Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Second Opinion and Prayer Requests

We are requesting prayers from any and everyone!
So yesterday, we finally made the long trip to the University of Chicago and met with Dr. Sonali Smith for a second opinion. Dr. Smith is one of the leading experts on lymphoma in the world and the timing in meeting her was providential and perfect because she was able to make a more complete and accurate diagnosis with the benefit of having the full blood work and PET scan available for her review and we were able to miraculously get in to see her before Kim's 2nd round of chemo.

She is an acclaimed research doctor with excellent bedside manners and despite her brilliance has a way of explaining things in “layman” terms. She was also very up-front about all the potential risks and pitfalls we might be facing. While, to be truthful, some of it was hard to hear – we appreciated her honest approach and her over-arching desire not to just “treat” the disease and beat it into remission, but to cure it, so that it might never appear again in Kim’s lifetime. (It’s not until 5 years after treatment in which the cancer does not reappear that she is officially declared to be “cured” – so this is a long road regardless of remission)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Calvary Reunion & a Very Special Praise

Kim with Calvary friends - circa 2006
This past Sunday was the first time that we had been to our old church (Calvary English Chapel) since we left in January 2009. It's amazing to think about what the Lord has done in us while we were there and what He has done in our lives since. God is so good.

While we would never have chosen a reunion under these circumstances, Kim and I felt this would be the perfect Sunday to visit. We wanted to say thanks to the many people (and Noah's Ark children!) who have been praying for us, let them see for themselves how their prayers for Kim are being heard, and we definitely wanted to come and support the bone marrow drive for Andrew Park, who attends the church. By the way if you haven't registered to do this yet - what are you waiting for? Click HERE for the why you should and the how you can do this. The turnout for the drive yesterday was fantastic (in the hundreds?) and I'm confident it's only a matter of time before we find a match for Andrew and our new friend Connor.

Back to Calvary, I remembered the day after we left I wrote a "thank you" note to our Calvary friends on Facebook. So I went digging into the archives of my Facebook "Notes" and strangely,  I noticed that it was exactly three years ago (to the weekend) that we left the church and said our tearful "good-byes". (At this point though - is anything strange anymore?)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Difference Between Faith, Hope and Love

A dear friend wrote this yesterday on my Facebook wall after I posted a status update that Kim was back at home and doing well:  Amen!!! There is no doubt in my mind that God is watching over Kim. Have a beautiful weekend. BTW you should consider taking all of your updates and making it into an inspirational book. A book about love, hope and endless faith!!! Love you guys!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Eastern vs Western Medicine

So the good news is that all the pericardial fluid around Kim's heart (redundant?) is gone! Thank you Lord! The bad news is that it took a one night hospital stay and a very uncomfortable procedure (another drain tube - pericardiocentesis) to remove all the fluid. The best news is that by God's perfect design we ran into our favorite nurse (Kate!) and got to spend a lot more quality time with her. God is good!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back to the Hospital...

pericardial fluid or pink lemonade?
So we drove to the hospital this morning to check the fluid level around Kim's heart for what we thought was just a regular old echocardiogram. While the echo did not show an increase in fluid there was still a significant amount present (500ml - 1/2 a liter) and it was not dissipating. This coupled with Kim's fairly low blood pressure this morning (85/60) led the team of cardiologists to move forward with a pericardiocentesis - which is a procedure which basically involves applying local anesthesia and using a large needle to extract the fluid buildup around Kim's heart. While it does not treat the cause of the buildup it does relieve some of the danger involved with the heart and buys more time while we wait for the cancer to shrink and relieve some of these other symptoms. While the procedure was successful she is not comfortable having another tube in her chest with a drain bag and will need to stay overnight to be monitored. Minor setback.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Latest & The Greatest

Does anyone notice anything different about this picture?

That's right!!! Somebody got a haircut!!

I usually get one every three weeks, but since I've been a bit tied up of late, I didn't get to my favorite $10 haircut joint ("I love you Hair Snips!") until a few days ago. I know exactly what you're thinking:  "Peter! That doesn't look like your normal haircut!" Well, Karina usually cuts my hair but since I went in on a weekday morning (unusual for me), another lady, Christina (the nicest Polish lady you will ever meet) cut my hair instead. I'm sure you've already noticed that she used a 2 guard on the sides this time instead of a 1.5. (I told her I was shaving my head in a couple weeks - so no need to go that short.) Okay. So you're probably not interested in reading the rest of this post since I have already unlocked for you the "riddle, wrapped in mystery, inside an enigma" that is my hair....

Monday, January 23, 2012

Seein Jesus in Cancer

summer 2009 reunion
About 2.5 years ago I wrote a note about my high school youth pastor, Kevin, on Facebook called "Thankful". In His goodness, the Lord brought him into my life at the perfect time. To be perfectly honest, I was in 8th grade, had moved to a new school, and was an insecure, prepubescent, scared young boy who, quite frankly, struggled with suicidal thoughts. The note is re-posted below:

Thankful  - posted August 20, 2009

If you ever get the chance to go back and thank someone for blessing your life - do it! Call them. Write them. Pray for them. No matter how much time has passed - do something! It's such a blessing for everyone involved. A few months ago I felt this urge to write a letter to my old youth pastor, Kevin S, so i could share with him the enormous blessing and impact he was to me at a very pivotal point in my life. Growing up in a Korean church I'm sure any kid would have loved to have a 6'4" former college QB as a youth pastor, but much more than being athletic and funny - it was the love he demonstrated with his gentle rebukes, his meeting us before school for Bible Study twice a week, his attending our high school games (to watch me get pinned while wrestling) all while holding numerous part-time jobs, attending seminary and raising three well-mannered kids (now totaling six!). This taught me more about the love of Christ than a thousand sermons.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Awards for "Laughter is the Best Medicine"

So about 5 days ago I solicited some good jokes to help Kim laugh. (see post here). Trying to find winners was nearly an impossible task, because so many of your entries were so good. Seriously, I have a six-pack from laughing so hard (it's still hidden under layers of fat, but trust me...it's there.) Kim finally decided on the jokes below. I had to include a couple videos that had me crying.

Winners: (Lina, Steve L, tk, and Sonia). Email me (seeingjesusineverything@gmail.com) your home address and we will send you a nice little prize in the mail soon. Thanks everyone for participating - every single one of them was great!


Female Entry 
linaJan 16, 2012 07:21 AM
first rectal exam i did as a 3rd year medical student - i was young, scared, and thrown into the wolves all alone. i could tell something was off but couldn't put my finger on it (no pun intended). then suddenly it hit me. most doctors wear gloves during rectal exams.

moral of the story: don't let a 3rd year medical student touch you, ever.

ps i figured with pete's bar set so low, i could comfortably share this story. i won't confirm or deny it in person though.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Praise & Urgent Action Requested!

If you were amazed by yesterday's story about getting fast-tracked by Dr. Sonali Smith's office after making a few phone calls...buckle your seat belts and read this....

While still basking in the glow of getting a world-renowned oncologist's immediate attention we received an email from Naree, one of Kim's newest friends, yesterday. To provide some context, Naree is a very recent friend of ours whom Kim literally just met this past fall as our boys and her two children were in the same tennis class. The two of them hit it off (who doesn't hit it off with Kim?) and enjoyed spending time talking to one another as they waited every week for their tennis lessons to finish. Read Naree's email pasted below (with her permission):

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Praise & Prayer

I'm so thankful that we have so many dear friends in the medical field. I have received many of your calls, messages and emails with helpful advice, suggestions, etc (even though I have not had the time to respond to them all) and I know some of my "oncology for dummies" posts are probably alarming to you because I leave out a lot of information and interpret the field through the lens of my 10th grade grade biology class (which I nearly failed). But rest assured - we are getting a second opinion - as I have always intended. Overall, we have been happy with our current care and team of doctors but this is not an uncommon practice and we are just covering all our bases. The hospital does not release medical records until 48 hours after discharge and I wanted to get Kim's first treatment of chemo in asap since the cancer was spreading so rapidly - so that was basically the hold-up.

Dr. Sonali Smith
We are so blessed to live in a city where a number of world-class research clinics/hospitals in the world are located (especially U of C and Northwestern). When I was creating a shortlist of lymphoma experts to reach out to there was one name that kept coming up - Dr. Sonali Smith at U of Chicago. She is doing some cutting edge work on lymphoma - just google her name and you will see how legendary she is.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blessings and Curses

Praise God, despite the severe infusion reaction last Friday the oncologist felt that Kim got enough Rituxan to be effective in her treatment and so we won't be encountering that drug again until the next cycle - in about 3 weeks. This was a pleasant surprise to us. Please continue to pray that Kim would be able to receive the Rituxan drug going forward.

Sign our children made for mom's homecoming
The doctors told us yesterday since Kim had made such great progress over the weekend she would be discharged today pending some final tests. We packed up our bags, Kim got changed and we were so ready to leave when, one of the final tests required before leaving (an echocardiogram) came back showing some significant fluid build-up around the heart again. It's somewhat of a mystery since a pericardial window was put in but the cardiologist (who felt sick telling us the bad news) thinks there may be an obstruction there. We were readying ourselves for yet another surgery, plus another few days in the hospital with a chest tube, but God has heard your cries, and later when the thoracic surgeon came by he felt we should just monitor the situation and make sure we return for another echocardiogram on Friday and let us go home! Yes!! Please pray that this fluid buildup around the heart would dissipate by Friday so that no further surgery or hospital stay is needed. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus...

Since Kim couldn't leave the hospital on Sunday morning we brought church to her and had a nice little worship service and heard a good word from the Lord on the 9th floor (oncology) lounge. Later that night, since I had my guitar in her room, Kim and I sang some worship songs together - about 30 minutes in I thought - why not record our little session for our many praying friends? - since  we had an iPad handy (who would have thought iPad/Facebook/Internet would have this much redemptive value?) and since I know so many of you miss seeing her face and hearing her voice. Voila!

Before all this I asked Kim what song has been on her heart this past week and without hesitating she said, "Turn Your Eyes". It's an old hymn that was remade by the Newsboys that ministered to us back when we were both at the University of Illinois. If you have a high tolerance for bad music then check out our ghetto version. I've pasted the original Newboys song further below along with the lyrics and hope it blesses you...

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full on His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow
strangely dim in the light
of His glory and grace.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Laughter is the Best Medicine

So I was lying on a couch in Kim's hospital room at least 10 feet away from her, when we have this conversation...

Me: reading something - when I subtly "let one go". (i.e. silent and harmless fart)

Not 2 seconds later....

Kim: Did you fart? (lying on her bed)

Me: Huh? (incredulous that anyone could smell anything that quickly)

Kim: Did you fart?

Me: Uhhhh....yeah, like 2 seconds ago. (sniffing the air)...I can't even smell anything.

Kim: Well, I can....and it stinks.

Me: Sorry. (sheepish grin)

Thinking about it some more....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dark Night of the Soul

Please don't feel obligated to read these long-winded posts. If you're only interested in praying I've put all the prayer requests in bold so you can quickly identify them and lift them up. By the way, everything in the post below is true. If I didn't live it - I honestly would have never believed it.

I know so many of you are wondering how the first dose of chemo went. I'm struggling for words but I'll start with NIGHTMARE.

After yesterday, the "20 Minutes of Hell" has now been re-named the "20 Minute Walk in the Park". Yesterday was hell. There is no other way I can describe it. However, this time it wasn't for 20 minutes in a car, but for a good 2 hours in the hospital. Kim began her initial chemotherapy treatment with Rituxan (the first medication "R" in "R-CHOP") around 1:30pm yesterday. This med is crucial because it specifically targets the cancerous lymph nodes and everything was going beautifully....until about 90 minutes into it. First came severe nausea and vomiting convulsions. This struggle lasted for about 10 minutes. Then upon leaning forward to dry-vomit, she sat up and her face was ashen-white - her eyes then rolled up towards her forehead and she fell backwards on her bed. It all seemed to be in slow motion to me. I caught her head with my hand and yelled to the two nurses, "We're losing her!" One of them turned and yelled "Code blue!", slapped the emergency button and within 30 seconds there were about 15 people running around the room.

Throughout all of this I'm holding Kim's head saying, "Keep your eyes on me, baby! Keep your eyes on me! Everything's going to be fine!" over and over. She was clearly disoriented and her eyes were glassy. She then said softly, "Why are there so many people in the room?" I don't even now how I was able to get any words out. My heart was so heavy - it had fallen to the very pit of my stomach and I couldn't breathe. A few minutes later she had another bout of severe nausea, followed by chest pain and then a wrenching back pain. They immediately wheeled in a number of large machines and ran a series of tests all the while her vitals were touch and go. The pain grew to such an excruciating level that her head was wobbling and she was simultaneously pushing me away while crying out "Help!".

Friday, January 13, 2012

Look Out Cancer...Here We Come!

Please read to bottom and see one small request from us. Thank you for loving on us and for your prayers! 

We were praying for a definitive answer and now we have one. As the doctors suspected all along, it's cancer - specifically "Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma".  This would explain all the other problems. The fluid building around Kim's heart. The large ulcer in her stomach. The chronic coughing. All due to this cancer. We are starting an aggressive chemotherapy (R-CHOP) this afternoon. It's considered to be in Stage IV because their are masses on the stomach and pancreas but this is still a very treatable cancer. When the oncologist sat down and gave us the news yesterday he said the cure rate is probably 50-70%. The nurse then came in to basically console Kim but to be honest between the three of us - she was the only one crying.

Please pray that the cancer would respond quickly and completely to the treatment.
These next few weeks are crucial because it will quickly determine whether the treatment is working, and when the cancer cells are destroyed they release toxins into the body which creates other potential problems. There is also the risk of infection since Kim's white blood cell count will be low after her sessions - not to mention nausea and fatigue.

Thanksgiving 2011
Please pray that she would be protected from any infections or complications to the treatment. The chemotherapy will be done in 6 sessions separated every 3 weeks - assuming her body responds to it. So the next four months there will be ups and downs, and so while I know so many of you are eager to see her and talk to her when she leaves the hospital, I'm still going to have to play "bad cop", "gatekeeper", "that jerk for a husband" - whatever you want to call it and put limits on Kim catching up with 3,000 of her closest friends while she's in treatment. She should be more available than she is now but if you have 50 well-meaning friends visiting a week I doubt Kim will be able to focus on getting better. I'm sure you all get it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finding New Life

Please feel free to forward this site to people that we may have missed on our email distribution list and/or to any of your trusted friends who would like to serve us by praying for us. Again, if you prefer to receive email notifications just submit your email address in the box above and you will receive an email to verify (make sure it's not in your spam box) and you should receive updates via email every day. Also, any comments to Kim should be easier to make below each post now as verification is no longer necessary. (Thank you my tech friends!) I can't believe there are already +1,500 views on this blog in only one day of existence! If that means +1,500 prayers than I will do whatever I can to encourage more and specific prayers. Love to you all!

It looks like the doctors feel they can get a tissue sample from Kim's mediastinum (chest area) without invasive surgery. Thank you God and for your prayers on this! They have a procedure in which they can use a large needle to withdraw the sample and confirm what they think is "large B-cell lymphoma" - which will likely happen this afternoon. Please continue to pray for a crystal clear diagnosis. We are hoping they can remove the tube which is draining the fluid around her heart today. It is the source of a lot of pain and should allow her to be more comfortable and improve her breathing. Please pray that the pericardium fluid would slow enough to remove the tube from her chest.

As I said, Kim is showing an inner strength that belies her inner beauty and it is a sight to behold. She is still in pain but in good spirits. It's a privilege to be her husband and I must say after 10+ years of Kim complaining about my "spray control" around the toilet it's ironic that I am now the one replacing her bed pans (not to mention she is going to the bathroom nearly every hour due to the IV). Truly, God has a sense of humor.

I'm a little out of it these days.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

No more Gmails* & Update on Kim - 1/11/12

I'm realizing mass emailing updates is problematic as sites are often suspicious of spamming. And so thanks to some recommendations I am moving all the updates and prayer requests here. Please feel free to pass the link on to others who might be interested. I know some of you are very eager for updates. *If you input your email address in the box above I believe you will get these posts sent to your email. However, I don't think it is in real time (could anyone help with that?). Actually,if anyone is tech savvy and can help me optimize this site I'd really appreciate it!. If you are more tech savvy than me, you can subscribe using the links via an RSS Feeder. You can also send this post via email to others by clicking on the "envelope" icon below. Please feel free to forward our prayer requests to anyone you know who might want to serve us in prayer. There are so many people I know I have left out. We are not ashamed to ask for your help.


Until this morning all of the biopsy results were proving inconclusive, however one of the later tests in the stomach area seems to be confirming a specific type of lymphoma. We're still waiting to talk the oncologist on the details, and prognosis. Kim was scheduled to go in for surgery to have a tissue sample removed from her chest area but in one of the last tests the doctors just may have gotten exactly what they were looking for. Please continue to pray that they identify what is going on and if it's the Lord's will that she might avoid the tissue sample surgery (stenoscopy). The fluid from around her heart continues to drain fluid but it is slowing down and they hope to remove the tube in her chest soon - which would relieve some of the pain and allow her chest to begin healing. She is now able to eat whatever she wants and may even be able to walk a little bit today. She still struggles with shortness of breath and fatigue especially when she tries to talk too much and so although I know so many are eager to talk to her - I'm asking for continued patience. In typical fashion she is a big hit with all the nurses here. Some have even shared that they are praying for us and others comfortably share all about their own personal lives and their issues with Kim. What can I say? She's always had that effect on complete strangers.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Update on Kim - Tuesday, 1/10/12

Email Sent on Jan 10th

 Dear friends and family,

Sorry to disappoint but this is still Peter. Apparently, if you send too many mass emails Google will lock down your account and so I'm sending these out piecemeal from Kim's account. It made me realize how blessed we are to have so many praying. Due to the overwhelming response I'm going to try to send more frequent updates as many of you have been gracious enough to respond and I know many of you are requesting updates and specifics to better pray and so I'm happy to oblige.

Kim has made a lot of progress since the last update. She was finally able to begin eating (soft foods) yesterday and hospital food has never tasted so good. She is even sitting up periodically now. In terms of the diagnosis nothing has really changed - the doctors are still waiting on the biopsy results which should start coming in very soon and over the next few days. There is a chance that may need to go in for more biopsies in and around the lymph nodes in the chest if they don't get the info they need. Please pray that this would not be necessary, especially as it is more invasive than the previous ones.

I know this may sound crazy but I still believe that the Lord may heal her totally and completely in a miraculous way. All the doctors are saying the "c" word but for the one who created the sun, moon and stars - this is small donuts. But even if He chooses not too, Kim and I are convinced, now more than ever, that the Lord has a plan in all of this and we are already seeing it unfold through the many testimonies that so many of you have already shared. Please pray with us in faith - for a miracle, and that He would find us faithful even if He chooses a different and more glorifying path.

The kids got to see mom for the first time yesterday night. We had put it off for so long because things kept coming up but we finally decided to do it. I was nervous because Kim was so out of it that 10 minutes before she couldn't even keep her head up straight because she felt nauseous. But sure enough, when the kids came in she was "mommy". I was told Selah learned the word "M" in pre-school. When the teacher asked what words start with "M", Selah declared, "Mommy!" and then promptly announced to everyone that her mommy was in the hospital. A badge of honor for her - apparently. We take all of this as a good sign and an answer to all of our and your prayers.

Kim and I spent most of last night and today reading through your many emails, encouragements, prayers and notes to us and have experienced nearly every emotion under the sun. We'd love to respond to each one of you personally but if we can't please see this email as a sincere "thank you". We were especially blessed by your heartfelt prayers, the verses that the Lord inspired you to share, hearing from beloved friends that we haven't connected with in a long time, and those who have walked through far greater trials. Even the recorded prayer meeting/conference call. You are all such a blessing to us and we are so thankful for each of you and all of your prayers.

A personal thing I wanted to share. Kim was doing so well last night that I slept at home. I didn't get to bed until 2am and planned on trying to sleep in a bit. I was awakened around 6:30am by a verse that I didn't even know the reference to - so I had to look it up...

"...but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail....”
-Luke 22:32

These words were spoken by Jesus to the apostle Peter. Kim and I have been overwhelmed by all the prayers from each of you but in that moment I sensed the Lord telling me that He himself was praying for us...and His prayers never fail. I am convinced we will get through this and our faith will be victorious but only because of the everlasting love and grace of Jesus to whom all of you are appealing.

I pray in the same way you would also find encouragement. We are all facing trials of different shapes and sizes, but Jesus is interceding on your behalf just as He is ours (Hebrews 7:25) and His prayers never fail.

In His grace,

Peter & Kim

Monday, January 9, 2012

Update on Kim - Monday, 1/9/12

Email Sent on Jan 9th

 Dear friends and family,

I know many of you have been anxious for a comprehensive update and Kim has been resting so here it is...

First of all, thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers. Kim and I have shed a lot of tears the last couple days but I am being totally honest when I say that most of the tears are tears of gratitude for all the wonderful friends God has given us and feeling his perfect love through his beloved children. When's she's alert I read through many of your emails and Facebook posts and we are overwhelmed. I know so many of you have called, emailed, texted, etc and I'm so sorry I haven't been able to get back to most of you but we do appreciate it!

For those wondering when this started, Kim had been dealing with nausea since Christmas and had been coughing since Nov. We thought it was a cold that turned to bronchitis. She started experiencing light nausea around Christmas (which she's had on and off since we've been married) and then on Thurs/Fri last week it got worse so we scheduled a primary care visit for this week but couldn't wait that long. So we went to the ER late Friday night.