Family, Photography, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Radiation Anniversary

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It’s hard to believe that it has only been one year since Grace finished her radiation therapy. So much has happened in the past year that it feels like a lifetime has passed by since her surgery.

It was Good Friday of last year that she received her last treatment and we could not help but feel that it was somehow symbolic of what God was doing in our life at the time. The surgery that removed most of her tongue and the grueling radiation therapy to the head/neck area certainly has changed our life completely and adjusting to the “new normal” has not been without its challenges, all of which I can certainly go on and on about. But on this anniversary of her completing radiation treatment I just wanted to jot down some things that I am truly thankful for instead of focusing on the difficulties we’ve had to deal with.

I am thankful for Grace’s deep inner-strength and unwavering faith in God through all that she had gone through and is still going through.

I am thankful for our children who have been nothing but good and bright through it all.

I am thankful for our friends and family members everywhere in the world who have been faithfully praying for us and will continue to pray with us.

I am thankful for our church family who have been so understanding, supportive, and generous through it all.

I am thankful for the overwhelming generosity of so many who have given to us willingly and cheerfully so that we would have one less thing to worry about during this time.

I am thankful for the life we have, however fragile and broken it may be, so that we can know and experience the love of God in a new and unexpected way everyday.

I am thankful, most of all, for the incredible hope we have in Jesus Christ that one day we will all be made new and enjoy His presence for all eternity:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”  for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:1-4

Amen.

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Family, Uncategorized

Quick Update on Grace

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We can’t believe it has only been six weeks since the surgery and just about a month since being discharged. Other than a few minor hiccups here and there – neck incision opening up again just days after the staples being removed, longer than expected healing time for her trache, emotional ups and downs, etc. – Grace’s recovery has been on track for the most part.

What has been amazing, however, is that she has already begun speaking clearly enough that most people do not have trouble understanding what she is saying to them. Her doctor was also surprised by the unexpected clarity of her speech and remarked that she’s months ahead of schedule in that aspect – she hasn’t even begun her speech or swallowing therapy yet! We really didn’t know how well she would be able to speak again as we were told most of her tongue was removed, implying she would be left with very little control of her new tongue, if at all. The fact that she has begun speaking and swallowing in less than 6 weeks since the surgery has been nothing short of amazing and we are grateful to God beyond words for such incredible recovery.

More than anything else, Grace is excited to be able to sing again during worship. One of our favorite things to do at home has always been worshipping together with songs at random times, whenever the Holy Spirit would prompt us. Although it still takes a lot of effort for her to speak and sing, there is nothing but gratitude in our hearts to be able to sing to our God again so soon.

There is obviously a long road ahead but tonight, we are filled with praises in our hearts for the journey we have completed so far. Thank you all for praying for us, supporting us in different ways, and simply walking with us on this journey…

#Thankyou

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Family, Uncategorized

More than just food

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© 2017 MICHAEL S. PARK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

It still feels like a bad dream when I think about the fact that it has only been just over 3 weeks since Grace was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery to remove the tumor along with most of her tongue, and after 9 days at the hospital, how we’ve already been back at home for nearly 4 days like nothing happened. But it wasn’t a dream and of course everything happened. Since returning home, much energy has been spent learning the awkward dance of trying to find a new rhythm without disturbing the old too much.

For example, all our meals are now without Grace. Since Grace is only able to “eat” through the G-tube in her stomach, the rest of us eat first then Grace “eats”. Then it takes her nearly 40 minutes or so to feed herself using the syringe and the tube. I helped her in the beginning but the doctor wanted her to become more independent so Grace (most of you know how she is – I don’t think she even needed to be told that) began feeding herself. I know that this is just “temporary” but it is nevertheless the new normal our family has to get used to for a while. One thing is for certain – I will never take being able to sit around the table as a family and breaking bread together for granted again.

On a brighter note, she has been recovering from the surgery at an incredible rate and we are all amazed by the improvements we notice on a daily basis. Her swelling has gone down significantly and she says she hardly has any pain anymore. Support structure around our family has also been nothing short of amazing and we have been so blessed by everyone’s love.

In the meantime, Grace has picked up a new hobby and says she enjoys it quite a bit – watching other people eat.
#familymatters #communitymatters #morethanjustfood

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Family, Uncategorized

Home

Home

© 2017 MICHAEL S. PARK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

#home

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Family, Uncategorized

Last One

JP Drain

© 2017 MICHAEL S. PARK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

#lastone #jpdrainssuck #punintended #almosthomebound

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Family, Uncategorized

Small Things

Reflection

© 2017 MICHAEL S. PARK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Grace was able to swallow tiny sips of water through her mouth and this is great news since it means she can swallow!

Her tracheostomy was “corked” meaning they put a cap on it to block the airflow and she’s still breathing fine on her own. This is good news because it means that the swelling inside has gone down enough that there is space for air to flow through. We may still go home with the trache in place for safety but it’s great progress!

The “G-Tube” that was placed in her belly last night seems to be doing good. If the first feeding goes well the NG tube in her nose will come out tomorrow morning!

The pathology reports came back and the results are that the lymph nodes seem to be clean and as far as they can tell the cancer has not spread to other parts of her body. When I heard the results I almost couldn’t remain standing due to such a huge sensation of relief that came over me (blame k-drama). We may still need radiation and possibly even chemo depending on their recommendation but it will be with a very different perspective.

Can you tell that we are excited about very small things? Things like being able to swallow, breathing without the assistance of a device, the possibility of eventually being able to consume solid food, etc. One of the things I’m learning through all this is that gratitude actually happens in less and not in plenty. As things were being slowly taken away from us, the more we became grateful for the things we did have. It still isn’t easy and we’re still not out of the woods yet but in some ways it feels like we’re being put through a “gratitude boot camp” and being taught very important lessons in being thankful in all circumstances.

Thank you all for your continued prayer and support and please do continue them as we have more mountains to climb and valleys to go through. But for now, tonight, we choose to be thankful.
#gratefulbychoice #philippians412

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Uncategorized

Out of the ICU

She was finally moved last night from the ICU to Medicine/Surgery unit. This morning they removed still more tubes from her and said she’s making pretty good progress. All tubes from her head/neck area are now out – praise the Lord! She, however, still has the angiotube, trach, draining tube from her leg where they harvested the flap from, and of course the IV still in place but it’s far less than even a couple of hours ago so we are very thankful. The staff at the ICU were amazing and the team here in the med/sure are great as well. We are very thankful for everyone’s skilled hands and God’s amazing handiwork on display through our body’s design and technology.
Specific prayer request: we are hoping very much to be able to go home without the trach on her neck if possible. While I’ve gotten pretty ok at taking care of it (They even had me replace the tube yesterday as part of my training for when we go home!), she is still not ready to breathe without it due to swelling and much secretion. She sort of sounds like Darth Vader when breathing hard but really that’s about the only upside if you can even call it that. So please pray that she’ll be able to get it taken out of her before we are discharged!

We are also still waiting for the pathology report from the tumor and the lymph nodes they removed from the surgery so please continue to pray for favorable results as well!

#babysteps #darthvadervoiceisoverrated #cancersucks #mywifestillrocks

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