This week Dad finished the end of his first cycle of chemotherapy. 3 doses - given each Wednesday at the Bethany Hospital.
Admission on the morning of the dose. The drip into his port. Then the medication is given - with the nurses taking utmost care not to introduce any infections. Think universal precautions cubed.
A few hours of rest and then a discharge.
Of course - at all times, Dad keeps up with making sure that everyone feels special. This week was the first that he was not on the 5th floor - and so he had a whole new world of nurses, ward aides, doctors, other patients and relatives to get to know. The man sharing his room was 96 and with advanced cancer. I did not get to meet this man, but hope Dad was able to reflect some light into his life.
With our home so close, I can pick Mum and Dad up from the hospital in the Papaya and be back in almost no time.
Lots of tender-loving-care at home of course. And then on Tuesday morning a blood test. The results are ready by evening and then we have a night appointment with Dr. Bakshi. Each time we met him, he was pleased with the lab reports and so gave a thumbs up for the next dose the next day.
We have done this 3 times now - and completed our first cycle. 5 more cycles lie ahead.
By God's grace Dad has not suffered any clear side effects from the chemo. He burps alot, but that is mainly due the the 'replumbing' done after his major tumour resection.
But then on Wednesday night he did not sleep well - and had diarrhoea yesterday. A reminder again of his weakend immune system. We prayed and gave metrogyl. By noon to day he is a lot better.
And he has also been gaining back some of his weight. Between his 2nd and 3rd doses, we got a whole kilo more of Dad!
The blessed normalcy of it all has meant that Sheba was able to go last Saturday and drop Asha and Jemima off at Lakhnadon Christian Hospital in Seoni Dist. Enoch has been with his friend Mark (Drs. SP and Vanita Mathew's son) in Dahisar since Monday morning. That left a fairly quiet house - with Mum and Dad and Yohan and myself making up the resident family.
But trust Mum to think up a project.
While Sheba was away, Mum scouted for some plants. And Yohan by her side, went out and bought them and a bunch of gardening stuff. And remodeled our windowsill garden - with the able help you young Y!
The upshot is that we now have a whole bunch of flowers in our front room - and smiles to match!
So when Sheba walked into our home on Tuesday afternoon (having gone straight over to JSK from the train station as there were patients waiting for her) she got a lovely surprise by the our flower-meister and her willing chela.
Tomorrow sees me pick up Enoch from Dahisar (after watching him play some football as he is in a coaching camp with Mark till 10.30) and then I head to the station myself to take the train to Jabalpur and pick up Asha and Jemima.
One of the great gifts of cancer is the sharpness of focus it brings on life. Obviously on Dad's life, but on each of our lives that wa are living.
I recently picked up a book that I am sure I must have read eons ago, but is still very fresh - The Savage, My Kinsman by Elizabeth Elliot. It's the story of how she and her daughter and two other widows of the 5 young missionaries who died in the jungle began living with the group of people whom they had wanted to contact and share the love of Christ with.
In the foreword, the legendary photographer Cornell Capa talks about meeting Elizabeth Elliot and asking her about her own faith and her husband's violent death:
I wondered how Betty could reconcile Jim's death at the hands of the Aucas and the Lord's apparent failure to protect him from them.
Her answer came back without hesitation: "I prayed for the protection of Jim, that is, physical protection. The answer the Lord gave transcended what I had in mind. He gave protection from disobedience and through Jim's death accomplished results the magnitude of which only Eternity can show."
Which act of obedience does God want of me today? Tomorrow? What about you?
Let's not keep any debt pending - except the constant and overflowing debt to love - which we can joyfully keep repaying all of our days.
One cycle is over. The next begins soon. Let's not waste precious time...