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  • FEC-T and Me (One Woman's Experience of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy)

    At various times I've said I'd write more about the mechanics of Mt Chemo and never quite got around to it.  Over the last week I've had a go at writing somthing - which turned out to be rather long.  It echoes a lot of official advice but there is a bit of 'how it was for me.'  Whether its of of any use I have no idea, but it's here as a PDF file anyway.

    After a bit about me, the key themes are...

    • finding appropriate support - accompaniment, accountability and boundaries
    • life style and side effects - diet, hair, skin, etc.: 'rules' and personal experiences of side effects
    • administration of the drugs
    • week 3 treats and other extras/options

    It isn't definitive but it as an account by one woman who had what can be termed a 'good experience' of chemotherapy.  A lot of the stuff online understandably reflects bad experiences as people seek reassurance that they are not alone in what happens.  Sometimes, though, it's nice to be reassured that it isn't always awful.


    * One thing I forgot to include was that I began with a plan for six cycles of FEC with the option of a switch to T after three cycles.  Although my FEC response was bang on text book my consultants agreed a switch to T would be good rather than wish, retrospectively they'd done so.  Right at the start I was told that around 80% of people have this switch - it seems it is pretty much 'normal' with neoadjuvant chemo to have FEC-T rather than six FEC.  FEC*6 or FEC*3 T*3 - either is a good regime so trust your oncologist.  Maybe one day the knowledge gained will be useful in shaping adjuvant chemo regimes too.

  • Poem

    A couple of lovely cards arrived this morning - I am a very fortunate person to have such support - and in one was this poem which I've decided to share...

    The Divine Weaver

    My life is but a weaving
    Between my Lord and me;
    I cannot choose the colours,
    He works it steadily.

    Sometimes he weaves sorrow
    And I, in foolish pride,
    Forget that he sees the upper,
    And I, the underside.

    Not till the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly,
    Shall God unroll the canvas
    And explain the reason why.

    The dark threads are as needful
    In the weaver’s skilful hand
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern he has planned.

    I like that it acknowledges the unanswered questions of life, or at least that we won't find the answers this side of eternity.  Whilst I'm not sure I go with the preordination the poem implies, I do believe that God somehow works* the dark 'threads' into something beautiful... "in all things God works for the good of those who love him" Romans 8:28.

    * or at least can work them thus, if only we are open to that working

  • Common Ground?

    HT ST in Dibley for this one.

    Check this youtube video for some thought provoking insights on shared humanity and values.

  • Credible Evidence?

    Brenda Namiggade was due to be deported from the UK because, according to the radio news this morning, she could not provide 'credible evidence' of her sexual orientation.  I am left bewildered at what this actually means - what kind of evidence is 'credible' in demonstrating anyone's sexual orientation?

    Ms Namiggade says that she is a lesbian, so how is she meant to demosntrate that?  Lust after female security guards?  Dive into bed with every woman she meets?  Dress like a stereotypical lesbian?

    Would we expect a heterosexual person to provide credible evidence of their orientation?  Granted, this would not be cause of an asylum request, but even so?  Where does that leave the single, celibate heterosexual?  Not sure I could provide 'credible evidence' in similar circumstances... not sure 'I think so-and-so is really hunky' would count!!

    I am at a loss to make sense of this.  I appreciate that superficially it might be an easy claim to make but it is one that is costly if not true (extradition) and if true (long term suspicion and widepsread homophobia).

    It kind of reminds me of the old poster that used to be on the walls of many churches - 'if you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?'  The idea being going to church does not a Christian make, nor does saying the right things, it is something about lifestyle.  But what precisely?  It's a sobering thought that if it was us having to seek asylum on religious grounds our lack of 'credible evidence' might be equally compelling.

  • Jeff Gosden RIP

    Today's Baptist Times carries the announcement of the death of a minister who died too young, too soon.  I'm not sure how old Jeff was, but I reckon about my own age.

    I met Jeff when we both served on the committee of the Baptist Ministers' Fellowship (BMF), I as area rep for EMBA and he as sector rep for Chaplains.  There was some common ground in that we both trained at Northern (he best part of a decade ahead of me) and that he was chaplain at Northampton General Hospital; at some point he had visited my Mum when she was in hopsital and I am grateful for that, as was she.  More recently Jeff moved to the south coast to take up a chaplaincy role in Taunton.

    I knew Jeff had been diagnosed with cancer a couple of years back but had understood all to be going well.

    Jeff brought to BMF committee meetings lightness and wisdom, humour and spirituality, important insights from the 'sectors' and a genuine interest in our own pastoral ministries.  He will be missed.

    Go in peace, good and faithful servant.