Late February of 2012 Mark was diagnosed with stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma Cancer. This is written for our family and friends who have so caringly expressed a desire to know of the current situation. We so appreciate the love and support that has been shown to us and we lovingly empathize with and pray for many of you that have had or are currently going through trials of your own. In love, hope and faith, Mark and Ane

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Healing a Broken Heart - by Ane

Today Mark had an appointment with Dr. Zemsky, an electro physiologist, who specializes in electrical heart function.  After reviewing all of Mark’s past ECG’s he told us that Mark has been in A-Flutter, not A-Fib.  The medications have slowed the rate down, and although it’s not completely regular, it is different from A-Fib. 

The good news is that there is a procedure that can potentially cure the problem.  Catheter Ablation has a success rate of better than 90% and is a low-risk procedure.  If it works no further heart medications will be required.  YEA! A blood thinner may be required for about a month afterwards.  For that reason our oncologist has requested that Mark have more tests done before we proceed. He doesn't want any bleeding tumors - neither do we!  Next Tuesday, September 4th, Mark will have a PET scan and a brain MRI so we’ll know what is happening with the other tumors that were previously detected.  If all looks good the oncologist will give the okay to move forward with the procedure.  This is very hopeful news! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our Request - by Ane

It has been almost two weeks since our visit to Dr. Urba, the oncologist.  He told us that he would call our cardiologist and let him know that he felt good about moving forward with shocking the heart since there was no evidence of a tumor there.  He did so, and we called the cardiologist’s office to see how soon we could get in to see him.  The earliest appointment available was August 30th which was still three weeks out.  This past Friday Mark & I were feeling an urgent need to get in sooner, but didn’t know what we could do.  A few hours later, Mark got a call from the office telling us that Dr. Schroeder had taken a new assignment and couldn’t meet with us on the 30th.  There were no other appointments with any cardiologists until October or November!  That was NOT good news.  Then the receptionists said that there was an older doctor who had some time available that very afternoon in the Gresham office.  Mark told them we would come!  At 3:15 we were talking to this doctor – yes older, but nice guy.  He had looked at all the reports and he saw no reason not to move forward.  He said that even though Mark has been in A-Fib for several months that his heart did not seem to be enlarged and there were no visible signs of any clots in his heart.  He did say that the longer the heart has been in A-Fib the more difficult it is for it to go back to regular rhythm so the sooner, the better.  With his approval we were able to make an appointment with an electro-physiologist who would review the case, and he would be the one to do the actual procedure.  We have an appointment on August 29th at 8:45 a.m.  If all goes well with that appointment it should be less than a week before the procedure is done.  So…with all that said…our request to you is that you pray with us that Mark will be able to have the procedure done and that it will work – that his heart will return to its normal rhythm and that in time he will be able to discontinue the heart medicines. 

We felt that our prayers were answered in being able to see a cardiologist this past Friday and get the ball rolling for this procedure to be done.  There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that your prayers have been a tremendous blessing in our lives.  We are also mindful that some of you are enduring trials of your own – some public and some private.  It is sometimes those private ones that are the hardest because you don’t have the support of others.  Our hearts go out to you and you will be remembered in our prayers. We pray for all of you that have prayed for us. 

With deepest gratitude, 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Where did it go? We can't find it!! - by Mark

Our Oncologist confirmed what we thought we saw on the Echocardiogram last Thursday.  The large tumor in the heart is gone!  They can’t see it.  Which means likely every other tumor is gone as well!!  Now he did warn us that echocardiograms are not perfect at seeing things but it can’t be much because it all looked clean to all of us and it was real easy to see before.  The doctor also reminded us that this drug is just a stall and that the cancer will figure out a way around it.  But, this is the best he has ever seen.  He said you are now in the single digits of likely responses to this medication.  He will be showing pictures of my heart before and after at one of his global medical meetings, he was way excited, as were we.

He also reduced the dosage of the Zelboraff 25% to see if he can reduce some of the side effects, which should not hurt the success at all.

Now we are on to schedule an appointment with our cardiologist to see if we can shock the heart back into regular rhythm, as there now is nothing in the heart to break loose and clog the lungs.

Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers and love.  I believe it has made all the difference.