Someone just pointed out to me that I hadn't posted since October 13th and that some of you out there still worry and check! So, so sorry!
No news is very good news. Mark continues to improve and get stronger. We are still juicing and using supplements and other natural therapies. I keep threatening to write up what we are doing in case anyone is interested for themselves.
We love all of you. I believe the most important thing we are doing is praying and exercising faith. We surely appreciate all of your prayers on our behalf. It's not over yet.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Oops! I just read my last few blog posts and realized that I hadn't yet reported the results of Mark's last doctor's visit. You may recall that he had the primary tumor removed some time ago. There was no attempt to "get it all" as it was considered hopeless - the cancer had already spread. The removal was "palliative," in other words, to make Mark more comfortable. He finally went in for a post-op follow up. The doctor was very surprised - surprised that the cancer had not progressed (or gotten worse) or regrown. I wasn't surprised in the least, other than that the doctor was so willing to express surprise at how well our patient is doing!
Well, we are proof that "no news is good news." Mark continues to feel well. He walks a couple of miles on most days. His cancer symptoms are virtually gone. We haven't had any medical tests to confirm that the cancer is gone, as it cost thousands to just to get to a diagnosis - with no treatment. But feeling well and having no symptoms - that's saying something! Thank you so much for your continued faith and prayers! If any of you would like more details about Mark's diet and supplements, you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark's struggle now is with Parkinson's disease. It may seem strange, but if you google melanoma and Parkinson's, you will find that there is a significant correlation - almost two times the average occurance of one if you have the other. You can guess where I am headed again - back into the medical research.
Did any of you know that I wanted to be a doctor when I was growing up? I actually considered going to the Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine a few years ago, but decided that launching a new career was impractical.
We love and appreciate all of our wonderful friends. Without you, our journey would not have been so successful. Hugs for all of you.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I thought all of you would enjoy reading Mark's essay which was recently published in the Deseret News. Click on the following link to find it:
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I haven't posted for a while because there is not much news to report. Mark continues to get stronger and healthier! Miracles and blessings - we are so grateful for each one, large and small - and so much more aware of the tender mercies of the Lord in our lives. We are finding that completely trusting the Lord and surrendering our will to His, along with keeping grateful hearts, makes all the difference. We are certainly grateful for each of you and your faithful prayers in our behalf.
We are also so thankful for all of the yummy and nutritious produce donated by many of our friends. It is exactly the kind of nutrition Mark needs. Thank you! Thank you!
We have gotten the nutrition, supplementation, exercise and deep breathing down to a routine. Mark is feeling well enough to be back at his writing and I am able to work effectively again. Double yay! Of course, we are not back to normal health-wise or other-wise, but we are getting there. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Love and hugs, Laurel
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
God is a god of miracles. He loves each one of us with a love so perfect and sublime that it is beyond our comprehension. Every single day is a miracle for which we should give our grateful praise.
Living each day as if it were one of our last brings great spiritual blessings - blessings of emotional and spiritual healing, blessings of sweetened relationships, blessings of tender hearts and open, humble spirits, blessing of the Spirit.
I have seen great miracles happen in Mark's life and in my own soul. I will be forever grateful for this time in our lives. It could have become a time of fear and bitterness; but because of the goodness of the Lord, it has been a time when the blessings of the Atonement of the Son of God are manifest on our lives. Yes, we are seeing signs of physical healing taking place, but the spiritual blessings are so sweet that the physical pales in comparison. We are so grateful to our Heavenly Father and His Son - and to each of you for your faith and prayers. Laurel
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Today, July 9th, we spent the afternoon in the Huntsman Cancer Center. It is everything it is advertised to be. The staff is absolutely kind and helpful; the facility is beautiful and state-of-art; there is a library full of resources for patients and their families. Each patient is assigned a team of professionals, including a social worker who is charged with getting the patient any needed emotional, spiritual and social support. Of course we told the social worker that we had an amazing network of supportive friends and family. We are so blessed!
The tumor was C-kit negative, which means that Gleevec (which has the best success rate of all options) will not be effective against Mark's particular form of melanoma. And I guess that is the really bad news: Mark's type of melanoma is rare, having started in the mucosal membranes. There are not nearly as many options for treatment as with the usual type of melanoma. At stage IV, the doctors say that it is not curable, but that it can be treated. Treatments are hoped to extend life a few more months.
The next step is to do a BRAF test on the tumor. BRAF (whatever kind of chemo that is) is the next best choice; it shrinks a tumor in 70% of patients, but the tumor generally comes back in 7-9 months. Other possible chemo drugs proposed have a history of shrinking tumors in 15% of patients, with a re-occurance of tumor growth in 3-6 months. Doesn't sound very promising to me, and the thought of having nausea and other side effects for so little gain doesn't sound like a good trade-off.
Additionally, Dr. Grossman ordered more of some of the same kinds of scans and tests done last month. He wants to see if there is any change in the spot found on the spleen. If it has grown, then the idea is that the cancer has spread and surgery would be pointless. If it has shrunk, then Dr. Grossman would question whether or not the spot found on the spleen is actually the cancer (I would say it is all the good nutrition and Mark's body fighting back). In that case (deciding it is not cancer), they will proceed to test a spot found on the thyroid, which could actually be a nodule commonly found on people without cancer. If both spots turn out not to be cancerous, then the proposal would be to do a radical surgery, removing much of Mark's natural plumbing, along with lymph nodes and surrounding tissue. Of course, it is yet to be seen if Mark would agree to all of that. My own gut feeling is that the thyroid spot is not cancerous, but that the spleen is. However, I would not be surprised to find that the spleen spot has shrunk because we are fighting hard to stimulate Mark's immune response.
To summarize what I think the doctor said today: 1) Mark's best chance at survival is if the cancer really isn't stage IV and hasn't spread as far as originally thought. They are willing to do more tests before they rule that out. If the new tests show that Mark is at a lesser stage, they would want to cut out as much tissue as possible, which would mean a colon bag and possibly five more years. 2) If Mark is really at a State IV, then they would propose a few (limited choices available) chemo options which may add a few months to the year or so they think he has without treatment. 3) Mark should eat whatever he really likes, because it is important that he keep from loosing weight and besides, he should do what makes him happy and comfortable. In other words, "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow . . . .".
In spite of the very bad news, I really liked the doctor and all of the rest of the team. They really seemed to care and I liked the fact that they were honest and straight-forward in approach. However, I believe there is another side to the story - and that is that Mark seems to be doing better. He has more energy, he no longer deals with bleeding, his color is better and some of the melanoma spots which I have personally observed have disappeared. These new tests may confirm my own observations.
I've said it before, and I really mean it - I truly believe in miracles. I believe they can come in answer to prayer, provided that it is in the Lord's plan. I also believe that we need to do our part. And that is just what we are doing, praying and changing diet and doing whatever else we can to support and encourage Mark's body to heal. Mark is in the care of the Great Physician and we trust Him with all of our hearts. We will also accept whatever His will is for our lives because we know and trust that He will continue to love and bless us in the ways that are best for us. Please continue to pray for us - we so appreciate and need your love and support. Love, Laurel
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Well, everything came out in the end (pun intended). What I mean to say is that Mark's surgery is behind us; they removed the golf ball sized tumor which alerted us to his condition in the first place. He is home and walking around saying, "I have a new lease on life!" Of course the cancer is still in his body, so your prayers are still very needed and very much appreciated.
Many thanks to all of you who helped till the weeds under in the garden - we feel loved - a nice miracle all in itself. May God's grace shine on all of you who are helping and praying for us. You are the best!
Friday, June 11, 2010
Today we saw the proctologist/surgeon who scheduled Mark for surgery on next Tuesday, June 15th. The purpose is to make Mark more comfortable (they called it "palliative") and they acknowledge the impossibility of removing all of the cancer. That means it will be a simple procedure with a minimum of down-time. He also gets to keep all of his natural equipment (yay!). They will then also have the tissue to test for the effectiveness of the chemo drug mentioned earlier.
We are also talking about the difficult personal, legal and financial decisions so that we can put those worries and concerns aside and focus on healing. It reminds me of a sweet lady who left my office after signing her will. She said, "Now I know I'll live much longer - I can feel my blood pressure going down just knowing this is done."
Even though we haven't been able to reply to each of you, we sincerely thank all of you who have taken the time to write words of encouragement. It is truly appreciated and helps us keep our spirits up. We love you!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
In the meantime, we are doing what we can by eating a juice and soft food diet. Laurel is juicing fruits and veggies for me. And we are praying and asking for a miracle."
Yes, I am making a big mess in the kitchen juicing for Mark. I had a long talk with Dean and Ann Richards before they left for Alaska and they shared the recipies Dean had developed based on his research. Daily doses of those, along with Noni juice, lots of prayer and good doctors are what Dean credits with his cancer recovery. Many of you probably know that Dean is a bio-chemist. He took the latest research and put it to practical use. I also have been given other very good advice about natural remedies which have helped other people I know. We plan to use all of the tools our Heavenly Father makes available to give Mark the best chance, including medical science and natural alternatives to boost the immune system. Keeping an active hope is also important. We are prepared for the worst, but hoping and working for the best. Help us pray for a miracle!