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.

Kim & Kate reunited!
When we got moved to the room we will be staying in - guess who we ran into? The best nurse in the world...Kate! She was with us for one week after the first heart surgery (pericardial window), cried for us when the oncologist told us it was "cancer", and Kim and her got real tight. When she saw us getting rolled in on the 2nd floor she exclaimed, "I didn't want to see you here again!" and both she and Kim hugged and cried together. She asked if she could be our nurse again (of course!!!) and used her pull to get us a nice private corner room sans a roommate. (You should know that Kate is hardly ever on the 2nd floor - only a couple times every 3 months - but our paths crossed at just the right time). We had given Kate our blog address a while ago, after Kim got moved to the oncology floor in her first stay, and we weren't sure if she was following our updates but two days ago (Monday) we were so touched by a note she left on our blog. I want to share it with you because it blessed us so much (I hope she doesn't kill me):
Hello Kim and Peter!
It's Kate, RN! I have to say, it has taken courage for me to sit and write exactly how I feel after reading the blog. First, I feel honored that you would allow me to continue this journey with you. Truly, everyone that your family has had the great pleasure to interact with at NCH have come together and we discuss you and your family and the latest details and lament together. In my nine years of nursing, I have not been touched or moved so deeply as I have been by your family's strength and courage. I have seen many people unfairly battle cancer in my years as an RN, but none so brave and so embracing as you and yours. It truly has made me think so much about life and the bonds of family.

Kim- Your unwavering courage and positive outlook in the darkest of times is daunting. It has brought a brightness to my heart as I sit here and write you. I know this in my heart and soul, cancer versus a woman as amazing and brave as you never had a chance. I believe you are right, everything does happen for a reason. I'm so thankful to have met you so that I can bring this positive experience to my practice as an RN and to my practice as a human being. YOU ROCK, GIRL!!!

Peter- You ARE a rock. I have seen sickness and disease devastate families and spouses. Almost as if the cancer was poisoning them, too. People falter, people fail each other. Not you. You are strong in ways I'm sure you didn't realize. Having cancer is one thing, watching the person you love most deal with it, is a totally different experience. You and Kim bring love and light to the world. Thank you for including me in this amazing journey.

As I told you previously, I am not a religious person per se. I am spiritual, in my own way. I rely heavily on the love of my family and friends, you have showed me the true meaning of faith.

"Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all."
~Emily Dickinson

All my best,
Kate G, RN (your humble nurse)
I told you Kim made friends with all the nurses but Kate definitely has a special place in our hearts and the love is mutual as you can see above.

Take My Hand
So, get this, on the way to the hospital I put in a CD that one of our pastors at Harvest Bible Chapel had given me when they came to pray for us on Sunday afternoon (Jan 15th - thank you everyone at Harvest - we love you!). Due to the craziness of everything, sadly, the CD just sat on my kitchen counter in it's original packaging and I never got around to listening to it. Literally, one week later, this past Sunday (Jan 22nd) one of my small group guys bought me a song called "Take My Hand" on iTunes and emailed it to me. It then hit me that the song was from the same album and was written by one of Harvest's very gifted worship leaders (Lindsay McCaul) and is on her just released album ("If It Leads Me Back"). So I took a mental note and said - ok I better listen to that song since I already have the CD anyways (I didn't have the heart to tell my friend Pat that someone already gave me the CD - but I guess he'll find out soon enough). And then literally the next day, Monday, I get a random message on Facebook from a guy I just met through this blog and he sends me a youtube link (pasted below) to this EXACT same song.

Now if the Holy Spirit confirms from three independent sources that I should listen to a momma didn't raise no dummy...I better listen to that song. So I finally get around to listening to it and it's been running on repeat in my minivan since yesterday and really ministering to me.

Well, while driving to the hospital this morning I asked Kim to take a good listen to this song for the first time, told her the little story behind it and cranked up the volume. She usually likes peace and quiet (i.e. no music in the car) but even she understood this song was for us. So here it is. I highlighted my favorite lines in the song in red. I love those two lines because it reminded me (even with another hospital stay) that we should be thankful when our faith is tested and when the storms of life hit because it is there that we meet Jesus and find a simple and yet profound truth:  
Peace is not found in the absence of storms, but in the presence of Jesus.   
Enjoy and let it minister to you as it has us....

Take My Hand -Lindsay McCaul & Jason Ingram
I heard You say it, I know You did
You called me out into the waves and wind
And for a moment I was brave and strong
But now everything is going wrong

Didn’t You know that I’d be scared 
Couldn’t You see I was unprepared
I’m not asking for reasons You hold or the safety of land
I just need You to take my hand

I could have stayed back where I was before
And never met You in this raging storm
You’re telling me that faith is all I need
But fear is all that I can find in me

Didn’t You know that I’d be scared 
Couldn’t You see I was unprepared
I’m not asking for reasons You hold or the safety of land
I just need You to take my hand

Cuz I would be ok if You’d take my hand
I wouldn’t be afraid if You’d take my hand
All would fade away if You’d take my hand
If You’d take my hand….

Didn’t You know that I’d be scared 
Couldn’t You see I was unprepared
I’m not asking for reasons You hold or the safety of land
I just need You to take...
Won’t You please come and take…
I just need You to take my hand


  1. Love this post! Brought tears to my eyes! We all should be so fortunate.

  2. No way! I bought Kim that Cd on Saturday! Amazing story! Thank you for sharing! I love the haircut Kim, you are always so beautiful!

  3. I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
    And he replied, “Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be better than the light, and safer than a known way.”
    -King George VI, Royal Christmas Address (1939)

  4. Kim, you look sooo good with your new haircut!! Loved this post..thanks for being so prompt with updates, Peter. I'll be sure to break the news to Pat gently that you received a CD =). Actually, we were going to get you one too but thought it would be nice to have it on your phone or ipad for when you may be in the hospital. I still remember when Lindsey first played it for us at church and as I read the lyrics on the screen, I got emotional and thoughts of you and Kim flooded my heart. After service, I mentioned it to Pat and he was thinking the exact same thing! Well...looks like there were tons of people who thought of you guys, too..and I'm so glad you have the CD..or several CD's now so that you can hear it in the car. So many of us love you guys and are privileged to go through this journey with you. I am seeing God work and move in ways I was too busy to see before, but with something like cancer affecting someone so close to us, my faith and understanding of God's love is growing through this trial he placed in your lives. Thanks for letting God use you in such a mighty way and for being so vulnerable and open in sharing every step of this journey with the rest of us. Love you guys!!

  5. I was rolling in tears thinking of you guys when Lindsay sang this 2 weeks ago! So glad you have this song...what great truth! Kim your hair rocks, but hair or no hair, it's your warm, sweet, sensitive, demeanor that everyone loves and gravitates toward.

  6. Psalm 41:3-The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.
    Psalm 62:8-Trust in Him at all times O people, pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.
    Psalm 77:2&19-When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;at night I stretched out untiring hands...Your path led through the sea,your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.

  7. Kim, you look adorable as always!

  8. As always, I am so moved by all the lives you touch in this journey. What a blessing the nurse and you are to each other. I am continually holding your family up in prayer. Kim, your haircut is fabulous, just like you!

    Amy Neumann ( Selah's teacher)

  9. Sooo glad you got connected to this song! I too thought of you the first time Lindsay sang it in church, and every time since when I play the CD. I am so glad that God has been meeting you often through the words and actions of His body. You are the one facing this trial head on, but we all are feeling your pain. Jesus truly is holding your hand.
    "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." (Ps.139:7-10)
    "Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand." (Ps. 73:23)