December 15, 2008

Look for update soon - Not hearing much from Mark who has been in Thailand 2 weeks. He did ccok up a shrimp boil dinner along with a fellow guest at the place he stays (Angel's guest house). Mark had the spices with him in his suitcase. I (Mom) head for Thailand January 14.

Mark is now on the beach, Jomtien Beach, Thailand - Mark arrived just in time for a party at the guest house where he stays. He plans to walk the beach for exercise then read and rest under a beach umbrella. See the picture of his Christmas stocking that we hung by the chimney for him in his absence. We had the tree up for three weeks before Mark left so he could get the feel of Christmas. If you think we have a lot of gifts, many are gift bags for people who are mentally ill living in group homes. The contents are donated by Rotary friends, our neighbors and other friends.
Mark got his eyeglasses in Thailand the day after he arrived . He used his old frames and got prescription lenses for 25 dollars.

Mark's cancer is said to be in remission by the doctors at the VA hospital in Houston although they are watching a small mass in the left kidney which has not enlarged in recent cat scans.
For those of you with cancer or caring for someone with cancer who are interested in the treatment aspect: the last chemo Mark received was in June 2007 (18 months ago) at the VA hospital in Houston. It was a 3 day regimen of Carboplatin (paraplatin) 517 mg in 250 cc normal saline over 30 minutes on day one only, Fluorouracil 1000 mg IV push days 1-3, and Leucoverin Ca 600 mg in 100 ml. normal saline infused over 30 minutes days 1-3. We stayed in a Best Western in Houston for three days and three nights going to the hospital each day for Mark's chemo. Mark wanted to stay on chemo...his goal to stay alive no matter how sick but the docs were concerned about his quality of life. Granted life has better quality when not on chemo but quality is a mute point if you are not alive.
Mark's initial chemo in Thailand was somewhat different. I will look it up and report it here later. At that time, he got a lot more IV fluid with his chemo and had to stay overnight in the hospital at least one night of each chemo round. He was a lot sicker. He was followed very closely as he was just a 50 cent Taxi ride from the hospital. At that time he was fighting ongoing nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite, weight loss, periodically low white counts, low red blood cells, tremendous chills, a tendency to over heat, weakness, low blood pressure, foot and hand neurasthenia, feeling weak and exhausted and many other symptoms as well. Mark was also getting radiation initially and again later when he developed a chest wall tumor. While others thought he would surely die within months, Mark tells me he never ever thought he would die. Maybe that helped keep him alive along with your cards and prayers. Being in remission and on the beach is like night and day compared to his first two years of treatment in and out of Bumrumgrad Hospital. A good Christmas present would be for Mark to stay in remission.