Sorry for the silence. We have been under the influence of the electrician who has been rewiring the house. There have been a few technical hitches that have needed sorting, but I trust that all is now working.
Our church has been holding an evangelistic outreach and on the last day I was interviewed on how I became a Christian, how I faced my cancer, and why bad things happen to Christians.
For those who haven't found how I became a Christian, you can read about it on this blog at http://mutated-unmuated.blogspot.com/search?q=how+i+became+a+christian .
When I first heard that I had got cancer I was shocked and frightened. I was also in considerable pain. My post-operative course was rocky and yet I was able to be content. a verse of Scripture cam to me "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is staid on thee." I put everything else out of my mind and just thought about what the Lord had done for me. There was a time when I thought that I would die in hospital, but that passed and I gradually recovered.
Because I had such a slow recovery from the post-operative ileus, the surgeon was keen to start chemotherapy as soon as possible. I think he half believed that it was the cancer that was stopping my bowel working properly. Perhaps I started too soon. The chemotherapy was difficult to bear. At first I thought that I would have a few days of ill health followed by a recovery period in which I would be able to live normally. In fact, although I was able to cope with nine courses of treatment, they came every second week and I had no time to recover before the next course was due. for much of the 20 weeks of treatment I was confined to the sofa, too sick to do very much. Even walking across the road left me breathless and exhausted.
I spent a lot of the time in Bible study and prayer and I was encouraged by the hundreds of people from all over the world who sent messages of encouragement. I even managed to write a couple of hymns, although I couldn't have found the energy to rewire a plug.
Since the chemotherapy was completed a couple of months ago I have gradually improved. I have had some problem with my tummy, and of course, being a doctor, I have easily found symptoms to indicate that the cancer has returned. I presume that the symptoms have other causes since my weight is increasing and my appetite has improved. Gradually the symptoms are abating.
The worst problem has been the neuropathy caused by the Oxaloplatin. This mainly manifests as numbness and tingling in my hands and feet. There is some difficulty in doing up shirt buttons and tying shoelaces, but I manage. A less well recognised side effect is autonomic neuropathy. This means that the function of the nerves that go unnoticed is affected. My blood pressure has fallen. Previously I had to take blood pressure tablets, but even having stopped them my pressure is so low that in Germany (where low blood pressure is recognised as a disease) I would be given stimulants to raise it. The autonomic neuropathy also affects the temperature control of my hands so that I have to wear gloves on quite warm days, and it affects the motility of my bowels. It is this latter affect that can easily be confused with a return of the cancer. I have a CT scan again in a couple of weeks so this should give me an insight into whether I am right in my diagnosis.
In a couple of days I will make my first trip to London to examine a PhD. This will be a significant milestone for me.