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Mark Mullinnix

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Friday, September 28, 2009
Wow, I can't believe it's been so long since I last updated Mark's webpage. He doing so much better. I was reading some of the entries from last year this time and amazing. Mark is in high school now. His older brothers have moved on to college. Mark walks to all of his classes on his own and is taking a full load. He is still having some problems remembering things and he's still trying to gain weight. He finally got his appetite back and doesn't have to rely on medicine to make him eat. Speaking of medicine, he is not longer on any meds. His vision is still an issue but he will not wear his glasses. We've tried contacts but they bother his eyes too mcuh. He's taller than me now and thinks he's grown (typical freshman). He still does some form of physical therapy every day. Every day he works out in the weight room with his buddies during athletics. He's also working on his golf swing hopefully he'll be able to participate in the spring. I'll try and catch up again soon. There is so much that's changed for the better that I can't get it all down right now. We appreciate everyone's love and prayers during these past two years.... yes it's been that long. God Bless!

Sunday, January 11, 2009
Sorry for not updating more often. Getting back into the swing of work has been more hectic than I thought it would be . Mark has thrived at school. He has loved being around his friends and although he only went to four classes first semester he did very well. All of his visits to Houston in the first semester went very well. The only problem we've encountered is Mark's enability to get his appetite back.
He was very excited about Christmas this year, being at home this year. After the boys got the tree up, Mark did most of the decorating himself. He wrapped his gifts himself.
January 7 & 8 we were in Houston again for his 3 month check up. No one could believe how much hair he has. Mark has regained his reflexes in most of his joints and is getting around better and better. His balance is still an issue however. His MRI of his head and spine came back great and his blood work was perfect. It was the best results he's had in two years. According to his doctors,his next visit will be the last lumbar puncture and he will have to go through the whole batter of tests for the last time. Then from then on it will be MRI's of his head and blood work only. We were all very excited. His doctors' assured us that he will continue to improve. God is Good.
Thanks to everyone who continue to keep our family in their prayers.

Sunday, Sept 7
Mark recently was honored at the Robertson County Relay for Life on August 23rd. He and fellow cancer survivor Sarah Lawrence were named 2008 co-Honorary Chairmen of the Robertson Co. Relay for Life. Mark's Aunt Debbie spoke on our behalf and did a great job. Mark, with the help of Justin made his survivor lap around the "track" laid out in the Pridgeon Community Center in Franklin.
On Monday the 25th, Mark started back to school. I think I was more nervous than he was but he did great. He really enjoyed being around all of his friends again. And his friends were really great with him. He has buddies that help him get to and from all his classes, help him with his books and help him at lunch. After two full days of class, though, he was looking pretty worn out and had lost two pounds. We did some rethinking about his schedule and met with his teachers and came up with a re-vamped schedule until he gets his stamina back. This seems to be working out well.
He was able to attend his brothers' first football game in Thorndale on the 29th and their first home game of their senior year vs. Groveton. We're scheduled to go back to Texas Children's in October for a full MRI and Lumbar Puncture on the 1st and 6th of October. Thanks to everyone who has continued to keep our family in their prayers!

Wednesday, Aug. 20
Mark is doing great. He is going back to Houston next week to have to the eye doctor but otherwise he's doing really well. He has been getting around on his own and has been getting ready to go back to school. He has been going up to the school, spending time moving around campus with and without his walker and visiting with friends. School starts on Monday and although he's a little nervous, we all are, we think he's ready. Ready and maybe just a little excited too. Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes. Please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers as this next stage in his recovery begins.

Thursday, July 24
Sorry it took so long to post this next update. Mark's MRI and blood tests all came out great. Dr. Morali was very pleased to see how well Mark was doing. Brian picked up a new walker for Mark when they were in Houston so he can really truck along. He doesn't like to use it much around the house but hopefully if he needs it he'll feel comfortable using it at school. His physical therapist at St. Joe's is very pleased with his walking but is afraid that without a walker at school, a bump from someone might result in a fall. Hopefully, his increased strength will keep something like that from happening. Our neighbor, John, has volunteered to begin working on Mark's strength and conditioning as soon as Mark wants to begin... and therein lies the problem. Mark want to be there, he just doesn't want to get there, kinda like his old mom here and her diet. Hopefully, he'll get motivated real soon. He's been doing a lot of swimming, the pool, was a Godsend. Thanks for all the continued prayers and support. We definitely appreciate it!

Monday, July 7
Mark is doing so much better. It's been hard to post updates because all has been going so well. Thursday, Mark will go to Houston for his sixth month checkup, please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. He has only to visit his oncologist for blood work and check up and then a MRI in the evening over at Texas Children's. He's been getting around the house by himself a lot better than before. He is still a little uncomfortable being out around large groups of people but he's doing better. He's doing a lot of swimming and he's finally starting to put on a little weight. Hopefully he'll be ready to go when school starts in the fall. Thanks for all the continued prayers and support!

Thursday, June 12
Mark had a visit with a different eye doctor Tuesday and he's to wear his new prescription for a month and then go back for another visit. Also he has started hydro or aqua therapy at St. Joseph's Rehap. once a week. We finally got his pool here all set up and he's doing great, swimming laps and getting stronger. He's moving around the house more without help. He is really enjoying having his brother's around more. Since I've started back to work-- teaching summer school-- Justin has become Mark's side kick. He takes Mark to physical therapy and helps him out around the house. (Jordan has a job up at the school so he's not around until the evenings.) Thanks to everyone for their continued prayers and well wishes!

Tuesday, May 27 

We had a great time in Hawaii but as many of you already know, Mark came down with shingles the second day we were there. He and Brian spent the better part of an entire afternoon in the Honolulu emergency room. Because we caught it early enough, it didn't get as bad as it could have gotten.
 Please continue to keep Mark in your prayers as well as as Jennifer Wilson Martinka a former student of mine from Franklin. She is a wife and mother now and is in a hospital in Austin. I'm not sure exactly what her diagnosis is but it involves her brain and she is in a very precarious condition. I know her family would appreciate your prayers as well.

Tuesday, May 13
 As most of you know Mark's Make a Wish was to go to Hawaii. Well we arrived in Honolulu at 5:00 pm our time noon their time. I've posted a few pictures. This was Mark's first time to fly and he was very excited. Because we didn't have enough room on this site I created a photo album at the link below, once at Mark's alternate web page, click on the Hawaii link and it will take you to the Hawaii photo album.

Mark's Alternate Web Site

May 3, Saturday
Mark has had good days and bad days. He has had a couple of classes a week at school he's gone to and it seems to have done him good. He actually agreed to invite a friend to go to the Regional Track Meet in Huntsville with us. Tyler was able to go and spend the weekend with Mark, it did it Mark a world of good. Congratulations to the 200 x 4 relay team for advancing to State. Check out the new pics of Mark and Tyler. 
We also traveled to Franklin for the Robertson Co. Relay for Live but it was cancelled due to lighting. Mark's Aunt Debbie was down form Houston prepared to give a speech for him and his Aunt Donna and Uncle Myron came from Gause for the event as well. This week Mark has started doing some walking on his own. It's been hard for me to look the other way and let him go but that is what he needs. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.

Tuesday, April 22 

Today we went in to Dr. Edmond's office to get Mark's eyes checked again. She saw great improvement in his overall vision. He is still, however, seeing double. Dr. Edmonds is afraid that even if we proceed with another corrective surgery that he will still have problems with double vision. On a positive note, Mark's blood tests from last week came back normal and his lumbar puncture came back clear of any cancer cells. We are very thankful.

Thursday, April 17
 We got great news when we visited Dr. Morali this afternoon: Mark's preliminary reading of his MRIs look great. No sign of any re-growth. He also came out of his hearing test with flying colors. Tomorrow morning we go back to Dr. Morali for blood tests and an IV and then on to PACU for his lumbar Puncture; hopefully we'll be on our way home before afternoon traffic gets bad. Today, Brian and I had a chance to stop by MD Anderson and visit with Garret Maliska of Bryan High, who is currently undergoing treatment for an astrocystoma he had removed from his spine. He is doing well and his prognosis is good. Please keep he and his familly in your prayers as well.

Monday, April 14
Mark decided not to show his goat in the Normangee Show this past weekend. Mainly because he can't walk yet. We're trying to get a pool installed for him to do his therapy like he did when we were in Houston. We've had trouble because the land we alloted for it is very unleveled and low. Brian and the boys have been working to remedy this all week and have finally got it ready. So we're hoping this week sometime we'll have the pool installed and Mark can start work. We go to Houston on Wednesday for his three month check up. I'll post the results as soon as I know them. Please continue to keep Mark in your prayers. He is having a hard time dealing with the fact that it's taking longer than we all thought for him to get back to normal. Just a reminder: Relay for Life in several counties, Colorado,Leon, and Robertson Counties is coming up!

Friday, April 4

 Great news today! Mark did the best walking he's done since this whole thing started. He walked from one end of our basketball court to the other without help and without stumbling. The key it seems is confidence. Mark's ability to keep a hand on you gives him confidence. Once your hands are off, his whole gait and stance changes. Today he walked like he was walking all alone with support. Praise the Lord!

Sunday, March 30

 Yesterday, Mark celebrated his 13th birthday. We made a trip to Houston and brought another load of stuff home and had lunch with Debbie and Kathy. Today, we had family over to help us celebrate. Mark had a great time and was thoroughly worn out when the last car pulled away. Thanks to everyone who helped celebrate Mark's birthday with us. We feel very fortunate to have him here with us and look forward to celebrating many more birthdays.

Sunday, March 23   Happy Easter! 
Mark had a good week. With the help of a little appetite stimulant and encouragement Mark has started eating again. He had assessments again at physical therapy and is still improving. Endurance is what we need to work on now. Midweek following rehab we headed back to Galveston. He had a very good time and actually wanted to do some things. I'm hoping that he will continue to improve. We made it to Easter Services in Normangee today and it was great to be back. Please continue to include Mark in your prayers.

Sunday, March 15
 We've been battling Mark the past week or so. He doesn't want to eat, go outside, walk; all he wants to do is sleep and sit on the couch. His doctors tell us that depression after what he's gone thru is normal but we've been worried. Especially since he won't eat. We decided that a trip to Aunt Debbie's place in Galveston might be just what Mark needed. So we loaded up and spent the past week there on the beach. He did have a few moments where he didn't want to do anything but we were able to get him to get out do some things with us. When we returned home Brian called Texas Children's to ask about his loss of appetite and they told him that Mark would eat when he's ready. I don't know how many of you remember that when Mark was in the hospital following his surgery that he asked for  a monkey. We laughed about this but he was very serious. We did finally talk him out of it. I mention this because today a neighbor from down the road, Jason Clay, brought his pet monkey ( think Marcell on Friends) by for Mark to see and hold. Be sure to look at the photo album for those new pictures. Please continue your many prayers., they are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, March 5

 Mark is doing well. He has finally gotten his appetite back and is slowly starting to put some of the weight he'd lost back on. He was very excited to get to go to the Regional tournament in Austin. He enjoyed seeing people he had not seen in a while. He's been pretty tired and sore lately because of the increase in physical and occupational therapies. The school's physical therapist came out to evaulate him and she told him that he's going to have to exercise everyday, not just the days he has physical therapy. HIs therapists and I can definately see improvements in some of his motor skills. HIs hair is continuing to grow and Brian even had to trim his side burns! Isabel has said whenever he's ready she'll get her clippers ready. Please continue to keep him in your prayers

Monday, February 25 
Mark is doing much better. He is still not wanting to eat, so we've gone back to the appetite stimulant. He had an assessment at physical therapy and his numbers showed improvement in strength. The Leon Co. PT and OT came by to do assessments and told us what we had already guessed... Mark needs to work on his endurance. His eyebrows and eyelashes have grown back and his hair is starting to come back in. He's pretty excited to finally be getting his hair back. Please continue to pray for him as he continues to battle his double vision and physical problems.

Monday, Feb.18

Mark is still not feeling well. We've had to take him in to St. Joe's for a ct scan. Everything has come out fine but we're concerned that he's still feeling nauseous. We've decided that if he's not doing better by tomorrow, we probably need to take him to Houston. He's only gotten sick once but the he's not eating. He's lost all the weight he'd gained since he's been home. Please continue to pray for him. My grandfather who was ill during Mark's therapy passed away Saturday. Keep our family in your prayers as well during this difficult time.

Wednesday, Feb 12 

Mark is slowly recovering from his eye surgery. His eye is looking better everyday. Unfortunately, he is still seeing double. We are praying that he will be able to "fix" this problem himself and not have to undergo another surgery. He has been under the weather this week as well. I took him to see Dr. Ransom yesterday and he thinks that its one of the many bugs going around. Please keep him in your prayers as his immune system is not 100 % and this could drag on longer than average.

Thursday, Feb. 7
 We've just returned from Houston. Mark's eye is healing well. He is still in a lot of pain though. After Brian called Dr. Edmonds yesterday, she told us he had 3 muscles worked on and we needed to give him more than tylenol for pain. Each day the swelling has gone down more and today he was able to somewhat open his eye. Dr. Edmond is very happy with his recovery. On the downside, while his eyes appear to be lined up correctly they are still a litte off... causing him to continue to see double. However, instead of seeing double out of his left eye, he can see perfectly out of each eye, but sees double while using both eyes. The dr. wants to give Mark a chance to correct this himself, working on controlling and focusing. As a last resort we would be looking at another round of surgery if the double vision doesn't correct itself. Thank you for your continued prayers, please continue to pray for Mark's full recovery.

Monday, Feb. 4

 Well we made it home okay. Mark is in quite a bit of pain but his doctor said all went well. We will know something more tomorrow when he's able to open his eye for an extended period of time. Please continue to keep him your prayers. Please include family friend, Dillon Fulton, whose hands, arms, and face were burned yesterday, in your prayers as well.

Friday, Feb 1
 We finally got a time for Mark's eye surgery on Monday. We are scheduled for 1:00. Please keep Mark in your prayers as he undergoes this delicate operation. We picked up Mark's new glasses yesterday after physical therapy. He was amazed at how much better he can see. We got home and he dove right into The Hobbit, he's been trying to read it for some time and was getting nauseous every time he tried.

Monday, Jan. 28
 We had our appointment at Texas Children's this morning at 5:45. By 9, Mark was central line free and doing well. He's sore but very excited to have that thing out. He's already talking about when he can go swimming. We are now counting down the days until his eye surgery. Not all has been rosy though, Mark has had a couple of bouts of depression, hopefully this surgery will be a positive for him. Thanks for all the prayers..keep em coming.

Friday, Jan. 25

 Great news this week. Mark's counts are up, not enough to return to school but they're inching that way. I got a call this morning from Texas Children's and Mark is scheduled for his central line removal Monday morning. We all very thrilled. Mark also started physical therapy this week at St. Joseph's Rehap. I started back to work this week as well. Please continue to keep Mark in your prayers.

Thursday, Jan 17
We had our eye appointment this morning. Mark's left eye has not changed since Sept. Because it hasn't changed, Dr. Edmond recommended we go ahead with the eye muscle surgery we had talked about before. Mark has been scheduled for surgery for Monday Feb. 4, my birthday. I told him that him being able to see would be a wonderful birthday present for me. We also saw Dr. Moralie, his oncologist. Everything looks great and he said we should be able to see advancements in Mark's physical progress. Everything takes time. Yes, we are learning how to be patient. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we enter this new phases in Mark's recovery.

Wednesday, January 16 

Monday Mark had his lumbar puncture, all went well. We won't find out the results until Thursday. He also had his final visit to the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. His counts are still low but are coming up on their own. Today we went to St. Joseph's Rehap Center for a physical therapy evaluation. He will be starting out slow, 2 days a weeks for an hour and a half. We have an eye exam first thing in the morning and then back to see Dr. Morali, our oncologist, at Texas Childrens. Please continue to keep Mark in your prayers as he begins a very rigorous schedule to improve his balance and sight.

Friday, January 11
Thursday's MRI came back negative. No sign of tumors or recurrent tumor. We all have big smiles on our faces. Mark did the lung/breathing test today and did great. He also had what will hopefully be his last EKG and ECHO for a very long time. This weekend we're hoping to visit with my sister Michelle and her husband, Chris. They have a new bundle of joy we all want to get our hands on! Thank you for your continued prayers.

Wednesday, January 9
Mark's audiogram Monday went well. He does have some hearing loss in the higher tones but nothing that would affect his everday hearing. Our weekly visit at the BMT also went well. His counts are all starting to come back up. He was very excited to hear that he no longer has to wear his mask everytime goes out in public. He only needs to wear it when entering the doctor's office or hospitals.
Today we were suppose to go in for a physical therapy evaluation at St. Joseph's rehap center. Mark started complaining about hip pain last night and it still caused him considerable pain today so we rescheduled the evaluation for next week. His doctors did want us to bring him in to Houston but after Brian talked with them they agreed to let us go to Scott and White and do the xrays there. Nothing was seen in the pictures so it's assumed he just pulled something.
Please continue to keep Mark in your prayers!

Wednesday, Jan 2 
We're home and very excited to be here. He got the the thumbs up at his appointment today. We go back on Monday for a checkup and the beginning of a weeks worth of tests. We found out when we got home that his eye doctor's appointment for the 15th had been cancelled, so we'll have to reschedule. This appointment is very important because we hope to schedule the surgery to correct Mark's double vision. Please continue to keep him your prayers as he struggles with balance issues on his road to recovery. Happy Newy Year!

Saturday, Dec 29
 Mark needed platelets again yesterday and may need blood and platelets again on Monday. This means that we will be here in Houston for New Year's Day. Even though he's needing platelets etc. Mark is doing really well. He has gained an average of a pound a day since Monday. We are giving him medicine to increase his appetite and it appears to be working. He's getting stronger and stronger. Please continue to pray for Mark as we enter the new year and he must try to get back to pre-surgery health.

Thursday, Dec. 27 
Brian and the boys left last night because the basketball team is playing in a tournament in Lovelady starting today. Mark and I are sitting at Texas Childrens Hospital and he is getting a whole blood infusion. His counts are up a little but not enough for us to come home for the weekend. We will be coming back tomorrow because the platelets he got yesterday may not be enough to get him through the weekend. Hopefully his nutrifill count will be up enough Sunday and Monday where we can come home sometime next week.

Wednesday, Dec. 26
We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. We sure did. It was wonderful having the boys and Brian here in Houston with us. Mark was very excited when they arrived on  Saturday. Jordan gave platelets on Saturday and Justin is, today,  giving what will hopefully be his last direct donation for Mark. I took Mark in for his appointment on Monday and his platelet count wasn't quite low enough for an infusion, but his white count was extremely low. Today Brian is taking him back in and he is expected to get Jordan's donated platelets. Hopefully by the end of the week his counts will be up enough for us to go home for New Year's. Thanks for all the cards and gifts, we really appreciate them. We especially appreciate everyone's continued prayers for Mark's recovery. We have seen first hand that God does indeed answer prayers.

Thursday, Dec 20

 Mark got his last infusion of stem cells on Tuesday without incident and we were discharged later that afternoon. It's hard to believe all of that is behind us. We still have the usual post - chemo appointments and transfusions. As a matter of fact, we went today for a CBC (blood tests) and received a platelet infusion. Hopefully Jordan will be well enough to keep his appointment Saturday to donate platelets for Monday's infusion. Once Mark's counts come back up in a couple of weeks we'll hopefully be able to come home for a few days before we come back for follow up tests, MRI and Lumbar puncture. Also because Mark is still seeing double, we have an appointment to get his eye taken care of in January. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers we greatly appreciate them. Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, Dec.17 

Praise the Lord, we're through with chemotherapy! Mark finished up his last dose yesterday and except for running a fever ,did great. Today was his rest day and they've already started getting him ready for his stem cells tomorrow. If everything goes well we'll be discharged tomorrow evening some time. Thank you for all the prayers.

Friday, Dec 14

 Mark was admitted yesterday into Texas Children's for his last round of chemotherapy despite the fact that he had a mild sore throat. As I write this he has just finished the worst of the chemo with very little side effects. He is a little loopy from the anti nausea medicines but at least they worked. Please keep him in your prayers as we start day 2 of chemo tomorrow around lunch time.

Monday, Dec 10
 We've gotten to spend this past week at home and it's been great. Bro. Larry Blackmon, pastor at FBC in Hearne,  held a special Christmas Eve service especially for Mark and our family Sunday eveing. Mark has attended the Christmas Eve service since he was a baby. We really appreciate our church family from Hearne for doing this for us. Afterward we went to Brian's mom's house for our traditional Christmas Eve get together and let the kids open presents. Mark's doctor visits Monday the 3rd and today went well. His counts are slowly but surely coming up. He's scheduled to enter Texas Children's on Thursday providing all his counts cooperate. This will be his last round of chemotherapy. Because of the timing of this round, we probably will not be in Wheelock for Christmas but in Houston instead. Please continue to keep Mark in your prayers.

Sunday, Dec 2 

We've been home since Tuesday and Mark is doing great. We are going in tomorrow morning for his standard tests before his last round of chemo. Hopefully all will go well tomorrow and we will get to come right back. Please continue to keep Mark in your prayers.

Monday, Nov. 26
 Mark went back in Friday and his counts were up but not high enough for us to go home. My mom, sister Cindy, and Mark's Aunt Deb all  offered to stay with him so I could come to the game. He specifically asked me to stay with him so I decided it was best to stay here. I hate that I missed the game but I had several people keeping us posted via cell phone. Mark and I are very proud of our Panthers and Coaches. You all did a great job. 
We went back in to the doctor's again today and his counts are way up. This means that his stem cells are kicking in to overdrive. We will go back tomorrow and if everything still looks good we will get to come home for a few days this week. We appreciate all the well wishes and prayers. Please continue to keep Mark in your prayers.

Thursday, Nov 22 
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. We are especially thankful to have Mark with us and on the road to recovery. We are also thankful for all our family and friends. Brian and the boys arrived today after practice. I had, I'm embarrassed to admit, my first hand at baking a turkey. Luckily all went well. Yesterday my brother Christopher went with us to our doctor's visit. Mark had gotten up with a throbbing headache so we weren't surprised to find out his red count was low. So Mark received platelets and red cells while I went do to Gulf Coast Blood center and gave platelets for backup use over the holiday weekend. Hopefully this will be the boost Mark needs to get his stem cells into gear. Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes.

Monday, November 19
 We just got back from our doctor visit. Mark's counts are really low, so we are planning on another platelet infusion on Wednesday and an appointment on Friday. It's looking like we will be spending Thanksgiving here in Houston. Brian and the boys will come down sometime after football practice on Thursday. Hopefully Mark's counts will be up enough for us to travel home Friday afternoon. Happy Thanksgiving to all and thanks again for all the support and prayers.

Thursday, Nov 15
 Mark got discharged Tuesday afternoon after receiving his stem cells. He did great. We went in yesterday for an appointment and other than his potassium being a little low, his counts are where the doctors expect them to be. Because Jordan's platelets expire today, we went back in to today and had Mark get those platelets. The doctors are hoping that they'll do until Monday when we have Justin's platelets ready. Please continue to pray for Mark's physical recovery to the tumor and surgery.

Monday, Nov 12
 Friday evening after Mark's first dose of chemo he started getting severe stomache cramps. The doctors gave him morphine and that helped. Since then he has not suffered from any more pain. Saturday Brian and the boys came down. I took Jordan to the Gulf Coast Blood Bank to give platelets. There is a possibility that Mark may need them at the end of the week. Brian , Justin and Jordan took Mark to the activity room to box Saturday evening. Mark packs quite a punch, just ask the boys. Everything went smoothly with Saturday and Sunday's chemotherapy infusions, Mark didn't even know when they started or when they were through. Today is his "rest" day and tomorrow he'll get his stem cells. If everything goes well, we will be on our way back to the condo tomorrow evening. Thank you everyone for your continued prayers... they are definitely working!

Friday, Nov. 9 
Mark has just ended his first day of chemo. We started at 10:30 this morning and it's 5:00 now. He did better this time than last month, only getting sick one time. Please continue to keep him in your prayers as we continue his treatment until Tuesday.

Sunday, Nov 4

 Mark is doing pretty good. It really does him a world of good to come home and be around family and friends. We got the final results of the MRI and everything looks good. As for the tests from Thursday, the only change was on his audiogram. The doctors said that it's not anything that would affect everyday hearing but we're keeping an eye on it. Mark was excited about getting to participate in the game Friday night. We all thought the guys did an awesome job. Tomorrow morning we're scheduled for a lumbar puncture where they check for cancer cells in his spinal fluid. We've been very fortunate in the past, it's been clear. We're praying for the same tomorrow. Thank you to all the family and friends who've donated blood for and in Mark's name. We appreciate it.

Tuesday, Oct. 30 

We've gotten the preliminary results back from the MRI Mark had last night and, praise the Lord, it came back normal. We go in tomorrow for an afternoon of tests: hearing, breathing, and heart tests. Mark's occupational therapist says he is getting stronger but he's still pretty weak. He's starting to get frustrated when he can't do things he use to, like play guitar, walk, write, etc. Please continue to pray for him and our family.

Thursday, October 25
 Mark's counts were all up on Monday, so he was able to discontinue all the meds he'd been on during the past two weeks. Tuesday after physical therapy we loaded up and headed home to Wheelock for the rest of the week. Mark is very glad to be home with Brian and the boys and we're looking forward to seeing the ball game on Friday. Thanks to everyone for their continued prayers.

Sunday, Oct 21
 We went into the BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant) unit at Texas Childrens today for a noon appointment. God answered our prayers and Mark's counts were all up. God willing, tomorrow his counts will still be high. If this happens he'll be able to discontinue the shots he has been having to take and maybe we can go home sometime this week. Thanks for all the extra prayers this weekend.

Friday, Oct 19 
Thanks CoCo for the play by play tonight. We don't know what we'd do without you! Way to go Panthers! I noticed last night that Mark had bruise marks on his arms where he's been having to take shots the last week. Mark hardly ever bruises so that was a warning flag. Yesterday he started complaining about his head throbbing everytime he got up or moved around. I assumed it was allergies. Today we found out its due to his counts being very low. His platelets were actually lower than Tuesday and his hemoglobin was very low. The doctor even agreed to redraw blood and run it thru again it was so bizarre for his count to be so low after getting Jordan's platelets on Tuesday. They all came back low again. Unfortunately we didn't have any direct doner platelets or whole blood ready because we weren't expecting to need it today. They eventually found the hemoglobin but only a 1/6 of what's needed of platelets. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center agreed to take me after hours to get platelets for Sunday. Justin is schedule to give tomorrow and his will be used first if Mark's counts go up enough to wait for a transfusion on Monday. The pastor and church family from Columbus are getting together doners for whole blood later this month. Please continue to keep Mark in your Prayers.

Wednesday, Oct. 17 
Mark is still weak from his last round of chemo however he is doing better than after the first round. He is not experiencing any nausea but because his body is not use to low counts in his blood, he's extremely weak. He had chemo yesterday, his small shot of vincristine and got a platelet infusion donated by Jordan. Justin has an appointment on Saturday in case Mark needs another dose of platelets next week. Mark's doctors are expecting that he will need a whole blood infusion sometime before being admitted again in November.  Either my mom or I will donate for that particular transfusion. We would like to thank my cousin Eddie Hernandez from Tivoli and his co-workers for their blood drive on Mark's behalf earlier this month. We greatly appreciate your help.
 Benjie, the little boy who had the same type of surgery as Mark (3 days before) and is undergoing the same treatment plan is very ill. He has been in ICU for the past week and the doctors don't know what's wrong. Please include him in your prayers as well.

Friday, Oct. 12 We just heard the great news that we beat Chilton 40 to 6 for Homecoming. Way to go Panthers!  We would have liked to have  been there but we needed to stay close to the hospital. We did have a doctor's visit today and Mark's counts look good. She said they will start falling over the weekend. Sooo, Jordan is giving platelets tomorrow in case we need them next week. Over all Mark is looking and feeling so much better than this time last month. Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers and support.

Sunday, Oct. 7
Well Mark made it through the chemo. After the first day he did a lot better. The only problem we ran into was a fever. Friday night he ran a 103.4 and has been running a low grade fever ever since. They did a blood culture but we won't know if he has an infection until 48 hours have passed. That's how long it takes for all the cultures to grow. Right now we're still looking clear. Tomorrow is a rest day for Mark and then he'll get a portion of his harvested stem cells back on Tuesday. Mark's Aunt Debbie, who has helped us so much, is in the hospital in Galveston with a kidney stone. Please include her in your prayers as well. God Bless!

Friday, Oct 5 Our first day of chemo has been a long one. They started the meds at 9:30 this morning and didn't finish until 5. Unlike last month, Mark didn't sleep thru the whole thing. Oh, he tried but for whatever reason they halved the dosage of anti -nausea medicine and he was sick several times during the day. He was unable to eat anything sold the entire day. We're hoping tomorrow will be a better day for him. We did manage to follow the came via text message thanks to Coco Woodard. Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Thursday, Oct. 4 We have been admitted for Mark's second round of chemo. All of his counts looked real good when we had our check up earlier today. They have started him on fluids tonight and will start the first dose of chemo in the morning. Please remember to keep him in your prayers this weekend.

Friday, September 28 Mark was able to be at his first football game tonight. His dad set up his truck on the track so that he could see the field clearly. The Panthers really put on a show for him. He enjoyed seeing all of his friends and had a good time. This is the first time, with the exception of doctor visits, that he has really been "out". It did him a lot of good. We are scheduled to enter the hospital on Thursday, the 4th, to begin his second round of chemo. Thanks to everyone who made Mark's homecoming special. (Check out his picture with the boys after the game!)

Sunday, Sept. 23 
Mark is doing really well. We went home to visit for a few days and now we are back in Houston. We have heart, lung, and hearing tests this week. Mark will have these tests before each cycle of chemo. We also start physical therapy again but this time they are coming to the condo. If everything goes well this week we plan on being at the game Friday night to cheer the boys on to victory. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Monday, September 17
Great news! Mark didn't need another platlet infusion. All of his counts are up. He is off all his medication until after the next round of chemo (scheduled for Oct 4). God does indeed answer prayers! Thanks to everyone for their continued prayers and support.

Saturday, September, 15
We just want to send a "shout out" to those Normangee Panthers! And a special thanks to Coco Woodard for keeping us posted on all the scoring!!! We missed being there and hopefully next home game we can make it. We went to the doctor's office again today for the other half of the infusion of platlets (it's a long story) but praise the Lord, he didn't need them. His white cells are way up as well. Justin will be giving platelets tomorrow for Monday and hopefully that will do it for this round. Thanks again for all the prayers.

Friday, September 14
Monday we went in for a follow up visit. Everything looks great. As expected, Mark's counts are starting to fall and our Dr. anticipated he will need platelets on Wednesday. So I rushed to the Gulf Coast Blood Center, (yest the same people who came to the high school last year) and gave. Because of Mark's blood type only Rh Negative type platelets can be used. My brother Christopher also shares the negative RH factor and is scheduled to give platelets on Thursday morning. Hopefully all will be successful tomorrow. We hear once he gets the infusion of platelets he'll begin to feel better. In addition to keeping us in your prayers please include my cousin, Rusty Salinas' family as well. He was killed in a freak accident Monday morning here in Houston. God Bless,

Tuesday, September 11
 
Monday we went in for a follow up visit. Everything
looks great. As expected, Mark's counts are starting
to fall and our Dr. anticipated he will need platelets
on Wednesday. So I rushed to the Gulf Coast Blood
Center, (yest the same people who came to the high
school last year) and gave. Because of Mark's blood
type only Rh Negative type platelets can be used. My
brother Christopher also shares the negative RH factor
and is scheduled to give platelets on Thursday
morning. Hopefully all will be successful tomorrow. We
hear once he gets the infusion of platelets he'll
begin to feel better.
In addition to keeping us in your prayers please
include my cousin, Rusty Salinas' family as well. He
was killed in a freak accident Monday morning here in
Houston.
 
Thursday, September 6
 
We should be discharged in the morning. We're still
here at Texas Children's Hospital because Mark ran a
fever again Tuesday night. They started him on several
different antibotics and did a blood culture. So far
nothing has shown up in the cultures and he has not
run a fever again. One of the medicines that they gave
him earlier in the week can cause a fever so they're
saying maybe that's what we are seeing. Mark got his
stem cells on Wednesday and didn't have any bad side
effects. He pretty much slept thru the whole thing. We
also have an eye appointment tomorrow, hopefully we'll
hear something new about his continued double vision.
Mark's grandmother, Shirley, and Aunt Debbie are
staying with him tomorrow afternoon and night so that
I can travel to Milano to watch the football team. So
I'll see many of you there.
Thanks again for the continued prayers.
 
Monday, September 3
 
We've made it thru the first round of chemo. Mark
pretty much slept thru the whole thing. The minute he
feels the least bit nauseous they nurses give him
something to help. He did get sick a couple of times
but nothing like he could have. Prayers were
definitely answered. Tomorrow is a "rest" day and then
we get his stem cells back. The nurses are saying that
he shouldn't have a reaction because they're his own
cells, however, the preservative that they use to keep
the stem cells could make him sick. Please continue to
keep us in your prayers!
We'd also like to thank all the folks who organized,
helped with and participated in the fish fry on Aug.
25th. We appreciate all of you!
 
Saturday, September 1
 
We here at Texas Childrens for what they call day minus four. Mark started chemo this morning and so far so good. Keep those prayers up! We will be here until Wednesday and then hopefully will be discharged to go home.
 
Tuesday, August 28
 
Mark's week ended better than it started. The soreness
in his shoulder is finally getting better and he was
very excited to see his brothers Friday night. He
stayed up waiting for them to get here. Saturday, he
wasn't up to doing much walking but that didn't keep
him away from the Texans/ Cowboys game. Coach Kubiack
and his assistant Kim Phillips gave us four sideline
passes and endzone suite tickets for the game. Mark
got to meet and take pictures with Coach Wade Phillips
of the Cowboys and owners Jerry Jones (Cowboys) and
Bob McNair (Texans). The cheerleaders were pretty
impressive as well.
Monday we started our day at 7am with tests and a
visit to Dr. Morali's office. Mark weighs a whopping
97.2 pounds! Praise the Lord! The Dr. said Mark's
cheeks even look fuller and healthier. We finished up
the last of the tests today with EKG, Echo, and Lung
test ( I don't remember what it's called). Everything
checked out "A" Okay. We have another appointment with
the oncologist on Thursday and we will find out when
he will be admitted on Friday. We talked with someone
in charge about somehow getting Mark to Friday's game
but it's not looking too good. Mark's Aunt Debbie has
offered to sit with him so I can attend the game and
video tape of course. Thanks for all the continued
prayers.
 
Thursday, August 23
 
Mark has had a pretty tiring week. As mentioned before
he had the central line placement on Monday. Today
(Thurs.) he's still pretty sore. He was so sore
Tuesday we had to reschedule several tests for
Wednesday. We did the MRI of his brain and spine
Tuesday night and Dr. Morali phoned Brian yesterday to
let us know that everything looked great. There is no
sign of any kind of returning tumor anywhere. We were
all very excited and relieved to hear this news.
Yesterday we got to the hospital at 9:00 am and didn't
return home until 4:30. Went up and down and  from
floor to floor for various tests all of which are
essential before he starts chemo. Today a nurse from
home health care came by and changed his dressing on
the central line and showed me how to maintain it (
flush with saline and heparin ). My hands were
shaking. I was so scared I'd mess up and hurt him, but
everything went fine. I'm sure I'll be a pro by the
time this is all over with in December.
We loaded up to come home for a couple of days and the
Tahoe broke down. I was very relieved that it happened
right here near home. It would have been horrible to
be stuck out on the interstate with Mark and this
heat. Hopefully we'll be up and running by tomorrow.
 
 
Monday, August 20
 
It took all day but we're finally home after Mark's central line placement. The procedure went well however he's very very sore. Tomorrow will be another long day for him, especially since he can't move around real well. Please keep us in your prayers.
 
Sunday, August 19
 
 Well, tomorrow is the big day. Mark is scheduled for day surgery at 11am for central line placement. Please continue to keep him in your prayers as he undergoes this procedure. On Tuesday he's scheduled for an MRI of the head and spine; lab work and an audio test. Then on Wednesday he's scheduled for a x-ray or ultrasound of his kidneys. They shoot some kind of dye into him in the morning then he goes back after lunch for the scan. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will be home Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.
 
Tuesday, August 14
 
I'm sitting in Houston with Mark tonight. He's doing better. We're hearing that it's all side effects from radiation. Dr. Woo, from the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, prescribed some medicine that hopefully will make him feel better. We went ahead and made an appointment to see Mark's oncologist, Dr. Morali, on Thursday morning.  We decided back in May, it's better to be safe than sorry, so that's the approach we're taking. Hopefully we'll be on our way home Thursday afternoon. Thanks for all the phone calls and prayers!
 
Monday, August 13
 
Mark had been pretty good. He's been getting around
the house, moving up and down, swimming, etc. The last
couple of days though he's been very tired and
lethargic. Brian took him to see Dr. Ransom yesterday
and they did blood work. His white count was a little
low but otherwise he seemed to be okay. Today he just
seemed to be feeling worse and worse. I called the
oncologist at
TX Children's and he said to go ahead
and bring him in tonight and let them check him out
real good. So Brian just left a little while ago and
they're expecting them at TCH. Hopefully they'll be
back home tomorrow with some new medicine that will
help him feel better. Please keep him in your prayers!

 
Thursday, August 9
 
Mark has been doing really well. We've been going to
St. Joseph's Rehap in Bryan  for the last week and
they're really working him. He' s been walking alone
more around the house and doing more "little" things
for himself. Hopefully it won't be too long before
he's doing more  and more by himself. We definately
appreciate all the prayers, keep them up.
 
By the way Mark has been getting on the internet
everyday to read his web site, so keep those emails
coming. He enjoys hearing from everyone.
 
Thursday, August 2
 
We went to St. Joe's rehab today for an evaluation. We
start actual therapy on Monday and then 3 times a week
until we go back to
Houston. We also paid a visit to
the dentist. Dr. Badger gave us all kinds of
prescriptions and preventatives to help fight any king
of tooth decay and infection due to the chemo.
Mark is actually working on his walking more. He's not
doing too bad. If I weren't around and panicky, he'd
probably walk around a lot more without help.

 
Monday, July30
 
We wanted to thank everyone who made Mark's benefit
such a success. All the people who organized, cooked,
served, set up, cleaned up, performed, donated, and
bid. Mark had great time seeing everyone but it did
tire him out. It was wonderful to have so many people
show their support for Mark and our family. We feel
very thankful to count so many as friends. Thank you
all for your kindness and prayers.

God Bless,
Brian and Dorothy
 
Friday, July 20
 
Well we made it! I'd like to thank everyone who has
helped us out the past six plus weeks. These have
probably been the hardest weeks of my life and Mark's,
but praise the Lord we are surrounded by great family
and friends. We love you all.
Thanks to the loved ones who came to the Proton Center
today to witness Mark's graduation: Aunt Debbie, Uncle
Chris, Aunt Cindy, Trevor, Taylor, Aunt Isabel, JR,
Justin and Jordan.  Hope to see everyone at the
benefit next week.
 
Thursday, July 19
 
Today, Mark had his last visit with the oncologist until August. His blood levels were all up and he has gained 5 pounds back. We got his schedule for pre chemo tests, etc. They will be putting in his central line on August 20th. He'll have several tests over the next two weeks with admittance back into Tx Children's on the 31st. I know this is a busy time of the year for everyone but please remember to keep Mark in your prayers. Tomorrow is the big day. Mark will get his graduation certificate and say his goodbyes to friends and staff at MD Anderson's Proton Center. You may even hear our cheers in Normangee, Hearne, Wheelock and Columbus! 
 
Monday, July 16
 
Mark's walking has really improved, but he's still seeing double so that's still throwing his balance off. He can put on his own socks and shoes(and even tie them himself) now. He started back to physical therapy today and now is down to four more days of radiation. He's really looking forward to coming to Normangee for the benefit at the high school on the 28th and seeing all his friends.
Thanks for all the continuous prayers!
Dorothy and Brian

 
Thursday, July 12
 
Six days to go and counting. That's what we've been doing, counting down to radiation treatment graduation. Mark is very excited about being off for a few weeks before starting chemo on August 31. Yes, we have a date. I got the call today. We visited the oncologist today and Mark's blood counts were good and stable. Unfortunately, he's lost a couple of pounds again. So we're back on the mission of fattening him up.  Thanks to everyone for their continued prayers for us.
 
Monday, July 9
 
Mark had a great weekend. We got home late Friday because of the weather and traffic but it was wonderful to be home. We had lunch in Hearne Saturday with Shirley and Aunt Bill. We got to visit with Joan and Carol too. We were able to visit with a few other friends and relatives before we left. Dora Seelye provided us with a delicious Mexican lunch, which Trenton  delivered on Sunday. Mark's good friend, Tyler, is here visiting with him for a couple of days this week.
We cannot thank everyone enough for their prayers, help and support. We love you all.
 
Friday, July 6
 
Sorry, it's been so long since the last update. We had a great 4th of July and hope that everyone else did as well. Brian and the boys headed back to Wheelock on Thursday night, Mark was pretty upset about everyone  leaving. He decided that he wanted to come home this weekend as well. So he and I headed out in Houston traffic after physical therapy. It took us almost four hours but we made it.
It was anticlimatic for Mark. He was a little upset when we got home. He started remembering before his surgery.  Brian reminded him that things are much better now... he doesn't have a tumor anymore, etc. He did start feeling better.
In is weekly oncologist visit his blood tests all came back great. He is also getting his appetitie and energy back.
Thanks again for everyone's support and prayers.
 
Monday, July 2
 
The boys came down for the fourth of July weekend. This made Mark very happy. The medicine to increase his appetite has really worked. When he's hungry, he's really hungry. When we went to Aunt Debbie's this weekend, Mark rediscovered the walker Den brought down. He is really mobile now. He went exploring all over the beach house. We went into town to window shop awhile on Sunday and in one of the souvenir shops Mark walked all over the store without the walker and with Brian following along behind him. It was wonderful to see him get around so much better. When we came back to Houston Monday, we had the walker with us. Mark is walking all over the condo.  It's great. It is also really great to have the whole family together.  In addition to keeping us in your prayers, please keep my grandfather, Tomas Salinas, in your prayers as well. He is 86 and in very poor health.  
 
Thursday, June 28
 
Mark has  lost another pound. He just isn't hungry. Brian went and bought a bunch of goodies that Mark generally loves, but it was a no go. This week is also the first week that the radiation has made Mark weak. The doctors all say this is normal. They are also saying that because we've gone to the boost for treatment, we should see some improvement in that area by Monday.  We went for our weekly oncologist visit today and Dr. Stapleton said he was looking good. She prescribed some medicine to stimulate his appetite, so hopefully that will get the ball rolling. Bro. Kip came by to see us today. It was good to see  and visit with him. My sister Cindy and my nephews Trevor and Taylor also came by to visit. We had a good visit with them.  Oh,yeah, I almost forgot. Brian's "haircut" was a success. He managed to keep both his ears. Mark let me "cut" his hair the next morning. Now they really look alike.
 
Tuesday, June 26
 
Today was Mark's first day of his "boost" radiation. Thirty minute session with only the spot where the tumor was removed treated. Today was also the first day we noticed Mark is beginning to lose a lot of his hair. We've been talking to him about this all along, so Thursday he's agreed to shave his head. Today was the first day that he didn't throw up or feel nauseous. However, the radiation is starting to take it's toll on his stamina, he was very very tired. His Aunt Debbie came to visit today. She took me and Mark on a drive around the area to show us where "everything " is.  As I close tonight, Brian has entrusted me with the shaving of his head. Wish me luck!
 
Sunday, June 24
 
Mark has had a pretty good weekend. Although he's gotten nauseous a few times it hasn't been bad. Jamie, Isabel, Cheyenne, J.R., Justin and Jordan came to visit this weekend. Mark was very excited to see everyone.  He is really working hard on his walking. He is talking all the time about wanting to get better so he can do more things. I think we finally is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Please continue to pray for Mark and us as he goes into the "boost" phase of his radiation. This is where they concentrate on where the tumor was removed. He is looking forward to "graduation", where he he completes his radiation treatment on july 20th.
 
Thursday, June 21
 
Mark visited Dr. Stapleton, his oncologist, today. She was very pleased with his progress. He did manage to gain three of the six pounds he had lost back. So we were happy about that. His white blood count is still low but higher than last week. I don't know all the technical terms but they started him on Bactrim, an antibiotic) today to keep him from getting a bacterial infection. He will take this from now on until chemo is over.  We've an ophthalmologist appointment tomorrow because Mark is still seeing double and it's becoming very bothersome for him.  Last evening Mark's Popo, Granny, Aunt Cindy and Uncle Mike came to visit. He showed off his swimming skills for them. He can really get around like a fish now.
 
Tuesdsay, June 19
 
Mark's had a fairly good two days. While he's not gotten sick, he has had some nausea. His physical therapist, Julie, says you can really tell he is improving every visit. He is, however, still having double vision. He's really getting tired of that. Today we got some really good news from Dr. Woo at Proton Therapy. This week will be the last week that both his head and spinal cord will receive radiation. Starting next week, it'll only be his head. Mark was very excited about that. We're hoping that that will eliminate some of the nausea. Jordan got him a pair of goggles while at Six Flags with Jamie and Isabelle this past weekend. Now Mark is really doing some underwater swimming.
 
Sunday, June 17
 
Mark has had a good weekend. He has actually taken about 23 steps without help on the beach. He still doesn't 't have much control over where he's going but he's working on it. He said yesterday he feels like a normal boy who can talk, walk and run. He is insisting that he can play putt putt golf.   He has made us a little nervous. With his new mobility, he has taken it upon himself to get up or off the couch or off his bed when we're not near him. We've had to warn him not to be such a dare devil; we don't want to end up in the hospital again.  
Happy Father's Day to all!  Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
 
Thursday, June 14
 
Mark started physical therapy again yesterday. He did well. We got home and Brian went and bought an exercise ball (I guess that's what they're called) for Mark to use at home. We've also decided we'll start working on his writing skills as well. Mark is gung-ho about that now, I don't know how long that will last. He had his weekly visit with the oncologists today and his white blood count is way down so we were told to keep him away from crowds. The doctor thought that maybe he was possibly getting over some kind of infection (One of his ears was a little red). Also he's lost six pounds since we started therapy so I was told to start feeding this kid. We've been kind of not letting him eat too much because we were afraid that it would make him sick.  Kristi Lee came by this morning to visit and Mark showed off and stood alone for a few seconds. He was all smiles. Thanks again for everyones'  continued prayers.
 
Tuesday, June 12
 
Mark had his follow up visit with Dr. Dauser this afternoon. He is the pediatric neurologist that performed Mark's surgery. He was amazed at Mark's progress. He said in about six weeks we'll not be able to tell he had brain surgery at all. Praise Jesus, I know everyones' prayers were heard.  Today was the first day that Mark hasn't gotten up feeling rotten. We are having to give him his medicine round the clock though. Hopefully his body will adjust to the radiation and we will be able to wean him off. Please continue to keep him in your prayers. He finally gets to start physical therapy tomorrow at 3. He'll have therapy three times a week (M, W, F). Hopefully this will speed his recuperation along. This morning he actually stood up alone for a few seconds without realizing it. It was amazing.
 
Saturday, June 9
 
Mark's had a rough two days. He's been very nauseous and sick since he's started radiation. He also has been very tired. We tried to take him to watch the 7 on 7 games this morning and he got sick while we were there.  After taking his medicine he felt alright for a few hours and then started feeling bad again. He slept for most of the afternoon and was feeling better. We had promised to take him to his Aunt Debbie's in Galveston, so he could sit on the porch and relax. He got sick again after we got there. We were hoping that he wouldn't get sick but it looks like it's not to be. The doctors said that he might do this because of the part of his brain that's being treated affects nausea . Please keep him in your prayers as he gets adjusted to his medicine and the treatments.  Dorothy and Brian
 
Thursday, June 7
 
We're sitting in the Proton Center waiting for Mark's treatment. Since there is Internet access here I decided to update. We're huge Texan fans now that Mark went to their practice. All the guys were so nice and friendly. Mario Williams gave Mark his gloves. Dameco Ryan, NFL Rookie of the Year, autographed Mark's cap. Several of the players autographed a pair of receiver gloves and posed for pictures with Mark. Mike Sherman, former Green Bay Packers' head coach, came over and visited with Brian and Mark. The team chaplain said that in the locker room the entire team would be praying for Mark. I'm sending several pictures to add
to the page.  This morning we met with the oncology doctors and they're very pleased with his physical progress. We are too, it's slow but he's really improving daily.
 
Tuesday, June 5
 
We decided to take Mark to his Aunt Debbie's beach house for a couple of days before he starts radiation. Going to the beach house and sitting on the deck drinking coffee with his aunt Debbie was one of the things he told us he wanted to do when he first came out of surgery. We laughed about it then but now we decided we'd better come through with our promise. He loved it. While we were there we decided that because he can't stand or walk yet or  sit and keep his balance that doing some therapy in a pool might be in order. Boy, he really took to that. He was swimming several feet in a matter of minutes. It was great to see him smile. It did wonders for hisconfidence, but it really made him tired. Afterwards he was exhausted. We're counting down the hours till therapy begins and trying to make everything he does "fun" for him.  Please keep Mark in your prayers, especially that he suffers  few side effects from radiation. God Bless, Brian and Dorothy
 
Sunday, June3
 
It's been really nice to be out of the hospital. Mark is doing well. He's getting used to being out as well. I think we've slept more the last two days than we have in a month. I didn' t realize how tired I was until I had a chance to lay down on a real bed.  We're trying to let him relax and enjoy being out before he starts therapy on Thursday. He and Brian have sideline passes to the Texans' practices for the next two weeks. He's really looking forward to that. Professional athletes have sent him several things including the Philadelphia Eagles Matt Shobel sent him an autographed cap and t-shirt. The Astro's have sent him autographed bobble heads and cards, The Texans mascot Toro came by to visit and autographed a poster. He received a box of pictures and media guide from the Texans. Aaron Shobel from the Buffalo Bills sent an autographed football. He's also gotten a phone call and autograph from Shaq O'Neil. He has received autographed baseballs from the Rice and Baylor Baseball teams and cards from the Aggie and Longhorn football coaches. He is especially proud of his 12th man jersey he got from A&M with his name onthe back. We really appreciate these guys visiting and sending things it really cheers him up.
 
Friday, June 1
 
As I write this update Mark is sitting with his aunt in her condo about a mile from the hospital. We were finally discharged this evening. We had to do the whole stem cell thing again today but we exceeded our goal of 8 million cells. I don't know what our
internet situation is going to be, but I will try and keep this site as updated as I can. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we start radiation treaments next week. Thanks again for all the calls, cards, prayers,emails,  money, and gifts.
God Bless! Dorothy
 
Thursday, May 31
 
It's 9:00 pm and we're just getting back to our room. They were running behind this morning because of some emergencies and our scheduled 11 turned into a 3:00. Hopefully we won't have to go back tomorrow, we'll find out in the morning. One of the things that we found out this past week that I forgot to mention before is that in addition to having proton therapy to his brain, they will also have to hit his spinal cord. This is all standard treatment for  someone who has had a medullablastoma. This type of radiation treatment has many benefits but there will also be many side effects. We're praying that these won't be severe.
Keep us in your prayers, Brian and Dorothy
 
Wednesday, May 30
 
We didn't have the stem cell harvest today because Mark's stem cell count wasn't high enough.  We'll try again in the morning. The good news is that the doctors are telling us we will be discharged in the next couple of days. Mark is very excited about that prospect.
We'd like to thank Savannah Griggs and Isabel & Jamie for the surprise birthday party they threw for Justin and Jordan. We really appreciate it.
Keep us in your prayers,  Dorothy and Brian

 
Tuesday, May 29
 
Today was a very long day for Mark. We started out going by ambulance to the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center at about 9:30am. We had our consultation and met Mark's new doctor, Dr. Woo. We were taken on a tour of the facility because they were running behind schedule. It's a pretty amazing place. There are only three in the US. We are fortunate that we are able to access this one. Finally at 1:30 we had our simulation. they did a CAT scan and made a mask for Mark. It will be constructed over the next week along with some other highly technical gadgets to make the proton beam hit the tumor bed in Mark's head just right. Tomorrow we begin the harvesting of stem cells at 7am. Please keep Mark in your prayers as this procedure will last most of the day.

 
Monday, May 28
 
Mark had a good day. He's looking better every day. Justin and Jordan showed up this morning with pirate's patch for all three of them. Rain put a damper on going outside for Mark but he was excited when we had an impromptu birthday party for his brothers. It's been hard for him lately, he gets very homesick every night after all his company heads home. We have a consultation in the morning at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center. This is the first step towards radiation therapy. Please continue to pray for Mark, and us as this part of the healing process begins.
 
Sunday, May 27
 
Mark had a good day today. They started the injections to increase his stem cells in his blood. He also was able to leave his room again in his wheelchair. This morning we took him on a two mile walk around the medical complex. He really enjoyed that. One of his favorite things to do is feed the pigeons french fries.  During his physical therapy session Justin and Jordan arrived to surprise him. He was very excited to see them.  We would like to once again thank everyone for the prayers, cards, phone calls, emails, visits, money, and gifts we have received. We would also like to
thank Isabel and Jamie Shaw for taking Justin and Jordan into their home the last three weeks.  It has been a burden off our minds not to have to worry about their well being.
God Bless, Brian and Dorothy
 
Saturday, May 26
 
Mark continues to improve. Today he was officially taken off the heart monitor's etc. He's free. He and Brian went outside and walked (Mark rode in wheelchair) around the hospital and visited McDonald's. Later when  he was exhausted he still didn't want to get back in bed.  Tomorrow they'll start injections to get his stem cell numbers up. Please keep us in your prayers.

 
Friday, May 25

Great news! The CAT scan came back a thumbs up, so they took the drain tube out. One stitch did the trick. More good news.... the 
spinal tap came back negative! No cancer cells have spread to other parts of his body. God is Great! Our prayers are being answered. Please keep Mark in your prayers as he begins radiation therapy in the next week.
 
Thursday, May 24
 
Today was a really great day for Mark. He had two really good physical therapy sessions. His eye exam shows his eyes getting stronger and the speech therapist gave him part of an exam. We haven't heard about the spinal tap yet, hopefully we'll hear something Friday. Mark's doctor did order the clamp on his drain and then he'll have a CAT scan tomorrow. If it checks out, the tube will come out !!! He's definitely ready for that, it's bugging the heck out of him.
 
Wednesday, May 23
 
Mark's lumbar puncture went well. They came and got him at about 9:30 and began about 10:55. He was out by 11:09. He had to stay flat on his back for 7 hours but he didn't mind because he slept the entire time. Because of all this, he didn't have PT today but will go on tomorrow. His drain continues to look good. His doctor said it will probably come out in a couple of days. I've noticed that hospitals or maybe it's just doctors operate on a different time then the rest of us. There is real time and then there is "hospital time". I would like to again thank everyone for the cards, money, chores, and especially their prayers.
 Please continue to keep our family in your prayers.

 
Tuesday, May 22
 
Mark's day started out a little rocky. Trying to draw blood resulted in a lot of unnecessary sticking and pain. Needless to say he was not in a very good mood after this. However, his day did get better. He had a great day with the therapists. He's still seeing double but his eye control is definitely getting better. This evening we took him on a spin around the floor in a wheelchair. (We couldn't leave the floor because of his drain.) He really enjoyed getting out of his room. Tomorrow is the big day for his lumbar puncture (spinal  tap). Please keep him in your prayers. Hopefully there will be no sign of cancer cells having spread.
 
Monday, May 21
 
Mark had a pretty good day today. He worked really hard with his physical therapists. The ophthalmologist came by and said his eyes were definitely improving and tomorrow a speech therapist is suppose to start working with him. On Wednesday Mark will undergo a spinal tap to check spinal fluid for cancer cells. Please include him in your prayers. We also found out that beginning on the 26th, Mark will begin Fligrastim injections once a day for 4 to 5 day to increase the number of stem cells in his bloodstream. These stem cells will be harvested on the 6th -7th day to be used for transplants during his chemotherapy. Proton radiation treatments will begin on June 1. It looks like we won't make it home at all before treatments start. Hopefully after radiation begins we can get home on a weekend or holiday. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and continues to pray for us.
 
Sunday, May 20
 
We had a pretty good day today. Friends who had not seen Mark for several days came by today and remarked on how they could really see his improvement. He is definately getting better. He is moving his head a lot better as well as being more animated. The doctors said this morning that they want to keep the drain in
until he's not draining so much fluid. Taking our time before removing the drain will hopefully keep Mark from getting sick  and needing a shunt. Thank you for all your prayers!
 
Saturday, May 19
 
Mark didn't have a great day but it wasn't just an over all bad day either. He goes through periods where he's depressed and will not talk. Then he'll go through periods where he is happy and very talkative. We did find out that Wednesday will probably be the earliest day we will get home. The doctor's today were telling us that they will unclamp the drain from his brain on Monday and he will have to go 12 to 24 hrs with another CAT scan to follow. If that CAT scan comes back as good as the last one we can probably go home Wednesday without having to have a shunt put in his head. Brian and Dorothy
 
Friday, May 18
 
Mark started out having a great day with his physical therapy. He walked, with the help of his therapist, three times what he walked yesterday. He actually wanted to walk rather than go back to his room. After receiving some sweatbands as gifts from the Rice Owl baseball team, Mark asked Brian about playing 7th grade football. Needless to say, he was devastated when he found out that he would not be able to play next year. It broke our hearts to see him so upset and so disappointed. He was really looking forward to finally getting to play junior high football. Hopefully the next six months will pass quickly for him. Please continue to keep him in your prayers. God Bless, Dorothy & Brian
 
Thursday, May 17
 
We had some good news today. Mark went in for the CAT scan that would determine whether or not he would need a permanent shunt. Praise the Lord it came back a thumbs up. There was very little swelling and his own drainage system is working. His doctor recommended that we keep the drain in until Monday to try and help with Mark staying awake for longer periods of time. So God willing we will go home sometime on Monday. We'll be home for about a week and then we will have to come back here for tests before they start the six week radiation treatment. Thank you to all those people praying for Mark, please continue to keep him in your
prayers. God Bless, Dorothy & Brian

 
Wednesday, May 16
 
Mark had visitors this evening and we saw a little of the Mark we all know and love. Granny, Missy, Emma, Justin, Jordan, Elizabeth, Sissy and Myron came by to visit. While they were here, Mark talked with them and even laughed. It was really a blessing to see him smile. Dorothy & Brian
 
We met with the doctor's around lunch time and we are looking at a medullablastoma, which is cancerous. The good news is that they removed all of it during the surgery and his MRI came back good for his head and spine.  On the down side, there is the possibility that it has spread to other parts of his body in his spinal fluid. So in a couple of weeks they'll do a spinal  tap to check for this. Like I said yesterday we're looking at months of treatment but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Once his treatment is over it's over. We ask that everyone continue to keep us in their prayers as this radiation and chemotherapy will be extremely hard on Mark.  God Bless, Dorothy
 
Tuesday, May 15
 
Mark has been working w/ his physical therapists. Yesterday was a good day; today was not so great. The doctor's say we will find out in the morning about the pathologist's report. Today after talking w/ several doctors, we're learning we could be talking about 6 to 9 months therapy.  It's been a challenge for Brian and I to keep a postive attitude. Please continue to include Mark and our family in your prayers. God Bless, Dorothy
 
Sunday, May 13
 
Mark had a very tiring day today. He had a visit from the physical therapists and worked really hard to stand and sit for a bit. He is doing well the doctor's say. They also say his recovery will take time because of the trauma to the brain and the tumor being so close to the brain stem. So we're taking baby steps right now. Keep us in your prayers. God Bless, Dorothy
 
Saturday, May 12
 
Brian probably should be writing this update. He spent most of the day with Mark so that I could go to Columbus and watch the guys baseball playoff game. When I returned to the hospital tonight, I found wonderful news awaiting me. Mark sat up in a chair for about an hour. He ate really well (including a subway sandwich) and was able to pull himself up  as well as lift his head. He is suppose to be starting physical therapy soon.  He told Justin and Jordan that he wanted to start walking tomorrow. That may be a little too soon but he's at least trying. The medicines that they're giving him to reduce the swelling in his brain are making him a little grouchy. This too will pass the doctor assures us. All in all Mark has really accomplished quite a bit today and been very brave. We are very proud of him. We ask everyone to continue to include our family in their prayers. God Bless, Dorothy

Friday, May 11
 
At 8:30pm tonight we finally got moved from the ICU into our own room (1022) . Mark has been more awake today but also has been in more pain. He was able to eat a little and drink and spent some time listening to his favorite NICK shows. He's still not able to focus with his eyes. His doctor assures us that this is normal. Please continue to keep Mark in your prayers because tomorrow will be really hard on him because he's going to have to try and move around more than he has been and it will be quite painful. Once again a big thanks to all those folks who have prayed, cleaned, donated money and time, fed dogs, washed & folded clothes, maintained this web site, telephoned, and drove hundreds of miles to visit and give support. God Bless Everyone! Dorothy
 
Thursday, May 10
 
Mark is a little more coherent today however he still cannot focus his eyes on us. He asked a few specific questions, "How long have I been here?" He was able to tell me what color shirt Jordan was wearing and that it was Jordan. He also asked for apple juice. The problem is that the portion of his brain that was affected by the tumor controls nausea, etc and so the more his brain has swelled because of the surgery and the more he is stimulated (i.e. talked to and moving around) the more his blood pressure rises and he get sick to his stomach. As the day has progressed and with the administration of medicine he's done better. He has a MRI this evening and the doctor showed us where the tumor had been and pointed out how everything is as it should be. Praise the Lord. Now we just need to continue to pray for his recovery and for the pathologist's report to have good news. We would also like to thank everyone from Normangee, Franklin, the Houston Area, Tivoli, Hearne, Corpus Christi,  Bremond, Iola and Columbus  as well as everyone from  across the state and the United States that have included  and continue to include our Family in their prayers. Dorothy
 
Wednesday, May 9
 
We're doing pretty good today. Mark went in for surgery this morning at 8:40 and was in recovery by 3:30. Right now  (8:05pm) I'm sitting in the PICU waiting room and Brian and Jordan are trying to rouse Mark. It's been really scarry trying to get some sort reponse out of him. They did a CAT scan earlier, because I think, they weren't getting much of response out of him. The scan came back perfect. Our Dr. thinks it's just because of all the anesthesia. They shaved parts of his head so he has a pretty wacky hair doo. The doctor also said everything went great. They got all the visible parts of the tumor and there were no complications during the surgery. We will have to wait until Monday or Tuesday to see exactly what kind of tumor we're dealing with. We had a lot of friends and family come down to the hospital to pray with us and support us. We truely feel blessed. Dorothy
 
Tuesday, May 8
 
Mark is scheuled for surgery Wednesday, May 9th @ 7:30am.
 
A conference with Mark's doctor today lifted our spirits considerably. After reading the MRI, he didn't see any additional masses. As to whether or not the tumor is attached to Mark's brain stem, the Dr. said it doesn't appear that it is but they won't know for certain until they get in there and see it. If everything goes well during surgery, Mark will spend at least one night in ICU. I really appreciate  everyone's prayers. Dorothy