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.

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


  1. Such encouraging news! Totally God at work.

    Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. --Proverbs 19:21

    We'll keep praying, and for the Park family as well - thanks for introducing their family to us.

  2. Amazing to hear such great news, Kim and Peter! Hope the both of you are getting much rest at home!

    For the Park family, maybe some local churches/organizations could start drives to join the bone marrow registry. I joined a while back just on a whim because they said that Asians are far harder to match and have been in their database for years. All it takes is a cheek swab from what I remember!

  3. Peter - as I was late to this news, I wanted to answer one of your requests from a few days ago. Below are a few prayers from the Jewish tradition that are said for healing:

    A prayer for healing (to be said by Kim)
    God, hear my prayer,
    And let my cry come to You.
    Do not hide from me in the day of my distress
    Turn to me and speedily answer my prayer.
    Eternal God, Source of healing,
    Out of my distress I call upon You.
    Help me sense Your presence
    At this difficult time.
    Grant me patience when the hours are heavy;
    In hurt or disappointment give me courage.
    Keep me trustful in Your love.
    Give me strength for today, and hope for tomorrow.
    To your loving hands I commit my spirit
    When asleep and when awake. You are with me; I shall not fear.

    A Meditation
    El na refa na lah.
    Please God, bring healing.

    A Blessing
    Mi-sheberakh avoteinu v’imoteinu, Avraham v’Sarah, Yitzhak v’Rivkah, Ya’akov, Rachel v’Leah hu y’varekh et (Kim Cho and Andrew ??) v’yavi aleihem refuat hanefesh u’refuat haguf yachad im kol cholei amo Yisrael. Barukh atah Hashem, rofeh ha’cholim.

    May the One who was a source of blessing for our ancestors, bring blessings of healing upon (Kim Cho and her friend Andrew), a healing of body and a healing of spirit. May those in whose care they are entrusted be gifted with wisdom and skill, and those who surround them be gifted with love and trust, openness and support in their care. And may they be healed along with all those who are in need. Blessed are You, Source of healing.

    A Prayer
    Mi sheberakh avoteinu mekor habrakha l’imoteinu
    May the Source of strength
    Who blessed the ones before us
    Help us find the courage
    To make our lives a blessing,
    And let us say: Amen.
    Mi sheberakh imoteinu mekor habrakha l’avoteinu
    Bless those in need of healing With refuah shleima:
    The renewal of body,
    The renewal of spirit,
    And let us say: Amen

    These are my prayers for Kim and for you. Good luck getting through these rough days. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Fondly Marcia May

  4. Kim and Peter - That is amazing news! God is good. Continuing to pray for you.

    "Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of trouble, I will call to you, for you will answer me." Psalm 86:6-7

  5. Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!(Psalm 105:1) Interceeding for you..

  6. Ryan and Heather (Ahn)January 19, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" John 14:27

    Our faith and trust in the Lord are significantly increasing as we see Him work in and and through both of you. What a blessing to be used by the Lord to reach so many people. Your faithfulness in the midst of ultimate adversity is contagious and bearing much fruit. Finish strong!

    We are praying for you every night.

    Ryan and Heather(Ahn)

  7. Continuing to pray and loving the way that God continues to show HImself to be actively involved in this whole process.

    We are praying for Andrew as well. thanks for sharing his needs with us so we can pray for him and his family.

    Love and hugs,


  8. Psalm 34:7-"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and He delivers them"

    Psalm 33: 20-"We wait in hope for the Lord, He is our Help and our Shield."

    Lamentations 3:22-23-"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

    Will pray that the fluid will drain from around your heart. Great news on the cancer being treatable. Sometimes drs have the "words of life" for the day...

  9. Praise God for his provision and perfect timing!
    We are still praying without ceasing!

  10. Peter and Kim...
    I am a friend of Joe Park's from school. Please know that all of his high school friends are praying for you. Your faith, friendship, and courage is inspiring.
    Not a day goes by that I don't think of Andrew... and now you!

    God Bless you!!!

    Marci Atkins

  11. Praise the Lord! He is so good!! Continuing to pray for all of you!

    Peter - It was great to see you and the kids last night at Awana!

    Kim - I wanted to let you know that the boys have been praying for you every night. When I start to pray with Jackson, he'll interrupt me and ask, "Is Mrs. Cho feeling better? Is she still in the hospital?" He wants to get an update before we start to pray. :) I was so excited to be able to share the good news that you were home. Yesterday when he got off the bus and got settled in the house I told him that I had good news...Mrs. Cho is out of the hospital! "Mrs. Cho is out of the hospital? She's home? YAY!!!" He was so excited!! When we picked Jacob up from school: "Jacob! Mrs. Cho is out of the hospital!" And then again when Jason came home from work: "Hi Daddy!! Guess what?? Mrs. Cho is home from the hospital! Yay!!" It was so sweet! He was really excited that you were home. As a matter of fact, the entire Tallian household is excited that you're home!

    We love you and are continuing to pray for your healing!

  12. I know Kim from Kindermusik, the two kids I nanny are in Timothy's class and I was just told about what Kim is going through. I read much of the blog to my husband and were both brought to tears. Just to hear such a difficult story and seeing how your family still trusts in God and gives Him glory is so moving.

    "'But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.' And Jesus said to him, "'If you can'! All things are possible for one who believes." Mark 9:22-23

    "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12

    We are praying for you all! God is good, all the time!

  13. Our prayers are for you, Kim and Peter!

    God knows. God loves. God does. God is.

    Grace Yu