At various times in the past 20 over years, Tony Low’s doctors have pronounced him blind, paraplegic and dead.
This is his life in numbers:
Today, he is tall and full of vitality, with a resounding voice and a commanding presence.
Most assuredly not dead.
Tony, who spent 20 years in hotel management, manufacturing and property development in Malaysia, and his wife Ashley, Managing Director at the Bank of Singapore, tell their story:
Ashley: I was brought up in a spiritual family with a mother who consulted mediums, fortune tellers, tarot cards.
As a child, whenever I was sick, my mother would take me to mediums and they would stamp a little piece of yellow paper – a talisman – which my mum would burn and put into water. I would drink that instead of taking Panadol.
So when my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, the first thing I did was call my mum and ask, “Mum, what do I do?”
She said, “Don’t worry, I’m going to call my master in Penang. He’s a very powerful healer.”
The master told my mother that, because of my husband’s birthdate, if he were to step inside a hospital, he would die.
So I took his advice and burnt 10 talisman papers every night for my husband to drink.
“Looks like your son-in-law needs the ultimate treatment: To be struck by lightning.”
Tony: I asked Ashley, “Why am I drinking this charcoal paper?” And she would say, “Don’t ask, just drink. It will heal you.”
Ashley: After three months, Tony’s neck started growing bigger and bigger. I called my mum again.
“I think the cancer has spread …”
“Don’t worry,” she said. “Let me call the master again.” This time he sent a bottle of rice wine with scorpions inside.
Tony: When she gave me the rice wine, she would wrap the bottle with tissue so I would not see what was inside. I obediently drank it.
A few months passed and the cancer spread. I started experiencing a lot of pain. I bled from my nose and the pillow would be bloody every morning.
Ashley: I called my mum again. “It’s going from bad to worse. I need to bring him to see a doctor.” She said, “No, no, let me call the master again.”
The master told her, “Looks like your son-in-law needs the ultimate treatment: To be struck by lightning.”
At that time I was very blinded and living in a world full of superstitions. I was desperate.
Tony: I was seriously sitting on the roof of my mother-in-law’s three-storey house in the pouring rain, thunder all around, holding onto a TV antenna hoping to get struck by lightning. At that time, my wife was very disappointed that I didn’t get struck by lightning.
If I had been struck, yes my cancer would’ve turned to charcoal, but Tony would have also become charcoal!
Ashley: So he didn’t get struck by lightning. But the cancer spread. We tried all kinds of things for nine months instead of going to the hospital. In that time, his lymph nodes had grown so big that he was not able to sleep and finally he was admitted to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
By “come back and get ready”, what she meant was “come back and buy your coffin”.
Tony: The oncologist sat me down and said, “Look, I’ve done thousands of cases. Let me show you your MRI. I’ve never seen a case like this in my entire medical practice. You have cancer from your head to the lymph nodes and eight parts of your bones. Basically, you are a walking cancer. From head to toe, you are cancer. How do I treat you?”
She said, “Honestly, I’ve never advised anyone in this way, but I’m doing so today: Don’t seek treatment. There’s no treatment. Choose a country you love, go there and enjoy yourself. Come back in three months and get ready.”
By “come back and get ready”, what she meant was “come back and buy your coffin”.
Ashley: We went deep into spiritual meditation. We became vegetarian …. I reasoned that, by not killing, I could prolong my husband’s life.
Tony: The cancer kept coming back. Every three years, cancer would appear in a new area.
The fourth time I had cancer, it went deep into the right side of my brain and grew inside the brain until it was the size of an avocado.
Ashley: In the 10 years, the cancer came back and forth so many times to haunt us.
Tony: Finally, the pressure in my head was so great that the doctor who attended to me, Dr Chee, one of the top brain surgeons in Asia, showed me the MRI and said, “Your tumour is so big that your head cannot contain its growth. If we don’t operate immediately, you will die within hours.”
A lot of friends heard and came to visit me in ICU. I recognised most of the faces except one Caucasian man.
I said, “I can’t remember you. I’m sorry, can you tell me your name.” He said, “I’m a pastor from your wife’s church. I’m here to pray for you.”
I said, “No, don’t pray for me. One, I don’t know your God. I have not seen him. Two, you are only a pastor.”
Ashley: Tony was chasing the pastor away, telling him, “You’re only a secretary to God and you want me to believe you? I need a direct line!”
“It’s very hard to get a Hokkien cemetery plot. My father actually went to buy a site for my burial.”
Tony: The doctors cut out one quarter of my brain which was filled with the cancer.
After the 14-hour operation, they called my wife and said they had to cut certain areas of the brain so I would stop shaking and having spasms. That was 11 hours. So altogether my operations lasted 25 hours. I fell into a coma and became a vegetable.
Ashley: His lungs collapsed, his kidney failed and he was put on life support. During this time, my pastor prayed over him.
Tony: I was told that, the fourth day I was in a coma, the doctor called my father and wife to come in. Four specialists, including the brain surgeon, told my father that I was basically dead – both my lungs had 100% failed, both kidneys had 90% failed, and the other organs were also dying. So it was just a matter of hours.
They told my wife to sign a consent form to close the case and switch all the machines off. They told my father to prepare to bury me.
It’s very hard to get a Hokkien cemetery plot. My father actually went to buy a site for my burial.
Ashley: I knelt down and cried, “If you are really the God I read about in the Bible, you can cause the lame to walk, cause the blind to see, can’t you just breathe life into my husband’s mouth so that he will have breath and not need life support?”
The next day, the fifth day of his coma, my pastor came to visit with a CD to play to Tony. It was entitled Breath of God.
As I played the CD, I could see tears running down Tony’s face. And I knew God had started healing him.
Another verse came to me, Job 1:21, and I realised only God has the authority to give and take life.
Tony: On the fifth day, after doctors confirmed I was dead, I had a vision. I saw myself standing up. In reality, I was on an ICU bed.
Then a voice said, “Look up.” I looked up and suddenly the sky opened up. The clouds parted and I saw a light. I thought, “Why is the sun coming down towards me?”
I realised the light was not the sun, it was a Being.
I thought, “This Being is wearing a gown of light.”
And He’s an awesome God because He allowed me to see His face.
My wife had been a Christian for three years at that time and had shown me books with the face of the Lord Jesus – I had an impression of what Jesus looked like. And He knew that.
“The voice was so powerful that I felt any evil spirit would run away. Yet in that fierce voice, I felt love.”
He didn’t want this stubborn, silly man to wake up from his coma and think maybe that it was another god.
He wanted me to wake up and know He is Lord Jesus so that I cannot deny Him anymore. This image descended all the way down to my right.
Twice He called my name and said: “Tony. Tony. Do not be afraid.” The voice was like thunder and so powerful that I felt any evil spirit would run away. Yet in that fierce voice, I felt love.
I cannot explain it. It’s like your father scolding you and yet you know he loves you.
He said, “Remember this, I walk in front of you for the rest of your life.” Then the vision disappeared.
On the seventh day, I woke up.
Ashley: He went into the coma a non-believer and emerged a Christian!
If God had not waited until four doctors had pronounced Tony dead, medical science would have claimed to have healed him. Now it was indisputably God.
That was more than 10 years ago. I know that not everyone who prays gets healed. I have a lot of questions about that.
But every day I give thanks to the Lord, for this day belongs to the Lord, and He has given us breath to live another day.
You may think that my husband’s healing is the big miracle.
But the biggest miracle is the fact that we can all find salvation in the Lord.
Tony: When we believe in God, we can’t lose – if we live, we can continue blessing and glorifying God. If we don’t live, we go to a beautiful, eternal Kingdom!
This story first appeared in Salt&Light.