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One Year All Clear!!! 25th February, 2013

Posted by Scotty in Cancer.
3 comments

2012-2013

I have been sitting here taking care of some administrative tasks and just looked at the date and thought… wow… that crept up on me?!  Yesterday… is the year anniversary of getting my ALL CLEAR from the hospital!  It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since that portion of my journey ended.

In the midst of chemo, I felt like the world was ending.  It felt like it would never end.  But here I am, a year later, looking back on it and I have a hard time believing that was me?!  It feels like a different person, another life.  It’s amazing how a difficult season can feel like a lifetime while you’re going through it, but when you’re out the other side and looking back–and especially if you’re looking from the perspective of eternity–it’s such a tiny slither of our existence.

God uses massive experiences like this past season to do huge transformative work in a person’s heart.  I have a hard time reconciling the man who was diagnosed with cancer with the man who sits here typing.  At some point soon I’ll try to put some of that transformation into words but for now I’m content simply to acknowledge the phenomenon.

I’m alive! My life is His to use in whatever way He sees fit. And..

To Him be the glory

Movember MOUSTACHE! 7th November, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Cancer.
4 comments


Here is a picture I never thought I’d see… me with some form of moustache!

Last year lots of people close to me grew moustaches for Movember to raise awareness for Testicular and Prostate cancer. A few times during Movember last year I was rebuked for my lack of moustache, to which I would wittily reply, “Instead of a moustache, I’m going with the whole I-have-cancer-thing to raise awareness”. That got a few chuckles.

So here we have it, this year I thought I’d join in the fun!

Should it stay or should it go?

It’s been a year already?!?!?!?!?!?!? 31st October, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Cancer.
2 comments

It’s 3.15pm on Halloween 2012. And it’s hard not to spend the day feeling reflective.

This time last year I was lying on a stretcher in the corridor of Glasgow’s Western Infirmary, waiting on the tests that would determine if the lump I’d found was cancer.

It’s hard to believe that was a year ago?!?!?!?!

It’s funny though.  I was lying there reading the biography of Dawson Trotman (who founded the Navigators), journaling prayers of surrender (uncertain how God was going to use this), and working on memorizing 1st Peter… oblivious to the year ahead.

And here I am a year later.  I picked up the Dawson Trotman biography a week ago (I never did finish reading it), journaling prayers of surrender (uncertain how God is going to use the things we’re currently facing), and I just started working on memorizing 1st Peter again (I never did finish it either).

This past year was tough.  There were times when ministry was tough.  Interpersonal Dynamics were messy.  I felt like I was doing ministry with one hand tied behind my back.  Then cancer pulled me out of the game for quite a while.  We faced the fact we might never have kids.  We watched people we care about leave Jesus for the things of the world.  We’ve worried about cash. We have been hurt by people we thought really cared.  We’ve experienced Truth without Grace.  We’re transitioning out of the old.

But alongside all of that have been some incredible blessings.  We’ve seen God move in and through us.  We’ve watched lives be transformed.  I was healed of cancer.  God used that season to minister to many people around us. He used it to solidify our marriage.  He taught me about the work that He’d done in my heart.  He used the time “bed-ridden” to do some serious heart and soul surgery.  We made new friends.  We watched people we discipled grow stronger.  I got to minister in South America.  We were blessed with the BIRTH of ELLA JOY.  We experienced God’s provision in miraculous ways.  We’ve experienced True Grace.  We’re transitioning into the new.

It’s amazing what happens internally when you come face-to-face with the reality of death.  Though I was never given a bad prognosis, the word cancer evokes thoughts of The End.  Through the whole process God was working internally, confronting sin, changing my heart, bringing healing, teaching me about myself and about Him.

A lot can happen in a year.

Along with the rest of the world, I wish I didn’t have to go through the bad times.  But you erase the bad without getting rid of the good that was scattered in amongst there.  There is no joy when there is no suffering.

Of course, Ella Joy is the one that makes it most clear to us.  To erase the past year would be to remove here from our lives.  To take away the pain and uncertainty is to also get rid of the joy and certainty.

God does a lot in a year.

And whether it’s the Good or the Bad, we continue to throw ourselves at His feet and to Trust Him and His Word.

Thank you Lord, for the good times and the bad.  For they are both gifts from your hand.

Post-chemo haircuts! 25th May, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Fun.
5 comments

So… I’ve been fighting with Monica for a good few weeks about getting my hair cut.

Mon: “Scott, you need to trim your hair, can I tidy it up for you?”
Me: “I HAVE HAIRRRRRR!!!!!!”

Well, the day finally came to go get it cut and I’d decided that to celebrate, I would go and get it done at the same place that did my pre-chemo haircut.  One of the guys from church decided a while ago that he’d do crazy hair too, to celebrate with me.  So… today was the day… we went and got some fun done!

A big SHOUT OUT to BEN for being such a good sport!
Gotta love it!

God heals! 1st May, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Cancer, Unmistakeable Hand of God.
2 comments


A lot can happen in 6 months.  It was 6 months ago that I visited the doctor and admitted to hospital.  Can you believe it?!  How can half a year have just “disappeared”.  Yet, how can all that’s happened have taken only 6 months?!  (Sometimes I wonder if there’s ever a day in life when you don’t experience the that-took-forever and that-feels-like-only-yesterday all in the same breath!)

In 6 months I went from feeling healthy to diagnosed with cancer to chemotherapy to an all clear to half-way-around-the-world serving God to Glasgow.  What a ride?!

What I want to scream from the rooftops is:

I FEEL AMAZING!!!

The South America trip came at just the right point!  The few days leading up to the trip I kept thinking “Can I do this?  Do I have enough energy or will this trip be too much?”  While I felt it was good and I was prepared for it I wasn’t sure how all the post-chemo fatigue and things might affect me.

While on the trip I had my days where I felt worn out and I kept asking myself “Am I tired from travelling?  Am I tired from a busy schedule?  Am I tired from doing lots of ministering?  or is this cancer-tired?”  But then I’d look over at Stuart who’d make some comment about being exhausted and that made me feel better!  My tiredness was NORMAL.

Now that I’m back… I feel so good.  And there are a number of contributors to that.

  • I feel great.  The tiredness has gone.  My energy level and physical/emotional capacity seems restored to normal (though with a greater drive to do more than I had before.  You know what also helps with feeling good?…
  • I look good.  (In the not big-headed way!)  My hair is back and the South American sun put colour back in my cheeks.  (On the downside, my 3-4 month without having to shave is over.)  It’s nice to look in the mirror and look normal again. I think I’m going to do something crazy to my hair to celebrate!
  • I’m eager.  I’ve been out of the game for 6 months?!  While I’ve continued doing ministry it’s been on a limited capacity.  I’ve gone through seasons of doing more, and some seasons of doing more than my body could handle.  Being in the zone dealing with recovery meant I hadn’t really noticed the length of time I’d been merely “surviving” with work, etc.  So I arrived back from the trip itching to get back in the game!
  • Im excited. It’s good to get out of context and into other ministry environments.  Watching the various ministries and hearing people’s hearts as they shared their vision helped clarify my own.  I kept thinking about ministry here and what we could change or do better and after an afternoon talking through it with Brian and hearing similar thoughts from him, I’m more excited about ministry than I have been in a long time!

This is a fun season.  It’s nice to wake up in the morning and feel completely free of cancer and the lingering effects of chemo.  It’s amazing to lie in bed and feel my daughter kicking!  It’s invigorating to know that what’s happening in Re:Hope is just the beginning, and to be a part of a vision that is much bigger than any of us… so big that it can only work if God is moving ahead of us and through us.

God puts us on the Earth for His glory.  We each have a unique role that He has for us that is, hands down, the most fulfilling thing we’ll ever experience.  He has put me here to train and equip His church.  And nothing gives me more joy than watching people experience the peace satisfaction joy  wholeness thrill that comes from doing exactly what God made them to do.

It’s been a ride!  I’m not trying to rub it in people’s faces.

Life is not perfect… but I serve a God who is!  Life throws us curveballs… but God wraps His arms around us and helps us hit it out the park!  We can encounter the worst situations and feel like we don’t have what it takes… don’t just “survive”, but allow God to fill you and experience peace and joy as He shows His glory in the midst of it.

I’m a walking talking demonstration of the Truth that God heals!  Medicine can help heal us physically.  Psychology can help heal us mentally.  Counselling can help heal us emotionally.  But only Jesus can do it all AND MORE!  And I’m praying that He’ll do that very thing for several people I know who are experiencing major hardship right now.  And I believe He will!!!!

>And so I testify…

I feel amazing….

AND…

To Him be the glory!

I HAVE HAIR! 6th March, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Cancer.
3 comments

I figured I should probably post something after being so quiet for the last couple of weeks…

I’m slowly recovering from the ordeal of the last 4 months.  Some days I wonder if the reality of the last 4 months has hit me yet, or if that’s still to come.  I don’t think the reality of soon-to-be-daddy-ness has kicked in yet either, although see a bump growing on the front of Monica is making things feel a bit more real in that department.  (exciting!)

As you can see from the pic, I HAVE HAIR!  My facial hair is back and feeling mostly normal, and my hair is back (probably about 8mm long)… and it feels like baby hair, really soft and fluffy!  It’s nice that it’s growing pretty quickly.  I need to take my clippers to it soon to chop the baby fluff so real hair grows, but I’m enjoying having hair for the minute so I’m just going to leave it.

Tonight was the second week of the RESTART study that I’m participating in at the hospital.  RESTARTRehabilitation Evaluation in Survivors of Testicular Cancer After Radical Treatment.  It’s a 6-week project piloting a potential rehabilitation programme which they are hoping to offer to all recovering TC patients in the future.  It covers a number of helpful areas… exercise, nutrition, returning to work, finances, the psychological impact of cancer/chemo, fatigue, relationships, fertility… So far the course has been interesting and is already proving to be helpful for those of us participating.

The biggest thing I’m still dealing with is the fatigue.  I’m still not back to normal energy levels but it’s definitely improving.  In general I think I’m in the 85% level, but some days are better than others.  This weekend was particularly draining and so yesterday and today have been quite a struggle… and so it’s reassuring to sit in a room with experts and other post-chemo patients and hear that we’re all in the same boat.  Maybe I’m not so weird after all.

I tell you though… It’s just so nice to have hair!

To Him be the glory!!!

 

CLEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 24th February, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Cancer.
20 comments

Today was results day…  And the scan was CLEAR!!!  To use the docs words “all the swellings related to the disease are gone”.

Man… how good it is to hear that.  I got up and headed to the appointment.  I felt fine right up until I left the flat and then in the 5 mins round to the hospital I had my “what if it’s not gone” moment, followed by my “God’s got this covered” peace.

The last 4 months have been a blur.  Oct 31st… I find out I have cancer.  Feb 24th… I find out it’s gone.  Did the last 4 months really happen?

Right now… I’m TIRED.  A weight was lifted off my shoulders that I didn’t realise was there.  I’m so relieved.  Now it’s monthly blood tests for a while to monitor my system and make sure it doesn’t come back.

No cancer?  Hmmm… someone should get glory for that?  who?  oh yeh… that’s right…

To HIM be the glory!!!!

Amen!

Scan Done, Awaiting Results! 20th February, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Cancer.
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I forget I’ve been “quiet” on here until people email worriedly asking if something is wrong.  Thanks for the love and concern, but all is good!  I’ve just not had much to update people on so I’ve held back.

On Friday I had my End-of-Treatment CT scan (where they stick my body in a giant robotic donut!)  The purpose of the scan is to check and see that the ‘swellings’ in my lymph nodes have gone away in response to the chemotherapy.  The scan itself is pretty uneventful.  I had a couple of iodine based solutions to drink in preparation (one at 10pm the night before and one at 8am the morning of), and then off I went for an 8.45am appointment.  They made me drink 3 glasses of water before getting into the lovely fashionable hospital gowns and onto the machine.

The inject you with an x-ray dye that is quite pleasant.  The nurse administering the solution explains the sensations you feel prior to the dye going in… “you’ll feel a warmth and bitter taste at the back of your throat… then your skin will go warm as if you’re lying on the beach in the sun… and then your groin with go warm–it’ll feel like you’ve urinated, but don’t worry… you haven’t!”  And it’s true.  The sensation is like sunbathing… very pleasant.  Well, lying on a beach in the sun is nice until you look down to double check that you haven’t actually pee’d yourself!

So now I wait.  I have an appointment with the oncologist on Friday @ 9.45am to get my results.  Hopefully I’ll get on before lunch time to give the update.

Not long to go…

TO HIM BE THE GLORY!

Worst Valentines Day! 14th February, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Challenges.
5 comments

Well this year I think cupid had the wrong quiver on his back.  Instead of his heart-arrows that fill you with that lovey feeling, Mon and I got hit by his flu-arrows!  Not fun.

We ate dinner late last night, and both of us felt a little “off”.  At first I wondered if there was something up with the left-overs I’d eaten.  We decided to have an early night and as we went through to lie down, Mon made a desperate dash for the bathroom to empty the contents of her stomach.  She was sick a couple of times before her body calmed down… just in time for me to go sprinting to the bathroom to empty my stomach.

By the time the clock struck midnight we had a nice routine of alternate trips to the bathroom and making use of some lovely containers that are now sitting by our bed for those times that we couldn’t quite make it to the toilet

We laughed in the midst of it all, “Happy Valentines Day… hope you like the gift” *bleugh*

Today hasn’t been the most pleasant.  Monica seemed to ease up late morning, but I’ve felt pretty out of it all day.  I think I’ve spent most of the day sleeping.  I’m extra paranoid since that last trip to A&E.  My thought process goes something like: “although I’m finished with the chemo is my body back to normal?” “are my white bloods up high enough?” “is what I’m feel in a normal response to the flu?” “am I supposed to call the hospital?” “Do I need to go to A&E again?” “why does Mon seem to be doing alright and I feel yuck?”

Fortunately, my temperature is back down, I’m retaining fluids again, and my headache is disappearing.  Hopefully I’ll feel alright tomorrow.

I think I’m extra paranoid knowing I’ve got the last scan on Friday.  The end is so close.

 

The Good Kind of Tired 7th February, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Cancer.
7 comments

What a week!  I started back at work last week with a master plan… for the next month I’d aim for 15-20hrs so as not to do too much too quickly.

Well… I totally failed.  Tues-Fri I somehow, without really thinking it through, had managed to schedule something important at the start of the day and something big at night.  Probably trying to make sure I had plenty of “down time” I planned something not-to-stressful in the afternoon.  The result… 4 x 12hr days.  By the time Friday rolled around I was rather tired.  But the good kind of tired.  The sort of tired that says I’ve-done-a-lot-and-been-productive rather than the i’ve-sat-around-doing-nothing-while-my-body-feels-dead-from-chemo.  But, as much as it was a good kind of tired, I’m not planning on doing a week like that again for a good few weeks!  I’ve already had a much easier week this week and intend to not overdo it.

Fortunately, I know my body and it’s signs and signals and so I know if I was to try to do the same thing for the next few weeks I’d be lying in a heap unable to do anything!

This morning…we had a baby scan.  It’s the most bizarre thing to look at the computer and see a tiny little (perfectly clear) spine… brain… heart beat.  It’s mad watching a wee human wiggling around when, if I look at Monica, I can barely see any sign of her being pregnant.  I’m trying to work out when it really sinks in?  Is it when she has a big bump? or does it not actually sink in until a doctor hands you a miniature human to take home with you?

My scan is next… a week on Friday… though I’m not sure how long it takes to get results back.  I’m guessing probably 5-7 days.  I guess we’ll see.  🙂

Oh… looking in the mirror today I noticed some dark moustache and soul patch hair.  I guess that means the hair is starting to grow again.  Exciting… but annoying that I have to start shaving again.  3 months without having to shave has been a very pleasant side effect of the chemo!  Roll on hair!  I keep wondering… it was getting pretty grey before it fell out… the chemo process definitely has its stresses… so I wonder if my hair turned grey over the last few months so that it will be significantly more grey when it grows in.  Watch this space.