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We went to see the gastro-enterologist today as planned to check out why James's liver enzyme levels were high. He said that the most likely reason is that some of the drugs he's on can gradually produce toxicity in the liver over protracted periods of time. This can eventually produce liver scarring etc which is not reversible, but if caught early enough, they can sometimes switch the drugs etc so that it doesn't have a permanent effect.
Over the last month James has been feeling nauseous a fair amount (he hasn't really struggled with this over the previous few months) - often retching at the sight of food and/or not wanting to eat, which has been quite stretching... it's been a little bit better the last week but still there. On Thursday they did some blood tests on him and his liver enzyme levels were quite high, which could be a cause, so tomorrow we're taking him to see a gastroenterologist about it (they told us not to worry or panic! Nice reassuring people, these medical folks are :-))
With all his treatment, James has gotten interested in the different blood cells and how they work. His favourites are the macrophages which are white blood cells that do a cunning trick of growing arms to swallow bacteria etc (see an amazing animation and a time-lapse video).
James had his Bone Marrow Biopsy (which happens routinely every 3 months) and Lumbar Puncture (and monthly intravenous chemo!) last week. The operation went smoothly, although he felt a lot more queasy than usual and ended up throwing up all over the car. David had to go straight off to conduct an interview after dropping us at home ... so it made it interesting for him with the state of the car!!!!) We got the results on Tuesday, telling us that he is still clear from leukemia! The Prof (his doctor in charge of his treatment) explained to us that we are exactly where you should be ... but you've got a long road left to walk! These were honest, but sobering words for us and reminded us of the continued need for prayer in many dimensions! We thank God that He is our strong foundation, never shifting or 'wobbled' by events or difficult happenings!
So, on October the 5th we went to Spier in Stellenbosch. I blame sunstroke for putting mayonnaise instead of sun-tan cream on Charis's face. Basically I was looking at her, not the containers, they were next to each other on the table, I put what I thought was the sunblock on my hand without looking, started applying it to her face, and thought that's a bit yellow, and it's not rubbing in very well... oops!
In a recent SABC article SA to earn millions from biggest ivory sale, the following peculiar sentence is found in the last paragraph:
Parts of the 45% [of the ivory from the period 1988 to 1994] are of elephant moralities.
Perhaps moralities should read mortalities
Lex Loizides has been doing a great series of blogs on church history, but little did I know that he's actually a first-hand source! For example, he's just done a post on Wycliffe, who was a fantastic preacher as can be seen in this great painting:
John Wycliffe. In the villages and towns the people listened eagerly to Wycliffe and his preachers reading passages from the Bible - in English. One in particular, in the lower right hand corner, seems in earnest prayer... perhaps due to the proximity of the axe to his face.
Unfortunately we've all come down with colds this week. James woke up crying on Thursday night with a sore ear from an ear infection. He saw his paediatrician the next day with the nice side-benefit that she saw how he's been limping. So he's going to see a physio some time which may help. It's a nice relief to feel that we have some medical support on this.
James has been having leg pains intermittently over the last year. They've tended to be sudden and severe. At times his legs also buckle underneath him. But it's been sporadic and the doctors have struggled to work out what causes it.
For anyone who didn't see - we had a wonderful family holiday in the UK in July / August - there are photos of our time in London (including James's excitement at seeing Big Ben), Shetland and Bedford).