Jeremy…husband of Catherine, father of Ben, Simeon, Tom, Joshua & Lydia. Up until the end of April 2015, he was pastor/vicar of a group of churches on the edge of Exeter in Devon, UK. In early October 2014, aged 48, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer, a stage four malignant melanoma presenting as a tumour on his lungs. The usual life expectancy is 8-12 months. Then, in late December 2014, 23 year old Ben suffered a seizure. After prolonged medical care for what was most likely to have been a viral infection affecting his brain, Ben died in April 2015. Jeremy has up until recently seemed to have responded well to pioneering immunotherapy treatments that can extend life, but from September 2016 is now facing the fresh development of brain tumours and potentially now just months to live. On January 27th 2017 Jeremy took his last breath and went to be his Lord and Saviour. The family share their thoughts, feelings and reflections as they taJeremy…husband of Catherine, father of Ben, Simeon, Tom, Joshua & Lydia. Up until the end of April 2015, he was pastor/vicar of a group of churches on the edge of Exeter in Devon, UK. In early October 2014, aged 48, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer, a stage four malignant melanoma presenting as a tumour on his lungs. The usual life expectancy is 8-12 months. Then, in late December 2014, 23 year old Ben suffered a seizure. After prolonged medical care for what was most likely to have been a viral infection affecting his brain, Ben died in April 2015. Jeremy has up until recently seemed to have responded well to pioneering immunotherapy treatments that can extend life, but from September 2016 is now facing the fresh development of brain tumours and potentially now just months to live. On January 27th 2017 Jeremy took his last breath and went to be with his Lord and Saviour. The family share their thoughts, feelings and reflections as they take this painful and unexpected journey.

Walking into 2015

2015We want to wish you all a good new year, full of truth, love and life.   

Within our family, the news on Ben which we are painfully trying to come to terms with, is that he may have what the consultant describes as a ‘progressive brain disease’. Much remains a mystery to the medical team at the moment as we face a grueling wait for the return of various test results – some 2-3 weeks.

We continue to keep a vigil at Ben’s bedside in the ICU during visiting hours. Whilst he is described as ‘stable’, he has developed pneumonia due to his ventilator, and so with the resultant involuntary coughing, to keep him free of distress because of the tubes in his mouth, the medical team are keeping him heavily sedated in what is in effect an induced coma. Yesterday – New Year’s Eve –  he underwent an MRI scan to further investigate what’s happening in his brain and to help assist in discovering what’s behind all this. The result has indicted that he has encephalitis, that his brain is swollen. But the cause is unknown.

All of us – Dabi, Catherine and I, Simeon, Tom, Josh and Lydia – are doing OK in the circumstances, albeit going about life somewhat mechanically. We wrestle with what information we have been given, but hold onto what light is contained in the words the consultant used when he said ‘we think he has a progressive brain disease which may or may not be treatable’.

It seems a strange thing to have become so relatively accustomed to sitting on the chemotherapy ward for my treatment, now to find ourselves sitting alongside other families in the ICU Visitors Lounge, waiting to see their precious ones also in the unit. We know that the next 2-3 weeks will be one of Ben & Dabi - portraits 009ongoing waiting. But beyond that, the path ahead for Ben seems too deep and difficult to comprehend – for him, for Dabi – both married just 17 months  – for all of us…to say nothing of its intersection with my health and prognosis. My ‘switch’ gets thrown every once and a while either through tiredness or something particular happening. When I found Josh sitting in the living room, strumming his guitar, with tears in his eyes, it caused a reaction. He’s been learning to live with my melanoma prognosis, and now he’s had his brother’s news. I sat down next to him, arm around him. I did the only thing I could do. I prayed with him, feeling my eyes welling too. Then, as I have sat in church quietly alone over the last few days, even lying prostrate on the floor, I find words both easy and hard. “Too much, Lord” is one breath; “Father, I trust you through all this”, another. “Hide not your face from me in the day of my distress”, from the Psalms, yet another. But through it all, I’m reminded of the words of scripture –

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”

As Father has been over these last few weeks and months through my diagnosis, so He is now. The arrival of painful times doesn’t make Him any less God than He’s always been. Hardship was never something He promised His family would avoid. Grace is what He promised to take us through. Precious, sweet amazing grace. Sufficient for each moment as was daily manna in the desert for the Israelites. And Ben affirmed so much of his own confidence in Christ as he wrote here on the blog a few weeks ago.     

One of Ben’s favourite hymns is one he and Dabi had at their wedding. I reckon it says much for the present moment.

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Comments on: "Walking into 2015" (10)

  1. Christine Curd said:

    I want to say something, Jeremy, but no words seem appropriate. Indeed it must seem too much and we don’t understand why the dis-ease in our world should have to work its way out as it does. The wounded hand of Jesus catch your tears and the everlasting arms hold you tight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Caroline Colin said:

    Spiritually lying prostrate before our loving Lord. Speechless as I keep up to date, with humble thanks, with your family news. My arms are around you. With love Caroline

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Steven Kenyon said:

    I am sat quietly, worshipping God and praying for you all. I am one of many arms around you, praying for you. I can’t be seen or heard by you but I am none-the-less here and I am lifting you before God in prayer.

    Like

  4. Sarah Pollard said:

    I am hoping this encephalitis is tick born & that with antibiotics if this is it will be the breakthrough that we are praying for…….. Big hug ((((( ❤ )))) & Continued prayers .
    Love to you & all the family , Sarah xx

    Like

    • Sarah, sadly it’s not showing any signs that it is caused by anything (infection, ticks) that anti-bs will clear up. He’s had industrial strength anti-bs pumped into him for his chest infection, but to no effect on the root cause if his illness.

      Like

  5. Ruth Lawrence said:

    My brother Rob (Shimwell) has filled us in with all your news, and you are all in our thoughts and prayers. I found the following verse in Golden Bells today:

    ‘”My grace is sufficient,” the Saviour has spoken.
    I rest on the truth of His Word.
    I know that His promise has never been broken –
    My faithful, unchangeable Lord.’

    We will continue to pray for you all daily and hourly.

    With love

    Ruth Lawrence

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Jeremy.

    We met at the wedding of Ben & Dhabi. I am the eldest cousin Dhabi.
    We’re now watching the events with Ben and I would like you to know that they are in the thoughts and prayers.

    Best wishes and God bless you.

    Rodrigo & Kielci Mota

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Celia Knox said:

    Hey Jeremy and Catherine. Celia Knox nee Vernon here. I was at school with Julia and Anna. Not sure what to say other than I am thinking, praying and sending much love to you and your family. Stay strong and know that there are many who stand with and for you during this time of unchartered waters.
    With love and prayers
    Celia

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Georgie Boggis said:

    Am praying for you all. Sending love and hugs x 🙂 x God Bless you all

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This sure is a tough call Jeremy – needless to say that thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank God for his grace. Take comfort in the fact that God allowed Satan to wreak havoc in Job’s life because He knew that his servant would ultimately pass the test and glorify His name… Love to you and all the family at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

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