Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him."
- Psalm 34.8God is faithful in times of prosperity and adversity. We continue to be so thankful for all the good things we receive from his hand.
Yesterday I had my first post-treatment scan (a CT scan) to begin to determine the effectiveness of all the chemotherapy and radiotherapy I received in January and February. The results were very encouraging. There were no secondary growths (i.e. the cancer has not spread) and the primary tumour had shrunk to about a quarter of the volume it was back at the start of December when I was first diagnosed (the only other time it was measured in a scan). On 1st December, it measured 35 mm by 30 mm by 25 mm but yesterday it was 25 mm by 17 mm by 16 mm - a very impressive reduction. The radiologist who reviewed the CT scan was also impressed at the comparatively minimal damage done to the surrounding area (esp lungs) by the radiotherapy.
However, yesterday's scan does not reveal whether this residual mass is merely scar tissue or active tumour. To find out, we need to wait another month to continue to allow the radiotherapy to have maximum effect and then I will have a second, different scan (a PET scan) to measure cell activity. More waiting - no wonder they call us 'patients'!
After finishing radiotherapy just over a month ago, I have been recovering from the various side-effects and feel as though I am well past half-way (though not yet 100%). I still have less energy than I used to and am still expanding the kinds of food my oesophagus can tolerate. For much of this month, I have been on a liquid diet but have recently been enjoying food with more substance.
My voice, though a little stronger than it was a month or two ago, continues to be quite different to what it once was. It is likely that this will be a permanent issue since the damaged nerve that controls my left vocal cord may never recover. However, with some speech therapy over the next couple of months I might continue to gain a little more volume. I am able to preach and give talks using microphones, but conversation in noisy contexts is very difficult, as is singing - a loss I frequently mourn.
Apart from these factors, Jess and I have been well. We are both enjoying our work, as well as the extra time we've had to rest and recover while both being part-time. We are settling well into our not-quite-so-new church at Leichhardt and have started a couple of small groups for people our age, which have been very encouraging.
We have really appreciated all the generous support from so many: gifts, practical help, people willing to listen, and a constant supply of food and prayers. God has given us all we need and so much more!
For those who pray...
• for God's generosity towards us all: giving us life and every good thing, especially his son.Pray:
• for the love and support we have also received from church, family and friends in a variety of forms.
• for the good result on yesterday's scan, and how far we've come on this little adventure since the start of December.
• that the remaining mass will be all scar tissue and not contain any active tumour cells.
• that while waiting for a more definitive result next month, we will be patient and thankful for each day, without anxiously grasping after an answer or deferring our lives.
• that I might continue to regain strength and would use this to serve the God who loves life.