Monthly Archives: October 2008

Hospital has its own cancer!

I’m frustrated that I still have to wait over a week to get to see an Oncologist, having been told by my surgeon I would get an urgent referral. The Oncologists, Surgeons, Radiographers, et al reviewed my case together last Monday, 6th. The Surgeon made a special appointment to see my during his rounds on the Wednesday morning because he had no clinics till this week and he wanted to see me urgently. He told me Oncology would be taking over and would probably see me this week. Not so. They have a different way of doing things and Monday 20th is when I will get my first appointment with an Oncologist. I can make no lifestyle decisions till then nor get any indication about treatment regimes until then either.

The waiting is frustrating!! Perhaps that’s why we are called ‘patients’. But then should we say Doctor’s ‘practice’?

In the end I have to rest in knowing that even this is not a surprise to God and He has it all under control.

After all, God is well aware that the socialised medical system of NZ suffers from its own cancer. Under this present government the cancer of bureaucracy has spread out of control with secondaries in administration. The doctors and nurses here are excellent and when I was in hospital for my scans, the treatment was equal to Hobart Private, the only private system I’ve experienced. If they could only surgically remove some of the tumourous bureaucrats and shrink the adminstration metastases, things might improve and patients might become more important than schedules. Just to be communicated to as an individual with feelings by administrators would help!

Vote National.


Posted by on 13 October, 2008 in Medical


Wine glass or railway cup?

Bronwen objects to being labelled ‘fragile’ – (she reckons she’s as tough as old boots!). Considering she’s only had 48 hours to process the news since returning from Australia, she’s getting on top of it very well. We’ve both cried a little but we know that ‘underneath are the everlasting arms and the eternal God is our refuge’.

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Posted by on 12 October, 2008 in Family


Scans worse than hoped for

I saw the surgeon last Wednesday who gave me the good and the bad news, informed me they did not plan to operate and that Oncology would be getting hold of me quickly to discuss prognosis and treatment. I am still waiting to see the oncologist and I have had to wait till Bronwen returned from a 10 day break with Pip & Mark in Australia before telling her and the rest of the family the diagnosis.

I have a stage T2 cancer of the lower bowel – just above the rectum. They believe I’ve had the cancer for at least 5 years and possibly between 7 and 10 years!  Its evidently known as the hidden cancer because one can have it for up to 15 years before symptoms become obvious. Apart from a few polyps the rest of the bowel is clear. That’s the good news.

Unfortunately some cells must have broken away at some stage and I have secondaries in the left and right nodes in the groin (N2) (I think that’s the right description) and also cancer spots in both lobes of the liver (not so good!!). Naturally the outlook does not look great. To fulfill my responsibilities to my wife, grandchildren and unfinished business of the Kingdom I need a miracle. In spite of the emotional ups and downs I still have a very strange peace.

The frustrating thing is having to wait till Monday week (20th) to even see the Oncologist, let alone find out when I will start any proposed treatment. We have a lot of questions to ask and we can’t really make any decisions until we have more information. Bronwen is understandably fragile – she nursed her mother through the final stages of bowel cancer. I think its harder for her and the family than me.  I would love to be healed obviously, but I want to know how best Christ can be glorified and have the assurance that those I love will be adequately cared for should I not make it back to full health.

In all other respects I feel fine – just a bit tired after an emotional roller-coaster weekend of telling family and the church this morning.


Posted by on 12 October, 2008 in Medical


Thy will be done

I wrote this poem the night before visiting the surgeon to find out the results of the Scans and blood tests. Obviously I was looking for the best outcome and wrestling with my own emotions. I do not believe Christ’s final statement “Thy will be done” was a defeatist cry or sigh of weak resignation. He had broken through to victory and was ready to call His betrayer “friend”. I am seeking to come to the same point

Not my will but Thine
Creation trembles at the Master’s plight:
Like Him I wrestle with my vows
The test of values I espouse
A heart divided cowed with fright
Can’t nerve me for the coming fight.

Not my will but Thine
My will would have me save myself and run
The blasphemy of sallow faith:
From duty’s call to seek escape;
Safety first, makes cowards run,
‘Tis not the focus of a son.

Not my will but Thine
His will, to face the danger and the foe;
To crush the tyrant’s dark campaign;
Release the captive from his chain;
Restore creation and bestow
His glory on it here below.

Not my will but Thine
Sees past the fight to conflict won.
No hint of resignation’s blight
But an embracing of the fight
And echo with heav’n’s favourite Son
The vict’ry shout, ‘Thy will be done!’

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Posted by on 7 October, 2008 in Poetry


Health update

I recently had 3 days in hospital in Christchurch. I had a Colonoscopy on 30th September and following the procedure the doctor asked for me to be admitted for immediate tests as he had discovered a cancerous growth in my bowel.  The scans I had in the past 3 days are only to reveal the size of the growth and whether it has invaded any other areas.  I will not know until next Wednesday or Thursday when I have met the specialists again just what the extent of the problem is and how they propose to deal with it.

However they choose to deal with it, I am going to be ‘out of action’ for a bit and will be spending some time shut in with God and rethinking priorities. I have to cancel all travelling engagements for the next six months including the meetings I was supposed to speak at in Singapore in November.

I can honestly say I am not worried and have not been shaken by this turn of events. At times I think I should be more concerned about it. There are some who say it’s the devil but I don’t believe old slewfoot has that authority. My life is hid with Christ in God and I will keep my eyes on Him to discover how He wants to glorify His name through all of this. I belong to Him and my times are in His hands. I find I do not have to talk myself up to be cheerful. The amazing calm and confidence I feel can only be a gift from Jesus Christ Himself. Once the medics cut me open and the chemo takes effect I may be a little more chastened but from my initial involuntary reaction it would appear that His grace is indeed sufficient.

I am encouraged by the testimonies of many I know who have had this sort of problem and are living healthy productive lives many years later. I am blessed by the facilities available to us in the West for treating these things.

It would appear I have had the growth for some time but it only emerged as an annoying problem on my recent trip to Australia. When I got home Bronwen agreed that what I was experiencing was not normal whereupon I saw the local doctor (who is a Christian and the daughter of a former Secretary of Hobart Baptist Church and Lord Mayor of Hobart, Ron Soundy). The doc got me an urgent referral to the Christchurch Public Hospital and Tuesday saw me dealt with.

As I know a bit more about the extent of the problem and how it will be dealt with, I will post more information.

Thankyou for your love, prayers and fellowship. I know that whether I am healed or not does not depend on the volume of prayer that will be made on my behalf, but rests entirely in the eternal loving plans God has to bring glory to His name through this weak vessel. It is to Him alone that all glory and blessing is due.

Also pray that I wont lose my sense of humour!!!!


Posted by on 2 October, 2008 in Medical