Soaring with Cancer

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength
They will soar high on wings like eagles
They will run and not grow weary
They will walk and not faint
ISAIAH 40:31

DAY 54 | A Necessary Evil

Last Wednesday, our family went to LA to celebrate DD’s final night before he begins his chemotherapy. DD was joking that he’s worried our family is going out too often these days…

At KangHoDong Baekjeong in Koreatown, Los Angeles

Korean BBQ with egg and corn cheese; their famous traditional lunch box bibimbap

After dinner, we headed over to a cafe our family frequents for dessert when we’re in K-town together. Because all of the tables were occupied when we arrived, they placed us in the best seats in the house, replete with light decorations and a fireplace table! What a picturesque, memorable way to spend our last night together! Laughs and smiles abounded.

At Yellowhouse Cafe, a cute coffeeshop in Koreatown, Los Angeles

Cheering with their matching sweet potato lattes

Sharing many laughs…

… and secrets…

So apparently, Wednesday, April 10th was National Sibling Day! My Instagram feed and brother’s Facebook newsfeed were littered with cutesy photos and of course, we had to contribute:


Best of all, DD and DM decided they couldn’t be one-upped and joined the fun!

… and more kisses.

The following day, Thursday, was DD’s first chemotherapy appointment at 1:30PM. Before heading out, I gave DD and DM a small present I had prepared for our long journey ahead:

For my SuperDad and SuperMom! May we overcome DD’s kryptonite together!

DD had Folfox administered to him over the course of three hours. I was there in the beginning, left to pick up my brother, then came back with some frozen yogurt for DM and the nurses helping DD. He began complaining of muscle fatigue the next day and, after he began taking Xeloda, his oral chemotherapy medicine, that night, he hasn’t been able to eat properly since. He has zero appetite, nausea (vomits whenever he eats anything), and neuropathy (cold water feels like a thousand needles stabbing). Even his anti-nausea medicine is not helping and chemotherapy is truly as bad as I’ve heard it to be. DD still makes an effort to exercise and build his strength and it helps that there’s a neighborhood park he can walk to!

A trip to the neighborhood park with DD, DB, and one of our dogs!

Also, quick update: we booked our cruise! After a long dilemma of whether to book an oceanview or suite room, we ultimately chose the Grand Suite Room for the VIP embarkation and debarkation privileges as well as the superior comfort for DD! This will be our first cruise so we’re all very excited! We’re praying that DD will feel better by then…


DAY 49 | Counting Down

The time left until DD begins his fight with chemotherapy has dwindled to mere hours so we have been trying to make the most of our time together as possible. DD, never the one to inconvenience others, suggested to our family to go on a dessert run after dinner last night in lieu of our daily family worship, a field trip of sorts.

Late night dessert run to a neighboring cafe.

Patbingsoo shaved ice; DB pretending to test DD’s tea for poison a la Korean historial dramas.

The night before, we had dinner with my aunts and uncles (DD’s brothers and sisters) and while eating, they brought up the idea of our family going on a cruise together. Yesterday, I brought up the idea again in passing, as a cruise would have all the necessary commodities for DD and be a memorable (last) vacation for our family, but DD was dismissive and didn’t bat an eye. This morning, DM comes up to my room and tells me that DD told her last night that we should look into the cruise and that we should leave towards the weekend so DB could minimize the number of days he missed from school.

However, rather than being joyful that DD had given the green light for a family trip, something about this gesture signaled defeat and finality. Instead of brushing the idea off, telling us that we can go as a family later when he’s better, DD is now accepting that we should maximize our time together because we don’t know when we’ll get the opportunity to travel as a family again. There’s something so somber and sobering in this situation, coupled with the fact that he is initiating family outings for dessert and whatnot.

I was talking to DM again this afternoon and she mentioned how, after visiting DD, many of her friends are having talks with their spouses about what they would do if the other passed first. In contrast, DM admits to me that she and DD can no longer have that talk anymore because death is lurking just around the corner and the circumstances are much too real to have “what if” conversations. Apparently, she’s done her own research and statistically speaking, the average life expectancy for Stage IV colon cancer patients is the duration of chemotherapy + six months. I told DM, we shouldn’t delay having conversations with DD that can be said today, but she replied that DD could get better, that we should hold off on having those talks until we get word that the cancer has stopped responding to the chemotherapy. I pray that time will never come…

DAY 46 | Spring Break

Since it was DB’s spring break this past week, we decided to make the 1.5 hour drive up to the mountains for some fresh air and organic food on Monday! On the way down, we made a pit-stop at Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream shop for a quick snack. But while at Handel’s, I noticed DD in pain and lying down on the bench outside… I had overestimated the length of time he could stay out, it’s still taking time to adjust to this new normal.

Driving up the mountain; Chauffeuring for these two love birds.

Left: Wild boar meat. Right: Duck meat. All raised and slaughtered in their backyard!

Pit stop at Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream on the way back home!

Blueberry cheesecake, coffee, pistachio, and vanilla!

On Wednesday, DB and I had a sibling date! Bought him some sweet new Creative Recs, had lunch together at Chick-Fil-A, then went to the mall to freshen up his wardrobe!

Spoiling my baby brother :)

On Thursday, DD went to the hospital to get his IV PowerPort implanted onto his right chest. He was in an extremely foul mood coming home, DM thinks it’s because the reality of the situation is sinking in. So far, his journey with cancer has been him recovering from surgery and receiving visits from many friends and loved ones. But now, chemotherapy is just around the corner, as are the side effects and pain associated with it. In addition, DD hasn’t been feeling well since getting the port implanted and has been complaining of constant pain where the port is. Hopefully he’ll have a good day before he begins his actual chemotherapy treatment…

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human"
-1 Corinthians 1:25.

My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer
one of the saddest and most beautiful photo essays I’ve ever seen

Beauty for ashes…

(Source: theeohsees)

DAY 37 | Relative

IT’S NOT PANCREATIC CANCER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Never have I been more elated to hear that DD has colon cancer. It’s all relative.

DAY 35 | Chemotherapy 102

Continuing from before, here are practical suggestions for caregivers that I’ve received and researched! I hope this will empower caregivers like myself to help our patients to the best of our abilities during the treatment process.

How You Can Help Your Chemo Patient:

  • Obtain a temporary handicap parking pass. Even a simple trip to the grocery store can seem like a marathon during treatment due to general weakness and to neuropathy. Costs range anywhere from free to about fifty dollars (in California, a temporary 6-month pass is $6 while a permanent placard is free). Go to your state’s DMV website, print out the application form, fill it out and have your oncologist sign it, mail it to the appropriate address, and wait for your placard to arrive!
  • Ask your doctor for Biotene or First Mouthwash BLM. Chemo patients are very susceptible to mouth sores and patients who use Biotene (available as a mouthwash and toothpaste) get fewer mouth sores. In addition, most chemotherapy treatments affect the mucus membranes, including the mouth, and leaves a metallic aftertaste with everything - even water! First Mouthwash contains lidocaine, which will numb and soothe any mouth or throat discomfort.
  • Zofram is your patient’s friend. When your patient is feeling nauseous, many hospital’s first line of attack will be administering Ativan. There is another option called Zofram which may reduce vomiting. Make sure you and your patient know ALL of your drug options!
  • Get products to moisturize their dry skin (eyes, lips, and skin). As mentioned above, lip balm and moisturizing cream/lotion such as Egyptian Magic, coconut oil, or cuticle oil works well.
  • If possible, keep your patient company during the chemotherapy sessions. Make a rotation of friends and family to sit with your patient and keep them company. It is so comforting for both you and them to know that your patient isn’t going through this alone.
  • This may be a no-brainer but get your prescriptions! Before you start chemotherapy, one of the most important things you can do is to go to the pharmacy and get the prescriptions your patient needs filled in advance, and on an auto-fill program. You should really have 2 full sets of medications before you begin treatment. Keep one of your person and one at home. All drugstores carry keychain pill holders so that you can always have one set with you wherever you go. You never know when nausea may strike or you may forget to take your medication at home!
  • When possible, buy and eat organic food. The essence of chemotherapy is injecting chemicals into your body to eliminate cancerous cells. DM has put DD on an all-organic diet to limit him from putting even more chemicals into his body.
  • That said, appetite will shrink and your patient will lose his sense of taste. He will not want to eat a lot so make sure that when your patient does eat, the food is high in calories so they meet their daily caloric intake requirement. Even water will taste metallic to many patients so have an assortment of water flavorings and flavored sports drinks available. Find foods that rely heavily on scent rather than taste. Some people prefer to focus on foods that have a ‘strong’ taste to them (eg. curry, jalapenos, lemons, pickles, cured black olives, marinated mushrooms, garlic, onions, certain cheeses) and also on the textures of certain foods (pears, crunchy bread, hot toast with butter, ice cream). If your patient is losing weight, look into foods that are high in fat — in addition to a balanced diet (lean meats, veggies, and fruit), drinking whole milk and eating things like full fat cheese and using real butter can help. Also, because the body burns significant calories during the healing process, many patients drink supplemental shakes (eg. Ensure, Boost, or add protein powder to homemade shakes/smoothies) to have enough calories, protein, and potassium. NOTE: even though patients can lose their ability to taste, many still enjoy eating ice cream during treatment because of its texture and temperature.
  • Cancer LOVES sugar so your patient must learn to HATE sugar. To not encourage the cancer to grow more than it is already growing, cut out ALL refined sugar and also white flour. White flour is just like sugar as far as the body is concerned.
  • Exercise (in moderation)! Your patient will not want to but the steroids will cause muscle deterioration. Not only will exercise help your patient regain their strength but it also helps combat fatigue and stress. Your patient needs to get up and move as much as they can handle it.
  • Avoid sick people like the plague. During chemo, your patient’s immune system will be compromised and at its most vulnerable because the chemicals attack not only the cancerous cells but the healthy white blood cells as well. Even a small bug can have significant adverse effects on your patient so make sure that neither they nor you are exposed to sick people. Along the same lines, make it a regular habit for you, your patient, and family members to sanitize their hands (have hand sanitizer handy! One family I know installed a hand sanitizer dispenser by the door to always sanitize when entering the house).
  • Have a chemo kit ready! (0) Remember to have your patient take an anti-nausea medicine before a chemo session. 1) Bring things that will help your patient feel more comfortable and warm, both during the car ride and while receiving treatment. This includes microfiber blankets and robes as well as thick, cozy, ultra-plush gloves and socks. (2) Some sessions may last several hours so have something that the patient can cover their eyes with to sleep (eg. an eye mask, scarf, etc). (3) Along the same lines, if you’re going to bring the patient a pillow to sleep on, do not bring a pillow from home because the pillow will become associated with chemo. Buy a large pillow that is plush and not too tough and will make the experience as pleasant and comfortable as possible. ASIDE: Speaking of association, don’t have your patient associate their favorite food with chemo/cancer for the rest of their life. (4) Have lip balm and lotion/cream on hand as the chemo makes your skin and lips very dry. If the patient falls asleep in the chemo chair, it’s likely going to be on his back and his mouth might be open. Anything that will keep the mouth and lips hydrated is super helpful. (5) Your patient will feel nauseous during the injection. Ginger or lemon candies seem to help inhibit nausea and induce taste. (6) Bring things that will help keep you and your patient entertained. This includes an iPad, laptop, Kindle, books, games, magazines, DVDs, Sudoku, etc.
  • If possible and wanted, try medical marijuana. This will help restore appetite, reduce pain and nausea, and increase energy levels, all of which lead to a faster recovery and better chances at fighting the cancer. Look into edibles or a vaporizer (vape). If you’re interested in the vaporizer, Volcano Vaporizer is one of the most expensive, top-of-the-line vapes. A more budget-friendly, highly-recommended vaporizer is the Magic Flight Launch Box: it’s portable and extremely small, fits in the palm of your hand, runs on rechargeable batteries. It is relatively inexpensive (as low as $70 on sale, usually $100) as opposed to a several hundred dollar desktop vaporizer. Because of its size, it can also be used by bedridden patients. Get a decent grinder to go with the vaporizer. Talk to people in the shops about the different varieties available to find one that works best for your patient (All drugs and medicines affect everyone differently. People’s bodies are different and different chemicals affect different people differently. Some will make them feel better, others not quite so much). Note: don’t buy the fake substances sold at head shops and convenience stores. Most of these are no different in composition from bath salts.
  • If you are a female cancer patient, you may qualify for free monthly housecleaning services at Cleaning For a Reason! Keeping the house clean is the last thing you want to worry about when you’re sick and generous donors make this possible.

DAY 35 | Chemotherapy 101

March 21, 2013 - DD’s first venture out of the house to the neighborhood park since returning home two weeks prior!

DD will be starting his chemotherapy sessions soon and as such, I’ve been researching ways that I can help make him more comfortable and alleviate any side effects. See below for what chemotherapy is and what to expect and general advice for the coming months.

Chemotherapy and What To Expect From Your Patient:

  • What does chemotherapy feel like? Apparently, like having a hangover while coming down with the flu. After running a marathon. Aka, nothing like you’ve ever experienced before. Read this firsthand account for more details.
  • What are common side effects of chemotherapy? Fatigue and lethargy. Loss of taste or compromised taste. Nausea. Loss of appetite. Pain, mostly deep in the bones, maybe in the back of the hips (which is where most of your body’s bone marrow is made). Weight loss. Compromised immune system.
  • Watch for blood counts. Because your patient’s blood platelets are going to be low, watch out for injuries. There needs to be none to very minor strain on his body and he needs to be careful. For example, for patients that get minor cuts, wounds do not clot and just carry on bleeding. Platelets do more than just clot wounds though; they also are a primary building block for repairing organ tissue.
  • Opt for an IV port implant. If your oncologist doesn’t suggest it, bring it up yourself. The port allows the medication to go straight into the veins without having to stick your patient with needles in his arms and hands all the time. If he is being given several months of treatment or if the medication is the type that burns and is uncomfortable going through smaller veins (such as potassium), then the port is so much easier. Once treatment is complete, he can get the port removed if it doesn’t look like treatment will be needed again. It leaves a minimal scar and frankly, starting a new IV gets harder and harder with each chemo session. NOTE: if using an IV port, watch out for clots! Some patients report having a sheath of protein form around the end of the port causing the infusion to leak back up and out of the artery, which did some fine damage to the tissue around their shoulders and caused a clot to form from their carotid to their elbow.
  • Expect extreme sensitivity to cold. Touching anything cold can be an unpleasant experience for chemo patients (eg. shower tiles in the morning, anything out of the fridge, most metal surfaces). It doesn’t even have to be extremely cold — even room temperature drinks are out of the question for the first few days after an infusion. Cold air can affect them too so keep the room temperature at one that is comfortable to the patient, not you. A minor increase in your gas bill is a minimal sacrifice in return for the comfort of your patient!
  • Expect neuropathy of hands and feet (damage to the peripheral nervous system) — extreme sensitivity to touch, a tingling/burning sensation, or low touch sensation.At its worst, it may be painful for your patient to even zip jeans or open a canned beverage. This makes walking around a task in itself too. Some people have found acupuncture an effective remedy for this, see if your insurance can cover it.
  • Two words: chemo brain, a common side effect of chemotherapy that affects concentration and focus. Patients lose their train of thoughts easily and describe having a foggy brain. It can take up to a year to recover basic algebra skills. Expect slow motor comprehension and be understanding when they have difficulty forming and expressing their thoughts and memories.
  • Expect dry eyes, lips, and skin. Have moisturizing eye drops, organic/natural lip balm, and SPF lotion. Many patients recommend Egyptian Magic moisturizing cream but any will do. Straight coconut oil or cuticle oil works well too at moisturizing the skin.

Advice During Chemotherapy:

  • Talk to the oncologist about any issue that comes up, no matter how small. Have a note pad and write everything down as to what happens at home and at the doctor appointments. A lot will go through your mind during treatment and you don’t want to omit any information.
  • Be understanding of the patient, even when you don’t understand. For example, some patients do odd things during chemo such as sleeping in their closet at times because it was the only place in the house where they could have total darkness and semi-silence.
  • Find time to be “normal” and laugh … a lot!
  • Remind the patient why they are doing this. There may be times when the patient wants to quit but what can keep them going can be the fear of looking at their children and telling them they did not do everything possible to stay here with them.
  • Know that some things will never be the same again…
  • Find a person, people, or a community that knows what the patient is going through. Many people who have never experienced this simply cannot empathize.
  • However, also know that there are people out there who do understand. It may be harder to find these people at times but they are there!
  • Be aware of the cumulative effects, the end is as tough as the beginning.
  • Chemo affects everyone differently. It may be easier for some than others and vice versa.

DAY 33 | Buckling In

DD is easily influenced by his surroundings. As such, DM and I haven’t fully explained to him the severity of his cancer. It comes in handy that DD isn’t fluent in English because, when the surgeon informed us that his liver biopsy results were positive, DD interpreted that as, "It’s a good thing that the results were positive, right? Because that means the cancer has spread only to the liver and no other organs?” We even hinted to his primary physician to play along and explain to him, "Of all the bad news you could have received, this is the best possible news," which he proudly recites to his visitors… DM and I don’t have the heart to break the truth of the matter to him because he has so much hope in his situation and especially now, hope trumps fear. Thus, it comes down to the age-old dilemma of ignorance or bliss: should we continue to protect him from the truth or bring everything out into the open?

What’s been the most difficult about this experience so far is the unsettling thought that my time left with DD is running out. Never had I imagined my life without DD and yet, that is a painful realization that I know I must accept sooner or later. When GI Joe revealed that DD had cancer, the very first thought that popped into my head was, "He might not be able to walk me down the aisle anymore…" That had never crossed my mind before but here it was, glaring at me in the face. I realize how detrimental this kind of thinking is though because I get immensely depressed every time I think of things that I won’t be able to do with DD in the future.

To make matters worse, these thoughts appear when I least expect them to, in situations that would have never affected me before. While at lunch the other day, I noticed a dad pulling into the parking lot with his family in a minivan and immediately, I was so envious of this scenario — so bitter that the family was probably taking this for granted and deeply saddened knowing that this part of my life has already passed. In Silver Linings Playbook, there is a holiday scene with Christmas music playing in the background, families gathered around the table and enjoying each other’s company, and an inviting fireplace lighting up the room. While watching this, I started tearing up because I didn’t know whether or not I’d be able to spend another Christmas with DD, the looming uncertainty tugging at my heart that he might not be here this Christmas. However, as a friend pointed out, this pain that I’ve only begun to feel is something that I will feel for the rest of my life. The secret, though, is being able to love and enjoy DD right now and cherishing these memories for the rest of my life. Instead of fretting over what we can’t do together, I need to focus on what we still can do together and how to maximize the remaining time we have.


December 28, 2012 - Enjoying a white Christmas together at Mammoth Mountain


Advice I’ve received/gathered on how to make the most of the remaining time we have together:

  • It is a daily battle but don’t live like you have cancer. It takes two to tango so you might as well have fun with it, right?
  • Be there as much as you can but also give them space if they need it. "I wish I didn’t spend more time with DD," said no one EVER.
  • Be supportive to him. Listen to him. Be there for him, however you can, in whatever way he wants you to be there for him.
  • People aren’t always themselves when they’re in a lot of pain and they can say things that have more to do with the anger and frustration they’re feeling at the moment than anything they really believe. It may not always be fun but it will be meaningful.
  • Pain is suffering. Suffering is a choice. Choose not to suffer.
  • Take solace in the fact that this will be the saddest time in your life and after this, you can handle anything. Anything.
  • Talk. Make sure nothing is left unsaid. Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be said today.
  • Document. Take photos and videos of the family just spending time together, talking, and having a good time. It’s the mundane, everyday things that you will miss the most and want to preserve while you can. Ask him about his childhood and get them on tape. Ask him about your grandparents, or aunts and uncles, or family members you don’t know much about. Ask him about anything and everything you ever wanted to know and that you would ever want to know.
  • While your time together may be limited, don’t be rushed to do things together. Enjoy the time you are spending together and cherish these memories you are making.
  • Statistics are made up of all patients. In statistics, an outlier is an observation that is numerically distant from the rest of the data. Outliers happen all. the. time.

DAY 32 | Taking Off


It’s already been thirty-two days since his hospitalization. Thirty-two days since I discovered my SuperDad’s kryptonite. Thirty-two days since my world was turned upside down. Thirty-two days since I was plucked out of my youthful innocence and thrust into the real world and everything that comes with it. Never did I imagine that I would be in these circumstances but here I am, using this medium to help me process my surroundings, document this journey, and empathize with others who are on this boat plane as well. Ready for take off?


imageMay 11, 2012 - Graduating with my Bachelor’s and Master’s, the fruit of my parents’ love and labor.

Dearest Dad (DD) - Fit as a fiddle at 56 years young, with all the enthusiasm and genuine compassion of a toddler, the boyish charm and smile of an adolescent, and the wisdom and grace of someone twice his age.

Dearest Mom (DM) - The pillar and backbone of our family, extremely fervent in prayer, cute and sheepish in her humor and interests, and currently shouldering the burdens of the entire family (and then some).

Dearest Brother (DB) - The new man of the house at age 15, one of few but meaningful words, sincere in his efforts and interests, although gaming has gotten the better of him for many years (and still counting).

The Narrator (Me) - A barely legal 21 year old too ambitious for her own good, on the yuppie fast-track but put a halt on her career to focus on family and spend as much time as possible with her dad.


Timeline of Events:

  • Wednesday, February 20th - DD does not have a morning bowel movement for the first time in his life.
  • Monday, February 25th - DD still has not passed stool, goes to his doctor who prescribes him laxatives.
  • Thursday, February 28th - DD begins to vomit his laxative medicine for the first time. DM administers an enema but there is still no bowel movement. With fear growing that this is not constipation but something more serious, DM calls an ambulance and rushes DD to the hospital.
  • Saturday, March 2nd - DD undergoes a colonoscopy, where the gastroenterologist (GI Doctor, we’ll call him GI Joe) discovers that his colon has been completely obstructed by an aggressive tumor. GI Joe makes a tiny opening to try to let some stool pass through and does a liver biopsy. Introduces the c-word to DM and me for the first time.
  • Monday, March 4th - DD passes stool for the first time in 13 days through the opening GI Joe made. Things are looking up for the first time!
  • Tuesday, March 5th - DD undergoes colonic resection and exploratory laparatomy surgery. Has two feet of his colon removed. Liver biopsy results come back positive for cancer.
  • Sunday, March 10th - DD is finally released from the hospital to begin recovering at home!
  • Thursday, March 21st - First appointment with the oncologist, informs us that the cancer may not be colonic in origin as previously thought but rather, pancreatic with metastasis to the colon and liver. Will customize treatment plan based on results of the lab report, which will be available by the next appointment the following Thursday, March 28th.


The Diagnosis:

As of now, based on pathologic findings, DD is battling Stage IVA colon cancer with metastasis to the liver. Specifically, with regards to the AJCC (TNM) Staging System:

Tis: The cancer is in the earliest stage (in situ). It involves only the mucosa. It has not grown beyond the muscularis mucosa (inner muscle layer).
N2b: Cancer cells are found in 7 or more nearby lymph nodes.
M1a: The cancer has spread to 1 distant organ or set of distant lymph nodes.

This classifies him as a Stage IVA patient: any T, any N, M1a. However, should we find out this Thursday that instead of (i) colon cancer with metastasis to the liver, he has (ii) pancreatic cancer with metastasis to the colon and liver, his M category would increase to M1b: the cancer has spread to more than 1 distant organ or set of distant lymph nodes, or it has spread to distant parts of the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity). Thus, he would be a Stage IVB patient: any T, any N, M1b.


The Prognosis:

The 5-year survival rate for Stage IV colon cancer is 6%, meaning that 6 out of 100 people live past five years since their time of diagnosis. Even worse, the 5-year survival rate for Stage IV pancreatic cancer is 1%.


Prayer Requests:

  • For healing - That any cancerous cell in DD’s body would flee, that there would be complete healing.
  • For DD - That he would stay strong emotionally, spiritually, and physically. That no matter how hard the going gets, he would never give up on us and himself.
  • For DM -  To have wisdom and discernment as she leads the family through this difficult period. That God would be her source of strength and meet her every physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and relational needs. That God would use her to speak truth, love, and encouragement to my dad, minister to him, and uplift his spirit. That she would remain healthy and not be overwhelmed with burdens or stress.
  • For DB - To be able to process the news of my dad’s illness well and for this to not affect his school work, relationships, and self. For him to meet Christ and accept Him as his personal Lord and Savior.
  • For me - That God’s love and joy would overflow in my life to my family and that I would remain thankful in all situations. That God would be my strength and shield so that I can provide financial and emotional support for my family. That I would be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”