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.

Bad news and good news

Stormy sea and lighthouseAs Catherine and I went to bed last night, we did so with a feeling of increasingly heavy hearts and needing a renewed sense of peace.

It all started last Monday. Just as we were arriving to stay with old friends Shaun and Helene in Bedfordshire for the week, I became aware that a small lump on my neck, above my larynx and present for some weeks, felt bigger and certainly more tender. After a late night trip to Bedford hospital A&E, and then an emergency ENT appointment the following day, immediate concerns were allayed as the consultant felt it was no more than an epiglottal cyst, unrelated to the cancer. To be safe however, after a phone call to the Exeter Oncology Department, I was booked in for both an ultrasound and oncology appointment upon our return. Those appointments took place yesterday.

It’s both bad news and good news.

The bad news is that the ultrasound indicated that the mass on my neck is suspicious and not a cyst. There’s also further evidence of one or two other small melanoma deposits in my lower neck.

Cancelled Stamp

The good news is that consequently, the surgery planned for today was then, late yesterday afternoon, cancelled. It was felt to be a pointless exercise cutting bits and pieces out when it seems the melanoma is on the move again and that more cancer deposits might just show up in other places in weeks to come.
So, the next step is that I am being put onto ipilumumab’s successor, pembrolizumab, starting within the next 2-3 weeks. It’s a new drug, only just licensed for first line usage within the NHS and is having even more startling effects than ipi. It involves an infusion every three weeks for the foreseeable future.
I’m also being sent for a full body PET scan in Taunton within the next two weeks.We’re familiar with this as Ben had one. It is THE most thorough metabolic scan one can have, and will give the medics a complete picture of what’s what and what’s emerging.

As I arrived home from the hospital last evening, phone calls to the children and our families followed. I think everyone has responded along the lines, “Hhhmmm…OK…right…not bad, but not good”.

rollercoasterTwelve hours after the news, we’re feeling both delicate and as if we’re on a new roller coaster ride. Having braced for surgery and its aftermath, we’re relieved in one way that it’s not happening. But the implications of my melanoma being on the march again, particularly as it involves neck and potentially head, especially tumours…that’s a different story.
An inner journey carries on and once again we find ourselves afresh before the Throne of Grace. As Catherine left to teach the first day of the new term this morning, understandably anxious, I sat up in bed, cup of tea in hand, to read my “Bible in a Year” selection. Psalm 4 was among the readings. I listened and read along as David Suchet read it (click here to hear it). But as I quietly read it again myself, the Word started to do it’s work once more as Jesus drew alongside.

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Comments on: "Bad news and good news" (35)

  1. I am in awe of your courage and faith, I hope the new drug works a miracle.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rob Vincent said:

    In peace I will both slie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
    God bless you Brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tim Moyler said:

    Big hugs dear friends. Continuing to pray for you regularly. Much love. T&A x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. PandC Hinton said:

    Dearest Jeremy and Catherine, Thank you for the up to date situation. We are praying for you and loving you with all our hearts. How grateful we are that our God is so faithful, always alongside, nothing takes him by surprise. He holds you firmly and dearly, safely against himself as these new waves buffet your peace. We trust him with you because we are assured that you are secure in him. With much love, Peter and Cynthia xxx

    Sent from my HTC

    Liked by 1 person

    • You two are very precious…the time, faith and prayers you invested in our boys in Upton won’t be forgotten nor will your love and prayer for us now.

      Like

  5. Dear Jeremy, our hearts go out to you and Catherine so much. Your amazing faith is such a witness to so many of us. Our prayers are constantly with you and you are on our church prayer list as well. Thank you for your updates, we grieve with you but also rejoice with you in the answers to prayers you have had. God is in control, Praise Him. Blessings and love, libby and Bob

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You and your family are always in our prayers. Everyones love, particularly Gods, will be with you every step of the way. Best wishes Pat Cusa Clyst St Mary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pat, I’ve so appreciated your regular contact and reminders that the church family at Clyst St Mary are walking with us. Please thank them all from us.

      Like

  7. Gill and Tony Wills said:

    We live 3 miles from Bedford so feel a closer link with you now, although we have not met you. So glad Bedford hospital was of help to you – our daughter is Director of Nursing there. We continue to remember you both in our prayers. Gill &Tony Wills, friends of Ann & Roger Upchurch for 50 yrs.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mary Georgina Ann Hunt said:

    Thank you Jeremy for keeping us informed. All we can do is to hope and pray for you. Not forgetting Catherine and the rest of the family. Our prayer are with you all

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kate Woolven said:

    Oh Jeremy, you and Catherine are such a humbling inspiration and encouragement. God is so faithful, he will never leave or forsake you and I am thankful for the strength you receive from him. Thank you for keeping us all up to date with what’s going on. We continue to pray for you. May God bless your going out and your coming in.
    Kate x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jenni Coats said:

    Our daily prayers for all of you continue as hear this news. We are so sorry that yet again you are facing uncertainties yet know that in the midst of it all you experience a greater certainty. Our love to you all xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenni…you and Peter are so precious to us. You make us laugh, you keep it real. Thanks for caring for us all as a family so carefully over the years.

      Like

  11. Gill Brown said:

    Dearest Jeremy and Catherine
    I know that Father will go before you and be by your side through this next difficult stage. Jeremy – you are a Joshua – always bold and courageous knowing that the LORD is always with you. I have printed this blog and will take to RW today – we will pray together. Gill

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gill, thanks for your words. I’m really grateful that you’ve been able to keep R in touch with the news.

      Like

  12. Jeremy
    You and your family are an inspiration, thankyou for sharing your journey, and your strong faith.
    Thankyou for Joshua’s encouraging words.
    Thinking of you and praying for you.
    Lexi Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really appreciate your kindness & support Lexi. You’ve been given a gentle, caring spirit. You’re a gift to our church family.

      Like

  13. Michael& Marion said:

    Thank you for the privilege of taking us all with you on your winding, complex journey. Our love and prayers are with you, Catherine and all your family as always. M&M

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re such constant companions in prayer…so grateful for both it and your offers of help. Bless

      Like

  14. Not such good news, but modern medication and medicine with a large amount of prayer does wonders. Will keep our church folk informed and continue praying. It was great to see you all for a couple of days. Much love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Francois. It was very good to see you too last week. Love and thanks to all who’ve been supporting us in Jersey.

      Like

  15. Peter & Liz Wareham said:

    Dear Jeremy & Catherine. You all continue to be in our thoughts & prayers. Your faith & fortitude is inspirational. With our love, Peter & Liz

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi
    Just wanted to let you know that I’m praying for you. And in all that you’re going through your blog and faith has been a real encouragement to me over the past few weeks as I’ve been working through some difficult stuff in my life. Nothing of the magnitude that you’re facing, but emotionally draining none the less. So thank you for your honesty in sharing your jurney with us and for your faith.

    Thinking of you all

    Love and blessings

    Sue, (Childs)

    Liked by 1 person

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