June 23, 2006

Mark is not feeling well after chemo
Received an e-mail from Mark today saying that he is really sick after chemo this time and is having a lot of pain and he said not to expect to hear much from him for a couple of days. He has been lucky in the last few months in having fewer bad days after chemo and lots of good days. When Mark was first on chemotherapy he was really sick and his sister and I were staying with him for blocks of time. At that time, it was hard to tell if it was the cancer or the chemo, but he had such pain and nausea and vomiting and loss of energy and bizarre chills and fevers, weight loss, edema in his feet,hair loss, depression, and he was fussy. We used to call him Mr. Fussy at times as he fussed at us when he did not feel well and then he would suddenly realize how fussy he was and appologize and tell us how much he appreciated all the help we gave him and he would try hard to socialize with us then would go off into bizarre symptoms like the bone shaking chills while sitting on the patio in the blazing Bangkok sun with a wool cap on and wrapped in a blanket warmed in the dryer. Mark has stuck with chemo for 17 months. In spite of periodically being sick and fussy, he has kept his sense of humor and has been very kind to everyone he comes in contact with. He has always dressed up and looked like he was going to a photo shoot for GQ magazine when going to the hospital or the grocery store. He looks more like the staff than a patient when he goes to the hospital. He hangs in there and sets a good role model for all of us as our daily tribulations seem small compared to his. In a couple of months he will get another CAT scan. The last one was a birthday present and the next one may be a present on his sister's birthday (September 1).

June 20, 2006

Mark,Mom,and Sister Stephanie in front of the picture of the Thailand King in Mark's condominium lobby when we last were all three together at Spring break

Mr.Mark called me today from his hospital room at Bumrungrad Hospital
Mark is currently getting a three day regimen of chemotherapy.Since his creatinine clearance is a little off normal, his platinol has been decreased and the doctor is considering shifting from Platinol to carboplatin to make it easier on Mark's kidneys. Don't forget Mark. He needs support more than ever.It is the support of friends and strangers that keeps him alive as he wages a battle against liver cancer (a metastasis from the primary tumor which is now gone.) Your support means everything to Mark. Your support can keep him going in his battle against cancer. You can donate to his treatment fund by sending a check to the Highland Park Baptist Church in Austin. (See instructions in the right hand column.) It will help keep him in treatment until medicare kicks in next April and we can bring him home. If we run out of money he will come home sooner.
The King of Thailand is celebrating 60 years on the throne Mark tells me that the beloved King of Thailand, who is the longest reigning monarch in the world, declared that all streets in Bangkok would be clean for the celebration of his 60 years on the throne and people made sure that every scrap of paper and speck of dirt was off the streets and they did not let any dogs on the streets to make sure the streets were clean . Royalty from all over the world were in Thailand to join in the celebration. The King's royal color is yellow so every Thailand citizen and foreigners small enough to find a shirt to fit them bought a yellow shirt and the country was a sea of yellow. The King rode the royal barge down the Cho Phyra River with other royals on board. Citizens turned out by the thousands to see their King and the foreign royals and a huge firewords display. All Thai people love the King and there are pictures of him everywhere. There is a huge picture of the king in the lobby of Mark's condominium. Each day there are fresh flowers in front of the picture of the King. Several months ago James (Mark's Aggie stepfather) was sitting in the lobby of the condominium off and on for several days and he thought that the Thai people were very friendly as they made a wai (y) for him by putting their hands together and bowing. Later he found out that the Thai people were greeting the picture of the King in a sign of respect. Thai, no matter how rich or how poor,are proud to be Thai and often say: "Farang (foreigner)if you lucky in the next life, you be born Thai.
Training a Parakeet
This is the continued Saga of Kuhn Petey bird.This is the miracle bird that I found outside my 11th story bedroom in Bangkok. He was sitting outside the window looking at himself in the glass (see earlier story). Mark told me this week that after cooing to Kuhn Petey for weeks and months to get him to talk and putting his finger in the cage and cooing to get Petey to sit on his finger, he got tired of cooing and just grabbed Petey and put him on his finger and after a couple of times Petey got the picture and now will ride around on Mark's finger and come back to the finger when Mark turns him loose in my bedroom to fly around. Hmm there may be a behavior modification principle in here somewhere.

June 13, 2006

Mr. Mark sent an e-mail today saying: "lab values suggest my kidneys are not working as well as they should which Dr. T attributes to the platinum. If it persists we will be forced to use something else. Meanwhile he gave me a banana bag with manatol and will repeat the lab tests next week and try again. I loved your dedication in your book. It was very touching and makes me feel very special. Every since I have been reading I wondered who were the people that were mentioned in the first page and I thought they must be very proud to be on that page, and so am I. Thanks for the financial update. Still on the austerity program, the only new purcase was my tennis shoes and a pair of pants. I needed them both and don't feel too bad for spending the money. Glad you are back in Austin, be sure to catch up on your rest. Later, Mark "
What is a banana bag you ask? It is probably slang for an IV with potassium
Miss Betty the Mom has written the dedication to Mark in the preface of two psychiatric case history books showing up in bookstores this fall. The dedication reads: "This book is dedicated to my son Mark who has battled cancer throughout most of the time this book was in progress. Sharing with me some of his innermost thoughts, fears, and struggles has reinforced for me that what student nurses, family, and others see on the surface in a brief interaction with a client can be a very different picture than what is going on inside the client. Compassion, empathy, and therapeutic communication do help us understand that inner person. I am indebted to Mark for all he has taught me.
Additionally, this book is dedicated to all the good nurses in various fields of nursing, not just psychiatric mental health nursing, who apply psychiatric techniques and principles when working with clients who have mental health diagnoses and/or issues."
Mark is still on an austerity program Mark mentions he is on an auterity program (chemo and rent take most of what we can scrape together each month) and he has limited his purchases this month to tennis shoes to wear in increasing his excercise and a new pair of pants because he has gained weight.It is not anticipated that these books will provide much money to Mark's mom and therefore to Mark. Textbook writers do not often get much money from their books. We need to get going on the great novel.

June 05, 2006

Mark is Dealing with Boredom While Continuing Chemotherapy
Mr. Mark gave me this report. "Everyone I sees in Bangkok asks Where is your mom?" (I am in Austin working to make more money for chemo for Mark.) He goes on to say, " They look at me strangely and and ask: How are you? like they expected me to be dead already and wonder why I am still here." Mark says he is feeling better and getting out for some exercise. He took bread to a nearby park with a lake and ducks. It is On Sukhumvit, near Emporium Mall, if you know Bangkok. He has gone to look at Ferraris at a nearby dealerships. Mark rode the skytrain to a big new mall with a store selling Segways which are a platform on two wheels with a verticle column and handles. You lean back and it brakes, turn the handles to go left and right. and lean forward to go faster. Mark took it for a spin in the store with the salesgirl yelling: "slow down." Mark was trying to see how fast it would go. Mark and I have spent enough cash money for cancer treatment that if we had it all back, he could afford to buy a fancy car and a segway. The problem is that you can't use these things in Heaven so when you have cancer you spend your money to stay alive.

Mark is still cooking and has gained some weight. He claims he is the only healthy looking fat person in the cancer clinic. He is not really fat but just nicely filled out after being too thin. He could go thin again as the chemo,nausea; and vomiting keeps him going between three or four sizes of pants.

Mark reports he recently got to thinking he was so much better and stopped taking some meds including pain meds but after a few days he did not feel so good and started the meds up again. Mark asks for more licorice (red and black) as it keeps his nausea down most of the time.