Monthly Archives: June 2009

Rejoice with me

“The mercies of the Lord endure forever”

Bronwen, James (our elder son from the USA) and I have just returned from Christchurch where we saw the oncologist this morning for the results of the CT scan taken yesterday. The news they gave me overwhelmed me.

The radiologist and oncologists can find no sign of cancer in the liver. The primary in the rectum also appears to be clear. The liver has returned to normal size and is in “pristine condition”. The Oncologist showed us the original scan and also the present scan so we could make comparisons. When the first scan was taken, the metastases were right through all segments of the liver and the cancer was larger than the remaining functioning liver. Now there is no sign of disease at all in the liver. The oncologist stated that she can count on her fingers the number of patients she has seen over the years who have shown such dramatic response. The official report states, “Radiologically, a complete response.” The Research nurse who oversees the trial I have been on said that this is the best result she has seen. Both she and the oncologist used the word ‘miracle’.

I need no further treatments but will have another CT scan in 4 weeks to confirm the result. I will then continue to have scans every 8 weeks and follow-up visits to the Nelson Oncologist every 3 months.

Cautionary Note:

While we are extremely grateful to the Lord for this result, we also realise that treatments can knock out 99.9% of cancer cells but there may be one or two that are still floating around in the body that have developed an immunity to treatment. Eventually these cells have sons and daughters that multiply with increased vigour, so vigilance is still needed. We are also not going to presumptuously rush back into our old lifestyle. My body also needs time to recover from the hits it has taken from the chemotherapy so we will be taking things quietly for some months yet.

The Lord has graciously given me a new lease of life. I need to discover what the Lord would now have me do with that extra time. He certainly used strong measures to get my attention. I don’t want to waste my remaining years by missing the point of why my pathway has taken me through “the valley of the shadow of death”.

There were tears of gratitude to the Lord when we got back to the car after the appointment. There is also a deep sense that whatever means He used, it is purely His mercy and His grace that has given me this outcome.


Posted by on 26 June, 2009 in Medical


A little apprehensive

Bronwen and I have arrived in Christchurch with James, our eldest child visiting from the USA, for the CT scan on Thursday and appointment with our main Oncologist on Friday.

After the dramatic progress evidenced by the last scan,I must confess to being a trifle nervous about this one. What if it is still there? Treatments can deal with 99.9% of the cancer cells, but if one remains, it becomes immune to those treatments and eventually has sons and daughters and grandsons and grandaughters and away it goes again – only this time more aggressively.

I am retaining an even keel as I approach the appoinmtents and quietly hopeful.

Immediately after Friday’s appointment we have to drive straight back to Nelson (5.5hrs) so I won’t get anything posted before Saturday. 

Watch this space on Saturday for the outcome.


Posted by on 24 June, 2009 in Medical


Last ‘official’ chemo

Last week I had my twelfth round of chemo – delayed one week because of low platelets again. 

That is it now until I have the result of my next scan next week. 

I won’t be sorry to have a break from it. The effects are cumulative and so are the side-effects. I have been getting concerned that the tingling sensation and neurophathy in the tips of my fingers is lasting from one chemo treatment to the next, where it used to go after 4 – 6 days. I do not want the problem to become permanent so irrespective of the scan results, I am at least considering taking a chemo rest for a few months.

Had a pretty rough week after the treatment with nausea, neuropathy and general tiredness which was a pity as we had our two sons, both daughters and 3 grandies (1 from Canberra) at home for a visit.

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Posted by on 20 June, 2009 in Medical


More blessings from Asia

Over the past week we played host to Guy and Jennifer Rozario from KL in Malaysia. Guy is one of several pastors at a large church there and two house groups pooled resources to send them to Nelson on ‘pastoral visitation’ to check on my progress.

We have been blessed by the very practical concerns shown by several of the churches I have visited in South-east Asia over the years. As well as remembering to pray for us, some of the churches have also phoned or emailed to  find out how they can practically meet some of the special needs we might have during this battle with our health. One smaller church wanted to fly Bronwen and I to Malaysia and support us for three months to undergo a special course of treatment being offered there. At this stage we have not needed such generosity but this kind of concern has been very humbling.

Talking with Guy Rozario at Kaiteriteri Beach, Nelson

Talking with Guy Rozario at Kaiteriteri Beach, Nelson


Jennifer, Guy, Bronwen and I fellowshipping over food!!

Jennifer, Guy, Bronwen and I fellowshipping over food!!

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Posted by on 4 June, 2009 in Medical


Not getting cocky yet

Missed chemo today – only the third postponement in 6 months.

Once again my platelets were too low and the neutraphils were only just above the minimum safety mark.

Contributing factors may be the fact that 7 days ago I got a mild infection adjacent to the nail on one of my fingers – possibly a splinter. I thought it would heal up in a couple of days but instead it got angrier and angrier until I had to spend a couple of hours at the Emergency Dept of Nelson Hospital last Saturday. The doctor lanced it and cut away some of the flesh. I was also put on a 7-day course of antibiotics.

Another slight setback was that after such a good result 4 weeks ago, two weeks ago my CEA cancer markers had gone up to 4.6 – still within normal bounds, but considering the previous 2 fortnightly readings had been 2.7 and 2.6, I would have expected a continued low reading. I am assured that the slight rise is no cause for concern. It does tend to check one’s cockiness though!

It appears that this extra battle with the infected finger was too much for my system so the body could not recover in time for the scheduled chemo today. Now it will be next Wednesday, 10th June; it will be my twelfth and could be my last depending on the CT Scan in Christchurch at the end of the month and the subsequent consultation with my main oncologist.

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Posted by on 4 June, 2009 in Medical