Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Update: 24th Jan

      The Psalms end with this invitation:
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

- Psalm 150.6

      I have plenty of reasons to praise God at the moment, since I am now halfway into my treatment cycle and my breathing is basically back to normal. Although it will be a number of weeks before we have any more scans, at this stage, it seems that the tumour is shrinking (at least my bronchial tube no longer feels obstructed). Things have changed a lot since Christmas, when I would wake every few hours to find my left lung wasn't getting any air! I have exchanged some of the direct effects of the tumour (breathing and coughing) for side-effects of the treatment (mainly tiredness and weakness, but also some difficulty swallowing, which will grow as radiotherapy continues).
      Today I had my fifth (weekly) chemotherapy and seventeenth (daily on weekdays) radiotherapy sessions. They have all been going smoothly, apart from a sudden reaction two weeks ago during the administration of one of the chemotherapy drugs. Although not uncommon, the speed and intensity were quite scary as within sixty seconds I flushed, became very short of breath and had intense back pain for a couple of minutes until I was given drugs to counter it. Since then, I've been given an extra-strong dose of steroids before each chemotherapy, which has prevented another reaction but disrupted sleep on Wednesday nights (and given me a big appetite - I am still putting on weight, having been told by my dietician to enjoy a high protein, high calorie diet (!)). Generally, however, my sleep has been better and our daily life has been fairly 'normal' during January, albeit a little slower than usual with both of us feeling tired much of the time. I have also sometimes been having difficulty concentrating and find my increased absent-mindedness frustrating.
      Jessica and I have both started work for the year. Jess is working 3 days/wk in St Leonards as a social researcher. On Sunday I also began 3 days/wk (or some fraction of it, depending on energy levels) at All Souls Anglican Church, Leichhardt as a lay ministry assistant. I had energy on Sunday and enjoyed meeting new people. We're looking forward to getting to know and be part of this community at greater depth, as well as trying to reach out to the local area, particularly to those in the 20-30 somethings. If you're looking for a church around Leichhardt, feel free to drop in on a Sunday (10.00 am or 6.30 pm, cnr Norton and Marion Sts).
      We've been thinking recently about how it's important for the cancer to not become the centre of our lives and routine. Life is a gift and staying healthy is a good aim, but is not the most important thing. More important is continuing to grow in our love for God and those around us.

      For those who pray, we continue to appreciate and thank God regularly for your support. Here are some suggestions.
      Give thanks:
            • For continued improvements to breathing and the reduction in the growth.
            • For new opportunities to work and serve, especially for the community at All Souls, Leichhardt and what God is doing amongst them, which we'd love to join in on.
            • For unexpected acts of generosity and support from a wide range of people.

            • That the treatment would continue to reduce and remove the tumour with minimal and manageable side-effects and no further reactions.
            • That as we enter new contexts we would both have energy to keep caring for one another and strength to build new relationships of trust and grace.
            • That our focus would remain on the primary things (loving God and neighbour), with secondary tasks taking their appropriate place.


Anonymous said...

Hi Byron,

Its Dave Coleman here. I am returning to Australia on the 1st of February. I would love to come and visit you if there is a time and a place in early february that would be appropriate. I would like to try and arrange something when I get back to Australia. My mobile is 0410187654 send me a text message, otherwise I will be in touch soon.


Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Thanks for setting this up, Byron. It's helpful for those of us praying for you to do so from a more informed place.