Monthly Archives: February 2011

I need to be more circumspect!

Last weekend when I was in Hanmer Springs I rode the new super-bowl hydroslide with Phoebe who needed an adult with her. (Abe was tall enough to go on his own). On one of the descents we went backwards into the bottom buffer fairly hard. It gave me quite a belt in the back in my liver area but I thought no more of it.

We drove home on Monday but by Tuesday afternoon I was starting to feel pain in the lower right diaphragm. When I went to bed that night it was very hard to do more than shallow breathing without significant pain. (I had to take Morphine elixer at 4am Wednesday – something I hadn’t needed for more than 12 months.)

Fearing the worst, that the metastases had now grown to the point they were making their presence felt above what Panadol could contain, I made an appointment to see the doctor. I was given a thorough examination of lungs, liver and diaphragm. The conclusion was that my BP and pulse showed no sign of distress; nor did my lungs. I had experienced some bleeding inside my liver that was causing referred pain to the daiphragm. In other words there was quite extensive bruising. It was then I recalled the belt to my liver on the hydroslide. Because of the chemo and treatments my liver has been subjected to over the past 2 years, I was told its tissue is very fragile and I need to be careful how I treat it. I was assured that provided my platelets and haemoglobin were OK, I would pull through well.

A blood test showed my haemoglobin and platelets are continuing to rise and are the best they have been for several months. I had less pain on Wednesday night and absolutely no pain when I awoke this morning. This suggests the liver is continuing to function well with good ability to regenerate.

I am a grateful chappy who will learn to be a little more circumspect when it comes to adventurous activities!

The end of the superbowl ride. Abe is just arriving in background

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Posted by on 25 February, 2011 in Family, Medical, Personal


Preaching in Hanmer

Last weekend we went to Hanmer Springs where I had been invited back to preach. Bronwen and I took Abraham and Phoebe with us and we went a few days early to enjoy the re-vamped hot pools.

On the Sunday morning Abraham read the entire chapter 3 of Habbakuk to the congregation before I preached. Having only looked at it immediately before the service, he did it word perfectly.

We drove back to Nelson on Monday morning in time for the children’s swimming lessons

About to embark on the new hydroslide with Phoebe

Abe reading Scriptures at St Andrews Church, Hanmer


Posted by on 25 February, 2011 in Family, Personal


Latest visit to Oncologist a positive experience!

I kept my appointment with the Oncologist today. I haven’t seen her since December when the scan results and prognosis produced a very negative response from her.

Today she was amazed at how well I look and very encouraged by my lack of major symptoms. She is happy to see me ‘making hay while the sun shines’ and resuming speaking engagements and other activities. She is pretty sure I am not on a temporary high that will produce a sudden ‘crash and burn’. There is no benefit in obtaining further scans until symptoms emerge that suggest major problems being caused by the metastases. She does not believe I need to see her again for at least three months but has made herself available if things do go pear-shaped.

I am off to Hanmer Springs this weekend to preach and then in March I will be undertaking a series of seminars for men. We then plan to visit Australia to see a new grandson in Canberra and help Philippa celebrate her 40th birthday. I have been asked to speak at a camp for senior high-school students at the end of May and am contemplating a short visit to Malaysia and Singapore in June. The Oncologist believes I should be fine to do all of those engagements but has warned me not to overdo it, nor to travel anywhere where obtaining medical assistance or repatriation to NZ in an emergency might be expensive or a problem as I am not eligible for Travel Insurance.

Our priority is still sowing into the lives of our children and grandchildren and fitting some ministry around that. Whatever time I have left is not about ‘me’ and completing some bucket-list of exotic travel destinations and experiences. Knowing my time is shortened somewhat means that I want to make what’s left count for eternity and to leave a positive deposit in people’s lives. “So help me God.”

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Posted by on 15 February, 2011 in Medical, Personal


Crazy blood test results

Maybe it is the margin of error in the laboratory’s analysis of my blood tests, or maybe there is a physical reason, but my last two blood tests have yielded odd results.

I had my normal three-weekly blood test last Wednesday and got the results yesterday. They showed a marked decline in my haemoglogin, platelets and iron indicating I would probably need a blood transfusion this week. Today I saw the Oncologist who was surprised by the result and ordered another blood test. She phoned me with the result and the haemoglobin and platelets are both back to where they have been for the past month or two, meaning I don’t need a blood transfusion after all.

The blood results are still below normal. Sometimes I wish they would just give me a few more units to put me above normal so that I can maintain that level rather than battle to reach it.

The positive news is that my liver function, though raised, is lower than it has been for a few months. Once again, this could be a ‘margin-of-error’ issue. At least it shows my liver is still coping pretty well. The Oncologist does not believe I need to continue with the three-weekly tests but rather just get another blood test if and when I feel there is a marked decline in my energy levels.

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Posted by on 15 February, 2011 in Medical, Personal


Radio Frequency Ablation reviewed

Back on 24 December 2011 I blogged that ablating the remaining metastases in the liver and lung were no longer an option because of the appearance of 2 new mets in the lung and 3 new ones in the liver. Because the new mets in the lung are on the dome of the diaphragm it is too dangerous to ablate them because it is not possible to fully localise the heat and the consequences are usually fatal.

A couple of weeks ago I phoned the Radiologist in Dunedin to ask if he might be able to still proceed with the larger one in the lung and the two bigger ones in the liver. He promised to investigate and phoned me later that same day with the news. He said, “You will not believe this Doug, but 3 of the mets in the liver are also on the dome of the diaphragm and another is adjacent to a major vessel!” Those 4 plus the 2 others on the dome of the diaphragm in the lung mean I would probably not survive the ablation procedure.

All along we have asked the Lord for definitive results in deciding on tests and procedures. This seems to us to be pretty clear. The Lord continues to direct our paths towards an outcome we are confident will not be frustrated by personal or medical competency or incompetency.

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Posted by on 14 February, 2011 in Medical, Personal


Homeschoolers Camp

Last weekend we had a marvellous time at the Christian Homeschoolers’ Camp at Bethany Park, Kaiteriteri. It was scorching weather but we survived – Bronwen and I found shadey spots and the children enjoyed the waterslide and the beach. I slept in the little tent with Abraham and Phoebe and Bronwen scored a cabin complete with en-suite! There were 109 other campers and it was a great time of interaction, fun and inspiration. At no time did any of my symptoms trouble me, although we all came home quite tired.

Breakfast outside tent on Sunday morning

Grandad cooks dinner in improvised kitchen!

Abe & Phoebe at the beach

Phoebe on the waterslide

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Posted by on 9 February, 2011 in Family, Personal