Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A week of it!

Update on the surgery:

It was a busy week. We spent most of Wednesday at Whangarei for pre-op procedures and "joint camp" and returned to stay at the staff hostel (Maunu Hilton") on Thursday night for a 7am report to surgical admissions. I was taken through to theatre by about 9am and, having only a spinal tap anaesthetic, was able to take in most of what was going on. Back in Recovery at 10.30 and up to the ward by afternoon. All very smoothly managed.

Bev motored off to Auckland for the weekend and enjoyed the gathering with Home and Family Counselling and an evening at Christine's. By the time she was thinking about getting out of bed on Monday morning I had the word that I could go home.

There are a lot of appointments and hurdles to get through, of course, but we seem to have made a good start. And my surgeon suggests that we should be thinking about doing the other knee sooner rather than later...

We send our love to all who have been in touch.

Dave & Bev

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Kneed This

About a year ago I was accepted onto the urgent waiting list for a half-knee joint replacement. Last August I did the "pre-op" session at the Hospital, in expectation of an early admission.

A day or so ago I was phoned to ask if I could take up a cancelled spot on Friday. We were packed to leave for Auckland and Hamilton - where we were to direct our Murder Mystery Dinner - so I felt I had to decline.

On second thoughts I asked for half an hour to see if I could find someone to present the show with Bev. No such luck. But a call to the church office revealed that the ticket sales were poor and they were just about to suggest to me that we cancel.
It didn't take long to coordinate those cancellations and tomorrow I go down to do all the pre-op checks again. All being well, I'll be back in Whangarei for the "Right Knee Uncompartment" at 7am on Friday. (H'm, yes, must remember to mark the left one: "NOT THIS ONE!")

Bev will go on to our Auckland appointment and present our video of her reminiscences of her 1980s years with Home and Family Counselling and then, I am hoping, hurry back to wipe my feverish brow. As if we aren't enormously fortunate to get my surgery at public expense, we've just heard that Bev won the draw for her reminiscences and gets a free ticket to the celebrations.

The fragrance... filled the house...

What a time Bev and I had with the "fragrance that filled the house" last Sunday. We took a look at Andre Le Roux's "Ten Minutes on a Tuesday" on the story of the anointing of Jesus' feet at the home of Mary and Martha. His notes really got the juices flowing. And the aroma.

We emailed the congregation inviting them bring some scent or after-shave to Sunday service. When they arrived we'd already been heating aromatherapy oil for half an hour. We were all seated in a hollow square. After a time of sharing images and words and ideas about Mary's extravagant and sacrificial honouring of Jesus, people were invited to move into the centre space and offer a dab or squirt of scent on the hand of any other person.

It was designed to be a fairly solemn moment - we have been feeling some strains in the fellowship lately - but it soon became a lively and warm exchange of greetings of all kinds. People found all sorts of ways of honouring one another. I think one or two probably took the hand of every person present. Later we repeated the exercise with four or five locals and three visitors over the water at Russell. In both places it was a very special few minutes which we couldn't possibly have experienced while seated in pews in a big church.

On a very much lighter note, Ann suggested to me afterwards that the reason Mary had the stuff and could be so liberal with it was that she had obtained it for Lazarus and when Jesus brought him back to life she didn't need it any more! Of course!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Giant tree ferns - an indicator species?

In a recent dry hot summer two of our mature mamaku tree ferns died. The bank was bone dry so I piped grey water from the shower down to them but couldn’t save them. This summer three more of these 30-yr-olds are dying off, a frond at a time. I can’t seem to do anything for them.

For a couple of years I have become aware of tree ferns along the forest and road margins dying off in exactly the same way. Most had only a small head of green fronds to start with, and one by one these have died off. There are now hundreds of bare, dead trunks left standing like bizarre headstones throughout the north.

But the interesting thing is, nobody I speak to seems to have noticed the loss of these giant ferns. I have googled the problem and the only complainants seem to be people in the South Island who have garden specimens that are susceptible to frost.

Come on, DoC, what’s happening to our Northland Mamaku? What's happening to our world?

Monday, March 15, 2010

That Enabler Hat!

We completed the handing over of the Enabler hat yesterday.
A warm congregation attended at 4pm as District Superintendent Peter officiated at a special induction service to launch Rosalie Gwilliam as our parish’s Ministry Enabler. The liturgy was crisp and thoughtful, the singing robust and the sermon – longer than his usual, Peter admitted – directed our attention firmly to issues which we know require attention at present.
The questions asked of Rosalie and of us all helped us to re-think our own commitment as we move into a time of reduced income from giving and some uncertainty about the future. The finger food tea that followed was more than the entire congregation could polish off – perhaps an omen for the future!
Rosalie brings a huge amount of experience in the Methodist and Uniting traditions at district and national level as well as a lot of practical know-how in parish consultations and reviews. Her skills as a worship leader and parish administrator and pastor are going to be of great value to our ministry team as they coordinate the ministry of us all in this 19th year of Local Shared Ministry. Welcome aboard, Rosalie! Nobody can be as glad to see you in place as your predecessor!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In and Out of Sync

Along with the encouraging news on the prostate cancer front "The Book" has gone off for printing. It’s gone through a multitude of small revisions and is now in reasonable shape for a small run. Grand-daughter Lauren has designed a stunning cover and everything will be coming together in two or three weeks if the weather allows the printed pages to condition properly before binding.

If the weather doesn’t co-operate, I will have to resort to the technique described in my book on how to do your own book publishing. But you will have to buy the book to discover what that is. Bind your own Book
So people who asked for copies during the Great Golden Wedding Tour should hear from me soon – unless it turns out that I have lost all their names and addresses. Anyone else interested is invited to email me. I’ll be doing a dozen at a time as required. No huge financial outlay and no unsold stocks lying around - that’s the beauty of my “Eccent” ultra short-run binding system.

Prostate Cancer Report

Since going onto a second medication for advanced prostate cancer I’ve had unmeasurable PSA for about a year. At the quarterly consultation with my specialist the other day I was speculating about how long this excellent state of affairs might go on and whether an indication of possible diabetes was really worth worrying about.
Then I said, "Of course, I can't ask you the real question, can I?"
She said, "Yes, you can."
So I said, "How long do you think I can plan on?"
Immediately she replied, "Definitely from six months to ten years."
Don’t you just love a specialist with a sense of humour…

It’s just eight years since I was enduring the rather unpleasant extracting of biopsies from my prostate. Cancer cells were found in four out of the six. And they were Gleason Grade 7 which, out of ten, indicated fairly strong and lively activity. After the surgery which followed I remember researching the odds and giving myself 80% chance of surviving three years and 30% chance of eight years.

Within a year the cancer was active again and since then I have had another unmeasurable year on Zoladex injections before it resumed. And climbed steadily for three years. Now Bicalutamide on top of Zoladex has given me an unmeasurable PSA for nearly all of the eighth year.

But life is always uncertain. If we had buses around here I should be careful not to step under one. Meanwhile, I’m grateful that today is going to be a great day. And maybe tomorrow, too…