Friday, March 30, 2012

A Separate Peace

No less than six hours after we got news that Kim's cancer was in full remission, we also heard from another couple we know  that has been fighting a different cancer (pancreatic) and for much longer than we have (three years!). The situation is dire right now and the doctor's prognosis is grim, but we're praying for a miracle. Our hearts are heavy for him and his loved ones. Please see a post from his wife HERE and brief excerpt we read yesterday below. If you would be so kind please lift Rich and Jeannie and their beautiful family up in faithful prayers of faith: 

"Rich was in bad shape when we got to the hospital this afternoon. Our doctor was tearing while he talked to us in the conference room. He really does care about Rich and doesn't want to give us false hope. He said he didn't need a scan to see that the cancer had gotten worse- jaundiced, skin and bones, unfocused. He didn't want to subject Rich to any more discomfort. Said he would set Rich up in a room with IV fluids and that he would not be surprised if Rich passed away tonight. I cried a lot. Rich's sugar level was at a 37, so they gave him a glucose "push" through the IV. Do you know, God is a surprising God? After Rich got set up in his room, her became more alert and asked for something to eat!!! You don't know how incredible that is if you haven't been living with him. He had some grape juice and a water ice and looked like he was having manna- not far from the truth if you ask me. I cried again just from the joy of seeing sparks of life again. God is turning me into a crybaby cuz I was just too proud to cry before. He's resting comfortably now, and I have new energy to keep praying and hoping and rejoicing. Our doctor did say that people that want to visit Rich should do so soon, but I pray for a more God-glorifying outcome. It's still an uphill battle, but let's keep crying out to God. I'll keep you all updated."

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I'll let you guess which one is Mr. Lymphoma
KIM UPDATE: We just got the PET scan and the verdict is in....TOTAL AND COMPLETE REMISSION!!  PRAISE THE LORD!! We still need to do two more rounds to make sure everything that is undetectable is destroyed but this is per the doctor, "the best thing we could have hoped for". Thank you all for your prayers and support. God has heard you and we are overwhelmed by His grace and mercies. God is good!
(I wrote most of below by faith this morning...I just had a "feeling". Ya' know?) Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Cancer is a brutal, no holds barred, fist fight. Each round has it's unique ups and downs and its own ebb and flow. If I had to summarize our fight thus far:

Round One - Kim entered the fight in a weakened state. After enduring several "-oscopys" and a "pericardial window" - the first round proved this was not going to be a "walk in the park". Rituxan came out and knocked her hard to the ground (see severe infusion reaction HERE) - so hard at one point it led to one of the darkest nights of my life as I thought cancer (Mr. Lymphoma) had soundly beaten us in the opening round. Round 1 goes to Cancer.

Round Two - Kim came out ready for this round and Team Lymphoma didn't know what hit them. We had a new coach in our corner from U of Chicago and she came up with a more aggressive game plan and Kim executed to a tee. This time around Rituxan came in with a roar but left with a whimper. Round 2 goes to Kim.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Cancer...

Well, here we sit on the eve of “C-Day”. Tomorrow we head back to University of Chicago to see if the cancer is gone. We've been waiting 84 (sometimes crazy) days for this defining moment. Typically after four rounds of chemotherapy the cancer is hoped to be eradicated. If nothing shows up on the PET scan then the protocol is to run two more rounds just to make sure they get everything even the scan may not see. If the cancer remains then it’s time to reset the plan and consider more aggressive out of the box treatments like a bone marrow transplant. (By the way if you haven’t registered yet – what is you waiting for? Please register HERE!)

To be honest, Kim and I are dreading the thought of two more rounds of chemo let alone doing much more than that. That said we are trying to get to a place of accepting the Lord’s will for us – whatever that may be. Of course, we are praying that the cancer is gone and we pray that it never appears again. But we know it’s not about “our will in heaven” but “His will on earth”. 

I spent much of early this morning looking at one our favorite posts on this blog. When the cancer first hit many of you left in the comments sections verses the Lord gave you in your darkest moments in life and the moving stories behind it. It is ministering to us in ways you will never know.

In that same vein, we received a card from a friend last week who has a daughter that is dealing with a serious health issue that really spoke to us. In it she wrote:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Seeing Jesus in the American Medical Association

KIM UPDATE: Seeing an endocrinologist about Kim's fainting spells on Wednesday and going in for our big PET scan on Thursday to finally see if the cancer is gone or not. If it is - two more cycles to make sure they get everything. If it's not - who knows? More rounds of chemo or perhaps a bone marrow transplant? Thanks for your prayers and support!
So at the start of 2012 (7 days before the cancer hit) Kim and I made a New Year's resolution to read through the Bible in a year. We've tried this before and often end up failing around this time of the year - where we typically hit Leviticus & Numbers. (What can I say? These are difficult books!). However, this year we decided to read through the Bible in chronological order (first time ever) and because of this we ended up reading through the book of Job in late January as opposed to in the month of June. What perfect timing for us as we spent a good chunk of January in the ICU!

That said, it's amazing how much JESUS you can find in the "Books of Moses" (Pentateuch - which was written 1,400 years before Jesus arrives). Let me give you one example. Have you ever wondered why the symbol for the American Medical Association (A.M.A.) is a "snake on a pole"?

My dad is a surgeon and so I remember as a kid seeing this symbol in our house and being enamored by it. (what boys aren't enamored by snakes?) It wasn't until I read a little story in the book of Numbers a few years ago that it dawned on me what the symbol really meant.

There is a little story in Numbers 21 that is so short (only 6 verses) if you blink you might miss it. While the Israelites were roaming in the desert for 40 years (after they refused to take the Promised Land by faith despite their miraculous redemption from Egypt) the people began to grow impatient and spoke against God and Moses in their sin. At that time "fiery serpents" came among them and began to bite some of them leading to their immediate death. The people quickly ask Moses to save them and God instructs Moses to "make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." (Nu 21:8) And this is in fact what happened. This all seems a bit strange doesn't it? What is going on here?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Beauty & the Beast: Silence of the Lamb (Chapter 7)

KIM UPDATE: The spinal tap injection went MUCH better this time around. No headaches and Kim is slowly recovering from Round 4. That said, the treatment is beginning to take a toll on her body. She is feeling faint at times along with fatigue and nausea. We are supposed to go in this Thursday for a PET scan to see if the cancer has been wiped out. Big day for us! Thanks for praying!
If you're joining in late - see prior chapters of the "epic" pursuit of my wife HERE

So after waiting for what seemed to be an eternity (or at least 30 seconds) I begin to wonder….is she still alive? I see her breath fogging up the passenger side window. Yes, she’s still breathing. Okay, this is a good sign. With her eyes still fixed outside she finally responds to my “Will you pray for me?” with a perfunctory….
I am suddenly overcome with an inexplicable sensation that can only be explained as joy down in my heart. Deep, deep down in my heart. J-O-Y down in my heart. Deep, deep down in my heart. But then something happens…she begins to cry. Not a wail. Not a wimper. Just a subtle tear followed by a slight sniffle. My first instinct was to nod and smile, “Tears of joy, Rico. Tears. Of. Joy.”

But when she finally looked forward I could make out her face…and she didn’t look happy. Why was she crying? I was confused. Was it something I said?

There are few situations in life that makes a guy more uncomfortable than being in the presence of a girl that is crying. I personally can only think of a few:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Seeing Jesus in Chemotherapy

KIM UPDATE: Spinal tap and neulasta shot this afternoon! Thanks for praying!
Well, it's official. We are in the "dog days" of chemotherapy. Each round becomes more difficult because the drugs are relentless in beating up your body. But Kim has been fighting so hard and I'm so proud of her. She has shown a remarkable inner-strength that is coming through your prayers and from the Lord.

Sometimes you stop and wonder if the chemotherapy is worse than the cancer itself. It has a cumulative effect of breaking you down and bringing you to your knees....literally. This  past round (last Sat) Kim fainted when she was alone. All she remembers is sitting up on her bed and the next thing she remembers is being on the ground.  The following morning I took her to the bathroom and she nearly fainted on four separate occasions - she had to lay on the bathroom floor after I caught her. When we got discharged yesterday she was having a lot of pain in her neck and shoulders. The doctors think that it's related to her fall when she likely hit her head on the ground. I asked how that could be if it was four days ago and he thinks Kim's pain was masked because, as part of her chemo, she's on one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory drugs known to man (Prednisone). And as soon as her chemo round was finished the pain was suddenly noticeable. It's a small miracle that she did not have any significant head trauma all things considered. Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Seeing Jesus in Everything (e.g. Laminin)

ANDREW UPDATE: Just when you think God cannot possibly out-do Himself. Guess what He does? He out does Himself...AGAIN!! So, I was sitting down eating a late dinner tonight with Kim's younger sister, Christina, (with Caleb) and sharing with her all the great things the Lord was doing lately when I get a text on my blackberry at 8:02 pm. It's from Joe Park and all it says is: "Found a match bro!" I stopped everything, paused and the tears began to flow. God is so good. I asked Joe if it was an 8 of 8 match and he said "No, 6 of 8 but a high resolution match. Before chromosomal abnormality cleared not a possibility, but now it is. He's healthy so they don't want to wait." Had Andrew's chromosomal defect not miraculously cleared 9 days ago he would not be eligible for this match. The chromosomal defect cleared the day after Connor found out he had finally found a match after 5 years of searching (read about that incredible weekend just a week and a half ago HERE). Now it appears that they will both be getting their bone marrow transplants literally within one day of each other in mid-May. Are you kidding me? Still much to pray for but prayer warriors please continue to intercede for these two precious boys and their families! Please read Joe's most recent blog update HERE for the latest news and prayer requests and remember to lift up Connor as well!

KIM UPDATE: Kim will likely be discharged tomorrow afternoon and will have her spinal tap on Thursday along with the Neulasta shot. She is in good spirits and doing well outside of a few fainting scares. Please pray that it goes better this time around. Last round it gave her massive spinal tap headaches and we were forced to do a blood patch that sent her to the E.R. Thanks everyone! God is hearing your prayers!
Seeing Jesus in Everything (e.g. Laminin)

Well, a few days ago I explained why I ended up naming a blog about my wife's cancer "Seeing Jesus in Everything". In keeping with the theme I wanted to share a brief video below. I actually watched Louie Giglio give this talk at a Chris Tomlin concert about 4-5 years ago but I was able to find it on YouTube to share with you. Some of you may have already seen this but I think it's a perfect example of "seeing Jesus in everything" and after you watch it, it will be hard to read the verses below in the same way again (watch the whole thing - you won't regret it): 
For by him [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  -Colossians 1:16-17

In His Grace,

Peter & Kim

Monday, March 19, 2012

Beauty & the Beast: Defining the Relationship (Chapter Six)

KIM UPDATE:  So I leave Kim for one morning and she faints while I'm gone. I'm pretty sure it's because I didn't post Chapter Six of "Beauty and the Beast" on Friday but the doctors seem to think it has more to do with dehydration and the chemotherapy. (Meh. What do they know?) Fortunately, a CT scan and EKG determined everything was fine - no head trauma but unfortunately her PICC line (catheter placed near her heart to administer chemo) pulled out when she fell and they cannot reinsert it until Monday morning. This will delay our discharge date to Wed and pushes the spinal tap to Thursday (big day). We won't be doing the PET scan for a couple weeks to see if the cancer is gone in case you're wondering. Thanks for praying!
Beauty & the Beast: Defining The Relationship [rated PG-13] 
If you're joining in late - you can catch up on previous chapters HERE

Okay. It’s February 10th, 1997. Yes, it’s only four days from V-Day but today it’s D-Day. Or better yet DTR Day.  You know…“Do the RicoSuave” Day…err…I mean "Defining the Relationship" Day. 
You guys have all been there before, right? Don’t lie. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Staying up countless nights imagining the possibilities, giggling under your covers in your Batman pajamas. And then it hits you…

“What if she says no?”

So then you start employing different strategies, calculating decision trees, envisioning potential scenarios, running regression analyses, practicing game theory, solving for the Nash equilibrium – you know -  trying to predict how she will respond to that timeless…no…age-old…question all our fathers, fathers-fathers, grandfathers, husbands of our grandmothers, and sons of our great-grandfathers asked their eventual wives:

 “Do you like me?”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why This Blog is Called "Seeing Jesus in Everything"

KIM UPDATE: We are headed back to the hospital for Round 4 later today. This round is key because after it is complete we will have a PET scan done to see if the cancer is gone. If nothing shows up on the scan then we will do two more rounds – just to make sure that even what may not be seen is destroyed. Cancer has the potential to mutate and reappear if it is not completely wiped out – so we have no choice but to show it NO MERCY and KICK IT'S A*S! Please pray with us that the cancer would be wiped clean this round. Please pray that Kim would not experience the spinal tap headaches and wrenching back pain we had in the last round. Lastly, please pray that the Lord would continue to grant a profound sense of His nearness and that He would show Himself strong in our lives regardless of the results or outcome.
hiking the Waihee Ridge Trail on our 10 year anniversary
As many of you know, when Kim and I went to the ER early on Sat, January 7th we didn’t realize how sick she was. I immediately started sending email updates/prayer requests to many of our friends but within a few days it started to get out of control. There were too many people on my distribution lists and Google shut down my account because they declared me guilty of spamming (without due process even!). At the suggestion of a couple friends I moved everything to this blog on Wed, January 11th. I had no idea it would attract so many people, but we are so thankful for everyone that has served us by praying for Kim and our family (along with Andrew and Connor!).

Kim and I have pondered on a couple occasions “What if our roles were reversed?” and I was the one with cancer and she was forced to write and share prayer requests. Well, we concluded this blog wouldn’t exist because she doesn’t think she could write it and I’m convinced we wouldn't need it because she could just pick up the phone and call all 9 of my friends. (just kidding…sort of)

Anyways, I mention all this because when I set up the blog I had to come up with a URL address. I didn’t have much time to think about it and I considered generic ones like “” or something similar, but I quickly settled on “seeingjesusineverything”. I know it sounds a bit weird, for a website designed to solicit prayers for someone with cancer but over the course of the past year I felt the Lord was helping me to “see Jesus in everything” – whether it was in His Word, in His creation, in our circumstances – even in suffering.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Answered Prayers

KIM UPDATE: Kim is doing great this week and is recovering from all the trauma of the spinal tap and blood patch. We begin Round 4 on Thursday!
God has been so gracious in answering so many prayers lately but today we were reminded of a BIG answer to prayer we made exactly four years ago. After two rambunctious boys we were ready to call it quits but the Lord had different plans. I'm a big planner but Kim convinced me to let baby #3 be a "surprise". So everyone in the family (plus a few friends) prayed that the Lord would give us a girl and for nearly 9 months only God (and the ultrasound technician) knew if our prayers were answered. Below is the video I released on March 13, 2008 announcing to all our friends the birth (and gender!) of baby #3. As you know, we finally got our little princess and our lives have never been the same. That said, she ain't at all afraid to punch you in the mouth (just ask C or T), so keep your distance boys, and consider yourselves warned.

Thank you Lord!

In His Grace,
Peter & Kim

Monday, March 12, 2012


Well, I don't know how to say this except to say God is good. He's so good! And I'm not just talking about the spectacular weekend weather we just enjoyed in Chicago. I know so many of you have been praying for Andrew Park and his family as well as Connor Lim (see their stories HERE) and became aware of their stories through Kim's cancer.

the Park family
Kim and I have known Andrew since he was a young boy because Kim was his pastor when she was the Sunday School Director at Calvary. It's hard to believe that he is 17 years old now! He was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia literally the day after Kim was officially diagnosed with lymphoma in early January. Our trials have been inextricably linked from day one, and we both firmly believe that this happened so that we could both encourage and pray for one another as we walked through this trial hand in hand.

the Lim family
We became aware of our 7 year-old friend Connor, in late January (a few weeks after Kim's diagnosis), through one of my sister's good friends who is his aunt. Connor was born with an extremely rare cancer called "X-linked Hyper IGM" which results in a devastating immuno-deficiency that he needs monthly treatments for, in order to buy time. It turns out that his family only lives 10 minutes from us and so we were able to swing by after a doctor's visit and spent a couple hours meeting and talking with his parents. They have been searching for approximately 6 years for a match for Connor and they finally found one in Japan late last year. It was about to be the best Christmas present ever but the donor backed out at the last second. Obviously, they were all devastated. Especially considering how long it took to find a match..

As such, both of these children and their families have become near and dear to us and I have some incredible news to share with you...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Beauty & the Beast: The Flower of Unspeakable Beauty...Blooms! (Chapter Five)

See previous chapters HERE - just in case you're joining in late...

So February finally arrives and with my meticulous care and attention the amaryllis plant has now budded into full bloom. It is a glorious explosion of colors of unspeakable beauty. A perfect metaphor of my undying love and devotion. The time has come to give her the flower, confess my feelings and ride off into the sunset together on my white horse. (or at least to Hot Wok Express in my rusty ‘89 Celica). However, something just doesn’t seem right. I realize I am still not quite ready to confront her. I don’t know why I had this feeling. Perhaps at that time, I had been the unfortunate recipient of a bad haircut from an unskilled roommate, perhaps I had a nasty zit parked right on the center of my nose, perhaps it was because I thought if I moved to early, our conversation would go something like this: 

Me: “Kim, may I speak to you for a moment?” [cue Celine Dion song of choice in portable boombox for background music]

Kim: “Sure.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Moments of Grace

"All moments are key moments and life itself is grace." -Frederick Beuchner (HT: Dawn H.) 

Yesterday temperatures soared to nearly 70 degrees. This is very unusual in early March for people who live in Chicago. Although Kim is still feeling physically weak and is neutropenic getting outside is okay as long as there aren't lots of people around. So we found a secluded park near our home and had some unscheduled "family time". 

When you realize that a new day is never promised to you  - you quickly learn to savor the small moments each day has to offer. The little things you used to take for granted become big gifts from God....
The presence of sunshine. 
The absence of pain. 
The laughter of children. 
The breeze on your face. 
All gifts of grace from the Giver of every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Seeing Jesus in Pain (Part II)

KIM UPDATE: Kim is getting a little stronger day by day, but eight straight days of laying flat on your back will cause most of your muscles to atrophy. She's officially neutropenic which means her white blood cell count is very low and she is susceptible to infection, so I'm being extra tough on keeping her home, limiting visitors and extra anal on cleanliness. On that note, we are thankful for all the flowers many of you have sent but please do not send flowers, as they increase the risk of infection for Kim. In lieu of flowers Kim has expressed a strong interest in receiving Best Buy gift cards (KIDDING...KIDDING!).
Well, pain is nothing new for us these past couple months but this past weekend was another real encounter with our good friend...."PAIN". It's almost become predictable now - pretty much any procedure Kim goes through to leads to an inordinate amount of pain. I feel like Mr. T (on Rocky III) is our doctor and this is his prognosis every time we go in for a procedure: 

As I mentioned in my last post the "blood patch" procedure resulted in repeated cycles of pain Friday night that were so intense that Kim was literally ready to pass out. Her body became limp and numb from hyperventilation - this pain was literally "taking her breath away". Even when we got to the hospital I was begging the nurses and doctors to get her something for her pain but nothing was working. Not vicodin. Not morphine. Nothing. Obviously, the pain I endured through all of this was not a physical one, but I'm pretty sure the gut-wrenching emotional pain of seeing a loved one suffer can't be too far behind.

In moments like these you are forced to do some real sober reflection on life and especially on pain and suffering. I wrote a post almost exactly a month ago on "The Problem of Pain" (see HERE) and explored the challenge it is for those who believe in God - but this time around I think I gained a deeper insight into pain that I didn't see before. This past weekend I realized that pain can truly be a gift. Did I really just say that?

God created the human body in such a way that when we experience pain our body is desperately trying to tell us something, and that something is "Houston, we've got a problem!" In other words, when we experience pain, that in itself, is not what is ultimately wrong with our body, but pain was designed to tell us something else is going on in our body that is drastically wrong. Therefore, when we experience pain it forces us to address a deeper issue which is not being addressed.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

“Nothing Happens by Accident. I am Sovereign!”

I know there were many of you who got the news around 9-10pm last night to pray for Kim because we were headed to the E.R. with little else to go on, and by faith you got on your knees and "stormed the gates of heaven". Thank you. God heard your prayers and Kim is doing great. She is back home, her headache is completely gone and although tired and still with some minor back pain she looks 100% better. So you're probably wondering what happened last night? Here it is...

First it was Rituxan. Now apparently, our favorite drug is Methotrexate. Specifically methotrexate injected via spinal tap. This drug was started in Round 3 of Kim’s chemotherapy to keep the cancer from attacking her central nervous system, and brain. The injection in her spinal cord was done 8 days ago and triggered massive headaches every time she tried to sit up and forced her to be bedridden since - keeping her head flat was the only way to find relief. Nothing else worked – not I.V. fluids, not caffeine, not heavy pain meds. They told us it’s basically like having your worst hangover x 100. Usually after 48 hours the fluid leak around the spinal cord from the lumbar puncture resolves itself and people feel much better, but we’ve found that Kim is always in the top 5%. Meaning she’s always in that elite group of people in which doctors say, “That’s strange. We only see that happen in about 5% of patients”. What can I say? I married a special woman.

getting ready for her 1st blood patch
So all this forced us to try a blood patch yesterday night. The blood patch procedure went well, her headache improved immediately. However, the blood patch is injected into the lower back as well and its purpose is to clot any holes in the spinal cord which are leaking. The downside is that, per the doctor, it can feel like someone took a baseball bat to your lower back. But we figured "temporary baseball bat to back" < "perpetual hangover headaches".

So we went in at 3:30pm to get the blood patch. I had to set up a bed for Kim in the back of the mini-van because the day before when I drove her to the doctor’s the nausea and headaches from sitting upright (even leaning back) were too much. The procedure started around 5:30pm and she was done by 6:00pm. After resting for a while we picked up Timothy and Selah from our friend Jill’s place and headed home. (Caleb was at basketball practice with our friend Gerald and their son). Although Kim could hardly feel her back we were all in good spirits. The headaches were gone!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Beauty & the Beast: The Flower of Unspeakable Beauty (Chapter Four)

KIM UPDATE:  Kim is still feeling considerable head/neck pain when she is upright. We did go in for her neulasta shot yesterday but her headaches are still severe and she was so nauseous in the car she was hurting. She took in a liter of iv fluid yesterday but it still didn't help all that much. It looks like we will probably try a blood patch today to help with the headaches. We're in the dog days of chemo now. Kim has shed some tears these last few days because the pain is so intense and unresolved. It's hard to watch and endure. But we are praying that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Please continue to pray for her. Thanks. 
I wasn't sure if I wanted to post Chapter 5 of Beauty & the Beast today but it's already been written (6 years ago) and I know the only way I can get you to check this site and pray for my wife is to continue posting (j/k!). But seriously, reading through it again this morning, the Lord reminded me to trust in His timing and to learn to wait...and pray (and to laugh a little too). Enjoy.

The Flower of Unspeakable Beauty (Chapter Four)

Strangely, despite that magical October night of ballroom dancing, in which our souls communicated beyond words – Kim never called me. I guess her roommate must have forgotten to pay the phone bill. No matter…Rico Suave was not going to be deterred by an unpaid phone bill.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


mommy is craving "dduk" these days...
I've been doing some sober reflection this morning and I've realized that over the last few days I've strayed from the original purpose of this blog - which is to share prayer requests for my wife and to also share what the Lord has been teaching us in and through this trial - for His glory.  I'm not a theologian (nor do I play one on t.v.) and so I'm going to try not to opine on topics I know little about (e.g. racism).  I'll keep posting about our "love story" but that will probably be the extent of my attempts at comedy.

That said, Kim and I are about to head out to get her Nuelasta shot now. This one has caused her problems and so your prayers would be appreciated. She is still having significant headaches when upright due to the spinal tap. It's been a tough few days. To be honest, sometimes I pray for healing - but then the Lord reminds me that physical healing is not even what we ultimately need - but a deeper sense of Jesus and His presence in our lives.