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.
My brother-in-law Ken who is a doctor told me last night that the doctors really feared for Kim's life. When we came in last Friday night she had "cardiac tamponade" which meant that her heart was under so much pressure (from the pericardial fluid buildup) that it was beating irregularly and could have massively failed at any moment. This is the same fluid that spewed out of Jesus' side when he was speared on the cross and comes when the heart is under intense stress. Honestly, the Lord could have taken her home then - but He chose not to. God has a plan and purpose for all this and we are eager to watch it unfold.
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." -Psalm 73:26
-Please pray that we would walk by faith and not by sight.
-Please pray that His strength would be made perfect in our weakness.
-Please pray that God would be glorified by Jesus shining through us, as we journey into the unknown.
We did not choose cancer. Cancer chose us. But more importantly God has chosen us to walk through this trial and He has already promised that He will not give us what we cannot bear.
In case you're wondering, Kim is probably going to lose her hair in about 3 weeks, and like any normal person (even males) she is pretty bummed about that. Who wouldn't be? She's also concerned about how the kids will react. That said, it will begin to grow back shortly after the entire treatment is completed and the doc said it may even come back more curly. (Yes!! I knew there was a reason why I told her I liked her hair when she put it in curls!) My dad used to tell me "If you stare at a rose long enough, it's beauty fades." In other words, don't marry someone because they're only beautiful on the outside - the inside is what matters. I'd say I did pretty well. Cancer may rob Kim of her hair, but it can never rob her of her beauty. I've already told her that I'm shaving my head bald too. There is no way I'm letting her have all the fun by herself.
I know so many (including us) were praying for a miraculous and immediate healing, but I want to share this. On Tuesday night, I was reading our Children's Bible with the kids before putting them to bed. We've been reading through it in order and we just happened to be on the story of Lazarus. It was perfect because the kids had just seen mommy the night before and they wanted mommy home and wanted God to heal her now. But if you remember the story, Jesus kind of drags his feet and waits 4 days after Lazarus dies before he finally arrives in town even though he was earnestly beckoned by Lazarus' sisters Mary and Martha. It was a perfect word for them - we talked about how God may come later than we may like, but He always comes on time. Well, the very next morning, a friend shot Kim and me this email:
"This verse has been coming to my mind as I have been praying and I wanted to share it with you. John 11:40 "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" We will continue to pray for a miracle and that the Lord will be your strength so that your faith will not fail!"
This verse comes straight from the exact same story I read with the kids the night before - Jesus and Lazarus in John 11. I felt a great peace at that moment that even if our healing may come later than we may like, I know it will come in His perfect time.
"20 Minutes of Hell"
If you recall in my very first post in this blog - last Sunday night after the nurse called me crying and saying "You need to come to the hospital...now." - for those torturous 20 minutes I thought I had lost Kim. We both now affectionately refer to it as my "20 minutes of Hell". Some of you were upset this happened but honestly, this was God's gift to me. Cancer doesn't seem so daunting when you already thought you lost the love of your life. I now see that every new day that we can wake up, breathe, eat, work and smile is truly a gift from God.
ONE SMALL SOMETHING YOU CAN DO FOR US
As I've said, we have been blown away by all the love and support of our family and friends. The emails, notes, verses, songs, tears, testimonies....all of it. I heard the Care Calendar filled up at lightning speed and I know so many of you are dying to help in some way - big or small. So a thought just came to me. I know literally hundreds of you have shared something from God's Word to us - either a specific verse or chapter the Lord had given you during a great trial or has given you to give to us - or even just a favorite memory verse. These have been so precious to us. So here is one specific way in which you could serve us. Please drop down to the very bottom of this post and click on the "Comments" link (right below the video) and a pop-up box will appear. Please type (or re-type) in your Word for us or if easier copy and paste in from Bible Gateway.com. I know so many of you have done this already, but I'm asking you to do it again - all here in one place for two reasons: one, it will give us one centralized place to read these (so many are already buried deep in our gmail accounts) and two, I truly believe it will minister to others and not just us. Feel free to post your comment anonymously if you prefer. It would be even better if you could provide a one or two sentence summary as to why this verse/chapter was chosen but I'll leave that up to you. Kim and I are going to read each of these comments/verses out loud throughout the course of her chemotherapy. We have a long road ahead of us - please serve us in this small way in addition to your continued prayers. I truly believe God's Word is man's greatest need (Matt 4:4) and will heal in ways that drugs and medicine never can.
Well, if you made it this far you truly are our friend, or you're probably wondering "does Peter ever stop writing"? To be honest, I haven't been able to sleep for more than 4 hours a night. I am physically drained, but sorting out my thoughts and sharing them with you has been cathartic for both me and Kim.
Now that we have what appears to be a final diagnosis these updates will likely be less frequent now. If you don't want the hassle of having to check this site all the time, I'd encourage you to enter your email address in the blank field the very top of this page and click on Submit and this will ensure you get updates as they come. Let me know if it's not working for some reason.
To close on a cheery note, I leave you with this video for Kim I made on our 9 year anniversary about a year and a half ago and I watched it again early this morning. There will be more happy videos like this to come. By the grace of God...I am sure of it.
In His grace and for His glory,
Peter & Kim