I would go through 3 glasses of water just to keep my mouth from drying out completely. Even writing this now I have a dry mouth. And this nervousness continues. I just thought that it was just the way I was put together. The one thing that helped the sinusitis was actually smoking. At times as soon as I had my first cigarette in the morning, I would actually feel better and my nose cleared up. I stopped smoking after about nine years of smoking and found I had to take Allergex in the morning and evening to help me.

The struggle begins

Then a strange thing happened the morning of 31 August 1995. I woke up with a severe pain where I thought my appendix was and during the day made an appointment at our local doctor to see him as the pain was getting worse. When I saw him, I was told to go home and get everything I needed as I had to go to hospital as they thought that my appendix was at the point of actually rupturing.

I went into the operating theater at eight that night and eventually was back in my room four hours later. That was when the surgeon told me that he removed my appendix but found a tumour inside which was definitely malignant, and while trying to make space to get to the appendix as he had trouble getting to it, he also found this huge 100mm tumour surrounding the small intestine which was also malignant. He had to remove about two meters of my small intestine just to ensure that they left nothing behind. I was told that if they did not find it that night that I would probably have had another year to live. I had to go back eight weeks later for a full laparotomy operation where they found 20 odd lymph nodes, and one that actually was inoperable as it encased the abdominal aorta, and all of them were identified as carcinoid or as we call it today NET cancer. I was also told that all the tests came back showing I had carcinoid syndrome and that was the cause of my flushing, diarrhea, sinusitis and the sudden changes in blood pressure as well as the spider veins that I got while still at school in my right leg. So that was nearly 30 years from my first carcinoid syndrome symptoms appearing to being diagnosed accidentally.

The thing that struck me was that my sinusitis problem disappeared, and my nervousness was also better. I was booked for a course of chemotherapy using Interferon alpha which was a horrible time. But when we did tests after the treatment my 5HIAA came back normal, blood was normal, and nothing showed on any CT or MRI scans. I continued with the blood and 5HIAA test for 4 years but it was all clear.

During this time the political and economic situation changed drastically in South Africa and I found myself on the wrong side of the new South Africa in 2001 as I was a white male and over 50 years old. I was retrenched in order for the company to be able to continue doing business, as they had to reduce their older and higher paid white staff members and work with a company that would bring them in line with the broad base black economic empowerment which the government implemented. The main drive behind this move was that the economy had to provide for other races to also form part of the economy, but what actually happened was that people like our current president formed companies that they would “sell” to other companies in exchange for a percentage of the tender price. At times these new companies would actually take the lead in big projects and hand out the actual work to their friends and family to do the work, in exchange for shares in the major companies as part payment. They would take the actual tender price and inflate it in order for them to make millions of money by just using their status as black economic empowerment companies as a smoke screen. Our current president was not even worth a million Rand before 1994, but he is worth billions of Rands today using this tactic. He used to be the president of the umbrella organization that all trade unions fell under, so he knew when and where to push for companies to place shares with black economic empowerment companies, and he was in the fortunate position to own the companies that would fill that void. The only proviso some companies placed on handing out shares, was that you could not sell these shares within five years after the original transaction in which you were handed these shares. Now where these transactions were supposed to filter down to that working class it never did. It just made some crooks extremely rich as they would keep their shares. So our current president made himself a billionaire using this method while the people that was supposed to benefit, are still living in their shacks. Just remember one thing, I was raised in a country that was at that stage seen as a first world country, the same as any country in Europe, Australia and the USA. Our current government has the major accomplishment of changing South Africa back to look like all other African countries and a third/fourth world country where only the elite leaders can enrich themselves.

I include some figures that I found in my research for this article as I know that I will be labelled a white racist. But then maybe I have a reason for earning that title.

First the figures audited and agreed to by all parties during the reconciliation talk between the ANC and the National Party. (The NP represented the whites).

Deaths due to political violence during apartheid:
Max Coleman’s authoritative book analyses all deaths due to political violence from 1948 to 1994 in South Africa and Namibia.

According to the HRC statistics, 21,000 people died in political violence in South Africa during apartheid – of whom 14,000 people died during the six-year transition process from 1990 to 1994. The book lists the number of incidents, dates, and those involved.

This includes SA Defence Force actions, for instance the 600 deaths at Kassinga in Angola where the Defence force were fighting against the Cuban and Russian armies who wanted to rule Angola. during the war in 1978.

Of those deaths, the vast majority, 92%, have been primarily due to Africans killing Africans — such as the inter-tribal battles for territory: this book’s detailed analyses of the period June 1990 to July 1993 indicates a total of 8580 (92%) of the 9,325 violent deaths during the period June 1990 to July 1993 were caused by Africans killing Africans, or as the news media often calls it, “Black on Black” violence – hostel killings, Inkatha Freedom Party versus ANC killings, and taxi and turf war violence.
The activities of the Civil Cooperation Bureau as outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, were also included in these figures.

The security forces [of the RSA. Ed.] caused 518 deaths (5.6%) throughout this period.
And again, during the transitional period, the primary causes of deaths were not security forces nor white right-wing violence against blacks [just think that the AWB was allied with the IFP (Zulu). Ed.], but mainly due to “black-on-black necklace murders, something that Winnie Mandela introduced to stop people from giving information to the police”, tribal conflict between the ANC-IFP, bombs by the ANC and PAC’s military wings in shopping centres, landmines on farm roads, etc.

Violent deaths from 1994 to 2000:
And the SA Police reports for the above period: which can be accessed at their website’s statistics at http://www.saps.org.za — that a total of 174,220 people died violent deaths, from crime-related violence [or related to hate-crime against whites, and especially against the Boers. Ed.], between 1994 and the year 2000.

Now I can continue with my own experience again, as I trust that you now have a better understanding of what we face on a daily basis. I used my retirement savings to start my own company but had to close the doors after two years as I was excluded from doing business with any government or large enterprise as I did not have any black workers, even though I was the only employee. This also meant that I had to change my medical insurance and then found that they excluded all cancer treatments and back problems. The back problem was a result of a car accident where they had to fuse the lower five vertebrae as a result of the accident. It was already a problem when I applied and during those days, they could exclude prior conditions or put long waiting periods for previous conditions. In the end I stopped with my medical insurance as those were the areas I needed insurance for, and not being able to work, also meant no income to pay for it.

Then in 2008 I started with sinusitis again, my nerves were showing signs of playing up again, but I thought that by ignoring it I could live a normal life as I did have a “normal” life before being diagnosed. Another thing that happened was that my sex drive completely disappeared. I was not interested in going through the same procedures again and definitely did not have the money to pay for all the tests. I already knew at that point that the one tumour stopped all testosterone from going to my lower body as I only have about 6 hairs on both legs combined.

Something else that happened after my first operation in 1995 was that I started studying theology at a Pentecostal university on a part time basis. This was a direct result of my time in hospital as I had this weird experience where I saw people clothed in white all heading to a hill while I was in a treehouse or some other structure. I asked our reverend if he could explain it to me only to find that even though he had a PhD I probably knew more about the Bible than what he did. At the Pentecostal church everybody prayed for me and I was told by all good Pentecostal’s that I was cured. I knew differently though, but as I had no medical insurance I could not go for tests as I could not afford it. I was ordained as a pastor but knew I could not practice as a pastor as there was no way that I could handle the load on my psychological side, and the extremely short fuse.

During this time, I started writing my conclusions of Biblical doctrines as I used my computer tactics to investigate subjects and check all commentaries and then either confirm, modify or reject the different teachings by the different denominations. Some were quite easy, but others took years to investigate. Some ended up as small articles while others ended up as books. This was all done while either working at jobs just to get some money to survive, as I was excluded from practising what I could do due to labour policies. Today there are 116 different laws in our labour laws against employing white males.

I then started working as a financial adviser while studying part time as that was one area I was still able to find employment in and was very successful and started building up a client base in order for me to build up a residual income for my retirement, and hopefully build up some funds to be able to go for tests again. The situation I found myself in was that my income was too high to qualify for state subsidised medical, but too low and irregular for paying it myself.

Eventually in 2013 I woke up the one morning with something I just could not ignore any more. By the time I saw the doctor I was told that I was lucky to be alive as I had a carcinoid crisis. Plenty tests later it was confirmed. The small piece of the one lymph node they left in 1995 surrounding the superior mesentery artery had grown to a tumour of 78mm by 40mm by 30mm. My beer belly was not a beer belly (I do not drink beer at all) but was a result of the tumour with the bottom of the tumour just above my belly button, and scar tissue from the previous operation. Most doctors and oncologists today ask me for information as I normally know a lot more about NET cancer than what they do, thanks to all the information available from email groups to Facebook groups. And coming from the IT world I am used to doing my own research as I always worked in what was referred to as the “new toys” department. But this is something that only happened during the past six years as I lived in a world previously where like so many people live that if you ignore a problem it would go away. And then there was the problem that if I found out that I still had NET cancer where do I go to from there, as financially I cannot afford to go that route. So I ended up ignoring the situation.

I was told that if I wanted to survive, I had to cut back on my work especially since it was the main reason for the stress I was under as I worked on a commission only basis as a financial advisor. I was passed the use by date in the “new” South Africa and I was excluded from working at most companies and all government entities, as I was a white male, on the wrong side of sixty, and even though I did not support the previous government and their views, I am still branded today as a racist and still excluded from the job market.

We moved to a tiny town to settle down and just to take life day by day and see the oncologist when needed. Fortunately, my tumour and all its allies and mets are well defined, so they grow slowly. Low grade well differentiated. Even though the biggest one is around 80+ mm by 35 mm by 30 mm As I did not have any private medical insurance or medical aid as it is known locally, the only thing that I qualify for is reactionary support under the state-owned hospitals. I used to receive medication from the state operated hospitals on a reactive basis only, but that stopped more than two years ago, even though it’s only painkillers. (Tramadol). All schedule 5 pain killers I have to pay for myself, but at least I can live without serious pain. But I have near constant flushing in the upper legs, all the way up to the back of my head and neck. I also had another laparotomy operation when my small intestine was completely blocked five years ago. They used a small 90cm portion of the small intestine to bypass the major part of the small intestine, and they removed a sizeable portion of my liver to alleviate the effects of the tumours in the liver. For three years I could smell again and had a fairly normal life again, or what I would consider normal. This comprises of flushing to an extent that people think that you are a heaver drinker as my nose is a purple brownish colour; I have metastasis to the scull, the back, neck, some ribs, and my pelvis, skin, and collar bones. There are also two metastases to my right lower lobe of the lung which collapses on a regular basis, and an unknown number of “squatters” in the liver. I also suffer from severe rheumatoid arthritis, so it is difficult to know which is which at times. But fortunately, I can still get Tramadol for pain, Imodium for diarrhea, and then stuff to help me in my fight against depression, which to me is the real enemy.

But knowing that I have lived over fifty, or probably even more years after the first symptoms of carcinoid syndrome started showing at age 16 already, I consider myself lucky to be able to still be alive despite the fact that I only get pain and sleeping medication as well as medication to keep me from having a nervous breakdown and to help me not to blow my fuse ten times a day, especially if you see what the ANC government and all its allies are doing on a daily basis. But then 80% or more of their support is dependent on grants, which is paid for through taxes by 8% of the population, leaving the black voters having to vote for them as they are told that they will lose their grants if the ANC loses an election. And most of these people are illiterate with an IQ of 70 or lower.

The emotional and nervous side I believe is the one area where I still think a lot of research is required as I cannot cope without taking something to keep my emotions under control. Fortunately having spent a lot of time studying the Bible and writing about it, I have an anchor that I can hold on to during those days or weeks or even months when your whole world seems to fall apart. Today we live as hermits as my wife had a bilateral mastectomy two years ago, and we are caregivers for each other. Fortunately, many questions I had, got answered either by Facebook groups or by watching NET specialist’s presentations on the internet. These presentations were mainly made by Dr. Richard Warner, Dr. Eric Liu and others like Dr. Eugene Woltering.

I also started blogging about this disease firstly for our family and friends, and statistics show that it is being read by many people that I do not even know. My task for the rest of this year is to change this blog into a book and at the same time to translate it from Afrikaans, my native language, to English, so that it can be read by more people. In it I document this past five years sometimes on a daily basis and sometimes on a monthly basis, where more statistics and information are available. I give information about having diarrhea 80 times in one day, with an average of around 10 times per day. Sometimes just passing wind and sometimes not. Sometimes being down and out, and then sometimes feeling quite good.

My blogging days

So, for five years I spent some of my time writing articles and books about Christianity, theology and the Bible to assist in keeping my head somewhere else and not to think about my own medical condition and our own physical security. I am also the guy who designs the Zebra calendar which I make available for free worldwide to all the other people fighting this disease and any person that wants a calendar.

This is the background to my health situation for people who were not aware of my situation, or those who thought that I was only seeking sympathy during my first spell in 1995.

My current situation.

The political situation in South Africa is not conducive to living a relaxed life any longer. Our children are either in the process of thinking of leaving or have left the country. My oldest daughter lost her mother in law after they were attacked and her mom in law shot and killed in what police recorded as a robbery gone wrong, even though only one mobile phone was stolen. Her father in law survived the attack. He was repeatedly beaten with a piece of wood with a six-inch nail through it over the head, shot at, but survived.

This was the press release from the local paper: Pretoria – Sept 28, 2009 – 55-year-old Isabel Schonken was shot dead from behind over the weekend, as she was apparently trying to escape to a guest bathroom to hide from a group of armed attackers at the Klipkop smallholdings east of Pretoria.

Three more farm-attack deaths this week:
On Saturday, Mrs Schonken’s businessman-husband Lars, 56, was shot in the torso during the attack near Klipkop at 02:00. Lars’s skull and wrist were fractured when the robbers assaulted him and hit him with a pistol. He is currently recovering in the Little Company of Mary hospital in Groenkloof, Pretoria, writes Keppeler.

Cut through electric fence
Isabel’s sister Héléne Rumsey, 52, who lives a stone’s throw from the Schonken’s, said the robbers had cut through an electric fence which stretches all around the smallholding. They were able to get into the house through an open sliding door.

“They attacked Lars in the bedroom,” Rumsey related. “It seems as if my sister had fallen asleep in front of the television in the living room and woke up when they shot Lars. Shortly thereafter she was shot through the heart. The robbers tried to shoot Lars in the heart as well, but luckily it was only a flesh wound,” she added.

Lars lost consciousness after being shot. When he came to, shortly thereafter, he fetched his pistol from the safe and shot one of the robbers. According to Rumsey, the only things which were ‘robbed’ were her sister’s handbag and cell phone and her brother-in-law’s laptop. Lars phoned his daughter, Sonja Smit, and her husband, who also live on the smallholding.

Covered in blood
Smit’s husband, who doesn’t want his first name mentioned, found his mother-in-law in the bathroom and his father-in-law in the living room, covered in blood. “She was already dead,” he said. He took his father-in-law to the hospital. Rumsey said the couple’s youngest daughter, 17-year-old Alma, wasn’t at home during the attack.

Police spokeswoman Monique Vermeulen said police followed a trail of blood – left by the shot attacker — to a gravel road near the smallholding, where the suspects possibly climbed into a vehicle and fled.
Be on the lookout for a man with a bullet-wound.

The police have asked doctors and medical personnel to be on the look-out for a man with a bullet wound. Since the South African trauma units treat about 127,000 bullet wounds a year, this might be a large undertaking.

Rumsey said her smallholding had also had an attempted break-in two weeks ago, but the attackers fled when they triggered the alarm.

But that is the case with so many farmers in South Africa today, both white and black. Our president even denies the killing of farmers at the UN. So unfortunately it is not a safe place to live and raise a family anymore. Just listening to all these young political leaders singing one Boer (Afrikaans speaking white male), one bullet, and living in constant fear does not make life easier. And when you have to rely on state funded services where you are constantly being humiliated also takes its emotional toll on a person. I know that there are probably fifty murders per day as a result of black on black violence, but that is their norm, so when we complain about farmers being murdered the numbers does not compare to this. But, the difference is that the farmer probably employs 10 to 100 people and their dependants, so the supply of food is at risk. Coupled with land grabs which will be made legal during 2020 as expropriation without compensation, we live in a constant fear of when these murderers will break down our doors to kill us.

I actually feel sorry for including politics also, but that is the reality of the situation in the new South Africa. The legacy of what happens when terrorists take over the running of a country without knowing how to do it as they were bush fighters. And the few Jewish communists who helped form the ANC and were the brains behind the ANC, cannot take over as they will then blow their cover. Is it just a coincidence that the book Protocols of the Elders of Zion was banned in South Africa in 1994, the year the ANC took over the government in South Africa? The following people were involved in the Rivonia trial where Nelson Mandela pleaded guilty to all charges against him. Just look at all the Jews. Not included in this list were people who fought in the political arena like Helen Suzman, Colin Eglin and Helen Zille. The people of the Rivonia trial were: Lionel Bernstein, architect and member of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Denis Goldberg, a Cape Town engineer and leader of the Congress of Democrats, Arthur Goldreich, Bob Hepple, James Kantor, brother-in-law of Harold Wolpe, Ahmed Kathrada, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi, trade union and ANC member, Walter Sisulu, Harold Wolpe, prominent attorney and activist. Goldberg, Bernstein, Wolpe, Kantor and Goldreich were Jewish South Africans; Hepple was an Englishman; Kathrada an Indian Muslim; Mandela, Mbeki and Mhlaba were Xhosa people; Motsoaledi and Mlangeni were Pedi people and Sisulu was Coloured (he had an English father and an Xhosa mother).[3]

The leaders who were prosecuted in the Rivonia Trial also included Nelson Mandela, who was already in Johannesburg’s Fort prison serving a five-year sentence for inciting workers to strike and leaving the country illegally. Most of the Rivonia defendants were to be convicted, and in turn sentenced to life imprisonment.

And all this has a huge impact on my emotional life and that is why I included it. To see and hear that every weekend 100’s of people die because of drunkeness, with an average of 44 per week with most over the weekend. And it is all black on black. Add to this the remaining old white people, from late sixties to in their nineties who cannot fight against six or seven 18 to 45 year old strong black men that are killed by these savages just because the ANC and EFF wants their property or just for the hell of it. And that is our age group now, and we are no longer able to fight back. But this is something I cannot do anything to or prevent it, so life goes on.

I trust that it will encourage you that there really is life after and with NET cancer. This is my reality today.

You can visit my site at http://www.shama.org.za/ to see what I write about, and maybe you might just find that one subject that you needed an answer for. All my writings are available online for free and all I ask for is that if it blessed you, you can bless us by donating to our ministry. Unfortunately we had people that look after our day to day expenses, but due to Covid cannot support us any longer. So we have to find others to rely on to get to shops, doctors and the pharmacy for our monthly medications as we do not have any transport except when asking people to take us to where we need to be. All these places are more than 100km. from home. I have not seen a doctor during the past 5 years as I cannot get to them as we do not have any transport to get there. No public transport is safe or available to get us there, and then we cannot afford it. I have asked for donations for the past ten years but so far have only received two donations, even though my books are downloaded at about 1,200 per month. But then I ask questions that people find difficult to answer, and with most of my writings I end up causing cognitive dissonance to the reader, but I just cannot expect people to just believe any and every pastor who wants to make a quick buck. So if you want to you can leave a donation or do as the hundreds of thousands of others who just walk straight past. Our monthly income in US dollars equate to about $120 per month, so to pay our medication and food and normal necesities is not possible, hence our request for continual support. I still did the Zebra calender last year, and even though I had requests to provide them in printer form, not one was sold, and from the 2000+ that was dowloaded, I am still waiting for the first donation.

If you feel that you would like to donate to our cause of getting our lives back, you can donate at our payment processor at https://www.payfast.co.za/donate/go/shamaministries

Suicide – A Biblical outlook at this subject

Suicide – A biblical outlook

I would like to give you my biblical interpretation of suicide. I believe the word does not really tell us what it is, but we have all heard or even seen this monster in our daily lives. Maybe someone close to you was involved, or maybe you are even contemplating committing suicide yourself.

I know it is a severely sensitive subject as we all know we do not find many examples in the Bible about it. The most memorable one we get is that king Saul fell on his own sword and died, and then all the people who were with him also committed suicide.
“Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death; for Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.(1Sa 15:35) Now the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” (1Sa 16:1) So for those who claim a once saved always saved theology, this passage negates that view. Then to further negate that viewpoint, I suggest you read Ezekiel 18, which totally rejects that viewpoint.

“Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised will come and pierce me through and make sport of me.” But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him. Thus Saul died with his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men on that day together. When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley, with those who were beyond the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled; then the Philistines came and lived in them.” (1Sa 31:4-7)

Here we find that kind Saul, who was chosen by the LORD to be king over Israel, committed suicide. But it goes beyond that. The LORD tells Samuel that He regretted that He made him king over Israel, and chose David to be the next king, as the LORD already knew that Saul would commit self-murder.

I know a lot of people would not like the wording I used, but that is what suicide is. It is murder. There are a couple of differences between murdering someone else and murdering yourself. When you murder someone else, you still have a chance to repent and ask the LORD for forgiveness. But when you murder yourself, you also do away with this option, so you cannot repent and thus you cannot receive redemption from this sin. I know it sounds horrible but we have to remember that the Bible is the Word of God, and the Word of God is the final referee.

The Bible states the following: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1Co 10:13) “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?” Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 13:5-8)
I know people will tell you that it is because of sickness and hopelessness that people do this. So they try and find a loophole to bypass these biblical truths. I know exactly what depression is, and knows how desperate you feel. Not only did I also suffer from it, but if I have to be honest with myself, I still suffer from it today. But even more than that. I have cancer, also known as a neuroendocrine tumour or NET cancer, and have had it probably since my teens. But in the last six years now I have been unable to work or provide an income for myself and my wife. She had a bilateral mastectomy nearly three years ago and also had to face this monster called cancer and depression. But we are there for each other, she as my carer and wife, and myself as her carer and husband.

We also had a time when we really had just about everything we ever wanted. We had a five-bedroomed home, swimming pool, all in one of the best suburbs in Pretoria, South Africa, with a large study where my wife could run her ministry from which entailed giving people a new perspective on life, and receive emotional healing for the past. At that time I was still in the computer industry earning a fairly handsome income, and we had two Mercedes Benz motor cars, a Mazda and an old Volkswagen Beetle. Today we do not even own the house we live in, which I know most people would not even want to live in, and we have no motor vehicles. So if we want to go to the shops, we have to walk to buy what we need. And that with both of us having one of the after-effects of cancer, which is tiredness. Not to mention all the other problems.

Our combined income is the equivalent of $233 per month, with more than half going towards medicines to keep us alive, adding just another problem to the equation.
The whole object of this article is to point out also that we have choices in what we do during our time on earth. We are not puppets. The LORD did not and does not micro-manage every action and thing that happens in the world. No, it is stated clearly in Genesis that after completing the making of all that is required for life as we know it today, he named the day the sabbath, a day of rest. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Gen 1:26-31)Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Gen 2:1-3)

The creation is also documented in chapter 30 of the Book of the Secrets of Enoch. “On the sixth day I commanded my wisdom to create man from seven consistencies: one, his flesh from the earth; two, his blood from the dew; three, his eyes from the sun; four, his bones from stone; five, his intelligence from the swiftness of the angels and from cloud; six, his veins and his hair from the grass of the earth; seven, his soul from my breath and from the wind. And I gave him seven natures: to the flesh hearing, the eyes for sight, to the soul smell, the veins for touch, the blood for taste, the bones for endurance, to the intelligence sweetness [enjoyment]. I conceived a cunning saying to say, I created man from invisible and from visible nature, of both are his death and life and image, he knows speech like some created thing, small in greatness and again great in smallness, and I placed him on earth, a second angel, honourable, great and glorious, and I appointed him as ruler to rule on earth and to have my wisdom, and there was none like him of earth of all my existing creatures. And I appointed him a name, from the four component parts, from east, from west, from south, from north, and I appointed for him four special stars, and I called his name Adam, and showed him the two ways, the light and the darkness, and I told him: This is good, and that bad, that I should learn whether he has love towards me, or hatred, that it be clear which in his race love me. For I have seen his nature, but he has not seen his own nature, therefore through not seeing he will sin worse, and I said After sin what is there but death? And I put sleep into him and he fell asleep. And I took from him a rib, and created him a wife, that death should come to him by his wife, and I took his last word and called her name mother, that is to say, Eva.” (verses 10 to 16)

In this book, it actually states that the LORD also made another day, the eighth day, a day without start nor end. So we are living in the day of rest, the Sabbath. “Chapter 32 After Adam’s sin God sends him away into the earth from where he took him from, but does not wish to ruin him for all years to come said to him: Earth you are, and into the earth whence I took you, you shalt go, and I will not ruin you, but send you whence I took you. Then I can again receive you at My second presence. And I blessed all my creatures visible and invisible. And Adam was five and half hours in paradise. And I blessed the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, on which he rested from all his works. Chapter 33 God shows Enoch the age of this world, its existence of seven thousand years, and the eighth thousand is the end, neither years, nor months, nor weeks, nor days. And I appointed the eighth day also, that the eighth day should be the first-created after my work, and that the first seven revolve in the form of the seventh thousand, and that at the beginning of the eighth thousand there should be a time of not-counting, endless, with neither years nor months nor weeks nor days nor hours. And now, Enoch, all that I have told you, all that you have understood, all that you have seen of heavenly things, all that you have seen on earth, and all that I have written in books by my great wisdom, all these things I have devised and created from the uppermost foundation to the lower and to the end, and there is no counselor nor inheritor to my creations. I am self-eternal, not made with hands, and without change. My thought is my counselor, my wisdom and my word are made, and my eyes observe all things how they stand here and tremble with terror. If I turn away my face, then all things will be destroyed. And apply your mind, Enoch, and know him who is speaking to you, and take thence the books which you yourself have written.”

We have to remember that our lives consist of choices, and our outcome is based on the choices we make. I want to quote 2 passages to support my view. Genesis: “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”– therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Gen 3:22-24) And then: “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. “But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Deu 30:15-20) And then just for those who would complain that I cannot use the Old Covenant. This is what Paul wrote: “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” (1Co 10:1-6)

Then we find Jesus also saying that we can find Him if we understand the books of the law and the prophets. “”And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house– for I have five brothers–in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'” (Luk 16:27-31) And we also find the same example in the book of Acts. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there.” (Act 17:11-14) What scriptures could they examine? Only Moses and the prophets. Luke was still living the book of Acts, and the only book about Jesus was the Gospel according to Mark, although I doubt that Mark was finished with his writings at that time.

So what qualifies me to write about the Bible and its meanings? Two things. The first one is the one that most people would like to hear, and that was that I studied for a diploma in ministry, but unfortunately, this just left me with more questions than answers. Then I had to rely on what Jesus told His disciples: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (Joh 16:7-15) And all this happened as a result of discovering this strange cancer that most people do not know of or do not understand, called NET cancer.

But let me come back to the original point about self-inflicted death. I have tried to explain that we cannot hide from our actions by telling people that “you don’t know” what I am going through. No, the Bible clearly says that: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1Co 10:13)

This leaves us thus with only one conclusion. And that is that we have decided that we know better than the LORD and has chosen this route, even though we understand the Bible and what it teaches about this subject. We were made in His image, and if we are in His image, we cannot inflict this self-inflicted death on ourselves.

I know that most evangelical churches might not agree with me and this view, but what I have found is that it stems from a greater difference. They do not understand the covenant that the LORD made with Abraham, which was fulfilled by Jesus Christ. If they understand this issue, they will also find that they cannot lay claim to leading scores of people to Christ, as no man can add people to His Kingdom, only He can. This is confirmed in Acts: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Act 2:42-47)

So that is my belief about this act of suicide, or as I call it self-inflicted murder.
Before I get accused of not looking at all the implications, let me stress one major remedy for self-inflicted murder. The first one is to be open about it and to ask others for advice, prayer, and support. The second point is that there is nothing wrong with using medication to balance the chemicals in your brain also. It might be like in my own situation that you have to take the medication for the rest of your life. It is not a sin to use medication. There are even cases in the Bible where the prophets used medications, and Luke was a medical doctor. In my own case the cancer causes what is termed in the medical world as Carcinoid rage, which actually means that I do not have a fuse. So if you confront me, I will explode. But taking medication for this and to help with my own fight against depression, I have to take medication and is now a relaxed person with a passion for the Word of the LORD.

If you want to know what the covenant means to us as New Testament Christians and all people on earth, you can read my article here, or download the article in pdf format from here.

I would strongly suggest that you also read my book on some of the stumbling blocks we as Christians face every day, as it will clarify a whole number of heresies we believe in today, and also tells us how we as Christians should set an example for those who are searching for answers. The download link is here.

May God bless you on this journey and in your daily walk with the LORD.