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 journey downhill

A week ago, Friday November 18th , I came home from school at lunchtime in order for Jeremy and I to go away. Kind friends gave us vouchers to use at a local Retreat Centre when Jeremy retired. As I walked into the kitchen with my school bags, Jeremy could be heard coming down the stairs. What then played out had all of us feeling quite concerned.

Jeremy could barely walk into the kitchen or stand up.

I managed to get packed up, fill the car and we set off just after 3pm. On arrival, it was difficult for Jeremy to walk any distance. We finally got ensconced in the lovely cosy lodge, once I had emptied the car. Jeremy managed to sit in a chair and watch some TV that evening but that was his limit. He appeared weak, slightly confused and very vulnerable.

To cut a long story short by Saturday I had group messaged the boys and told them we had reached a very serious stage. Dad was unable to get out of bed, get in the shower or walk by himself. I called Tom home and made plans with Joshua to return home asap on the following Friday. We were unable to leave the lodge at all on Saturday and Jeremy needed constant watching even when sleeping or washing. On Sunday Jeremy managed a short shower with supervision and we went for a walk but 20 minutes was all he could manage. We arrived back home that evening and all could see the rapid deterioration that had taken place.

It has been a tough week. We have been visited by a Hospice Nurse and an OT to try and make changes to the bed to aid getting in and out and work out a way to make showering possible. We have been at the hospital many times; had blood tests, an ECG, talked with the Registrar and the Consultant. Jeremy has lots of drugs to take which have now been dispensed into a pill organiser to ensure he has the right ones at the right time. His parents have made the tough decision to return to NZ and we have moved down to the spare room on the middle floor. We hope this will make living easier for Jeremy and conserve some energy. We also hope that having the spare room near a bathroom and the living room we can differentiate much more, daytime and nighttime. A double bed is the only sacrifice; 27 years of a king size makes this much smaller bed a tricky option.

We have cried, laughed, hugged, made tough decisions and generally tried to support each other so that we don’t lose perspective but do face things realistically. Jeremy has spent most of the time in bed, a great deal of it sleeping. He has needed a stick to aid his walking and have showers supervised. I have bought him a lovely new towelling dressing gown like the one I bought him two years ago to keep him comfortable and cope with sweats when they occur. If clothes are no longer the best option, a choice of comfortable dressing gown is a must.

Treatment was ceased on Thursday but as long as all tests come back positively, on Tuesday he will resume taking the tablets he was on in February until April but this time combined with another. The symptoms seen over this week are the result of swelling to the brain. Steroids have been increased in an attempt to combat this. If the swelling is a result of the radiotherapy then we should see some improvement very quickly. If disease caused then we might not see such an improvement. We have been told there is increased disease activity but not in any of the major organs, other than of course, the brain.

We remain as a family resting on the arms of the Lord. We sit in the palms of his hands but we walk a very realistic and daunting path. We have whispered to each other “I am not sure we will get to Christmas”. We face the celebrations at the end of the year cautiously. We enjoy visits from family and a few friends but with me being off school for the time being we have definitely entered a new phase.

We value your prayers and thoughts and many acts of kindness. For me to know that you are all out there helps me enormously.

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Comments on: "A journey downhill" (75)

  1. Chris Boughton said:

    Praying for Jeremy to receive strength. Be it physical or spiritual. Such immense testing times for you & your family.
    Much love.
    Chris Boughton.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joy Littlefair said:

    Dear all thinking of you and holding you in our prayers. By accident I came upon this verse and want to pass it on. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire , you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.” Isaiah 43:1-3 . Joy and Davidxxxxxx

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brian and Maureen at Alphington said:

    Catherine What strength the Lord has given you to be able to take time to write this blog at what must be a very difficult time for you and the family. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at St Michaels Alphington are with Jeremy, you and the family and trust the Lord will hold all of you in his hand and give you all the support you need.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ian, Karen and boys said:

    We’re out here Catherine! We may be quiet but we are with you sending much love in your direction

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bridget Faithfull said:

    Love to you all

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Val Parkinson said:

    God Bless you all, praying for you continuously. Feel so sad hearing this news, stay strong, your Heavenly Father knows what is best, keep trusting in him. Big hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sally & Peter Twin said:

    Catherine, thank you so much for writing of Jeremy’s recent decline. I do pray and hope things are better for you all this weekend. Much love and prayer. May you all remain firmly grasped by the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. Sally (& Peter)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. parsonzone said:

    Thank you for updating us in the midst of the managing and adapting you are doing. Glad that you will have everyone home and around you soon. We remember you all in our prayers from a distance, here in Christchurch. Arohanui, Melissa and family

    Like

  9. Rev Simeon Damdar said:

    Oh Dear Jeremy/Catherine, I feel so numb to say anything. But CS Lewis in his Book–“The Weight of Glory” said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

    Like

  10. heather wheeler said:

    Always moved by Jeremy’s inspirational writing and your inspiration as a family. Words don’t come easily. Always in my prayers, Father’s arms are open wide as you fall into them and as He wraps you up . Love you all,

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Anthony Thomaa said:

    Love and continued prayers as usual.
    Anthony and Jeannie (ex-Elstree)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ruth and John Hutchinson said:

    Dear Jeremy and Catherine, we pray every day for you both, especially just now at this very challenging time. Jeremy,s blogs have been an inspiration. What a witness. Our love and prayers for the coming days, Ruth and John Hutchinson

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lorraine Williams said:

    Our dear Jeremy , Catherine and family,
    God is as close to you as the breath that you breathe. Hold onto this truth as you keep looking upwards
    Blessings from Lorraine and Danny Williams

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you Jeremy and Catherine for sharing this painful journey. With love and prayers, Anne and Shaun.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. David & Ruth Williams said:

    Love you all lots. God is big enough for the big ones we face. His prescence is more real than words, even scriptures. Xxx here for you all & praying.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Tanya Marlow said:

    Thank you for this honest update. I really appreciate your candour and realism – it helps with knowing how to pray. Wish I could somehow make things so much easier – but in the absence of anything else I’m holding you all – and especially Jeremy – in prayer. With much love.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Robyn Thew said:

    We are praying for you all. We know God has such a plan for you all but it is hard to know the next step. Take Care . Robyn

    Like

  18. Sarah Geileskey said:

    Many of us have stood at the edge of the crowd and listened carefully to Jeremy’s voice through his blog. Now we must step forward… you must know that those who have left comments are just a few of the many who are listening and learning and praying.

    Wisdom 3:1-9

    Peace be with you.

    Like

  19. Praying you will know more of His Presence and Peace through these especially difficult days.

    Like

  20. Tanya marrow said:

    Thinking of you all . Your are all inspirational .
    Sending love to you all xx

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wendy Cranston said:

    I have been following your blog since you came and spoke at Isca Church earlier in the year. It has helped me enormously to keep my focus on Jesus as our family has gone through a painful and challenging time. I will continue to pray for you all as you cope with whatever lies ahead. I just wanted you all to know that there are people you don’t know who have been encouraged and helped through your testimony and your honest writings in this blog and who are also upholding you in prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Chris Tucker said:

    As inspirational and as challenging as ever – there simply are no words – but my thoughts and prayers are with you! God Bless you all.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Jeremy is in my prayers, my thoughts with you all… I hope things turn for the better.. and hope to be able to meet up in a couple of weeks time when i visit exeter.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Thoughts & prayers continue

    Bosco

    Like

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