It is now three weeks since I started my treatment in Edinburgh and I have been finding the treatment debilitating. This is the first time I have opened these pages since I started the chemotherapy in June.
I have been having unusual dreams. In one I was driving on the motorway through the middle of Edinburgh past Princes Street Gardens. In front and behind and around were huge transport carriers and low loaders with large pieces of earth moving plant - all loosely tied and shaking about. The ignition key fell out of the truck in front so I stopped to pick it up and made my way round to hand it back. I had to be careful with all the moving traffic. Several lorries stopped and the drivers all came out - they were all leading lights in the Church of Scotland such as Moderators, Convenors of Special Commissions and the like and they surrounded me wanting to know my thoughts on the situation. I pointed up to the Castle rock on top of which was either 121 George Street or the Assembly Rooms blazing on fire. I told them that it was probably too late to put the fire out and that their best option was to try and start again from scratch - get a few folk together and read the teachings of Jesus - try to work out what it was he asked his followers to do. They all got into a huddle and started talking among themselves - all at the same time. I crossed the road and made my way home to Mayfield where I used to live in the 1970's with my parents and brothers. And that was one of my strange dreams - a side effect of the chemotherapy.
It is six months since I last opened up my website and so here is an update on my news.
The doctors have given me the best report possible. As far as they can tell the first course of chemotherapy seems to have removed all the cancer. The surgeon who carried out the operation in October told me that he saw no signs of cancer. The Oncologist told me that the laboratory that checked tissues from the operation didn't find any traces of cancer either. Very few patients receive such a positive result as this. I am very grateful for the many people around the country that remembered me in prayer and for all the staff in the hospitals that treated me.
I have been home now for three months recovering from the operation and one further course of chemotherapy. It has been slow but steady and although I tire very easily and very quickly start to ache after any physical exertion I am gradually getting stronger. I was told that recovery would be about a year after the chemo started and up to nine months after surgery. I am very fortunate that the Church of Scotland is a very caring and considerate organisation and that the congregation of Kirkcudbright have been very kind and supportive throughout. In February/March I shall be looking at a phased return to work.
I am very aware that more than 80% of patients diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus are not able to be operated upon and so do not survive. I was fortunate in that it was caught early. This was partly because I had a good friend, a fellow minister, who passed away 18 months ago with the same cancer. My sharing with him and he with me has helped in my survival.
I don't really think there is any answer to why I developed the cancer or have responded so well to treatment. There is a fate in life which we all live under. If I had been born a hundred years earlier or in one of the poorer nations on earth I would have died by now.
Nevertheless, there is a power in prayer, in positive thinking, in hope. That the Lord Jesus came into my life so long ago; that I have been blessed by many people over the years - friends through whom the Spirit of the Lord has touched and spoken to me. These are spiritual gifts that do change the course of fate and have changed the course of my life. My intention is that in the years that are left to me, whether they be many of few, that I shall be faithful to the Lord Jesus and let his light shine from me upon others.
Having said all this I am not sure if I shall continue with Where2or3. I am very aware that it is wordy and am not sure that it is needed. I receive very little feedback although what I have has been good and encouraging.
My prayer is that some of the words in the pages of this website are a light for you.