Sunday, 27 January 2013

Back here again?

This is an ammonite fossil.  What I find interesting about it is the intricate spiral pattern.  I don't like going round in circles. A lot of the time I feel like I've already faced a particular trial and now I'm back here again. This picture only shows you a lump of dark grey rock, but what I can see when I hold it is that with every step up, with every rotation, round the fossil it shines and glimmers a little different each time.  Maybe the same can be said for the events of this life - even though I have been here before there will be something new, something beautiful, to see amongst the dark grey rock.

Time for some catch up.  I am currently writing this blog in hospital and I have been here since Monday.  Two weeks ago I was told that I have an aggressive form of leukaemia (acute myeloid leukaemia - for those who are interested in terminology) that has been cause by the chemotherapy treatment I had 3 years ago for the Hodgkin Lymphoma.  The doctors have said that this is incredibly rare for this to have happened and now I have to stay in hospital for about five weeks at a time getting intensive chemo to cure the cancer that was caused by the chemo - go figure.

I have had one of the worst weeks of my life this week.  I had a very rare reaction to one of the chemo drugs which made my brain swell (encephalitis) .  I was severely ill for four days and today is the first day that I have any strength.  Yesterday, it got to the point that, if death were an option, I would have taken it gladly - and I do not say that light heartedly.  I just couldn't go on.    But, with some calming words from the docs, encouragement from friends and a shed load of prayer, I did continue to take the treatment and I feel much better today.

I spoke to a Chaplain today, we shall call him Charlie.  We had communion (those pocket communion things are amazing!) and a really interesting chat.  I guess what I learned today was that each trial or difficulty I have faced has built up my faith so that I can look back and know that if God has got me through A B and C, which have increased in intensity, in the past then He will get me through X Y and Z in the future.  But, it does make me wonder if this could be building up to a bigger test of faith!

From Me to You: Medics make the Worst Patients.

I have decided that it might be useful to reflect (how we dislike that word) on what it is like to be a patient for the benefit of us all; here are my initial observations.

  1. I have been put in a side room and am being kept in isolation for infection control.  Although I know and understand the reasons why people entering the room have to where a gown and gloves, as a patient, it does make you feel like your a bit of an outcast or someone to be held at arms length.  
  2. Also, using jargon to wiggle your way out of a question does not go down well, especially if you actually understand the jargon! If you don't know go find out and then don't "forget" to come back.
  3. The nurses are amazing, bake them cookies!
That's all for now folks, signing out.


  1. Stari, you are an inspiration to us all and we are praying for you!
    Your comment about feeling like an outcast reminded me that in Jesus' time lepers were outcasts but Jesus did what no-one else would - He touched them, and He did what no-one else could do - He healed them!

    I guess that from the name of this blog you know the old hymn "Will your anchor hold in the storms of life". If you don't go and find it. The chorus says this:
    We have an anchor that keeps the soul
    Steadfast and sure whilst the billows roll
    Fastened to a rock which cannot move
    Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love.

    Gaz & Alex

  2. "Will you send an angel
    A ray of sunlight shining through the darkness of my world
    That's falling down on me
    You are my salvation
    The only one to rescue me from the torment that I'm in
    -Kuttles: The Rescue

    May God be really close you and your family at this difficult time! I'll pray for you.

    Jaana from Finland

  3. Hi Stari, love the blog, hate the reason. Will keep praying daily while you are in SJUH. It's probably not a good thing to mention food to someone having chemo, but I thought of you and the fig biscuits in clingfilm in little envelopes from SENT [!]with a verse on the envelope, as we read from Isaiah 54 in church this morning, my 'fig' verse was v 10, ''Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.' says the Lord, who has compassion on you.' Much love, Irene West xx

  4. sending huge hug. We haven't forgotten you and will be praying. Judith, Simon, Susanna and Phoebe xxxx

  5. Oh Stari, my dear friend. I'm sorry it's been so long since we last caught up and sorry that your facebook post that I found brought me to finding out that you have leukemia. *hug*. As your friend says, love the blog, hate the reason for it. You are such a strong lady, your faith shines off the page and I'll be praying for you too. How bizzare that it is chemo that has given you this, lets hope that chemo can undo it too! I am SO glad that you are feeling better! Haha, Star, I had a little chuckle over your "medics make the worst patients" section. I assure you it is not just medics, physios suck at it too! After my ops in 2011 I was not a good patient! Fair point about the gloves and aprons. I pray you feel God's huge non-plastic-y arms wrapped around you. He isn't afraid of infection control! Yup, nurses are amazing. Before you know it you'll have bounced out of there and be the one bringing them the cookies :) Hope you feel up to cookies yourself soon too (or marsbars, I remember you used to like them though we always figured you got high on air and didn't need the sugar ;))!
    Love you hun,
    God bless

  6. Hi Stari,

    I'm a friend of your fathers, he informed me today of your illness and this blog; I was saddened to hear you're so unwell and then I started to read through this blog and it is such an inspiration! Reading through the posts your strength and will shine through in droves, use that to get through this. take each day at a time and I truely hope this is your last big test and you can be the other side of the fence treating others in the near future! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Best Wishes,

    Rob from NI

  7. Hi Stari,

    As with Rob, I too am a friend of your fathers, he informed me today of this blog

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Best Wishes,


  8. May God walk beside you, guide your way, through every momment of your day. You now are wise, you now are true, patient, kind and loving too, all things you are, can do and be are yours through Christ the truth in you and me.

    You're an inspiration, thoughts and prayers with you and your loved ones.

    From an unknown person to you, but a friend of a friend of yours.

  9. Dear Stari, I was so relieved to see you the other day and looking so much more like your old self - a bit Peter Kay that but you know what I mean. Or maybe a bit Irish, well that happens when I rush off to Belfast for a few days, I start talking like my mum!! Me doth protest - nurses make the worst patients, believe me - even worse than medics - but we are great advocates for our friends and family when in hospital!! Not sure the medics would agree with that one. Might be seen as an annoyance. Hope the red flannel is keeping the bright lights away . Still looking for a posh eye mask ! Anyone out there got one for Stari - that will look better than my flannel - I had a Ted Baker one but cannot find it - Love Liz


Please leave your comments and questions here. Some people have had problems with this box so it might be worth saving your comment on a Word document first before you publish it in case it deletes it. Alternative ways to contact me are through Facebook and email on