The Blog of Pastor Mike Wilkins

In The Long Run

"The long run" referred to in the title of this blog is, in the first place, the many years Mike Wilkins served as West London's solo pastor, and then its Senior Pastor, since he and his wife Deb moved to London (and this church) in 1984.

In these past few years (beginning November 2011,) Mike's various health challenges, particularly a serious and ongoing case of cancer, has added another layer to the "long run" metaphor, and lots to blog about. Mike is currently on an extended Sick Leave, but generally worships with the church family on Sunday mornings.

With the publication of a book he wrote in 2016 entitled "Glory in the Face" (now available electronically and in paperback from, and other online venders), Mike has just launched a new website, which will serve as a sort of scrapbook for readers of the book, with relevant background photos, for example, of That Last Final Solo Canoe Trip in May, 2011, as well as additional information about the book, and--coming soon--a new set of blog posts, mostly about the peace of God and the joy of the Lord and the face of Christ and the strength to face anything. You'll find the new website now at

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  • Apr17Thu

    Squeaky wheels and small potatoes

    April 17, 2014

    Today, the fiftieth day since the liver resection of February 26, I break my blogging silence to report on what happened at today's long-awaited appointment with the oncologist. Thanks for your patience, but this most recent surgery, "Thing #4," has turned out to be way more taxing and exhausting than I was expecting it to be. As a result, for seven weeks now, I have been mostly sleeping and napping and dozing (often with a really good book open on my lap).

    In addition to that primary excuse for blogging nothing since February, Deb and I very much wanted to hear from the oncologist before making any sort of public statement about what's going on with me. This caution arose from the appointment we had with the surgeons on March 24. The fact is, the surgeons were so positive about the success of the February surgery and my now-very-bright prospects for the years ahead (!), we thought it wise to wait for the scheduled "second opinion." So we waited until today --- and now here I am, once again blogging about how I am doing.

    So here's the news. As planned, Deb and I showed up at the Cancer Clinic today and met with an oncologist, as scheduled. Not THE oncologist but a semi-retired colleague of his. This switcheroo happens from time to time, and seems always to indicate that there's not much news. (THE oncologist is such a busy man and is in such demand that only the squeaky wheels get the grease.)

    This time, the inside explanation for the appearance of the understudy is that THE oncologist is very sure that the next thing for me to do (Thing #5) is to repeat last winter's twelve weeks of chemotherapy (in six biweekly instalments). So my news is that I will start the summer version of last winter's chemotherapy about the middle of May. The twelve weeks will run from mid-May to mid-August. Add to that a few extra weeks of feeling really really tired from it all, as predicted (But I'm not sure if I can be anymore tired than this!), and maybe by September I will be transitioning into some sort of non-exhausted state. Here's hoping!

    That's the news. Small potatoes, really. The oncologists are aware of the surgeons' high-rolling optimism about how well the liver surgery went, and while not denying that good news, are more focussed on whatever it is they are seeing (on the CT-Scans) around the site of the September surgery. (Scar tissue? More cancer? They don't know, but  they see something down there and that's why they are intent on twelve more weeks of chemo.) So there's still lots to trust God for. But then there always is.

    The big story is that Things # 1-4 apparently all went really, really well -- which according to the oncologist last June, I needed them to --- and which according to the surgeon last month (now something of an optimist!), places me in "that rare 10%" of cancer patients who respond really well to treatment.

    The punch line is that I now seem to be winning this battle of life and death, and so seem not to be going to die in 2014.

    As always, of course, the real story is what we have written in James 4:13-15 ESV
    "Come now, you who say, `Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'—- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'