Transcript: Post Chemo Ebenezer

Transcript: Post Chemo Ebenezer October 19, 2019

A Transcript of my six months post Chemo update.  Not much has changed health-wise since this was posted as a Facebook Live,  but thanks to the Descript app I can now share the full text below. If you missed the article I wrote one year after diagnosis that gives a description of my initial faith journey through this.

Audio

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My Ebenezer: 6 Months Post Chemo


Well, hello everyone and welcome to Facebook live as you know, I’m  Adrian Warnock and this is the first time I’ve actually done a Facebook live since January believe it or not. I don’t know how it’s been for you but the years sure gone fast for me.

So here I am and you can see bit of my garden in the background the I’m sitting in my Conservatory. So it might be a little bit echoey and it’s actually six months exactly today that I had my last dose of chemotherapy.

So that day I would have gone up to the hospital had an infusion and then come home and obviously well. You know those who have been through that will know a bit about what that’s what that’s like, but six months on is kind of a critical moment. And in fact this week, I will go back and see the doctors but I’ve had a number of blood tests in the last six months and they’ve all suggested praise God that the the numbers are really good.

So I just really wanted to today to mark this six-month sort of anniversary few like much like they did in the Old Testament. You may remember as a few times. And the Old Testament where they put stones down and obviously I’m not going to put physical Stones down. But this is like a marker point for me here.

We are six months on from chemo. We’re about to enter the new term and yes, the beard is gone. The beard is gone. And this is significant for me. I’ve been told that I look younger and I look healthier. And I certainly feel healthier. So again, I’m very grateful to God. So since of Samuel that in 1 Samuel 7 12, he put a stone he called it Ebenezer and what he said is this up until now the Lord has helped us.

I think it’s important. Sometimes just take stock and to say that and I’ve had a journey  I’m not going to pretend that this journey has been a smooth one. It’s. Well, it’s two and a half years more or less now May June July August. Yes, well next month or so. We’ll come to two and a half years since I was first taken ill.

The Day Leukaemia Changed My Life

And yes, you don’t go through a journey like that without some spiritual bumps along the road without some relational  bumps along the road. In fact, that’s probably a little bit of a understatement as probably fair to say it’s been like a tsunami has hit my life and wreak destruction. I mean at one point, I think I was wondering what would be left almost and at times it’s been really really tough

I found a particular book very helpful. And that’s the book by Tim Keller. I might well post a little bit about this book on my blog over the next little while but by called but book by Tim Keller called Walking with God through pain and suffering and there’s many many good things that I’ve learned through that book and it’s taken me months and months to read it.

But I think it’s very very helpful. And one of the things that talks about there is a journey so my journey up until this point has not been easy at times but God has been faithful and there are many ways that I want to thank God. I want to thank God first of all for the NHS, they’ve saved my life on more than one occasion.

They provided medication for me which has reversed the the blood cancer and right now as far as I’m aware well, The blood results up until now have all been pretty good really my lymphocytes which were high and now very low which is what you want and also the lymph nodes which were all swollen, they’ve all melted away and the spleen has shrunk as well.

So I’ve been told that the CT was essentially normal. So that’s something to be fantastically pleased about. The blood is considered to be in remission and they went a bit further than that. They looked a bone marrow sample. And the assumption is that before I was treated the bone marrow would have been full of cancer cells or almost full of cancer cells and they looked at two million of those cells and they could only find four cells that had some kind of warning signal that they may have been been cancerous.

So for out of two million is pretty good. So it’s less than 1 in 100,000. So from a medical point of view. What I’ve been told is that I have a very good chance that I’ll have a number of years before I need any more treatment. I have been told that you can’t really cure this medically speaking. There are a few people who do really well and can go a lot longer than that.

Giving Thanks IN Your Suffering, Not FOR It

But you know for medical scientific perspective would be looking at a few years before treatment. So, you know, this is again something to be very grateful to God for the worse of markers that suggested chemo might not have actually worked with me. So praise God that it works. I’m very grateful to all your prayers.

And obviously I did get quite unwell and some of you will have noticed that just from the fact that I wasn’t blogging much well, A Blog last night. This will go on the Block today and I’m going to try and reboot the blog. So if you enjoyed my blogging then pop over there and obviously as I said, I think I’m going to block a bit about the Tim Keller book and what I’ve learned through that.

But the books – title is quite important in its of self and that is the fact that it’s a journey and that that means sometimes it’s a struggle and that means you’ve got to take the long-term view. You can’t be too worried about the step in front of you. You know, if any of you have been on a long walk and there comes a point in any long walk where you want to give up and the only way to keep going is two things really one is to have the goal of the future in mind.

I to have hope. And I intend to probably to blog about Hope a bit because certainly not was one of the things that Keller talks about in his book and that really for a Christian. Hope makes all the difference and you know, it’s a funny old thing because of course the next thing is to have some sort of focus on the next step and that’s where it can be tough when you’re sick because you know at one point I was lying in a hospital bed needing full nursing care pretty much and so obviously, you know, you can feel quite low at that point.

And it is quite a hard battle to fight back, but I am fighting back. And so that’s another thing that I’m very grateful to God for. Is that I’m so much better. I’ve just spent some time in Devon with the family and whilst I couldn’t go on long walks at all. I could certainly do much more than I could a year ago before the chemo started and so the recovery though still slow and punctuated at times by infections because my immunity still not not great. I’m actually doing a much much better. You can probably tell actually my thoughts are a little bit clearer at least right now. I mean, it’s obviously I get tired a lot. But here it is. It’s in the afternoon on a Sunday.

I’ve been to church enjoyed service this morning, and I’m not yet. I’m not yet feeling exhausted and I can think clearly so that’s great. But of course. If you want to carry on praying for me to be one thing to pray for really that my energy levels would continue to improve and that this brain would start to sort of Click into action a little bit.

I do feel as I say much better than I was I’m not going to sort of pretend that I’m fine. And I’m still off Work sick. And so yeah, the body is sort of gradually being healed and that is sometimes a slow process. Obviously God can accelerate that and it’d be great to pray for that. But also I suppose for me I need to have that patience and to keep at it sort of one step at a time and really as I say on a journey you look at the goal and you are aiming towards that goal.

And but you also look at the next step and you take one step at a time and so for me that means one day at a time and if I do allow myself to think too far ahead. Particularly with Whole  things like oh, you know am I going to get back to work? All of those kinds of things that can be a bit more difficult.

So for me, it’s trying to keep focused on what’s in front of me and also the realization that hope is not just for now. And again, that was something that came out in Keller’s book. Keller, I suppose the two main things and there’s more lot more actually but two of the main things that came out to be in that book were.

The fact that Christianity tells us two things that’s really important actually in a way no other faith and other philosophy does and the first is that you know, if you and I are facing some kind of suffering or difficulty that actually the world isn’t as it’s supposed to be the world sucks. The world’s a mess.

It was good when God first made it but we made it bad and because of the Fall because of the activity of man and committing sin and just because of the way in which the whole creation has says as a result of that Fallen, you know bad things happen and bad things happen to good people and bad things certainly happen to people like you and me who are perhaps just average people or even below average perhaps in some cases and I thought that certainly feel that way for myself, you know, you can start to think oh was it my fault about this sin. What about that? What about the next and you know, of course, you know, God doesn’t punish people because as Christians, you know, he. He’s full of grace to us. And I’m so grateful for the grace of God. I’ve had to realize that it’s not about me sort of proving myself to him. It’s not about me prove myself to anyone else has, you know been many times when I’ve been frustrated because I wanted a better do something wanted to make a difference wanted to change things.

But one of things I’ve realized, you know, really quite recently in a way is look I’m not God, he’s God, and I’m not. And that’s quite liberating. Actually the world is a mess. So it’s no surprise in that sense that I should face. What I faced and actually many people faced much worse than me. You know, I’ve been so blessed because you know, I’ve had good health care by and large and and certainly, you know, in terms of the world excellent Healthcare and you know good care from people good treatment. Free treatment I mean many of you who are my friends on Facebook in countries where you don’t get free healthcare and and you don’t and you worry about becoming bankrupt through situations like this. And again, of course another thing I’m painfully aware of which is something I hadn’t really quite thought about before this happened to me is what happens if you can’t work.

So for many people if they get an illness like I’ve had and then just not able to work well, Bankruptcies what happens because you know, maybe you get six months. I mean interestingly for me. This is again the sovereignty of God in this I left a job and joined a job a new job just months before I was taken ill and because I joined the new job. I joined an insurance backed scheme that has guaranteed at least a portion of my income even all these months that I’ve been off its now oh well over a year that I’ve been off probably thinks about 18 months actually something like that. And so, you know without that if I’d have been in previous job. I’d have had six months pay since it’s on sick pay and once that had run out. That would have been it and so quite how my family would have survived financially. I have no idea. So, you know God I don’t believe God is the author of these things but God is Sovereign over them and I think God’s sort of held it back until that moment where I was in a safe place if you like where I would be looked after financially and whilst it’s been tough at times financially, you know, we are we are blessed and you know, God has been good to us and God’s been good to the. You know there have been times when I’ll be honest.

I’ve doubted some of that goodness and it’s being difficult and I’ve not reacted as I should I think sometimes people, you know, watch a video like this and so Adrian you’re so strong. Well, I can tell you I don’t feel strong there have been many times where I felt very weak many times where I’ve really struggled but there’s something in that struggle.

You see what Tim Keller said look, you know, the Bible in the gospel kind of gives us permission to. . . To be upset at the state of the world to realize that it’s not how it should be that this is not how God originally intended at things happened that do suck. You know, Jesus himself said look in this world, you will have troubles don’t be surprised you will have troubles but he also says take heart I have overcome the world.

And so that’s the second thing. It’s like don’t be surprised that the troubles realize that the world is a mess understand that but understand also that there is hope because there is somebody above it all there’s somebody who’s turning all things around for the good even small things like changing jobs at just the right time so that actually it’s not a small thing its a huge thing so that we can.

We can be blessed, you know compared to some people who might even be watching this who are struggling financially because of a health problem that stops them being able to work. So, you know, we’ve been really really blessed and you know, there’s there’s the journey we all have a journey and as I said earlier, this is me wanting to say look.

I’m putting a stone in the ground with this video I’m saying look, I’m grateful to God he’s helped me yes has been detours along the way. And I guess I’m sorry. I hadn’t updated you for a while. I guess I was kind of waiting for the destination but short of a miracle there is no kind of destination as I say, I’m still struggling with infections.

I’m still struggling with really very low energy, but it’s much better than it was and it’s improving Recovery is not easy. I think we don’t realize when our body goes through all of this and.

It’s kind of gone through a lot of trauma. I’ve been in hospital several times. I’ve had operations. I’ve had chemotherapy and you know, if every drop of your body is of your blood is not working properly as it wasn’t then is it a great surprise that the rest of you doesn’t feel great. And as I say, my immunity is still not sort of   up to par.

And so yeah, lots of detours lots of wandering a bit for myself, but you know when we are faithless God is still faithful and so but I think one of the critical questions I suppose that you have to ask yourself is the same one that that was asked of job. You know when Satan talked about jove and said to God look, you know does God does Job serve you for nothing?

And I think we sometimes make God into a slot machine that if we put our money in, you know, sometimes literally putting the money in but sometimes just praying or faith or you know, trying to live a good life, even though we all fail along the way we somehow think that he owes us. Well, what I’ve realized is he doesn’t owe us anything and that’s what Job realized of course and the Temptation that Joe was faced with is the same one that everyone is faced with in these kinds of moments is, you know, will I curse God and die.

Or will I still worship Him and for me, you know, yes, I put together a playlist of some worship songs and you’re very welcome. If you look on to Spotify or indeed, I think Apple music. I put some of those together. I think I called them Hope Gospel music and it’s not really gospel music. It’s worship music but hope in the gospel and I found some of those songs and a few of them particularly to be incredibly impactful.

I was just listening to a couple of new songs yesterday that. That really blessed me and really challenged me. You know that actually he is here, you know, he is in us he is around us he’s looking after us and when that’s the case we kind of don’t need to fear. We will sometimes be afraid but he does say cast our fears  on him because he cares for you.

So the question was the same question is of that of joking or do I worship God? Because he keeps me comfortable and is my hope in God for the now. I mean if the now is all your hope is in if your hope in the now doesn’t look very hopeful because you’re feeling ill or you feeling exhausted or you know, you can’t you can’t get up in the mornings and you know,

It’s fine if you find it hard to face the day and that was still be true for me, you know, if you’re hoping the here-and-now doesn’t look good or things are tough things are difficult. Difficult relationships difficult problems going on then, you know if that’s all your hope is then you know, I think it’s Paul  says we’d have no, you know, we are to be pitied more than anyone and so, you know, I hope isn’t just in that hope is in an eternal future.

And yet I hope is that the God has promised us Eternal future will also keep delivering us and sometimes that’s not with a miraculous healing, you know, obviously, I’m still praying for that and appreciate prayers for that. But it seems like God has chosen a more sort of gentle approach to my healing. An approach that’s you know entirely backed up by what the Medics were predicting.

Although. It’s at the better end of what the Medics were predicting if that makes sense because there are certain markers that suggested chemo wouldn’t be good in my case. And yet it was and so that’s that’s really really good and yet they’ve also told me. You know, I mean this week I go back. I will have to have a blood test.

It’s highly unlikely that the blood will have changed in just this only about a month since the last one but at some point it’s possible that blood test might change or that the nodes might come back and so there’s that uncertainty and those of you that heard of Matt Chandler’s situation a few years ago might remember he talked about having an axe hanging over his head in that situation, but  I remember him saying that the only difference between me and you is that I know it.

VIDEO: Joy in Sorrow with Matt Chandler

And so when we look at our own Frailty in the eye and   when we you know, have many of our natural hopes, if you like dashed like work and other things like that money other things, you know, the real question is do we hope in God just for that or do we going to choose to worship him even when things are tough and do we hope in him for an eternal future and if we believe that he’s going to bless us with an eternal Future.

Do We dare to believe that actually even now in the here and now he is turning all things around for good even those small things. Like I was just talking about looking for evidences of Grace looking for evidences of Gods in control in my case. The money is a pretty big one as you can imagine and the fact that God has spared me and you know the fact that.

If I’m still here. Just perhaps he hasn’t finished with me yet. I don’t believe so. So my goal is to start writing again. I’m going to try and use the little bit of energy that I have to do a little bit of writing. I might even try and do a blog post every day if I can manage it. I don’t know whether I manage that or not, but I’m going to try so if you want to sort of get involved, I’d love to hear.

From you I’d love to you to join me again in reading the blog. You can just Google my name and find the site over there. But more than that. I’d love you to pray for me and really is about recovery. And so, you know, I’m praying for Spiritual recovery. You don’t have something like this happen to you without it affecting you spiritually and one of the things Tim Keller talks about is that people who face suffering either themselves or in other people that they love rreally have two choices and it is a choice, you know, it will either drive you towards God will drive you away from God.

I’ve recently been reading a couple of situations about  Christian leaders who have faced challenges in the face difficulties in their life and. You know some of these people who I greatly admire and who we’ve all benefited from and yet because of the challenges they face they’ve drifted away and they’ve actually said they no longer believe in Christianity.

They no longer believe in God. They just can’t cope. It’s, you know, people ask the question. How can this world with all its suffering? You know be okay. I mean if and how is that consistent with there being a good god, and I think that is a genuine question that people ask and when you’re wrestling with that question, you know, you can’t just treat it lightly.

It’s not just a midi theological question. It’s a heart question because it goes to the very nature of God. How can God allow these things to happen? And of course, you know, I don’t wanna beat we about. But at the end of the day if you don’t believe in a God there is no hope whatsoever it

All that atheism does. It doesn’t solve this problem of the problem of pain. It just takes the Hope away and it leaves us without any hope. So for me, although my faith has faced some challenges because of it and I remember meeting someone actually, it’s quite interesting. I met an atheist cancer sufferer. who’d had a much worse time than me in many ways and my heart went out to them and we were talking and they and we got somehow we got talking about faith matters of faith, and they said something interesting to me because as Christians, I think we often just superficially assume that.

As Christians is going to be easier for us to face face these hardship and I think perhaps if we were a bit better prepared for it if we had allowed ourselves to be taught by it and I’m strongly recommend Tim Keller’s book for that because even if you’ve never experienced significant suffering in life, it’s.

Some point is coming. You can’t live, you know for 60 years on planet Earth without experiencing significant suffering of some form or other so it’s coming towards you so you may as well prepare for it. And I don’t think I was perhaps as prepared as I should be although I thought I was because we understand the truths, you know, I knew Romans 8:28 all things work together for good for those who love God and I knew I love God and yet still it’s a challenge when these things were really hitting.

Hits us and so, you know just to say and I’m rambling a little bit now I should draw this to an end, but just to say that. You know, spiritually these things can be a blow mentally as I say, my mind isn’t working quite as well as it should be and that’s partly because of the chemo but it’s also partly because of the fatigue that this disease brings and believe you me it’s not just like being tired. It’s like wading through treacle. I mean the best way I can describe it actually is how you feel when you’ve got the flu. You just don’t want to get out of bed. I mean, you know, you can if you really force yourself in the smoke alarm went off and he thought the house was on fire, you get out of your sick bed and you’d go out the door, but for many of us when we’re struggling with these kind of things, that’s how it is every day, but we keep going and we do our best and we take whatever we can but there’s a lot of physical aspects to that as well as very limited ability to walk still  I can walk and praise God I’m now able to walk short distances without the stick for longer longer distances. Yeah. Now I’ve just had a couple of jumps there in the network. So maybe that’s a clue that it should be time.

Yeah, Tim Keller’s book. So the book I’m talking about is called Walking with God through pain and suffering and I would strongly recommend that book can’t can’t recommend that book enough. So if you are struggling right now with a difficulty you might feel like God is a long way away. You might feel even that doubts are gripping your mind.

Trust Him and Pray

You might even wonder just got even exist as God love me if I done something wrong. And if that’s where you are right now, I pray that God will meet with you. I pray that God will speak to you. I would encourage you to read the Bible even if it will feels dry. Even if you can only manage a verse or to read John’s gospel particularly.

I found great help in reading that study the gospel. So for me, I read my own book again, hopefully. That we wrote that I wrote with topic my pastor getting the gospel right getting back my gratitude to God for what he’s done for me when I’m feeling sorry for myself, and it’s actually God has given me the greatest gift ever in his sending his Son that you know by providing for me all of those gospel truths which you can sort of lose sight of in the middle of great suffering or an actually is it great suffering.

I mean, that’s the other things you when you think about the gospel you. What Jesus went through for us, you know and most of us don’t really experience. Anything like the sort of level of severe pain that he went through in the trauma that he went through in the suffering that he went through makes makes my little battle tiny really so I’ve been waffling long enough.

I thank you all for watching and I would like to thank you for praying and you God for being with me all of these months. Years actually for helping me and my family even though it’s being challenging very challenging and it’s my Ebenezer and I’m praying that this last quarter of the Year. I’ll get stronger and if you’re struggling yourself or if you’re in recovery yourself, or if you’ve got some kind of health issue I pray for you that go to be close to you at this time that you’ll know the comfort that God gives so that you can Comfort others with the comfort that he’s given and that you have the oomph if you like to keep fighting the times those times when it feels hopeless that hope would be born into your life. I love what what Jesus said. It was said of Jesus that he won’t break a bruised Reed and he won’t snuff out a smoldering Wick or candle and I don’t know about you or I, but I don’t know about you but there have been many times where it’s my faith itself is felt like just as a little small drink and Allure or where I as an individual is felt like a bruised bit of grass, you know when you when you break something and it looks like it’s going to be going to smash and that’s the end of it.

But God has been there. He doesn’t break us he restores us and so I’m grateful to God as I keep saying and I pray for you that God will lift you up as a verse that I clung onto and I still cling onto which says that after you’ve suffered a little while and we have to remember that a little while in God’s perspective can be a lot longer than ours sometimes but after you’ve suffered a little while he will himself restore strengthen establish. I think I’ve forgotten one of them. So yeah, that’s my prayer for you. And if there’s anything I can pray for you specifically, please put it into the comments and if you want to chat through something if that you’re struggling with find someone that you know that you can trust and open up to them about how you’re feeling and.

If you don’t have somebody like that, then I’d be only too happy to try and have a little chat with you. If if that would be helpful. All right. Well, God bless you all and thank you to everyone who’s prayed. Thank you to everyone who’s encouraged me. Thank you to everyone who’s seen me at my worst.

You know you you’re only going to see me at my best in a Moment Like This Time. To put the camera in my face when I’m when I’m balling my eyes out in the middle of the night which has happened or when I’m in pain or all of those situations, but yes so far. The Lord has helped me my Ebenezer and 2019 still a quarter of it left. I think is it September September October November December you about quarter. A third of it left almost left. Let’s let’s pray that God continues to bless and move and heal and restore and mold us.

There was a song this morning at church actually it said, you know, if you are being pressed if you are feeling crushed if you are struggling then it means God is making new wine and I pray for that for me and for. That new wine will come to you out of all the suffering and all the difficulty that you may be facing. Well bless you.

Establishing a Firm Foundation in Your Life

Goodbye everyone if you want to pop over to my blog and see some things I have been writing. You might not realize that I’ve been doing a little bit of blogging not very much over the last few months, but there’s obviously quite a big back catalog from all the years before you’re very welcome. If you want to read a book strongly recommend Tim Keller’s book Walking with God through pain and Suffering.

I also recommend getting your head around the gospel again, and whether that’s through reading a book like Hope Reborn on whether that’s through just reading John’s gospel has been a beautiful thing, and I’m still doing I’m trying to study that trying to get my head around that and just just encountering Jesus again through that and through prayer and through worship at times.

You don’t have the energy to do it at times. It’s hard times you feel like he’s distant, but it’s certainly worth it. Well bless you all. Thanks a lot. God bless. Bye. Bye.

 

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