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A Life Less Lost: Chapter 51

...'Your faith has been a real inspiration to us, Kimm.'

My breath snags and tears blur my eyes. I can't believe that God can use even me, as poor a Christian as I often feel I am, to reach out to other people, especially people who are so much further along the path towards knowing Him...

Kimm Walker is told the news she has been longing to hear concerning her teenage son who is battling with cancer.

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And do visit Kimm's Web site http://kbwalker-lifelesslost.blogspot.com/

Walking across the quiet car park behind my church, I'm thinking about the things I need to do in the village.

'Good morning, Kimm. How're things?'

I look up and smile to see Brian and Betty coming towards me. Rumpled with years they are nevertheless a couple of the granite foundation stones of our community. They've known Howard since he was a boy and Betty ran the mobile baby clinic that James attended for the first few years of his life. Brian is one of the lay preachers in our church. Both doctors, they remind me of my aunt and uncle and have always been generous with their precious time, asking about James and listening to my long tales about his progress.

'We're in the second year since his treatment finished.' I can see my pleasure in this landmark reflected in their faces. 'He only has to go for check-ups every other month, now.'

'That is good news.' Betty pats me on the shoulder.

'The doctors are happy to try to fit the check-ups into school holidays as often as they can so James won't miss too much time at college.' This flexibility allows the knot in my core to relax a fraction. 'They've done a load of tests this time and taken blood, which they haven't done before.' I pause to study their reaction to this, to gauge if I should be worried. Their expressions remain open and unsurprised.

'They tell me it's to determine if there's been any long-term damage done to his organs from the chemotherapy.'

'That's normal procedure,' Brian says.

The knot loosens a little more. I love the word "normal".

'Your faith has been a real inspiration to us, Kimm.'

My breath snags and tears blur my eyes. I can't believe that God can use even me, as poor a Christian as I often feel I am, to reach out to other people, especially people who are so much further along the path towards knowing Him.

*

In the waiting room, we learn that two other children, diagnosed at the same time as James, are back in treatment with secondary cancers and a third died suddenly after appearing to do well. Frozen bricks weigh heavy in my guts and I say a swift, silent prayer for them and their families.

I'm instantly on alert, when it's our turn to go in and Dr Edwards greets us. He's the 'big cheese' in paediatric oncology and I'm afraid he must be here because it's bad news.

He's friendly and chirpy. He and James share stories, while we settle into our chairs.

'Now, about your results,' he shuffles the papers in front of him, 'they look good.'

My relief is so explosive I can hardly hear what else the doctor has to say.

'The blood and heart tests indicate there hasn't been any permanent damage as a result of the treatment. I think there's little risk now of the cancer returning. It was so aggressive that if it were going to reappear, it would have done so by now.'

I want to kiss this man. I want to sing and shout and fly. We had begun to hope as much but to hear it from this expert gives wings to my joy. I practically run from the room to phone Howard.

Next to this news, the fact that James is still struggling to use an artificial leg regularly seems less important. After two 'emergency' appointments, for open sores, at the limb-fitting hospital, they decide to make him another new leg and the saga wears on. At least he's developed quite remarkable arm and shoulder muscles, with which to impress the girls, from all the crutching he's done.

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