Tuesday, 28 April 2009

It's gone!

Today we heard the news that we have been hoping and praying for. Anita's consultant surgeon told us that the remaining nine lymph glands removed during her recent surgery are cancer free! The chemotherapy did what it was supposed to do and we are very relieved and grateful for the wonderful news.

After letting family and friends know by the wonders of texting, our mobile telephones have been very hot during today. We have received lots of lovely messages celebrating the news.

The next climb involves radiotherapy, probably starting at the end of May. It's been 37 weeks since the original diagnosis and at last we are reaching towards the finish of intensive treatment. What seemed a journey that would last forever now feels somewhat different. Anita still has quite a bit of pain and discomfort from the operation and so we would still really appreciate prayers for healing to continue at a good pace.

We were both able to attend most of an exciting and encouraging two-day conference hosted by Reading Christian Network. Bill Johnson and his team from Bethel Church in Redding, California brought teaching and inspiration to many hundreds of Christians from across the Reading area and there were lots of stories of people being healed.

We are also very happy about two nights of great football results - the super Royals beat Norwich 2-0 to keep their automatic promotion hopes very much alive. Tonight Chelsea did what no other team has done this season by not conceding a goal in Barcelona, drawing 0-0.

Today we are grateful for:
  • Obviously the news above . . . . . .cancer has gone!
  • Lunch out together to celebrate
  • Our son-in-law was offered a job in Reading
  • Bill Johnson and the grace and insights he brought to us all in Reading

Today we are praying for:

  • Pain to go and more sleep!
  • Karena and Jo and their families
  • Terese to recover quickly

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Keeping Perspective

Who would wished to have swapped places with the Chancellor yesterday? Not easy to prepare and present a budget in the current economic climate. He was always on a hiding to nothing. We must pray for our government. Yesterday we went out for lunch and a walk with some close friends and wandered through Ipsden Woods looking for the amazing carpet of bluebells that can be found this time of year.

Our friends were looking to capture some stunning photographs and we had to wait for the sun to break through the clouds and burst between the trees. As this happened the change in perspective was amazing, the colours sprang into life in a new way and it was a "good to be alive moment." As we walked back to the car we talked about the economy and how fast things are changing and the impact on our culture which has become so consummerist. It's only when big, usually shocking things happen, that we are jolted to re-think our lives, priorities and values. Some good will inevitably come from the current recession. Another friend of mine has been reviewing his life and wants to spend time working and serving in areas that really count rather than staying in the rat race of life. These are defining times and although pressures might be great, we can find new and fresh purpose - especially if we are secure in knowing our Father, God's love for us.

A few weeks ago we produced a Spring Update and as I have not yet discovered how, or if I can create a hyperlink to it, the only way we can make it available to those who have not seen it but who would like a copy is if you e-mail and ask. I will then forward it as requested.

We took the picture above whilst we were away in Wales a few weeks ago. It took great timing to set up the camera on the bonnet of our car and then to run and pose. You would never know this action had happened seconds before this picture was produced. None of us really knows what's really going on in and around each others lives and what we present can be so different to reality. thank goodness for friends with whom we can be real and yet still loved.

Today we are grateful for:

  • The slow recovery process that Anita's body is going through
  • The sun that brings to life God's creation in beautiful ways
  • Perspective that so often comes through relationships
  • A new bedroom which is nearly ready - we've been saying this for a few days now!

Today we are praying for:

  • Karena who is having an operation at the RBH today. praying for her, Craig & family
  • Jo who will be having some chemotherapy. Praying for her and her family
  • Sleep! One of the hardest parts of the last eight months is sleep depravation.

Thankyou everyone for your love, care, generosity and prayers!!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Home Again

After three nights in hospital and surgery that appears to have gone well, Anita is back home. She is feeling pretty good and whilst there is some pain Anita says she is more comfortable than when she had the lumpectomy before Christmas. Anita is grateful for all the kindness of the nurses and staff of Hurley Ward who cared for her so well. Steve asked if Anita could stay in hospital a little longer in order to continue to catch up on some sleep!!!

Once again thanks to everyone for kind messages and cards, and especially for prayers that continue to help and sustain us. More news as the week continues.

Today we are grateful for:
  • Obviously Anita being well enough to come home
  • The skill of the surgical team and the fact that everything went so well

Today we are praying for:

  • Good healing of Anita's body and especially for her arm - that she won't have any problem with lymphoedema
  • Good news on Tuesday 29th April when we have an appointment at the hospital for results from the lymph glands that were removed. May God continue to keep us in peace.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Surgery imminent

Having had to postpone Anita's operation it is now due to take place in two days time. It's a challenge to deal with the thoughts surrounding what is going to happen and a big thing for Anita to face, both now and afterwards. It was shocking to read in today's newspaper about a 19 year old girl who has had a double mastectomy in a bid to prevent getting cancer because she is carrying the genes associated with breast cancer. As a man it is difficult to comprehend the effect on a woman's femininity and self-esteem when such an operation is needed.

Of course our hope is that such invasive surgery will clear any lurking pre-cancerous cells associated with the original discovery. Today is Wednesday and I (Steve) usually try to take Wednesday afternoon's to pray and read, setting time aside to seek God. I have to say this has been hard in recent weeks, not least because of relentless tiredness. Having said that, today has been good and I sense God has been speaking to me for the church as well as personally.

On a personal level I was reminded of the verse God gave me five minutes before I heard from Anita on August 13th 2008, diagnosis day. Psalm 112:7

"He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes."

The reality is that we have tasted fear and anxiety, and concern. God has given us feelings and emotions and our challenge has been to actually listen more carefully to God's promises and encouragements, often through a variety of His people. We are looking forward to the end of this particular chapter when we'll be able to look in triumph over cancer, sickness and even death. It's one thing having belief systems but quite another for these to be the experience of our hearts and minds.

Today we are grateful for:

  • Relative peace ahead of Friday's surgery
  • Not being alone in the journey - Anita had extensive text communication with a friend from church this morning which was just the right conversation at the right time
  • A pleasant few days around the Easter holidays to catch up with jobs and enjoy the garden

Today we are praying for:

  • Anita's health to be generally good ready for surgery and for freedom from any infection
  • The surgeon to have great skill and insight - doing the best job humanly possible
  • For Anita's time in hospital to be as good as it can possibly be

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


In the midst of roller-coaster lives we are thrilled to announce that our third daughter Helen has got engaged to Giles and they plan to marry at the end of summer 2010. Giles proposed the "proper" way by asking us back in January and we managed to keep the exciting news quiet as Helen didn't know he was going to ask her when he took her to London last Saturday evening. It's great to have another special day to look forward to and this Thursday evening both families are getting together at ours for a meal and celebration.

Anita is doing well and busy preparing for tomorrow's celebrations. The hot sweats are ongoing and it would be such a blessing for these to ease up. It would also be good if the arm Anita took all the chemo injections in could recover more prior to surgery next week. This causes her arm to ache somewhat. Our builders are due back soon to finish our bedroom and so we are hoping to be back in there soon after the Op.

It's Easter week and we are remembering and celebrating the the greatest moment in history - grateful for such an amazing act of grace. Jesus died for us to live, giving us a hope and a future beyond this life.

Things we are grateful for: Helen and Giles engagement and looking forward to a more complete family for her boys.Sunshine. Scott (Katie's husband) has got a new job working in Slough after experiencing redundancy last week, God is good - all of the time!

Things we are praying for: God's blessing on Helen and Giles as their relationship goes to another level. Anita to sleep well and protection over her health ready for next week. For the impact of the Easter story to touch lives and bring hope - and for the Easter Children's Club that started today at Brookside with lots of children coming.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Operation Date Change

Having just returned from a wonderful break together in Wales, Anita became ill during the night having caught some sickness bug. It's possible that my great idea to get some KFC on the way home was not such a good one as it could be food poisoning from the chicken. The upshot of this is that Anita is not well enough for surgery tomorrow and will now have her operation in two weeks time, on Friday 17th April. This is disappointing in that we had prepared ourselves for the big day and Anita had got as ready as she could do from an emotional point of view. The other side of the coin is that there is more time for our bedroom to be finished before going into hospital. So we are trusting that God's timing is best and whilst we definately don't want the sickness hanging around, perhaps there are reasons we cannot see for the delay.

Did you know you can add your comments after any of our updates by clicking just to the right alongside the label at the end of each section?

Today we are grateful for: Our Father who works all things together for the good of His people, Our GP and surgery who are fantastic and a beautiful day.

Today we are praying for: Healing and recovery for Anita and for strength ready for surgery in two weeks time, Bart's film to be completed and for him and Linda to get on well at Pinewood Studios today, for all the world's G20 Leaders to have wisdom and courage in times such as these.