The diagnosis 
Mentioned last time that I'd got swollen glands. Well, I've had various tests, and they've found something - lymphoma. (Forgot the precise species, sorry.) It's treatable, but I'm going to need chemo and possibly radiotherapy. I've had needles stuck in delicate places, and they want me back for a full body CT scan just to check if there's anything else, before working out a plan. The specialist said that out of all the things I could have had, it's probably a good one to pick.

Strangely, I don't feel particularly anxious. Had about 15 people surround to pray for me at church on Sunday. Had the definite sense that this is the start of something, not the end. Indeed this year I seem to be getting the message that it's time to move into a new phase and start passing on everything I've learnt over the years. Seeing as I'm generally quiet and reserved, that might take a while! Life is valuable; we all have to make the most of it and live with eternity in mind, not just next week, live for others, not just ourselves.

Don't feel too bad today, apart from the stab wounds in my pelvis and groin from the doctor yesterday. She assured me that there wouldn't be any poking and prodding at the appointment today (it was basically just a handover - they didn't tell us anything new). I said "Have you run out of places to prod?" to which she replied "I'm sure we can find a few more places to prod" to which I said "I'll look forward to that..." She says I'm a model patient. An absolute trooper!

I'll keep you posted...

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Tis the season... 
Still got swollen glands, but the rest of me feels a lot better. Went for a CT scan on Friday. Interesting experience. They put a dye in your blood to make the veins show up on the scan, and then feed you into the machine. There's this rotating ring that spins around you. It's quite impressive. You really get the sense that you're in a million dollars worth of space age technology.

OK, so the space age happened years ago. Now we're in the age of The Gadget, as humans numbly stumble over each other, their brains drained by the latest cat video. Such is progress...

First Christmas parade. We played "We Wish You A Merry Christmas", then Rudulph, Jingle Bells and Deck The Halls. Then we did them again. And again. About 7 times. It's a long parade. At least the other gigs will be stationary!

Sarah's off on camp this week. It's going to be quiet. Hardly see anything of Rachael. But it'll be warm - we seem to be into summer now. Had to actually water the garden this week!

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The life of a teenage hermit 
Rachael survived her science exam, but lost it during maths and left after an hour. We've already got paperwork in place to get a derived grade instead. She's now got enough credits to pass the year, and negotiated her way out of the history exam. Japanese in a week or two - her favourite subject. She's been studying by playing minecraft on a japanese server. It's helped her learn a number of expressions, although our internet usage has hit a new record this month! I don't get to see a lot of her. I know she's there, but only to emerge at dinner time, eat a few chips and then retreat again. But she did make it out to rock climbing with the youth group this week!

Bronwyn took Sarah down to Rotorua for the weekend, to compensate for all the attention that Rachael's been getting. To compensate for that, she's taking Rachael out to Napier again next week. Normally I don't need to do a lot of cooking when Bronwyn's away. The assorted leftovers generally keep us going for a couple of nights. Our fridge has been playing up however, and keeps warming up and then cooling down again. There's only one company servicing fridges round here, and he's notorious for not turning up. So I've been putting bowls of ice and freezer packs in the fridge to cover the days when it decides to go warm. Might just grab a screwdriver and take a peek myself. After all, the dish washer and washing machine have been working fine for years ... after I fixed them!

Haven't been that well for a week or two. Swollen glands, tired, feeling sick (possibly due to the swollen glands). Doctor doesn't seem bothered by how **** I feel, but she's booking me in for a biopsy in case the glands don't go down. They fluctuate, but generally seem to be going down, and I'm feeling a lot stronger than I was.

Which is just as well, because we're into the parade season. Only one parade this year, and we'll do that on a truck. Plus four carol concerts, and a number of carolling gigs at various supermarkets. So no marching for once!

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It's that time of year... 
Rachael survived her maths resit! This was a team effort. She had to do this one in order to get a derived grade, because she missed a couple of papers last term. The teacher had managed to rearrange it, and gave plenty of encouragement. I sat with Rachael over the holidays and went over the workbook, revising algebra and the joys of quadratics, parabolas and circle geometry. Bronwyn sat in the car at the school ready for an explosive blob of emotion to blast from some window. But she sat through to the end. Sounds like she did reasonably well too. She also (after much persuasion) completed her history assignment, which I was quite impressed with - she'd done it really well. Plus a Japanese assignment. Now she's in a much better mood, at least until the main exams in a few weeks' time!

The brass band is into the silly season. We've got a concert in a week, and we've only seen some of the music last week. Then there's several parades to organise plus the carolling. And it's likely that there will be several more events sneaked in as well. Christmas eve is often a relief...

Warm and sunny. Everything green, including the bits I didn't want green. The three lambs have been transferred to the front paddock. Harley is coping nicely. Davidson and Peter are bleating every time they see me. They'll be fine. Harley did quite well at the agricultural day on Friday, but there was another boy who scooped up all the first places, so Harley just got a few seconds. Sarah was a bit disappointed, but still has a chance to go to the group day in a few weeks with other local schools. Sarah also brought an old Jelly Belly dispenser turned into a flower vase, and a terrarium with a copper skink that Bronwyn found in the out house. Plus a pile of vegetation for the other constructions she had to make. Parking was tricky - the soil was still soft after a few days of rain, so everyone had to park on the wrong side of the village and cross the main road. But everyone made it back in one piece, including the skink.

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Spring at last. New growth. Pools of vomit. 
Spring at last. The lambs are growing fast, and feeding time is chaos. Potatoes growing well. Sarah's pumpkin seeds have sprouted and have been planted out, although the birds seem to like eating them. The supermarket is giving away mini pots with seeds, so I now have a small vegetable garden in the office.

Bronwyn had her birthday last week, and we had a get-together with a lot of her old friends. It was very interesting meeting people from different periods of her past, who all knew us but didn't know each other! Everyone enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it seems that half of them went sick on Tuesday. Still not sure what caused it - Rachael had it, and she hardly ate anything. At 1am on Tuesday, Sarah decorated the linen cupboard, and then blocked up the washbasin. We were up for some time cleaning up and unblocking the U bend. She was up again at 5am. Rachael decorated the bathroom floor at 10am, and then the bath. Fortunately they got over it after a day or two.

The school holidays end today. Rachael has been working on her Japanese assignment. I finished going through the maths syllabus with her, although we probably need to revise it again. She's allergic to history. Haven't got far on that one...

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