Spring & Summer 2018 - Discomfort
Mark started experiencing discomfort this past spring with what we thought was maybe a torn muscle or a build of "something" higher up on his left butt cheek. He had met with his primary doctor from Park Nicollet in Shakopee, Dr. Rinowski, and scheduled 8 physical therapy appointments, as well as Mark making an appointment with Dr. Hayostak, a chiropractor and acupuncturist. Nothing was giving him any relief and in fact the pain was increasing and the lump seemed to be increasing in size, as well.
July 23, 2018 - MRI
After another visit with Dr. Rinowski on July 20, they decided to do an MRI at Methodist. The MRI told us that there was a "mass in my ass" and they did not know what it was and felt they needed to do a biopsy.
July 30, 2018 - Biopsy
The biopsy was performed by taking 8 pieces out of the mass with a small needle. These were sent for testing. The initial tests came back a couple days later with inconclusive information and so they were then sent to Mayo Clinic for more testing.
Thursday, August 16, 2018 - Synovial Sarcoma (a soft tissue cancer)
We got a call on Thursday afternoon from Dr. Rinowski, that the mass is believed to be Synovial Sarcoma. We immediately needed to make a decision between University of MN or Mayo Clinic. We did some very quick research and with the recommendation of our doctor, we chose to go to the U of M with a Dr. Edward Cheng, an orthopaedic surgeon. He has experience in this type of rare cancer and has won many awards for his knowledge and expertise.
This link has some great information about this specific type of cancer. https://www.mhealth.org/patient-education/cdr0000258102
Monday, August 20, 2018 - First meeting with Dr. Cheng at the University of MN
Dr. Cheng explained that he has a team that he works with to evaluate his cases and that he is requesting the biopsy information for his staff to examine, before he makes a plan. If he can't see what he needs to or wants better ones, he will schedule a procedure to surgically take out a new larger sample/biopsy later this week. Because this is a rare cancer it can be hard to diagnose properly and so sometimes the smaller needle samples do not give enough information to make an accurate prognosis. We were also able to do an x-ray and blood work that same day.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018 - PET/CT Scan
The PET & CT scan will show if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - 5:30 p.m. - Phone call from Dr. Cheng
Mark got a phone call and so he went into the bedroom to chat. A few minutes later he came out and told me the doctor was on the phone and needed to talk to both of us. We put him on speaker.
Dr. Cheng apologized for calling and said he usually does not share this type of information over the phone but felt we should get the news as soon as possible. The scan shows evidence that the cancer has spread to both of Mark's lungs. There are multiple nodules (metastases) and it is an aggressive cancer. We now need to focus on the lungs and so our first step is to start chemotherapy as soon as possible. As part of Dr. Cheng's team, Dr. Skubitz is the doctor to have the knowledge about the chemotherapy. He assured us that this team has had extensive experience with sarcomas and they will provide us with the best possible care available anywhere. He apologized that the test results were not more favorable. He believes that we will start chemo by Monday, possibly over the weekend.
After collecting ourselves, we were able to sit down with the boys and explain the new information that we had learned. They had a lot of questions and some we could answer and others we couldn't but we encouraged them to keep asking. Many family and friends were able to rally around us. The boys were surprised at the number of visitors we had that evening. We cried, hugged, and even laughed a little. We were reminded of just how blessed we are to be surrounded by such incredibly faith-filled, loving people.
Father Erik and Father Paul came over later in the evening and prayed with all of us. Mark was given the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Father Erik also "loaned" Mark a hat that he had just taken to Rome and placed on the grave of St. Mark while he said a prayer. Fr. Erik wasn't sure why he was doing it at the time, but all things are done for a reason. St. Mark, pray for us!
Friday, August 24, 2018
Echocardiogram - since Mark's heart has gone into Atrial Fibrillation (irregular rapid heartbeat) twice in the past few years, they want to make sure his heart is healthy for the strong chemotherapy they are going to administer to him.
As we start this journey, we ask for prayers. We ask for peace and strength to fight the good fight. We ask for prayers for the medical team to know how to fight this battle and the ability to quickly proceed. We ask for the will to keep our trust in God. We ask for hope through our Lord, Jesus Christ. We ask for a strong, deep faith that the Holy Spirit will guide us. May our thanks be to God daily for all of the blessings we receive each and every day. May we never lose site of His grace, mercy, and love!
We are thankful for all of you!
Thank you for your support, love, and prayers!
Mark St. Mark, pray for us!
Amanda Mother, Mary, pray for us!
Brady (16) St. Hubert, pray for us!
Cody (14) St. Michael, pray for us!
Hunter (13) St. Joseph, pray for us!
St. Peregrine, pray for us!
Saints Joachim & Anne, pray for us!