Saturday, 27 April 2013

Wow another week is over and what a week it's been.  It's been a week where plans have gone out the window, where frustration has at times set in and also the feeling to being totally overwhelmed by everything that life seems to be throwing in my path.  And yet through it all there is this indescribable peace.  At the oddest times I find the words of the following well known hymn running through my mind.

"When peace like a river, flows all through my life, when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, you have taught me to say: it is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control;
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate and has shed His own blood for my soul."

What a comfort and what a joy to know that no matter what I have to face it is well with my soul.

My plans for Monday were quickly thrown out the window when we had to make a sudden trip up to Palmy to the Hospice to see the doc re Roy's medication and continuous spontaneous throwing up.  It was decided to take Roy off the anti inflammation tablet that he was on and try a new one.  So home we went, picked up the new tabs and waited to see if this was the miracle 'cure' - but no it wasn't, the throwing up continued.

On Monday night we had some 'normality' among the craziness with a few members of the family and extended family here for dinner and I must say we had a really lovely time.

On Wednesday Roy went for a blood test to see what - if any - difference the blood transfusion had made, he also had a long talk with the hospice nurse and in the end it was decided that they would try giving the anti nausea meds through a slow release drip system.  This would have to be installed by the district nurse.  She came to do this on Thursday morning - even though it was ANZAC Day.  The whole process took about an hour to set up and when she was done Roy had a drip line in the top of his left arm and a small device which he had to carry around with him.  We found a bag to put it in so at least he could be hands free.

Things were looking up until bedtime :0(  The next morning was even worse with Roy throwing up every time he stood up.  By 9am he'd had 3 episodes even though he had nothing in his tummy - he was totally worn out.  We had another call from the Hospice nurse and it was decided that Roy should spend sometime up at the Hospice in Palmy so they could monitor him and see if they could get to the bottom of what was going on.  It was also decided that Roy needed more blood as his red blood cell count had again dropped.

A HUGE thank you to my Mum and Dad who took Roy up to Palmy for me as I already had committed to a trip down to Wellington to pick up son Tim from the airport, as he was coming to visit for the weekend.

This morning Tim and I headed up to Palmy to visit Roy.  It was great to find him in good spirits and looking way better than he had the day's before.  In total he has received 4 units of blood.  They have taken him off the anti inflammation tabs, but upped his morphine dose.  He slept very well last night with no pain.  There is some concern about internal bleeding so they are investigating this further.  Roy also had trouble peeing yesterday, but that seems to have come right again by itself, although a blood test has shown a decrease in kidney function.  The throwing up also continues :0(

We spent a lovely few hours together as a family in the awesome family room that is at the Hospice - with Roy and the children playing a couple of games of Monopoly Millionaire while I had Oma cuddles with Noah.

Tomorrow sees the arrival of Ryan and grand-daughter Inge for a 4 day visit and the departure of Tim back to Christchurch.

At this stage Roy will be staying at the Hospice until at least Monday.

The news on the house front is that there is really no news - of the 2 people who were through at last Sunday's open home - 1 couple is very keen, spent the whole half hour here but first have to sell their house.   The other lady is an open home groupie (apparently she has been going to open homes since forever and has yet to buy a house) - she thought it was a great house for the price.

Once again a HUGE thank you to all who continue to hold us before the Throne of Grace with their prayers, and also to those who encourage us with cards, deeds and gifts.  We are humbled and blessed everyday.

Well I'm off to bed as it's been a long day and tomorrow will prob be the same.  Sleep well.

Wishing you a blessed Lord's day tomorrow.

Love and hugs

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Another week has gone by with highs and lows.

Last week Friday Roy received 2 units of blood as his hemoglobin was sitting at 80. Although I have found that Roy seems a lot better than he was, he himself is disappointed that he has not 'bounced' back like he did when he has transfusions in the past. I guess that shows the weakened state he is in due to the cancer. Next week Wed he will have a blood test to see what his hemoglobin is doing.

Another new-ish development is random throwing up/dry retching. This is not related to food and often seems to happen when Roy's stomach is empty. We had a visit with the Hospice nurse this week and they have added a new med to the ever growing mix of medications that Roy takes, this med is supposed to help with the nausea and and throwing up.  Things were looking good till tonight when Roy had another episode - an hour after taking his meds!!  These episodes are very draining for him, even though they pass very quickly and he soon feels 'well' again afterwards.

The downside of this new med is that it makes Roy feel tired and lethargic, although the Hospice nurse said that the tiredness could also be caused by the progression of the cancer. The blood test on Wed will tell us a lot more.

On the 'up-side' we have been very blessed this past week through the thoughtfulness and generosity of many wonderful people. A HUGE thank you to these special people (you know who you are even when we don't) whom God has placed on our path, may God bless you richly.

Another 'up-side' is that today we had a lovely surprise visit from our gorgeous wee grand- daughter Inge, she came down with her other grandparents who had to drop a son off at the airport and had arranged to join us for lunch. Precious moments :0)
Also Roy's brother Henry arrived today from Australia for a 5 day visit with both us and Roy's parents. Family is such a blessing.

God truly does supply all our needs - as it says in Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." - we can trust that God will always meet our needs on earth - esp when it is the courage to face death, but more importantly He will supply our needs in heaven - when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour our greatest 'need' is supplied.

Of course what we think we need and what God knows we need are usually poles apart and we may not get all that we want. But by trusting in Christ, we can change our attitudes from wanting to accepting His provision and thereby having the power to live a life that glorifies Him daily.

On the house front things are still quiet. We have had a bit of interest but no bites yet. Tomorrow there will be another open home. God sure is teaching me a lesson in patience :0) and that my 'wanting' the house to sell may not actually be what He knows we really 'need'.   Although I'd love it if He'd let me know how we will cope ;0)

Anyway enough rambling for tonight - I'm tired (grand-children tend to do that to you) so I'm off to bed to listen to the rain.

Wishing you a blessed Lord's day tomorrow and may He indeed supply all your needs.

Love, hugs and blessings

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Today is a miserable drizzly day (although not cold) so what better way to spend it than by blogging - note I wrote blogging, not blobbing - that might come later ;0)

Anyway a quick run down of yesterday.

On Thursday we found out why Roy has been getting so tired - his hemoglobin was sitting at 80 so yesterday he spent the day up at the hospice receiving 2 units of blood.  Today (Sat) he is looking much better - more colour and def more energy.

I went up to Palmy in the afternoon to pick Roy up and and then we went to Aimee and Richard's to babysit Noah for them while they went out for a work dinner.

Today Roy and I went to watch Joel's soccer team play a home game.  We were specially invited by Joel's coach (Mike Utting - former All Whites goal-keeper).  We were given the VIP treatment and as a memento of the game Roy was given a ball signed by all the team.  Unfortunately they lost 2-1 :0(  We felt really blessed though with the thoughtfulness that was shown to us.

It has really amazed me the people that the Lord has put on our path at this time.  We have been blessed to receive so much encouragement from so many different people that it is both overwhelming and humbling.

I guess what has really amazed me is that often this encouragement has come from people who I didn't expect it from and those who I thought would 'be there' for us aren't.

It brings to mind the parable of the 'Good Samaritan' that Jesus told in Luke 10:25-37.

How often do we not behave like the priest and the Levite in the parable and pass by those who need us.  I am ashamed to say that I have definitely been guilty of this in the past.  But being in this 'situation' has opened my eyes to my failings and that I need to be much more like the Samaritan and reach out to those who need my love and support, even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone.  Scary!! ;0)

We are very quick to find an excuse, but lets not forget it's not about us and how we feel.  It's about letting God use us to touch the life of someone in need so that He will be glorified.

Words are not even needed - sometimes all we need to do is give a hug, a smile, a touch or just a listening ear.  It's showing that we care rather than showing that we're indifferent.

I can hear many of you saying - at least I'm praying - and don't get me wrong that's awesome and important, but it's an easy thing to do.  But it so much harder to step out of your comfort zone and actually reach out to someone.  And yet as Christians that is exactly what we should be doing.  In fact it's what we are called to do.

Galatians 6:2 tells us to "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

My prayer is that each one of us will be brave enough to step outside our secure comfort zones and reach out to those around us who need us.

A HUGE thank you to all who have been reaching out to both Roy and I, may God bless you and may you continue to be a blessing in the lives of those around you.

Much love and blessings

PS: I'm off to blob now :0)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Just wanted to share the following meditation from our previous minister and good friend Pastor John Zuidema.

What does one do when it seems that God is no longer answering our prayers?  Interestingly, this isn’t an issue when we are experiencing good health, steady employment, great friends and a beaut family life etcetera. People are quick to say at those times that God is good! Indeed He is!
However, it does seem to become a very real issue when things are not going well. You lose your job; your marriage breaks up; one of your children is ‘off the rails,’ or has left the Christian faith, or the Lord doesn’t seem to be hearing your earnest prayer for healing anymore.
And this becomes particularly problematic for a person who has loved the Lord all his life and served Him faithfully.  “Where is God when I need Him most? It doesn’t help to pray” are the familiar cries.  As a result there is a deafening silence about God’s goodness, even though He may have blessed them and their family with good health and much more for twenty, forty, sixty and sometimes even eighty years plus!  
I guess for someone who has been blessed with good health for most of his life, one has to be really careful what he pens to paper.  However, I once remember a father who ‘lost’ his son after an automobile accident.  His son was just eighteen years old.  When questioned about his family’s grief he simply said, “Why not?  Why shouldn’t our faithful God allow this to happen to our family? Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we are exempt from these dreadful experiences.  Many years later, this same father when diagnosed with terminal cancer himself made the same reply when loved ones dared to ask, “Why?” This Christian man didn’t think he was special or didn’t deserve it or that he was too young, he simply trusted completely in his Saviour’s eternal care, both for the present and for eternity.  What a blessed man!
Let’s be honest, thousands of people lose their lives through accidents and illness every year.  Why should Christians think they deserve to be exempt from accidents and illnesses? God hasn’t promised that at all.  In fact, we too are sinners and deserving of the same things that afflict the common man.
However, God has promised in His word that all the days for each one of us have been ordained.  We will not leave this earthly sojourn until our days on earth are done (Psa 139:16).  And when they are done, Christians go home to be with the Lord because of what God the Father has done for them in Christ! 
It is sad then when people think of their heavenly Father as only being ‘good’ when things are presently going well for them.  God is always ‘good’, even when in His infinite wisdom and providence has ordained for us to suffer lose through accident or be afflicted with serious or terminal illnesses.  It’s how we respond to it that bears witness of our love and trust to our faithful loving God in Christ.
Whatever happens, be assured our loving Father in heaven has a purpose in it and He has promised to never leave us or forsake us, even when we have to walk through the valley of death (Psa 23; Mat 28:20, Heb 13:5ff).  We are forever safe in His eternal hands (John 10:28ff), both when things are good and when things could be better.
Still have doubts? Consider for a moment our Saviour. Jesus was a righteous man. He clung to His Father God from the day His mother bore Him.  When He was just twelve years old He knew He had to be in His Father’s house (Lk 2:49). When He was older He said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work” (Jn 4:34).  And His perfect obedience to His loving Father led Him to a cross.
While suffering His Father’s wrath for the sins of the world, His enemies taunted him. “He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said ‘I am the Son of God’” (Matt. 27:43).  At that time it seems that Jesus also felt forsaken by His Father in His hour of need. He cried out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?"  The silence from His own loving Father was deafening.
Our Saviour had to be forsaken for He had become sin for us. Yet, because of His cries, our cries for help will never go unheard. 
Romans 8:35ff says it so well, “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”
Prayer: Father, may Your Holy Spirit remind us of the rich promises we have in Christ our Saviour, both in the present and for eternity. Amen. JZ.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A HUGE thank you for all your support, encouragement, messages and prayers both yesterday and today and in the past.  We are both overwhelmed and humbled by the show of love that we are surrounded with.

I know that many of you just don't know what to say and that's ok - sometimes words are just not necessary.

I feel that life is now a bit surreal - we are now living in a limbo that is really hard to explain.  The decision has been made and there is no going back from that and yet there seems to be no going forward either.  We're kind  of stuck living one day at a time - which is prob a good thing - but I hate the feeling of an uncertain future.  I know that God has 'got this' and that He has plans for our lives and that I need to give it all to Him.  But even though we give ALL to God we so easily turn around again and collect all that baggage back up.

Total surrender - is it really possible to leave everything (our fears, worries and cares) at the foot of the cross and move forward leaving it there and have total peace?  Some days I manage it (a little bit) and other days not so well.  God is in control of all that goes on in our lives and I can take comfort in the knowledge that He will sustain us and see us through and that in everything He will be glorified.

A dear friend who is travelling a similar as us sent us a wonderful email and I'd like to quote something that he wrote.

'God's promises are eternal and He will not fail us. His purposes are higher than ours, and as we face the pain of what he has called us to face, we can only turn to Him in trust and hope. Hope in His promises and trust that He has our souls in His hands. I don't say 'life' because I think that as we face these trial we see the reality that this life is a passing thing. Our life is purely and only to be lived to glorify our Lord. We have done many other things in our life but that is the essence and I pray that you can be comforted by this sure knowledge that the suffering you both are going through is a price that can be paid in the Lord's strength.'

Another friend sent me a message today with the following text - which really spoke not only to her but to me also.

Praise to God for a Living Hope
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  

1 Peter 1:3-7

Thank you for continuing to follow this journey with us.  If you feel the need to share this blog then please do so.  May God be given the glory.

Love and blessings

PS: Sorry if my posts seem to ramble a bit - sometimes my thoughts tend to be a bit disjointed.  It doesn't help that I'm 'blonde' ;0)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Life's Clock

The clock of life is wound but once, 
And no man has the power 
To tell just where the hands will stop  
At late or early hour.

To lose one's wealth is sad indeed, 
To lose one's health is more, 
To lose one's soul is such a loss 
As no man can restore.

The present only is our own, 
Live for Christ with a will; 
Place no faith in tomorrow, 
For the clock may then be still. 

Not sure who wrote this but it very true.

The decision has been made and therefore today's blog is the letter that Roy has written to family and friends to inform them.

We thank the Lord for all your prayers, thoughts and advice over the last few days.

When we asked for your feedback regarding our options, we were in no way trying to abdicate our God-given responsibility to make the decision ourselves.  The decision is still ours.  However, when faced with this type of momentous decision, you normally need time to be able to think of all the different aspects of the decision.  We didn't have a lot of time.  With hindsight, we now see that God has used your comments to help us to consider aspects which we may otherwise not have thought of ourselves.  So we are grateful for your honesty and being prepared to share this with us.  We have taken all your comments into account in making our decision.

We have decided not to go with the Chemotherapy that has been offered, but instead to let the disease take its course from here.  In some ways it still seems harsh, but we are both at peace with it.  May God be glorified through this decision.

We continue to covet your prayers and support, and the road ahead will not be any the easier just because the decision has been made.

From now on, I will no longer have any direct care from my Oncologist, who has wonderfully helped us through the last 5 years.  Instead I will now be under the care of my own GP, together with the team (doctors and nurses) from the local Arohanui Hospice, who will continue to monitor my palliative care.

My sojourn on this earth is coming to a close, but my eternal home is assured - Christ has already gone ahead to prepare a place for me.  And also for you, if you have Christ as your Lord and Saviour, and there we will meet again - forever!  Meanwhile we still have time to interact here on earth, but the time I have left will likely be measured in months, not years.

Love and blessing,
Roy and Jolanda

Saturday, 6 April 2013

This post comes with a warning - you might need tissues.

Every morning I wake up wondering - will I shed tears today??

I can honestly say that to date tear-less days have been few and far between.  Sometimes it's a thought that will bring them on, a song on the radio or just a sentiment that someone has posted on line. Tears are cleansing for the soul I know but the resulting head ache is horrible, not to mention how the eyes end up looking.

My heart is heavy with sorrow - that fairy-tale idea of a broken heart is true.

My heart breaks to see Roy in pain and struggling at times to get through the day.  It breaks when I see him getting frustrated that he doesn't have the energy to do the things he wants to do.  It breaks when I hear him say that he's tired of fighting and it shatters when I think that one day I will have to live my life without him.

Till death do us part are the vows we really take so lightly on our wedding day.  We assume that we'll live to an old age together, little realising or understanding the path that God has laid before us or the reality of those words when the time comes.

My husband is dying and my heart is heavy with sorrow.

I know that he is heading to a place that is better by far than it is here on earth, but I struggle to understand why God feels the need to take him away.  Why do prayers seem to go unanswered?  Why do I feel as if God is silent?

There I've put it out there!!

Am I having a crisis of faith??


I know that God is in control of ALL things and that His will will be done.  I know that if it is His will Roy will be healed and if not then it's not to be.  I know that I can give Him all my worries and fears and concerns and He will shoulder them.  I know that He is my only source of comfort, strength and joy.

But I also know that I am human and frail and in moments of utter weakness and despair I rage against God because I don't understand WHY.

Tears are therapeutic but I am finding that so is blogging.

To those of you who take the time to read this thanks for listening.

If you're wondering if I'm ok - yes I am.  Sometimes it's just good to get 'stuff' off your chest.

I love the following Psalm and know that it gives Roy great comfort too.  So I'll finish with these words.

 "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil."  Proverbs 3:3-7 

Love and blessings

PS:  Decision is still pending.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Today we had our visit with the Oncologist to get the results of the scan that was done last week.

The results are as we already kinda expected - the cancer is spreading.  It is now present in more nodes and the lump in Roy's neck is growing.

The Oncologist has given us 2 options:

* Have a course of a different chemo drug that might only have a 20% chance of making any difference. It would be 3 weeks on (1 day a week) and 1 week off.  Side effects - allergic reaction, hair thinning, feeling sick, tired, sore and achy muscles.


* Do nothing.

Wow!!!!!!!!!  Glup!!!!!   What to do?????

We are taking some time to pray and think about what to do.  At this stage we are leaning towards at least giving the chemo a go - as our youngest said why wouldn't you??  And he's right what have we got to loose????  We are now at the quality verse quantity stage.

What is so amazing (well maybe not) is that I feel very much at peace - thank you to all those who are holding us up to the Throne of Grace in prayer.  God is good and faithful and we feel His comfort and strength.

On the house front - we have 2 people wanting to come through to have a look - praying for a buyer ;0)

Till next time.


Here are some photos of our time in Hastings.

Noah all packed and ready for his trip :0)

Cousins having a cuddle.

What a difference in size!!

Even Inge's doll is bigger than Noah