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|
So yesterday morning, my brother-in-law Ken used his leverage as a physician to get an appointment with her. Unfortunately, the earliest she could see us was Feb 6th (which is right after what would be Kim's second round of chemo). I spoke with Dr. Smith's administrative coordinator later that morning and pleaded with her to see if we could get in sooner. I even pulled out the sympathy card and told her my wife is only 35 years old and we have three young children at home. While sympathetic she said there wasn't much she could do because Dr. Smith was fully booked, attending a conference in a couple weeks and only did clinical work twice a week. Denied.
So shortly after hanging up with her administrative assistant I reached out to a few friends at work and sent an email to about 7-10 church friends as well as family. Literally within 30 minutes, many of these dear friends of ours were scrambling to "pull their respective strings".
Not two hours later, I get a phone call......from Dr.Sonali Smith herself!!!
Somehow she found my cell phone number and called me personally and talked to both Kim and I for about 15-20 minutes. She chuckled and said that three separate colleagues of hers had called her at the same time (more called after that even) about Kim and she would get us in as soon as THIS MONDAY. WOW!! Praise the Lord!! Even the people I reached out to for help were shocked. (Thanks Pat, Kristin, Brent, Catherine, Nanah!) Rarely ever does a world-class expert take time out to call people personally, let alone call them within the hour, let alone rearrange their schedules for someone they don't know. I am certain your prayers are being heard. (FYI - if someone out there was waiting in line to see Dr. Smith, much apologies! Let me know and we'll make it right.)
After talking with her some more about our schedule and the fact that we have a PET scan scheduled on Monday, we both agreed that it would be more prudent to defer our appointment with her until Jan 30th so she will be privy to all the info from the PET scan as well as the full hematology reports (blood work). She closed by reassuring us that this was a very treatable cancer. She also mentioned that she knew our current doctor and based on her initial cursory read didn't disagree with his approach - which gave us a level of added comfort.
Thanks so much for praying everyone!
Just a reminder, we have an echocardiogram scheduled for Friday morning. We are asking that you continue to pray that the fluid would drain in the area around Kim's heart so she can avoid surgery.
Despite the good news above, my heart is heavy this morning for Andrew Park and his family. It turns out Andrew has a unique myeloid leukemia type cancer which is so rare that there is no protocol for treatment or even data to lean on. He is undergoing chemo asap and upon remission he will need a bone marrow donor lined up in order to be cured (they are hoping his younger sister Emily is a match!). He is in great need of prayer. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE check out our dear friend's site for specific prayer requests and lift them up as you have done for us by clicking HERE. Also, please share a verse or a word for them as you have done for us.
They have served our family in so many ways and so I'm asking you to serve them as well and when one part of the body hurts, we all hurt.
Let me close with a couple verses that someone shared with us yesterday which really spoke to me.
In 2 Chronicles 20, a couple of vast armies (Moabites and Ammonites) have decided to wage war against Israel, and King Jehosophat rises up and desperately pleads to the Lord on behalf of the people, for help in this great moment of need:
"For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. -2 Chronicles 20:12
See the Lord's simple response:
"Fear not, this battle is not yours, but mine." 2 Chronicles 20:15
Amen. May the Lord bless you...
Awed by Grace,
Peter & Kim