Dear friends and family
It is now 2 months since my last update… And much has happened… We left the day after Thanksgiving for our trip to South Africa and to spend Christmas and New Year in England… The trip went well we had a fantastic time in both countries with many blessings and answered prayers… much to share and talk about from Global Interaction, sightseeing in such a beautiful location and time with the grandchildren and other
family members. I could write a book! But all that now seems far behind us, as we arrived back in the USA on Monday evening with Noel feeling very much under the weather as the old saying goes.
Even before leaving home in November Noel had been experiencing some troublesome recurrence of sores in his mouth, a symptom of the Graft Verses Host Disease (GVHD) that has bothered him from time to time since the stem cell transplant, now 2 1/2 years ago. During our trip the sores continued to become more and more bothersome and painful, making it difficult to enjoy much of the delicious food he loves, he put on a brave face and complained little. But by last week even eating bland soft food had become difficult as the sores now covered his whole mouth and inner lips… he was also showing some other signs of GVHD, a skin rash and a lot of digestive discomfort. Noel then developed what we thought was a bad cold and cough..
By the time we boarded the flight home on Monday he was not at all well feeling very poorly. Thankfully we had Tuesday here at the Hope Lodge in Boston for him to rest all day. Unable to eat, even drinking Ensure through a straw was very painful. Wednesday morning we went for his regular appointment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Dr Soiffer was visibly shocked to see his condition and ordered numerous tests. Called the head of the Oral Surgery Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr Treister to look at Noel’s mouth… He has prescribed a new medication mouth wash and ointment, which will hopefully bring some relief from the pain. Noel’s liver functions are all over the place and he tested positive for a virus, RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) which is particularly dangerous to newborn babies and anyone with a compromised immune system such as Noel… no wonder he feels so very ill. He is being treated with a 2 week course of antibiotics and has to be seen back at the Dana Farber next Wednesday.
Hopefully by then the virus will be much better and they can better access the GVHD and decide how to treat it. They are reluctant to rush back into prescribing steroids as these in themselves have lasting side effects and consequences. But whatever they decide it’s going to be weeks before Noel is anywhere back to normal. He is exhausted.
As you can imagine all this is frustrating for Noel as this new year held so much promise with new Ministry opportunities and a full calendar of events. All of which are on hold at the moment.
So please pray this is a journey with twists and turns, mountain tops and valleys… we do not loose sight of what The Lord has done for us giving Him thanks and praises as we hold on to His promise that he has good plans for the future. We are a little discouraged but not downcast. Pray for relief of this pain which Noel described to me to day as torture for the virus to leave him, and for the GVHD to subside. For renewed strength. But also for patience for both of us to get through the tough times.
We are looking forward to being home in Glens Falls. Seeing our friends and family.
We pray you all have a blessed year ahead… Please do keep in touch with us… We did not send out traditional Christmas or New Year greetings… But we want to be in contact with you. God Bless you!