December 31, 2011

Early Christmas in St Georges' Caye, Belize
Mark, his mom and step-father went to Belize from December 10-17. We flew into Belize City and went by boat to the St. George's Caye Resort. Our cabanas were over the water so water lapped underneath and lulled us to sleep. Every morning very early we found our choices of coffee or tea and juice placed on a table outside the door. What a treat.

While at the resort Mark went snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and fishing. Richard, our guide for fishing took us up and down the river waterways near Belize City. We were sometimes casting near the shores and sometimes trolling. There was a pot of money for the person who caught the biggest fish and that was Mom although Mark caught some very nice fish that were much better for eating. Of course the biggest ones got away. Mark also caught some fish off the docks with just a line and hook. The fish were specially prepared by the resort chef and his staff for the guests.

Mark spent time reading on the beach and on the docks. He continues to be an avid reader which takes his mind off cancer for awhile. He is approaching 7 years since his diagnosis of stage IV cancer with a prognosis of 3 months or less. Every day is a gift. There is that thought creeping into the consciousness now and then of "what if cancer lurks within and pops up again?" We have to put that thought aside and live life to the fullest. Great adventures like going to Belize are part of that plan to cram into life all we can.

October 28, 2011

Mark is Still in Thailand and Helping Jerry Make Another Movie
Our friend Jerry did some filming for "Fembots" his new movie around Austin and Mark's mom had a small role which was filmed down on South Congress. Now Jerry is filming in Thailand and Mark has a role. It's a small world isn't it. It's the rainy season and it rains about every day sometime during the day.Some areas of Bangkok have been flooded and the airport was closed a few days. When Mark was going to Bumrumgrad Hospital for treatment, some days our taxi would turn off Sukumvit (street) onto the narrow street to the hospital and the street would be flooded. A boat would have been more in order for getting down the street.
Mark will be back soon for a CAT scan (maybe a Pet scan) and consults with his oncologist and the kidney doc. Cross your fingers and also pray for a good report for Mark.

July 06, 2011

Mark Is Encouraging Others With Esophageal Cancer By Staying Alive and Well

People with cancer, especially esophageal cancer with metastasis e-mail periodically and relate how Mark's story has given them hope and encouragement in their battle against cancer. Mark loves the idea that his story can encourage others. I think back to when Mark was so sick that we thought he could die any day. When we traveled we never knew if he would make it back alive. Sometimes when traveling with Mark, I thought about my friend who took her mother to Europe on a fun vacation. Her mother was sick for a month and died unexpectedly in Europe. My friend brought mother's ashes back in the overhead bin and later talked about how strange and heartbreaking that was, but she did it. Her sharing this story impressed me with the idea that we all do difficult things when we have to. We arise to the occasion.

Mark is now in Thailand again
. The food there is less fattening than here and he is walking more so he has lost down to a healthy weight. His weight has been up and down for the past 6 years so he has a small wardrobe of currently fitting clothes. Mark's friend and former co-worker Alan is going to visit him in September and Mark has some fishing plans for himself and Alan.

Thai politics are heating up. You may recall the demonstrations last year in Thailand by the red shirt party (Peua Thai party) with the airport taken over and closed for awhile and the Democratic party soldiers in the streets of Bangkok with tanks and yet helping old ladies across the street. Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is of the Peua Thai party which is considered the people's party in a battle of haves and have nots. Somehow Thaksin is a billionaire and one of the haves which raises some questions. He was accused of corruption and ousted in a military coup in 2006. He is in exile in Dubai. It is of interest that Sunday, his sister Yingluck Shinawatra, a US educated business woman was elected Thailand's first female prime minister. Will she be a puppet of her brother or not? The Peua Thai party holds 264 of 500 seats in the Thai parliament and the rest are held by the Democratic party. The Democratic party is the party associated with the royal family and the military. They have been steadily loosing power and seats in Parliament. Is there a similarity to the US?

April 24, 2011

Mark Celebrated His 6th Birthday Since Prognosis of 3 Months or Less to Live

Mark celebrated his birthday by going to one of the many food trailers in Austin to have some tacos. He is wearing the birthday glasses I bought in Thailand. The glasses play the Happy Birthday song and the candles have lights that flash off and on. Mark wasn't too keen on posing with the glasses but being a good sport he let me get a picture of him with the glasses. Mark has been raising a vegetable garden on our decks and keeping the pool clean which has been no easy feat during the time the live oak trees over the pool loose their leaves. He will soon go back to Thailand and we will miss him.

January 12, 2011

Another Friend of Mark's Died this week
Ron Cruzan (1960-2011)
Mark met Ron in junior high. They were friends through high school and after. Mark and I visited with Ron and his mother a couple of years ago when it was high school reunion time for Mark and Ron. The guys hung out for a few days, and in the past month they have talked on e-mail and on the phone. Ron will be missed and remembered always.

Ron cooked in a number of restaurants in his hometown over the years. I think he enjoyed cooking. Mark loves to cook. Every day he cooks something that is amazingly good. Even when Mark was his sickest during early chemo and radiation days, he would cook when his nausea and vomiting subsided a little. He'd send me off to various stores in Bangkok to get the ingredients and he would fix something that appealed to him. I've been thinking of doing a cooking blog for Mark and perhaps calling it "What's Mark cooking today?"