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.

I don't know who came up with the idea of chemotherapy but it has to be one of the most brutal "cures" ever known to man. You are literally injecting deadly toxins into your body. These toxins are so powerful that it cannot touch the skin and if Kim uses the bathroom (#1) she has to flush twice afterwards because even the residual vapors after one flush can harm you. (Kim might tell you that my "residual vapors" after #2 are more toxic - and I will neither confirm or deny this.) One of the most powerful chemo drugs Kim is on (Rituxan) is literally a mouse protein. I'm not kidding you. She is injecting "mice" into her bloodstream. When Kim found this out she was so grossed out (this might explain why she had such a horrible infusion reaction to it!).  Don't even ask me how scientists figured this out.

I can just imagine one scientist talking to another in a research laboratory:
Scientist #1: "Hey, what if we injected this lab mouse into someone's blood stream - maybe that will cure them of cancer?"
Scientist #2: "Puhahahahahah!"
(awkward silence)
Scientist #1: "No...I'm being serious."
(more awkward silence)
Scientist #2: "What is WRONG with you?!?"
(the next year Scientist #1 wins the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Scientist #2 enters a  psychiatric ward)

But seriously, when I think about cancer, I think it's a perfect metaphor for sin. It often starts small, it grows, it metastasizes, and it has the power to destroy you in every way a person can be destroyed - physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. It is an insidious disease that shows no mercy. Like cancer, the only way you can be saved from this insidious disease is to undergo a treatment that in a sense "kills you". That said, the goal is not to destroy you but rather to "kill you" without "destroying you".  In a profound sense you need to "die" in order that you might "live".

Jesus is a lot like chemotherapy. He loves us so much and desperately wants to save us but the only way he can do so, is to deal with this disease called "sin" within us. This disease is even more insidious than cancer and it destroys a person in every way a person can be destroyed. And the only way it can be destroyed is if we, by faith, die to ourselves and follow him.
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."  -Luke 9:23-24

Only in "death" can we find true life. But our death comes by trusting in his death - the death that took our place. And our life comes from his life. And all this comes only by faith and believing in Him.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20

Kim is fighting an incredible disease. It's breathtaking how strong it is. But the truth is, each and every one of us is fighting a much more insidious disease that leads to an eternal death - whether we recognize it or not. But the good news is that this insidious disease called "sin" has a 100% cure rate. And that cure is only found in Jesus Christ.
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  -John 14:6
 In His Grace,

Peter & Kim


  1. Peter and Kim - Thank you for letting us all walk this journey with you. Thanks for your insight into so many different aspects of this fight. It is such a privalege to pray for you both. Praying that Kim finds unbelievable strength and peace that only comes through Christ during these "dog days". You all are loved!

  2. Peter,Kim & Family.
    Although I do not know you, I know you are loved by so many people at Harvest. I was told a bit about what has been going on from Haley Morris, who is a girl that I lead in Junior High. Just reading this post I can see Christ through your words. Praise God for your strength(both of you). Praying that Kim continues to have strength through her Savior and peace through this time. Also praying for your family. God knows what He is doing and it is all for our good. Praise Him who is faithful to do far more abundantly than we ever ask or think. So blessed to be able to pray for you guys.
    Amber Golle

  3. Keep up the good fight Kim! Seldom posting, but always praying for you. Thanks for the encouraging words Peter.

  4. This was an excellent post. We continue to think of you and lift you up here in prayer in St. Louis.
    The Farley Family

  5. Praying for your family; for healing, strength, wisdom, and for little miracles in your life and your children's life.

  6. Psalm 138:7 - end: "Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life.
    You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
    with your right hand you save me.
    The LORD will vindicate me;
    your love, LORD, endures forever—
    do not abandon the works of your hands." And Jonah 2:5-9
    "The engulfing waters threatened me,
    the deep surrounded me;
    seaweed was wrapped around my head.
    To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
    the earth beneath barred me in forever.
    But you, LORD my God,
    brought my life up from the pit.
    When my life was ebbing away,
    I remembered you, LORD,
    and my prayer rose to you,
    to your holy temple.
    Those who cling to worthless idols
    turn away from God’s love for them.
    But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
    will sacrifice to you.
    What I have vowed I will make good.
    I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.'"

    I did feel also that chemo was sometimes worse than the cancer itself. We praise God, though, that it is a means of grace that the Lord saw fit to allow our generation to battle this evil. It is clear that it is all God's grace sustaining and giving strength to you Kim, as you suffer through these rounds.