Category Archives: Medical

A Celebration of Doug’s Life

A service of thanksgiving to God and celebration of Doug’s life will be held at Hope Community Church, Ranzau Road, Hope, Nelson, New Zealand at 14:00 – 17:00 on Tuesday, 11 October.


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From North

Take Highway 6 south from Richmond 4 kms, Turn right into Ranzau Rd, 1km on left is Hope Community Church.

From South

Take Highway 6 north toward Richmond. Turn left into Ranzau Rd, 1km on left is Hope Community Church.

From West

Take Highway 60 towards Richmond. Turn right into either Bartlett Rd or Pughs Rd. Turn left into Ranzau Rd. Hope Community Church is on your right


Posted by on 6 October, 2011 in Medical


He’s God’s now

Dad has beaten us all into God’s presence. In the last hour his cancer has been defeated once and for all.

Mother and Rebekah were with him for his graduation, though Simeon, Philippa and I thank God that we were able to say our goodbyes to him in meaningful ways, even though at the time we didn’t know they were goodbyes.

In the last week he spent precious time with our Wellington family, and kept his promise to Abe and Phoebe to take them on the ferry. This weekend Alex, Rosemary, Shona and Bruce filled his love tank with their friendship and fellowship. And on Sunday he baptized and dedicated Abe and Phoebe.

Today he sits down for the marriage supper of the Lamb with a full appetite and an empty stomach.

For Dad, it was a week that could not have been better.


Posted by on 5 October, 2011 in Medical


Hercules verses Hydra

In Greek mythology, the hero Hercules had to wade into a murky swamp to slay the serpent Hydra. The problem facing Hercules was that every time he cut the head off Hydra, two more heads grew in its place.

Hercules battle against the many-headed Hydra reminds me of Mum and Dad’s battle against cancer. No sooner does he seem to have gained a victory in one part of their fight than two more heads spring up to attack them.

Recent news from Mum and Dad about his health celebrated the reduction in fluid build-up around his ankles and legs allowing for greater mobility for Dad. A minor victory.

Last night however, Hyrda seems to have struck back in the battle. Dad had a lot of pain and was attended to at home by nurses from the Hospice. In the morning, despite additional doses of morphine, Dad’s discomfort hadn’t subsided. He was taken by ambulance to receive additional care and attention at Hospice.

Initial reports from the staff do not appear to be hopeful.

A special note on Mum

Her care for Dad during his long battle with cancer (first diagnosed in September 2008) has been nothing short of Herculean. Together with Dad, she has been constantly cutting the heads off the Hyrda, never failing or giving up in the task. Although it seems to be a losing battle, with the help of our Saviour and ever-loving heavenly Father, she has been writing ‘victory’ over this battle on Dad’s life.

How firm a foundation by John Rippon

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

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Posted by on 5 October, 2011 in Medical


Stoma procedure healing slowly

The stoma nurse visited me this morning to examine the after-effects of the cauterization and artery stitching that I had a few weeks ago. Most of the pain I have comes from this area and it appears I may have to learn to live with it. The surgical procedure is healing slowly but well, however over the couple of years I have had the stoma it has herniated to the point that the skin is very tight and detaching the bag every couple of days for a new one feels like pulling a bandage off raw skin. Never mind though, it is like hitting your head against a brick wall – it feels good when you stop. I can live with that amount of pain – to be totally pain free will mean I am finally free of this diseased body. As there is still so much Bronwen and I are enjoying together a little bit more pain is not an insurmountable problem.

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Posted by on 13 September, 2011 in Medical, Personal


More diagnoses & more referrals!

Last week I had an ultrasound to try and determine the source of the blockage that is causing me to retain fluid in my abdomen, legs and ankles. I was able to see most of the action on the screen.

The kidneys seems to be clear and the lower vena cava (the major vein that runs behind the liver) was also flowing well. They could not see the hepatic vein so when I reported to the hospice with a view to having the fluid in my abdomen drained I had some more tests and these seemed to indicate that perhaps one of the metastases in the liver is applying pressure to that hepatic vein and causing a partial blockage.

They did not drain the abdomen because it is still reasonably soft and some of the swelling is caused by gas. It is a bit risky at this stage so I agreed with their suggestion that as it is not causing major problems, I should wait until it is absolutely necessary before I go down that track. Instead they have increased the diuretic medication and referred me to the physiotherapist at the hospital who specializes in lymphatic drainage. This should at least bring some relief to the swelling to the legs and ankles.


Posted by on 13 September, 2011 in Medical, Personal


One more mystery

About 3 weeks ago I developed some swelling in the left ankle. Several days later this spread to the right ankle. It has now spread up both my legs to my thighs so that I look quite puffy and can no longer wear my sheepskin boot slippers.

The Medical consultant saw it while I was in hospital and I’ve also been to the GP about it. Both referred to me as a conundrum of a patient. Both suggested the oedema is generally associated with the heart but in my case, the heart is perhaps my strongest organ. I am on some pill to try and drain the fluid and am also scheduled to have an ultra-sound within the next 10 days so they can determine the cause of the fluid retention.

We’re not running an ordinary marathon – it’s more like a steeple-chase. Clear one hurdle and there’s another just ahead. Through it all the Lord gives peace and strength. Those two seem to be semi-automatic. I have to ask him for extra measures of grace because the incessant achey-type pain around the stoma, the difficulty walking associated with the fluid retention and my frustration at not being able to take advantage of the beautiful weather to potter around on some of the home projects don’t always make me the calmest of people to live with. Bronwen seems to be the one who gets the automatic extra resources of grace.

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Posted by on 6 September, 2011 in Medical, Personal