Friday, July 26, 2013

26th July 2013

Victoria has been given the 'ok' to check out of Hotel John Hunter today. Praise God! We are now looking forward to 10 days of perfect health before we hit the snow at Mt.Buller.

The turning point for Victoria yesterday was the arrival at the hospital of her sister Alexandra ...

and Aunty Allison and Jade, who have been doing a sterling job back at the house.

Until their visit, Victoria had no interest in eating, drinking or taking her medicine. And there were certainly no smiles! 
The love of family can do amazing things. 

The smile hasn't left Victoria's face since their visit. A good friend visited later in the afternoon. Victoria and her busied themselves making airline tickets for the snow trip whilst I had a little break.

Later in the evening the wonderful Starlight Foundation volunteer that has been assigned to our family visited Victoria.

Debra-lee has played a key role in the planning Victoria's wish and helping us get prepared. A friend of hers gave Victoria the blow-up penguin just to help us get into the 'snow mood' a bit more.

Please pray that Victoria will remain well for the next 3 weeks whilst we prepare for the wish, and experience the wish. After a bit of reading last night I found out that the week we are at Mt.Buller is Christmas week, so there are numerous extra activities going on there. What a blessing!

Once again these past three days have been a strong reminder that wrapping myself in God's word is key to mentally getting through the difficult times .... Deuteronomy 8:3

And He humbled you and allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your father know that He might make you recognize and personally know that man does not live by bread only, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

Thank you again to everyone who has been praying for Victoria and our family. We appreciate your faithfulness more than I can say.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

25th July 2013

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Victoria over the past few days. As some of you already know Victoria has been back in hospital since Tuesday night this week, with high temperatures, cause is unknown. Her temperature is stable today, but she is still not back to the joyful Victoria we know and love.

A very big thank you to my sister who has extended her visit from New Zealand to look after the other children at home. Thus giving Ken's parents and our friends some respite! 

Every Thursday fortnight Camp Quality and the hospital social worker for families with kids with cancer put on a yummy morning tea for the parents with kids currently in the J1 ward. The morning tea was on this morning. It was a blessing to leave the hospital room and chat with some of the other parents. It is always confronting to listen to what the other parents are experiencing with their children, however at the same time supportive as we all have some understanding as to what each other is going through.

On Tuesday morning as I was doing my devotions I was reading John 6:4-5 from The Message bible:

When Jesus looked out and saw that a large crowd had arrived, he said to Philip, "Where can we buy bread to feed these people?" He said this to stretch Philip's faith. He already knew what He was going to do.

As I read this scripture, the last part of the passage, 'He already knew what He was going to do' really spoke to my heart. I felt that God was telling me that He already knows the outcome with Victoria's health, and I am to rest in that truth. The situation is not 'out-of-control'. 

How necessary it was for me to have that assurance in my heart prior to coming to hospital late Tuesday night. Once again I am so grateful to have a God who is the creator of the universe, and yet so interested in our individual well-being.

Please pray that Victoria's health will continue to improve. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

21st July 2013

Victoria is looking a lot better this morning. Her blood results are healthier and she has been given the all clear to go home! Thank you for your prayers and for the support we have received throughout the weekend.

Yesterday aside from playing Masterchef, Victoria had a visit from Jasper, from Delta Therapy Dogs. It was a highlight of the afternoon. He is such a beautiful dog.

Ken bought up the other children for a visit too. Victoria was pleased to see them. They were pleased to see the Nickelodeon channel on the TV as we don't offer that service at home!

These two days of forced rest have done both Victoria and myself lots of good. Victoria is looking rested for school tomorrow. I have had time to get my head around all I heard last week from the doctors and to seek God to see what He has to say about it. Here are some of scriptures He gave me this morning to stand on over the next three months. I hope they are encouraging to you too for whatever trials you are currently facing in your life:

1 Peter 5:7 Casting the "whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

Psalm 29:11 The Lord will give [unyielding and impenetrable] strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.

Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who bears our burdens and carries us day by day, even the God of our salvation! Selah [pause and calmly think of that]!

Luke 1:37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible fulfilment.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

20th July 2013

Presenting Masterchef from the John Hunter Hospital. Here is Victoria's latest creation. All you need is 2 jatz crackers, cheese, plum jam and margerine!

Yes, that's right, Victoria had a high temperature late yesterday afternoon, so up to John Hunter Hospital we went. She is doing a lot better today, and will hopefully go home tomorrow.

Please pray that:
1. Victoria's neutrofils and hemoglobin increase as they were quite low last night. 
2. Victoria is well enough to start term 3 of school on Monday.

In my recent daily devotions, God has been reminding me to put on His armour .... Ephesians 6:13-18, particularly verse 16, Lift up over all the [covering] shield of "saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. 

Thank you for continuing to lift up Victoria and our family. Thank you too to everyone who has helped out our family this weekend.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

18th July 2013

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for Victoria. God has been faithful. The tumour has not grown. It is stable, possibly slightly reduced in size. 

It has taken me a good 24 hours to come to a place of heartfelt thankfulness for this result. I had hoped for a reduction like we witnessed in the April scan. However, that is not the case this time.  This morning I found solace in psalm 23:6 ...

Surely or only goodness, mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.

The chemotherapy treatment will continue another 3 months until October. Please pray that Victoria will continue to handle this treatment so well with minimal side effects, and that all hospital visits will be a positive experience for her.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for Victoria on the day of the MRI. She had to fast from 7am. The MRI which was originally scheduled for 2pm did not take place until 5.15pm. Victoria coped very well with this delay, with minimal complaints regarding hunger or thirst. We thank God for the peace that was over her. The nursing staff commented on how good she had been with the delay.

We spent our time alternating between painting in the Starlight Express room, and watching DVDs on my laptop. It was a long day! A big thank you to everyone who has helped out this week looking after the other children whilst Victoria and I did the various appointments.

In the midst of all the scan and doctors appointments this week, the news came through that the Starlight Children's Foundation have granted Victoria's wish. Victoria's wish is to go to the snow and throw snowballs at everyone. So on Sunday 4th August, our whole family is off to Mt Buller in Victoria, for 5 nights. Everything is paid for by the Starlight Children's Foundation, travel, accommodation, meals, ski gear hire, lift passes and ski lessons. This is such an amazing opportunity for Victoria and our family. It will certainly help these next 3 months pass more quickly. We are so grateful to all the Starlight Children's Foundations sponsors and people who have donated to this fantastic charity.

Thank you again for the prayers and support that are offered to our family. It all truly helps us to make it through each day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

16th July 2013

As the day begins and I prepare myself mentally to live in victory in every moment of this day, another day of fasting for Victoria, a general anesthetic and her 11th MRI scheduled for 2pm, it is Psalm 103 that God has led me to this morning .....

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits -

Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;

Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]!

The Lord executes righteousness and justice [not for me only, but] for all who are oppressed.

He made known His ways [of righteousness and justice] to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness.

He will not always chide or be contending, neither will He keep His anger forever or hold a grudge.

He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As a father who loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship and awe].

For He knows our frame, He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust.

As for man, his days are as grass as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

For the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place show know it no more.

But the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord are from everlasting to everlasting upon those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him,  and His righteousness is to children's children.

To such as keep His covenant [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it] and to those who [earnestly] remember His commandments to do them [imprinting them on their hearts].

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.

Bless (affectionately, gratefully, praise) the Lord, all you His hosts, you His ministers who do His pleasure.

Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion; bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord O my soul!

Friday, July 12, 2013

12th July 2013

We give thanks to God and all the people who donate to Camp Quality, as we have just enjoyed a very relaxing holiday at One Mile Beach. It is just soooooooooooo good to get away from the house and be at the beach.

Alexandra loved just messing about in the sand!

Victoria took on the challenge of riding a new bike. Her catch - cry throughout the holiday was, 'If Marshall can do it, and Charlotte can do it, and Alexandra can do it, then I can do it!'
Victoria's physio advised that with the left-side weakness it will be more difficult for her to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. So could you please pray that she will have the perseverance to achieve this childhood milestone.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us out of the last month, you have all made a huge difference to our lives,. The practical help has certainly eased the pressure I have been feeling and has returned my emotional state to a more even keel. For those of you who read this blog and don't live near by, I am going to mention some of the practical help that we have received in this past month, to illustrate how loving and caring people in this world can be, and to encourage you to help a family near you who is in need ..

Mum and Dad, funded by 24 hour break at a beautiful hotel

My sister and family, funded the room service I received during my 24 hour break!

Friends who looked after the children so I could have the 24 hour break.

Friends and teachers from school who arranged for our house to be cleaned twice during the school holidays

Thursday 'chemo' day meal roster - friends and teachers from school bring dinner to our home on Thursday, when I am often emotionally spent.

A friend who does my shopping for me when it is just too difficult to get to the shops. Sometimes getting just milk and bread is a huge help.

Friends who have looked after Marshall, Charlotte and Alexandra during the chemotherapy treatment in the holidays as the hospital advised that they didn't want siblings in the treatment room these holidays.

Friends who have stepped in to be pseudo Aunts and Uncles and great role models for our children. 

Family, neighbours and friends who are 'on call' to help out at a moment's notice to help out at home if Victoria is required to go to hospital.

We are so grateful to everyone of you, and to people who have helped us that I have not mentioned. Thank you for being so generous with your love, time and finance.

Thank you too to everyone who has joined The Conqueror's blood donating group. If you want to join and haven't yet, please click on this link - Join The Conqueror's group. The goal is 50 potential lives saved by 31st December 2013.

Finally and most importantly thank you to everyone who is praying for us. We are so grateful that Victoria is so well and that our holiday was not interrupted with an emergency hospital visit. Victoria had chemo yesterday (week 53!). 

Please continue to pray that the scan results next week will be extremely positive, just like this beautiful courageous girl.

And please pray that we can continue to stand strong in our faith,as in Romans 4:20, 21 ...

"No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God. Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to do what He had promised."

Saturday, July 6, 2013

5th July 2013

School holidays are upon us. Victoria got dressed up to be a movie star and practiced some 'moves'. Victoria was well enough to have chemotherapy this week.

Last Sunday afternoon, Victoria's temperature started rising, and immediately we started to pray and claim healing in Jesus' name, within an hour she was back to normal. Praise God!

We are now up at One Mile Beach, having a restful holiday in the Camp Quality cabin. Victoria's temperature started rising again yesterday, again we prayed, claiming healing in Jesus' name, and again within an hour she was back to normal. Praise God! There is no way that we want be going to hospital during this holiday!

We are learning more and more to live out this scripture from Romans 4 v 20 and 21':

No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God. Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and do what He had promised.

We know that God has promised in Romans 8 v 28 that: 

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labour] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

So we choose to keep in faith for a good result for Victoria's upcoming scan on 16th July. Thank you for standing with us in prayer.

As I have mentioned before during this treatment period Victoria has not had to have a platelet transfusion, for which we are grateful to God. However the need to transfusions did get me thinking about giving blood and if my veins were suitable, giving plasma and platelets. I used to give blood regularly, first at Uni and then whilst working. However since 2006 I somehow haven't found (or made!) the time to give blood.

I can clearly remember coaxing my sister into giving blood whilst we were both at The University of Auckland. With our limited knowledge of all things blood, we found ourselves in a state of confusion when we were told we had different blood types, and asking ourselves, was one of us adopted? It was a very nervous wait to get home that night and tentatively ask Mum the question. We were lovingly reassured that neither of us were adopted. 

During my 24 hours away last week, I drove past the Red Cross Blood Bank in Newcastle. As I drove past, I thought that is what I will do later on this afternoon, give blood! And so I did, along with a lot of the Newcastle Knights players! 

Whilst I was waiting I read about Club Red. "Club Red provides and opportunity for organisations and groups across Australia to get together and do something special by regularly donating blood."

So I have set up a group in Club Red called 'The Conquerors'. If you give blood regularly, or are thinking of giving blood and saving lives, then click on this link to join The Conquerors' group, and let's see how many lives we can potentially save! 

When you join The Conqueror's group, every time you donate blood, plasma or platelets, your donation will be attributed to the The Conqueror's group. Our goal is to potentially save 50 lives by 31st December 2013. Just one blood donation can potentially save 3 lives! Let's get giving!