In the months between the diagnosis of an aggressive bladder cancer and my discharge from hospital this morning, I have been on a journey of grace, a pilgrimage to wholeness.
My initial reflection on this close encounter with Lady Cancer, aka Holy Wisdom, was published on August 17. This update is being written on November 15.
Yesterday I returned to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) as planned so that my catheter could be removed and they could check whether I was successfully “voiding” from my newly fashioned “Neo-Bladder” that Dr Geoff Coughlin had created from a section of my small intestine as part of the 11.5 hour robotic surgery on October 20.
Apart from the hero’s welcome extended to me by the beautiful nursing staff of Ward 8B South all went as expected.
The catheter was removed around midnight, and by the time the doctors made their morning ward rounds at 7.00am I had successfully and repeated demonstrated that all was working well.
It had been anticipated that while in hospital for this brief pitstop, I would be taught how to self-catheterise in case I ever experienced a blockage and needed to relieve any build up in my Neo-Bladder. After checking the ‘performance data’, Dr Coughlin asked that I be discharged immediately and that the nurses do not take the time to teach me how to self-catheterise as the risk of my ever needing to do this was so low that it was not worth the time and effort to show me.
This was good news compounded by good news. Or, as John 1:16 would express it, Grace upon grace.
After Eve collected me from the drive through at RBWH we returned to St Francis College so she could continue with her work there today, and I then drove myself home.
It does seem that the surgery has been a success and that my recuperation is proceeding as well as could be imagined, and possibly considerably better than that.
For all this I am most grateful, and I am especially grateful for the care, the prayers and the support of family and friends around the world. I am especially appreciative of the Grafton Cathedral congregation through this whole process. It has been a most “interesting” way to commence as their Dean and Rector: not one I would ever have chosen, but one which has drawn us closer together with the bonds of affection.
With God’s continued blessing and grace, I hope to be back in the Deanery early next week and perhaps even during the coming weekend. While I shall continue on sick leave for the time being, I expect to be well enough to preside and preach at the Cathedral Festival on Sunday, November 26 when we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. I am already working on my sermon!
My guess is that I shall limit myself to the occasional liturgical duties during the next couple of weeks and then slowly begin to pick up other tasks following my installation and commissioning on Tuesday, December 5.
We have much to celebrate and much good work to engage in for the common good. May God give us all the grace to do the work to which we are called.
Grace and peace,