Thursday, March 1, 2012

Back to the Hospital!

Ok, I know I promised you last Thursday I would finish the rest of the blog.  Sorry, I did not.  I just have not felt up to writing, let alone surviving.   Andrew finished his intensive 5 day round of chemo Monday and came home the same day.  He endured a much more intensive round of chemo on one drug called ara-c.  This chemo caused more nausea and weakness than before.  It was really hard seeing Andrew in this state.  Usually he would ask for massages all the time, but this time around, after asking if he would like them, he said no.  That is not the Andrew we know.  He just was so sick he didn't even want to be touched.  

After one night at home, Andrew was readmitted last night for severe abdominal pain.  Yep, the same abdominal pain that has hampered Andrew the past three years.  The blood work showed no pancreatitis, so the pain was not from it.  For those that don't know, Andrew had a severe allergic reaction to a chemo drug called peg-asparagenes, during his first stay for chemo back in 2009, in which manifested in a horrible case of pancreatitis.  He stayed in the hospital for two weeks on around the clock pain meds for severe abdominal pain and did not eat during that time.  Aside from the pancreatitis, which he has been hospitalized too many times to count, Andrew has been admitted for this type of abdominal pain without finding the root cause.  He has had every diagnostic there is out there which has not conclusively diagnosed the cause of the pain.  He is currently resting and getting around the clock pain meds.  The doctor suspect the pain may be from some g.i. issues that the ara-c may be causing.  He is really tired, sleeping most of the time, because of i.v. benedryl he is getting because the particular pain med he is getting causes major itching.  We have no idea how long he will be here for.  The caveat is he must be off i.v. pain meds and go home with oral meds to control the pain to get back home.  For those that don't know, during and after chemotherapy, blood counts continue to go down before they recover resulting in getting blood transfusions from low hemoglobin level, platelets, and the big one: neutropenic caused fevers.  It's a given Andrew will be getting fevers and thus will be admitted for those fevers.     
That's me "hitting the wall"!
That's right!  I have officially hit the wall.  The past few days I have been so drained mentally and emotionally.  I just have not been myself, ask Jennifer.  I am sure that she would give a big "amen" to that!  I believe the past two months have really caught up with me and I am toast emotionally.  I have not felt like doing much except take care of Andrew.  I have not slept well in two months either.  I feel like I am grieving over things Andrew will not be able to do.  I have people on my Facebook account posting pictures of their sons or daughters going to school dances or other activities (and that's great), but I grieve at the fact Andrew will not be able to do things a normal teenager normally do.  I am not sure even if he will be able to graduate with his class.  As I think of these things, I get so overwhelmed and down.  But I need to remember that I must take one moment at a time, one step at a time!  To not do so, means I will go crazy, like I have been.  I am reminded of the Israelites in the wilderness and how God gave enough manna for the day and what ever was left over was not good for the next day.  I believe God gives his manna of grace to me daily and that is the only reason why I haven't gone "off the ledge".  God gives exactly what I need on a daily basis.  I know I serve a God that is forgiving and can handle the best I can dish out and I have dished out quite a bit, but I am not angry like before, I am just sad and tired.  I ask all of you to envelope me with your prayers and encouragement.  My family and I need it most desperately.  Jennifer and I are not in good shape.  I wish I could praise the name of Jesus and sound spiritual and such, but this is who I am right now.  I am withered and tired, but I know God sustains me.  I wish I could "glorify" Him now, but this is the man I am today, tired and transparent.  I hope those who are going through tough times take encouragement through my predicament that God is gracious and never let's go.  He never said it would be fair, but He never said we would be alone.  I leave you with one of my favorite songs.  Please take time to hear the song and focus on the lyrics. It speaks of the love of Jesus Christ and how he doesn't leave us alone. I hope you can find some solace in it.

On a lighter note,  the Korean American Student Association at University of Illinois and Thaakat Foundation organized a bone marrow drive almost last minute at the annual KASA basketball tournament and registered 150 people for the bone marrow registry!  Special thanks to Stephanie Kim of KASA, Hajera and Umara of the Thaakat Foundation, Liz Oh and all the volunteers who helped make this event such a huge success.  The gang down at U of I are planning some real big drives in the next month.  I never thought I would say this as a Purdue man....Go Illini!  

Here is a list of bone marrow drives coming up:
Everyday Church 
Sunday, March 4, 2012
17037 Devonshire Street  Northridge, CA 91325
(818) 832-6628

University of Illinois Circle Campus Chicago
Tueday March 6th and Wednesday March 7th
from 9am to 4pm at:
Outside the S.C.E. bookstore 
click on this link:

PLEASE REMEMBER TO SPREAD THE WORD, IF YOU OR YOUR FRIENDS CAN'T MAKE IT TO A DRIVE PLEASE GOTO: (CLICK ON IT) and register for an at home kit that will be sent to you.  It's quick and easy!  I beg you to get as many people to register, especially Asians who may be a better chance in being a match for Andrew, our friend Connor (click here for Connors story: and countless others who need a life saving transplant! Thanks!
Also, I ask that you pray for our dear friend Kim Cho who is currently under going chemo treatment to fight her lymphoma if you would like to read up on her condition and find encouragement from her hubby Peter please click this link:

As always, it would be great if I can get some encouragement from you all.  Please leave a thought or two in the comments section.  I would really appreciate it! 

Joe and Jennifer 


  1. Love and Prayers to you my friend. When you have a moment give me a call/text. I might have something that can help Andrew's pain. Love you guys.

    Peter & Kim

  2. see you on the week of the 19th! I don't know how much i'll be of help - but can't wait to see you guys and andrew!

    your posts are encouraging - you remind me of the rawness the psalmists displayed. (psalm 88)

    praise God that we can be open with him and that he understands all that we are feeling and going through.

    see you soon!


  3. baby dom loves you guys! so much! he wants to tea bag uncle joe!

  4. I'm so sorry for al of the suffering you guys are going through. I pray that today will be a day of grace and peace.