Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 13 in ICU...Day +29 post bmt....

Andrew remains in critical condition but stable.  His chest x-ray showed his lungs haven't improved since yesterday.  The doctors have started a new drug that will help with the swelling in the lungs.  The only draw back is that he will be more susceptible to infection, but the doctors feel the reward outweighs the risk, considering he is on a wide spectrum of antibiotics and anti fungal medications already.  Some good news, Andrew's liver bilirubin went down a bit.  Andrew's dialysis which has been removing the excess fluid was ratcheted down due to low blood pressure.  They have dialed it back up after a bp medication was given to regulate his bp and has consequently went up.  They will take a slow approach to getting the dialysis back to where it was.

The boys holding hands;-)
An amazing things just a few moments ago!  I just got back from a quick birthday dinner for Jennifer, yes it's her b day, and when our nurse Nicole was asking him if he was okay, he opened his eyes.  I quickly got up to see Andrew trying to open his eyes a bit, albeit in a drug induced stupor.  The next thing sent me over the edge!  I asked if he could squeeze my hand, which he has failed to do over and over the past 13 days since he has been sedated and on an respirator, and to my surprise...
It was if he was telling me that he is fighting and he still remains strong.  I asked him if he wanted me to  stay and hold his hand and he nodded gingerly, barely noticeable if I wasn't looking at him.

I want to take time out and wish my wife of 5 years, the Happiest of Birthdays!  I think most of you who have been following Andrew's battle cancer through the blog and other social media, know the outstanding character of one Jennifer Park!  She has literally and figuratively an angel sent from the Lord!  Let me tell you about this woman.  When Jennifer first met my kids, Andrew and Emily, for the first time, she immediately tried to connect and love them.  She told me shortly after she loved them.  I was quite puzzled on how a person can love so quickly and that easily, but it just went to show who Jenn is.  

Well, saying you love them and acting out the love are two different enchiladas.  But Jennifer is a woman of her words.  As far as Andrew, before and during his cancer battle, Jenn has been a caretaker, mother, therapist, encourager, admonisher, among other things.  She has been not a step mom but a REAL MOM!  I don't know if you know but she stays in the hospital many days doing the little things.  Lately with Andrew not being ambulatory and in critical condition, Jennifer does the unthankful job of cleaning Andrew's poop up with the nurses, trying to man handle a 180 pound young man.  She cleans him and makes sure his bottom is slathered in lotion to prevent sores.  She wipes the "shmootz" of Andrew's face and wipes him clean.  She constantly talks to him and encourages him as he is sedated.  I remember one day in February, while the temperature was abnormally warm and as we sat outside in our tiny little patio, how she said looked into my eyes and told me she would die for Andrew.  What more proof does she have to give to remind others what kind of person she is.  As far as Emily, the transition into being a step mother was a bit tougher, with Emily having a mom and all.  But nonetheless,  Jennifer loved and continues to love Emily the way Emily needs.  Emily's primary love language (for an understanding of what languages are, please click Here, you will find it beneficial and interesting) is gifts and act of service.  Jennifer knows this love language and thinks of Emily all the time by buying her "little" things she needs and many times just spoiling her with other items, but in Emily's eyes they are "big".  She has loved her sacrificially like a real mother.  And of course there is Bry, her daughter and my step daughter, but quite honestly I don't feel like she is my step daughter, so for all intense purposes, I will refer to her as my daughter.  Jennifer sometimes tries to love Andrew and Emily so much that Bry gets the short end a bit.  But boy has Jennifer raised a great girl.  Jennifer can be tough on her at times, doing the likewise with Drew and Emily as she has developed a close relationship with the two, but Bry is her guuuuuuurl (West Philly accent)! She has raised a girl who is extremely caring and loving for a 10 year old.  She is a mini me.  Bry is her Banana Berry as she calls her;-)  You can see, she would die if it meant protecting all her kids.  That's who she is.

Then there is the medal of patience awarded to Jenn for putting up with me and all my shenanigans.  It hasn't been easy been living with me and all my demons.  But she has loved me the way I needed.  She has been by my side through this often times lonely journey nursing our son back to health.  She has reminded me when the crap hits the fan, that "it is what it is!" and to  "Move on and let things go!"   She has reminded me to  subtly and boldly to get off my pity pot when things go wrong in my life.  She has had the courage to get in my face and admonish me, because she loves and cares for me.  

I remember when I first read her online profile on Korean  Ok, yes, we met online on a website called  No joke!  She wrote on her profile she is a loving and passionate person.  Boy was the profile right!  I have never met a person who loves so passionately and with all her heart and sometimes to her detriment, getting tired out.  She loves unconditionally and without ulterior motives.  She loves because she cares.  SHE SHOWS CHRIST LIKE LOVE!  I wish I could show a video montage of the person I know as my friend, encourager, admonisher. lover and wife.  I know everyone who has met her would agree with my assessment of this angel from above.  I love you Jennifer!!! Happy Birthday my love!!!!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (The great love chapter in the Bible)


Almost forgot!  Bry and Emily came by the first time since their "oppa" (big bro in Korean) went into the icu!
I was a bit pensive a first exposing them to Andrew in his condition, but with the help of ChildLife Services at Children's, they did great.  They were happy to see him and I know Andrew was happy they were there too.



  1. I am so happy at the progress that Andrew is making! I knew he was a fighter and he is encouraging all of us, even me, with his courage and will to live. If Andrew can fight, what choice do i have but to continue moving forward. Thank you Andrew, this is better than all the words of encouragement and prayer that I have received and gives me some hope. You are so strong and brave and i cant wait for you to encourage Connor when he gets older, he is going to need someone to look up and give him advice on all of this. He asks about you everyday and we will come visit you soon. And yes Joe, you are very lucky in Jennifer, she wears her heart on
    her sleeve and she just has a warm and gentle Kindness about her. Happy birthday jennifer!

  2. So good to hear these words of faith from you and even Steph (above). Thanking God for the greatest gift in His Son, but also for small gifts (e.g. a hand-squeeze) like these. May the Lord bless you and make His face shine upon you, and give you peace.

    Peter & Kim

  3. I pray that His strength holds everyone! Joe, I was blessed to visit with you briefly at the "drive", and you introduced Jennifer to us - He most certainly put her in your life for good reason! From what you have been sharing all along, Jennifer is an amazing woman!!

  4. Happy Birthday Jennifer!
    The Tegtmeier Family

  5. Happy birthday, Jennifer! As I like to say each year for myself, twenty-seven feels funny at first, but you'll get used to it :) ANDREW: your responses are platinum and sparkling diamonds for us all. Thank you for them and Joe, for the wonderful goosebumps! We pray for every factor needed hourly. The big "pivot" of Andrew's life is on its way. And yes, Andrew will really be amazed quite soon when he sits down to read all your love and strength for him andyoufamily Connor is in our prayers big-time as well. Love to such a beautiful family (yet already known in our hearts) , LynnFrankLaurenKendall

  6. I am so happy you received some affirmation from Andrew! He is with you and he is fighting...his body just needs more time to heal. Patience is the hardest thing. Happy birthday to Jennifer! There is no doubt she was put into your life for a very specific reason. I'm glad you took some time to plug in to something normal like celebrating a birthday. You have to when you're going through something this stressful and lengthy. I remember taking 2 days off from the hospital to go skiing with my boyfriend. I felt so guilty not being there for my sister, but she was all "GO! Take some time for yourself and have fun. I'll be here when you get back". And she was.
    We had our ABC 7 Jim Gibbons 5K event last night in Lincoln Park. we had about 2000 people show up to support leukemia research and patient programs. I love seeing all of the green shirts in the crowd (we give survivors green shirts to wear proudly during the event!). Next year I want to see Andrew there, in the front row, wearing HIS green shirt!!!
    I'm praying for you all and little Connor too. Take care Joe!

  7. What a fighter, that Andrew! Please let him know his 3rd grade Sunday School teacher is praying for him in Denver and is so encouraged by his strength!

  8. Happy birthday Jennifer and kudos to Joe for such a loving tribute. Keeping you all in prayer.

  9. your wife is amazing and a gift from God...praying for you guys!

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