Monthly Archives: March 2010

God is number crunching!

The Bible says that God numbers the hairs on our heads. I guess that means He keeps tabs on the ones we lose as well.  At present God has some massive subtractions to do as I have started to shed hair like a cat.

One of the minor side-effects of the new chemo drug I am on is hair-loss. It didn’t happen last time I had chemo, but is affecting me this round. For the past few days I have been shedding on my pillow case, in the shower, and when I brush my hair with my hands, they are covered with hair. Whether I go completely bald, or my hair just thins should become apparent in the next week or two. I have another dose of chemo this Wednesday. That will probably accelerate the hair loss. I hope it does damage to the metastases as well.


Posted by on 30 March, 2010 in Personal


Pilgrim’s Progress

I’ve started reading again John Bunyan’s classic Pilgrim’s Progress and loving it.

Over the past 18 months there have been times I have had to battle what I call ‘night terrors’ – when my mind is assaulted by strange thoughts and slight feelings of panic when dropping off to sleep. It struck me recently that these mind battles might be similar to some of the trials Pilgrim encountered as he made his way to the Celestial City. I am now more than half way through the book and find the battles amazingly similar. It also amazes me how contemporary are some of the issues Bunyan confronts.

If the enemy of our souls is playing mind games with anyone reading this blog I would recommend Pilgrim’s Progress as an encouraging book to read. It reinforces and helps apply the Scriptures to the tough times.

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Posted by on 24 March, 2010 in Personal


“I can do things

through God who strengthens me”

I am very grateful to God for a full weekend of activity without pain or weakness. On Friday and Saturday I dug hardwood sleepers into the lawn as borders for a vehicle turnaround I am creating alongside our driveway. It is nearly completed it and I have also spread a ton of chip metal on top of weedmat as the surface to drive on. Saturday especially was a fairly full-on day of physical activity.

Then yesterday (Sunday) I participated in three church services. At the first service I played the trombone as part of the music group; at the second I preached at the Nelson International Church (predominantly chinese) with the aid of a translator; and for the third service we attended a Hymnfest with Pacific Island churches and groups in Nelson. We enjoyed a fellowship meal with the Islanders afterwards and came home for a relaxing evening.

I was amazed at the way my energy levels stayed high and I have had no adverse ‘day after’ effects today (Monday). And all of this in the middle of having chemo!

God is good.

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Posted by on 22 March, 2010 in Medical, Personal


Did chemo arrive just in time?

This time last Sunday we were out for lunch following attending church and I felt quite a bit of nausea to the point where I could only eat a small lunch in spite of having taken anti-nausea pills. I also had to lie down at our hosts’ place for some time during the early afternoon before coming home early.  That was three days before chemo started again!

Today is totally different. We have been to church, had a chinese noodle takeaway lunch at the beach, enjoyed riding the model trains at the Modellers’ Park with the children, and returned home still bright and bushy tailed. I have had no nausea tablets today, nor do I feel sick. This is three days after chemo started again!

I been feeling pain in the liver region for several days prior to the new round of treatment. Hopefully this last blast of chemo has already knocked the metastases back for a bit. Long may it continue and may the side-effects of treatment continue to be minimal.

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Posted by on 14 March, 2010 in Medical, Personal


First in second round of chemo

I had the first of my three-weekly chemotherapy treatments on Wednesday and so far, so good. Apart from feeling a bit of nausea at times I have not had any of the other major side-effects yet. Mind you, the platelets start dropping at the end of the first week and the immune levels are weakest between the seventh and fourteenth days after each treatment. During those times I need to keep away from anyone with colds, flu’s or infectious diseases.

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Posted by on 11 March, 2010 in Medical, Personal


Good and bad news

Ten days ago I had another CT scan as a baseline for the new round of chemotherapy.

The good news was that the scan showed no new metastases in the liver, the lung or any other organ.

The bad news is that the nine metastases in the liver and the one in the lung have all continued to grow and are about 70% larger on average. (so much for all the nutrients, supplements, etc that I’ve been taking!!)

But further good news is that none of them are as large as the ones I was initially diagnosed with back in September 2008 when the liver was greatly enlarged and there was more cancer  than functioning liver.

Further bad news though was that my surgeon’s liver specialist friend was not able to offer any suggestions of viable alternative interventions.

Further good news is that the Radiologist in Dunedin whom I discovered through St George’s Radiology in Christchurch has contacted my Oncologist here in Nelson and he may be able to insert another lot of radio-active spheres into my liver depending on how the metastases respond to this next round of chemo.

Further bad news is that I will have to pay for those insertions as a private patient.

Further good news is that the same Radiologist believes he may also be able to blast the tumour in the lung with RFA under the public health system at the same time as he repeats the SIRTs treatment in the liver.

Further bad news is that all these options hinge on the outcome of the imminent three courses of chemotherapy, each three weeks apart.

Further good news is that chemo starts this Wednesday, 10th March.

The best news is that God is still on my case and not fazed at all by the machinations of medicos and other mortals.

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Posted by on 8 March, 2010 in Medical, Personal