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  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
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Entries in tumor (12)

Friday
Sep232011

Please join us in giving thanks! A year after Courtney's surgery

On the 23rd of September 2010 Courtney went into to surgery have a tumor removed from her brain.  She is 100% perfect today! We would like to invite you to join us in thanking God for His wonderful grace and mercy to us! Please could you also pray for the doctors and nursing staff that treated her?  Please ask the Lord to bless them and continue to use them and all other persons in caring professions who do so much to bring hope and healing?  

As I drove to work today I was overcome with a sense of gratitude for this year that has passed. Courtney is healthy and perfect in every way.  What an immeasurable joy for us as a family.

You can read about her diagnosis and the journey from there to healing on the following link (you'll have to click through to the first post - the posts are arranged in reverse order).

On Friday's Megan and I continue to fast and pray for parents and children who are facing challenging times - we have maintained this discipline for the last 5 years since the birth of our son Liam who faced some challenges of his own. Today is a very special Friday indeed!

Thank you for sharing in our joy!

Wednesday
Sep292010

Thanksgiving prayer service for Courtney - 29 September 2010

Dear friends,

We continue to experience God's lavish grace and love as Courtney recovers from the surgery! She came home on Monday evening and is doing better and better each day!

She will for a checkup on Friday and also have the 'staples' removed from her neck and skull. She's a little nervous about that - but, we believe this will be the last of the discomfort.

We want to praise and thank our Lord for healing her, and for carrying us all through this challenging time.

Please join us in a time of prayer and thanksgiving for God's goodness!

If you're in Somerset West this evening our friend Greg Long has arranged a time of prayer at the Coronation ave Methodist Church. Please see the map embedded below for directions:


View Larger Map

 

If you're elsewhere in the country or the world please do offer a prayer of thanks with us! We would be truly grateful!!!  God is so good and we want to celebrate God's goodness with thanks!

God bless you, and once again thank you so much for all of the wonderful prayer, care and support!

Saturday
Sep252010

An update on Courtney 25 September 2010 - we're getting there!

Courtney is still sleeping most of the time. But, when she does wake up she is much more responsive and alert. She is certainly on the mend - we can see a marked improvement each day. She is still a little nauseous, particularly after any movement, but that will pass.

This morning the Doctor allowed her to walk to the bathroom (naturally the nurse and I had to help her), but she walked just perfectly! A real milestone along the journey.

If she manages to eat something today and keep it down she'll be transferred to the children's ward.

We still don't have the results of the histology. But, that will come in due course.

In my quiet time this morning I read Psalm 33.18-22 which was a great encouragement and comfort. I am dreading the end of the weekend. But the normal rhythms of life are a necessary part of not being 'consumed' by a series of events such as this.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers, care and love. Courtney, Megan, Liam and I appreciate it a great deal!

The photo above shows her feeling much better! Not quite a beaming smile, but she's getting there!!

Thursday
Sep232010

Update on Courtney 23 September 2010 - after surgery

We are so thankful!  Courtney's surgery went very well!  We saw the neurosurgeon a little while ago - he was confident that he had removed the tumor effectively!  The surgery took 3 hours to perform.

We have just been with Courts in the ICU where she will stay for a day or two.  She woke up and was able to move all her limbs etc.  She is quite nauseous (both from the anaesthesia and from the trauma to the cerebellum).  But, they have her well medicated.  They will keep her a little sedated to reduce the swelling to the brain.  She is also in a bit of pain, but I think that is quite understandable and normal.  We are so blessed that we know a number of the doctors who are treating her personally (some belong to our Church, others are friends with whom I cycle on Lourensford).  This has been quite comforting because they are able to 'interpret' the news of the surgery for us and offer us some good practical and reassuring advice.

We will only get the results from histology of the tumor in a few days.  As soon as we have news on that we will let you know.  But, we are trusting for a perfect bill of health.

They had to shave a fair amount of the back of her head to do the surgery - she's not going to be too happy about that when she wakes up!  But, that is the least of our worries!

Thanks once again to everyone who has called, sent text messages, facebook messages, tweets and helped with food etc.  We are truly grateful.  It is likely that either Megie or I will spend the night at the hospital again.  Courts will be in ICU for the next 2 days and then into the general ward.

Unfortunately our phones have to be kept off while were in the ICU so we may not see, or respond, to messages as quickly as we would like.

For regular updates please either follow my twitter feed (see the twitter feed on the right hand side of this page, or go to @digitaldion on twitter.com.

God bless,

Dion, Megan, Courtney and Liam

Thursday
Sep232010

Update on Courtney 23 September 2010 morning

Hi friends,

Just to give you a quick update on Courts.

We had a good restful evening at the hospital last night. We talked, prayed, played games (just about everything BUT sleep). It was good father / daughter time)!

She went into theatre at 7.30 this morning. She was very brave. Megie and I, not so much.

The doctor says the operation will take about 3 hours. I'm not sure when we will get the results from the biopsy of the tumor. I'll let you know once we hear anything.

She will go into ICU for a day or two.

Unfortunately they have to shave quite a lot of her head. I've promised her that if they shave her head I will do the same - so you may see me with a 'poena' next week ;-)

Well friends, thanks so much for the prayers and care. We'll keep you updated on any news we receive.

God is indeed good! His mercy is new every morning, it never comes to an end (Lam 3.21-26).

God bless,

Dion, Megie, Courtney and Liam

Wednesday
Sep222010

Courtney's surgery is confirmed for 7.30 on the 23rd of September

Courtney's surgery is confirmed for 7.30AM tomorrow morning (23 September 2010).

Please could we ask for your prayers for her, the surgeon (Dr. Wessels), and all of the nursing and support staff at the hospital. 

Please also pray for Megan, little Liam and I. We relying on God's goodness and grace. 

I will spend the night with her at the hospital - we're going to relax, pray, watch a few movies, and enjoy our time together!

Please forgive us if we don't respond to emails, SMS's, phone calls or emails - we have received so many calls and messages that it is not possible to respond to all of them.  So sorry!  We'll check in here and on facebook as time allows.

My friend @Cois sent me the following verse from the Message (Matthew 6:34) - it is very encouraging indeed:

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. A Simple Guide for Behavior”


Tuesday
Sep212010

An update on Courtney 21 September 2010

This morning Courtney went for a CT scan to see if the infection in her sinuses had completely cleared. She is almost there! Not quite 100%, but the doctors 'conferred' and decided that they would go ahead with the surgery to remove the tumor on the Thursday morning the 23rd of September (thanks for spotting the mistake Ruby!). In the meantime Courtney will start a another course of antibiotics today.

Liam (the Great!) has been in great health. We cannot tell you how thankful we are for God's gracious care for our family! We have truly experienced the most indescribable blessing and peace in the last few weeks.

Our friends and family, the Church, work colleagues and so many others who we don't even know have blessed us with encouragement and love. Yesterday Courtney received a package with 20 letters from one of the Lausanne Congress staff who arrived in advance of the meetings. A group of Christians in America had heard about Courtney and were moved to each write her a little card with encouragement. Such a blessing! Our 'local' friends have made meals, sent messages, left voicemail messages and truly taken great care of us.

Last night Courtney sang a solo and played her guitar in her school concert. She has such talent! It was a blessing to be able to take her to participate in that event - we could see that it has lifted her spirits! She has been a little down over the last few days.

BUT, today her uncle Craig (Megan's brother from the UK) and her Granny (Megan's mom who lives in Natal) arrived to visit her! Courtney is over the moon to see them! It has truly made her day. We are so thankful for times such as these.

As for Megan and I, we are both doing well, although a little tired. We wake up in the morning feeling as tired as when we went to bed! I'm sure that the worry of the surgery and the outcome of the test results of the tumor contribute to our sense of tiredness!

However, we have experienced such a sense of God's immeasurable grace and blessing during this time! We are so certain of God's ability to do more than we could ever imagine or hope for (Eph 3.20). Thank you for standing with us in faith!

God is truly good!

Thursday
Sep162010

Will you consider joining us in fasting tomorrow?

For the past 4 years Megie and I have fasted every Friday.  You can read about that journey here.

We would like to invite you to join us in our fast tomorrow.

This simple spiritual discipline has had immeasurable benefits for our prayer lives.  It is not a big deal! Here's what we do:

 

  • We choose not to eat any food until dinner on Friday evening.  Basically we skip our meals, or any form of food, until dinner on Friday evening. We do take liquids (juice, water, coffee, tea etc. So you can see we're not too strict!)
  • Whenever we feel hungry we remember to pray.  It's amazing how often one thinks of food when you are fasting!  So, I get a lot of 'little' prayers in during the day.
  • Use the time and food you would have used for eating for something else.  I normally take the time I would have used to eat lunch and breakfast and set it aside for reading the scriptures and engaging in specific prayers for particular people and causes.  Our prayers have focussed on children who are sick and their families for the past four years. You might even consider taking the food you would have eaten at lunch time and sharing it with someone who is hungry?

 

Would you consider joining us in prayer and fasting tomorrow?  Only do this if you are not suffering from any medical condition!  I would also ask you to use some of your time in prayer tomorrow praying for our daughter Courtney who will go for cancer surgery next week Thursday (23 September).

If you do choose to fast and have anything to share from your experience please would you share your experiences and thoughts with us here?

Sunday
Sep122010

Making memories

This weekend was a gift to our family! Since all travels have been halted until after Courtney's surgery we enjoyed a rare weekend at home without any commitments!

We slept in, went to the beach, rode our bikes in the back yard, went to Church and also drove through to beautiful Hermanus to see the whales.

Megie and I needed the 'space' and time to catch up with one another and chart the course ahead. We are both feeling bruised and a little weary. And of course our hearts are very tender for our little girl and what lies ahead for her (see this and this for details). However, we are encouraged and strengthened by God's unfailing love and mercy! We have experienced His love, mercy and grace through to kindness of so many friends and family.

Both Courts and Liam are getting healthy again. Liam may return to school after his bout of tonsillitis, pneumonia and ear infection (which all seem to be clearing). Courts won't return to school until after her surgery. However, she will participate in the school concert this week and also in the guitar concert on the 20th.

Thank you for all the love and support we've received!

This weekend was a chance to make memories. These are a few pictures from the weekend.

Friday
Sep102010

A quick update on Courts and Liam 10 September 2010

It's Friday! Megie, Courts, Liam and I were supposed to be in JHB this weekend for a family celebration - Megie's brother Craig and his fiance Kath are out from England as well.

Alas, that was not to be. But, at least we have the weekend together at home! Which is a rare event in itself! We're looking forward to some quality (and quantity) time together this weekend. I have taken a day's leave today to be at home with Liam and Courtney since Megie has to get back to her office to get some work done for the Lausanne Congress for which she works.

I have also cancelled my trip to Hong Kong next week. So, I look forward to being home with the family for the week ahead as well. I am truly grateful to my friend Graham Power who amended his INCREDIBLY busy schedule to fly to Hong Kong in place of me and spend two days there handling the speaking engagements that Michelle Harding and I were to do. Thanks Graham! Of course if the truth be told I know that our friends in Hong Kong would have loved to have Graham from the very start, but he is just so busy. I know that they will be incredibly blessed by him and our team on this visit.

OK, update time.

First, Megie, Courts, Liam and I want to say how grateful we are for all the messages of encouragement and support. We have been so blessed by your care. Friends have called, sent text messages and posted messages here on the blog and on facebook and twitter. We also had meals dropped off (yum, yum!) Thank you so very much!

The picture below was taken last year (some time towards the end of summer) at our local beach (Strand beach). Happy times, ice-cream, sunshine and sea! We're looking forward to getting back to these joy filled days soon!

Forster Family 2009.jpg

Yesterday one of Courtney's previous teachers (Mrs Bev Austen) dropped off two little books that her class of 3rd grade students made for Courtney. My goodness, these little kiddies have such a wonderful grasp of care and compassion.

Here are two pictures from the one book. Wonderful!

Courts get well book1.jpg

And here's another one with a little prayer.

Courts get well book2.jpg

So, our two little 'patients' are both doing better. Courtney will see her doctor today at 12.45 to check on the infection in her eye. I am pleased to say that the visible swelling is almost completely gone. She will still go for a CAT scan next week some time to be sure. But, she is in good spirits. As mentioned in a previous post she will not go back to school (probably until some time in early to mid October). However, since her surgery has been shifted to the 23rd she will get to participate in her school concert on the 13th and will still do her 'solo' in the guitar concert on the 20th. She is very excited!

As for little Liam - well, I think we just underestimated how vulnerable he still is to infection (even after all these years!) Having him at the hospital to visit Courts was obviously a little too much for his immune system. By Wednesday morning the doctor diagnosed him with tonsillitis, a double ear infection and pneumonia... But, I am pleased to say that he too is looking so much better. The fever has all but gone and we have him on a nebulizer and various medications. So, he too should be well by early next week.

My friend Cois sent me a very encouraging verse from scripture earlier in the week. It has been a source of great comfort.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. A Simple Guide for Behavior ~ Matt 6.34 (MSG).

Today is Friday, and that means that Megie and I will be fasting and praying again. This has been our spiritual discipline for the past four years (almost). As we pray and fast for children and parents. Today this journey takes us in another direction.

So, we appreciate all of the care, love and support! Indeed, we know that we are held within the loving and gracious hands of God; we hear His loving encouragement through your words, and feel his gracious power through your care.

God bless,

Dion

Wednesday
Sep082010

An update on Courtney 8 September 2010

A quick update on Courts.

We’ve just arrived back from the hospital – Courtney has been discharged!

Her eye is looking so much better. We saw the neurosurgeon. It was an emotional meeting. He was very calm and explained everything to Courtney and gave her a chance to ask questions etc. He showed her the ‘acorn’ in her brain and explained why it was giving her headaches and making her a little clumsy. He also showed her how he will remove it and told her that once we have it out we can see what the next step will be.

Of course she is a little scared and quite emotional, but we have assured her of God’s power and love. Also, we have great trust in the doctor’s expertise and skill. We know that the Lord will use every means at His disposal to restore her to full health before we know it!

The surgery has been scheduled for the 23rd of September – as we had thought the 15th is a little too soon. They need to be certain that the infection from the eye is completely clear before trying to remove the tumor. The risk of cross infection and meningitis is too high for an earlier surgery. The neurosurgeon feels comfortable with this new timeframe. We will see her other doctor on Friday and then go for a cat-scan before the surgery.

Courts will not return to school for the next while (perhaps mid October). We’ve met with her teacher and have their full support.

I’m afraid to say that the devil is still trying to break our resolve – last night Liam fell ill again! Can you believe it? We had him at his doctor this morning. The doctor has diagnosed him with tonsillitis, pneumonia and a double ear infection... He is on a bucketful of medicine! We would appreciate your prayers for his swift recovery as well.

Well, that is our news for now. Thank you so much for your prayers and care. We all appreciate it a great deal! Courts sends her love, as do Megie and LtG!

Tuesday
Sep072010

News about Courtney's health - please pray with us

Dear friends,

Megan and I wanted to write something to explain what is happening with Courtney's health. Rumors tend to fly thick and fast. We would rather that our friends know the truth, and in doing so hold Courts, Liam and the two of us in prayer.

What has happened so far.

On Sunday the 5th of September Courts woke up with a very swollen right eye. She had a bad cold the week before. Megie took her to our doctor - he later admitted her to hospital. Essentially it seems that an infection had spread into her sinuses and when she was blowing her nose it spread behind the right eye which caused her eye and face to swell up.

On Monday the 6th of September, after spending the night in hospital, Courtney went for an MRI scan to ascertain exactly where the infection behind her eye was, and if there was any damage to the lining of the ocular cavity that would need surgical repair, or if there was an abscess that would need to be drained.

While examining the MRI our doctor discovered a tumor of about 2.5cm in height, and 1.5cm in breadth in the fourth cerebral ventricle of Court's brain.

A few requests from our side.

Naturally this comes as a great shock to all of us. Here's what we would like to ask of you.

1. Please pray for Courtney. Naturally we are asking for God to heal her completely. We believe God is able to this in many wonderful ways. We are blessed with a wonderful team of doctors, but please pray specifically for our neurosurgeon. 2. Tomorrow (8 September 2010) we will share the news with Courtney as we meet with the neurosurgeon again. Cancer can be a very scary thing for a little girl! We have told Courtney that the doctor has discovered the reason why she has been getting headaches and been a little 'clumsy' over the last while. 3. Please silence any rumors that you may hear about Courtney's condition. We know that she will receive the best treatment possible and that she will be completely well. We are trusting God to use every means at His disposal to work this wonderful miracle! We are taking the journey one step at a time. First the infection in her eye needs to settle so that she can have the brain surgery. Then once the surgery is done we will know what kind of tumor she has and can decide how to proceed with treatment from there.

Please pray that she will be shielded from fear and that Megan and I will have all the wisdom, love and courage that we need to support her, Liam and one another.

The way ahead (as we see it today).

As of today Courts is in hospital receiving antibiotics and cortisone to clear the infection in her eye. She cannot have the surgery for the tumor until the doctor is certain that there will be no cross infection. Her eye is looking so much better today and so our neurosurgeon has scheduled to meet with the three of us tomorrow morning at 9am and then to do the surgery on the 15th of September.

Naturally an oncologist will do tests to determine what further treatment is necessary (if any). It is difficult to say what that treatment will involve. It may be that the surgery is enough, it may be that she needs radiation treatment or something else.

God's faithfulness.

We are so grateful for God's abundant mercy and grace. We know that we are experiencing what Romans 8.28 says, "In all things God works for the good of those who love Him". If Courtney did not have a cold, and did not pick up the infection behind her eye (as painful as it is), she would never have gone for the MRI and we may only have discovered this tumor too late.

Now, we have a great sense of God's love and peace. An abiding scripture over the last few days has been Lamentations 3:21-25 which says:

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him". The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him..."

Thank you for your friendship and care! Please remember to pray for Courtney and for us. I'm afraid that we don't have the time to return all the calls and text messages we receive, please do feel free to leave any messages here and we will make sure to share them with Courts at the appropriate time.

God bless,

Dion, Megan, Courtney and Liam