Finding a way to worship

First published 7th October 2013

Normally we pencil in Monday and Tuesday in the week after chemotherapy as fragile days and avoid any diary commitments. Previous experience had told me that 5-6 days after drug treatment was when the collateral damage began to bite. Not, apparently, this time. Not only have I been feeling physically and mentally in good shape, I had my best night of sleep last night for weeks and in general have slept much better. Rat Man is being held at bay! (See my last post if this sounds like gibberish).

I am very thankful for this and grateful for your specific prayers about it. Liz noticed that my dose of Vinblastine (the V in the chemo-alphabet soup of ABVD) was less this time and may have contributed. It is just as well the dose has been reduced as the one less positive note from the most recent session of chemotherapy is that I am getting slight trembling in my arms and pins & needles in the fingers. This is a hint that the V is affecting my peripheral nerves, one of its known side-effects, and my Consultant will be watching this space carefully..

One of the hardest challenges for Christians who cannot get to church any longer as a result of illness or infirmity is isolation. Over the years I have seen the impact it can have and that is why having members of the church going into homes, sharing bible readings and prayers or bringing Holy Communion, is so important. My problem is different in that it is not to do with getting to church. My problem is the potential infection risk posed by going. Fortunately - as you might expect in this Diocese - we have developed a strategy!

The plan involves going to a smaller scale service and if possible arranging in advance to have a germ free zone. My first foray was to Wroughton parish church last Sunday for the 8am Holy Communion where I found a section of uninhabited pews to take over. The second was the 9am Holy Communion at St Johns, Haydon Wick, where yesterday I had an entire balcony!

Despite not being able to physically share the peace or shake any hands before or after I left in the last hymn yesterday this has helped me both be and feel a part of the worshipping body of Christ. Sometimes we forget just how important this is and it has been a blessing to be reminded of its importance in this way. Receiving the sacrament has been especially powerful.

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