Journey with cancer 13 Feb 2013 – surprisingly good news

It’s been some time since I posted on the progress of the cancer. I guess there hasn’t been much to report. October was the last time I had a scan. The cancer had been stable. I’d been feeling fairly well. In fact, for two or three cycles, the chemo hadn’t knocked me round too badly and I’d only been bed-ridden for a day or two.

During the summer months I’d enjoyed some wonderful relaxing time with the family. We’d been camping at Burrill, enjoying the surf, catching some fish, chilling out in the hammocks, chatting round the campfire, learning to cook cakes in my ‘Shuttle Chef’. I stopped reading books for a while, slowed down on the blogging, played a bit of real life scrabble, and slept lots. We spent a couple of awesome weeks in Sydney house-sitting for friends. During this time I learned to ride a stand-up paddleboard (sort of), helped the kids to learn to wakeboard while I had heaps of fun driving the zodiac on Sydney Harbour. I didn’t even have to interrupt the Sydney holiday because we were able to arrange chemo in Sydney. Then, another week or so camping in Burrill. I had long walks on the beach, caught some salmon, flathead and whiting, cooked some more cakes, and even went out in the surf. For the first time in two years I went out on my bodyboard and caught some decent waves. It was exhilarating! Who would have thought a year ago?! Mind you, I suffered the next two days, as my ankles swelled up in such pain that I could barely walk. But, it was worth it!

Now I’m back at work. I’ve re-joined the team that I built, but in a new role, with new patterns, new responsibilities, and new challenges ahead. I will need to be disciplined in getting rest, taking time off, tuning out from the demands of ministry, saying ‘no’ to opportunities, and staying focused. But I’m excited at the possibilities.

marble-in-hand-cmykOn Monday I had a CT scan to check what was happening with the cancer. I must admit, that I’d been expecting this scan to show growth. It’s over a year now since I began chemo and it’s unusual for people with my cancer to show no progression for this long on this treatment. But, it’s not about statistics. Everyone is unique. And my results stunned everyone. Fiona rang for the results yesterday and we celebrated them over dinner. The tumour had shrunk again. After being stable for months, it had shrunk from 12mm to 7mm! Awesome! I’ve gone from having a marble inside me to having a pea!

peaThe oncologist this morning was smiling! In fact, he was pretty chirpy. They just don’t expect to see further shrinkage once things have plateaued on maintenance therapy. Plus, the neuropathy seems under control. So much to be thankful for.

A miracle? Yes, it is really. I’m not healed, but I’ve been healing in so many ways, and that is very encouraging. Why is this? The right drugs? It seems so. The combination of Alimta and Avastin isn’t that common, but in my case it’s proved to be very effective. It justifies the huge costs of the treatment. Is it good food, reasonable exercise, de-stressing and refocusing on life? I’m sure this has helped. And what about prayer? Can my improved condition be linked to the prayers of so many (I believe hundreds of people) praying regularly for me? I believe it can. I don’t know why, but it’s the mercy of God that I’m where I am today, and I thank him for listening to the pleas of so many. If you pray, please join me in praising God for his kindness and please keep asking him to shrink this cancer to oblivion!

23 thoughts on “Journey with cancer 13 Feb 2013 – surprisingly good news”

  1. God is good and prayers work! For me too Dave, I have small cell lung cancer and am still alive after 15 months. God is good and prayers work. I will continue to pray for you Dave!

  2. Wonderful news – answers to prayer – so we continue to pray for you and what God wants you to achieve!

  3. All glory be to our great God. Karen equally had some very unexpected and wonderful news on Monday, which we are all praising God for in Maitland. I’ll let them share the details of their joy with you personally!

  4. Who knows how God works the important thing is thing is that He does –
    tailor-made to each of us. We rejoice with you! Praise the Lord!


  5. With you and all your family and friends we rejoice in this latest news and again thank God for his many blessings.
    The past twelve months have been a remarkable journey, and I am convinced that God has been part of and partner on the journey. I stop short of saying that God caused the cancer, but the evidence is clear that God has been at work in you and the family and in the healing that you have acknowledged. Medication and expert medical care, lifestyle issues, the caring prayers and support of countless numbers of people are all part of the strategy by which God has been at work in you in ways that have wrought changes for you and impacted the lives of so many other people.
    The Macarisms you have written this month seem to summarize much of what has been happening as part of the cancer journey and suggest that the way ahead may be somewhat different from what you had faithfully and carefully planned. In November last you viewed 2012 as a forced sabbatical, a concept I concurred with in a comment. The nature and purpose of that sabbatical are now becoming clearer, I suspect.
    For many people today, the sabbatical year is the opportunity to engage in a range of experiences of our own choosing, mostly very worthwhile, to refresh and further prepare and grow ourselves for the next phase of life. It seems that the past year has not been the sabbatical that you would have chosen as you prepared to move on from Crossroads to Darwin, but a sabbatical given to you as refreshment and growing and preparation for a new work and new ministry which God is progressively opening to you.
    Without diminishing anything of the experiences that you have endured during the past year, I want to sing again a favourite hymn which begins and ends with the following words –
    This, this is the God we adore, our faithful, unchangeable friend; . . . . .
    We’ll praise him for all that is past, and trust him for all that’s to come.

  6. This is the most fantastic news David – what a great God – so so happy to hear this, and jsut spurs me on to keep praying

  7. Great news. I do know I saw a very contented, exhausted face washed up on the sand with a bodyboard under him one day at Burrill.

  8. Such fantastic news Dave. Thanks be to God! Love it when God shows doctors who’s boss and especially when they are treating my friends!

  9. No prayers – but I am extremely happy for you, your family and everyone else who loves you, this is fantastic news Dave. Keep up the treatment and may it come to pass that the Cancer continues to shrink 🙂
    You were an inspiration to me almost from the first day I met you, god lord I was 18-19 years old, which for the record was almost 25 years ago now, and I was greatly saddened to hear the news of the cancer.
    Take care


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