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.

A day at a time

imageIt’s now Day 20 since Ben had his seizure and was admitted to hospital. The news, on one level, continues to be good. He is communicating pretty well, and is more and more able to form ‘islands’ of memory, recalling certain events and times and then starting to join up the dots. He often begins to say something and then tails off as he looses his train of thought. His short term memory is poor, often not remembering much, if any of what has happened even in the last few hours. He can tell us his age – he told us he was 23 and then added, ‘I’ve been dead for a long time‘. Substitute ‘dead’ for ‘alive’ and it perhaps makes more sense. He’s not so clear about where he is – country or whether it is a hospital – or how to tell the time, or who the Prime Minister is. Interestingly, he is fixated on going to Australia to stay with his aunt, my sister Julia. If he mentions it once, he mentions it three or four times in the course of a visit, planning that we’re leaving tonight or tomorrow. His fluency in (or even knowledge of) Portuguese and Spanish has gone, but we’re assured by the neurologist that it’s quite common for second/third languages to disappear for a time after an incident like this. He is responding to us all appropriately and well, often showing a lovely tenderness towards Dabi when she arrives, and enjoys looking through both recent and old photographs, often with some heartening detailed recall. His favourite photo is of him and Dabi on their wedding day. One old photo prompted a gleeful memory of an enormous water slide we had down a steep grassy bank in our garden in North Devon and our good friend Linda going down the slide, over the muddy grass, then over the bank and into the park below! That must have been ten years ago, but he laughed as he recalled it clearly. Physically, he’s lost a lot of weight and muscle tone, but with the combination of physiotherapy and him now starting to eat solids again, we’re hoping to see him regaining some bulk.

On another level however, the neurology team continue to hit a brick wall regarding a diagnosis. Still awaiting test results from around the country, they’ve been going back over all the tests that they’ve carried out already. He’s had a fresh MRI scan of his head, which has shown a reduction in the swelling – good news in itself – but which has shown nothing to indicate the cause.

Since writing all the above, I’ve seen Ben again today. He’s now had all tubes removed, has walked the length of the corridor twice with the physiotherapist and is now eating unassisted, even polishing off two large sandwiches, some mashed vegetables and a pot of yogurt. While he is looking so much better, his mental confusion continues as he struggles to make sense of both past and present. However, as a good friend and fellow pastor here in the city left the hospital today having visited Ben, he saw a double rainbow in the sky above. Sending me the picture (above) in a text message, Aran commented, “…reminded of God’s faithfulness through trials”. 

As I was sitting with Ben yesterday, he randomly said, ‘I spent an hour talking to God this afternoon’. I asked him if he found it helpful, to which he replied, ‘I did’. And so we pray on with him.

Advertisements

Comments on: "A day at a time" (18)

  1. An astonishing story. I’ve sometimes thought that the Bible got it slightly wrong and that Hope is greater than Faith and Charity (or Love). This story is full of Hope, well supported by the other two. Thoughts and prayers for Ben, Jeremy and all the family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Val Parkinson said:

    So pleased to hear your news , we continue to pray for Ben, you, Kathrine, Dabi & all the family. You are an inspiration to us all. Much Love God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave & Carol Jewison said:

    Praying for you and Ben and your great family Jeremy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just returned from home group where we continue to pray for you and the family. Worshiping God now and in heaven was our focus of study tonite.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michael and Marion Andrews said:

    Great news. Eating better might improve his brain power!! Love and prayers for you all xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jeremy & Catherine, such FANTASTIC news of Ben! Reading how well he is doing, is nourishment for the soul. Love, thoughts and prayers continue from abroad. And as for Ben wanting to visit Julia, I think it’s a splendid idea! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Heather Wheeler said:

    not good at communicating but pray for you every morning and so glad Ben has shown improvement. Can’t begin to feel the anguish you are all struggling with and hesitate to send scriptures which “make it better” Ha! learnt that lesson ! send you all my love xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Jeremy – Fiona Dowie here (that’s a name I haven’t used for a while, but I’m sure you don’t know the new one!) Melissa T forwarded on your blog. I have been thinking of you regularly since reading it, and hope that both Ben and you come through your trials in the best possible way. My lasting memory of you was driving through Christchurch in your fabulous Citroen… Still a bit of a favourite for me! Warmest wishes to you and your lovely family, both in the UK and in New Zealand. Fiona xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yvonne Howarth said:

    Delighted to read of Ben’s progress and useful to have updates on what needs praying for. My what a journey you are all on! I read yesterday that we may not understand what we are going through when trials hit, but one day all will become clear. Continued love and prayer, it’s awesome seeing how much support you all have.
    May God bless each and everyone of you. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Liz and David said:

    So pleased to read of Ben’s progress – we pray on with you all xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Chris Saunders said:

    Continuing to pray for you all. Love Kaye and Chris.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dear Jeremy , and Family thinking of you so much ,love from us both Muriel & Francis x

    Liked by 1 person

  13. So glad for these encouragements for you. Praying on.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. So pleased our prayers are being answered

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Tracey Wallis said:

    Great news. Onwards and upwards. Praise God xx

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sarah Matthew (was at LA and friends with David B) said:

    Thinking of you and praying for you all. I’m so encouraged by what you say about Ben and him speaking to God. That’s my prayer – that God will communicate directly with Ben in a way that he can understand and gives him peace and hope in his heart body soul and mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. David Williams said:

    I remember well how, during your time at St Mary’s, you proposed a new Friendship Evangelism venture – handing out free light bulbs in Upton Village. It never happened. But now, your blog is handing to hundreds of us a light bulb of hope every week. Thank you Jeremy, Josh, Ben and Catherine.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. pinecones20@sky.com said:

    Dear Jeremy and Catherine ,we have been following all the amazing and frightening news and hope you have got the odd email from us .so many a praying .You may know that St Mary’s is in turmoil what with new heating and flooring but that is nothing to having lives of dear friends in turnmoil .We love yu all ,we keep praying .Bob and Laura Arnold.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: