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Mark’s Story

Welcome to the Operational HQs for OPERATION TRUE GRIT.

(IF YOU VISIT THE GUESTBOOK, please say how you know me.)

Yea, call it corny, but with 23 years in the Army I intend to take this on like any Army Operation, and for starters, an Operation needs a communication center.  This is it.

----   Make sure you click the "Read My Story" link below or on the toolbar so you can see the "Background Story" of this bizarre freak'in ride.  ---

NOV 07-NOV 09 – Bleeding ulcer.

JUL10 – Stage IV Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Cancer.           

AUG10 – Diagnosed with different form of the same cancer.

NOV10– Diagnosed with Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor.

The Beginning.   Started experiencing some unusual fatigue on/about 20 JUN 10.  Not bad, just enough to raise concern.  I concluded that it was either a late Spring bug OR something related to my ulcer.  (I have a history of bleeding ulcers - twice in three years - with no known cause; “It’s not stress…some people just get ulcers.”)  Decided to take a trip to the doc, who ultimately decided to take blood.  Not a whole lot of concern on my part or hers given my weight, health, and lack of any other symptoms.

First Bolt of Lightning.   On the day GEN McChystal was relieved of his command, I had an email exchange with an old comrade - GEN Petraeus.  He recommended me for a position on his team and the very next morning I got a call from LTG Caldwell in Afghanistan.  We immediately dispensed with the formalities - he and GEN Petraeus had talked and they wanted me to do in Afghanistan what I had done in Iraq.  In this case, they wanted me to be the Military Assistant to Minister Bismillah Mohammadi, the newly appointed Minister of Interior in President Karzai's cabinet.

Initial Blood Work Results.  Blood work from routine check up showed Hemoglobin of 8.9...just above what I understand is a red-flag threshold.  Immediately referred to a GI specialist.

Scheduling/Endoscopy.  On 15 JUL Dr. Matlock performed an Endoscopy and found a fist-sized lesion in my duodenum (small pouch just past the stomach)...same spot as the previous ulcer, but a hell of a lot bigger (18 months ago it was the size of a pencil eraser).  The doc ordered more blood work and an immediate CT scan for 19 JUL.  Normal iron stores run from 100-300...mine were at 2.  Something was wrong.

CT Scan/Initial Diagnosis - Second Bolt of Lightning.  The scan was uneventful.  We met with Dr. Matlock the following day, Tuesday, 20 JUL.  Kristin and I watched a poker-faced Dr. Matlock enter the room and deliver through the softest voice possible that the news was not good.  He walked us through the slides of the CT scan one by one and the scene honestly took our breath away.  The "ulcer" was not an ulcer, but cancer.  And roughly 75% of my liver was filled with tumors – about 15 and they were big.  One looked as large as a baseball and several others were the size of golfballs.  He didn't know the prime source, but given the ulcer, and it's location to the pancreas, he believed it was either duodenal or pancreatic cancer.  He repeated through tearful and incredibly sympathetic eyes that he thought that this was going to be the thing that took my life.  He ordered a liver biopsy to determine exactly what we were facing. 

I notified my immediate family and found myself bracing for what I thought would be the remaining few months of my life.  I fired off a note to GEN Petraeus as well, and, as is typical, he responded within about 30 minutes with the following:

“Very sorry to hear this, Mark....  Needless to say, your focus now is to fight this enemy and leave the Taliban to us for a while.  Pls keep us posted.  God bless –“

I'll consider that an order.  Follow along in the journal for updates.

Latest Journal Update

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!  I didn't want the day to get away without wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving. May you find peace as you gather with your family and friends around the table. Our table will have two empty chairs this year. One for Mark, and one for my mom (she lost her battle with cancer in July). Their chairs may be empty, but our hearts are full of love and memories. And for that I am truly thankful.  I am also thankful that my boys are home under one roof this weekend, and for the food we will enjoy later today.  And that the Grey One and Orange Kitty adventures continue to bring laughter to the boys.  Take a moment to reach out to someone you love today, you never know when you won't have that chance again.  May you be blessed today with love, peace, and happiness.  Love Kris, Matthew, Joshua and Noah
110 people hearted this


40 Comentarios

Mary Pless
By Mary Pless, Houston, Tx.
I was in the library the other day, when I spied Mark Weber's book on the shelf. I read the book jacket and then put the book back on the shelf, thinking that I didn't want to read something that I was sure would be so incredibly sad. Later, I circled back around and picked it up. I am so glad I did! This book was a mixture of reading in laughter, as well as tears. I am now adding it to my list of books that remind us to live each day of life with gusto and thanksgiving. As a just retired teacher at 63, I feel the stirrings of my own mortality now, and I am determined to continue to make a difference in positive ways, until my own end. But most of all, I am reminded by Mark's writing to let those closest to me know how much I love them. To the Weber family, heartfelt wishes for a 2016 full of joy, in the midst of the everyday trials of living! I commend your courage.
Gloria Dorsey
By Gloria Dorsey
Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to Kristin, Matthew, Joshua and Noah. It has been a long time since I checked the site but you all came to mind today. God bless you all. Live. Life. Loud.
DC Groupie, Gloria
J. C. Newland
By J. C. Newland, Arlington, TX
Today is August 24 2015 and as I completed the reading of Mark's story, I am brought again to the realization that "today is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it".

At age 85, I know in whom I have believed, am am persuaded that God is able to do all he has promised through his son Jesus Christ. My hope is built on nothing less. Thank you Mark Weber and all the Weber family for letting us walk this journey with you. And thank you especially Mark for you service to this country in providing freedoms we so often take for granted.
1 person hearted this
Danita Beadle
By Danita Beadle
Just completed "Tell My Son's: A Father's Last Letter's." Inspiring, the best book I have read in this category since my journey began with "the good fight" with my diagnosis of Stage IV Ovarian Cancer in January 2012. Discovered many parallels as well as enlightening, perspective. God's Blessings to you and your loved ones as you continue Mark's legacy.
1 person hearted this
Jane Vasquez
By Jane Vasquez, San Diego, CA August 7, 2015.
I just completed Tell My Sons: A Father's Last Letters. What an inspiring book. What this man went been through puts him in a category of hero in his own right. He has left such a wonderful and warm legacy for his family that he loved so much. By the end of the book I truly felt I knew Mark. My heart and prayers to the family. Its never easy to lose those you love. I admire your strength.
1 person hearted this
Melinda Wollitz
By Melinda Wollitz San Diego, CA
I just read your husband's wonderful book. I wish I could have met him. If only we all had half of his strength and character, this world would be a much better place, bless you all...
1 person hearted this
Katherine Woolley
By Katherine Woolley
I just finished reading the book and it really makes you think about what is important in life. God Bless your family
1 person hearted this
Izzie shih
By Izzie shih — last edited
hi Kris ^ ^I am Taiwanese.I feel so lucky to have a chance to read Tell My Sons in Chinese version.I really want to truly thank you all because the content of the book make me become more grateful and deeply change my perspective of happiness on my life.I have raised by my mom in a single-parent family since I was little so I really don't know the feeling of having a father.I was very touched and tears streamed down my face when I read the book.I think words can't express how much the book influence me so thank you again.best wishes!!
5 people hearted this
Pam Vulcan
By Pam Vulcan
Sounds like your Thanksgiving went well. We too thought of our 2 Moms not with us anymore. We are so thankful for the life they lived and that we were able to be a part of that life. Enjoy the wonderful spirit of Christmas as it approaches.
1 person hearted this
Sandy Best
Dear Kris, Matthew, Joshua and Noah--

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm sorry to learn of the loss of your Mother. Your strength and faith serve as an inspiration to us all.

Blessings to each of you! Thanks for reminding us all to reach out to the people we love. It's easy to take our loved one's for granted in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

On behalf of your friends with the Minnesota National Guard - Godspeed!

Sandy Best
5 people hearted this