Happy New Year! Happy Birthday! 1/14/14 Update

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Dear Friends and Family,

Happy 2014!! Tomorrow is Mark’s 50th birthday and we celebrated this past Saturday night with a big surprise party for him, The above picture was taken at the party. The picture includes all 3 of our children with their spouses and our two grandchildren. It was a wonderful night – Mark was able to see how much he has impacted people and how many people love and pray for him – it was overwhelming to see so many people there – it was a great night and couldn’t have gone better.

A lot has happened since I last updated – after the first of the year we decided to make move and to ask a friend of ours who is a surgical oncologist at Northside to take Mark on as a patient so he could help control his pain meds, etc. It’s a long story but we won’t be going back to our oncologist at Kennestone.

So the first week of January we visited Northside for his first appointment and the first thing that they wanted to do was to send Mark over to radiology to see if they could help with reducing the tumor that is in the rectum. We were more than happy to to get a second opinion but didn’t think it would do a whole lot of good. We had been told that there was no way to do any more radiation. But we headed over and met the doctor there who proceeded to tell us that yes, indeed Mark is a candidate for more radiation that would help to shrink the tumor – it won’t cure it but it could certainly help with the discomfort he has. We left there very encouraged and were told to wait for a call to get a PET scan as soon as our insurance approved it.

We were scheduled to go down to Northside on Friday, January 10th for the scan. However, the day before Mark got out of the bathtub and we noticed that his legs were very swollen from top to bottom so I called the doctor and they said to bring him into the ER. We left the house immediately and they took him right back and started doing different testing They tested his heart to make sure that wasn’t it and then made sure he didn’t have any blood clots in his legs – thankfully both of those tests came back negative. They did a CT scan and found his kidneys were enlarged due to the lining of the bladder being thickened. They admitted him and said they would need to put drains into each kidney to give him the relief he needed. I stepped out into the hall to consult with the doctor about the possibility of Mark being able to go to his party (that he knew nothing about) on Saturday night. He assured me he would do what he could to make that happen.

On Friday morning we met the Urologist and again I talked to him about my concerns about this party that we had hundreds of people coming to. He said that even if they just let him leave for the evening that they could help us out. Thankfully we were at Northside which was close to Peachtree Presbyterian where the party was to take place.

Friday afternoon they put the drains in and the immediately started working! On Saturday morning the doctor said there was a slim chance that he would discharge Mark that afternoon and he wouldn’t have to come back to the hospital after the party. I texted a couple of people and asked them to pray with me that he would get discharged. PTL he got to come home and get ready for the party and didn’t have to go back to the hospital. I was thrilled – to get him to go to the party I had to tell him just a little about what was going on or I couldn’t have gotten him out of the house – the shock he had though when he saw 350 people waiting on him was priceless!!

On Sunday and Monday we had a small retreat from anything medical and just tried to get Mark as comfortable as possible which is hard with a colostomy bag on the front and two drains coming out of your kidneys and the pain from the tumor.

Today we went to get bloodwork done and then started his first round of radiation – they are going to keep a close eye on him but they will do up to 20 rounds. He goes for his second round in the morning. Happy Birthday to him!

We continue to pray for a miracle and praying that the radiation can shrink the tumor and give him relief from the pain. He is also going to see palliative care physician that will help with pain control but we will do radiation before we do that.

Thanks for all the love and prayers – keep it up!!

Love you all dearly,

Mark and Lee

Psalm 121:1-8

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Romans 8:31

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.