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Thursday, 26 April 2012

What a nerve!

I know it's been a fair while since my last post. Usual excuses apply, and maybe a few more! I've decided that this post is going to be mainly about my health. I feel that I really do need try and get some of the feelings, the stress, the pressure, outside. I'm very good a bottling things up and putting on a brave face, and not always so good at expressing my emotions. Bishop Damien and Roy have both commented that they have noticed a change in me. They have said that I seem to smile less! This change has been noticed over the past few months, since my hospital experiences in particular. I recently saw a friend that I haven't seen for ages. He also noticed a change in me, he actually asked if I'd been to war as my eyes seemed "empty". He said that I had the same look as some soldiers do when returning home from combat zones. He should know, he is an ex soldier. I'm not in perfect health. Firstly I have a huge and unsightly scar to my abdomen which also has a big dip in it. This is as a result of the life threatening position that I was in last year. I am developing an incisional hernia in the same area which causes discomfort at the moment, sometimes more so than others. I have been told that they will wait until it is particularly problematic before operating on it, not that I would even want the operation at the William Harvey Hospital. To be honest, the thought of having the operation there actually causes me some concern, and no doubt, causes some underlying stress. Secondly I have type 2 diabetes, although this is generally well controlled, so doesn't cause me any major concern. My main problem is that since having my surgery in July last year I have been suffering from neuropathic pain in my left leg, in particular my left thigh. It would seem that the femoral cutaneous nerve is the offending one! I first noticed a problem when I woke from having my appendix removed. I had a very intense pins and needles type pain in my thigh, at the time I just put it down to perhapos having laid awkwardly during surgery, and so did not report it. Even over the following couple of weeks it continued, although I had other, more serious, problems so did not think to mention it, instead thinking that it would settle. Over the following weeks it did not settle, the sensation changed somewhat, but did not improve. It became increasingly more painful. Painful when resting, walking, sitting, lying doown. Painful to the slightest touch, even water from the shower or bath became painful. Wearing clothing on it or having the duvet on it when in bed resulted in pain. I felt that it was starnge that this should first happen following surgery, it was the same leg that they shaved and attached a diathermy pad to. I decided to look on google for some possible answers. By searching "thigh pain diathermy pad" I started to see some results. In particular there were some forums with people reporting the same problems following the use of a "grounding pad", this is what Americans call the diathermy pad. Some people have reported having problems for days, weeks, months, years. I spoke to a doctor at my GP surgery. I explained to him the problem and he immediately blamed my diabetes and stated that I must have diabetic neuropathy. I would not accept this as a diagnosis as it came on suddenly! I explained that I could not sleep properly becuae of the pain, etc, etc. He prescribed a drug that he thought might help the nerve pain....I tried did not help! I have been back to the surgery many, many times and have seen a variety of doctors. I have tried a variety of drugs and combinations thereof. Mainly without much success. The pain is constant, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It makes no difference if I rest or if I am active, the pain is there. The level of pain does vary, but I would say that it is never comfortable. I was taking morphine sulphate tablets to help with the pain. They were the slow release ones, which meant that you take them every 12 hours. I found that they worked to a certian extent for a while and then stopped. I was changed to taking them every 8 hours instead. This helped a little more, but still not great. My sleep was still being affected, my motivation for life was starting to diminish. I was recently seen by a neurologist who was a nice chap and gave a few ideas, but wasn't able to tell me when or if it would improve. He suggested that a few things might be worth trying such as a nerve block and pain relief patches instead of the tablets. He wrote to my GP with his suggestions. His opimion was that I have Chronic regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), this seems likely according to google! My GP started me on the pain relief patches. The first ones I tried did not help at all, these were Butrans. I was changed to Duragesic patches and these helped a little with some of the background pain (which the tablets NEVER helped with). However, there was still a lot of breakthrough pain and so I was prescribed oramorph. This helped a little, but again didn't take the pain away, just helped a little. I was sent to the pain clinic at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital recently. The consultant wasn't much hep in my opionion. He ruled out trying anything that the neurologist suggested...although I'm not going to accept that without a battle! He has said that I should have an MRI scan of my lumbar back to rule anything out there. I do actually agree with this idea and am surprised that it has not been done already. I have a scan booked for 16th May...a Sunday at 5pm! I have then got to go back and see him 2-3 weeks after. In the meantime my pain patch has been increased in strength, I also take a couple of tablets (3 times a day) and I am now using oramorph on a regular basis, especially at night. Sometimes the pain is bearable, mostly it is not. It is most often a lot worse at night, especially so if I've had anything so much as a semi-active day. i am usually awake for the vast part of the night, often sitting on the edge of the bed, crying, tears not just of pain but also despair. Some nights the pain is so intense that I cannot eveb walk from the bedroom to the bathroom if i need the toilet. Debbie has even had to walk with me, supporting me, as I have been unable to walk the very short distance without support. Although she is my wife and does not mind helping me I feel degraded at having to need such help. Often I am exhusted in the morning when it is time to 'get up', having been awake and suffering through the night. i then have to put on my 'brave face' for the day ahead. At night I often actually fear going to bed because I know what awaits me! Even on my better pain days I feel lacking in energy. I have found that my concentration levels can be affected also, my memory is not as good as it once was, not that I am suggesting that I have memory loss, I think it is just that because I am so drained within that it automatically gets affected. There are 24 hours in a day, many of these have become dark hours for me. The only things that give me any pleasure are my family, Church, my job and my friends, which includes friends such as Bishop Damien and Roy. They have been so supportive over the past few months, which means so much to me. I don't think they realise how much their friendship and support actually means, it doesn't help that I'm not the greatest person at showing my emotions! I'm going to share something here that I really don't know if I should. On more that one occasion, when I have been awake at night, sitting there with silent tears, I have thought about suicide. A few things have stopped me, namely Debbie and the kids, my faith/Church and my job and friends. Firstly, if I were to die Debbie and the kids would have nothing, my small life insurance policy would not pay out, we have no savings, etc. I am the main breadwinner so to speak and so they need my income just to live. Secondly, suicide is a sin, although thinking about it isn't. Thirdly, I do enjoy my job and the challenges which are ahead and I would never want to let the company, and in particular, Roy and Bishop Damien, down. I actually feel that I've let them both down my admitting to the fact that I've had such thoughts. But I hope that it can be understood that the reason I'm putting my thoughts into writing is in the hope that it helps me unbottle some of what is inside me. I fear that if I don't then I will explode. I know that I can be snappy at times, defensive, moody, etc...I'm hoping that this will maybe go some way to explaining why, not that I'm justifying myself. I have been living with this pain and problem for over 9 months now. As I said earlier, it is there all of the time, whatever I do. I can be doing nothing and the pain can be excrutiating, this is what makes no sense and why it is so difficult to live with. If certain things made it worse then they could be avoided, but neuropathic pain does not comply with such rules. Sometimes my leg is more hypersensitive than others, sometimes it has a burning pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain, tingling, throbbing, etc, etc. There is always pain of some type, often a combination of sensations. I have been asked to describe the pain on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being worse), the lowest it ever is falls at about 7, that's with the current medications at their height. Other times (a large percentage of the time) it is off of the scale. I have read that some people often describe neurpathic pain as 15 out of 10...unless you've experienced it I don't think you can actually understand it. Living with neuropathy isn't always a is more like an existence! I'll post more about my progress (or lack of) as time goes on. This Saturday I have an appointment with an EFT practioner. Roy has kindly funded it in the hope that it may be of some benefit to me. He has benefited from it and is convinced of it's potential. I am willing to try anything, so I really do hope that I can get something beneficial from it. I have a few things to look forward to. In June I'm going to away for a few days with my wife and kids, we're also take my mum. Then there is the fact that the shop will be moving premises, Dv, we are also planing to open a Christian tearooms. This will be a fantastic opportunity! Then I have a one week holiday in August, Debbie and I are taking the kids to Minehead. Biahop Damien has also mentioned a possible date for ordination to the Diaconate early next year, assuming my studies progress. Finally Debbie and I have agreed our holiday for next summer, to Egypt. I've also found out that from the resort I may be able to do a day excursion (by air) to Jerusalem...a prospect that I relish!! I'm going to try and do another post next week as I want to write a few things about the Archbishop's recent visit to the UK which went very well, it was great to have him here. Anyway, it's time for me to go to bed. My leg isn't too bad right now, I just hope that it stays that way tonight! Until next time....

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Father forgive me!

Ok, it's been four months since my confession, oops, I mean blog post....the usual excuses apply of course!

Quite a bit has happened since then. Firstly my recovery from my operation has been progressing although I still have some problems with my stomach (not the wound) though. I also have some kind of nerve damage in my left leg which is very painful at times. My own research online suggests that this could be as a result of the use of a diathermy (grounding) pad which was used during my operations. Of course my consultant denies this, I am now waiting to see a neurologist and in the meantime I have to take medication to try and control it, including morphine not ideal...but what else can I do?

Early in October we had a Council of Advice meeting in London. I also had my interview with the Board of Ministry. I was obviously quite nervous but I tried my best. I heard some days later that the Board had recommended me to the Bishop with some suggestions attached to their report, all of which can be dealt with. This was a huge relief, and further enforces my calling, the fact that others have recognised this with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. I am now going to crack on with my course!

In October I went to the USA with the Bishop and Roy to attend the ACC Provincial Synod. We went out a bit earlier and spent a couple of days in Key West, Florida. Apart from the rain it was enjoyable, the hotel was lovely. We then travelled up to West Palm Beach to the hotel where Synod was being held. Bishop Damien had a couple of days of meetings prior to Synod so Roy and I kept ourselves occupied.

On one day we went shopping and on the other we went on a Segway tour in the pouring rain around West Palm Beach. It really was great fun, just the two of us and the guide. We got rather wet but I think the rain actually added to the fun, the guide was great which helped make the tour! Roy says that he also had a great time, even though he looked like a drowned rat at the end.

After this we went to Macy's to buy some dry clothes and then went to the cinema.

Synod went well, it was good to be able to see the wider Church and put faces to names. I even managed to conduct some shop business when I was there. I enjoyed taking part in Synod and being able to vote on matters which affect the Church to which I am very proud to be a member of.

I flew home on the Saturday, the Bishop and Roy went on to Orlando to have an extended break with Bishop Starks (a very nice and rather amusing gentleman).

I arrived home on the Sunday morning and drove Roy's Landcruiser home from the airport. I then returned to Heathrow the following week to pick them up and take them home.

Once back from the US I returned to work full time in the shop and things have been going well there since. We have had a very good month in December, so this proves that our reputation is spreading!

Bishop Damien was recently taken in to hospital with a DVT in his leg which had also progressed to affect both lungs. He has been very poorly and we are lucky that he is still with us to tell the tale. He is receiving ongoing treatment and is slowly improving although it will be a long process and he is still suffering.

On 17th December we had an Advent carol service in Church. It was attended by 18 people, so this was really good. I know that it 'lifted' the Bishop to see as many people.

On the Wednesday before Christmas after mass we decorated the Church for Christmas. By the time we finished it looked great!

On Christmas Eve some of us enjoyed a Christmas meal at Michael Caines restaurant at the Abode in Canterbury. It was very nice! After the meal we went to Church and got everything ready for Midnight Mass.

I served for Midnight Mass. It went well, the Church looked lovely and the service was great. Debbie was also there and it was the first time that she has seen me in my cassock, etc!

We stayed at the in-laws over Christmas. So when Debbie and I left Church we drove there to make sure that Santa had delivered the kids presents....of course he had, and the children were fast asleep.

Ethan and Hollie woke up about 8am. Debbie and I went to bed at about 2am, so it was a challenge to say the least. They were excited and really pleased with their excessive amount of presents. Ethan got an XBox 360 as his main present and Hollie got a Little Tikes Wooden Kitchen.

Debbie got me a trip on the London Duck Tour (an amphibious bus) and a trip on the London Ghost Bus Tour on the same day, which will be Sunday 5th February 2012 (day off of Church please Bishop???). She also got me a set of Dalmatics, ready for when I am a Deacon, Dv.

I got her an iPod Touch, DAB radio and a voucher for a meal at a rather good seafood restaurant (on Friday evening) and a few other bits.

All in all it has been a lovely and lively Christmas!

The shop is closed until 3rd January 2012, so it is nice to have a little break and some quality family time.

I hope that you all have a lovely Christmas (I can say this as we are in the Octave of Christmas) and wish you the very best for 2012.

I'll try and post again here before 4 months are up!!

Until next time......

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Put thy trust in God!

This is a record for me, posting so soon after my last entry...I hope that it hasn't shocked anyone too much!!

I really wanted to put some of my thoughts into writing, in a hope that they will make a little more sense to me when I read them.

As you know I was recently in hospital in a not so good way. Well this goes back to the Sunday that I was to be taken to theatre for the operation to try and deal with the infection which I had.

I remember receiving many pieces of conflicting information from numerous doctors who presented themselves at my bed. This in itself did not exactly fill me with confidence. Also over the days many of my questions remained without answers, and any answers which I had been given seemed to be out of context compared to the actual questions which I asked. It was clear to me that they were not being totally forthcoming with me. Whether this was puposely done to try not to stress me too much, or as part of them covering their rear ends is still yet to be established, but I will seek the truth!

On the Sunday I was aware that I would be returning to theatre and I had a horrible feeling that all was not well. I remember specifically thinking that I would not pull through, and I rapidly became rather distressed. I wrote Debbie a letter in the form of an email on my iPhone and even recorded a video message for the kids telling them how much I loved them, etc.

Bishop Damien arrived to give me Holy Communion (Spritual as I was nil by mouth), and during this I was in tears. I remember as I received Communion I said "Come into my heart O Lord" and I suddenly felt very peaceful...kind of at one. The tears stopped and I was calm in my heart and mind, but still with a strange sense that my time in this world was coming to an end.

I remember the painful journey from the ward to theatre and then being in the aneasthetic room being prepared. I then did something that I have never done before an operation before. As I was laid there and they were preparing to put me to sleep I said the Lord's Prayer. I had given up the fight, I had given up trust in doctors, I just put all of my trust in God. My life was now totally in God's hands. I wanted God to do what He decided was right.

I then remember (just like a vivid dream) that at some stage during my stay in ITU I had two paths in front of me. It now makes sense when I have heard people say that they have had a near death experience and saw a bright light.

One of these paths appeared smooth and calm, very peaceful with a beautiful light at the end. It was like a magnet pulling me towards it. The other path appeared broken and very stormy, like a dark forest, with a clear sense of danger, but with a light further in the distance. I had a choice to make. Typically for me I didn't choose the easy path. I took the stormy one!

I now believe that the peaceful path was the path to pass from this life. The path which I chose was the path with a battle to be had enroute. Somehow I sensed this at the time and something told me that this was the only chance I had. It reminds me of the saying 'Don't give up without a fight'. Something managed to pull me away from the magnet drawing me to the calm path. It gave me a chance to break away from the forceful pull and get onto the rough path. That something has a name...God!

God gave me a choice, it wasn't easy, but then being a Christian is not about having an easy life is it? God was showing me that there is an alternative. He was providing me with a solution as I had shown my unquestionable faith in Him when being prepared for theatre.

This whole situation has made my faith even stronger than before! In my time of need I had nothing but faith. I put my trust in God and He was there for me, He offered the path and through choice I followed. I made the right choice and that choice was simply to have faith!

Until next time....

Sunday, 7 August 2011

I'm just going to take your temperature!

I know, yet another delay in me posting...still, I guess I'm lucky to be writing this at all after what I've been through lately!

I shall fill you in with all of the exciting details. On Tuesday 19th July I went to see my GP with some pain in my abdomen which had been present for a day or two. He did some pushing and poking and came to the conclusion that it was most likely that I had appendicitis, so promptly sent me to our local hospital, the William Harvey in Ashford.

They were expecting me upon arrival as he had made a telephone call, so I was off to a good start. I was examined by a couple of doctors from the surgical team who agreed with my Gp's diagnosis and confirmed that I needed surgery the same day to remove my appendix. They inserted a cannula (needle) and promptly gave me some morphine as pain relief which was most welcomed!

After a short wait in A&E I was moved to a ward and after a further wait of a couple of hours or so I was taken to theatre and put to sleep. Later that day I came round and was a little uncomfortable, but nothing that wasn't to be expected I guess. I continued with pain relief and spent the night in hospital.

The next day I woke and got out of bed and sat in the bedside chair for a while, but the pain level was quite high, despite the nursing staff saying that it shouldn't be that bad. Throughout the day there was no improvement and I was becoming increasingly hot and the pain level was increasing, both around the wound but also in my right side. I had a CT scan which showed nothing untoward so I am told, so they told me that I had a chest infection and started treatment for that. I was also told that during my surgery my bowel was slightly damaged, but this was repaired and they were confident that my present condition was not as a result of this.

Instead of getting better I was getting worse. One doctor noticed a redness on my side and drew around this with a marker pen. Within hours the redness had expanded outside of the marked area. The treatment with antibiotics and pain relief continued.

Luckily I had a bedside fan, without this I feel that I would have been totally unable to cope as I felt so hot and sick all of the time.

To cut a long story short I was eventually taken back to theatre on the Sunday evening as one consultant wanted to open me up and have a look at what was happening. I have since been told that three quarters of a pint of pus was drained from me. I was very poorly and was taken to intensive care where i was placed on life support (ventilator, etc). I remained there until the following day when I was taken to theatre again for further debridement, after which I was returned to ITU.

Late on Tuesday I was transferred from ITU to a surgical ward where I remained until being discharged from hospital on 30th July. I have since learnt that I had a post-op infection called necrotising fasciitis, which is basically a flesh eating superbug. It has a high mortality rate, reported as being about 73%. Stopping it has been described as trying to "stop a freight train with tissue paper".

I now have a large open surgical wound, or great big hole, as it is more commonly known, which has a special dressing on it which uses a pump. It is called VAC Therapy, which stands for Vacuum Assisted Closure. It uses negative pressure to drain the wound, promote good tissue and slowly draw the would closed. It is meant to be quicker than more traditional dressings, etc. The downside is that I have a long tube attached to me and a small pump that I must take everywhere, so it limits what I can do.

Needless to say, I am not at work at the moment, despite me saying that I wanted to go back at least for a few hours! Bishop damien and Roy were having none of it. I have managed to persuade them to let me answer emails and try and manage web orders from home this will help keep my mind occupied and I'll feel of some use. They've even kindly provided me with a laptop and printer for the purpose.

The idea is that I can process the order and telephone my assistant, Beatrice, who is covering in the shop, with the details. She can pack and ship the order following my instructions and I can handle the specific paperwork.

I am not going to Church either at the moment, as I simply get too exhausted too quickly and often have to lay down to either recharge and/or relieve the pain, despite taking strong painkillers. The dressing also has to be changed 3 times a week by the district nurses, so again, this restricts my activities.

Bishop Damien visited me in hospital several times and gave me Holy Communion, this was very much appreciated. The visits were important to me and did bring me some comfort. Especially the one on the Sunday of my operation. I was rather upset as I knew something would go wrong (I ended up in ITU), and the Spritual Communion IO received then gave me a real sense of calm.

Roy also visited me in hospital, and his sebse of humour lifted me somewhat, although it hurt when he made me laugh. He has been undergoing some stomach pains himself, and so I realise that he really did go the extra mile by visiting, if you're reading this...thanks Roy!

Of course there was also Debbie, she visited every day and I think that she was worried, although I've since found out that the doctors were not toatlly open with her about things either. It would seem that there was a toatl breakdown in communications and trying to get information from them was (and remains) like trying to get blood out of a stone!

Bishop Damien posted a message about me on the Church website and people have also found out about my problems through the shop. Many have offered their prayers and sent their good wishes. I would like to thank everyone, I believe that faith has played a major part in my recovery. Our Lord obviously still has palns for me in this world, and so I did not form part of that 73% that lose the battle against this condition.

I have got to have the dressing reassessed on 12th August, at which time they will decide whether to continue with it or seek an alternative. It is a very expensive treatment, costing well over £1000 per week! On 9th September I have got a review with my consultant.

I am hoping to get back to work as soon as possible, although it may be on reduced hours to start with. At least I do have Beatrice to assist me. I understand that she has coped well so far, although she is still learning the ropes.

I also want to fully recover by October, as I am still intending to attend our Provincial Synod in Florida.

On the plus side, i have lost just over a stone...but I could think of a fair few healthier ways to lose weight!

Anyway, hopefully I'll continue to make progress. I'll keep my status updated on here.

On a sad note, one of our priests, Father Tim Perkins, lost his battle with cancer and passed away on 4th August 2011. He will be missed. Please pray for the repose of his soul and also for his family, friends, etc.

Bishop Damien and Roy have gone away on holiday to Austria. I think I'm right in saying that Gemima (Roy's daughter) and Margaret and Laurence have also gone. I trust that they'll have a relaxing holiday without all of the recent stresses!

That's about it for now. I will honestly try and update a bit sooner next time, as I'm at home I probably have little excuse to be honest at the moment. So keep a look out for the latest wound updates!!

Until next time.....

Thursday, 19 May 2011

It's done!!

I'm back again, only a month since the last posting, so not too bad I guess!

A fair bit has happened recently so it should give me some things to write about here.

Firstly, family stuff. Ethan recently had a review with his hospital consultant, and now on top of his autism the consultant has diagnosed Hypermobility Syndrome with very low muscle tone (Hypotonia) and also Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), he adds that the problems are compounded by his autism. Hopefully we can get a physiotherapy programme added into his occupational therapy programme, as they say 'every little helps'. There is some research to suggest that this could all be linked to his traumatic birth, but for every one piece of research that supports this another suggests something else, so we'll never really know officially, but in our own hearts and minds it doesn't take a rocket scientist to establish the link!

Hollie is still being Hollie, although she seems to be breaking slightly less things lately...the television remains in one piece so far!

I recently submitted a request to our Board of Ministry that they look at a course that I was proposing to study in order to meet the ordination educational requirements. Canon Don put a fair amount of effort into it, and thankfully has approved the course (subject to a couple of criteria), this is great news for me as it is going to save my wallet a lot!! I am now formally enrolled and have started the course. If all goes according to plan it will lead to a Certificate in Religious Studies and then a Bacehlor in Religious Studies, with the opportunity then of studying for a Master' step at a time I think though.

As a result of this approval, and following a long(ish) chat with Bishop Damien I completed the application form for a candidate to ministry and submitted it formally to him a couple of weeks the ball starts rolling. At some stage I should imagine that I will be formally interviewed by the Board, and we'll go from there. I have started my course though, so that is me off of the starting block at least.

Also I have now obtained all of the books on the Board's reading list, and have made a start at them...there are a few to get through!

My 'journey in faith' has really stepped up a gear recently and I feel so much better for it. I know that I am really following God's plan for me now, as everything that is happening feels right in both my heart and my mind. I sense Christ's presence in my life now more than ever is a weird feeling, but at the same time it feels great. I'm still not perfect, and I still think 'why has God called me?', but I no longer ASK why...I just accept that He has and it is my duty to follow His plan which has been laid out for me.

Last week Bishop Damien and I attended the Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Park. We met a few interesting people, some of whom will now be suppliers to the shop, including a couple of authors, one of whom lives locally (in Tenterden) and has published a book which recreates nursery rhymes but gives them a 'God twist', very clever, and quite humerous at the same time.

I now have a part-time member of staff working at the shop, her name is Beatrice and she is French, although she doesn't commute from France everyday....she lives in Canterbury! She works Wednesdays and Saturdays at the moment, but will also cover for my holidays and things like that. It is really good to see how we have expanded from an empty building to what we have today.

Tomorrow is Debbie's birthday....I've bought her some new shoes...I'm such a romantic!! I suppose I'd better get her a card to go with them! LOL

On 28th May it is our Patronal Festival at St Augustine's in Canterbury, so hopefully the weather will be nice and the turnout good, we're having lunch after at Pizza Express, so my diet will go astray...still it is a special occasion (that's my excuse anyway, not that I need much of one).

Anyway, that's all for now...I've got work to do (just in case you're reading this Bishop!!!)

Until next time..........

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Bring me sunshine!

It's a bright sun shiny day in Canterbury!

It's been a month, all bar one day, since I last posted on here. I'm going to blame the pressures of work, the economy, David Cameron, Tonty Blair (well, everyone else always blames him for world poverty and everything else!!) and I might as well blame President Obama....notice how I've blamed everyone and everything apart from myself...maybe I should become a Member of Parliament!

Well, the Diocesan Synod went ahead as planned, and it went well. Roy and I were pretty good as a double act for the purpose of serving during mass, we even made it look like we knew what we were doing! In fact, we nearly fooled ourselves!

During the Synod meeting we heard that the Anglican Catholic Church, Diocese of the United Kingdom has experienced a 12% growth within the last year. That news is very encouraging indeed. Although in real terms it is only a small number of people the fact that in terms of Church growth 12% is very good is very positive. There are many other denominations that would beg for 12% growth, in fact there are some Churches that would beg for any growth, or even just stabilisation without any more losses to both congregations and clergy alike!

We also received the annual accounts, and the figures were good. It clearly shows to anyone looking at us from outside that we are serious. Although again in real terms the figures are fairly small, considering that we are a small Church within the UK it clearly evidences positive growth.

My year of office on the Council of advice was up, so I volunteered my services for a 2 year position and this was accepted by Synod.

Canterbury Church Shop - - is going well, our range of products seem to be ever increasing. We now stock Deacon's stoles and will soon have a range of dalmatics in stock, we also have some more jewellery items and a range of products from the Holy Land, including a small range of Armenian pottery.

Our recent application to Canterbury City Council for a Premises Licence to enable us to sell communion wine, etc has now been approved, so we will shortly be stocking this range of products also. If you are ever in Canterbury then it is certainly worth a visit to the shop. We are usually open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am until 5.30pm...we do close from 1pm until 2pm for lunch though, although often I pop out to grab something and then return to the shop and open early! We're closed on Sundays, Mondays and Holy Days of Obligation. Our website does feature 98% of our products though and they are all available to mail order.

Talking of visiting Canterbury, last week Libby Bova and her husband Revd Jerry Bova from the ACC in the USA visited Canterbury during their holiday (sorry Libby, I mean vacation!!) to England. They visited the shop and purchased a few items which was great. I've met libby before, but it was the first time meeting her husband, who has recently been ordained Deacon.

Last Sunday Deacon Bova was the guest preacher at mass, unfortunately I wasn't at Church as I had pulled a muscle in my back the previous day and was kind of stuck in bed (mainly due to some over effective painkillers!). It went well though by all accounts. I think Bishop Damien enjoyed it as it gave him a rest...some would say taht the congregation enjoyed a rest from one of his sermons, but I would NEVER suggest such a thing!!! : )

Ethan and Hollie are being baptised on Easter Day, Sunday 24th April 2011, which is also Ethan's 6th birthday, it will also me the one year anniversary of my time flies!

I was weighed at Slimming World last Tuesday and found out that I've lost half a stone so far, Debbie has done slightly better and has lost 10lbs to date. It's been a consistant week on week loss so far, so I am happy with that. I want to get to my target by the time I go to Florida in October for the Provincial Synod, at least that way I'll have a bit more room in my seat on the plane and I'll have a bit of extra room for those American portions!! LOL

That's about it for now, so until next time........

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Back so soon!!!

I'm back again, I'm actually quite impressed with myself that I managed to remember that I've got this blog...I'm super-impressed that I actually remembered the password to log in so that I could update it!

Well, what's been happening in my world you may be thinking, ok, you may not be thinking that but I'll tell you anyway.

Work...Church...couple of days's it really!! Joking aside, I have been working, still at the shop and things there are starting to pick up quite nicely, I'm starting to see the same customers coming back time and time again, I'm convinced that it is because of my happy face, but I'm sure that Bishop Damien and Roy would argue that it is because of our exceptional shop, product range and pricing policy!

Back in February (school half term) I wwnt with Debbie and the kids to Disneyland Paris for a few days. The weather was cold, and a bit wet at times, but we had a great time. Hollie met her hero, Buzz Lightyear (who she calls "Space" for some reason) and we got some nice photos, including a great one of Ethan, Hollie and Minnie Mouse. We stayed in the Hotel New York, which is located at the other end of Disney Village and is only a 5 minute walk to the parks. Debbie's brother and his wife and kids also went, so did Debbie's mum and dad. This was good because it meant that we could go on the 'big' rides, as we had someone to stay with the little ones! I have to say, I do like the Aerosmith Rock 'n' Roller Coaster!!! Space Mountain still tends to throw your head around a fair bit, leaving you with, what can only be described as, a cracking headache, when you alight the ride...or perhaps it's just me! We travelled by Eurostar from Ashford, so, all in all, it was a stress free process...and we spent less than I expected!

Following my operation on my hand I am making a good recovery. It would appear that this operation was a success as the painful problem appears to have now gone...although there is now pain in the palm of my hand, and there is still the pre-existing problem in the top of my finger. It is still early days, so once it has had a chance to heal properly then it can be assessed further...but my eraly thoughts are that it is better than before. I'm continuing to have therapy on my hand....I say therapy....sometimes it seems more like torture!

I can't remember if I mentioned before that I have diabetes. I was diagnosed in 2002when it nearly cost me my life. Well, over the years I have been on all sorts of medications, etc, with varying degrees of success. Following a recent change of hospital consultant my medication has changed again. As I am overweight I had wanted to try a drug called Byetta, my previous consultant denied it to me. This new doctor has agreed to try me on Victoza (essentially the same), and so far, apart from the initial side effect of feeling sick, I am pleased. The drug has the knock on effect of acting as an appetite supressant, and although I have only been on it since Monday I can already tell that it works!

I have also re-joined Slimming World, along with Debbie and in my first week I have lost 2.5lbs...not a great loss...but a loss...if I had that loss every week then I would be very pleased indeed.

This Saturday is our Diocesan Synod in London, so I am looking forward to that, although the Bishop has 'informed' me that I will be acting as a Server at the Synod Mass...oh for a penny in for a pound I guess!

I can't think of great deal more to write today, so I'll leave it for now, until next time.........