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HAIR: Day 7 1st December, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Life, Me, Pain.
10 comments

Yesterday was a long day.  I woke at 6am unable to stay in bed any longer and then kept busy all day.  We went and got our Christmas decorations in the morning, had a friend over for lunch then two Bible Reading Groups in the afternoon evening and it was 10-11pm by the time I got to bed.  I was… EXHAUSTED.

So… I was very excited when I woke up this morning aware that last night… I SLEPT!  I woke up and Mon looked over at me asking “What’s the silly smile for?”… “I slept” was my reply.  It wasn’t completely uninterrupted sleep… there were a couple of times I had to get up for a wee drink of something but mostly I slept… FLAT… all night.  I felt so good this morning.

(Tomorrow I’m in hospital 9am-12 for my first out-patient day of chemo.  We’ll see how that goes and how I’m feeling tomorrow afternoon)

Today was hair prep day!  Like I mentioned already, I figured that if I was going to lose my hair, I may as well do something fun and crazy in the process.  So… I’m just back from the hair-dressers.  I found a new-ish place in Partick (right where Byres Rd meets Dumbarton Rd) – I’ll need to find the name.  The place is owned by two Turkish guys who are awesome.

Feeling sorry for myself, I allowed them to do the full face massage, shave, trim and hair cut.  Those guys rock… I might be permanently changing barbers.

My hair should fall out in a week to two week.  So in the meantime… check this out…



 


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Recovery: Day 6 30th November, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Life, Me, Pain.
4 comments

So, yesterday was a slow day, mostly spent at home tired after an almost non-existent-sleep night on Monday night.  But overall, the day wasn’t too bad.  I ate lots of food and drank lots of fluid and had a couple of impromptu but deep naps.

On the advice of some friends, I phoned the Doc yesterday to get them to subscribe me some acid-reflux meds seeing as that was keeping me from sleeping.  They were more than happy too and a little surprised that I hadn’t already been given some since it’s a typical side-effect from the steroids.  So, armed with my new acid-reflux pills, a bottle of Gaviscon, and 10 pillows behind me so that I slept pretty much upright all night… I slept most of the way through the night.  I had to get up a couple of times to get a wee drink or use the toilet but for the most part I slept through from 12am-6am.  Small victory.

Yesterday was the last day on the steroids for this round and I have two days left on the anti-sickness meds, so hopefully I should see the side-effects start to drop off and normal sleeping/eating patterns return.

This week is head-shave week!  At some point between now and Friday I’m going to shave my head in prep for the whole hair fallout thing that’ll happen in a week or two.  I’m considering having a little bit of fun with it and getting some fun designed shave in.  Any excuse to do something a bit fun and crazy, eh?

Chemo: Day 2 26th November, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Challenges, Life, Me, Pain.
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Not that I was doubting it but I survived Day 2!

Today was much the same as Day 1 but with a few differences.

  • The anti-sickness drugs worked better! I only vomited twice and nowhere near as violently as yesterday. They reckon it’s more to do with the steroid pill than the cisplatin. And YUP… You heard it right… This pastor is on steroids! Haha.
  • I had hiccups almost all day (supposedly a common side effect). Early in the day I used a number of the old tricks to rid myself of them temporarily but each time the came back with vengeance. At one point Mon and Brian were here and I think the hiccups lasted through their entire visit!
  • I’m all swollen an puffy… A combination of the fluids that have gone into me and the steroids make me all fat and puffy faced. Hmmm… Let’s see if I can get you an unpleasant picture at the start of this blog
  • jet lag… They mentioned feeling fatigue but I think I more adequately label it as jet lag. The repeated ups and downs to the toilet during the night meant a very interrupted sleep and that feel-like-eating-but-dont-want-to-eat that I’m used to from the plane rides.
  • a wee walk outside… I braved it and went out a wee walk. It sure was nice to get out of the room and out to some fresh air. It makes a big difference.

Tonight should be good. I don’t have to have all the fluids that I’ve been getting so far. The drugs for tomorrow come at 5 or 6am and so I should be able to sleep through till then so long as the nausea feeling stays settled.

A good friend today text and said:

Scott. Read your blog from yesterday. Incredible stuff, and your attitude is class. Really inspiring faith and it’s great to see. I hope you don’t feel any expectation to keep up the ‘good feeling’ tho, and that god can comfort you in the down times. Miss you mate, hope things keep going ok. (emphasis mine)

So true. Throwing up is no fun! Hiccups that never end (and they’ve just started up again) and extremely irritating. The tiredness is a pain especially when it along with the rest keeps me from eating when I’m hungry.

BUT… God keeps reminding me that these negative things are part of the process of bringing healing. In order to be rid of the cancer I have to endure these present discomforts which are purely the result of the amazing machine–our bodies–doing what He created them to do!

In the same way we know that trials in life help to refine us and cleanse us of sin, making us more like Jesus!

and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God for we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope

Lord, teach me to rejoice, to persevere, and to hope… As you use these things to make me more like Jesus!

To Him be the glory…

Whatever the cost!

Chemo: Day 1 25th November, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Challenges, Life, Me, Pain.
10 comments

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First Day of chemo – check!

Not the most fun day ever, but definitely not the worst by a long shot.

7.15am – snooze my alarm at home (who wants to get up early when you can sleep late just before a weekend in hospital?!)

8am – more snooze!!!!

8.15am – repeat as above. Haha.

8.30am – up, showered, dressed and packed and off to the hospital

9.30am – arrive at the hospital but can’t find the reception I want 3 times but get there eventually.

9.45am – bloods taken for monitoring kidneys, tumour markers and immune system

10am – up to the ward to wait in the day room until a bed is ready

11amhotel suite hospital bed ready… I get my own room complete with en suite, aeroplane seat back style tv and a nice view of the courtyard. Score!

And then the waiting begins!!

noon ish – time for chest CT scan to complete “staging” report. Will get the results hopefully before Sunday. The porter came to get me and they let me walk down instead of being pushed (walkin means I didnt have to wait on a porter coming back to get me, I could head back to the ward as soon as I was done. Good call nurses!). Last time I had the CT i was wrapped up on a bed and wheeled around. Which do I prefer? Hmmm… 😉

As soon as that was done I head back to the ward. When I arrived at the door the clerk said “you’re next set of tests is now, and there back down where you just came from, so if you’re confident with the way there you can just turn and head back! So… I about-turned! (as I walked out the door a nurse quickly grabbed my lunch order so I wouldn’t miss food. “Good thinking bat woman!”)

12.30ish a-CT-Scan-and-short-walk-twice past noonish – I went for my PFTs (pulmonary function tests) to check the condition of my lungs. The exercises were a breeze (slight PUN intended). Although I’m sure Mr-Lung-Tester is not use to having brass players in there because the difficult tests were not a problem… It was basically blowing against a mouthpiece with a mute in! Wonderful news… I passed! I can officially breathe! *grin*

1ish maybe – back up to the ward to wait. And eat!!! (the food here is gooood). Then thoroughly enjoyed sitting reading, with the wonderful staff stopping in for a giggle and bringing me tea and coffee and tea-biscuits… As well as this hot blonde who stopped by for a bit and gave me a kiss (and yea, I mean Monica).

waiting

at some point the doctor came by to fill me in on the treatment details, side effects, when to expect the hair to fall out (at the 3 week point. Now don’t tell Monica… But the whole time we’ve been together she’s not allowed me to shave my head, which I like to do around January… And so, sadly for her, I should probably shave it before it all falls out. Prison break Scotty coming soon!) and all that sort of good stuff. and somewhere in here too, the nurse came in to put the needle in my hand for the drip later.

6pm – dinner… Yummy chicken in a creamy sauce with creamy mashed potatoes and… Rhubarb crumble with custard–oh yeah!!!!

6.50pm – my special and awesome nurse, Nicola, came by to chat for a bit and check I was doing ok (after she should already have left – above and beyond!)

7pm – pre-hydration began. They run water with a small amount to salt, potassium or magnesium through the blood to active the kidneys and get the bladder working so the system properly disposes of the chemo when we eventually get there. This is a weird feeling! The fluid going in is colder than your blood and so you can feel it running in your arm. It’s not an uncomfortable feeling, just something you’re aware of. My body is warm, my arm is warm, but there’s a cool sensation like running a trickle of cold water down your forearm. So pre-hydration takes at least 3hrs. One 500ml back of fluid approximately each hour. After all I’d drank that day my bladder was adequately functioning before the end of the first water bag!

10pm ish – anti-nausea meds are also put through the drip to help you’re body deal with te chemo meds. Simply put, the chemo meds kill all the fast reproducing cells in your body (without being able to distinguish the good ones from the bad ones) and so your body tries to purge it by making you sick. (also oh, and the fast reproducing cells are things like hair, blood cells, sperm, etc hence the hair fall out and the lowered immune system)

11pm – the actual chemotherapy drugs started. The first one is a 4hr drip of cisplatin (which has platinum in it which makes me feel a bit awesome like Wolverine!), followed by a 2hr drip of etoposide. This makes for a fun night, since with all the fluids going in you’re up and down visiting the toilet all night. All the urine has to be collected in bottles and to ensure your body is getting rid of enough of the fluid going in (else you’d swell up like a big ol’ water balloon!)

6am ish – chemo drug are finished and back on to the hydration fluids to flush out the chemotherapy drugs. Again, 3 bags, 1hr each.

7.30am – after lying for a while not sleeping but trying to, I was forced to get up… My body works well and doesn’t like things inside being killed… And started feeling nauseous. I lay and relaxed, reciting Scriptures to calm my body to see if it would pass, but it didn’t… So PUKE TIME! Not my favourite way to wake up but necessary. Threw up a couple of different times before they came round with breakfast (but I did not allow it to put me off eating!)

As I sit here writing I have less than 5mins left till my first treatment of chemo is over! My next round will take place this evening and the plan for the day is to just take it easy.

9.35am – haha, the machine is buzzing. The drip is finished. And though I still feel a little nauseous, I survived day one without much to complain about.

I’m on the road to recovery, the road will for sure have it’s ups and downs, but how boring life would be if they weren’t there.

All day and night, God was close. Again He demonstrates the Truth of His promises:

I’ll never leave you not forsake you!

All day and all night… I have been intensely aware of the literally (no exaggeration) 1000s of people who have informed us that they are praying for us! Doctors and nurses are amazed at how calm and joyful Mon and I are and we know that it’s the Fruit of those prayers being seen in our lives!

So there you have it! I survived my first day of chemo. I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated with the journey.

Thank you do much for all the notes of encouragement and the time and energy you’ve invested in praying for us! We feel so blessed!

To Him be the glory,

Whatever the cost!

Brassed Off! 19th May, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Fun, Me, Music.
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Well, I joined a brass band…!

I started playing tenor horn at school when I was 11 years old.  Of all the instruments I play it’s the one I’ve played longest and was most accomplished in.  I played constantly, right up to when I got involved with Re:Hope about 7 years ago.  At that poin between uni, church and work I wasn’t able to make the band practices.  The worst part about that is the horn I had for all the years I played belonged to the band and so had to give it back.

I sat beside Anne (in the pic above) for the last several years that I played.  There were a couple of times after stopping when I got a phone call from Anne asking if I’d help out another band she begun playing with because they needed some extra players for concerts/contests.  Pretty much I haven’t touched a brass instrument at all in the last 7 years.

Since I quit, whenever I hear brass music I get a little twinge of I-want-to-play again.  Several times in the States I thought about joining a band when we got back here, but I didn’t think I’d have the time, the ability to commit, or be able to play very well after a 7 years absence.

Well, true to form, when I got back I got a wee message from Anne wondering if I was interested in playing again.  I kept considering it but was pretty convinced the commitment expected from the band wouldn’t work with my commitment to the ministry we are doing here.  She has lovingly whispered “come play with us” in my ear since I got home and I finally buckled.  After hearing of their need, realizing their practices are on the evening of my day off, and then finding out that most of the band are Christians I gave in and decided to check them out.

So… I’m now playing Tenor Horn with BSI (Brass Sounds Inverclyde) who are about an hour train journey away.

The first practice was daunting.  I turned up, they handed me a horn, and that rehearsal was my first time playing in 7 years.  I guess playing brass is like riding a bike.  It comes right back.

It’s so good to have this outlet again.

Yup, I’m a band geek.

So what?!

😉

Uncontrollable Weeping 25th April, 2010

Posted by Scotty in Bible, Heart, Me.
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(picture by Tatyana Starikova)

I was not expecting that.

At church today one of our missionary families used an illustration:  they rolled out a scroll containing the names of all the people groups in the world who don’t have the Bible in their language.  In 10pt font the scroll stretched right across the sanctuary.

As I watched it unfold something really unexpected happened:  My eyes welled up with tears which I fought really hard to stifle before I started weeping uncontrollably.  Even now as I type my eyes are welling up.  It is undeniable that today God embedded something in my heart.

I don’t know if this is the beginning of a call to Bible Translation for some point in the future.  Or perhaps He’s breaking my heart for this crucial area of His Work so that I spend my life praying for it.  Either way, God has done something in my heart uniting it to the work of putting His Word in the hands of those who don’t have it.

When I look at my life, serving in that capacity could make sense:

  • I love languages and ate up my Greek and Hebrew classes, planning that some day I’d work my way through the whole Bible.
  • I have always had the desire to live in a place that doesn’t speak English and have to learn their language.
  • I constantly consume missionary biographies and have for a while had the pipe-dream of living in a mud hut in the middle of nowhere serving God in a way that lacks glory.
  • I love to disciple and have always thought I’d end up spending the last 20-30 years of my life living somewhere obscure, spending the last days of my life being poured out so that people know and love the Lord.

It’s very possible.

God is doing something. I’m willing to go and do “Whatever God wants, whenever He wants, Whatever the cost”.  I’m willing “to give up All that I have to become All that God wants me to be”.

God, if you want me to go, I’ll go.  If you want me to stay, I’ll stay.  My heart is yours.  Lord, send me.

Breaking Habits 13th April, 2010

Posted by Scotty in Challenges, Life, Me, Musings.
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Some people would say it’s an addiction.  Some websites say it is a form of OCD.  For as long as I can remember I have had a very bad habit.  It’s been a part of my life for so long that I do it without even realizing I’m doing it.

I bite the inside of my mouth.

I’m sure this doesn’t sound like anything serious to you.  To give you more detail (perhaps more than you wanted), I chew the skin from my cheeks and along the inside of my lips.  When I was younger I would sometimes bite so deep it would bleed and cause canker sores and mouth ulcers.  I’ve not done that for a while, instead, I just bite the loose skin that’s there from my mouth trying to heal, which means for the last I-don’t-know-how-many-years my mouth has been in a constant state of trying to heal.  It’s been a habit for so long that I don’t know if I can’t ever remember a time when I had smooth skin inside my mouth.  A number of years ago my dental hygienist told me I have large scars acrossthe inside of my cheeks from the biting.

I have no idea why I do it.  There appears to be no rhyme or reason to it, although it is worst when I am thinking and processing and problem solving.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, my wonderful hygienist wife has been giving me a hard time for it, but it has made no change to my ability to stop biting.

I have tried on many occasions to stop chewing the inside of my mouth, but because it’s so subconscious that by the time I catch myself I’ve been biting for a while.  Last week I realized that I have never once tried to include God in the process.  I always try to break habits in my own strength and I fail.  So, this time I decided I would attempt to rely on the Holy Spirit to help me break the habit, after all, we have victory in Christ.

So I prayed:  “God, I feel stupid asking this, but can you help me to be conscious of when I’m chewing in my mouth so that I can stop”.

That was a week or so ago.  And for the first time in my life (as far as I can remember), I have smooth skin inside my mouth.  I suddenly became aware that I usually feel about in my mouth with my tongue and when I feel loose skin I start to bite it, and each time my tongue has felt the inside of my mouth and the desire to bite is aroused I have noticed and refrained.

It feels dumb to write all this.

I don’t know what is more shocking to me:  the fact I have stopped biting; or the fact that I doubted that praying about it would help.

God is good.
He even pours out His grace in the “stupid little things” in our lives.

Robbing God 3rd April, 2010

Posted by Scotty in Heart, Life, Me, Pain.
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For the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about vulnerability with regards to our brokenness.  When we hide our issues and pretend life is fine and dandy, we rob God of the glory He deserves.

I have heard it said many times (and I have said it many times):

“our God is in the business of changing lives”

Another term that I hear thrown around which I love is:

redeemed brokenness

The entirely of creation is the story of God redeeming that which is broken.  From the start of the Bible to the end we see story after story of God taking messed-up people, revealing Himself to them causing a transformation of heart, and then doing great things through them.  God delights in taking what is broken and redeeming it!  The death and resurrection of Christ is about God taking a world messed up by sin and redeeming it.  It is when we hear the story of redeemed brokenness in someone’s life that we are moved to the core and filled with hope.

Sin has had its effect on us.  We are all broken.  Every person living has some area of sin in their life.  Part of our fallen nature is the desire to hide our sin (like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in Gen 3:8) and Christians today do a very good job of hiding it.  We all have temptations we face and sin we are dealing with and we hide it.  We have aspects of our life that we feel shame over and so we put on a face and pretend they didn’t happen.  And in doing so we rob God of His glory.  When we hide our struggles, we keep people from seeing God give us victory.  When we put on a face, we mask the hope that someone else can experience by knowing they are not alone and that there is a way out.

At the foot of the cross the ground is level.  We are all sinners saved by grace.  No one’s sin is any better or worse than anyone else.  We all fall infinitely short of the standard God calls us to, and so we equally need the cleansing sacrifice of Christ so we are washed clean.  But we allow fear to stop us from being powerful instruments God can use to shine His light into other people’s lives.

(more…)

Another Year Older 26th March, 2010

Posted by Scotty in Life, Me.
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Another year older and supposedly another year wiser!  Monday was my 26th birthday… #4 of those celebrated on US soil.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here through 4 birthdays already.  This year was a little different to the last few years… I got to celebrate twice!

Birthday A:
I got to have a surprise birthday celebration at work at the beginning of March.  Our senior pastor, Mike, (my boss) has his birthday at the beginning of March and it was decided that all the staff would go out for breakfast for our Tuesday morning meeting to celebrate.  They sneakily got everyone to sign a card for me too and spoiled me.  It was fun to get to celebrate with the incredible staff at Grace Chapel who have all become dear friends.

Birthday B:
This was my real birthday.  It was wonderfully “chill”.  I slept late.  A friend came over to hang out.  At lunch time I went in to school to (voluntarily) take an oral Hebrew Reading exam.  Then Mon and I headed to Powell’s, Portland’s famous bookstore and for my birthday I spent the $40 of book tokens we’d acquired over the last year.  I bought 8 books… and I think only one of them wasn’t a missionary biography.  I’ve almost finished two and am starting the third!  (Have you noticed I’ve been reading a lot recently?  Not that it’s all I’ve been blogging about – oops!).  After that we headed our to Shari’s, the place that has become my birthday hang out.  A bunch of friends came and ate and hung out, and then I went home nice and tired.  Somewhere in between I had a few calls with the family at home and in Dubai.  Oh, and this year I made it my mission to individually thank anyone who happy birthday’d me on facebook.

Birthday C:
I ‘m writing this from Medford where Mon’s family live and just this second realized I actually had three birthday celebrations this year, because we celebrated here last night.  Being here in Medford for Spring Break is what is allowing me the time to munch some books, write blogs, newsletters, catch up on emails.  I’m so glad to get the break and be allowed some space to do my own thing.  We stopped off at a store on the way down from Portland (it’s a 4.5hr drive) and I bought myself a birthday present… NEW SHOES!

I’m sure you’re not as excited about this as I am… but I’ve not bought new shoes since I moved here.  I shipped over any trainers (tennis shoes for you Americans) I had and have worn them all to the point there are no soles on them.  Reluctantly I’ve thrown each pair out so that now I only have one pair.  I’m not a fan of American-style trainers and was hoping I could hold out till I got back to Scotland, but I finally found a pair that I like and so now I can walk in the rain without getting my feet soaked through the holes in the bottom.  Oh, and to make it even better, last night my birthday gift was money… for shoes… so they’re all paid for by them.  SWEEEEET!

What a fun birthday.  New Shoes.  New books.  Friends.  Hebrew.  Food…
God is good!

CHANGE! 11th September, 2009

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Life, Me.
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The best word to summarize my life right now is:

CHANGE

We got back from our honeymoon and hit the ground running.  All I can say is that I’m really glad God crafted me in such a way that I love change, and thrive in it.  Just a few things have changed for me in the last couple of months:

  • I finished school
  • I got married
  • – – – which means a change from singleness,
  • – – – a change of roommate
  • – – – and a new way to look at time/finances/etc
  • I got a different car (back to manual transmission.  yusssss)
  • I had to say goodbye to my favourite pair of jeans
  • I got a job at my church
  • – – – which also means my role at church changed
  • I moved apartment
  • My laptop broke and I received a new one
  • I changed bank
  • I changed mobile/cell phone provider
  • I got a new phone
  • My schedule is completely different
  • Even some of my friendships have changed, most for the better.

… and that’s just the bigger ones!

I’m glad I like change, otherwise I’d be freaking out right now.  Instead, I’m filled with excitement about what God is doing and where He is leading me.