Monday, February 28, 2011

28th Feb Chemo Day 7

The voice of God… does God speak? The Bible is full of verses recording his words and indeed begins with God speaking creation and history into existence… ‘Let there be light, and there was light’. Some four thousand years of God speaking to man are recorded with amazing accuracy often in the form of prophesy sometimes centuries ahead of historical events. It finishes with the words of Christ ‘Yes I am coming soon’; though some might say a clearer understanding would be ‘Yes I am coming suddenly’ indicating the nature of his coming rather than the timing. Elsewhere we see that Christ shall come when least expected and that certainly fits most of our society today. In its plainest reading the Bible suggests that the world is actually only about six thousand years old to date and I believe that almost everything is now in place for the return of Christ! A fascinating book the Bible when you study it… and even more so if you dare to believe it to be truly the word of God!

So does God speak? And what might he be saying to us today? One thing is for sure, the Bible has many promises revealing God’s pleasure in restoring, healing, delivering and providing for man’s every need. He is truly the God of love! One day there will be judgement of how we lived, but today is the day of grace, the day of favour and the day of opportunity to receive Christ as our Saviour. All good things come from heaven above!

So… has God specifically told me that Jane will be healed? Now… in this lifetime not just in eternity? I have to say that I don’t hear him saying that, but then again he hasn’t said that now is his time for Jane to be taken to himself! Until he does, and we all die one day unless he returns first, we are determined to live with hope and expectation not just of God’s favour but also for a miracle that we might tell of his goodness! What I have heard him say to me is simply that I should not be concerned, everything’s taken care of.

Jane did hear God speak to her this morning... two simple words ‘No cough’. Our response has been simply to keep speaking that out as a step of faith whilst continuing to pray for healing. Last night was not that good a night with coughing and some pain disturbing sleep again… but through the day I have to say that the cough seems to have improved quite a lot which has to be good! We are trusting that this is a turning point as Jane needs to be strong enough for more chemo tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday). Our faithful eldest daughter called round with the girls this evening and cooked us a fabulous meal of fresh haddock, cheese sauce and roast vegetables… yummy!

Psalm 91v14 ‘The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.’(NLT)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

27th Feb Chemo Day 6

Jane had a fairly good night’s sleep last night… or did she?

A tired, tired day. I feel totally exhausted and I can’t imagine how Jane feels still working through her first dose of chemo. Fatigue is a known side effect. What they don’t tell you is how chemo affects you by causing all manner of bizarre thoughts to flash into the mind… quite disturbing. Concentration is very limited and short term memory totally messed up. On top of that extreme stress brings its own problems. Given that I’ve suffered with M.E. for a decade it feels like we’re a right pair of confused people, and I have to admit I’ve also been a bit ratty today! M.E. is a bit like having a permanent dose of the flu with brain fog, poor concentration and forgetfulness a way of life on top of chronic fatigue. It was only today that I remembered the drug charts I made last time Jane went through chemo. It was far less complicated last week but now we have more to remember, with on-going anti-sickness and indigestion tablets plus new pre-chemo steroids and post-chemo self-injections (Jane is really brave!). Mid-afternoon neither of us could remember within a few hours when she last took pain-killers… let alone whether they were paracetamol or ibuprofen as she takes both. Definitely not morphine as she only takes a small dose last thing at night. We now have a notebook.

As already suggested, today has been a little emotional and at one point I found myself trying to comfort Jane who was really quite upset. It took a few minutes before she explained that she was not thinking at all of herself but another person close to us with their own problems. She continues to reach outside of her own need to be concerned for others.

In one way today felt quite empty as I really enjoy going to church at the moment and was unable to for obvious reasons. But God always meets with us in our own time of worship and I particularly enjoyed playing some new (to us) songs we learnt at church last week. ‘You alone can rescue’ and ‘When I call on your name you answer’ have words that seem very pertinent to our situation. It was also good to speak to my eldest sister who is so encouraging and quite concerned for Jane who she worked with 40 years ago when she introduced her to me. I also bumped into an old acquaintance who is the pastor of a local church. He didn’t know about Jane’s health and was so kind offering to help and have the church pray for Jane. Surely this mountain of prayer and expression of compassion that surrounds and comforts us is being noticed by the God of heaven and he will reach down and touch Jane with his mercy and favour!

During the day Jane had the on-going problem with coughing and some pain which has to improve soon. But again we still reckon she slept well last night… or did she?

Mark 1v41 ‘Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing” he said “be healed!” (NLT)

26th Feb Chemo Day 5

Do you believe in fairies? I do! No not the sort who live at the bottom of the garden… we have a bit of a joke, my son and I sometimes, when discussing the mysteries of computers. No two seem to be alike and it’s almost as if the things are alive! I know a fair bit about how they work as I’ve built and repaired all sorts of machines, but time and again it seems that logic is thrown out of the window and they go wrong for no predictable reason. How come you can be doing the exact same thing ten times in a row without a problem and then suddenly it freezes on you and you have to crash the program and start again? All sorts of mysterious programs run in the background causing untold conflicts and system errors! Recently I had my new Sony laptop freeze on its first day of life... takes a week for that to happen when I build one! Anyway my son and I have decided not to worry too much about the mysteries of how and why things go bump in the night... it’s all down to the Microsoft fairies!

I’ve been thinking again, quite understandably, about the question of why God seemingly answers one prayer and not another? This is most certainly not down to fairies! Though I wonder if sometimes we treat God as the great magician in the sky, say a magic prayer he’ll wave a magic God wand… for example I do have a bit of a thing about religious judgmental dogmatism. And don’t get me started on the prosperity gospel… we can never buy an answer to prayer. No, to me our faith journey is much more simple… it has to do with a relationship. We know God as a person; we speak to him, he speaks to us. We ask, he answers. He leads, we follow. We have to trust that he can and will answer at the right time, in the right way and is not dependent upon us jumping through a particular hoop, in a particular way, avoiding interference from who knows what. His favour is towards us… period!

Last night was again quite difficult for Jane and also right through the day she was coughing and again in some pain. But her breathing is still pretty much OK. The day was brightened up with an extended visit by one of our daughters, come to cook and entertain us. That was special and then we had a text from our other daughter’s eldest who plays for a girl’s football team. She scored a hat trick and was named ‘man’ of the match! Wow life is beginning to feel almost exciting!

I made a throwaway comment to Jane this afternoon ‘I wish I could take your place’. Her reply was inspired… ‘You don’t need to, someone’s already done it’.

1 Peter 2v24 ‘He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.’ (NLT)

Friday, February 25, 2011

25th Feb Chemo Day 4

How to live, when life is so cloistered? The smallest activity, the shortest engagement and ill health engages its own prohibition. Though desiring all normality, yet the flesh is so weak that all normality is beyond reach. Sometimes a day feels almost like a non-day, nothing really happening nothing particularly achieved. Simply surviving the battle for health and life for one more day… and yet surely there is more to life than this?

What value has a day? Surely there is nothing greater, even when there is nothing other, than love! And yes our love for God is strong, our confidence in him is full and our determination to seek his favour, seek his pleasure is unquestionable. Our love for one another is a precious gift from God defined in the traditional wedding vow… ‘To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.’ 1 Corinthians 13v2 says ‘if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.’ Surely the love of God together with our love for other people defines who we are rather than simply what we do no matter how altruistic. So, though confined, as we have the love of God as a foundation for our lives we have everything!

Last night was not too bad for Jane as her breathing improved and she was able to sleep quite well. Unfortunately when she woke at a near normal time she was coughing quite badly to clear her lungs. Through the day though her breathing and coughing has been pretty much OK which is great. The pains in her chest and back causing so much of a problem last week are trying to gain a foothold again. We pray that whatever is causing them will be healed in Jesus name!

James made us a gorgeous trifle… organic strawberries and cream in abundance! Oh yes maybe life is worth living after all… and we finished the day off with a movie, Kenneth Branagh’s version of Shakespeare’s ‘As you like it’ set in Japan. We always enjoy our Shakespeare DVD’s although the first ten minutes, until we get used to, it is like watching world cinema without sub-titles!

John 10v10 ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ (NIV)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

24th Feb Chemo Day 3

I need to ramble… one of our favourite holiday places used to be the Lake District. The long climbs exploring fells with amazing views of spectacular lakes is perhaps to remain a memory until youthful vigour is rediscovered, but I remember climbing to a particularly beautiful view and wandering over the tops; there were no real paths, grass was short and vegetation sparse. The only trails were made by sheep and seemingly led nowhere. Even they were uneven and great care had to be taken to avoid turning an ankle or slipping down the occasional scree. Many a small stream had to be crossed chancing a slip into ankle deep water. We’d found a large rock to sit with our children to eat our picnic when suddenly the wind picked up and a cloud came over sprinkling us with just a hint of snow so we rapidly made our way down to a more favourable late spring climate. It was tiring, a little challenging but quite satisfying completing our walk safely.

I only got lost once. It was actually in Derbyshire and we’d picked a forest waymarked trail to enjoy a short 2 mile walk. Unfortunately there was a diversion from the trail due to tree felling. We continued and missed the sign taking us back on to the marked route. Several hours and maybe 6 miles later we found our car again. In my head I knew we were bordered by a triangle of roads not so many miles long… we just had to keep walking around a large hill so we weren’t really lost we just didn’t know where the path back to the car was.

Life feels a little like that… quite a rocky and uncertain road we travel on, the challenge is immense, but the goal is achievable and quite spectacular. The views along the way are lousy though.

Jane had an awful night last night, again coughing and unable to breathe properly. I spoke to the chemo team in Nottingham so she’s taken morphine tonight to try and help sleep. I’m looking into maybe getting a supply of oxygen to help her as well. On the positive side today was much better though and we even were able to visit our grand-daughter for an hour to celebrate her 9th birthday. We love our grandkids and are chuffed to bits with how both of our elder daughters have chosen fantastic husbands and are raising such delightful children. Our youngest daughter has chosen a very special partner as well! But our son seems quite content wed to his computer… but he’s still young, though I seem to remember buying my first house and starting a family when I was 23!

I was just thinking of a Bible verse often seen as a picture of the church looking to the coming of Jesus Christ… no obstacle is too great for him!

Song of Songs 2v8 ‘Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills’ (NIV)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

23rd Feb Chemo Day 2

Everything within us says that the normal Christian life is one of reaching out to others particularly the needy and those who have lost their way. It’s so hard being needy oneself and letting go the privilege of helping and engaging with others in anything like a normal way. But… it seems that for the season to come we simply batten down the hatches, protect ourselves as best as we can and walk Jane through the challenge of chemo. Suddenly the world becomes even smaller and more carefully focused. We have to try and avoid infection and carefully monitor Jane’s temperature and other symptoms to pre-empt any problem. She caught the flu last time and it became a massive problem leaving her bed-bound and very weak for weeks. She entered chemo much, much stronger then than this time. She needs to preserve what little energy she has to promote her body’s natural healing process.

Today has been difficult, trying to help Jane through the day with breathing and coughing problems rising up again. There seems to be relatively little pain though which is good as that really hospitalised her last week. She has to walk really slowly to avoid any stress or breathlessness and climbing stairs takes quite a while now to avoid a chronic bout of coughing. I’ve ordered a wheelchair via the Macmillan nurse so that should be available from Thursday to help when needing to be out, but Jane hates the idea and so do I. She is not at all disabled simply severely breathless with any exertion at all.

Again we had a special time of worship this morning and we know that God is very close to us but I have to admit that prayer is rather more challenging other than… Lord have mercy and heal Jane!

Psalm 41v2,3 ‘The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. The Lord nurses them when they are sick’ NLT)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

22nd Feb Chemo Day 1

Chemotherapy is like living in a different world. I’ve never experienced it but I have walked with Jane through this ordeal once before. Deliberately poisoning one’s own body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, when for the past year we have lived on a very strict organic vegetarian diet is quite a challenge. We’ve been on the day-case ward today, a completely different environment from the in-patient ward Jane was on last time. Today folk were walking around making themselves cups of tea and watching TV in a lounge, two years ago Jane suffered not just her own ordeal but was surrounded by some very ill patients who on a number of occasions died there. I remember sharing some fruit with one elderly lady… a few hours later she was gone. The staff working there are true heroes in my book. A couple of nurses we met last time on that ward have now transferred to the day-case ward and it was nice to be met by a friendly face. I suspect that you can only cope with the more difficult environment for so long. Jane endured five week long visits over four months and ignoring the chemotherapy, which was very toxic and caused serious problems, we were both quite traumatised simply by being there.

A three hour wait after Jane’s 3pm appointment time before being seen by a nurse to start treatment was better than our recent experience in Derby but not ideal. I’m working on a way to avoid that next time but we’ll see. Anyway the actual treatment was quite straightforward if a little confusing due to a shift change. Probably an hour and a half of preparation and connection to a drip and we were done. The main side effects are usually nausea and sometimes vomiting but we are trusting in God and Jane is taking appropriate medication so let’s believe for no recognisable side effects at all. There should be no hair loss after this week’s drug. Next week Jane may try a special ice cap they now offer which freezes the scalp during treatment to try and avoid this if possible… sounds quite painful though.

11pm three hours after leaving hospital and Jane continues to feel quite normal. Thank you Jesus.

Hebrews 12v1 ‘And let us run with endurance the race that God that God has set before us’ (NLT)

Monday, February 21, 2011

21st Feb

Not everyone’s cup of tea but we do find American preacher Joel Osteen’s approach to life very healthy, somehow he turns every negative into a positive encouragement. He’s just talking about negative medical reports and how God sees them… Abraham had a child with his wife when they were around 100 years old! God delights in calling the impossible, possible. He has a plan for our lives and everything is available for us to work it out. We are called to live by faith and not by sight.

And yet when faced with a bad result from today’s x-ray for Jane at the hospital it’s so difficult to keep a hold of hope. I sometimes see the A52 coming back from Nottingham more like a river (of tears) than a strip of tarmac. There have been so many disappointments over the past four years and now Jane’s symptoms are beginning to bite it gets more and more difficult to cope and yet somehow we have to pick ourselves up. We cannot sink into despair and depression for if this is the end for Jane, and at this point I refuse to accept it, what a horrible way to live one’s last days. We have to keep a hold of hope and there is plenty to enjoy day by day by day. We have an amazing loving family, and friends close to us particularly in the church are really sensitive and very supportive.

It was lovely for Jane meeting an old friend Sunday evening who was simply walking past the church on her way home; she’s not normally a churchgoer at the moment and the guy on the door invited her to come in… I believe he knew her through his wife. We arrived at the same time and she came and sat inside with Jane, holding her hand for a long time when she found out Jane’s predicament. It’s wonderful how people can be so caring in so many different ways.

The only really good news at hospital today is that Jane seems strong enough to cope with chemotherapy starting 3pm Tuesday (tomorrow) as a day patient. Her consultant has decided to offer her the lowest dosage in order to gauge effectiveness whilst giving the best chance for quality of life. A second treatment of a partner drug will be given in one week and then a review a couple of weeks after that.

Psalm 91 v7 ‘Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you these evils will not touch you’ (NLT)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

20th Feb

Another encouraging day so I’d feel like I need to stir up faith by remembering some answers to prayer. Tonight the visiting preacher spoke at our church. He was asked to visit Great Ormond St Hospital and prayed for a young child who’d been run over. The child was very seriously injured with crush injuries to multiple internal organs and given little hope for survival. The family and doctors were amazed when soon after the child was seen standing up in his cot playing with a balloon. After tests the child was discharged and remains quite well several years later. He related other stories of people he’d prayed for with terminal cancer with exactly the same outcome… complete healing and long life. I know that God heals today!

I was once privileged to be part of a worship team when Reinhard Bonnke visited Derby Assembly Rooms. Being on stage I saw at close quarters the lame walking and other unquestionable miracles. It was fascinating seeing a collection of crutches and sticks being left on stage and folk pushing wheelchairs no longer needed! I’ve also served in prayer rooms at many large meetings including for the now deceased Derek Prince who had a particularly dramatic gift of healing and deliverance from the demonic. I know that God heals today!

20 years ago I ended up in a wheelchair after an accident damaged my back, I was prayed for and immediately climbed out of the chair and pushed it half a mile back to our caravan pitch… we’d managed with help to get to a Christian camp. Prior to this I’d spent 3 months bedbound in agony living on prescription painkillers. A couple of years ago we were travelling to a meeting looking for prayer and on the journey there without specific prayer Jane was completely healed of degeneration of the hips… diagnosed by her GP and treated unsuccessfully with a program of physiotherapy. Shortly after this I was in a meeting when a word of knowledge spoke of a person falling down a ladder and damaging their left shoulder. I’d suffered a lot of pain and immobility for 6 years with exactly that problem and was completely and instantaneously healed! I know that God heals today!

Not too bad a night for Jane followed by a good day… including another visit by our wonderful daughter Mel and family. Jane made it to the meeting tonight and was prayed for. It’s hard to say what’s happening but she knows that something felt different inside her lungs. Anyway we arrived home and enjoyed a time of worship…  Jane was able to sing several songs a marked difference from this morning when she became breathless after trying to sing even a few lines of a song. I know that God heals today!

Hospital and another x-ray Monday afternoon for discussion about chemotherapy… I know that God heals today!

Psalm 34v17 'The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them' (NIV)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

19th Feb

What a difference a day makes. This morning, as I was getting up, just for a moment I felt a spring in my step, and then I remembered… and wondered why I didn’t feel as concerned as I should! Something comes to mind about the joy of the Lord being our strength, and the source of that joy coming from within us rather than being dependent upon our circumstances. Our journey with God sometimes turns ‘normality’ on its head. God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts and the principles of ‘the kingdom’ are very different from worldly values. Even the smallest change is enough to lift our spirits even further and today we at last found just a little relief from ill health. Some kind folk at yesterday’s prayer meeting prayed for me and I’ve felt an improvement in my own health especially in not taking any painkillers ever since then. Pray God it will continue to improve.

Jane had rather a mixed night’s sleep but then right through today she’s felt very slightly brighter and less fatigued. She’s taken on a number of small chores right through the day and with an afternoon nap seems measurably stronger. It would be great if she could make church Sunday evening.

Our cat seems fully recovered as well though at 20 he’s showing his age a little.

Exodus 15v26 ‘I am the LORD who heals you’ (NLT)

Friday, February 18, 2011

18th Feb

‘Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord’ is a popular song based upon Isaiah 40v31, sung in many churches over the past few years, which has me thinking again about a question probably asked by every believer in every generation. Why does an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-compassionate God delay or even apparently fail to answer prayer for the needy and those who are suffering? There’s something about genuinely seeking the Lord with our whole heart, in prayer, that undoubtedly reaches the throne room of heaven and I am quite sure is always answered by the Lord even before we make our requests. However I suppose that because we do not see, or know as God knows, the answers to our prayers are not always as we in our imperfect position would want them to be. Maybe it is not so much that we have to wait upon the Lord, although we do, but rather more often that the Lord is waiting upon us for a particular response or situation or whatever to change? His timing and judgement is always perfect. God is love!

Jane had a quite good night’s sleep with very little coughing but today remains totally exhausted feeling quite ill and very weak. It’s very draining fighting such a long battle with illness. She just fed the cat, walking only a few yards, and ended up totally out of breath and asking me to pray. Earlier though it was nice for Jane having a friend come visit and our eldest daughter and her children came and cooked us a superb risotto for tea! I was also encouraged when Jane expressed disappointment at not being able to attend a visiting preacher’s teaching seminars at church on Saturday. But he’s holding meetings every night until Thursday this week and we really must have him pray for Jane. He has an outstanding gift of healing with a proven track record.

Just now we took communion sharing with the folk watching Thank God For Fridays on Revelation TV. For two weeks now they’ve responded to our e-mail prayer requests, so I reckon there could be thousands of believers across the UK, Europe and the world via the internet who joined in at least with an amen praying for Jane.

Psalm 91vs5-6 ‘Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness’ (NLT)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

17th Feb

Is it really wrong to have doubts? It must be wrong to hide them away and hide behind untruth but how do we deal with them? We find one example in Matthew 9v24 ‘I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief’ which seems to suggest that we need to just get on with it and that belief can be something we choose rather than waiting for it to come along. The term step of faith comes to mind. My Bible is filled with promises and commands of God which test rational thinking every time I read them. For example Matthew 10v8 says ‘Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give’ which is not really a promise but rather a command. How to get past the doubts and embrace God’s plan for ‘normal Christian life’ is the challenge. Maybe we start by honouring the word of God in the basics of purity, honesty, kindness, gentleness etc. and grow in faith day by day in our journey with God. I guess he will only trust us with heavenly gifts to the degree that we are able to honour him and his word, but one thing I do know… we cannot put God in a box we simply have to trust him as he works for good in our lives.

Jane had a better night’s sleep but still is struggling a little with breathing and some coughing when moving around. This afternoon she had the beginnings of a migraine similar to one day in hospital. Painkillers, a lie down, and prayer dealt with it, but stepping outside of the stress of life at the moment really is an enormous challenge for both of us. Jane really can only rest for most of the time as almost any exertion causes breathlessness followed by coughing. Not good.

Does God heal today? In our home today? I’ve no idea whether nature just took its course and don’t care as God created nature anyway but we came downstairs this morning to find our cat hobbling on three legs. He couldn’t tell us what happened although he was indoors all night so we prayed for him and within a few hours he seemed pretty much back to normal. Praise God… Jane’s turn next?

Psalm 91v4 ‘He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you under his wings. His faithful promises are your armour and protection’ (NLT)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

16th Feb

After the drama of the weekend comes a slow return to some sort of normality. Life has to be very simple at the moment… eating, resting, sleeping and maybe a little shopping is about all we can cope with. But that’s fine whilst we recover strength for the next ‘battle’… and although the scriptures show quite clearly ‘the battle is the Lords’ appropriating his victory over our difficulties is a level of maturity as a Christian that I have yet to grow fully into. I believe that there is so much more than the grace of God, wonderful and perhaps complete as that is, to carry us through the trials of life. He speaks into every life and every situation… I know that Christ died in my place that all my wrongs can be forgiven. I am reconciled to God in heaven, able to stand before him without condemnation. His love conquers all my fear and he took upon himself the sickness of the world, but when I read the gospels I see a power and true wisdom that is difficult to find in the world around us today. Christ healed all who came to him whilst he walked the earth and from what I see every dead person he came across was raised back to life! I’ve seen and experienced a number of quite miraculous healings and other miracles but I can’t honestly say this is normality. I sort of think that it should be…

Jane had a difficult night tossing and turning finding sleep rather elusive. Today she has been totally exhausted struggling to function at all and yet still rising to life’s challenge when opportunity was there. A Christian TV host put his foot in it when reviewing a UK news item covering obesity… Jane insisted on composing and posting a comment on their website thinking of how challenged the USA is in the same area! This warrior still fights.

The coughing, breathing problems and pain remain but still somewhat moderated. She really does need to regain strength for next week’s appointments to Nottingham City Hospital.

Psalm 91v3 ‘For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease’ (NLT)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

15th Feb

All quiet on the home front… it’s been a peaceful and quiet day, surrounded by caring friends and family relaxing and recovering from the stress of the weekend. It’s been lovely having a trickle of phone calls and visitors and it feels as though we are being carried by a wave of prayer and offers of help. It’s great to know that when times are hard so many people still rally to the needy even when they’re so busy themselves. Our house is filling up quite nicely with flowers!

Whilst it feels great and we are massively thankful for so many well-wishers there is only one who can truly give us what we really want. The Lord and he alone is our healer… we need a miracle for Jane to be delivered from the scourge of cancer. Prayer is the key. A big encouragement this morning was when our church pastor phoned not just to offer help but especially to let us know that the church continues to pray for Jane. Perhaps it is not just co-incidence that our church is having an early morning prayer meeting every day this week plus several other daytime and evenings reaching out to God for a release into the miraculous especially in the gift of healing. This has been programmed for some weeks now and is related to a series of meetings we’re holding next week but nice timing I say!

Jane is fairly comfortable right now apart from not being able to get the cat in out of the rain… her coughing and chest pain remain moderated being loads better than the end of last week. We’ve had to cancel today’s appointment for new patient introduction to chemotherapy. But she’s been through that before and we think all necessary tests are already in place so a final decision to start next week may still be made by her oncologist at his normal clinic next Monday.

Psalm 91v2 ‘This I declare about the Lord he alone is my refuge my place of safety, he is my God and I trust him’ (NLT)

Monday, February 14, 2011

14th Feb 10.30pm

One of the most special times of my life was when we had all four of our children at home, two were still pre-school. Most of the burden of raising them fell on Jane due to my working hours and I used to love coming home, especially Friday nights when they stayed up late finding everything calm and peaceful, neat and tidy and always welcoming. Children need a fixed and strong routine and Jane is a genius at putting this in place for them… I still find looking after young children rather a mystery with completely haphazard results! Anyway my point is that living with some sort of regular routine helps us to feel secure. This last 72 hours has been completely lacking in this for us and I feel just a little wobbly.

I’ve only had maybe 6 hours sleep in 3 days, Jane rather less, and yet my mind is in overdrive striving to work things out. This blog is so helpful in putting thoughts together that it’s almost irrelevant if anyone but me ever reads it! It feels a little clichéd to say but nonetheless this is a perfect time for us to let go and to let God work things out for us. We gave our lives to Christ many years ago and we have no right to take them back. At the end of the day whatever plans we make he directs our paths anyway… and always works for good.

Jane was discharged from hospital this morning feeling a lot better than Friday. Complete rest in a warm room probably helped as much as several medical treatments so I need to restrain her natural enthusiasm for work to make sure she continues to recover. There’s no way she could make the appointment tomorrow for chemotherapy preparation so we’ll speak to her consultant in his oncology clinic next Monday and work out the best way forward then.

I’m reminded of a really old chorus we sang in the 80’s… ‘My life is in you Lord, my strength is in you Lord, my hope is in you Lord, in you it’s in you it’s in you!’

Psalm 91v1 ‘Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty’ (NLT)

14th Feb Lunchtime

Jane's home! Thank you God...

14th Feb 3.25am

I feel like I need to have a bit of a moan… forgive me but I need to be real or my other blogs would be a false representation of how I feel! My laptop says it’s Sunday, my watch says it’s almost 11pm and I know we only came to the hospital yesterday, but my internal clock says I’ve been sat in this hospital waiting, waiting, waiting for ever. Nothing happens quickly and I guess observation and allowing things to take their course is all part of it but sitting in an isolated side room with a single bed so no company, no TV and no mobile signal for a couple of days is pretty rubbish. Collecting Costa Coffee stamps for a free cuppa is not that engaging. Thank God for my laptop and a box set of Frasier to smile away the hours!  The day was broken up quite nicely at mid-day with a CT scan but then an anxious 6 hour wait for results leaves us both feeling rather edgy. Being informed of the need for a minor procedure, to be undertaken within an hour or so now 5 hours ago and counting seems par for the course as well. But the real good news is that there is no sign of a blood clot and Jane can get in and out of bed without help and doesn’t look likely to need a wheelchair to get to the car.

It’s now 2am and Jane has just had fluid taken from around her lung… a frightening prospect but in reality quite fascinating and seemingly straightforward. The doctor was wonderfully gentle, kind and modestly skilful as are the ward staff that have been so friendly and helpful. Jane finished it all off with a cup of tea whilst gracefully declining the offer of sandwiches and is quite the most remarkable stalwart when it comes to having needles and tubes inserted here there and everywhere. An X-ray in the morning and she should then be discharged. It’s unclear what real benefit there will be from this procedure as the real problem may have been caused by the cancers but at least through today the pain has eased a lot and hopefully the breathing problems will be helped when she gets back in the real world.

Two of our wonderful daughters came and entertained Jane for an hour or two this afternoon, so in the big picture, despite my frustration it’s been a really good day. Time for home and a really late Sunday lunch… hot chocolate and toast with a yoghurt to follow sounds quick and easy!

1 Corinthians 13v4  ‘Love is patient’ (NIV)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

12th Feb

A long, long day, incredibly stressful and yet somehow the Lord is carrying us through life’s challenges with perfect peace. I feel stronger at the end of the day than at a 6am premature wake-up. Even more strangely I feel more hopeful today than yesterday completely in contradiction to our circumstances. Some kind friends recently gave us a card with the well-known footprints in the sand poem reminding us of how the Lord carries us through times of difficulty...

Jane had a difficult night in extreme pain resulting in us gate crashing an appointments only service at our GP. The doctor was very kind and arranged for Jane to be admitted for proper assessment at Derby Royal Hospital. Tonight tests are not yet complete but things are pointing towards either pleurisy or a blood clot both of which should be treatable. She is relatively comfortable and actually had a very pleasant couple of hours later on when our eldest daughter joined us. We pray for a speedy resolution and safe discharge from hospital as soon as possible.

Both Jane and I feel this is an answer to yesterday’s prayer in that the specific health problems of the past three months could now well be resolved. We believe in and desire the miraculous instant healing of God but despite the discomfort we are very happy to receive his healing touch using the very kind and caring staff we meet at the hospital. Let it be so Lord!

Thanks to our kind friends in the USA who gave us the following scripture.

Isaiah 40vs29-31 ‘He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ (NIV)

Friday, February 11, 2011

11th Feb Prayer Day

A day of prayer, a day of sacrifice giving of our sustenance to the Lord that he might sustain Jane in this her time of need… a day of hope. Thank you to all who are praying and standing with us at this time.

Another reasonable night again spoilt by horrible coughing in the morning. Jane is beginning to feel really run down physically with this continual drain on her energy. She was blessed with a telephone child minding session this morning looking after our grandson whilst his mum was packing for a church weekend away. A good 15 minutes on the phone for a 2 year old is quite impressive and Jane now knows all the words to ‘Twinkle twinkle chocolate bar how I wonder.’ This evening she is in extreme pain and struggling to cope, I guess it’s time to start using morphine unfortunately. A kind friend sent us this interesting link giving us Godly insight into understanding affliction

At our church prayer meeting this morning we had a very special time of prayer for Jane, and I was given a word that reminded me of an intriguing scripture… Revelation 8:4 The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.’ There are mysteries in our spiritual journey that can never be fully understood this side of eternity… why does God allow suffering? Why does God apparently delay answering the prayers of the righteous? We know that he hears our prayers; we know that he loves us with a perfect love and with infinite power he is able to heal and restore in an instant and yet our prayers seemingly remain unanswered. That is so obviously untrue and our heartfelt response has to remain one of praise and thankfulness for his goodness!

Psalm 103v1-5 ‘Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's!’ (NLT)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

10th Feb

It’s been an interesting day, though challenging as always. No matter what comes our way we have a choice… either focus upon life’s difficulties or focus upon life’s blessings. Either look at life through the eyes of hopelessness or see life as God sees it, something about being seated in heavenly places with Christ having an eternal all-knowing perspective. We can never know the details of our earthly future until we work them out, we have to live with hope, and we should always expect God’s favour and blessing as being from our perfect Father in heaven.

Again Jane had quite a good night and woke up feeling quite normal only to succumb to a horrible bout of coughing as soon as she got up. The continual coughing is also causing a lot of pain as well. We are praying and expecting this to be healed so that Jane can resume some sort of normality. A visit from the Macmillan nurse was encouraging and Jane has since been talking of refocusing attention away from ill health towards normal life. The nurse even suggested that Jane might be able to run an art/therapy workshop again. An interesting challenge! Let’s stay positive and hopeful.

Psalm 23v6 ‘Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever’ (NLT)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

9th Feb

Sometimes we have to simply grit our teeth and just get on with it! Having to cope with ill health ought to be enough but the rest of life trundles along with its little hassles as well… Jane felt strong enough to have a little outing this morning until we realise that my car brakes were failing! Duel circuit hydraulics kept us quite safe but the trip out was spoiled as we needed to divert to my wonderful brother-in-law who owns a local garage. He’ll fix it Thursday.

Jane has been struggling with pain through today, keeping her awake last night as well. She’s determined to hold back on using a morphine prescription if at all possible but ordinary painkillers and cough mixture are barely sufficient. We keep praying and then praying some more and then praying some more… we had a beautiful time of worship this morning singing some great old songs and we know that God is with us in a very special way. A friend of Jane she met at university made the point that ‘God is listening’ and you know what? He really is and we are totally convinced that the creator of the universe Jesus Christ is concerned about and attentive to the very tiniest detail of our lives! We will press on with thanksgiving and praise on our lips and in our hearts.

Isaiah 50v7 'Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will' (NLT)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

8th Feb

How can life be so good and yet so challenging at the same time? We’ve had a day of great pleasure spending time with our grandson… watching him dancing with his mum, pushing his toy train around the track and learning how to finish his lunch interwoven with a river of tears as we travel along this amazing journey of life!

Jane has had another quite good night’s sleep and a couple of mornings now she has woken up breathing quite normally and thinking that she’s better. It must be so difficult to cope with getting up only to have a horrible bout of coughing again. One day, maybe tomorrow she really will recover… all our hope is in God, we hear of miraculous stories and know for sure that he loves us completely. Whatever we go through we will thank him for his goodness to us, we have been so blessed and favoured in so many different ways!

Psalm 127v2 ‘For he grants sleep to those he loves’ (NIV)

Monday, February 07, 2011

7th Feb

Another up and down day… sitting in the oncology consultation room having a laugh with each other, whilst waiting for the doctor, only to be faced  a few minutes later with medical realities such as Jane being told she has not many months unless chemotherapy works. We know that even then it is not offered as a cure, doctors have no answers for the incurable… but we do know someone who does! Jesus Christ alone determines the exact number of days that we all shall live. He holds the key to life and death and Jane belongs to him and no other.

We were blessed with a visitor this morning when one of our church leaders called to pray and use his ‘elders’ anointing oil. We had a great time sharing stories and encouraging each other, a very timely distraction and one day such a prayer as this will be the prayer that releases God’s healing… mmm maybe that was it?

Matthew 28v18 ‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me’ (NIV)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

6th Feb

An encouraging weekend… God really does answer prayer! Jane had a difficult Friday night with disturbed sleep, a problem she’s had recently due to either breathing or coughing problems. Friends from church called by and prayed with us Saturday lunchtime. Net result was a really good night’s sleep last night. Thank you God!

And we had a fun time this afternoon as Jane was strong enough to go to Darley Abbey village hall with grandchildren in tow watching their dad play a king in amateur panto. Very polished and thoroughly enjoyable including the only slightly risqué traditional pantomime dames who were quite hilarious.

We really appreciate all those who are praying especially during the meeting in Kilburn tonight and I believe the new church in Penzance. A big day tomorrow as Jane has an appointment in Nottingham to sign up for her starting a new chemotherapy treatment… not looking forward to that again at all.

Mark 16v17,18 ‘And these signs will accompany those who believe… when they drink deadly poison it will not hurt them at all’ (NIV)

Friday, February 04, 2011

4th Feb Day of Prayer

At our weekly church prayer meeting this morning I was encouraged to stir up prayer for Jane via the internet. Only a miracle through divine intervention can save Jane as though the doctors offer no hope for a cure we continue to believe that Jesus Christ has the answer for every sickness. The group encouraged us by taking up a suggestion of a specific day of prayer and fasting for Jane (maybe just missing breakfast?) next Friday the 11th February. After some thought I decided to open a blog for those who might continue this journey past a single day of prayer and hope to keep it updated with a glimpse of Dave and Jane world as often as possible. God answers prayer! As an encouragement… at the meeting this morning we prayed for the unemployed young people we know and I specifically prayed for my son that he would find work. Whilst I was out he received a message inviting him to interview for an apprenticeship in telecommunications. After 15 months as a school cleaner and no interviews for many months that sounds pretty good to me, he just needs to be at his best at interview!

Jane has started to show symptoms over the past couple of months which are causing a lot of concern. Doctors say she now has large cancerous growths in both lungs, a very rare cancer called leiomyosarcoma originating in her womb. She suffers severe pain, some coughing and breathing difficulties. After much consideration Jane has just decided to go through further chemotherapy which is the only treatment offered at the moment. The challenge as always with this treatment is the uncertainty of a good outcome, maybe fifty-fifty, balanced with the ‘certainty’ of toxic side effects.

We continue our faith journey trusting that God is always good and in perfect control of every tiny detail of our lives. We give thanks for his wonderful favour over our lives as he is blessing us with so many good things. We have the most loving caring family and each one of them is a very special friend… especially our grandchildren! We are regularly amazed at the number of people, including some who barely know us, who say they are praying for Jane and for those that are we say a big big thank you.

Please pray for God’s favour and mercy with relief from adverse symptoms, effective treatment without side effects and a complete work of healing and restoration.

Psalm 118v17 ‘I will not die; instead I will live to tell what the Lord has done.’ (NLT)