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4/30/2017 Latest post:
Welcome to Mark's CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Many of you know that Mark was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma in late January, 2017. Mark has successfully conquered melanoma twice before, first in 1988, and again in 2009. Now, however, this formidable disease has come back with a vengeance. The first sign of its return was in the form of external tumors on the right side of Mark's chest, which also involved adjacent lymph nodes. Unfortunately, PET scans and MRIs revealed that the cancer has metastasized to his lungs, liver, kidneys, brain, and spine. Mark has undergone a number of different types of treatment with varying results. He received several weeks of radiation on the tumors on his chest, with good results. Mark also received several rounds of immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a relatively recent weapon which has proven quite successful for some patients in the fight against melanoma. We were devastated to learn from subsequent scans that the immunotherapy did not work for Mark, and the lesions that were already present had grown and several more have appeared. However, Mark did receive two weeks of radiation for the lesions on his spine, completing those treatments this past Wednesday, April 26th. Mark also began oral chemotherapy this past Wednesday. Of course, we are praying that these latest treatments will have been successful in shrinking some of the lesions and slowing down any further growth. We'll post an update when we have results. Mark has truly been an inspiration through this incredibly difficult ordeal. Not once have I heard him say, "Why has this happened to me?" or heard him complain. He has shown the same determination and courage in this fight as he has in his life overall. I call him my hero not just for these traits, but for the strength of character, the warmth, kindness, the natural leadership, the humor, and the love he has always shown. Mark is an amazing husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. By virtue of the person he is, Mark has the support of a large circle of loving friends and family; most importantly, his devoted and loving wife Leslie, who has been a tireless caregiver, champion and advocate for Mark. God bless her for all she has done and continues to do. Please keep Mark, Leslie, and their daughters Becky and Emily in your prayers. Check back again soon as we will update this site regularly. Thank you all!