Monday, February 27, 2012

The Gentle Healer

T's suffocating off-the-ball defense
To be honest, it's been a difficult weekend at the hospital. Round 3 has been the toughest so far (outside of the Rituxan reaction in Round 1). The methotrexate given via spinal tap has forced Kim to stay horizontal all weekend otherwise she gets bad headaches and she's lost 3 pounds as she's not eating well. We've tried Vicodin without much success. We're trying a new pain med Fioricet which we're praying works better - please pray with us. We will probably be discharged tomorrow morning and we're hoping that she can at least sit up and walk around by then for the sake of the kids. I've posted a couple photos of the kids that Kim's younger sister (Christina) emailed us that made us smile. You don't realize how much you take for granted until you're away from them and we're learning to treasure the "little moments" in life as gifts from God.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Beauty & the Beast: Answered Prayer (Chapter 3)

KIM UPDATE: I'm sitting in Kim's room at U of Chicago and she's getting a methotrexate injection via spinal tap (like an epidural) any minute now. This is the first time she's getting it and she needs to lie perfectly still for 4 hours to avoid getting severe headaches. This is not a fun one. That said, she's been taking the Rituxan since last night and doing great. Thank you Lord! Please continue to pray with us. Thank you!

As most of you know by now, by the grace of God, Andrew Park is, at the moment, CANCER FREE! This is a minor miracle in itself and surprised even the world-class oncologists involved. (See Joe's blog HERE to get the latest update and prayer requests.) He will continue to undergo chemo to keep the cancer at bay and in the meantime he and his family are  nowdesperately looking for a bone marrow match. If you are in the Chicagoland area please note that there will be a drive at Canaan Presbyterian Church (1424 Greenwood Ave, Glenview, IL) this Sunday, Feb 26th from 6-8pm and another at Univ of Illinois Circle Campus (UIC) on the First Floor of Student Center East outside of the bookstore at 750 S. Halsted St. Chicago, IL on Tues and Wed, March 6 & 7 from 9am-4pm. (UIC students please get the word out!).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Wooohoooo!!! Don't know how to say it any better than Joe did on FB today so I'll just paste it here: 
"Guess what?!? Just met with our oncologist and the bone marrow biopsy showed Andrew is in clinical REMISSION!! I asked her if this was expected and she said no! I asked her how I should feel and she said that I should be ecstatic. Our oncologist doesn't mince words either! We are still going to be at Children's for 5 days of intense chemo:-(. And the potential 7 out of eight bone marrow match probably will not pan out, so we need to pray fervently for a match!!! But for now, we will take this fantastic news!! Praise the Lord! Post a comment and rejoice in this one guys! God is good!!" Time to pray for a bone marrow match - come on people - register and get the word out!"
We asked you to pray (see HERE - last Thurs) and you did....and God has heard! Please continue to pray for them, as this is just the first part of a two-part battle - we need to find a bone marrow match for Andrew and the clock has already started. Go register HERE if you haven't already - think of how cool it would be if YOU were the match for Andrew! Thanks everyone for praying!
On a much less important note, last week a friend of mine informed me that this new Korean Christian hip hop/rap group called AMP (three Korean guys from Maryland) had posted an old video of ours on their Facebook page. (they must have found it somehow through my Vimeo account) Anyways, it's a little video Kim secretly took of Timothy and Selah almost a year ago that we affectionately called "Revival". We are still trying to figure out this "parenting" thing and our kids are definitely not always this good - but it was one of those rare moments caught on tape we will always treasure:

In His Grace,
Peter & Kim

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Best Birthday Present Ever

Back when we both had hair... ;)
Today is Kim's birthday. I'd have to say there were a couple times this year that I didn't think we'd be celebrating this day together. I have stood in the furnace of a few fires in my lifetime but none were as hot as the two separate moments when you think your wife is about to leave you and your three children.


Since then I've told just about every married couple I've run across that every spouse should go through a "sacred moment" like that. Yes, It's difficult. Yes, it's excruciating. But it truly is a gift from God.

I never shared this on my original blog post but the first time I thought Kim had died (Jan 8th) I was at home putting the kids down for bed when a nurse called me crying (see HERE). She could barely get the words out but managed to choke out between her tears, "You need to come to the hospital - right now." You'd be surprised at how many thoughts can race through your head in just 20 minutes. One of the biggest things I wrestled with during that long drive was what would my last words to her be? If she was breathing her last what would I want to leave her with? Many different phrases and cliches came to mind - and although I hated that I had to even think of what I would have to say - the Lord gave me three words.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Beauty & the Beast: Planted Seeds (Chapter Two)

See Beauty & the Beast page HERE if you're joining in late and want to see previous chapters.
Who would have known these two would end up together?
So even though Kim had this massive crush on me, I basically didn’t even know she existed. She was so infatuated with me that after her freshman year she decided to leave me and move to another dorm (Allen Hall), while I stayed in cow dung heaven (FAR). So we never really crossed paths. However at the start of her sophomore year, by some divine twist of fate, in the fall of 1995 when she moved over to Allen Hall, there was some room assignment screw-up and my younger sister Lydia ended up rooming with Kim along with two other girls. They didn't really know each other and were each supposed to live in separate doubles, but they ended up combining into one large room called a quad. Do you see how the Lord works in mysterious ways? Some people have speculated that I came up with some diabolical scheme and paid my younger sister to befriend Kim so that she could feed her a continuous diet of fabricated stories about how wonderful a brother and person I was. Those are vicious lies. I would never “pay” my sister to do such a thing. I could easily get her to do that for free.

Anyways, contrary to popular belief I never called my sister, with the hopes that Kim would answer the phone, allowing me to strike up a “Rico Suave” conversation with her. If I did though, this is probably how it would have went:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Prayers for Andrew

Joe & his son Andrew
For anyone joining in late - a good friend of ours (Joe Park) has a 17 year old son named Andrew who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia (follow his blog HERE). He was diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago but after remission it has mutated and returned. They found out he had this new cancer literally the day after my wife Kim was diagnosed. We know this was no accident and have found support in our struggle together. You can read our joint battle by clicking on the category Bone Marrow Donor (on sidebar) or just click HERE.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Reason for Our Hope (Part 3)

This post is the final one (of three) that summarizes "the reason for the hope that we have". It's the one post we hope you read and share on this entire blog as it is the reason for everything else - and so I'm also placing all 3 posts and video below under a new page above called "Our Living Hope". Please feel free to pass it along to whomever you wish.
As I mentioned earlier, many of us seek answers to life's little questions and until a moment of personal crisis we ignore life's BIG questions. However, I believe before we can find answers to life's BIG questions there is one singular question that transcends them all. And that question is:

"Who do you say Jesus is?"

Jesus asked this all-important question to his disciples (Mt 16:13-17), and I believe this is the BIGGEST question we will ever have to answer. Is he just a man? Is he a good, moral teacher? Is he a prophet? Is he a phony? Is he a lunatic? Is he a liar? (HT: C.S. Lewis) Who or what is he? The funny thing is your answer to this question will profoundly impact all the other questions (BIG and small) you have in your life. 

Paul tells us that....
"He is the image of the invisible God..." Colossians 1:15a

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Reason For Our Hope (Part 2)

This post is a continuation from yesterday's which explains to anyone who is wondering where we find the hope that we have. If there is one post you read or share - let it be this one. If you missed Part 1 you can read it HERE. Final post (Part 3) to come tomorrow...
Many people in today's day and age will tell you that all faiths are equal and that all religions lead to the same God. (see the blind man and the elephant, the wheel with many spokes, and the "we're all climbing the same mountain" analogies). Don't get me wrong, I am not here to disrespect other faiths or religions (I have many good friends of various faiths and I love them dearly), but as much as I have tried, I could not reconcile this "all paths lead to God" claim with what was being taught within the religions themselves. If you did an honest study of every religion you will find that they all make their own unique truth claims and they all have major differences in regards to life's "biggest questions" on origin, identity, meaning, destiny and especially salvation. So it's not only illogical but it's disingenuous to claim that they are all one in the same. (On a side note: Aren't making the absolute claims that "all paths lead to God" and "there are no absolutes" self-refuting statements and despite the appearance of "tolerance" doesn't it inherently assume an exclusive and more enlightened view over other views - which is the very thing people who make these claims accuse others of?) I won't get into all the details of the major differences here, nor am I trying to create a nasty forum which pits one religion against another. (Please don't leave comments of this nature). This is just a humble invitation to get serious about your own spiritual journey or faith walk, or whatever you wish to call it and to seek the answers to life's biggest questions with all your heart, mind, soul and strength before your heart, mind, soul and strength are taken from you. Life is too short, and it's only a matter of time before you are forced to confront these BIG questions in the midst of your own great personal crisis (if you are even given the opportunity of deep self-reflection) so you might as well start now.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Reason For Our Hope (Part 1)

If there is one post in this entire blog that I hope you read in it's entirety - I hope it's this one (over 3 parts). If there is one post you share with anyone - I hope it's this one. This is the inspiration and impetus for every other post written on this blog, and I would be ok if every other post is forgotten if this one is given a fair and thoughtful reading. Thanks.
see how dull and boring we are?
Like so many of you, up until about a month ago, I lived a very normal life. I've been married for over 10 years, live in suburbia with a great job in the city, and my beautiful wife and I are the proud parents of three young children. I love to travel with my wife, I love to play sports with my boys, and I love to go on "dates" with my little girl. Like I said, we're pretty normal - even boring you might say. Come to think of it, I'm Asian-American, studied Accounting, love baseball, and grew up Presbyterian - this is the very definition of "dull" and "boring".

Well, about five weeks ago (January 7th, 2012), our boring lives suddenly became very..."un-boring". It all started for us when, due to my wife's stomach pain, we took a trip to the ER on an otherwise normal Friday night. Over the course of two days the diagnosis evolved from a large stomach ulcer, to a pericardial effusion (massive fluid buildup around the heart) to Stage IV lymphoma cancer. Since then we have faced numerous surgeries, spent nearly 2 weeks in ICU, stared death in the face twice (see here and here) and started an aggressive chemotherapy regimen along with all the "fun stuff" (e.g. hair loss, hallucinations, intense body aches, nausea, fatigue, etc) that come with that.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Prayer Request & Bone Marrow Update

As I mentioned before the last couple nights were tough. Kim has to take a shot after every chemo round called Nuelasta which is a drug that allows her white blood cell count to rebound quicker - making her less vulnerable to infection. However, this drug has some nasty side effects including something they call "bone soreness" which makes you feel like you've literally been hit by a truck. This soreness is so bad that Kim will not let me touch her because she is so sensitive from the pain and she has been tossing and turning at night, moaning. I feel helpless and it's so humbling. I'd give her some Tylenol PM but it does very little. That said, I ran across this verse this morning and it really spoke to me:
"You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?" -Psalm 56:8
Wow. The Lord actually counts the number of times we toss in our restless sleep and He collects each tear into His bottle and He records them all in His book. He is not ignorant of one aiota of our suffering - He knows it all. I am understanding how God resolves the Problem of Pain (see HERE) but I was reminded of this again in a powerful way. I wonder what He is planning on doing with this record? Will He reveal it to us in Heaven one day so we might stand in wonder of the stark contrast from grief to joy? From pain to pleasure? From suffering to ecstasy? I wonder...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beauty & the Beast: "First Impressions" (Chapter One)

I always hated walking into a movie late. So just in case people join in late and are unaware of the impetus and context for "my courtship story", I'm posting them but also compiling them in chronological order as I go in a separate tab labeled "Beauty & the Beast" above. Enjoy. Yes, enjoy my misery....
U of Illinois Quad
It was the fall of 1994. The excitement of beginning another school year at the greatest institution for higher learning (the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) had begun. The leaves were ablaze with vibrant colors. The skies were a wide expanse of an ocean hue. And the crisp and unmistakable smell of.....cow dung was in the air. Yes, we both lived at F.A.R.(located just north of the "South Farms").

I was a junior and she was a freshman that year. And although we lived in the same dorm, strangely we never had any opportunities to meet. We both regularly attended Christian fellowships, but Kim went to InterVarsity and I went to CFC (Covenant Fellowship Church). Like most Korean-Americans – while we did not know each other we knew of each other. 

My First Impression of Kim

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Little Prayers with Big Faith

After 6 long days in the hospital we finally got released yesterday! We weren't sure if they'd keep us longer because Kim fainted yesterday morning and they had to run a series of tests to make sure the pericardial fluid around her heart was not the cause of it. But they approved the release as long as we closely monitor her symptoms. If the fluid does not improve by Monday we may be looking at another surgery (pericardial window) - so please pray with us that this fluid issue would get resolved soon. That said, her 2nd round of chemo went great with no reactions to the Rituxan this time around. The kids were so happy to have mom home again and were crying when I had to go back on my word yesterday morning and tell them she was probably going to stay longer (that is what they told us initially). It makes us thankful for each day that we can be together.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Suffering in Silence

It's hard for me to describe how much our lives have been flipped upside-down in the last month. Despite all the medical ups and downs (including this pericardial fluid issue) Kim and I have been so humbled by the continuous outpouring of love, prayers and support. We both agree that one of the greatest blessings from this whole ordeal has been getting moving responses from so many of you describing in detail your own personal trial and suffering and how the Lord redeemed it. Many of these testimonies were put in the comment sections of this post HERE (I'm still moved to tears when I read these!), but there were countless others who chose a more "private" path and instead simply emailed us with your own "story" asking us not to share it with anyone else - many of which have apparently not been shared with anyone else (except perhaps their pastor or one or two other people in the whole world). We are humbled that you would feel led to open up your lives to us in this way and we have been so blessed by you sharing them with us - but we feel this much needs to be said...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bone Marrow Going Global!

I don't want this important issue to get lost in Kim's health updates and my silly polls. If you're just becoming aware of this issue - please click HERE for the 411.  If you are in the Evanston, IL or Northern VA area please see UPDATE in RED below!)

I can't even begin to describe all the wonderful things that have been happening on the bone marrow front. Special thanks to all of you that have taken the personal step of registering! This small step could save a life!

For those that have chosen to go even further and pick up a weapon and join the fight in a bigger way the events that have transpired over the last couple weeks have been breath-taking and inspiring. A few examples:

- My good friend David (along with several friends from Calvary) ran a great drive at Calvary a couple Sundays ago and got over 200 registrants in ~3 hours work. Great job! Not only that they are working with other leaders in Chicago. I also know they were involved with a drive in Hinsdale (last Sunday) and drives in Evanston and Naperville are being set up as we speak!  They've also contacted family in Baltimore who has committed to helping set up a drive at their several thousand member Korean church. Drives in Tampa, FL and the West Coast are in the works as well.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Update From Kim & Other Stuff

Since I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing from me - posted below is a little health update Kim typed up herself. Enjoy!
Thanks everyone for your notes and encouragements and prayers! Just thought to drop a note to say hi and give an update within these U of C walls ~ !

Dr. Sonali Smith came by early Sunday morning - I was surprised to see her here since I wasn't expecting her to come in until Monday. She's really sweet - I asked if she usually works on Sunday and she said no but she wanted to stop in to see a couple patients and had to do some writing. Anyway - the important part was that she did say she got the biopsy results from NWCH from the mass in my chest which confirmed it's primary medial stinal lymphoma which is what she suspected but w/o the biopsy she couldn't confirm it. Well, now that it's confirmed it affirms the decision to go with this more aggressive treatment.

Treatment has been going well - last night was rough tho' - not much sleep and the fatigue and nausea is more today than before. Guess that's right since more of this drug is in me.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

KIM UPDATE: Kim is doing great with her 2nd round of chemo so far and feeling good. A few more days to go! Thank you all so much for your prayers! We feel them!!
Kim sans her "award-winning" hair
Did you know that Kim was voted as having the "Best Hair" in her senior class in high school? I'm not kidding...go check a Glenbard West yearbook circa 1994. So you can imagine how a beautiful woman with beautiful hair feels when she loses her award-winning coiffure. I tried to sympathize but my biggest claim to fame in high school was getting expelled for three days for punching a kid on the bus and explaining it to the vice-principal as "pushing his face...with my...fist" (FYI -she didn't buy it).  I tried to cheer her up by shaving my own head, but let's face it, an ugly man with a large forehead volunteering to shave his thin hair is akin to a fat man, allergic to vegetables, volunteering his celery sticks - it just don't mean much!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bad Hair Day

After a long drive across the city in rush-hour traffic yesterday afternoon we finally got to U of Chicago hospital and got our room. Things are a little slower than we are used to (took me 4 hours to get a cot) but these people are the best of the best, very kind and we are thrilled to be here. Kim started the Rituxan around 11pm and got through it like a champ! Some of the other CHOP meds are now being administered with no problems so far. Thank you so much for your continued prayers!

So over the last few days Kim's hair has been falling out in clumps. We've tried to warn the kids but how can you really prepare for this? She tried blow-drying it after her shower but she was literally blowing the hair off her head. So I had to do what we had tried to avoid to the last second...I buzzed off Kim's hair, We did it on the balcony off our bedroom and Selah insisted on coming in. When she saw what I had done - she cried inconsolably. I'm sure if there was a Disney princess with a Sinead O'Connor look she probably would have taken it better. (Let's get on it Disney! You've got every other hair color and ethnicity! Where's your bald princess already?!?) Fortunately, our good friend Julie came armed with a wide selection of wigs at just the right time yesterday morning and we found one that really looks like Kim's natural hair.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Range of Emotions

I wish I could describe in words the wide range of emotions we have felt over the last few weeks - but alas, I cannot. That said, while waiting for our 2nd round of chemo in Kim's room I just came across this little picture collage I put together of Selah and her cousin Chaeli from this past Thanksgiving.

Yep, this pretty much sums it up:
Thanksgiving 2011

Seeing Jesus in Pain

If you've been following this blog, you know that Kim and I have endured a lot of pain and suffering in the last few weeks. As such, this idea of pain and suffering has been swirling around in my mind a lot lately. I am very well aware that there are others who have endured and will endure far greater pain and suffering than we have. I do not want to marginalize your pain nor do I want to speak on your behalf, but I do want to bring to light a few things the Lord has helped me to see as we have walked through our own pain and suffering.


One of the first arguments against Christianity is the existence of pain and suffering in the world and it's often worded something like this... 
"If God is a God of love how could He allow such great pain and suffering in this world?
and this conclusion often follows.... 
"Since so much pain and suffering exists in this world, God therefore must not exist, as no loving God would allow this."
I'm not going to try and get all philosophical here or wax poetic about the divine purposes of pain and suffering, but I do want to chime in with a few humble thoughts.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

All the Way My Savior Leads Me

This post is a continuation of a previous post (see HERE). As I mentioned before there is one song that has risen above all others in the last week or so. I shared this special song  and story during the worship service of our old church (Calvary) this past Sunday and now I wish to share it with you... 

A couple weeks ago I described in detail the longest two hours of my life ("Dark Night of the Soul") which I now realize occurred on Friday the 13th (strange?). This was when I thought I had lost Kim (for the 2nd time that week), and at the very least, I was certain the chemo treatment would not work due to her severe infusion reaction. After the "code blue" episode and after the nurses finally administered the heavy pain meds -  Kim was out of it for nearly two hours. As I wrote before, during that time I stood by her bed leaning next to her head and quoted Scripture, wept, prayed, repented and sang softly into her ear. It was the most heart-wrenching and yet most sacred moment I have ever experienced. There's something that happened that night that I had only told a very few people (until this past Sunday). To be honest, I didn't really understand it fully at the time. But let me explain what has unfolded since then. As Kim started to come around  and as her head began to stir - with her eyes remaining closed and from a very dry mouth something remarkable occurred, she uttered her first word.... 

"Cros-beeeeee", she whispered.

"Huh?" I thought.

I leaned closer and asked her to repeat it...

"Crosby..." She repeated softly.

I was completely mystified. I had no idea who she was talking about or what it meant. It was just like that scene right out of the classic film "Citizen Kane" but it wasn't "Rosebud" that was uttered, it was...."Crosby."