January 12, 2008

Mark staying in Thailand for awhile because he is thriving here and looking very healthy and he was looking very sick when last in Austin. Mom will return to Austin January 15.
We went to see Mark's doctors at the cancer center in Bumrungrad Hospital last week. They had not seen Mark for about a year since we had brought him home for treatment at the VA in Houston to get a financial break from the cost of treatment on a cash as you go basis at Bumrungrad. Dr. Theera asked Mark to get a CAT scan to compare with earlier scans. The price of a CAT scan at Bumrungrad has gone up to nearly a thousand dollars. Dr. Theera wants Mark to resume chemotherapy which we don't think we can afford again here in Thailand. We paid cash for chemo and radiation and many other medical bills for over two years from Feb. 05- Jan 07 and it was quite an ordeal, but we credit Dr.Theera Umsawadee (Oncologist) and Dr. Dr. Sunantha Srisubut-Ploysongsang (radiation specialist) with saving Mark's life and giving him a gift of time to live.
We are back from a week's vacation in Krabi in the south of Thailand. This is the area where the Tsunami was so now there are signs showing the evacation route in case of another big wave. There was a Thai airlines special promotion to go to Krabi and we lucked out and got it. We took a public ferry to Koh Phi Phi which is a neat island and saw many islands that are famous like the James Bond Island and Chicken Island. Mark has an affinity for snakes. One dropped out of the tree on Aonang Beach and scared everyone. Mark picked it up and put it in the jungle. Was it poisonous? No one knows, but Mark claimed he was not going to let the snake bite him and that it seemed like a nice little snake. There are lots of wild monkeys in the trees and clifts between Aonang Beach and the 5 star hotel on the other side of the clifts. They are gentle and take fruit nicely out of your hands. They also love to drink water from water bottles.
We had some nice side trips around Krabi and Aonang Beach. Mr. Bill who owned the guest house we stayed in on Aonang Beach, took us in his truck to a fish research facility that is part of the King of Thailand's work to improve fishing and agriculture for the people. Mr. Bill took us to some National Parks including one with an area of hot springs and we had some wonderful time in the hot water.
I took a side trip to Malaysia to get my visa to Thailand extended to cover my stay. Mark claimed I would get kidnapped and/or in some monsoon and the van would fall off the road in Malaysia but I managed to get there and back safely.
We are again staying a half block from the beach in Pattaya at the guest house of Mr. George Richardson from England and his Thai wife Angel. Yesterday Mr. George showed me his liver x-rays and he has tumors in both lobes of his liver just like Mark. He was treated at the Royal Marsden Hosp. in London by professor Cunningham for colon cancer and then turned loose with his liver tumors without further treatment. George just got out of the hospital after being treated for Dengue fever. The mosquitoes carrying Dengue are here in Thailand and we hope not to be bitten by any of them.
Friend Jerry Barrett, who directed the movie Mark had a role in and which is mentioned in earlier blogs, has had a mild stroke and come from India to Bangkok to Bumrungrad Hospital for outpatient check-ups and treatment. Jerry was on a trip to India to film the Budha Gaya ceremonies. Mark and I were earlier planning to go with Jerry and his wife Christine but they decided it was too dangerous for Mark and I and Jerry cancelled Mark's and my accompanying him and his wife Christine on the trip from Katmandu to India. Jerry tells us that it was a very hard trip and then he had a mild stroke and had to abort the trip anyway.
Someone wrote to say they had heard this blog is a hoax. How crazy is that? Mark wishes he didn't have cancer. I wish he did not have cancer but he does. We are thankful for the gift of each day that he has.