April 20, 2008

Mark Sings Karaoke at his early birthday party last week. People singing are from left to right: George Richardson (Brit who has liver cancer too), Mark, ?, Bob from Canada and Jerry Barrett filmmaker from Austin who is building a house overlooking the Kathmandu Valley. Mark and Jerry shared an early birthday celebration with mutual friends in Jomtien Beach, Pattaya, Thailand.

I talked to Mark on his birthday (4-20) and he reported he has had several birthday parties and cakes over the past week. He was awakened the morning of his birthday by friends from Bangkok singing happy birthday and bringing a cake before having to return home in the city. Mark reports he has added some weight on to provide some excess stores in case he gets an exacerbation of cancer.

The Thai New Year Songkran is also currently being celebrated and Mark reports he has done his part to help celebrate. Songkran means crowds of people laughing and shooting water at anyone coming near and putting powder on people's faces. Click on picture below to enlarge it. This scene from Songkran is on the beach road, Jomtien Beach, where Mark stays.

Mark is receiving a number of birthday cards from people around the world ; his response "Amazing! Getting these birthday cards and messages is exciting!" It is not too late to send a card. See the next blog for the address. Mark is enjoying every card and every day; the fact that he has fought esophageal gastric adenocarcinoma, with metastasis to the liver, is pushed to the back of his mind, but creeps up to the front of his thoughts periodically causing him to reflect on an uncertain future.

All of us have uncertain futures, however it seems like those who have the diagnosis of cancer looming over them find time to worry a bit more about how long they will have to enjoy life and when the pain will go away or when it will return as well as when energy or nausea or appetite will return or go away. Staying positive and getting support from friends, family, and strangers is just as important as medicine. To all of you who are sending cards to Mark whether you know him or not or providing support to Mark in any way or to anyone who has cancer or illness of any kind or need for help, may you be truly blessed with riches of the heart. I wish the same riches for those fighting cancer or any illness.

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