April 16, 2009

Early pictures of Mark in Cancer treatment. Contrast these pictures with how he looks today 4 years beyond early prognosis of three months or less to live.

Mark and The Mom in Amsterdam, 2005

Mark and friend Ruben's cousin Eugenio in Amsterdam
Mark had lost his hair other than a bit that was light gray to white and thin. He had lost a lot of weight and had no appetite. He started feeling better after visiting some coffee shops and museums and riding in boats on the canals in Amsterdam.

I have pictures of Mark looking sicker but even sick he always tried to look his best and smile with and for people. He would look really really good and often after the pictures would go back to bed for several hours and sleep interrupted by pain, nausea and vomiting.

Mark with former co-worker. Mark is thin, weak, and hair falling out in 2005

I took a picture of Mark at one of his low points trying to have supper with Charlie Praloomratana who, along with his wife, was visiting family in Thailand. They were former co-workers in the respiratory therapy department on Saipan. Mark had no strength, could hardly stay awake and got so nauseated he had to leave in a taxi with Jin, who fortunately had a plastic bag so Mark could vomit during the taxi ride home.

I want people who are fighting cancer and having a difficult time, or their caregivers, can to contrast this picture with Mark now in 2009- see that for some people adventures are possible, remission is possible, we never know what will happen, and it's best to hold onto some hope until it is crystal clear there is no hope . Mark told me in January that no matter how sick he was early on, he never once thought of giving up...never once thought he would actually die.

Check in frequently to the blog. We often say in our family: "Don't worry about it especially if you can't do anything about it." This may have been one of the many things that helped Mark: the ability to not worry. I'm sure he knew he did not have to worry about many things as his mom and sis would take care of whatever needed attention while he was sick.

April 05, 2009

Click on any photo to see it larger

Pictures from Mark's induction into Rotary Club of Pattaya-Jomtien Thailand - pictures taken by Graham Hunt Crowley one of the Rotary members. Pictures are of Mark getting his Rotary pin from the president, receiving his membership, and the dinner with fellow Rotarians

Mark's birthday is April 20th. This is his fifth birthday since being told he had three months to live. We were amazed he made it to the first birthday after that dire prognosis and the wild roller-coaster ride that year was. We celebrated that first birthday as if it were his last. This is not a bad attitude for all of us: to enjoy each birthday and each day as if it will be our last. Time and life are precious. Mark's sister Stephanie and Rosina, one of her friends who is a DODDs teacher, are in Thailand right now to see the sights during Spring break and they will celebrate Mark's birthday early.

If you want to send Mark a birthday card that would be wonderful. Mark enjoys home-made cards, notes, and pictures drawn by children or adults and loves to hear what's going on with you. It is the thought that counts the most. His address is Mark Richardson c/o Angel and George Richardson, Angel's Guest House, Jomtien Beach Road 131/23-24 M0012 (Chaipreuk Road), Nongprue, Banglamung, Thailand What an address! Even if you're reading this after the big day, send a note - he loves news and we're still celebrating every day.