Day +186 post transplant – 12/12/12!

Hope Lodge, Boston

Trust The Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember The Lord in all you do, and he will give you success. Proverbs. 3:5-6 .

But as for me, I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. Psalm 71:14

Some words that come to mind this week are blessings, frustrated, discouraged, confident, steadfast and thanksgiving and praise… Why these words, you ask?

Yesterday was 6 months since the day Noel had what they like to call his re birthday… June 11th… The day he received the huge blessing of his bone marrow transplant. A little frustrated at times is how Noel has felt as 6 moths ago he predicted he would be well by now and back to living a normal life even though he was being told it would take 12 months. He thought a strong infantry guy like him would crack it in 6 months! Wrong! But he is confident he will have done so by the 12 month point… the Doctors are too… and say although progress seems slow, it is progress and he is now in remission… they will continue to call the phase he is in remission until the 5 year point because as with all cancers there is always a slight chance it will return but after 5 years it is far less likely it will. So we stand firm in our belief the cancer has gone – every scientific indication confirms that it has – and give thanks and praise to the Lord… We are not discouraged!

Last week Noel did not have an appointment at the DFCI but did have an appointment with ‘Dr G-G’, his hematologist at the C R Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital. She was pleased with his progress and was able to prescribe some antibiotics as Noel had a slight cold. Good to nip it in the bud before it got a hold of him and make him really ill, having little or no immune system yet. Other wise he has felt well, still has the sore mouth and throat but less than it was; and he often hits a brick wall of fatigue.

* In himself, Noel is ready to be back in action with his ministry and has been able to have some meaningful one-to-one telephone conversations and social media ministry interaction during the past 2 weeks. He has also been able to take part in two ministry prayer meetings by telephone plus a phone conference Board meeting of Olive Branch International, a follow up video-conference Board meeting and, last but not least, a long and encouraging phone call with the Executive Director of ACCTS, his “Boss”. In all of these calls, new ministry proposals for the future were talked about and received enthusiastically by others.

* Most of these proposals concern national and international plans to minister to Chaplains and war traumatized Veterans. Some proposals concern how to promote forgiveness and reconciliation between former military enemies. Realistically, we pray these plans will start to come to fruition in 2014, being energized by Global Interaction, a world wide military Christian training event being held in South Africa, which Noel and Meryl hope to go to. However, some of the proposals can start to be implemented before then. So, please pray that the Lord will abundantly supply the resources needed to implement the proposals, as well as the skilled people to action them. And this in addition to steep ongoing medical costs to treat Noel’s recovery. Anyone desiring to support the un-salaried, charitable military ministry should first ask Noel for advice on how best to do this. Funds to help cover the medical side should be sent direct to Noel and Meryl as previously explained.

These last 2 * paragraphs were actually written by Noel , maybe you thought that!

Back to the medical stuff! Written again by me…

Today’s Noel’s blood work at the DFCI was encouraging but still remains lower than normal.

Red Blood cells, 2.58 — Two weeks ago, 2.5 — Normal. 4.2-5.6
White Blood cells, 3.1 — Two weeks ago, 2.52 — Normal. 3.8-9.2
Platelets, 58 — Two weeks ago, 48 — Normal. 155-410

Amy, the NP, lowered the steroid dose again this week… A good sign that the GVH disease is under control, even if it seems to be lasting forever! She kept all his other drugs the same. Next appointment December 24th.

So we are praising The Lord that even though there have been difficult days during the last six months, He has been our strength and we have weathered the storm… but sometimes things do happen to discourage us along the way… Some of you may remember 5 years ago, I, Meryl, had what I called my ‘brief encounter’ with cancer… early diagnosis and treatment and the cancer was gone… But it seems my body was very sensitive (3-5 % of people are, apparently, very sensitive to radiation treatment) and the invasive and intense radiation to my pelvic area caused server damage to my colon. Six months after the treatment I had to have a piece removed during a colon resection… now 5 years later radiation damage has shown up in my bladder. This is giving me some side effects and discomfort. So at this moment I do feel somewhat discouraged… And seek your prayers for healing and acceptance of what the ‘new normal’ all this brings with it, so that I can say I am not discouraged but encouraged once more… And I will once again soar like an eagle as the Lord, in whom I trust, restores me.

The good news and answer to prayer is that there is room in the inn! We have a confirmed place to stay at Hope Lodge on the nights of the 24th and 25th of December… So we will drive down here to Boson early morning on Christmas Eve, have Noel’s appointments at the DFCI in the afternoon and then spend Christmas Day at Hope Lodge and drive home on the 26th, the day we call Boxing Day… so although a white Christmas would be pretty we hope for fine dry weather as we travel.

Charlotte and Lucy with Santa

Charlotte and Lucy with Santa

We will celebrate the reason for the season with a family dinner at our house on Sunday the 23rd and enjoy seeing Charlotte and Lucy open some gifts they will find under our Christmas Tree. Normally on the 20th of December we all go out together as a family for a meal, a family tradition since our own boys were young but this year as Noel can not eat in restaurants we will also celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary on that same Sunday, quite appropriate as the 20th December 1970, the day we were married was a Sunday.

It’s a busy time of the year for children. Charlotte and Lucy have been enjoying a number of Christmas parties. In England, our granddaughter Eve has the part of Mary in the school Nativity play… watch for photos very soon.

Our prayer for you all is that your Christmas will be blessed with good health, safe travel and happy reunions with family and friends… as you celebrate the best gift anyone of us will ever receive… God’s gift of Eternal Life through Jesus our Lord…

Please pray for us and our family as the Lord leads you, we thank you for your faithfulness to us during the past months… and thank the Lord he has heard and answered your prayers. God Bless you!

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