Saturday, November 7, 2009

from Kate

I've been savouring each of these posts, hearing Dad's voice in the words and it's a gift that I wish could continue.
I have other emails from Dad, including MANY jokes, heartwarming stories and other forwarded messages, but this invitation to journey with him across Spain was unique. We couldn't communicate in person, by text or phone call and the emails paint a vivid picture that, at other times, would have been conveyed in conversation.
I am so thankful for my opportunity to share in the journey of Dad's life.
I read the following prayer a few days ago and it speaks to me of Dad. He certainly wasn't perfect, but his life was a journey with God. I am so thankful for the many people who have spoken to me this year of the ways Dad touched their lives and the footprints he left that they desired to walk in...

"God we are surrounded by a cloud
Faithful witnesses who have gone before
Those who have loved where we would have hated
Those who have healed where we would have hurt
Those who have spoken out when we would have remained silent
God may we walk in their footsteps
Learning courage from their sacrifice
May we learn to give so that others may receive
May we learn to love so that others may be set free
May we learn to die so that others might live
God may we join that cloud of faithful witnesses
Treading paths of loving obedience
Leaving footprints that others desire to walk in
God may we too lead kingdom lives
Christine Sine, in her blog GodSpace

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Annus Horribilis

The following is a note Dad posted on his facebook page on November 17th 2008 and speaks of his more recent journey.

My year has been dominated by my health. After being diagnosed with chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL) in June 2006 I had to start treatment (chemo and mabthera - (monoclonal antibodies B therapy)) in March 08 when in increasing pain and difficulty. The B cell count was 100 (normal is around 5). After the treatment and a five week rest the count was 270. My enlarged spleen was removed and found to be 85% mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), a relative of CLL and in the same spectrum as non-Hodgkins lymphoma. It took a long time to recover from the op. The count peaked at 350 then began dropping slowly. I started daily tablet chemo at home with mabthera every three weeks. There was a 10% drop over a four week period then 77% drop after 18 days before the last treatment. The count was then 60.8, arounnd the level of June 07 when the affliction was causing me no difficulty. My lymph nodes are harder to detect meaning the MCL is less aggressive. So one or two more big drops and I may MAY enter remission.
The whole thing has been interesting. At first I did what I was told with complete trust in the doctor and the treatment. When things went pear-shaped (You will die within months if you do not take this massive treatment which will destroy you and give you a 10-15% chance of living 2-5 years) I began the reading, questioning, exploring that I should have done earlier. I have a wonderful, loving, supportive family and we rejected the massive intervention, went to Port Douglas for a week, and planned to live as fully as possible. I wrote a Bucket List and enjoy planning and ticking off the accomplishments (short, medium, and long term). I pray, read the Bible and my list of aphorisms as well as positive books. I laugh and smile a lot and frankly am happier than I have been in many years.
The first thing I read each day is:
It's morning; I'm still alive. Let's go, Lord!
and the last few are:
I want to live so I set real targets.
I will follow the plan always.
I am temporarily afflicted and will recover.
My affliction melts away as I become healthy.
My reality is peace of mind always.
Two other really helpful ones are:
I always see the funny side.
If unhappy, I will smile.
This has been a relatively short time when compared with others' journeys but we have traversed much territory in it.
Right now, I feel I would not change a thing...

Feel free to ask me anything.


Hello from OZ
Yes, Folks, I'm back in the Promised Land.
I saw several new-to-me cathedrals in England including Ripon and Wells, and the Royal Armouries in Leeds. It was wonderful to stay with my neice Lyn and her children Daniel and Xana, and to catch up with Delia and Keith Davies and Patrick Duffy, friends from the Camino in 2000.
The plane left an hour late but arrived in Melbourne half an hour early at 4:15am so I went home by public transport and was in bed by 6:30. Unfortunately I'm still jetlagged and very weary, especially in the afternoons. With school starting today the kids may have free activities this arvo while I yawn!
My Camino was a wonderful time and I feel blessed to have met and made friends with so many people from all around the world. What can we say? The Camino is unique.
God bless you all.

Monday, November 2, 2009

lost count

Good day to you all
Left Germany at 11.45pm and got to Lyn's after 6pm next day. It was good to see her and Daniel and Xana again after 2.5 years.
Next day went to Oxford and after that to Winchester, Bristol, and now I am typing in a McDonald's in Exeter. Lovely evensong with a very good choir. They sang O Quam Gloriosum by Victoria but I did not sing along.
Tomorrow Retford to meet friends, dunno Saturday, and I'm back with Lyn on Sunday.
Leave Monday.
God bless you all