Dan's Death Sentence
By Tim Smith
The 700 Club
27-year-old Daniel Fazzina never saw it coming.
“I developed strange sensations in my chest,” says Daniel. “It eventually turned into pain and it was radiating down my right side into my arm."
He drove himself to the emergency room. The doctor ordered X-rays and CT scans.
“He said ‘Well, we found something, and it’s a rather large mass in your chest.’And I asked him, ‘How large is rather large and he said.’ ‘It’s grapefruit sized,’ He said. “This is very serious.You need to get it evaluated immediately.’”
“I had to go get a biopsy. And when the doctor called me, it was as he feared - lymphatic cancer. It was surreal. It didn’t quite sink in at first. It was almost like I was starring in an episode of The Twilight Zone.”
Daniel called his girlfriend, Sahani, who was a med student.
“It was definitely shock,” says Sahani. “You hear the word “cancer” and you automatically associate it with death and dying and end of life. His tumor was so large, that when he showed me his PET scan, I looked at it, and said, ‘That’s your heart,’ and he said, ‘No, that’s my tumor.’”
“It wasn’t the cancer itself that was the threat,” says Daniel. “It was the actual physical size that was the threat. It was crushing this major artery.”
“We were forced to go through chemo,” remembers Sahani. “And the way the doctors said it, ‘We’re going to give you a form of chemo that is relatively a palliative form. We don’t expect you to get better, but we have to do something.’”
“They weren’t sure if I was going to respond,” says Daniel, “But without it, he said I would be dead within a matter of three weeks to three months.”
“It was crushing his pulmonary artery,” says Sahani, “which means his lungs were not getting blood, which means there was no oxygenated blood going to the rest of his body. So he was literally suffocating to death because of this tumor.”
Daniel started his six-month regime of various types of chemo.
“My whole body was in pain,” says Daniel. “Almost like burning on the inside of me. I was too weak to walk. Your GI tract and your gums, everything gets sore.”
“He couldn’t keep anything down, and he was just dry heaving,” says Sahani. “To the point, that he was probably vomiting bile, because it was green. And my heart just broke for him. I was like, ‘God, let me take his place, let me do anything I can to take his suffering away,’ and there is nothing. And those were some dark moments.”
Friends and family visited Daniel in the hospital.
“I had so many people praying for me,” says Daniel. “I had people prophesying to me, saying, ‘This thing was born to die. It’s going to be a testimony for the Lord.’”
“Just praying for him and for us,” adds Sahani. “And for his parents, and you just felt the whole week like they were there with you. You just felt like there were angels praying for you. And it was amazing.”
“People anointing me with oil and praying over me, both in the hospital, and after I got out,” says Daniel. “And I remember the pastor saying ‘You need to cry out to God and let him know that you need him.’ I was really holding everything inside, and it was at that point, when my friends were laying hands on me in the church, that I got down on my knees, and the floodgates opened. I was crying hysterically, just crying out to God, ‘God I need you. I need you.’ And I had never done that before. That was a big step for me!
Daniel went back to the hospital for his next treatment.
“The tumor had gotten bigger. It was crushing my pulmonary artery. I was suffocating. And I remember being in the hospital bed, literally dying. And I remember just looking up to God and saying, ‘If you want to take me, I’ll go with you. I know I’m your child. Your Word says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, and I believe that.’
I said, ‘If you want to heal me, and let me live, I’ll do my best to share with the world Your goodness, Your grace, Your love, Your mercy, Your power.’ That was really a turning point for me. Learning to let go, and to just trust the Lord.
Daniel went in for tests at the midway point of his chemo.
“Halfway through the treatments, when they took that second scan, which they were just hoping the tumor would be smaller, and it came back completely negative. Just gone! I remember walking out of the radiology place. It was just before Christmas. I’m looking up to heaven. It was a beautiful day. Crystal clear blue sky, and just tears raining down my eyes. I remember saying, ‘Thank you, Lord. Thank you.’ It was the best Christmas gift I ever had.
“That does not happen!” says Sahani. “I saw that tumor. It was ‘ginormous’. I said, ‘This just doesn’t go way. Not only was it not there, there wasn’t even scar tissue. Usually, when tumors retract, there is some type of scar tissue that is left behind, and there wasn’t anything.”
“I’m walking on air,” remembers Daniel. “Coming out of this place, holding this picture in my hand, of a completely normal PET scan, whereas 3 months earlier I had this ominous tumor, threatening my very life. Words can’t describe the feeling, being able to tell my family and my friends that I’m going to be ok. It was just amazing.”
Daniel and Sahani married in 2003. Sahani graduated from med school in 2007. Today, she’s a podiatrist, and Daniel is the producer and host of Divine Intervention, a popular radio show about modern day miracles.
“It was the faith of my friends and my family around me that just girded me up and prayed for me, and I’m reminded all the time of the story in the Gospel of Mark, where the four friends are carrying the paralytic friend to Jesus, and they have to go through the crowd, and they have to go up on the roof, and lower him down because of the crowd. And it says that when Jesus saw their faith, he healed the paralytic. I don’t know whether the paralytic had faith or not, but I know his friends did. And sometimes, that’s what you need, you need people around you to really gird you up, and pray for you, and bring you into the presence of Jesus. And that’s what happened in my case.”
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