Ending Treatment

From James:

Today, I asked So Young what my name is. “William James,” she said.

“OK, what is my last name?”

James,” she said, insistently.

“Oh, OK. So my full name is ‘William James?'”

“Yeah. William… A… James.”

So Young and I share the same last name. She just doesn’t remember it.

Yesterday, she literally slept 23 hours. She was awake for more hours today (four so far), but after her visitors left yesterday, she fell asleep and only woke up for two thirty-minute meals. Her sleep varies, but it always far surpasses a healthy person’s sleep.

I give these very recent examples to illustrate the point that So Young has been through a lot of treatment so far and seen no results. I know that I am not the only one who has wondered why, if the treatment is not working, we are continuing with it.

The answer is that we are not. Johns Hopkins called today and said that they will not treat So Young anymore for her brain tumor. The tumor is inoperable, but she underwent the lifetime limit of radiation to the brain at Johns Hopkins. After the recent regrowth, she went through several draining rounds of chemo. And all the while the disease progressed. It seems like I am reporting some new symptom, procedure, or medical crisis weekly. I am continually surprised, but unfortunately the hospice people are all too familiar with what is going on.

I don’t have a lot to say about this news other than that it saddens me and confirms what I was already thinking.

Here are a few things I ask of anyone reading this blog entry:

  • Please don’t tell So Young. It’s strange, I guess, to have a “public secret” like this about someone, but it doesn’t do her much good to know it at this point, particularly in her current mental state. Also, don’t talk about it with me when she is around.
  • Don’t approach me with advice about a cure you believe in or heard about somewhere. It is unhelpful at this point. Trust me, you are not the only one who has thought to do this, although every miracle cure is different, and I have been told of many.
  • Don’t stop praying for So Young. Maybe only a miracle can save her at this point, but miracles are not beyond God’s grasp.
  • Pray for the girls and me as we grapple with So Young’s ongoing illness and its ramifications for our family. It is incredibly difficult to deal with.
  • Don’t give up hope! Even if the worst happens, remember that we hope in God. As believers, we face a common destination, and I know that So Young in particular will receive a great treasure there whenever God takes her, along with a completely restored body. I want to live a life like hers, poured out for others and living for an eternal hope.

23 Responses

  1. Your recent posts seem to have been indicating that the treatments weren’t working, however, actually reading the confirmation is heart breaking. I’ll continue to pray for you here in Cali.

    Romans 12:15
    15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

  2. James: It feels odd that I am the first commenter on this very sobering blog post — and I have never even met So Young or you and your lovely daughters… But here goes…

    Even as your wife lies sleeping, she is still witnessing about her love for Jesus Christ through this blog. It is a tremendous act of courage that she has allowed the world a glimpse into the most personal and private struggles of her life. It is a miracle. Miracle? Yes, because she has reached beyond herself to bear witness to the saving grace of our Lord! And for peope like me who are trying to find our way as a Christian — often bumbling blindly to understand the “Good News” — your So Young has offered an opportunity to delve into the mysteries of life and death. And she has done this with a graciousness that is only from the Divine.

    I met your dad at ABC about a month ago when I was visiting with a friend. Your dad greeted me warmly and asked for prayers for So Young and your family. I promised I would pray for you all; each day I have lifted your intentions in prayer. Thank you for the privilege of praying for So Young and your family. I do believe you all have shown me His light in a very special way.


  3. You know that our prayers are with all of you. So Young is so fortunate to have you as her husband, and your shoulders are enormous. Bless all of you.

  4. Here from Colorado and from California our families are praying for you all !!!

  5. I’m praying for all of you. This must be a very difficult time for all of you. I wish you strength and God’s help.

  6. So Young wins the marathon, she has ran a great race and she is ready. We are never ready to let loved ones go. I will continue to pray for Gods will. God has given us lots of miracles with So Young and changed lots of lives. Praying for you and the girls and the family. God is able..

  7. James, know that many, many of us continue to life you all in prayer.

    • Well, that was supposed to be “lift”, but “life” works. We have eternal life in Him.

  8. Dear James,
    Our hearts are saddened as we have watched the journey your family is being brought thru. Bethany continually lifts up the girls as she tries to imagine what it must be like for them. Thank you for allowing us all the privilege to share this with you. We rejoice in your victories and pray thru your sufferings.You penned: I want to live a life like hers, poured out for others and living for an eternal hope. Fear not, for you my friend are showing us all how.
    Linda for the Chace’s

  9. I’m sorry for the suffering that you and your family are experiencing. So Young was so good to me on so many occasions and it is such a gift that she was able to touch so many people in such a meaningful way. I’m a child psychologist and there’s some great information on helping kids process loss (including the loss that your kids are experiencing now of not having their mom be fully present) in the pdf linked below. The pdf has some sections on natural disasters, etc. that aren’t really relevant, but I think it’s easy to navigate. If it’s helpful, I can pull together additional resources.


    I hope that this unsolicited resource doesn’t fall under the request not to offer cures as I don’t believe that this is a “cure” but only that knowledge is power that can support emotional healing.

    Respectfully and with love,
    Kat (a Marine Corps marathoner)

  10. It is with much sadness that I read your latest entry, but will continue to pray for you all. You have all demonstrated such amazing courage and strength through such difficult times and I hope you find comfort in knowing that you are loved. Thinking of you always.

  11. I am praying for you, So Young, and the girls, James.

  12. James, I am praying, so hard, for So Young, you and your family. JS

  13. I’m so sorry, James, so heartbreaking. We’re praying for all of you. We do see you pouring your life out for others- So Young and your girls- while sharing hope eternal in your incredibly difficult time. Love and prayers, Scott & Debbie

  14. …A Friend recommended your blog…

    […]Excellent blog here! Also your site so much up fast![…]…

  15. Will hold you and your entire family in my heart during prayer. May you all be encircled by the arms of the Lord.

  16. John and I are sending our thoughts and prayers. Your faith is strong and it will carry you and your family through this.

  17. James, I am in Sunday School with Kim and Mikael. Our class has been praying for you throughout this journey. This is indeed a sobering post. Having walked through grief in the last 2 years (my son’s best friend, Brian, died in a shallow water drowning at age 20), I have learned a lot from his parents. One of the things I learned is that faith and pain, faith and sorrow, faith and anger are not exclusive of each other. We often have very deep emotional feelings, but we still cling to our faith in Christ and our eternal Hope in Him. Sometimes I felt my faith was weak because I was so sad, or because I questioned God, or because I was actually angry with God, yet even in those moments I knew God was sovereign, I was praising and thanking Him for Brian’s salvation only 3 months before His death. Enough about my journey. Just wanted to say, I’m sure you and your girls will experience these emotions and more. Don’t let Satan distract you. God created us in His image with these emotions. You and So Young have reached so many people for the Lord through this journey. I’m am sure people are coming to faith and will come to faith in Christ through the testimony of So Young’s life, and through the awesome testimony you have given and continue to give. Our prayers continue for you all.
    With prayers,

  18. James,

    We are and will continue to pray for you, So Young and the girls. I am not a graceful writer like you but your post are touching many lives everyday.

    Holding you in our hearts,
    Aunt Liz, aka Sissy

  19. Oh James….no words….praying….

  20. James, I have been keeping up with the blog since our visit this past December. The entries are inspiring, bittersweet and so full of love – love for a woman and love for the Creator of that woman. I say Creator with a little hesitation because it reminds me that God’s plans and sovereignty is at times unfathomable. Reading your words and hers though has been truly comforting and a blessing. We send our prayers to you all….
    Sandy, Burton, Kyle and Aly in Kenya

  21. James, I just wanted to say how truly sorry and heartbroken I am over this post. I’ve been lurking and reading the posts for quite a while but never got to express my thoughts to you in person before I switched jobs. I do want to let you know that when reading the posts in bulk, I always think that regardless of whether the posts are declining or upbeat, the amount of love that you have for So Young is truly a blessing to read. I cannot imagine what you are going through personally, but please know that you are an encouragement to all of us as we read through your thoughts and words. I am keeping you, So Young, and the girls in my thoughts and prayers. – Janessa

  22. James — I have been and will continue to ask God for big things for your family. I figure it doesn’t hurt to ask.
    Continuing to pray — Joyce Schmalz

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