Thursday, 16 April 2015

Overcomers (in training)

Dad has been home for a week today.

During his hospitalisation, especially when he was 'subsisting' on 30 ml of liquid orally every hour (more was given through IV of course) he often joked that he really wanted to eat pizza - or that he was having a big pizza for dinner...

The joking continued after discharge - and over this week he has been gradually eating a little more each day - and getting to eat slightly more solid food each time.

As I was leaving JSK this afternoon Sheba called me up.

What about getting Dad some pizza?  Why not!

And so I played delivery man for dominos p - and we had one happy Dad tonight!

It has been a good week for Dad - and for all of us in fact.  The air-conditioner in his room is a boon - a haven of quiet coolness in a Thane that is already nicely on the boil.

Dad has started reading again - devouring the Easter issue of Light of Life magazine and reading his Bible and the paper.  We have a special chair for him which he uses in a little nook in the room.  In the evenings we open the window for fresh air.   He is currently on the last chapter of Amazing Grace the remarkable story of William Wilberforce written by Eric Metaxas (and not to be confused with the milquetoast movie of the same name).

It was a blessing to have Dad in church on Sunday - one of the advantages of house churches is that you can shift the venue when needed - and so for these two weeks we are meeting in our home.   His words challenged everyone.  

While we have generally discouraged visitors - there are some hardy souls that do come by anyway.  Dad is always happy for company and has been blessed by prayers.

Today was his follow up appointment with Dr. Stephen Alfred.

We returned to Bethany Hospital - and it was almost home to Dad - with him greeting all and sundry and wanting to go up to the fifth floor to meet the nursing team there.

Dr. Stephen was quite pleased with Dad's progress.  His bilirubin level has been slowly falling - from that crazy level of 31 it has now dropped down to 5.  It's obviously still high, but that is expected as the body slowly flushes itself of the extra bile that was swimming around in it after the bile duct was blocked.   Importantly and gratifyingly, Dad's digestive tubes are doing their thing.  He is still weak and gets tired after the short walks he takes each day - but spends more time sitting up each day.

Dr. Stephen told Dad that he will have to watch out as he might become diabetic, given that they have had to remove a portion of his pancreas.

Dr. Stephen also reminded Dad that one of the nodes that were harvested for biopsy was positive for cancer.  This means that before the surgery was done, the cancer has spread at least a bit through the lymphatic system.

This is of course not good news - but not very surprising given that the tumour itself was large and poorly diffrentiated which indicates that it was fairly advanced already.

We thus booked an appointment tomorrow for the oncologist who will discuss options for chemotherapy with us.  It is another big step that we will need to take - and a decision which at present we areally do not know enough about to even pray intelligently.

The normal blood tests were ordered - and since we were in the hospital we also had Mum show herself to the main physician about her cholesterol levels - that meeting led to another raft of tests being ordered including an ECG, ultrasound and 2D echo cardiograph. 

In the midst of all of this Sheba got a phone call.  It was 11 AM and she needed to be at JSK to be with the patients.  But the call was from Asha and Enoch's school.  Asha and Enoch have a final half-day today and tomorrow - and were staying with their friends Nikita and Jasper.  The call was from the school authorities to tell us that Enoch had fallen and cut himself and needed stitches.

Could we come and pick him up.

It seemed like the last thing that we wanted to do, but that's what parents are there for aren't they?   Sheba told the school authorities that Nalini Gabriel (Nikita and Jasper's mother) would come and pick up Enoch and that we would get him from her home.   We had left Yohan at JSK when we took Dad and Mum to meet Dr. Stephen.  So I dropped off Sheba at JSK, then dropped off Dad at home, having left Mum to finish her tests at Bethany.

Just as I was about to leave for Powai, Sheba called up to say that Nalini had picked up Enoch and it was a small cut above the eye.  Enoch was fine and did not want to come back at all.  He had a birthday party to attend that evening so coming back here was certainly not what he wanted to do.

Nalini also sent us a picture of our son to prove that all was well:

And so I had the luxury of getting back to the JSK office instead of a drive with the Papaya to Powai.

Our weekly staff meeting featured a time of personal reflection and sharing about the first quarter of 2015 which has already spend by.  Looking back I would never have believed that we would have another son in our home - and that Mum and Dad would be camping with us!   I am so much more aware of the value of life - and of every minute. 

Every Tuesday evening, we have been working through the various 'I am' sayings of Jesus found in the gospel of John.  How true these are.  How much hope and comfort and challenge to know that Jesus is 'the resurrection and the life.'   How much we see this in Dad and Mum these days.  How much we look forward to our Lord Jesus returning - and how true He is when He says that 'in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.'

There is a lot going on right now in our lives and the last few weeks have left us emotionally very tired.  But here is the time when we most need to be overcomers!  We have a big red "L" stuck on our Papaya to tell the world that we are still learning to drive - Sheba is improving in confidence but has not yet taking the Papaya out for a spin 'on her own.'  In a way we need a big red "L" stuck on us to let the world know that we are still very much learning to overcome.  Still very much in training when it comes to helping lead the world at JSK, help out with the church, care for Dad and Mum, parent our three very different kids, work through the myriad complexities of human relationships, keep the house clean and balance the books, stay somewhat sane and relatively civil to one and all ... and in all of this truts in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding.   Overcomers in training.

Tomorrow morning at 8.40 AM we meet our new oncologist friend.  A new set of doors are opening up for us.  Pray for us that we make good choices about which ones to walk through.

We will keep you posted!  Thanks for walking with us!

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