Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Confronting the Unthinkable

Preparing for Battle
We all have our personal battles to fight.  Some will be minor skirmishes, others a matter of life and death.  One of the latter hit me in 1997 when I was subjected to a surgical/medical procedure known as ERCP - this what the Pancreatitis Supporters' Network warns about it: 'These are HIGHLY dangerous to us with Pancreatitis.  Our advice is ALWAYS make sure they are properly qualified and they are doing it for a valid reason - see statistics in Information Pack download for risk statistics'. It nearly killed me. I cannot describe to you the devastation it brought to my life.  I am only alive today by the grace of God and in answer to many people's prayers.  But it was one awful battle. 

Next Tuesday I will have another one!  'Is he mad?' I can hear you ask.  No, just very sick and desperately in need of the treatment, which despite its terrifying dangers does offer some hope of relief.  It will be a therapeutic procedure - even more dangerous than a diagnostic one like the one I had in 1997.  They will try to remove a stone that is blocking my pancreatic duct.  The team will also leave behind a stent to keep the duct patent and overcome a stricture or narrowing of the duct at present.  The pancreas in someone like me is a very unforgiving organ.  Once provoked to 'go rogue' and start using its meat-dissolving enzymes to eat itself and its surrounding organs it is almost unstoppable.  But - it can be beaten.

My team will be the best in the country.  Based at University College Hospital in London they know their art. I don't know how long I will be in hospital, but Diane will be with me, staying as she always has done during the more than 60 times we have been there, in a nearby hotel.  (It has cost us more than a medium sized new car for her to always be with me but I could not be without her support.  We have been amazed at the way people have given to us, and supported us with their gifts as well as their prayers.  Thank you Lord!).

So, today I am preparing for battle.  I am stacking up my ammunition - reminding myself of God's promises and soaking my mind in God's Word and His presence.  I am loading really good music onto my iTouch player, and got some great books to go with me.  Will I read them?  Maybe not, but I would rather prepare in hope.  By the end of next week I will know.  I am in a win/win situation.  Even if the worst happens and I succumb to deadly haemoraghic pancreatitis, I will wake up in the most exciting place in God's universe.  But hey - I feel I still have work to do.  So please join me as part of my back-up team.  I love and appreciate you.  Jesus does too. Bye now.