Monthly Archives: January 2009

I can still laugh!


"Fortunately it's a common form of cancer; unfortunately it is no more curable than a rare one!"

"Fortunately it's a common form of cancer; unfortunately it is no more curable than a rare one!"

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Posted by on 20 January, 2009 in Humor


How is fame determined?

Last weekend some young friends visited us in Hanmer Springs and took us to the Malabar Restaurant for a meal. It is one of the best Indian restaurants around and gets rave reviews in national mags. During the meal, the young lady excitedly told me that there was a famous sports man at another table but she couldn’t remember if it was cricket or rugby union that was his claim to fame. She asked if I would discreetly look and inform her.

I was happy to inform her that the man was the husband of my oncologist! I would not have recognised him if he’d fallen into my plate of curry but I was aware that my oncologist is married to the head of NZ cricket, Justin Vaughan (who is also a medical doctor) They were obviously enjoying a family weekend with their children in Hanmer at one of the best eating houses in town.

I resisted the urge to ask my oncologist for a health assessment on the food I was eating.

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Posted by on 19 January, 2009 in Humor


Big decisions to be made

It’s been a long week. It is amazing how much of one’s life gets taken up with managing one’s own treatment and care needs to be taken that Cancer doesn’t consume the life, not just the body!

The Oncologist is a little concerned about my lifestyle, living on the property in a public situation, in the middle of a tourist town, where I have a high profile. I am finding it difficult to get the rest from duties, travel and other responsibilities of life. Amidst much protest from me, I have been ‘officially’ referred for consideration or a Disability Benefit with WINZ as from last Monday.

I know we pay taxes for such socialised medicine but while one is happy for other deserving people to receive it, one always tries to live without it – another example of ‘pride’ I guess! Affects us in so many insidious ways does it not?

We have some big decisions to make over coming weeks. My body seems to be responding well with all the natural juicing and food changes we’ve made. Haven’t gone ‘fanatical’ and done the vegan thing but fortunately it is summer and there are lots of lovely fresh fruits available. I’ve been steadily maintaining ph levels of between 6.6 (Lowest) to 7.8 with most being around 6.8 – 7.4.


Posted by on 10 January, 2009 in Medical


Life is never dull

After missing my normal chemo session on Monday, I returned on Wednesday to see how the Cortisone was affecting things.

On that visit, Bronwen had one of her heart synchope turns in the car on the way to the hospital. She managed to walk into the Oncology Day Ward with me but then had to lie on the examination bed herself for an hour or so to recover.

It added a bit of variety to the Onco’s and Research nurse’s day!  

Unfortunately, although I had bounced back quickly, there were no last minute cancellations in the day room so Bronwen and I have had to stay in Christchurch for the week waiting for someone else to have a low blood count.

We finally got one for 9am Friday morning. That means we will be here till Sunday morning when we return to Ward 27 to get the needle out and then dawdle home Sunday afternoon.

It has once again entirely ruled us out of being able to attend a family wedding in Auckland this weekend. Why do young people have to schedule their weddings at such inconvenient times – perhaps it’ll be quieter without me there!

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Posted by on 10 January, 2009 in Medical


A topsy-turvey week with a better ending!

Missed out on my chemo again last Monday. Bloods OK this time, with platelets back up to 110 (from47!). Red count a little low but not sufficient to postpone the treatment.

After taking the Church service last Sunday I was feeling pretty flattened and all afternoon had acute pain in lower right liver and upper left lift that morphine didn’t help. Finally phoned Christchurch hospital (ward 27) and staff authorised increasing the dose 4 hourly until I saw the Oncologist at the scheduled Monday appointment. The Oncologist confirmed that I was having an acute reaction in 2 of the metastases and that was probably also causing the internal bleeding responsibile for the lowering of the red cell count. They immediately prescribed Cortisone and planned to admit me until I could get a CT scan to see what was going on. Fortunately the cost of a private scan would be covered by the SIRFLOX trial I am on so I was hustled over to the Private Hospital where I had the scan with results back the same afternooon!

The CT scan confirmed what the Onco believed but the good news is that it also showed a “marked decrease” in the size of the four largest metastases. It also confirmed that there are no new metastases, so every cloud has its silver lining!

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Posted by on 10 January, 2009 in Medical


Dont waste your cancer

A young friend, Andy Hughes, from Ireland whom I met in Hanmer Springs sent me a link written by two prominent Christians on reactions to cancer after they had been diagnosed with Prostate cancer.

In my many years of ministry I have moved from “the gifts of the Spirit are not for today – a ‘cessationist’ view, through to actively laying hands on the sick and holding documented evidence of people with major diseases being healed. I also believe that we don’t demand things of God but work with Him to see His name glorified. I am actively seeking God for a full healing but am not forgetting that in living and dying, His glory is the most important; that His glory is not necessarily greatest in my healing.

The counsel of John Piper and David Powlison reflects my own view almost exactly and it is worth adding them to the main blog. Click this link to read some very sound advice

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Posted by on 5 January, 2009 in Medical