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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More News.

21/12/2010 was a long day!
We went into town yesterday to prepare for my appointment. The appointment was at 8:00 a.m. The first one of the day. I Spent last night with Chanda,Jason and the Grand kids,watching trucker shows, telling bad jokes and playing Nintendo. I even managed to eat a bit of junk food.

Neither of us slept very well but I can assure you that we were resting in Psalm 29:11:
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.
Up at seven,down to the Health science by 7:50 am,and sitting with three doctors and a nurse practitioner by 8:20. Every thing running as smooth as silk.

Once again,I sat in the Green Chair ( The chair of honour), and again I was given the freezing spray, that tastes like something from another planet, and poked and prodded .

The bottom line?

* Your tumour was a BIG none
* It healed funny and left a lot of tissue behind.
* It's all so nice and soft.
* We think the Cancer is gone...NO GUARANTEE THOUGH!
* We certainly don't want to complicate your life by an invasive biopsy or surgery.
* We will keep a close eye on this for a while.
*Go and have a great Christmas!
* See you in two weeks.

The battle with Cancer never ends. I know the stress of visiting doctors with loved ones,and how anxiety rises when the appointment draws near . I know that every change,every ache and pain will be suspect. I know that Cancer may present itself again,and at any time....but that is true for all of us.

I am very thankful.
I am Humbled by all the love and Care I received,
I have been Changed once again by a cold earthly reality that invaded my life.
I have been changed in ways I don't even know yet!

I know that our new "Normal" is going to be very different.
It's a bit scary,but I think ....far more exciting. I am going to continue to heal - I will see the doctors regularly and I will live the gift of life to the fullest.
I will serve my Church and My Risen Lord.

Thank you for all the love.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This blog entry dedicated to my Friend Jim Burry, who went to join the Lord yesterday as I was travelling to St. John's.
Peace my Brother.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meditating, Reflecting and Waiting Entry 41

It's interesting just how many people look at me and say "You look Great".

At first it seemed to me that was a good a way to start a conversation with a Cancer patient as any, but after a time I began to wonder if that wasn't just a way people could mention my illness and then comfortably move on to another topic.

In discussion with other cancer patients,I see that is very true.

I understand and accept that. And I don't mind ...I love people.
In my ministry I try to readily accept people where they are,engage them where they need me,and walk alongside on their pathway. [even into the Valley of Shadows].
That is the hallmark of a good pastor or counsellor.
I try.
God knows I'm not perfect......I know it too!
Not perfect - but I try!

The last two weeks have been "strange".
I didn't think I would be too stressed about waiting a little longer to find out where I am in this battle...yeah. Right.

We came home two weeks ago and started planning our open house.
I was able to have a movie night with some of our families,and even get to Church on Sunday.

All of these things went well,and
I have been able to push the "What if,What if,
What if... mentality to the edges of my daily thinking. Karen has been doing the same.

Until this morning.
I woke up with a slight temperature, headache,fatigue,and unsettled stomach. You name it I am feeling it. What is this ? 99/44/100% stress? Maybe. Oh yes... it hurts when I pee. Again. I am going to set a new record for repetitive bladder infections !

I came up from downstairs and plopped my self on the couch. Karen opened the windows to help me cool off,then headed out to pick up another prescription.
Completely miserable,I waited to see how I would make out.

But this morning stank big time.
Today is the day I head back to see the doctor and continue the process of finding out what to expect.
The stink and sadness of this morning began to fade when I began to count my blessings.
Some amazing Grace in the Valley.....

Karen's concern and gentleness when she realised I was having a bad morning.
Bishop David and Brian dropped in,not knowing that I was having a rough start today.
I so value their friendship. They left...I became emotional.
Ralph called...I cried a little again.
Joanie dropped by for a coffee. Thank You Lord. Not only the best nurse and caregiver I have ever had,but a dear friend,confidant and security blanket.

I am thankful for those who draw near,smile-or cry honestly with me.
It is a beautiful thing when people realize all they need do is give me that gentle hug,a caring message and be present with simple, encouraging, words.

Honestly, there are a few things bothering me these days, and because I promised to be honest and open about this journey I`ll open the book for you again.

Here goes: If the long term goes bad....I am concerned about a (possible)

1. Loss of ministry

2. Loss of my voice . After Sunday when I preached,everyone was very encouraging and positive. But I was struggling to speak and stand.By the time I got back to the rectory I was very sad,because the full impact of the struggle just ahead struck me with full force.
I love the Church and my Ministry in it. It is my pearl of great Price.

3. Looming possibility of surgery

4. Wondering how to make ends meet if my ministry is cut short.

5. Wondering how Long I am going to live.

There you go. These are the practical and daily questions that haunt people when they are not well. They have been mine.

I am trusting that God's spirit will uphold me and my family in all of this. It's all we have!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

After the MRI Entry 40

Monday December 6 and

Tuesday December 7 have Come and Gone.

These were two important dates for us.

Monday was MRI day at the Janeway,and Tuesday we would meet with Dr. Saytha to review the results.

I am getting well used to MRI's now.

I have had two scans at the Janeway,and one at the Health Science Center,and in all cases the staff have been really friendly and helpful.
Monday was a good day - a pleasant drive from Gander with my darling Karen. I was even admitted early. The rest of the day was for our Grandkids!

I can't say we were worried about the results,but both of us were a bit restless through the night.

On Tuesday we went to the Cancer Clinic to meet with our doctor and ENT specialist.

On arrival we followed our normal routine: Find a parking spot,put lots of money in the meter,head inside,register,then wait for two hours to see the doctor.
We joked about the waiting time with some other folks sitting by us.

Behind the reception desk we caught a glimpse of our doctor. It looked like he was reviewing something. When Dr. Smith joined him, I said to Karen: "Looks like everyone is on deck today."

Dr. Saytha glanced our way,then headed off down the hallway.

I was surprised when we were called reatively early. The nurse that greeted us was really friendly,asking simple questions and putting her arm around my shoulder.

In the exam room Dr. Saytha greeted us. He is a warm and caring fellow,who has proven to be very careful and thorough with his diagnosis and treatment. He seemed to be ill at ease,first asking how I have been feeeling,then telling me that he needed to take a good look,because my MRI had shown something serious. He said that he was going to ask Dr. Burrage to come in and have a look.


We certainly weren't expecting this!

Karen and I exchanged glances,as both our hearts began to sink.

Things happened very quickly.

In came Dr. Burrage

In came another ENT Surgeon (a new one to me)

In came two med Students

The nurse was there too,and our doctor. Within a few moments Dr. Smith joined us as well.

(I could write a song about this gathering)

Without a lot of discussion each of the doctors probed my mouth and throat with fingers and huge Popsicle sticks,all the time talking to each other and using all the Greek and Latin words that doctors love to share when they get together.

Things are really just starting to sink in when Karen calls "Hold on!" "Tell us what is really going on..."

So they do.

Apparently, they were gathering to tell me that the news wasn't good and that I needed immediate surgery because the treatments did not do the job.


They all agreed that what they were feeling inside my throat was soft,pliable tissue. Not at all like a tumour. Tumours tend to be hard,and rubbery.
That meant they were not sure what was going on.

They said so. It may be soft tissue - maybe dead tissue left over from the war we had just waged.

MIGHT or MIGHT NOT be a tumour.

It seemed logical to all hands to wait a little longer to see if the mass will change.

The final decision : I will return to St. John's in two weeks,and if the surgeon is not happy with what he sees,he will do a biopsy so we can discover if cancer still abides in me.

Merry Christmas!

Are we okay?

Well,.....at first surprised,worried upset. As time passed we put things in perspective.

What happened is really good news. The doctors are still looking for what is going on...not telling me that surgery is my next option.

I live in hope,and pray that you do too!