Wednesday 21st September 2011

A Status Report and Housegroup


I thought it would be good to review how I am in a little bit of detail this morning, to supplement the "another good day" on the summary page of my web site.

It seems that I have three separate cancers, one on my hip, one wrapped around my bowel and one somewhere near my liver. Between them, these are responsible for the the symptoms I have. The growths on my hip and bowel are lymphomas. The oncologists think that the other one is also a lymphoma, but they don't actually have any proof at the moment.

The cancer wrapped around my bowel makes it difficult to predict the behaviour of my digestive system. The one on my hip caused the hip to fracture and is what gave me most of the pain. The one near my liver is pressing on the return vein from my legs and causing my feet and legs to swell.

All of these symptoms are being controlled to some extent, which means that my quality of life is much better than before I was diagnosed.

Now that I am walking with crutches, I have taken the weight of my hip and it seems to be healing. Of course, that may be masked by the morphine I am taking. I will probably reduce the dose next week. I am getting much more mobile, which contributes to my general health.

Keeping the swelling in my feet/legs under control it simply a matter of sitting with my legs elevated for periods every day. This does constrain the amount of time I can spend sitting at my PC, but I can use my tablet computer when I have my legs up.

Liberal doses of "stool softening agents" are more or less keeping my digestive system under control and preventing blockages.

In terms of my treatment, I have to spend a day in hospital every 3 weeks receiving a cocktail of 5 drugs that are attacking the lymphomas. At home, I have a box full of medicines to control side effects, which seem to be doing a pretty good job. All my life, I have been blessed with a " cast iron stomach". So far, I have not had any of the nausea that afflicts some people as a result of chemo therapy. All of the blood tests that I have had show that the chemo is doing what it should be doing.

So, overall, it is hard for me to see how things could be going much better at the moment. When I add to this all of the encouraging messages that I continue to receive and the constant feeling that God is with me all of the time, I can say with complete honesty that life really is good!

There is a housegroup meeting this evening. (This is a relatively small group of Christians who meet together to study the bible and pray together). I need to decide whether I will be able to manage around 2 hours sitting upright. Maybe, if I sit with my feet up for a while later this afternoon, I will decide to go along. I can always leave early if it doesn't work. The only problem is that this disrupts others. However, members of the house group have been very supportive over the last few weeks.

Don't try to use the Curry's website to buy anything. I did and it was a very unpleasant experience. I ordered at item via the Curry's website, to be picked up at the store in Basingstoke.
(1) They would not honour the price advertised on the web
(2) Despite a confirmation that the item had been reserved, they did not have one in stock
(3) The person I spoke to, the store manager, was surly and did not proffer any apology

I managed most of the morning at my PC. After lunch, an hour was enough, after which, I went for a walk to get some exercise. This time, I added a lap around the Holiday Inn Express hotel, to push myself a little further. By the time I got back home, I needed a sit down and a cup of tea. I managed another hour at my PC in the late afternoon.

A decision. I am going to go to housegroup this evening. The group is currently studying the book of Ezekiel, in which God abandons his chosen people because they have rebelled against him.

Two questions relating to the application of what we studied seemed particularly relevant to me this evening.

How can we be a "light" to others? In other words, how can we demonstrate our Christian Faith to others. As far as I am concerned, this blog is my way. Since my diagnosis, I have lost any inhibitions about talking about my belief in God.

Are we allowing consumerism to displace our trust in God as the basis of our happiness? I need to be very careful about spending too much time talking about things I have bought.

We finished the evening with a time of prayer. Things are not going well for the teenager who lives close to us with the infected wound that refuses to heal. I have mentioned her on several occasions. She faces a major decision on the course of her treatment on Friday, so we spent time praying for her recovery. She will recover, it is a matter of when.

Tomorrow, my focus will switch to my wife Sue, who is having an X-Ray on her hip, which is starting to give her problems. Another subject for prayer.