Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Please pray for Kevin

"Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have -- life itself."

-- Walter Anderson

^ Meet my superhero! It's a sweet video put together by some of Kev and I's old Chili's co-workers.. Sending out a HUGE thank you to Mandie, Matty, and Whitney for putting this together last minute!

As many of you already know, I recently returned from a heartbreaking visit to Houston, Texas to visit a friend who is terminally ill.

I met Kevin back in high school, through a former ex-boyfriend. About two weeks ago, I checked in on Kevin through Nick since Kev wasn't responding to any of my messages. Nick asked me to call him, despite it being 5 something in the morning Jakarta time. I knew it was urgent and called right away.

I can still hear those words, "Do you really wanna know?"


"Kev texted me the other day and said, 'It's terminal bro.'"

My heart felt as though it had shattered into a million little pieces.. and I just kind of sat there. Stunned. Speechless.



Kevin and I on my 22nd birthday in May 2010

He's invincible! I don't get it. One of the healthiest and smartest people I know.. so good hearted, quirky, and full of love. And so young.

I was in tears. Try as he might, I could still hear Nick's voice wavering as he tried to tell me about Kev's recent trip from Vandy in Nashville, Tennessee to MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. Nick informed me that him and Blake, another good friend from high school, were flying in that afternoon to visit Kev.

Before I knew it, almost 45 minutes had gone by and Nick and I reminisced about the good times with Kevin and how we thought that his surgery went well.. and that he was recovering.. and now it's suddenly stage 4? It just didn't make sense.

Kevin has a rare cancer called GIST, otherwise known as gastrointestinal stromal tumor. Basically, tumors started growing in his stomach wall years ago.. by the time it was diagnosed, the tumors had grown tremendously. He had four large tumors removed, along with his spleen, part of his stomach and liver as well as his pancreas. And yet.. the cancer attacked more ferociously than ever before. I was devastated.

Thankfully, I work at a wonderful campus that has such an understanding administration and staff who understood my need to leave last minute. I booked a ticket and flew to Houston.

I was able to leave the very next afternoon. Here are some pictures from the trip:

My plane

Support Breast Cancer Awareness

After waiting what felt like forever at the Jakarta airport, I flew into Singapore, then Moscow, and finally Houston, Texas.

Moscow was cold!


I wasted little time as soon as I arrived. It always seems like when you're in a rush, that's when things go slow! I quickly grabbed my bags from the baggage claim and took the first shuttle to MD Anderson Cancer Center.

I felt smelly, jet-lagged, and disgusting but my priorities lay elsewhere. Before I knew it, I was giving Kev the biggest hug.

"Hanging with Kev :) love you so much!"

Nick and I stayed by Kev's side as much as possible over the weekend, reminiscing about old times and helping him whenever he needed it.

He still has his personality, so the blunt comments were well appreciated. :)

I love that guy.

"I love you Kevin... Love you too."

Although they say his cancer is terminal.. and that he'd be lucky to make it to six months.. Nobody really knows how strong Kev really is. I believe in miracles and I am praying for him every day.

Will you?

xoxo amber

 *Update 6 Nov: Here are some sweet cards my kids made for me after I returned back to Jakarta the following Tuesday. They are so thoughtful!

Collection of cards from 3rd grade

"Hey, how is your friend, did Mr Kevin get well already? And how is your flight? What did you do over there? We hope you feel better! We miss you a lot! and we hope Mr Kevin will get well soon! and God bless you Ms. Amber! we love you Ms Amber!"

 "Dear Ms Amber We miss you a lot we hope that your friend will feel better GBU God Bless You the best theach teacher inclass"

"Dear Mrs. Ambe We miss you So much. Hows your fried Mr. Kevin his he ok? I hope you still remember us. Thanks for being a super awesome and cool teacher. Keep it up :).

"Dear Ms Amber I miss you so much Ms Amber I keep thinking about you. How was your day in USA? Hows your friend Kevin? Is he better? Please come back soon."

"Dear Ms Amber, I hope you will be right bach soon. I hope also you have a nice day in america. I hope also for your friend will feel better. God Bless You."

"Hi Ms Amber! How are you? I hope you come back soon! Did you have a good flight? Is Mr Kevin feeling better? I hope he is And I hope that he will survive the stomach cancer. We hope that you and Mr Kevin are okay."

"How was your flight? I hope the aeroplane don't crash. I'm scared if the plane crash."

This last card was given to me a week or so later from one of my 5th grade students. She made it all by herself! So many of the kids here and really, the people in general are so creative! The things they can make with so little! Anyway, this particular student was absent for almost a week due to the chicken pox (yes, in 5th grade it is normal here) .. so she gave me this card as soon as she returned. One of the sweetest cards I have ever received..
The cards reads... "Anything that just happen we pass through it, we can't go back to the first of our life. We just need to be happy and forget the things that just happen, just need to walk on your life."

In other words, let the past stay in the past. Wise words from a fifth grader. :)

I am so blessed to have such a wonderful group of students who genuinely care about my well being and that of my friends.. especially those who are close to my heart.

xoxo amber 

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