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.

Many people have asked us (or openly wondered) how are we able to walk with such grace in the midst of such a horrible trial. Some examples of this include one of our favorite nurses Kate, who wrote this beautiful note on our blog a couple weeks ago:

"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 and Kim bring love and light to the world. Thank you for including me in this amazing journey." (see full note HERE)

Another good friend, who is a doctor at our hospital emailed me this: Working in a hospital and seeing sickness and death all the time tends to make even the most caring doctor or nurse, jaded over time.  The impact that you guys have had on the people who have taken care of you is unique and I've never seen it before. 

Now, I'd love to say that the reason for all this is because we are such amazing people who have great strength and fortitude, but in all honesty, we are not this nor do we have this. While we don't have much, what we do have is a humble faith which gives us a bright hope - even in the very darkest moments in life. Let me explain to you the reason for the hope that we have.

Many people in this world try to cope with the unpredictable nature of life by doing everything within their power to control outcomes and answer the many difficult questions life throws their way. The progression usually goes something like this:

Why don't I have more friends?
What is wrong with my skin?
Why can't I find a date to the prom?
How do I get into a good college?

How will I pay for a good college?
How do I find a good job?
How do I keep a good job?
Where should I live?
Whom should I marry?
When should we have kids?
When should we stop having kids?
How do we get our kids into a good college?
How do we pay for a good college?
How do I retire?
When will I retire?
Will I ever retire?

and of course....
Where did I put my car keys?

I don't want to marginalize the above questions. They are all important questions, but in the grand scheme of things let's face it - they are all "small questions". And what I've found is that finding the answers to these "small questions" in life does not bring you any real lasting peace, joy or happiness. In order to find true peace and true joy - even in the midst of your darkest trials - you must find the answers to the "BIG questions" in life. In my mind those questions are:

Who am I? (identity)
Where did I come from? (origin)
What is my purpose in life? (meaning)
Where am I going? (destiny)

These are questions that I have sought answers to for much of my life, and these are truly life's biggest questions. However, I've noticed most people get caught up in the busyness of life and they never come face to face with asking themselves and finding answers to the "BIG questions" until they find themselves thrown headlong into a BIG personal crisis (i.e. health issue, death, catastrophe, etc). But over time, when the BIG personal crisis finally disappears - so often any attempt to find the answers to life's BIG questions often disappears as well. But, the truth is, those BIG questions never really go away...they just get inexplicably buried under all the small questions in life until another BIG personal crisis hits. It's a cycle that repeats itself with dizzying results until you choose to get off that crazy ride. (TO BE CONTINUED...)
We are headed back to U of Chicago today for another echocardiogram. If the fluid situation has not improved we could be looking at surgery (another pericardial window) and a few days in the hospital with a chest tube for drainage. We have not told our kids that this is a possibility and are praying in faith that it would not be so. Please pray with us that the fluid would dissipate so that surgery would not be necessary and the chemo would continue to shrink the tumor(s). Thank you!

In His Grace,

Peter & Kim


  1. Life sure can change quickly...thanks for sharing your unfolding story.

    Looking forward to part 2!

    You both are awesome - Rich (and Bonnie)

  2. You two rock, your faith rocks, but most of all our God ROCKS! Prayers being lifted.

  3. Thank you for keeping up this blog so faithfully. The updates and the insight are incredibly moving. I know it can't be easy to live life "out loud", but the impact that you are making on others is so far reaching. You are making God known through a difficult trial. Trey and I are praying.

  4. Hoping for some good news on the echocardiogram today! You're one tough cookie Kim. Thanks for the updates Peter.

  5. Kim & Peter; Praying for you continually; for healing, for wisdom, and for your little ones. God is famous in your life, and he will bring you through this trail.

    I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5


  6. Kim & Peter,
    Hoping to hear somce good news about the echocardiogram today. We are thinking of you and praying for a full recovery.