April 18th… Happy Birthday Noel

Written at Hope Lodge, Wednesday 17th April 2013. Transplant Day plus 31

Blessed be the LORD, The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise him. (Psalm 28:6-7)

We are praising the Lord! Noel feels well at the moment and has done for the last couple of weeks, although short periods of real fatigue each day are usual, and some now minor discomfort from mouth sores and digestive problems continue.

We thank the Lord so much for the strength and gift of perseverance that He gave Noel a few weeks ago during February and March as well as over this past 9 months. He has brought him through a period of feeling really down.

We have both been walking more for exercise and today here in the beautiful Boston sunshine enjoyed a 3+ mile walk in a local park where it was a joy to see so many signs of Spring. We are also using the stairs as much as we can and ‘did’ over 200 steps on then today. Our room at Hope Lodge has been on the 4th floor (3rd floor in UK terms).there is of course an elevator but we choose not to use it.

At the Dana Farber, Noel had a good appointment with Dr Soiffer today, April 17th. He made one minor adjustment, in Noel’s favour, of one of the immunosuppressive drugs he is on. Eventually the aim is for Noel to be off these and his many other drugs altogether.

Overall, Dr Soiffer was pleased with Noel’s blood work:
Red cells 3.30 — 3 weeks ago 3.13 — Normal 4.2-5.6
White cells 4.3 — 3 weeks ago 4.9 — Within normal range
Platelets 100 — 3 weeks ago 76 — Normal 155-410

Noel’s next appointment is in 3 weeks, on May 8th. There was some initial discussion about moving to monthly visits, perhaps starting in June. We are hopeful that Dr S might give Noel permission to start living in a less isolated way after the next visit. This will feel like a huge step forward.

Family life has again been busy on both sides of the Atlantic. Our grandchildren all enjoyed the Easter Holidays/Spring Break with their parents taking time off work to do fun family activities with them….just sad both families could not have shared time together but maybe one day that might be possible.

We give praise to God for continuing healing and wonderful prayer and other support from so many family and friends around the world. Please continue to pray for us and our family. Your prayers are such an encouragement to us.

This week, here in Boston, has seen yet another act of utter evil and terror manifest itself. It is hard to understand or even know how to react or find words to describe the events but I found hope for us all in the words of this prayer. I discovered it yesterday in a book, left by another visitor, in the room we have here at the Hope Lodge…the prayer was written by a prisoner at the Ravensbuuck concentration camp during WW2.

‘O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember the fruits we have brought, thanks to this suffering, our comradeship, our loyalty, our humanity, our courage, our generosity,the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this, and when they come to judgement let all the fruits which we have borne be their forgiveness.’

Noel has been talking to a few people saying that there are two ways each of us can help, however powerless or inadequate we feel. First and most importantly, we can pray. And pray, and pray and pray. Scripture he tells them, talks about the need to pray continually (1Thessalonians 5:17). Next one ought to do whatever good is possible. Good overcomes evil and we believe every act of goodness, kindness, encouragement etc, has this effect on evil, even if imperceivable at this moment of time. For example, we both talked to a young man who took his dog to Boston Common for a while yesterday. The dog attracted attention and conversation, which led to him and others being encouraged, even though none of those there had been directly affected by the bombs. Scripture says that we are to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). And let’s pray the authorities do their work well and can bring the perpetrators of this evil to justice (Isaiah 30:18).

Thank you to those of you who have already responded to my April 1st update and supported our Relay for Life fund raising efforts… Trying to ‘pay it forward’ for the amazing help the American Cancer Society has given us through our stays here at the Hope Lodge….

…. So please visit our Relay Team ‘Hearts of Hope’ pages: Noel’s page or Meryl’s page. We appreciate you partnering with us in this. God Bless you!

April 1st… not a joke!

April 1st… and this was no Joke!! 2 years ago on April 1st during the Friday afternoon aqua fit class at the YMCA that Noel and I were doing. Noel was taken ill… the EMT guy who came with the Ambulance told me Noel’s condition was potentially fatal from sudden death!! And in the ER at the Hospital the Dr. said the same thing to me… thankfully they stabilized him and then during his stay in Cardiac ICU they could not find a heart problem. He was however, diagnosed with a rare form of bone marrow cancer… the diagnosis was again described as almost certainly fatal within a very few years… the only hope of long term survival would be a Bone Marrow / Stem Cell transplant… itself not with out risks… it is now 2 years later and 9 months post transplant and things are looking so much brighter for the future and for this we thank God and many, many who have prayed and supported us.

One of the blessings we have received during the past 2 years is many nights ‘free’ accommodation in Boston at the American Cancer Society’s facility called Hope Lodge, saving us thousands of dollars in hotel bills, this facility is only made possible by donations… please help us ‘pay it forward’ so others can have this same blessing when they have to be far from home for medical appointments. Please support Noel in this year’s Relay for Life… and the American Cancer Society who through other Hope Lodges in many major cities like Boston provide this ‘free’ accommodation… if you feel able to do so please make a donation using either of the links below… We are both taking part in the Relay, as is Charlotte, the 3 of us will walk the Survivors lap together. Thank you and God Bless you!

Noel’s Relay page: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=49271&pg=personal&px=31513675

Meryl’s Relay page: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/MerylDawes