Casting the Pods Far and Wide

I’m a big fan of podcasts. I first got into them when I was diagnosed with advanced melanoma in late 2013, and my use of them has only grown since. After that diagnosis, I, all of a sudden, had a lot of time on my hands as I could no longer work, and I was spending a lot of time in hospitals and medical waiting rooms. Due to the brain mets, I was prohibited from driving so I was doing a lot of walking and catching public transport, and there were also times where I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts and podcasts were a good distraction. They have now become a thing I do, when doing something I’d rather not be doing, such as housework and exercise. I’ve even bought a waterproof speaker so I can listen to them while showering.

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The (Often Painful) Way of Wisdom

I recently started the fantastic daily devotional book on Proverbs, “The Way of Wisdom”, by Tim & Kathy Keller. It’s full of little nuggets on wisdom and the messy reality of living in a fallen world, but a recent experience with it had quite a big impact on me, and definitely wised me up! Continue reading “The (Often Painful) Way of Wisdom”

Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of My Diving Accident

 

Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of My Diving Accident

Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of My Diving Accident

Joni Eareckson Tada reflects on the 50th anniversary of the diving accident that made her a quadriplegic and the faithfulness of the Lord through it all.

Source: www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/reflections-on-50th-anniversary-of-my-diving-accident/

 

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God | The Times

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it’s Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump…

Source: www.thetimes.co.uk/article/as-an-atheist-i-truly-believe-africa-needs-god-3xj9bm80h8m

The Big Conversation

The Big Conversation | Atheist and Christian debates

The Big Conversation | Atheist and Christian debates

The Big Conversation is a video series from the Unbelievable? radio show featuring theological debates with world-class thinkers across the Christian and atheist community – Discussing faith, science and what it means to be human. Source: www.thebigconversation.show

In recent years, I’ve been listening to the Unbelievable? podcast hosted by Justin Brierley a lot. While it’s hosted by a Christian radio station, it’s quite unique in that it usually involves a dialogue or debate between a Christian and a non-Christian. This diversity in guests, has come to be reflected in the diversity of it’s listeners. Despite’s Justin not hiding his own Christian beliefs, he moderates the discussions very well, and is very good at summarising the opposing views of the guests, and playing devils advocate when needed.

It’s been going for over 10 years now, and has gone from strength to strength, not only in popularity, but also in the quality of production, and the calibre of the guests. But in recent months, Justin has really taken it up a notch with “The Big Conversation” series. Now, as well as audio, there is a video recording of the discussions available on a revamped Youtube channel. The first few have been great, and I look forward to the rest of the series after the UK summer!

Assisted Suicide

During the parliamentary debate on assisted suicide in Victoria last year, I felt compelled to write a letter to the politician’s involved outlining some concerns I have about the concept. The letter drew on my experience as both a doctor, and a patient with an incurable cancer, and while my concerns had been present for quote a while, they had crystallised some what since my melanoma diagnosis. A heavily edited version of this letter was subsequently published online by The Gospel Coalition, and it can be found here. However, I thought some might be interested in reading the unabridged version, so I’ve included the text of the letter below. You can also download it as a PDF here.

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Bowel down and worship!

Last week I was attending one of my (many!) specialist appointments to discuss results from my recent colonoscopy, possible treatment options for my ongoing colitis, and how they would interplay with my immunotherapy treatment. While in the waiting room, I opened up my daily bible reading app (ReadingPlan) and I just happened to be up to 2 Chronicles 21. Verse 15 was rather…err…interesting, but adds weight to my belief that God has a sense of humour!

15 “You yourself will be very ill with a lingering disease of the bowels, until the disease causes your bowels to come out.’”

😳😱😂🤣😂

This prophecy from Elijah was to King Jehoram, and sure enough came to pass. To rub salt into a very painful wound, the chapter finishes with:

20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

“…to no one’s regret…” Ouch!

It’s enough to make me want to bowel down and worship!

 

The “luck” of the draw

I still remember quite vividly the unfolding nightmare that was my melanoma diagnosis in 2013. It was bad news after bad news after bad news. One kick in the teeth after another.  First it was “There’s something big on your chest X-ray that shouldn’t be there”. Later that day it was that “it’s also in your abdomen”. A couple of days later it was diagnosed as melanoma. A CT scan early the next week showed it was also in my brain, which ruled me out of pretty much all of the clinical trials of new melanoma treatments. A follow up MRI  a few days later showed it was even worse than the CT had suggested which meant stereotactic radiotherapy to the brain mets was no longer an option and I required urgent neurosurgery followed by whole-brain radiotherapy. There was one remaining hope in the form of a targeted therapy which had shown promise, namely dabrafenib, but again I was disappointed to discover that my melanoma didn’t have the mutation that this drug targeted so it wasn’t an option either.

This torrent of bad news was upsetting and frustrating for me and my family, and in amongst trying to wrap my head around each new piece of bad news, I was often left wondering where was God in all this? Did He really care? Why wasn’t He allowing me access to these treatment options? He seemed determined to just let me die, and quickly at that! Don’t get me wrong, there was lots of provision from God in other ways, such as the practical and spiritual support of my family and church, but I was still struggling with these darker questions as well, and wondering what was going on.

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Comfort ye my people

Following my diagnosis with advanced melanoma in 2013, I had a brief flirtation with blogging which didn’t last very long. One of my motivations at the time was to try and document interesting tidbits about myself, likes, dislikes, things I was interested in and so on in a format that would be easily accessible by my kids (and anyone else that might be interested!) when they were older. I was kind of doing it anyway on Facebook but I was a bit concerned about what might happen to the company (& my data) in the future, and I didn’t think that platform was very good for my purposes in terms of its usability. Now that I’m having a more serious crack at blogging, I thought I’d copy some of my posts from there to here.

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