This last few weeks it's felt as though emotions ranging from joys to griefs have been running hand in hand...
We had a week away with David's family in Vic Bay. The first time we've all gone away together since we all got married... it was really special to all be together.
Unfortunately we all seemed to contract a stomach bug while we were away, one by one (with the except of Andy and Louise and Mia) - on the Friday night James was throwing up half the night, and again once on Saturday evening; Danielle had it on Sunday afternoon (very relieved that we all made the trip down OK); Charis threw up on Sunday night, and David and James's stomachs have both been out of order most of this week... (they finally seem back to normal now)
On the way back last Sunday we heard the shocking news that Tori (one of James's few fellow child patients at the hospital) had a massive cardiac arrest and died. It left us all reeling... she had an infection and was put in ICU but then seemed to be stabilising - this was totally unexpected and hard to understand.
James still seemed very lethargic after he was over the worst of the bug so Danielle took him back to the paediatrician - his blood tests showed that his liver function is abnormal again, and his white blood cell counts were low. So they've taken him off all his oral chemo for this week (to help his blood recover before his intravenous Vincristine due next week) and his anti-convulsant as well, which should help us see if the liver is being affected by either of those drugs.
James also had an ultrasound of his liver on Tuesday morning and it showed no structural problems which is good news. And Charis and Danielle both went for blood tests at the same time so it was a family outing!
In between all of this we were celebrating Christmas. We had a great time on Christmas morning with the kids reading through the story of how Jesus was born - right from the angel appearing to Elizabeth until John the Baptised baptised Jesus. Charis is convinced that Jesus died on the cross for our fins - you know, the things on a fish like a tail - although she is gradually admitting that that's a joke.
Danielle and I are both feeling quite exhausted and stretched. It's felt like there are months that are easier and harder and this last month or two has definitely been harder! We had some good talks while we were away about how to recharge in times of stress - both of us get our energy from keeping our eyes fixed on a big vision of God - but didn't expect to need that battle to intensify straight away! I've been reading Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper which has been a refreshing and challenging stimulus.