I will give thanks to The Lord with my whole heart…
Snow, snow and more snow… Here in Glens Falls we have had multiple feet of snow on the ground for weeks and Boston has had record amounts of snow this year. But we have been blessed with fine clear days to drive there and back… for which we are very thankful, last week’s trip turned out to be just overnight as we could only get one night’s accommodation at the Hope Lodge, so we left soon after Noel’s appointments on Wednesday to drive home – just ahead of more snow!
During the 2 weeks since his last visit to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute Noel had blood work done at the CR Wood Cancer Center in Glens Falls and it seemed that things were beginning to move in the right direction, so we were very pleased that the tests at the DFCI showed the same movement with slightly better readings for Noel’s platelet levels and liver functions… this coupled with the fact that Noel’s mouth is much less sore and he says he now feels about 70% well… it was decided to begin to reduce the high dose of steroids he was prescribed! Coming back off them is a lengthy process. This is good as the side effects of the steroids are not much fun, one of which we need to keep an eye on is the rise in ‘sugar’ levels… So he will have blood tests again next week at the CR Wood Cancer Center here in Glens Falls.
We praise the Lord that we are coming out of this dark valley and moving forward again. Noel is still on what he calls ‘light duties’ (British Army term) and trying to pace himself and not to rush back too quickly into doing too much. We have now learned that he must be careful not only not to catch infections but also not to over tax himself as this puts a strain on his, as yet still immature, immune system which then seems to result in the GVHD flare ups. They arrive quickly, with little warning, and then take ages to recover from.
But even on ‘light duties’ life seems pretty busy with no time to be bored.
We are grateful for all your prayers and support in so many ways – your snail mail and welcome calls and messages. We are sorry if we are not always quick to reply and hope you will bear with us. We are also grateful for the recent anonymous donation in Noel’s honor to CaringBridge. Although we do not receive the donations made to CaringBridge ourselves, they do go towards providing this great asset for us and others free of charge which enables us to keep in touch with you all though that service.
We were given the option of Noel’s next appointment being in 2 or 3 weeks, so we decided to take the 3 week break and his next appointment is on March 11th. We are once again on the wait list for a room at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge. Please pray for a room to become available there. Hope Lodge is a wonderful blessing and being able to stay there on so many of our visits to Boston has saved us hundreds of dollars in hotel costs. We are so grateful to the American Cancer Society and those who support it for enabling us and others to stay there at no cost. Of course we try make donations ourselves from time to time, and occasional donations from others are always welcomed by the management of the place, which costs a huge amount to run each year.
It won’t be long now before we will again be turning our own thoughts and efforts towards our own fund raising for the American Cancer Society through our participation in the Relay for Life. For us this has become an annual family event as we celebrate Charlotte continuing to be a cancer survivor, as well as Noel and myself. We would not have chosen these three journeys but they are 3 journeys during which we have received many, many blessings, especially drawing closer together as a family and having our faith in a Mighty God strengthened.
God bless you all.
Meryl and Noel
After note from Noel: We have not been engaged in much ministry these past two weeks. The Lay Chaplains Academy went very well and was enjoyed by those who were able to attend. Sadly as you know we were not able to be there. In conversation with Bishop Dan at the Spiritual Life Center, we have decided to postpone the female combat Veterans healing retreat until later in the year (we had not yet widely advertised it and there were no registrations, coupled with my own health and that of one of the staff at the SLC). The main ministry event recently was the annual Board meeting of By His Wounds ministry (Rev. Nigel Mumford’s healing ministry), which I was able to attend via Webex. I have been able to do a bit of follow up over Facebook with a former Croatian soldier who I met at Global Interaction last December. He wants to translate some of the Welcome Home Initiative materials to help the soul wounds suffered by Bosnian War Veterans.