One Year of Remission!

Our Family at a Recent Wedding
Whew! I'm only 5 days late - good!

Where has the time gone?

I have't blogged in four months. Life has picked up pace dramatically. I am back to juggling teaching, family and church as well as fitting in some external ministry along the way (watch out for future blogs about this). So its not surprising really that I almost missed my first year anniversary of being declared 'in remission'.

It was exactly one year ago on 1st November when my consultant told me that there were no more cancer cells in my body. Praise God!

Recovery has been an interesting journey too. I certainly didn't think it would be like this. I thought the doctors would say 'everything's OK' than I'd take a few weeks, maybe a month to get back on my feet and then life would return to normal and we would carry on from there.

My physical recovery has taken a long time. I think only now am I reaching the stage I was at physically before being ill. My stamina in particular has taken a long time to recover. In the midst of chemo it was a big struggle to walk even a short distance. However during the recovery I decided to start walking bigger and bigger distances. I have been walking to work for about six months now which is a distance of about 2 miles. It takes me half an hour, but I it it good for me and has helped me to gradually increase what I can do physically in a sensible way.

Before I became ill I have put a lot of effort into loosing weight. I had 'tapped in' to my wife's 'Slimming World' programme and I managed to loose two stone. I even had to go out and buy new clothes! Very shortly afterwards they discovered my cancer and the treatment began. The diet was a little restrictive - mostly only eat fresh food. No take-away. No uncooked eggs. Very similar to a pregnant lady. Unfortunately one of the side-effects of the mountains of steroids they gave me as part of my treatment had a side effect of making you very hungry! So my weight piled back on and I am back to what I was before my dieting efforts began. I haven't yet had the heart or willpower to give it another go.

Spiritually, God taught me a lot through my illness. I have had some speaking engagements at churches inviting me to speak about what it was like living with faith and cancer and I have also preached a message about 'Embracing Hardship'. Both sound quite tough to hear, but I do try to make them positive and inspirational, I promise! I also believe God has asked me to write a book about this time in my life. This caused me to complete a previous book project I had started before my illness, but had never got round to completing. So I have now done that. It is called 'All Things New: Stories of Transformed Lives' and is about salvation and contains testimonies of various people from my church. The launch happened last month and I am currently planning a tour / roadshow in the hopes that other churches in the country will invite me along - it is a lovely evangelistic opportunity.

Mentally, this has been a tough one. One minute I think everything is OK and the next it changes again. It has also been tough for my family as together we try to process and come to terms with what has happened as well as not try to ignore the potentials of what still might be (doctors have told me the type of cancer I have could come back again). I do intend to write a more detailed blog about this aspect in the coming weeks.

Thanks again for following my journey - one that doesn't suddenly stop when you get the 'all clear'. There is still a lot of healing to be done. But I know God is still with me, guiding me and carrying me every step of the way.

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