Like a tree, standing by the water’s edge…

Birches against limestone, southern Kyrgyzstan, March 2013 :: photo copyright Richard Hanson for Integrity Action

Birches against limestone, southern Kyrgyzstan, March 2013 :: photo copyright Richard Hanson for Integrity Action

I’m now a week into treatment for leukaemia [posted on 16 June 2013].  This won’t become a medical blog – too much of this is too personal and needs to be worked through in private with my family and close friends. But, having not intended to post anything else about my health for a while, I feel it could be useful to share a little more information.

In terms of treatment, I’m halfway through a ten day course of 2-3 lots of chemo a day, as an in-patient.  I’ll remain in hospital for another 2-3 weeks as my bone marrow recovers, and then might get a short time at home, before repeating the whole process 2-4 times more – it all depends on how my body recovers. So the time frame is longer than I’d initially thought.

I’m tired, of course, so far mainly well. But the main reason I wanted to post something, was to reflect on the response from my family and my amazing friends over the past week.  When I photographed ‘You’re Not Alone’ at the Children’s Hospital, I don’t think I totally understood the title – I knew it in my head, but this week has shown it’s true meaning.  Over 800 people read my last two posts, and we’ve had literally hundreds of messages of love and goodwill, offers of help, and some wonderfully sweary emails!

Thank you. It’s been truly humbling, and beautiful, and to be honest, overwhelming.  I know I’ve not managed to reply to everyone – so if I missed you, it was a less energetic moment, and thanks. I will continue to draw strength from this huge amount of love.

And the other thing that needs to be said, is that I can, without reservation, say the NHS has been incredible.  The staff here at the Hallamshire have been patient, gracious and truly professional, with humour besides, and the level of care is unbelievable.  It’s an incredible thing.

An amazing friend from a long way back, who knows what’s involved, talked about us as a family ‘hunkering down’. Its what we’re doing, surrounded by love.  Thanks.

The photo is one of my favourites from Kyrgyzstan. I love the image of the trees drawing their strength from the river running in front of them, with the wall of limestone behind – protection and source together. It’s how I feel about God’s presence with me here – very quiet and strong, full of provision.