Surgery confirmed the severity of the condition and was only able to remove 40% of the tumour. Intensive, brain focused radiotherapy and 12 months heavy-duty chemotherapy followed, severely damaged his brain. Doctors told him the treatment wouldn't kill or shrink the tumour but might give him a little more time.
Unwilling to accept there was no hope, Archie developed a plan to try and beat the tumour and re-train his brain to some sort of normal functionality. Through prayer and meditation, strict diet and demanding exercise routine, he was rewarded with seeing the tumour shrink and no longer show up on an MRI. But the neurological dysfunction resulting from the radiation meant that his brain had a mind of its own, frequently beyond his control.
His sight, speech, walking, thinking and concentration have all been affected and in his words, “More and more I feel like I’m getting swept down the creek with a paddle full of holes”. In a herculean effort to help the left side of his brain accommodate for the failures of the right side, Archie has undertaken to learn to play golf, play the pipe organ, write a book and he is taking drama classes. All this he hopes will enable him to regain some semblance of normality, spare him the twitches and wobbles that have become so much a pat of his life and ward off early onset dementia, which the medical team believe may result from his brain damage.
Hope, the belief that there is light beyond the darkness … a determined optimism that things can change ... seeing beyond the impossible to what might be.
It walks hand in hand with faith and love. Faith in a God who Romans tells us is a God of Hope, who is able to fill us with joy and peace as we trust him despite the circumstances, and through the Holy Spirit, gives us hope overflowing. Not just a hang-in-there-by-my-bootstraps kind of hope but overflowing hope.
And who can know the extent of the healing power of love. The love of those who walk with us through the tough times, refusing to give up on us, encouraging us to keep going.
But as Tolkein says, “Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”
Perhaps the dark times are the breeding ground of hope.
There's something refreshingly alive in hope, like a summer breeze, a field of bluebells or the fragrance of rain. It lifts our spirit, lightens our step and keeps us afloat. And if darkness tempts us to despair, we may need to borrow someone else's eyes to see hope through them, to get a fresh glimpse beyond the crushing walls of our own existence. Its a gift we all need at some point in our life, a hope-offering that says, "I'm here, I care". What a beautiful gift!
Archie has been an inspiration to many people. If you want to know more of his story you can read more here: www.beatthebeastchallenge.co.uk/