One Year, One Month, Four Days Post Transplant

Bone Marrow Transplant RibbonHope Lodge, Boston. July 15th 2013

“This is the day The Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” Psalm 118:24.

We continue to give thanks and to rejoice as Noel continues to be doing so very well. His Doctors at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute here in Boston are very pleased with his continued good progress.

Today, Noel’s blood work and other levels, although not yet ‘normal’, are remaining stable and he is feeling good. He is able to cope with the the level of discomfort from the GVHD and drug side effects… although will be glad when those change for the better. His energy levels are high as long as he paces himself… otherwise fatigue hits him like a wall. We are both extending ourselves with our walking routines and building up strength and fitness.

Today the Doctor took him off one of the immune suppressant drugs that he has been on ever since the transplant. This is a good sign and hopefully will help his immune system to be able to better fight off any germs he may encounter. Amy, Dr. Soiffer’s Nurse Practitioner, kept all the other drugs the same as before. So he has a pharmacy of drugs to take with us tomorrow on our flight to the UK. Hopefully the letter she gave him to take on the plane along with the drugs will satisfy any questions the security people might have.

She also lifted a couple of restrictions. He has not been allowed to drink any alcohol since his transplant but she said he could now sample a Pint of British Beer! But only one glass and no more than twice a week! She also said he could go into the swimming pool but to shower well immediately after getting out. She also reminded him that he must wear his face mask for the whole duration of the airplane flights. That recycled air on the plane is really not healthy, certainly for anyone with a weak immune system, regardless of what the airlines say.

We fly tomorrow (Tuesday 16th) evening from here in Boston to Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north east of England, via Amsterdam in The Netherlands. We will be staying very close to Charles, Sarah, Eve and Will in a self catering cottage for a few days before we all move to Seahouses, a small seaside town about 50 miles further north on the east coast. We will be there for a week, weather permitting, enjoying the sand and rock pools and hunting for shells and fossils and no doubt enjoying an ice-cream or two. It is also close to Holy Island aka Lindisfarne (*). We will then spend a second week back again near to where the family live enjoying day trips with them to local places of interest.

(*) [Christianity came to the north of England during the Roman times, then almost disappeared but was established again by St. Aidan in 635 AD, who built a rudimentary monastery at Holy Island.]

We know the time with the family will pass far too quickly and on August 4th we will travel by train south to stay with friends in Lichfield, near Birmingham for a few days before going on by car to spend time with my brother and his family who all live in the Cambridge area. We will then move to London where we will divide the rest of our time between staying with Noel’s sister, seeing all her family; and staying with Noel’s brother and seeing all his family.

So it is going to be a busy time but a happy time. We fly back to Boston on August 20th from London via Amsterdam, where will be check in to Hope Lodge, be at the DFCI on the 21st for Noel’s appointment and travel home to Glens Falls on the 22nd.

Please pray for our travels, by planes, trains and road – for us both to stay healthy; and for the family, Toby, JoAnn, Charlotte and Lucy, back here as they juggle Charlotte and Lucy’s day care arrangements between their own work schedules and the other grandparents work schedules, with the occasional help from a friend. We have recently taken care of the girls 3 days each week.

Thank you yet again for your faithfulness in continuing this journey with us. Your messages, notes, calls and visits and continued support are a huge blessing and encouragement to us – it would be a much harder road to travel without you all. We hope as you are there for us we are here for others with support and encouragement – sharing God’s love for us all.

Despite rumours to the contrary, we have not retired (haven’t yet found any mention of that word in the Bible!), nor has Noel’s illness caused us to cease the ministry he coordinates through ACCTS ( So, the ministry outreach to Chaplains and Veterans continues. In the past two weeks, Noel has been able to meet separately with three Veterans involved in the Welcome Home Initiative, talk to a senior National Guard Chaplain, take part in two Chaplain teleconference phone calls and minister personally to an Army Chaplain. Noel has been busy encouraging and linking up with other Chaplains and Veterans through Facebook; and has begun working with another Veteran to possibly bring the Alpha course to a Wounded Warriors healing group at a large Army base. All of these folk deeply appreciate the love, comfort, compassion and prayer that Noel brings to their relationships. They often say that it brings healing and Good News, giving them ‘strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow’. Meanwhile please pray about our ministry donation income which has fallen about $700 per month, or nearly 30%, over each of the last 5 months for reasons we know not – none of our donors have indicated any changes in their support arrangements, so we are puzzled as well as challenged by this! By the way, we are always open to the Lord bringing new donors to our team, however small they think their donation is, to complement the 30 or so current (and mostly longstanding donors we already have). Talk to us if the Lord is leading you in this direction.

We pray the Lord’s blessing on you all.