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Mark’s Story

I have pancreatic cancer. In a matter of 10 days, I went from some vague abdominal pain to undergoing several different surgeries, CT scans, MRI, ultrasounds, numerous blood tests and starting chemotherapy. Throughout all of this, my teams of medical professionals have led Kathy and I through the dizzying maze of tests, work ups, procedures and medications. 

Two days before Thanksgiving,I experience a very mild tenderness in my upper abdomen. We spent the holiday in Edina, MN with Kathy’s family and the pain actually improved. I was intending in putting things off until my annual physical later in Dec with my primary physician, Dr. Gary Leong. I happened by chance to see one of the surgeons in the hospital the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I asked her about my symptoms and Dr. Cindy Geocaris urged me to investigate this sooner, than later. Subsequent blood tests showed one of my pancreatic enzymes to be markedly elevated, which led to an ultrasound and CT scan of my abdomen. The CT scan showed a mass in the head of the pancreas. After undergoing three biopsies, removal of my gall bladder and a staging laparoscopy, I was formally diagnosed with Stage 2 adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, the most common type of pancreatic cancer. During this whirlwind of tests and procedures, I have seen no less than 10 different physicians, and at least twice as many other medical professionals. Kathy and I have traveled to Madison, WI, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and the Block Center in Chicago to consult with one of the top pancreatic surgeons and oncology teams in the country.

Needless to say, this diagnosis has been devastating to our family and friends, but there are reasons for optimism. I am younger than the typical patient, my cancer is at an earlier stage than typical and I am in relatively good physical condition. At this point, my cancer is borderline resectable without metastasis and should be amenable to surgery after my chemotherapy and radiation therapy is complete in February. Throughout all this, there has been an outpouring of support and prayers from our family, colleagues, friends, neighbors and our church family .Kathy and I made the decision for me to retire from my ENT practice on December 3. Not exactly the exit I had been planning, but the right decision nonetheless. My partners and staff have been extremely supportive during this transition.

I started my chemotherapy Dec10, and additionally received radiation therapy locally here at the Bellin Cancer Center. Please read my Journal entries for all of the latest updates.

Latest Journal Update

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends.  All of you have been faithful supporters of Mark and our family over these past 12 months and we are forever grateful.  We have anticipated this Christmas with a bit of trepidation, wondering how all the memories would come flooding back.  We have weathered many emotions this past year - we miss him terribly and not an hour goes by without us thinking of him.  He was a great man, and we were truly honored to have him as our father and husband.  He became a Christmas angel last December 25th and the beauty is we will always be together as a family on this special day, not only to celebrate Jesus birth but to celebrate the life of a great man, Mark Reinke.  
I thought it appropriate to share Marks favorite bible reading, the one we used during his celebration....have a blessed Christmas from our family to all of you.....
Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

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Comments

16 Comments

Rochelle Goeltz
By
Beautiful...thank you for continuing to share with all of us! I think of Mark often and my chldren will also mention him from time to time with smiles and stories of how he made them laugh. We are missing him with you...
Love and New Year's Blessings to you all!
Leon Bunker
By Cindy Bunker — last edited
Kathy - Thank you for posting. You and the children were in my thoughts and prayers as Christmas drew closer. I understand the weathering of many emotions - it was a perfect description of 2014. As I review 2014 and write my goals for 2015, I remember Mark and Becky's beautiful tribute. Sending hugs and wishing you all peace and God's continued blessings!
Brenda Peotter
By Brenda Peotter
Thinking of you Kathy, your fami,y and Mark on his one year in heaven🙏g Gods peace and blessings!!!
eileen o'shea
By Eileen O'Shea, RN
Thank you, eileen o'shea
Rosemary Hotaling
By Rosemary Hotaling
We have been thinking about all of you the entire month. I sent Becky a note and asked her to hug each of you for us. I know today is filled with mixed emotions and of course an enormous loss but you are so right about Mark always being with you. Love and blessings to all of you. Rosemary and Bill
Le Roy--Sue Vogt
By
My wife Sue and I will always remember Mark at this time of the year and what he meant to me, a fellow who worked out like I do, a person who I could talk to as a friend at anytime and when he was not feeling the best his strength fell over to me. Sue and my thoughts and prayers go to you and your family at this time and have a good Christmas and New Year. We will get you some wood with my friend.
teresa marcey
By teresa marcey
Merry Christmas to you all! You are always in my prayers!
Wishing you all happy memories and warm hugs! Love you all!
Holly Keyser
By
God bless all of you. It is hard to carry on when we lose someone we love, but we must. Wasn't Pastor Luther's sermon helpful?
Joyce Gibson
By
Merry Christmas to you all! I think of you often. Gods blessings during this holy season.
STACY JUELICH
By Stacy Juelich
Merry Christmas to you all. What a lovely picture!! You all, and Mark, will always be in my prayers during the holidays. Take care and God bless.