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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week Five of Treatment Entry 30

Seventeen Days have passed since I last wrote in this blog.
In these days I passed through the worst effects of the Chemotherapy.
The effects this time were different,because I am now really feeling the build up of all the treatments I have taken to this point.
A summary would look something like this:
- The radiation is really making my mouth and throat hurt.
- I am only swallowing water and broth now.
- Most of my Nutrition is coming through the use of my feeding tube.
- I have what is known as "Thrush". This is an infection caused by the radiation and
chemotherapy; it involves my entire esophagus. It hurts!
- When I try to speak it sounds like I have a mouth full of marbles.
- I am still losing weight.
I am down to 150 pounds,and all my clothes are way too big.
But guess what? Karen still calls me "handsome".
Yesterday she made a comment about how nice my legs are ,to which I replied :"Sweet of
you to say,but I know my legs look like two hockey sticks with doorknobs screwed on
them for knees."

Rough Start
At the end of my last entry I was preparing myself for the next chemotherapy round.
While they have all been tough (for different reasons),they have been different in severity and in the emotional impact I went through.

I was very apprehensive about what was to come - especially in relation to the nausea.

Throwing up is something you have little control over once it starts, and because of my sore throat I knew there would be even more pain if it did. Scarey stuff to meditate upon.
This was weighing on both our minds and caused a heaviness that could only be answered by Karen and myself falling into each other's arms,openly weeping for each other and for ourselves. It was a time of great healing.

A Time for Everything
When you are first diagnosed with Cancer, your world gets pretty small in a hurry, and while some people might be more prepared than others to hear the news,we are not able to take it all in. No one is.
We reached the point last week where we wanted to make sure that we fully understood the nature of my illness and what we might expect following these horrendous treatments.
Between the Doctors and Caregivers we received as much information as possible.

We listened and learned.
After the original biopsy it was determined that there was a possibility to defeat this large tumour if the treatment was aggressive and,if the tumour responded to the chemotherapy.
It did respond quite well.

According to Dr. McCarthy ,no judgements or further diagnosis can be made until all my treatments are finished and my body begins to recover. We have to remember that although the treatments will be done,they will not stop working or affecting me for some time.
When the time is right,we will be off to town for an MRI and the answer to the basic question: "Did this work?" You know, I believe it will!

I met with the St. John's care team on Wednesday . The doctors feel that although "I look and feel like I a chased a fart through a bag of nails",that I am going to be able to finish my treatments. They told my that not many people have been able to run the whole course. Dr. McCarthy simply said: "I'm amazed that you're still standing."
Thank you everyone. Thank you for the energy and focus of prayer,concrete acts of love in action,and for being close to us. God has a wonderful Oncology team!

Dodged a Bullet
Thanks to Joanie Wicks and Dr.St. Croix at the Cancer clinic in Gander ,I returned to St. John's armed with the prescriptions I needed to combat the nausea.
They worked!
Although I did pass through a miserable fourteen days or so, I did not have to face that enemy. I am very thankful.
One important part of our memories of this journey will be of Joanie Wicks coming regularly to visit from "wherever she was - to wherever I was," IV bags, medicine and encouragement in tow,to make sure I remained hydrated and on track. It has made a huge difference.

A Sighting of Grace in a Valley in India
As part of our Fiftieth Anniversary celebrations last year, St. Martin's made a commitment to dig a tube well for a village in India. We were blessed by this outreach - the villagers of Khutguda received a beautiful tube well from which flows fresh,clean,water. Now,the incredible amount of energy used for walking many kilometers a day searching and struggling to find clean water could be used for other purposes.
It also brought peace.
In India,it is not uncommon for family and friend to fight with each other over access to precious water. We received correspondence from the village,complete with pictures to thank St. Martin's for the concrete act of love,and to tell us that because there now was enough water for all,feuds that had existed for generations were disappearing and people and entire families were being reconciled.
We all loved the pictures they sent,showing us the well and holding up Thank You cards for all to see.

On Wednesday past,when I woke up I was feeling terrible. Still sad,lots of pain and just wishing this would all go away.
Before getting out of bed to head to the hospital I checked my email.
There was one there from the village of Khutguda. They had heard of my illness,and in their desire to let us know that they care,gathered at "our" well with get well cards and good hearts.

The letter they wrote caused me to weep tears of healing and thankfulness. I have posted the letter on our website and placed a link on the bottom of this entry,should you wish to see it.
Meanwhile Sisters and Brothers -- we stay the course, surrounded by His Grace.



Anonymous said...

The Rock,'For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock' (psalm 27:5). And again, 'I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a ROCK and gave me a firm place to stand' (Psalm 40: 1-2). If you look up all the references in the Psalms alone, about God being our Rock, you will find that in over twenty-five different places the psalmists are giving testimony to the saving and healing power of the God who is our eternal and uchanging Rock-The ROCK of our salvation!
You are loved...
Laurence (Larry)

Stella Cumben said...

Bless you Rev.John,thank God you still have your sense of humor it is so you.I taught about your throwing up having been down that road.We remembered you at St.Alban's as usual.God's Blessings to you and your Family.Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.Psalms 119:105

Stella said...

For many people their most cherished things are worn and tattered. I bet that this is the case for your many loved ones and friends. Those who cherish you are much more concerned about what is on the inside of you than what the outside looks like.
Personally, I've started to forget what you looked like before. You look fine just as you are now. Maybe as you recover you'll become an interesting mixture of the before and after. That would certainly match the wisdom in your heart and mind.
God bless!

Anonymous said...


Elsie Norman said...

" More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of". Be assured that many prayer are being offered daily for your healing.

It is so true that in our weakness we are shown our real strength. " God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear... The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.

I always look forward with interest to your blogs. They are a great inspiration for us all.
Keep up the fight. We are all praying for you.
God Bless!

Darlene La Fosse-Blagdon said...

Hi Rev. Watton: This is the first time I posted a comment on your blog however I have been following your progress. You have, however, posted on my Caring Bridge site. Hi, I'm Darlene.

In April I was diagnosis with cancer at the base of my tongue, so I know exactly what your going through. I have completed all my treatments, radiation and chemo. My doctors were also Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Sathya. They were both terrific. I finished my treatments on June 18. Before I started treatment,I decided against the feeding tube, big mistake. After the treatment and I came home I ended up in the hospital, dehydrated and starving. My mouth and throat were so sore I couldn't eat and drinking was almost unbearable. I begged for the feeding tube, but my treatment was over and Dr. Sathya said in 7 to 10 days I would feel alot better. So no feeding tube. They kept me in the hospital on IV fluids and high calorie shakes. This was my lowest point. I had lost about 30 pounds and I really didn't think I would make it. This was the most difficult journey I have ever taken.

But all this pain, soreness and nausea you are going through will not last. Your mouth and throat will get better. Your taste will come back. Smells will not nauseate you anymore and that uncontrolable vomitting will stop. And yes, solids foods will follow. I know right now it's hard and I too shed alot of tears. But it is amazing how quickly your body will recover. You will get through this. Many people have said to me, this is just a little bump in lifes long road and my road is looking pretty smooth these days. I still have to go back in October for my second MRI. The first one showed a little spot but Dr. Sathya felt confident that it was only scar tissue so that's what I am praying for.

I just wanted to share a little of my story with you to let you know there is light at the end of the tunnel and that someone at the end of this message has you on her prayer list as well. Take care and God bless.

Darlene La Fosse-Blagdon