Five Months….August 21. 2014

5 Months…….can it really be? Although it feels like five years in a sense. Five years…five years ago today we were at Kennestone in the hospital as Mark had just had his first liver surgery on the 20th of August. Now that seems like a lifetime ago.
As I knew it would be my life is not even close to the same as it was before losing Mark. It’s never easy to lose someone you love and then you add to it that person you lost was the absolute love of your life and your very best friend – I know people say that but we really were best friends. We shared everything and in the past 5 years spent more time together than most – I’m so thankful for that time. Losing someone with such passion as Mark had makes it more difficult – he was a difference maker and not having him here changing so much of everything about me and everything about our family.
One of the things that Mark and I did so much together was to think of things to be thankful for. So when I miss him I can stop and think immediately of things that I have to be thankful for. Not only the five years we had before he passed but even since his passing.
Nathan, Kristen and their girls and I were privileged to go to FCA camp at St. Simons in July, something that Mark and I usually did. I was able to give my testimony and it was great to be there with fellow FCA staff and also with the coaches and their wives that we looked forward to seeing every year.
I was also able to go up to Gainesville this week where they have a Behind the Bench ministry for coaches wives and speak there – what a great group and how thankful I am to be able to share what God has taught me.
Biggest blessing since Mark has past…..hands down our new grandson, Jackson Mark Coyle born to Dennis and Jessica on August 1st (his actual due date!). What a bundle of joy he has brought to my life already….if everything around me seems off and the world seems awful all I need to do is sit down and hold that sweet baby in my arms and somehow all seems right with the world.
There are so many ways in which I can see God taking care of me and looking out for me – it’s so comforting to see physical evidence of God’s goodness to me.
The most comfort though comes from God’s words in scripture. I don’t know how people go through tragedy without God but I also don’t know how we would survive without scripture – it is our true north – the one place we can go for absolutes. We don’t have to take any verses we read to or research their reliability because it is God’s word and it’s the truth I can stand on no matter what. I can read books, poems, articles and online reading which I love but there’s nothing like the Bible. It is the source of all comfort, the essence of every need I have and the answer to each and every question ever asked.
I still have many decisions to make and don’t know exactly what direction God would have me to go and exactly what He wants me to do so I’m just waiting. It may be I am to do exactly what I’m doing now but it may be more or may be something different. But I know that He has a plan for me. He loves me and I trust Him to have the plan – I just have to follow.
I said the biggest blessing since Mark passed was Jackson but now that I think about it more I think it’s the people I’ve run into that tell me they are still praying for me and for my kids – it blows me away and it shows me just how much God loves me and how much He loves my kids that He would lay it on people’s hearts to bring us before His throne. What a mighty God we serve!

I so appreciate the love and prayers from family and friends!

Much Love,


Philippians 1:20-21 (the verse Mark always used when he signed his book)
according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Philippians 4:19
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

July 6, 2014 – 29th Wedding Anniversary

29 years ago to the minute I was standing behind the church door waiting to walk down the aisle to the love of my life. In what I believe to be one of the most beautiful wedding ceremonies ever we said “I do” and was off to our honeymoon and to the hopes and dreams we had often talked about.

4 years ago today Mark had one of his major surgeries to remove cancer. It was a rough recovery but I will always remember his great attitude and strength during any hospital stay that we had.

Usually every year during the July 4th week we are at FCA coaches camp at St. Simons, GA. It was a passion of both of ours but Mark loved that week so much!! I was thrilled to be able to go back down there this past week and even had the opportunity to speak. It was wonderful renewing old friendships and making new ones. Nathan and Kristen and their girls were able to go also which really made the week special.

As I shared what God has spoken to me about since Mark’s passing it cemented in my head the blessings that God bestowed on us and our family during the 5 years that cancer visited us. God allowed so much to happen in those 5 years and so many memories to be made.

While I may be lonely today and missing my man I can say with absolute assurance that I’m grateful beyond words that he is in heaven and totally healed and has attained what I will never understand until the day I join him. Heaven is so much sweeter to me now. I think of those who have gone before us that Mark is visiting with and the more I think of him in heaven the more peace I have. He suffered so much here on earth and while I wanted to grow old with him and to see him have many more years I didn’t want him to suffer not one more day.

I don’t know if I’ll feel like this next week or next month or even next year but right now I’m happy and joyful. I’m joyful that Mark is free and I’m happy for the years we had together. I think I’m privileged to have had the marriage that we had. Instead of being sad that it’s over I’m happy with the memories he left me with.

Overall we are all doing well. We all have our moments which is to be expected but I”m very proud of my family and how they’ve handled this. I’m very blessed to have my kids looking out for me – they are wonderful and I am so thankful that they are such a huge part of my life.

Jessica is getting closer to having that baby and I’m so excited about that. Just praying that all goes well and that soon we will have little Jackson Mark Coyle to hold and love.

I loved hearing stories of the ripple effects of Mark’s testimony and the Leave A Mark book – I heard someone say he was a glass half-full kind of guy! I love that and that’s the way I want to be.

I’m thankful for all the Lord has taught me and how He loves me unconditionally.

All My Love,


Psalm 103: 2-5

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 68:19

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.

Isaiah 30:18

And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.

Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

One Month Update – April 21, 2014

Dear Friends and Family,

Can it really be a month since I said good-bye to the love of my life?  I can hardly believe it.  I don’t know when it will finally sink in that he will never walk through the door again or never text me little love notes or never call again.  As I go though out my day I see or hear something and immediately I think that I’ll tell Mark later about that…..and then I remember.

I wonder how it would be had we not had so great a relationship – would it be easier?  would it be harder?  What if he wasn’t my best friend that we shared everything with each other?  What if he didn’t make me laugh so much and what if he didn’t get by with just about anything because he could give me that “look” and all would be forgotten and forgiven?  What if he’d been a lousy dad and husband who didn’t care about us?  Would it be easy then?  What if God had given us 5 more years, 5 more months, 5 more weeks or even 5 more days?  Would it ever be enough?  I don’t think so.

The truth is that when God brought us together 29 years ago we really did become “one”.  So it is reasonable that I feel like a part of me is gone because it is!  I know that it’s not every day that you find a relationship like I shared with Mark.  What made it so great?  We learned how to truly love each other over the years.  Not only did we complement each other but we just had a connection that is almost beyond words.  Our communication was awesome and we laughed so much together.  We agreed on so many things and we had similar interests and approached situations in life in much the same way.  

We always had a great marriage but the last five years God gave us even more.  I feel like we had two lifetimes together – the one before cancer where we had a good marriage, a good relationship with our family and a good relationship with God and didn’t have many needs and were just coasting along enjoying life – then we had the lifetime after cancer, five years and five days – where we had a spectacular marriage, stronger family relationships and a closeness to the Lord that we had never known before.  

Thankfulness – I’m so thankful for the journey that God put us on, what He taught us and how our journey was able to impact others.  Mark’s death is not the end of what God is going to do with him.  He has left a legacy that very few have left and what he started with “Leave A Mark” will continue and for that I’m so thankful.  I’m thankful that God healed him completely and he is free of all the earthly things that we are encumbered by.  I’m thankful that Mark was with his Lord for Easter and could worship and sing praises and be pain free!  I’m thankful for all my children and grandchildren that spent Easter Sunday with me – what a blessing they are and how proud they are making Mark by the way they are taking care of me – my kids are simply amazing and I’m so deeply grateful to the Lord for who they are and for their relationships with the Lord. 

Easter was definitely going to be different for us this year and indeed it was.  We all chose to go to the Sunrise Service at the cemetery where Mark is buried.  They had a service with music and a message from Hillcrest Baptist next to the cemetery and they also read all the names of those who had been laid to rest from last Easter until this one.  Then they had a dove release – it was just beautiful!   We put flowers on Mark’s grave and then we all went to Cracker Barrel.  After getting home we had an egg hunt out back with Camden which was precious and then just relaxed, played games and enjoyed the beautiful day.  I truly had a great day and felt very grateful for that – He is Risen!!! PTL!!!

I’m thankful for friends who love me and for so many who have reached out with cards and notes and emails and texts.  I told my mom the other night that I think I would feel guilty if I were doing poorly – so many people are praying for me and loving me and God is taking care of me so I cannot mope around.  I will grieve and of course I will be sad – I convinced I miss Mark more than I any human being could possibly miss another but then God always gives me peace and hope.  The greatest hope is that one day I will be reunited with Mark – no doubt about that.  I’m actually going home the same day as him – right?  The Bible says that in heaven “a thousand years is as a day” so I’m happy I’ll be in heaven the same day as him!

My birthday was the day after Mark’s Celebration Service and I got to celebrate with my niece who shares my birthday and was 21 and we had never been together on our birthdays and so my family had a special breakfast together.  I was especially surprised when after opening gifts from my family one was set before me that had been thought about weeks earlier from my loving, caring husband and it will be gift I always cherish – a silver locket with an inscription on the front that says “You’re the Love of My Life” and the back says “Love, Mark” – what a man!  There are no words to adequately describe what that gift means to me.

I wish life could just be still for a week or so but life moves on and so do we.  I’m back to work and am playing a lot of catch up.  I’m busy around the house taking care of loose ends, etc.  Cameron and Caitlin have temporarily moved in with me so that is really nice – I don’t have to be here all alone – it’s really great to have them around – the rest of the kids come around a lot and have all been a huge help to me.

It’s odd not talking about medical terms and diagnosis and how Mark is feeling.  I’ve been taking care of Mark for so long it had become second nature to me – I was constantly checking on him and when I did leave him had my phone right beside me at all times.  Now when I run in store I don’t even take my phone in or if it’s in my purse don’t listen for it – so much is changing.  

I go back to one of the original verses that God gave me after Mark was diagnosed – Isaiah 43:1-2 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

God has always known when He would take Mark home and that I would be left without him to go down this life’s path alone but the good news is that God already has that path ready for me and I trust Him to prepare me for that path and for whatever He has ahead for me.  I don’t know if this makes sense or not to you but I may not be currently happy about my circumstances but I have joy and peace and that’s better than happiness.  I also know that the happiness will return – “a time for every season under heaven”.

Thank you for your continued prayers and love for me and for my family.  I am blessed.

Much love,


(for Mark – the verses he always used when he signed his book)

Philippians 1:20-21

 According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Heaven’s Gain, Our Loss – March 21, 2014 Update

Dear Friend and Family,

I never dreamed after I wrote the update Sunday that just five days later would be Mark’s final day on earth.  He went to be with the Lord this morning without pain and I’m thrilled that he has total peace, no pain, no cancer and no worries.  It is of the greatest comfort to me to know that even now, just hours later, if given the choice the come back to earth with us he wouldn’t want to.  Heaven is a glorious place and I look forward to the day I join him and experience it.

On Monday the nurse came and we both felt that Mark was just totally worn out from the trip.  He was very tired and really just wanted to sleep most of the time.  He was still eating and enjoying food and was communicating with us – he was a little confused but nothing to be overly concerned about.

Tuesday was about the same – maybe a little more confused but still listening to me read his texts, telling me what to write back and having pretty much a normal day.  The morphine was completely taking care of the pain and while he was tired I still didn’t think we were nearing the end so quickly.

Wednesday is when I noticed he was really weak – when the nurse came he had a hard time even standing up and I would have to help him roll from one side to the other.  That afternoon he seemed a little more confused and I started asking him questions and he did pretty good at answering but then he seemed to regain a little clarity and asked to talk to each of the kids.  They each had a good conversation with him.  Afterwards he took a nap and after he got up I felt like he may be nearing the end.  I called his parents and told them they may want to head up this way.  I felt like we didn’t have a lot more time for quality time with him.  About 9:00 that night Nathan was with him and he said he wanted us all to join him.  So all 3 kids plus Caitlin, Cameron’s wife joined him for what we will always treasure. We wish that Kristen and Dennis had been there also but when we got there he wanted to talk to us about him leaving us and that he would miss us.  He had things to say to us and we all had lots to say to him.  Lots of tears, laughter and a gift of time with Mark from God that all of us will always treasure. 

Afterwards he went to sleep and didn’t wake up until Thursday afternoon at 3:00.  He slept soundly and you could tell he was at peace.  When he woke up he didn’t  have the ability to talk to us – it was sad but made us treasure last night’s talk even more.  We knew he wanted to see his parents and brothers once more and thankfully they were able to make it Thursday night and say their good-byes.

I was able to snuggle with him all night long and we were able to have our good-byes also.  I’m so thankful for that time and that I was right beside him when he breathed his last breath.  I know he is in heaven now and like Nathan said, probably paying a pick up game of basketball!  He has really missed being able to play.

We are all at peace with God and know that he took Mark home after Mark fulfilled his purpose here on earth. 

I couldn’t be prouder of my husband – he impacted more people in the past five years than most people do in a lifetime.  He took his cancer and used it as a platform to show people God’s ways and power. 

I know I have major changes coming my way and have to learn a whole new way of life.  I’m so thankful I have my children living close by and so much support.  Most importantly I have my heavenly father who will take care of me and hold me when I’m lonely.

I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am for all the love and support these past five years – we’ve been overwhelmed by so many friends who have loved us and supported us in so many ways!!

Arrangements are as follows:

Friday, March 28 from 5:00 – 8:00 the family will visit with friends at Wildwood Baptist Church 4801 Wade Green Road.

Saturday, March 29 at 11:00 we will have a memorial celebration service of Mark’s life at Wildwood with the graveside service to follow- if you can join us please wear bright spring colors! (That’s what Mark would want!)

With Gratitude and Thankfulness,


Psalm 16:11

You will show me the path of life: In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Philippians 3:20-21

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

II Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Five Years Ago Today – March 16, 2014 Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Five years ago today is when Mark woke up to the words “Mr. Tidwell, we found the problem, there is cancer in your colon.”  The day that changed our lives and forever made a distinction in our memories of either “before cancer” or “after cancer”.

Wow! Five years doesn’t seem like a long time when you have a baby until the time he is five but these past five years seem longer than five years – sometimes it seems like we’ve been dealing with cancer for much longer.

The first thing that I think is “Thank you Lord!” – these past five years have been incredible! We’ve lived another whole lifetime in these past five years.  We know many that after being diagnosed have such a short time and when the cancer spread five years ago in July to make Mark stage 4 they told us 3-5 years max.  In the harsh reality of life we could have had to say goodbye many years ago and yet here we are!  Very thankful for the opportunities, the time, the blessings, the marriages of all our children, the birth of two grandchildren – all of these things because God has given us that time and those blessings.  We’ve met so many great people on our journey and have been blessed beyond measure and seen kindness showed to us that has simply humbled us and changed us profoundly.

God has allowed Mark to write a book, distribute over 5500 copies so far, speak to thousands altogether and I’ve seen lives touched in a way that only God could orchestrate through the circumstances that He has allowed in our life.  He has impacted many by the message that God gave him and for that we are truly thankful.

I’m so thankful for this past week where, because of the generosity of dear friends, we have been able to spend the week on the gulf enjoying the beauty God created.  At the beginning of the week we were able to spend time with Mark’s parents and the end of the week all our kids and grandchildren joined us – a very nice time to be together and a beautiful place to be together in.  Even now as I type I hear the waves rolling in and see the power of God displayed in a way you only can at the beach.  Last night the boys went down to the beach and shot off fireworks as we sat on the porch and watched – it was beautiful and I thought a great celebration of the past five years!

Mark is still very weak and very tired.  He spends a lot of the day sleeping and I’m thankful that he can and that his pain is minimal. He continues to amaze me at his positive spirit – he tells me thank you all the time for taking care of him.  I’ve told him several times to “shut up” with a smile on my face – it is my privilege to take care of him and so thankful that I have so much time to be with him.  He’s not texting and emailing as much as he has in the past but if you are one to text him keep it up – I try to read his texts to him and when he feels up to it he will dictate how to respond and I will send it for him.  He has enjoyed the seafood and the sunshine this past week.  On Friday night the kids and I were able to drive him on a golf cart to the end of the island so he could take some sunset pictures – it was a gorgeous evening.

I’ve been asked a lot about Mark seeing visitors and the only answer I have is it depends on the day and how he’s feeling – he loves to see friends but he doesn’t have a lot of stamina so short visits are best.  Probably the best way to check is  to call or text me at 678-778-7254 and I can let you know.  

I firmly  believe that God through prayers is what has given us strength and peace and encouragement to fight this battle.  We covet your continued prayers for Mark.  He is a true warrior but he needs prayers now more than ever I think as he is weary and tired.  Specific requests would be: 1. God to be glorified thru our situation and for us to look for opportunities to share God with others. 2. If God so wills for Mark to be healed miraculously from the cancer and have many more years here with us 3. For the pain to be minimal 4. For Mark as he is scheduled to speak March 21 in Atlanta – that God would give strength or show us exactly how to handle. 5. For the family as it is hard to see someone you love so frail when all their lives they have been so strong. 6. Safety as we head back home today.

Thank you does not begin to cover how truly grateful we are for all the love and prayers!  Keep it up!

Much LOVE,

Mark and Lee


I Chronicles 29:11

 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all.

Matthew 19:26

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

II Corinthians 13:4

For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.

Ephesians 6:10

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Jeremiah 10:12

He has made the earth by His power,
He has established the world by His wisdom,
And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion.

“It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. God made man small and the universe big to say something about himself.”  — John Piper


Trust – do we really trust Him or not? 3/2/14 Update

Dear Friends and Family,

This last week has been a long and hard one – not the way we envisioned it going.  As you may know we were to go in to Northside Thursday morning for surgery that would help Mark with his prolapsed stoma from his colostomy.  On Wednesday night we were getting ready for bed when Mark started having pretty severe chest pains and a pain in his left side.  After a time of seeing if it would settle down I called our sons to come help me get him to the ER.  After we got him there, they began running many tests and they admitted him around 4:30 am.  The tests showed that the heart was absolutely fine and nothing to worry about there.  The legs showed no blood cuts nor were there any clots or swelling around the heart.  Unfortunately the tests did show that the cancer that was already there has grown and there are new tumors.  This was of course not the news we wanted to hear.  Mark was in a lot of pain and couldn’t seem to get much relief even with the pain meds.  They said they could still do the surgery but Mark opted not to since that would be just one more thing to deal with and could make us stay much longer in the hospital than he wanted.  We met with a great palliative care doctor who quickly got his pain under control with morphine.

We talked about our plans moving forward and once again were asked if he wanted to try chemotherapy.  We had decided long ago that he didn’t want to do any more chemo and he still feels the same way.  Chemo is the only thing that standard medicine can offer us at this point.  With declining chemo, what he needs to is to have his pain under control.  The best way to do this is for him to go home with a pain pump that will continually drip morphine into his system to make him comfortable.  In home hospice is the way to go with this treatment.  They provide everything we need and will come to the house 3 times per week to check on him and make sure all is well.  We won’t have to run to the ER any time we come up against something we are unfamiliar with but rather be able to pick up the phone and have the professionals come to us.  No, Mark will not be going into a hospice facility but rather have the luxury of being treated and cared for from our house and not have to get in the car every time a need arises.  We got home late Friday and night and Mark has been resting well since then.

This is where trust really comes into play.  For the past 5 years we have put our faith and trust in God and asked him to heal Mark.  One of Mark’s grandmother’s favorite verses was Proverbs 3:5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths”  We certainly don’t understand why God is allowing the cancer to progress but He is, so do we really trust him?    With our faith and trust in God these past 5 years we have researched and tried many different treatments.  With the help of our medical funds that our friends and family have funded, we have gone literally all over the country trying to find help for Mark and a cure for this disease.  I firmly believe that Mark is still with us today due to prayer.  Does getting “bad” news mean that we aren’t praying enough?  No, it simply means that God may have another fulfillment of His plan for Mark’s life.  

I was talking to a friend this morning and he put it quite well – we are in a transition period going from a faith in healing to the fulfillment of God’s plan.  This doesn’t mean that we have given up – by no means!  But we have come to the point where we see that God has allowed the cancer to progress and barring a miracle it will eventually take Mark’s life.  I KNOW God can perform that miracle – I have no idea if He will or not but we are trusting Him to do His perfect will in our lives.  At this point what that means to us is that we will make sure that Mark is comfortable and we will enjoy each day He gives us knowing that it is a gift from Him and we will treasure it!  We won’t be seeking any other alternative methods or running off to Germany or Columbia or any other country seeking a cure.  We will keep our faith and trust in God and allow Him to do whatever work He wants in our lives.

I am thankful to have a relationship with Jesus Christ that allows me the strength to endure the hard times and to have peace in the midst of the storm.  I’m also so very thankful for a husband with a strong faith who has impacted so many and used what was a bad situation to reach hundreds thru his speaking, his book and simply his life.  Our children have been amazing and continue to be.  They have grown strong spiritually and I couldn’t ask for a better support system than what they give me!

Our prayer requests remain the same – 1. For God to be glorified thru our circumstances.  2. For Mark to be healed 3. for the edema in his legs to be down to allow him to walk better. 4. for the morphine to be a relief for him 5. to give him rest at night

Thank you so much for your diligent prayers and your love to us!

Mark and Lee

Psalm 56:3-4

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust: I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man to to me?

John 14:1-2

do not let  your hearts be troubled.  Trust in god: trust also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.

Hebrews 12:2

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Isaiah 41:13

For I am the Lord, you god, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear: I will help you.

My Husband is Amazing! 2/24/14 Update

I am so thankful that I am with Mark almost 24/7 and today I was just thinking how amazing he really is.  Anyone that knows him will testify that he loves to be busy to get out and do things.  The past few months he hasn’t been able to do much.  In fact he hasn’t driven himself anywhere since early October.  It was a gorgeous day today and it broke my heart that he didn’t feel well enough to get out and enjoy it but as much discomfort as he is in or as hard as it is to find a somewhat comfortable position he is not complaining.  The edema in his legs is still bad and it makes it hard to even walk but I saw him shuffling down the hallway with clean laundry in his hands to help me out – am I blessed or what??  His appetite isn’t great these days and yet he doesn’t complain about what I fix (now granted – he is picky sometimes about HOW it’s fixed and it can be comical since there are times I don’t get it right the first time).  This isn’t to say he doesn’t struggle but simply how he handles it.  I couldn’t love him more.

Below is a picture taken a couple of weeks ago with Mark in his “spacesuit” while I help him with his Ozone therapy.


We spent Valentine’s day mostly at the hospital because after radiation they sent us over to radiology for them to look at all the leaking from the nephrostomy tubes.  We were so hopeful that they fixed it but when we got home the other tube started leaking.  Since Northside has a McDonalds in the hospital (how healthy is that??) I snuck up while we were waiting and got a couple of strawberry  pies and that’s how we celebrated Valentine’s day.  Side note – a few days later there is a valentine’s day card on my pillow from Mark –  I have no idea how or where he got it but it was a very special surprise!

On Saturday, February 15th Mark had his last radiation treatment!  Yeah!!  We were still changing his clothes every few hours and dealing with the leaking but at least radiation was over.  Monday the 16th they took him back into radiology and completely changed out his nephrostomy tubes hoping to solve all the leaking.  We had a nice ride home, walked into a great smelling house where all was straightened and clean and all laundry done thanks to some angels visiting us!!  Our fridge was full of healthy food and we were ready for the week.  A couple hours after we got home the tubes started leaking again.  This time we were both at our wits end and we whipped out the drains and put them on which stopped the leaking but wasn’t the result we were hoping for.  We are praying for some resolution here but the drains are something we can live with if need be.  Just thankful the kidneys are functioning properly.

The next thing is surgery this coming Thursday.  They are going to fix his colostomy – it is an external surgery  but we will probably be at Northside for a couple of nights.  He is looking forward to this as it will really help him.  While he is an inpatient we are meeting with a Palliative care doctor that will help us with pain regulation.

After that we need to figure out our next steps in this journey.  We are looking into a couple different things and praying what exactly God wants us to do – we know He will guide our steps.

Prayer requests would be 1. We will be sensitive to what God has for us and which steps He wants us to take 2. Relief from pain 3. That he will be able to sleep well at night 4. Edema in his legs will reduce 5. Surgery will go well Thursday 5. Tumor to shrink and all cancer cells to be eliminated from his body.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers!!

Much much love and gratitude,

Mark and Lee

Psalm 28:7

The Lord is my strength and my shield.  My heart trusts in Him and I am helped; Therefore my heart rejoices and with my song I will praise Him.

Psalm 145:18

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.

Isaiah 26:3

Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusts in Thee.



Finally, an Update! 2/12/14

Dear Friends and Family,

I really do try to update this blog more frequently than I do but it seems on a busy day such as today it’s the first thing to get bumped off my list of things to do.  I’ve had people ask why I’m so busy so I’ll give a brief summary of my day today.  After getting up and getting ready for the day I probably spent about an hour getting Mark’s juice ready, preparing his breakfast, getting his supplements going and then cleaning everything up.  I spent about 6 hours on the computer doing my real job with breaks in between to help Mark change his dressing where he is having leaking (will explain later) and doing about 8 loads of laundry do to all the leaking we’re having.  Factor in fixing and cleaning up lunch, cleaning our bathroom and fixing dinner ( I did have help with the clean up :)) and then walking to Walgreens due to the snow to get more supplies because we’re having to change the dressing so often.  It was a beautiful walk and I loved every minute of it.  This evening it took about two hours to help Mark change his colostomy bag and the dressing on his fistula and then help him get cleaned up and change the dressing again on the nephrostomy tubes.  From 7-8 I did something I love to do- I watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!

Five things I’m thankful for today (in random order) 1. that we didn’t lose power 2. that I have a washer and dryer 3. beautiful snow outside my window 4. people that share encouraging verses on Facebook and 5. time spent with my husband.  Philippians 4:8 says Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  So no matter how long or how hard the day we can always find things, big or small, to be thankful for!

Mark is almost done with radiation – two more treatments – weather permitting he will go Thursday and Friday and be done – if not, we’ll finish up on Monday.  Last week he went in for outpatient surgery to have two stents put into his kidneys.  When they got in they were able to take out the stent in the left side and replace it with a more robust stent but the right side was just too blocked.   They sent him to interventional radiation and they put they stent in thru the nephrostomy tube that was already in place.  We thought we were going to be at the hospital until about noon but ended up being there close to 5:00 – a very long day.  They capped the tubes and took the drains out but before we left the hospital the right side started leaking and so they put the drain back on.  Before this procedure he was already having a lot of problems with edema in both his legs but since then the right leg especially is very swollen and it is like dead weight to him.  I think he’s gained about 8 pounds in water weight just in his legs.  We are trying lymphatic massage and after the massage his legs are much better but they quickly go back to what they were – we just need to get his lymph system working again so everything drains properly.  Since coming home that day we have left the drain in the right kidney bc it kept draining and we didn’t want to get it all blocked up.  After speaking with our urologist yesterday he said to cap off the drain to try to make the body start draining on it’s own.  So we did and that’s when the leaking started – the doc said to just let it go so the body can try to eliminate the natural way and not give in and hook the drains back up (my own terminology).  This means that after putting a dressing on it’s only a matter of time before it starts getting soaked and then goes thru his clothes, etc.  So that’s why I’ve done eight loads of laundry today!

He still is having pain from the tumor but is seeing some relief – I wouldn’t say a whole lot but we’ll take a little over nothing!  The edema in the legs is obviously a big problem – it takes him about a good 5 minutes to climb into bed – it wears him out just getting in and out of bed.  A lot of this is due to the legs being dead weight but then he’s uncomfortable on both sides of his kidneys bc of the caps on them and then still having tumor issues and also the colostomy so he doesn’t have hardly any way to lay down comfortably.  He has about 6 pillows to try to get everything right but I know it’s discouraging to him.

Sleep is still an issue – he is usually up at least 4-5 times per night – sometimes he can’t go back to sleep – this is when he catches up on “words with friends” and emails, facebook, etc so if you see he’s made a post at 3 in the morning you’ll know why.  And I must put a disclaimer here – if he says or posts something outrageous just remember he is heavily mediated! 🙂

So, lots to pray about!  Requests: 1. a complete miracle of being cancer free that only God can perform! 2. we will be a witness to those we come in contact with and use the testimony that He has given us for His glory. 3. A good nights sleep 4. for the edema to clear up and his lymph system to work properly 5. relief from tumor pain 4. kidney stents to work and to be able to get the drains out.

We are very thankful for all the prayer support we feel and so many that help us with rides, chores, etc.  We are truly blessed by great friends locally who reach out to us so often.

Thanks for your continued prayers – we are VERY grateful indeed!

Mark and Lee

The song below resonates in my heart – “Blessings” by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we have faith to believe

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Winter Storm Leon – 1/31/14 Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Well this certainly has been a different week for us southerners!  In all my life I’ve never seen anything like what happened on Tuesday!  I had just dropped Mark off at an FCA directors meeting and decided since the weather was clear to go ahead and stop at Whole Foods – I came to quickly realize this was a bad decision!  When I came out just 30 minutes later there was snow everywhere and the traffic was already awful!  It took me 4 hours to get home which is about 10 miles.  My main concern was Mark – riding in the car is not a pleasant thing for him right now and sometimes a 30 minute ride can cause him tremendous pain. Long story short – it took Bill and Mark 5 hours to get to our house and when he got there Praise God he was feeling pretty good – Mark said the whole way home God just gave him peace and comfort and calmness – I was so thankful!  Our daughter plus an old friend ended up staying the night with us as they were stuck and couldn’t get home.  I was just very glad when all my family got to their homes.  Many spent the night out and we felt very fortunate to be home!

Due to the weather Mark missed two radiation treatments and his appointment with the surgeon about his colostomy.  We are back on track now and he should have 5 treatments next week as well as a procedure on Wednesday to put two stents into his kidneys replacing the one he has there now.  We think the tumor may be shrinking some so keep praying!!  We trust God can shrink that thing completely!!  His pain is about the same but the meds are really helping.  I will say however, if you get an odd text or email from Mark or you’re visiting with him and he either repeats himself or suddenly falls asleep then just know – it’s the drugs!!  I’ve actually had quite a few laughs.  One quick story – he recently had a DVD he wanted to watch and asked me to set up the laptop so he could watch it.  He fell asleep in the middle of it so when he woke up he watched it again – two days later Jessica is here and I come downstairs to find her setting up the TV so he could watch this DVD – he thought he had never seen it!!  We just have to laugh at these things – Mark will laugh too once we explain it to him sometimes more than once!

We were recently discussing trust in the Lord and how we’ve learned to trust in a different way.  You may have heard people say before as we had that they daily trust the Lord and sometimes it’s hour by hour or minute by minute but until the past few years neither one of us had experienced that.  Now, that is how our life is – we do trust God daily but on the hard days it’s hour by hour or minute by minute and we rely on Him more and more.  I understand why we learn to trust Him more in the hard times but wish it were like that all the time!  God has been so good to us in both the good and the bad and we see Him in all circumstances.  We are both extremely thankful for what we have learned and what He has taught us.  

Please continue to join us in praying for a miracle!  God has this and we trust Him with it!  Pray that God will be glorified and that we will seek opportunities to share His love with those we come across.  

I hope you all have a wonderful week-end!

With much Love and Gratitude,

Mark and Lee

Isaiah 61:3

To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Psalm 9:10

 “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”

Psalm 22:4 

“Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.”

Psalm 37:5 

“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 56:3 , 4 

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”

Psalm 71:5 

“For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.”

Isaiah 26:3 

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”


Radiation, Etc. 1/24/14 Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Nine rounds of radiation down and ?? to go!  Mark has been going every week-day morning for radiation at Northside.  They said it would take at least a couple of weeks to see if there was any reduction in the tumor.  So far he hasn’t noticed anything so we are praying that soon it will start shrinking the tumor and giving him some relief.

On Tuesday he went in for blood work to check on his kidney functions and thankfully the kidneys are functioning normally!!  We were hoping that meant he would get the drains out but not yet.  We met with the urologist on Thursday and they are going to put two stents in his kidneys on February 5th and put caps on his drains so they won’t be hanging out but if they need to use them again  they won’t have to do any surgery.  the procedure on the 5th is outpatient surgery.

We have an appointment on Tuesday with a surgeon to discuss fixing his colostomy as it has come out from his colon quite a bit and it uncomfortable.  Thankfully this can all be done at the same time he is doing radiation.

For the time being he has stopped doing any low dose chemo as radiation and the other issues are enough to deal with at the moment.

We are still doing juicing and using the results of his metobolic testing to help with his dietary needs.  We will do Living Foods Institute periodically when he is feeling up to it.

As I’ve mentioned before we’ve had someone come in to help with teaching me how to prepare some of the foods that he needs to be eating – she is going to come again next week and we are both excited about that as the meal prep and healthy eating seems to remain one of the harder tasks for me to keep up with.

Overall Mark is about the same pain wise – we are keeping ahead of the pain with the meds and keeping him as comfortable as possible.  He doesn’t sleep great but it’s not horrible either.  The other night he got 4 hours straight!  It’s interesting how your perspective changes – the next morning we were both so happy he got 4 hours in a row!  Sometimes in life it’s just the small things – Praise God!

We are thankful he has been able to keep up with the FCA ministry.  Not to the degree he would like but is still able to do some things.  This past week he attended a day of training for Area Directors and was able to be there most of the day – he even felt pretty good when he got home.

We continue to daily trust God and rely on Him for our next move.  He has been so faithful to us thru all of this journey and I’m in awe of what He has done in our lives in drawing closer to Him and teaching us total reliance on Him.

We are praying still for a miracle of healing and ask you to continue to join us in that prayer.  Praying for relief from pain and for all cancer to be totally gone from his body.

With Much Love and Gratitude,

Mark and Lee

John 14:1

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

Isaiah 12:2

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”

Psalm 20:7

 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Psalm 25:1-3

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;  in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.  No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.

Psalm 28:7

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.