Transplant Day plus 291

Hope Lodge in Boston, MA.

‘When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheers my soul.’ Psalm 94:19.

‘Give thanks to The Lord for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.’
Psalm 107:1.

Today Noel had his usual 3 week appointment at Dana Farber… yesterday’s drive to Boston was a sunny Spring like day, which was encouraging. Has winter really left and Spring arrived even though there was lots of snow last week – much like many other places in the USA and Europe.

So far this year, we have routinely been seeing Amy but today we were pleased to see Dr. Soiffer for the first time since Christmas. Dr. S reviewed Noel’s blood work and was at a loss to know why his results 3 weeks ago had showed such a leap but today are back in line with 6 weeks ago… He is not concerned about this but thinks everything is going along fine. Even though today’s numbers on paper seem lower, they are actually consistent over all with a gradual slight rise in the levels. He sees this as good, continual, progress.

This weeks blood test:
White blood cells 4.9 with in the normal range — 6 weeks ago 3.8
Red blood cells 3.13 — normal 4.2-5.6 — 6 weeks ago 2.98
Platelets 76 — normal 155-410 — 6 weeks ago 74

As Noel is still taking drugs to suppress his immune system Dr. S said the restrictions on his life style are still in place, so no change yet in where he can go, what he can do and what he can eat.

With the good progress and it now being 9 months since his transplant, today Noel began to receive vaccinations just as a newborn infant would. As all his own immunity was wiped out by the aggressive chemotherapy before the transplant. Today he had the Polio Vaccine, DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough), Hib, Haemophilus Influenzae type B and Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine. He will get more doses at set intervals as well as the boosters shots that children are normally given.

Noel’s next appointment is in 3 weeks on April 17th, again with Dr. Soiffer.

Since his leg injury healed Noel has started walking again for exercise, however he is still fighting bouts of fatigue and digestion problems. But he generally feels good and continues to have a positive attitude. We are both encouraged and not discouraged. And each time we stay at Hope Lodge, as well as in other places, the Lord seems to provide opportunities for us to share naturally with others what we do, and how the faith we profess enables us to live fully and positively. We are usually able to pray for others, formally or informally, as we share.

Family on both sides of the Atlantic are doing well… and looking forward to all having family time over the Spring break / Easter Holidays. Hopefully in both countries the weather will be fine so family days out and about can be enjoyed. Toby, JoAnn, Charlotte and Lucy will have lunch with us on Easter Day. Meanwhile, in England, Charles, Sarah, Evelyn and William will have lunch with Sarah’s parents.

Please praise and pray with us… for again being blessed with being able to stay here at the Hope Lodge. We are grateful for Noel’s progress, our family and friends and God’s amazing gift to each one of us at Easter…

Please continue to pray for Noel’s complete healing, for the GVHD to stay controlled and for more energy. And for the Lord’s continuing provision for all our needs.

We ask the Lord’s blessing on you and all your families this Easter time.

Thank you again for your support in many different ways. We are blessed by you, including the many encouraging responses on our web pages, for the donations that were given in March which helps so much with the medical bills and travel costs; but above all, for your prayers, concern and love.

Transplant Day plus 251

… ‘they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint’. Isaiah 40:31.

After our last joint update when news was not greatly encouraging… I am pleased to report today that things are much better and the news is encouraging once again. Praise The Lord!

After a very difficult couple of weeks Noel is feeling so much better. Increasing his steroid dose certainly has subdued the very nasty and painful mouth sores which were preventing him eating. He is now back to enjoying real food rather than ‘Ensure’ through a straw!

We were in Boston yesterday for his appointments at the Dana-Farber… We knew the GVHD was under control, and that it had taken four days for the increased steroid dose to clear up the mouth sores, but we did not know what his blood work would be doing… After a bad cold, the leg injury (both now very much better), all we felt we could hope for was that his blood work was no worse than 3 weeks ago… PTL what a joy to see they were the best they had been since the transplant… still need to be better but this is such an encouraging sign that progress is going quickly forward.

This weeks blood test results:
White blood cells 7.3 – Last time 3.8 – (a huge leap into the normal range of 3.8-9.2)
Red blood cells 2.98 – Last time 2.92 – Normal 4.2-5.6
Platelets 120 – Last time 74 – (a good more towards the normal range of 155-410)

So this seems like a real move of progress in Noel’s lengthy convalescent stage of his recovery… Amy says she will keep the steroids at this level for the next 3 weeks… and then she my consider lowering them again. It is really a matter of trial and error when it comes to the rate the drugs can be reduced. There is no way to predict. There is no set down plan that works for every one… It is a delicate balance for each individual… the aim is to eventually get the patient off ALL drugs and blood counts back to normal, but some go faster and some slower… There are no fixed rules.

Noel is still fighting a lot of fatigue but that seems to be ‘normal’… if no fun! He feels energetic then hits a brick wall… but thankfully does bounce back fairly quickly.

We are so grateful for Noel’s good overall progress. Yesterday we heard the very sad news of another transplant patient who had been doing well but succumbed to an infection, developed pneumonia and died at about the Day +150 point.

Family news is all good… Every one busy with school and work and looking forward to Spring… We are enjoying our couple of days each week with Lucy and then Charlotte after school… at this stage children seem to change weekly… We so hope that later this year we will have the chance to see our other grandchildren, Eve and Will, who are also growing very fast. Many of you, with family far away, know this feeling so well too. We miss everyone so much.

We returned home last evening. Normally we stay in Boston till Thursday and then drive home refreshed after a nights sleep. But yesterday we were concerned that the weathermen were predicting another wild winter storm and we wanted to be home before it hit the north east… And thankfully we were. Seems winter is still hanging around with just two weeks to go till the first day of Spring!

Thank you for all your past prayers please keep praying…

  • For Noel’s energy levels.
  • For continued positive increases in his blood production.
  • For the GVHD to be kept in check and for it to not flare up again.
  • For The Lord to continue to provide for all the medical expenses.
  • For our family on both sides of the Atlantic.

Noel has asked me to include the following ministry praise and prayer request, he although not back in ‘full time ministry’ never has his heart or mind far from his ministry…

  • For several recent ministry opportunities for Noel. He has been able to pray for, talk to, encourage and generally minister to several US and international Chaplains, active duty and retired Veterans and others.

    (Note: In addition to folk being worn out and pressurized with ‘compassion fatigue’, PTSD and other forms of combat trauma including TBI, a growing aspect of ministry seems to be focused on what the military is calling ‘moral injury’. So far, in everything Noel has studied and ministered into regarding this, he has yet to hear of any connection between moral injury and ‘spiritual injury’ (as Noel calls it). It seems the prevailing view is that one’s moral value system and damage to it has absolutely no spiritual value aspect or connection at all. Noel’s experience, especially through the Welcome Home Initiative (WHI), would suggest differently.)

Thank you for walking with us, we were encouraged this past couple of weeks by your messages, calls and cards…I am still not good at keeping up with personal replies but please know you are all special to us.

God Bless you.