Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Best oncology visit so far!

As I am currently back on chemo, I get to see an oncologist every three weeks. Recently I seem to get the Head Oncologist each time, maybe because I am something of an enigma!

Yesterday was my three-weekly visit, and it was of particular interest as I recently had a CT scan. Sure enough, it was the Head Oncologist who summonsed us into his consulting room, with his usual serious face. "I have mixed news" he said, "the scan shows a build up of fluid around your kidneys, lungs and heart, so I was going to recommend that we stop chemotherapy, and insert an external drain." (Meaning that due to risk of infection I would not be able to have any further chemo, so this would be bad news.)

His face clouded over as he continued, "However, your blood tests are completely contradictory. They show that your kidney function is better than it has been for months, your anaemia is much improved, and even your cancer markers are extremely positive. This is all very unexpected, and to be honest, doesn't make any sense!"

He then proceeded to give me a physical examination, which confirmed that there is no fluid on my lungs. He concluded, "I propose that we continue with chemotherapy for now, as we really cannot explain what is happening with you." Monika interjected "prayer," "God," "a miracle" a number of times, but he wasn't having any of that!

So what do we make of the consultation? Well it was a good exercise in holding back laughter! But more seriously I came away with two contrasting thoughts. One is that my life is still very precarious, in that a kidney failure is still a distinct possibility - a case of 'when' not 'if' for the doctor; the pressure on my heart if fluid builds there is dangerous in the extreme; and fluid on the lungs isn't a great option either!

Secondly, the contradictory tests merely exemplify the two worlds in which I have lived for the past few months. One, the medical world, is hope-less and utterly negative. The other is the world that God sees, and defines, and this is the world in which I have been living mostly. It is filled with hope, because God is in control ultimately. It is the world which has seen me visit Australia and Thailand and spend a month in Europe against medical advice. It sees me eating well, sustaining my weight, and with good energy levels. And at the end of this life, it will see me walk into eternity with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2 nights, 2 hospitals

I have an oncology appointment every 2 months, just to keep an eye on things, and blood test beforehand. This week's tests showed my kidney operation was only at 20%, so I went to our local hospital. A scan revealed that the lymph nodes were pressing on the tubes between the kidneys and the bladder, and restricting urine flow, meaning my kidneys were unable to function. So, a night in Middlemore hospital.

Middlemore doesn't really do urology, so I was transferred to Auckland City hospital. They inserted two plastic tubes into my ureters, which involved the one medical procedure I have been dreading the most - gentlemen, feel free to cross your legs at this stage! Anyway, the operation was successful, so I am free flowing once more.

Other god news - they have booked me in to have the two tubes replaced in 9-12 months time. By which time I'll be over a year beyond my original prognosis!!