Karen Belcher

Dear Friend, 

Huge apologies for this unexpected correspondence....I don't do it lightly. This may be a surprise to you or I may have been in touch earlier. Either way, please do with it as you will. There is absolutely no expectation for you to engage, but William and I did want to share some information with you and we are rather overwhelmed by the size of the task! We are using this website (passed on to us from our family in the States), but, of course,  please don't feel you need to engage. It is OK to unsubscribe.

There is no way to say this other than bluntly (sorry). I have been unwell for sometime with crushing headaches and overwhelming exhaustion. I have been functioning 'below par', making peculiar errors and not my usual self. About three weeks ago, I was seen 'out of hours' and diagnosed with shingles. I had a week of rest and anti-viral medication, which was beneficial. However, two weeks ago, I began to slur my speech and I was admitted to hospital (1st Feb) for three days of tests, which indicated that I have a brain tumour. I came home with a bag full of pills to stabilise my symptoms and have been spoilt rotten since by my dear husband.

Things are now moving quickly and we went for a long consultation at the Bristol neurosurgery department on 12th Feb. Amazing care, as we've experienced throughout - extraordinary NHS in its most pressurised Covid period. The tumour is large and not curable, but it is treatable and we have a plan for that treatment going forward:

* Sun 14 Feb - I had my COVID vaccination.
* Tue 16 Feb - To Bristol neurosurgery for detailed scan and pre-op assessment.
* Wed 17 Feb - Go into isolation/shielding for a week ahead of surgery.
* Thu 25 Feb - Brain surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible. All controlled via scan technology.
* Four days in hospital, then home.
* Post- operation recovery for four weeks.
* Six weeks radiotherapy, which by all accounts will be demanding.
* Four weeks off.
* Chemotherapy cycle plus scans.
* Possible second chemotherapy cycle.
* Option of low dose chemo going forward. Ongoing monitoring with scans.

So, there is much to process and it has been a hard two weeks. There is an uphill struggle ahead, but we're up for the fight. No guarantees, except that, in Jesus, eternity is our certain hope and that is the most wonderful comfort, as have been our family and our church friends.

Meanwhile, life goes on. Our eldest grandchild, Ben, had offers for sixth form college this week, and Susie and Lewis had a baby boy, Reuben, this afternoon. Thrilling - a little miracle!

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