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A Modern Day Miracle

“let’s go!” he said and shot off through the mall like a bullet. My daughter who is in her mid twenties and I were both having trouble keeping up with him.  Preston An is close to 70 years old and was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer two years ago, but he is more healthy than everyone around him!  How can this happen?

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Preston An, the cancer survivor

We had met him to sit down and talk about just how it happened.  We sat at a coffee shop as he told me his story.  He had had a kidney problem and was going to a doctor over at Women;s Ewha Hospital in Mokdong, Seoul, S. Korea for regular checkups. During one of his checkups, the doctor decided to do a full body X-ray. The doctor found a shadow on one of his lungs and told him he needed to go and get it checked out. They thought initially it was probably just a scar, but thought it was better to be safe.

His son is a doctor, so he went to see his son. His son did a CT scan and couldn’t find anything, but thought his dad should go get a better check up, so Preston went over to Samsung Hospital in Seoul.  The doctor said to wait 2-3 months, and that they would watch it and see what was happening because they really didn’t know what it was.  His son said not to wait.

Preston listened to his son and didn’t wait. He went over to Severance Hospital, Yonsei University Hospital. in Seoul.  At Severance Hospital, the doctor took a CT scan.   After that, they said they should take a piece of his lung and look at it under the microscope to figure out just exactly what was going on.  They put him in the hospital intending on opening his lung up and taking a piece of the mass out to test it.  When they opened him up, they said it was too late.  The cancer had spread everywhere and was too large to take it out.  He doesn’t know the exact translation of what they said to him in Korean to English, but he said they said it was something like Large Cell Cancer. It was stage 4 cancer and inoperable.  The doctors were convinced he was going to die.  They said it was just too late.  This was 2 years ago.

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This is a picture of his medicine box, his Tassebah. He is extremely happy with this medicine!

Since the doctor thought he was going to die, the doctor wanted to get him in an experimental program, but Preston couldn’t qualify for the experimental program.  They decided to go ahead and treat him even though they thought there was really no hope.  They began giving him a medicine called Tassebah.  He began by taking 150 milligrams a day, but eventually reduced it to 100 milligrams a day.  It comes from Switzerland, and is made by a Korean company called Hangook Roshoo.  It actually costs 1,800,000 won a month for him to take this medicine, but he only pays 5% of that because of his insurance.  1,800,000 won a month is about 1,800 American dollars a month.

When he first began taking the medicine, his face broke out, he itched everywhere, he lost his appetite, and almost vomited, but never did.  After about 2-3 months on the medication, they began radiation treatments.  They drew a square around the place on his lung and concentrated the radiation in that area like an X-ray.  They did it every other day for a week, and then radiation treatments were finished.  He only got an IV 2 or 3 times, and it was for nutrition.  After two months on the medicine, the cancer began to shrink.  After a bit, his body adjusted,and the rash stopped and he stopped itching.  The cancer just continued to slowly shrink.

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Preston An standing in front of Hyochang Park church of Christ’s building.  This is where he was translating for the old missionary until he got sick. He translated for Bible lessons for 30 years. 

He has been taking the medicine now for two years, and the cancer is slowly going away.  The doctor is monitoring him because some people build up an immunity to the medicine after taking it a long time, but he hasn’t.  The medicine just continues to make the cancer shrink and helps him feel better and better.

He and his wife are doing other things besides the medicine. His wife fixes him warm juice made from turnips, carrots, and burdock that he drinks.  He drinks ginseng and ginger tea.  He takes multivitamins everyday.  His wife won’t let him go out to eat, but insists on cooking good meals for him everyday.  He even exercises, and he is getting stronger and stronger.  He is feeling better now than before they figured out he had cancer.

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Preston An credits God. He credits prayers. He credits good medicine and good doctors in Korea. He is thrilled that he is not only alive, but in great shape!

Every time he goes to see the doctor he gets a good report.  He is convinced he has beat the cancer.  It isn’t completely gone, but it is still slowly shrinking, and very small at this point. He isn’t going to die of this cancer after all.  He will continue taking the medicine to completely rid himself of the cancer.  Since he got cancer, he hasn’t had any colds or flu.  His wife tells him he still has to wear the medical mask to protect him, and he doesn’t mind because he likes the medical mask. It makes him feel warm because he is breathing warm air.  He is convinced he has beaten his cancer when two years ago the doctors thought he was going to die, and the doctors say he has beaten the cancer too. He is full of energy and feeling great! He credits God for the healing and wants to thank everyone who has prayed for him.  He wants the world to know that S. Korea has very good hospitals, doctors, and medicine. To go from being told you are going to die to feeling great and being told you are going to live in two years time is quite a journey, and it is a miracle!

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