Wednesday 5th October 2011

Everything Going Exceedingly Well

After almost a week, with no appointments, for the next few days, I will be spending a lot of time on matters medical.

Today, I have a check-up at the end of my second cycle of chemo. That will assess progress to date and confirm that I am fit to start the third cycle tomorrow. Assuming that is the case, I will spend the whole of tomorrow receiving that third cycle.

On Friday, I have to see my GP to review my medication, in particular medication not directly related to my cancer treatment, such as pain relief and diabetic treatments.

So no time for trips to the seaside for the rest of this week.

I am also going to try to get a good solid walking stick for use initially in the house instead of crutches as my fractured hip improves (but see below).

The morning started at 9am at the pathology department for a blood test. The wait this morning was reasonable, about 30 minutes. After coffee and some Architecting the Enterprise workbook processing in Costa coffee, my check-up was scheduled for 11:15, a little earlier than previous occasions.

My weight seems to be stable at around 12½ stones (± a pound or so depending on the shoes and clothes I am wearing). That seems to be fine. Despite the fact that I am now eating a lot more, I don't seem to be putting weight back on.

I had a minor problem in Costa. Someone else shared my table and at 10:30 asked me to look after her things while she went to look for someone. When I had to go at 11:00 she still had not returned and various things, including a new mobile phone were sitting on the table. Eventually, I passed the problem over to the Costa staff.

Sue made it to the hospital from Focus by 11:15, the scheduled time of my appointment. She didn't need to rush, the doctors were running late. My previous check-ups have all taken longer than the allocated time, so I don't really mind if the doctor is giving the same kind of attention to people before me. (Perhaps the results of my blood test are not ready).

The check-up today was with Dr. Lowndes and proved to be a real answer to prayer.

(1) The CT scan that I had last week showed that ALL of my tumours have reduced in size by about 70% as a result of the first two sessions of chemo. The chemo is working and this means that the tumour on my liver is also lymphoma, so no multiple pathologies to complicate treatment.

(2) The results of the blood test were as expected. I am a little anaemic, but not enough to justify a blood transfusion.

After the third dose of chemo tomorrow, I don't have to return to the hospital for almost 3 weeks. My reaction to the first two cycles was sufficiently consistent that the doctor does not need a "mid way" check-up this time.

It turns out that my fractured him is not actually healing a great deal yet. The reduction in pain is because the cancer is reduced in size, because I am on steroids and because I am treating it more gently.

However, the steroids are probably the reason my feet are swelling, so I gradually need to be weaned off them over the next few weeks.

Sue and I left the hospital feeling in buoyant mood and celebrated by a sumptuous lunch at another high-class local restaurant, this time Pizza Hut.

Back at home, I managed a full afternoon of work.

This evening we have a meal and bible study at church. That will be an ideal opportunity to thank God for my progress to date and answers to prayer. The groups that are meeting tonight have all been praying for me. It is incredible how far I have come since the evening of my first diagnosis. At every stage, God has answered prayer. My progress so far in face of pretty advanced cancer had been little short of miraculous. In fact it has been miraculous.

Thinking back to 18th August, I am reminded of the message that Lydia from Architecting the Enterprise sent me .. Just remember that God is your fortress and through him anything is possible.

We enjoyed a splendid Chicken Chasseur dinner (There are people at St. Mary's with a real gift for mass catering) and then moved on to table discussions. This was an easy evening for me, because we were asked to talk about a recent event where God made a real difference to our lives.

I went first and talked about God's perfect timing; how he came to me on the evening of my first diagnosis and told me to trust in him. How did God speak to me? Well, I was writing the first day of my blog and without and conscious thought, I typed the words I WILL TRUST IN GOD AND LEAN ON THOSE WHO ARE SUPPORTING ME IN PRAYER! 

From that point on, I have always felt that God had a plan for me.

We had half an hour for discussion and the conversation on my table did not move far away from the impact that my illness has had on my relationship with God. This turned out to be quite emotional, but spiritually uplifting.

I can approach the third cycle of chemo with confidence. However, I am realistic enough to recognise that the road so far has been very smooth and I should expect bumps at some stage in my treatment.