Maybe it was just bad timing, but less than twelve hours after my last posting late Tuesday night saying how well I was feeling, things changed. It started after a quick trip across to Exeter Airport on Wednesday morning to collect our old friends, Phil and Sarah, flying in from Guernsey for the day to see us. They did for us what the body of Christ and others have been doing so wonderfully well in the last few weeks – tangibly demonstrating Father’s encouragement and love by their presence, words and prayer.
Within a short time of their arrival though, I wasn’t feeling at all well – no fault of theirs! Moments later, I was rushing for the basin. It brought some relief for the rest of the day to enjoy their visit, but by the evening and through the next day, I felt pretty lousy and by late afternoon, my temperature had risen to above the crucial 38°, so it was a phone call to the hospital. Expressing some cautious concern, the ward doctor asked me to come in early the next morning – Friday.
The obs and examination – looking for rashes that would indicate my immune system was now in dangerous hyperdrive, attacking parts it shouldn’t – revealed nothing. All clear. Just a passing virus perhaps, but one which ironically would possibly have been worse were it not for ipilimumab at work.
However, one crucial piece of info came up in my conversation with the doctor. Apparently, we’d been misinformed about the drug placing me into a neutropenic state. We’d always thought it was odd to have been told that my immune system was going to be suppressed through the immunotherapy when the whole aim of the treatment was to heighten it to attack the melanoma. This was incorrect. That’s info reserved for those on chemo. So, bearing in mind some advice from the nurses to be careful, I find it’s not so necessary to maintain my hermitage isolation from crowds and over-cautious eating. The fact I’ve re-gained a persistent, sometimes hacking cough means I need to continue to be careful.
I’m looking forward to my parents, sisters and brother arriving from NZ & Oz on Wednesday, but was so disappointed to miss Ma & Pa’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration last night in Christchurch. But we track on with our God ahead and beside. If he was able to say to the Israelites through Joel 1600 years ago, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have stolen”, I’ve got to trust that he’s able to fill gaps that disappointment creates.