Noel’s Health Update – Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 8 p.m.

Thank you all for your many prayers, thoughts and messages! Meryl and I are so blessed and grateful for your encouragement, support and TLC.

The surgery went well and I was discharged by about 2 p.m., feeling a bit woozy but OK. Slept for a couple of hours this afternoon. My nose and chin are both a bit sore but not bad enough for any medication at the moment. I follow up with the doc in a week (not yet booked).

Apparently both the nose and chin spots were cancerous. The nose was basal and he reckons he got it all without need for a skin graft from my shoulder, so that was good. The chin was squamous and didn’t need a graft either. He thinks the one on my calf was not cancerous at all, more dry skin. Squamous can be more dangerous and faster spreading than basal, but both are potentially life threatening if untreated. As always it is better to get treated earlier rather than later.

The lesions seem to be a function of my light colouring and skin. Clearly, serving in the infantry for nearly 30 years makes me more susceptible to skin cancers. We were often in the sun – as well as much rain and some unforgettable frozen weather! Such is life’s rich pageant! And, apparently, because of the transplant 3 years ago, some of the immuno-suppressant drugs I’ve been on also put me more at risk.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 Update

Relay for Life: I Am Hope

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 Update

I'd be most grateful for all your prayers and thoughts tomorrow, Thursday, and the few days after. I report to hospital at 10 a.m. for minor surgery to remove three basal cell lesions on my nose, chin and left calf. This will be a conscious sedation procedure and should take only a short time. I'm told it takes most of the rest of the day for the sedation effects to wear off. Meryl has to come with me to drive me home and be with me for the 24 hours afterwards.

Pray the wounds will heal quickly and well, especially the "nose job", cosmetically (although I'm not a vain person I do want to look presentable!). More importantly, pray the surgeon will get all the cancer cells out!

I know many people have this sort of procedure but I'm not looking forward to the day; and I don't like pain either! My platelet count, although much better, is still low and means that any bleeding takes longer to clot than it used to.

Otherwise, I continue to feel better than I have for more than 6 months as my immune system strengthens, the GVHD goes away, and the dosage of Prednisone gets reduced again next Tuesday.

Thank God for the excellent ministry trip we just came back from.

The Anglican Chaplains Convocation was very enjoyable, solidifying relationships with many armed forces Chaplains as well as those ministering in Veterans and other hospitals, hospices and correctional institutions (prisons in UK parlance).

The Welcome Home Initiative retreat was a huge healing blessing for everyone who came.

At least one marriage seemed to be significantly and positively improved (the couple decided to renew their vows soon).

I felt that the "coming alongside" ministry I exercise seemed to be well received as I (with several others similarly "called") listened to stories of deep trauma, showed compassion to those suffering and prayed deeply for them to be set free from the memories and experiences that haunt them, that often cause Soldiers to feel like they are tied up with barbed wire.

Meryl played a crucial part as she helped minister to the five young wives who came. Her experiences as an Army wife for 23 years including several years of dealing with combat and other operational deployments, proved invaluable to several women present.

Please also pray for the Godly provision of $1,200 -$1,500 to enable me to attend and minister alongside Rev. Nigel Mumford at a healing conference for military Chaplains from August 27-29 at Orlando, FL. Nigel is the main speaker and leads the very small healing ministry team, of which I feel called to be a part of. He very much wants me there.

Thank you so much!

Latest news from Boston and more…

Great is thy faithfulness, new every morning new mercies we see…are the words from our special hymn, sung at our wedding… we are so grateful for all the Lord has done for us.

Since our last visit to Boston a month ago… there has been a dramatic improvement in Noel’s GVHD symptoms. Actually a mystery to the Doctors as to why, very suddenly just about two weeks ago, the sores in Noel’s mouth disappeared and no new ones have developed. We are of course putting it down to the power of prayer and the Lord’s timing.

Doctor Treister is mystified but happy and has told Noel to slowly reduce the frequency of the special mouth wash over the next few weeks to down to once a day. Unless there are any adverse changes Noel will see him again in 3 months. When we mentioned to Dr. T about our belief in the efficacy of prayer he put his hand on Noel’s shoulder and said, “maybe someone reached down and put his hand in your mouth and took the sores and GVHD away!”

Amy, Dr Soiffer’s NP, was equally pleased to see Noel’s mouth looking so very much better. She and Dr S feel that Noel should stay on the 15 mg of prednisone (steroid) for another three weeks before further reducing to 10 mg if all continues to go well. Noel’s next appointment was lengthened to 6 weeks so this is another huge improvement. Next appointment is Wednesday,19th August.

So please keep praying his mouth stays GVHD free; that his swollen feet and ankles continue to reduce – they are still preventing him wearing normal shoes; that the swelling around his face, cheeks and jowls reduce; and that he gains more energy and stays well. Amy gave him the go ahead to travel over the next two weeks but said she wanted him to wear a face mask on the airplane flights. Even though his blood counts are good his immune system is still fragile. His platelets have gone above 100 for the first time in more than 6 months.

So on Thursday we fly to Dayton, Ohio for the Anglican Armed Forces Jurisdiction (aka Diocese) annual training, sustainment and fellowship meeting adjacent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Noel will listen to, show love to and pray for many military Chaplains he knows and also help lead the sessions for Commissioned Lay Chaplains in his capacity as Prior of the Order of St. Martin of Tours, a relatively recently formed and growing community of Lay Chaplains ministering in secular places of work such as VA and other hospitals, hospices, prisons and correctional institutions, as well as pastoral care roles in churches, and for Noel, ministering in the military environment to Chaplains and Veterans.

On Monday, 13 July we fly on to Florida where for a couple of days we will pay short visits to 2 sets of friends in the Orlando/Kissimmee area. We first met both sets over 20 years ago when we all lived in Virginia Beach. From Thursday, July 16-18 we will help lead a Welcome Home Initiative Retreat for at least 10 combat Veterans and 7 spouses at West Palm Beach. We return home on Sunday, 19 July, back to our busy home life and school vacation day care for the girls.

Because ministry is busy this month, let alone into the future, we are writing a second, separate, update this month. Please read it and pray what role you might have in helping to further our ministry vision and activities to the end of this year. We fully believe we have been called to the Chaplain and Veterans ministry by the Lord and that the plans we have are directly from our Father in heaven as we listen to Him and respond to His leading.

So thank you again for following our journey and praying for us. God Bless you all!