Monthly Archives: October 2009

The basic tenet to effective treatment

After meeting many people whose worlds have been turned topsy-turvy by a cancer diagnosis, I am convinced about one thing –

Nobody can really live until they sort out the issue of death.

Once we have come to terms with our mortality, and settled the matter of our eternal destiny, death holds no terrors. Disease and treatment are then able to be approached in a far less stressful manner.

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Posted by on 30 October, 2009 in Devotional, Personal


Mixed reactions towards doctors

During the past twelve months some aspects of medicine and practice have come into focus. I have learned that:

– The best of people are just people at the best. We all exhibit traits of weak fallen humanity in word, promises made and performance.

– Doctors are expected to get it all right, all the time. What a burden to put on them, even though some seem to give the impression they are able to do it.

– Doctors cannot know all there is about each condition and they don’t have as much time to fully research my case as I would like, or as I might have.

– Some doctors need to remember that their practice is about the patient and not about them. Most need to learn to listen and not consider a patient impudent if he questions a doctor’s take on a matter. They need to also realise that sometimes the patient does know more about their condition and its history than the doctor has been able to deduce.

– ‘D-O-C-T-O-R’ is not the new way to spell God and we should not project that expectation onto them.


Posted by on 30 October, 2009 in Medical, Personal


How much we take for granted

Today marks four weeks from the end of the radiation treatment. The pain has gone but I can still only do ‘stuff’ for about 3 hours before running out of steam. I still need to rest and sleep a lot.


Today also marked the first day for more than 6 weeks that I have not felt nauseous before taking breakfast. Most days I do not enjoy breakfast, or any other meal, because of the feeling of bloat and nausea. Today I actually enjoyed a plate of porridge!


How many people in the world would love to be offered breakfast, or more than one meal per day, irrespective of whether it made the feel nauseous or not!

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Posted by on 30 October, 2009 in Personal


Summarising present position

The surgeon performed a digital (finger, not computerised) inspection of my rectum and found the tumour has not totally disppeared but is reduced and hardened up, ready for excision.

The surgeon will examine the CT scan of the liver taken in Christchurch on 24 September to confirm the state of the liver. He will also obtain a chest x-ray to ensure there are no other metastases lurking anywhere else.

Provided all the x-rays and scans show no abnormalities, he will operate on the rectum in the hope of leaving my body cancer-free by December. The operation is scheduled for the last week of November.

He expects recovery from the operation to be slow as though radiation therapy may be good at shrinking tumours, it also impedes the healing processes within the body. He has told me this knowing that I like to be leaping out of bed a few days after surgical procedures!

Will keep you posted.


Posted by on 24 October, 2009 in Medical, Personal


Next lap mapped out

Had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon today to assess the results of the radiation therapy and the next plan of attack.

After an internal examination he concluded that the radiation has not completely eradicated the tumour and so, subject to further examination of CT scans of lungs and liver, surgery is planned for the last week of November. I was not altogether unhappy with his suggestions. This way he is able to eradicate the entire troublesome area. If he didn’t operate, there would always be the niggling thought about whether or not some area of the tumour was still active.

Provided the CT scans continue to show the liver remaining in excellent condition, the surgeon is keen to proceed with the surgery in order to “push for a cure”, a term he said he was using carefully.

Hopefully by Christmas I could be cancer-free. However it goes, we are looking forward to a quiet local Christmas after what has been a harrowing and tumultuous twelve months. Bronwen and I have really felt the undergirding of God’s Presence throughout this year and are stronger in faith and love for each other than ever before.

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Posted by on 21 October, 2009 in Medical, Personal


What a difference a day makes

My radiation therapy ended 2 weeks ago today. I was warned that the pain would continue to increase for a further 7 days. Nelson oncology suggested 10 days would be closer to the mark. We decided we would run the gauntlet and drive home to Nelson as soon as possible following the end of the course and this was helped by Philippa, our daughter, flying over from Victoria to take care of packing us up again and doing the driving. The trip was not easy. Sitting is not the favourite position for one who has got severe sunburn in his rectal area (As they say, “it rect ‘im”!! groan). A double dose of morphine helped me see out the last half of the trip in a semi-comotose state for which I and the others in the vehicle were grateful.

Nelson oncology was right. The next 10 days were a case of counting down the hours of each day and waiting for the next to dawn and spending as much time sleeping or dozing as possible. The pain peaked after 10 days and the next 2 days saw a minor easing of pain. Yesterday I lowered my dose of painkiller on the strength of the improvement and Woweee! When I woke today, I actually felt like getting out of bed.

Today I’ve been hugging all who have come near me (except the oncology nurse who came to take out my catheter!). I actually feel as if there may be a future again and that it might be worth sticking around a bit longer to see what it may bring.

Not the end of the valley yet, but when you are enduring continual pain, what a difference one day can make.

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Posted by on 15 October, 2009 in Personal