Still in FULL COMPLETE remission

Monday, October 10, 2011 5:43 PM, CDT
The Lord has been good to me and mine … I just do not know why….It is a mystery for sure.
Great news from Little Rock tests …STILL IN FULL REMISSION…No signs of cancer. The protocol of treatments all these months, years now, is paying off. May God continue to bless us all.
Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers as we fight another hurdle of life.
I am very sorry for the late post but I caught the humagomba bug in Little Rock. Coughing, sneezing the whole nine yards…it seems everyone had it. My mask did no good. So we traveled home and slept for 2 days. Still recovering on medicine given by Doc.
Opened a bottle of Bookster 2007 a week ago so will review….nice on the front, fragrant with hint of cherry and sea musk, finish is short , lingers about 20 seconds, body is firm but tart..give it a 90 MAF (this reads like I was reviewing a woman) Strange?
Speaking of baseball, I have been asked to tell a story about Dizzy Dean. It has been approved by the publisher and the boss. However, I must warn … you may be offended. So do not read any further if you think you may become angry, face flushed or unable to speak concise English dialect after reading.

Many years ago when I was a kid say in the early 60’s , baseball on TV consisted of 1 game a week. Hence it was called “The game of the Week” and was on TV every Saturday afternoon. The sponsor was Falstaff beer and the commentators were Pee Wee Reece and Dizzy Dean. Dad and I always watched most the games. Now every half inning, as the teams changed on the field, it was time for a commercial. Well the cameras would pan up to Dizzy and Pee Wee to do the commercial for Falstaff. Back then, flip top cans were not invented, so Dizzy had a can opener and would open an ice cold Falstaff for he and Pee Wee. They each would pour beer into a glass mug, drink and talk about the qualities of this wonderful beer. So every break Dizzy would say “and fans its time for a Falstaff” and the camera would pan up to these guys opening and drinking beer. Needless to say around the 7th inning our commentators were pretty lit and sloshed. They would sing the Wabash cannonball and many other favorites. Quite a show.
One of these games, the camera kept panning to a man and woman kissing in the stands. This went on for several innings. Of course, our sloshed Falstaff color men were commenting on the man and woman. After many pans to the couple Dizzy said, “ Fans we have finally figured out this couples kissing routine, he is kissing her on the strikes and she is kissing him on the balls!!.”

Side notes and vicious rumors

  • We need more common sense in DC not more money
  • Buffet says he pays less tax than his secretary…give her a the way he has filed extensions on his tax returns and is currently on year 2004..I wonder if I can do that trick?
  • Mitt Romney is a Morman so what…Obama is a Muslim and listened to the crazy rants of his Pastor Wright for 25 years.

Continue to pray for our country

Illegitimi non carborundum

Saturday, May 28, 2011 11:39 AM, CDT
test results

Dr. N gave us the great news yesterday...still in COMPLETE remission. No sign of any Myeloma cancer. All tests look good and my old lesions are healing. I will continue on maintenance and go back to Little Rock in 4 months. The maintenance is weekly chemo iv and a mix of dex once a week, with revlimid pills everyday.

Anyway great news....thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers through all this for a poor sinner as I.
Karen and I drove home yesterday, grabbed a pizza, opened a bottle of wine and watched Patton till had to go to bed exhausted.

The wine was a 2006 Viticcio Classico Reserva from Italy. Taste was dry on the back yet firm on the front with a hint of chocolate in between...long finish. good stuff for $18 bucks...I give it a 90 MAF

Speaking of Patton , I have a silver coin which I use to mark golf balls on the course. It has one of Pattons favorite sayings inscribed in Latin,
Illegitimi non carborundum which basically means "Don't let the bastards get you down."

We need more Pattons in our world right now to straighten this mess out. As George Wallace used to say" just do it and quit all this pussy footing around".

Well again thanks for all your prayers.
God bless you all and this country.

Good Bad and Ugly

Thursday, February 24, 2011 4:12 PM, CST
Still in COMPLETE remission!!!!

These were wonderful words to hear from Dr.N.

All tests showed NO SIGNS of Myeloma. So Karen and I are relieved and ecstatic...head home tomorrow.

Bad and Ugly
This news is very bitter sweet for us, as our friend and fellow cancer fighter, Tom McCullough passed on to be with the Lord Tuesday of this week. Please pray for Debbie , the girls and all of Tom's family. He was a good man and will be missed greatly.
Three months ago, Tom, Debbie, Karen and I happened to be in LR at the same time so we opened a bottle of wine and enjoyed each others company.

So tonight a little teary eyed and humble, I open a bottle of wine in Tom's honor.
It is a 2005 Plan Pegau from France...smooth with a hint of humility....nice fragrance....long on the memories.....Hears to you Tom.. I rate it a 100 MAF

Thanks for all you prayers... I must sign off as a huge storm is passing.

Mark from Little Rock

Sad news

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 6:46 PM, CST
Hello Friends and Family,
We have received word from Debbie McCullough that dear Tom passed away today at MD Anderson. He had a hard struggle with myeloma and leukemia. Our hearts are broken, we will miss him greatly. May God be with his precious family.

We are in Little Rock for Mark's scheduled check up. He had the whole gamut of test today and will see his doctor on Thursday for the results.

Please keep the McCullough family in your prayers.
Saturday, November 20, 2010 1:34 PM, CST
3 month checkup from Little Rock

Soory for the late post but Karen and I left LR yesterday afternoon and were late getting back home.


This week I was poked, stuck, rolled, ridiculed and analyzed .... and all this before I left the apartment to go to the hospital for tests.
My wife makes sure I am fit for dress code. My appointments started at 7;30 AM so as I was turning the door knob on the front door, my wife says "Did you wash your hair?" Now as most of you might know this is NOT a question but a direct Instruction. So I pry my fingers from the door knob , get un-dresssed and go wash my hair.

Now you must understand, I am going to be shoved and packed into an MRI machine, have my buttocks exposed for a bone marrow pull and many other tests for the next 9 hours at the hospital. My thinking is 99.9% of the attendants are not going to be discussing my hair style. However, to have a happy wife I do the deed , get re-dressed, move towards the door and tell her bye ..see you tonight. She then says, Mark did you shave? My Smith heritage then kicked in and I answered, "hell no I haven't shaved and ain't going too're dismissed!

Anyway, got to hospital and was again stuck, rolled, stuffed, turned, aspirated, analysed, scrutinised, advised and taped. This was over an 8 hour period.

As before, as many months ago, I was asked the strangest question. It was in bone marrow pull procedure. You must get this picture to appreciate the question.

The patient, that's me, is lying on his stomach with his butt bare and exposed towards the ceiling. The technician has proceeded to fit a round cylinder through your skin and hip bone into the bone marrow beneath.

As you can imagine this is quite painful. It feels like a 220 volt of electricity going in your legs. As the tech starts his second pull of marrow from my body the other nurse asks this question.... "Mr. Freeman when did you first lose your hair from the chemo treatments?"

Truly being at a loss for words , breath and general sanity at this moment....I finally said "I can't recall"... I guess that is what was said as I was again having a" Smith" moment. It is amazing what happens at the most inopportune moments of life.

Enough of this rant..the good Lord has again blessed my family with results from heaven. My cancer is still in "complete remission" and all is well. So the Doc says we will continue as planned.

We were fortunate to spend valuable time with many friends in LR this visit. We had a grand time visiting with Debbie and Tom McCullough and a great lunch with Kathy and Bob Payjec.

Please continue to remember us in your prayers and happy Thanksgiving to all.
Sunday, November 14, 2010 7:09 PM, CST
Can't believe it is time to head back to Little Rock - 3 months already?
Mark and I are anxious to see the results of this check up since some of his maintenance therapy had to be adjusted. He is feeling good except for the neuropathy and tiredness.
Our friend, Tom, is still in Little Rock and hopefully his numbers will be high enough for us to visit him.
We will leave in the morning and plan to be home on Friday, maybe Saturday.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Friday, August 6, 2010 5:43 PM, CDT

We are home in our own nest!

The drive home wasn't too bad. Mark is tired but joyful. He was very ready to get out of the car - sitting for 7 hours after the bone marrow test is not very comfortable.

Dr. N ask for Mark to "please" continue the daily chemo - it is working. We know that this treatment is very controversial in the cancer community, but we have seen the positive results with our own eyes. We are believers. It is very hard but successful. We are thanking the dear Lord for every wonderful day he blesses us with.

Please continue to pray for our friends Tom and Debbie. Mark and I can not imagine the disappointment and discouragement they are experiencing. I am attaching his Caring bridge link, if any of you would like to share their journey.

Thank you all for your unending love and support. It has been so precious to us both.
Thursday, August 5, 2010 4:57 PM, CDT
From Little Rock:

Dr. N came in said "all tests are good then smiled and said "you are now in complete remission!!!

"How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believers ear!"

Thank all for prayers and thoughts through this long year. We have reached the end of the tunnel and will continue on maintenance for the next 3 years. No problem to me!!

Karen and I will be going home in the morning.

This great news was bitter sweet as my buddy in Myeloma fighting, Tom MCCullough was hospitalized this week and has been diagnosed as having Leukemia. We spent some time with he and Debbie today. Please keep him and his precious family in your prayers. He will be in Little Rock for months fighting this new development.

Karen and I will be back in Little Rock for another check up in 3 months and to find the best eating joints. Today we found the best hamburger in town at Burger Mama's . The name and the shack the sign is attached to, almost drove us away but dang burger I have eaten in years. Service was great...2 Mexicans with baseball hats reversed on their head were really humping it. And clean rate it an overall 9.

Tonight it is time to do the wine rating...since Karen and I are going to go eat Italian to celebrate ..I have opened a bottle of Chateau Vieux Moulins de Chereau 2005...very tart on the front, but has a good finish. And since I still have not regained taste from the chemo...that’s about it. rating 89MAF .. 15 bucks


  • DON'T GET IT ...political candidates spending MILLIONS on a job that pays under 100K
  • Rangel needs to go
  • Can I quit paying taxes? right
  • Pelosi and Harry need to go; hell they all need to go
  • Temperature on the tarmac in Little Rock was 137 degrees..that’s hot
  • Pray for my Uncle CJ and his cancer treatments

Well enough of my rants.

Praise God for all mercies he sends our way.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 6:34 PM, CDT

Boy is it hot, hot, hot......... Only 111 right now at 5:30 in Little Rock and 100 in Valley Head. Wow!

Good news from Sister Faye. Her heart surgery went well and she is up in a chair. So amazing!

Mark had an apt with a dermatologist today concerning a spot on his arm. The doc removed it and told him he was fairly sure it was a skin cancer. We are not very concerned about it as we know being in the sun as much as we have it is inevitable to have a few skin lesions. The doctor told him to just keep an eye on it until we get back in Dec. and call to update him.

After the appointment we went to see Tom. He confirmed our great fear that he has Acute Myeloid Leukemia. His myeloma is still in remission and he is quite a puzzle to the doctors. Debbie and Tom’s sister were out getting tested for transplant compatibility. Tom is hoping his sister will be a match. He looked good and it was great to get to visit with him. He had lots of IV fluids - they are treating him already. He said he thinks he will have to be in the hospital for about 7 weeks receiving chemo. Knowing what a strong man he is, we have great faith that he will beat this really soon. We just hate that he has to go through this again (his hair looked so good!). Hopefully we will see Debbie tomorrow.

While Mark was “getting his arm cut off” (his words), I checked out the new cancer center. It is gorgeous, but still about the same with the chaos. The wait time at the cancer infusion center was 2 to 4 hours, worse than in the old place. I saw lots of the nurses and APNs. Frances gave me a quick inside tour - it will be wonderful when they get the kinks worked out. So excited to get to see Alaina (she has gotten married and is expecting a baby boy since we have seen her), sweet Katie, Tina, Jovannia, Deena, Nadine and Peggy, they are such special people. It is such a blessing to have this hospital and know what good work they do.

Mark’s appointment with Dr. N is tomorrow afternoon. Please pray that he has good news for us.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 1:23 PM, CDT

Yesterday was very relaxing for us. Mark played a little golf very early before the extreme heat and I piddled around getting us settled in. The apartment manager called to tell us that yes, she had the wrong rate and gave Mark a refund. He was thrilled - always wanting a “good value”.

Trying to steer Mark clear of Kentucky fried chicken livers, Shorty Small’s hamburgers, Papa John’s pizza, etc., we went to dinner at Outback - my second visit ever. Mark had to eat meat and veggies - no carbs - for his PET scan this morning, so we thought a steak and salad would work. Our wonderful waiter took our order, came back in about ten minutes to tell us the computer was down and that it would be a little bit because they had to hand write all the orders for the cooks. Apparently the cooks did not understand that O&V meant olive oil and vinegar on our salads and he had to explain. I thought Mark was going to laugh us out of the place - he blames it on me and says “they always burn our pizza”. (This is a reference from way back when I was expecting Ben and wanted pizza every night - and they did overcook it fairly often.) The food was good and it wasn’t too long of a wait. Needless to say I will not be going out to dinner tonight - think we will have a tomato sandwich!!!

We got a call after dinner from Debbie. She said Tom had been sent to Little Rock and they were testing some more. I am so glad they are here and hopefully we will get to visit tomorrow. Tom is very sick and I pray that they will have him up and going again very soon!! Of course they are exceedingly worried, as we are. Please pray for these good people and their family.

I didn’t go with Mark to the clinic today as his day was totally booked with test. Guess he didn’t want me sitting around collecting germs. He should be back around 6:30 if all goes as planned. The grand opening of the new cancer center is this week and I am sure it will be chaos. I can’t wait to see it - maybe tomorrow.

Monday, August 2, 2010 8:32 AM, CDT

It has been a year ago today that Mark entered into the realm of Multiple Myeloma. Not a wonderful thing to think about, but wonderful that it was detected early, treated and we have had another year. It has been a long and very hard year, but he is a strong trooper.

We returned to Little Rock yesterday for his first maintenance checkup. Maintenance chemo was not what we had thought it would be and has taken quite a lot to work out. Mark has really good days and some down days. Each day is planned around which side effect will show up. We are learning!

We are praying that the test results this week will confirm that the Myeloma is at bay. The point of the maintenance program is to keep it as low as possible. We are anxious to meet with Dr. N on Thursday afternoon to hear a great report!

Little Rock almost seems like home since we have spent most of the year here, but it isn’t! We miss our family and friends each time we have to come here. We met a lady, Margaret, at one of the chemo sessions who has been living with myeloma for 7 years - such an inspiration to both of us. We laugh and say she began in Little Rock back in the “Dark ages”. I have kept in touch with a few of the other patients and they all seems to be hanging tough. We got word yesterday that Tom is sick. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him, Debbie and his sweet family.

Yesterday was a challenging day! The drive was hard - we believe they moved Little Rock further west. The traffic was bumper to bumper and it you have ever driven between Memphis and anywhere westward you know that it is transfer truck central. The heat must have made everyone edgy - it topped out at 103 about 4PM. Our apartment was ready, but the rate had changed - Mark was not happy! We unloaded the truck and discovered that the apartment had not been cleaned - wasn’t happy! After much calling and discussion, the manager moved us upstairs to a clean apartment - Mark nor K were happy about the stairs and having to lug all our junk up them. But at least it was clean.

Our favorite, Copeland’s restaurant was calling our name, or that is what we thought anyway. Until we had been there an hour and they finally brought our dinner and it was the wrong item. So the sweet waitress took it away with a promise that our dinners would be right out. Another wait, another “it is coming”, we finally ended up walking out and going to Wal-Mart for crackers, pnut butter and ice cream…

We have so much to be thankful for and God continues to provide for and bless us. We have received news of illness in so many of our loved ones. May the good Lord bless Tom, Uncle CJ, Aunt Bet, Tommy, Faye and the many others that are needing his loving care.

Love from our home away from home,
Thursday, May 6, 2010 9:21 PM, CDT
Mark is feeling much better and we hope it continues.

He began the three year maintenance plan today. He received an IV of chemo along with labs in Chattanooga, which he will do weekly. Additionally he will have an oral chemo drug to take daily for 21 days, skip 7 days and start over.
Little Rock requires a check up every three months to keep an eye on his progress. Any one have a plane?? Most people handle the maintenance very well and I pray Mark will too.

The hair on his head is about 1/4 " long, but his beard and eyebrows are back. He is beginning to look like Mark again. It still amazes me that the human body can take such abuse and recover.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day and have had the blessing of having mothers as wonderful as we have.
Friday, April 30, 2010 4:29 PM, CDT
Home Again!!
Not a bad trip home, but we are tired!
We were going to eat healthy today, but the egg mcmuffin, chicken wings, and burger with fries got in the way. Maybe we will start tomorrow.
Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes. They are truly appreciated.
Thursday, April 29, 2010 5:55 PM, CDT
Hello all.

It has been a great and beautiful day in Little Rock ... I played golf this AM (someone has to do it, so I did) .. ..then met with Doc at 1:00PM.

My disease has not changed (progressed), the protein markers are now non-existent (this is great news), the myeloma in the bone marrow is 2-3 percent (this is good) lesions are healing and no new myeloma was found in pet /mri scans. So we are slowly trudging our way to remission.

What this means, we go to the next stage... 3 year maintenance...low dose chemo and other drugs to kill what is left. Sounds good to me. All of this will be done at HOME!

Went to 7C to see Bob and Bobby Anderson ... had not seen them for several months..just got an email he will be released to go home tomorrow hopefully. You go Bob!!

While there I asked all my old nurses at the nurses station (about 10) if they could draw my blood for practice before I went into heart a big laugh. Good to see all those wonderful people. They are my heroes.

My hair is coming back..white on my on head..letting it go..look homeless..I wonder if I could qualify for some govornment program now???

Enough of medicine.

Tonight I am reviewing a bottle of Chateau Gigault Cuvee 2005...very hearty..smooth..good bite on tongue..thats about it since I still cannot taste or smell !!! rate it a 89MAF
Karen and I are going to eat Razorback pizza tonight ..will review it later.

Do not know if I should write this but...

Back in 71, I played baseball at ABAC and of course went to college there..great place...had a cafeteria pass which was lunch every day... the cooks made big rolls about the size of day Sparky Wilson and I planned a food fight...we positioned ourselves at opposite sides of the lunchroom..the plan was he would lob a roll towards me and I would lob one towards him...we both had about 10 rolls each on our tray..

So here comes his lob and then my lob back..after 4 lobs everybody in the place is throwing food, trays, chairs and anything they can get their hands on...sensing this thing is getting out of control , Wilson and I ease out the exit and watch the festivities from the outside...after about 5 to 10 minutes of complete mayhem..the police show up..all the doors are locked and they start arresting folks. Since Wilson and I are on the outside looking in we just start walking back to the dorms..laughing of course.


  • Crist of Florida is nuts
  • Mayor of San Francisco is nuts..I am boycotting CA
  • Now that Health care is official..I sleep better .. I know you do
  • God please continue to bless this country..we need it!!
  • California needs to secede from the union and become part of balance the budget
Enough of my rant...
Monday, April 26, 2010 10:10 PM, CDT

We are back in Little Rock.

The drive was nice, a little rain and cloudy, but great weather when we got to Little Rock. It was so neat to see the rice fields being planted and all the beautiful spring flowers. Of course Mark had to stop and talk to two Purple Martin guys, on in western Alabama and one in Arkansas. They have a consensus on why the birds were late this year, too cold.

Mark has test scheduled for the next two days and then will see the doc on Thursday. Hopefully we will be back home on Friday. These test are just to see how controlled the myeloma is and make sure he is ready for maintenance.

We hated to have to drive out, not just because of the trip, but because 3 of the patients we know have contracted pneumonia while here and are still combating it. It is a bit scary. Mark has promised to wear his mask religiously!

The last few weeks have found Mark feeling much better and he has a bit of peach fuzz on his head. We are taking bets on what color it will be. As of now it looks very white.

We are very thankful that he has tolerated the treatments so well. He is of good stock!! Hopefully he will handle the maintenance in like manner and be back to his old sweet self soon.

Hola to our precious boys, Susi, Pilar, and Fede - knowing you are having so much fun together.

Saturday night was very stressful in Alabama and over the Southeast, as we were under the threat of tornadoes. One hit very close to Katie and Mark’s cabin, they are fine, but Mark’s folks, Glenda and Dan were visiting and were staying in a cabin up from Katie and Mark. The tornado came right beside their cabin, knocking over trees and exploding the trailer park next door. They had trees on their roof and around their car. It took all day to get the car cut out, but it miraculously didn’t have any damage. Needless to say their visit to Alabama was very exciting and thankfully they were not injured.

Many people have lost so much - they have been in our prayers.

It was so nice to get to see friends while we were home and precious to hear all their well wishes for us. It certainly humbles you to think so many people have you in their thoughts and prayers. The good Lord has truly blessed us.

Friday, March 26, 2010 6:29 PM, CDT
We are home safe and sound - had a great trip even on a Spring Holiday Friday!
Mark is resting with his feet to the fire. Katie had the house all ready and welcoming, then proceeded to unpack the loaded truck! Mama had us supper ready - So nice!

Never has this place looked so good!!
Friday, March 26, 2010 6:43 AM, CDT
Bye, precious little apartment, you have served us well.
We are anxious to be on the road again to sweet home Alabama!
Our prayers and best wishes for those who are still here in treatment and hope they will soon be finished.
God be with us on our journey.
Can't wait to have an armful of grand babies!
Thursday, March 25, 2010 6:16 PM, CDT
Hello from OZ,

The day we have all been waiting for has arrived..kind of like Christmas...Karen, I and the good Lord were given the green light to take off today.

So tomorrow morning we leave Little Rock which has been home since September 09.

All labs and counts are great..I asked the Doc if I am in this 90% percentile of long life expectancy for 10 plus years ..he said yes no problem. He explained my disease has 2 types, the active and the smoldering. The smoldering may never go away but it does no damage, it justs sits around doing nothing...kinda like some people I know. The active has been eradicated from my marrow. This was great news to my ears.

We have been through many bumps in the road with this stuff but the Lord has preserved us. Praise be to him. He is master of my soul and a safe harbour in all seasons.

Continue to pray for all God's children in need..they are many.

We will now start maintenance in 1 month and it will last for 3 years. This will involve low dose chemo by mouth and shots.

Karen and I want all of you to know how much your prayers, support and thoughts have helped us. As mentioned, we encountered many bumps along the way but did not have any flat tires.

Enough of medicine.

Many years ago, in Ft Valley , Ga. I was baling corn and millet for my cows. In the process, also getting the field ready for upcoming dove shoots. I would leave the bales out in the field as cover for the hunters. The baler was one of these big round would make a nice 5 x 5 bale around 1500 lbs. Occasionally when a fellow is baling he will encounter some hay that has not dried well and it will stick in the throat of the baler and clog. Well this is not good because you then have to raise the baler door and climb in, get on your knees and start cutting, pulling the grass out of the baler. This is very tiring work and can take upwards of 30 minutes.

As you might know this is what happened... I am on my knees with the tractor running, unplugging my baler..of course alone out in this big field the last thing I am expecting is for a human to show up.

As mentioned, I am on my knees, and I hear someone screaming at me..I turn to look and all I see is legs and hands pointing at a coiled up rattlesnake 2 feet behind me.
This had to be the fastest I have ever moved in my life...I turned and ran head first right into the top roll bar on the baler. I was probably out like a light for a few seconds...and awoke to laughter ... looked around for a few more seconds to figure out the situation...well it was my ole friend Tim McCord bent over double he was laughing so hard. He helped me up and explained the snake was dead. He had ran over it on the road and decided to use it as a joke. Well it worked.

However, I actually was a catalyst a couple of years ago in introducing Ben my son, to his daughter Linsey who is now my daughter in law and lives close by to us. It took me 30 years but "paybacks are hell, Tim!"

  • Let us rejoice with the day we have
  • Duke will win the NCAA
  • Dayton is my pick for the NIT
  • now that healthcare is law..salaries and wages are next I suppose; then guns , then speech, then ....
  • where do you apply for an IRS position ... vicious rumor has it Obama is hiring 19,000 new agents
  • the only postive thing about all this debt we now must pay for is that China holds the paper..kind of ironic really..can a China man say three blind mice real fast
  • ain't our Vice President Joe " " Biden a class act..and he is second in command..where do we find these people
Enough of my chemo rants

Love from Little Rock
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 5:43 PM, CDT
Mark is back from the dermatologist - all you beautiful people stay out of the sun!! The doc says this problem is basically sun damage. The chemo has decided to make it visible and irritate it - like rosacea. We are so thrilled it is not graft vs host disease!
It is back to the Dr. Nair in the morning and then to get the CVL removed. Guess that means we will have to leave Friday. Supposed to rain tomorrow anyway..........
Tom and Debbie have ask us to meet them for dinner tonight. I can't wait to see them. Debbie called yesterday and said they had 12" of snow and some of it was still around. It is so warm here today that it is really hard to imagine anyone having snow! Reminds me of the freak snow storm we had in Chatt when the children were small. We got 5" the first week in April - boy was it fun!!
See you soon!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 12:35 PM, CDT
Thank you all for your encouraging notes!! Mark and I are so blessed to have you all cheering us on.

Small set back- doc wants Mark to see a dermatologist before we start home, so it will be Friday before we get to hit the road to Sweet Home Alabama! The doctor said all was well but he wanted to make sure that the pink itchy face was nothing but just that- a pink itchy face. I am so glad they stay on top of everything. He will go back for labs on 7-C in the morning - I am sure all the nurses will be in shock - they were hugging us bye and wishes us well this morning.
Probably a good thing we have to wait as we went to eat Mexican last night and we haven't felt really great since. Made our packing up a bit slow......
God is blessing us with another beautiful spring day!
Can't wait to see you all.

Smiths Station

Monday, March 22, 2010 7:37 PM, CDT
Today my APN said we are done and have a dismissal appointment for tomorrow!!

So the long Little Rock "treatment journey" Karen, I and the good Lord began back in early September is over. We will miss all the wonderful people we have met both with this disease and the doctors, nurses that treat it.

God is truly great and full of mercy..he is my buckler and refuge in times of peril.

So we plan on traveling back home Wednesday.
Karen is packing and I am again doing my Fred Sanford imitations.

I know many of you have missed my wine reviews over the past few months..well thats because I have not opened any...but stay tuned.

Well, everyone is thrilled that our "brilliant" heroes in DC have Socialized our health care system. I cant wait to pay more taxes and penalties to Caesar. Sorry I forgot "its free". That means the government is paying for it not us, right?

Enough of politics.

When I was a junior in high school out last football game of the season was against a team we had never hear of, Smiths Station. It sounded like a Trailways bus stop. Of course, we were from Columbus Ga and Smiths Station was in Alabama somewhere, which was kinda screwy anyway. What are we doing playing an Alabama team.

As it turns out Smith Station was a real small school out in the country like 500 kids but....they were STATE Champions every year in their division. Our coach tried to scare us in practice.."you boys have never played country boys ..they are tough.. they gonna hurt you. We just laughed.

So we travel to Smith Station ..expecting a small crowd and a quick game. When we walked onto the field the stadium was packed ...most people we had seen all year... and they were not our fans. Turns out these guys ain't been beat all year.

From the first play we knew it was gonna be a long night..these guys were fassssst ..I mean real fast and they would knock you into yesterday...every play.. it was a real brawl.

They had a halfback, that later signed with Auburn, who would run over you. Rumor had it, his wife and 2 kids were in the stands that night.
In the 4th quarter, this dude gets the hand-off and runs up the right side of the center, runs over our tackle ..who weighs 255..runs right over the middle line backer....then there is me .. I'm rover linebacker and I got a bead on this dude to knock him a thing I know my helmet is turned sideways on my face ...he is heading for a 50 yard TD with only one guy that can stop him..our poor safety who weighs 150... as I look up from the ground our safety hits him head on...well this dude hits our safety so hard his helmet comes flying off and rolling towards the goal...the halfback somehow steps into the rolling helmet and falls down.

Of course, this story was not funny at the time but it has been told many times at gatherings. Yes Smith Station won the game and went on to another state championship. We went home and went to an Alabama University (Bear Bryant) spring training. Yes, our coaches were from 2 National Championship Teams at Alabama. My coach , linebackers, was Dan Kearly who made All American. Needless to say that spring training was pure hell!! Many quit.

  • WE need less government
  • we need more common sense
  • we need some true leaders
  • I need a loan
  • you become what you think about
  • God bless us all
Cheers from Little Rock
Sunday, March 21, 2010 4:37 PM, CDT
Laryn, Mark and Frances Winter is back.
Rumors from north Arkansas say that they have 11 inches of snow and it is still snowing.......Wow!
We have cold rain now and are predicted to have snow tonight, hopefully not 11 inches!!
After a week of feeling really raunchy, Mark is beginning to feel like himself again. His white count jumped from .86 to 3.85 overnight and his CRP is dropping. These are all very good signs. He is still coughing and snotty (and fussing at the basketball games). With this good news hopefully he will be released this week. I am just itching to pack.
We were quickly in and out of the clinic this afternoon, which was a wonderful change. Nurses Laryn, Frances and Stephanie visited and entertained him - he is very spoiled.
Since the weather is so yucky I decided it was time to bake and made a blackberry tart. It smells good - hope it is. Mark's taste isn't back yet, maybe this will tempt him.
We love hearing from you and pray that we will soon be back with you all.
Friday, March 19, 2010 8:03 PM, CDT

Everything is turning green. The pear trees, camellias, forsythia, tulip trees, buttercups, tulips, hyacinths are in full bloom - why I love spring!

We walked a little this morning in the beautiful sunshine. Mark has felt bad for the past few days and was a bit better today. His white count is rising but so is his CRP (infection factor). The nurses think it may be the cough and drippy nose or his sore toes. One toe he dropped a battery from the clinic IV pumps on it and on the other foot he has just a big red swollen toe for which we have no cause. We have found out that anything can happen with this chemo. He has had IV antibiotics for the last three days along with growth shots. He is soaking in salt water right now - who knows what to do????

He told the nurse we just needed to go to the beach. I am all for it!

J T told me today that he had found two pieces of shipwreck on the beach and they fit together! He is so excited. He is going to take a picture of it , write a letter about it, put it in an envelope and lick it and put a stamp on it and mail it to me and Papa. I can’t wait! I told him he could e-mail me and he said yea, I could. Don’t think that was near as exciting as licking the envelope!

I know I sound like a broken record, but everyday we meet new patients and when we hear their stories we know that we have been truly blessed. God still has us in his hands and is blessing us.

Hopefully Mark will feel better soon. We are wanting to see Tom and Debbie - we have a standing dinner date. Maybe this weekend!

Love from Spring green and lovely Little Rock,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 7:30 AM, CDT
LAST injection of chemo for this round! Yea! But Mark is feeling a bit crummy. Hopefully this won't last long. All of his labs looked good yesterday and his white count dropped back down to 1, so he is again neutropenic.
The weather has been great which is a wonderful blessing. The poor windshield guy is to return this morning - I feel like we have worried him to death, but he is always nice. He ordered new trim - he thinks that will fix the problem. He has no idea that the roof trim is sticking up where they had not reattached it - I told him but I don't think he quite understood.

We have upstairs neighbors. A patient we know moved in, but I didn't know who it was until we were at the clinic yesterday and he was telling me about this great place he had rented. We both thought it was funny that we were neighbors and hadn't seen each other! We just "hear" each other.

May the Good Lord continue to bless us.
Sunday, March 14, 2010 6:42 PM, CDT

A beautiful Sunday in Little Rock, hope everyone had a blessed day.

Mark and I walked around the neighborhood and then went to the clinic. His potassium is down so we waited for an hour or so. Our nurse came in and told us to go home, that the infuser wasn't ready and one of the other nurses would drop it by the apartment on her way home. We thought that was great. Mark celebrated by stopping by Kroger and purchasing some fried chicken - “it is a better value than the Colonel“. He is feeling good - yea!

Our friends from NC brought us a loaf of homemade sour dough bread today. I going to eat it for supper - Mark can have the chicken.

Tom emailed Mark and said he was coming to LR tomorrow. It will be good to see them.

A lady from Arizona came in the clinic today in a tizzy - they don’t have daylight savings time in AZ and she was very confused - she wanted to know what time it would be in New York. Something we take for granted can be very confusing to some one who has never experienced it. I told her how much fun we have in Northeast AL trying to keep our times straight with Eastern time zones.

Mark’s WBC went down to neutropenic and then shot right back up the next day, so we don’t know what that means. His nurse said it does that sometimes and his white count should still zero out. The waiting game continues.

Ben made Mark’s day by calling to tell him his Purple Martins have arrived. Mark has been looking for them for about a month - I kept telling him that was too early (like I know anything about birds). When we were home he and Ben worked on getting the houses in pristine condition anticipating the birds arrival.

Happy Day Light savings time….

Saturday, March 13, 2010 12:37 PM, CST

Mark is cheering this chemo on - kill myeloma! Just don’t take me with you…….

He is again fighting the intestinal war. Yesterday brought another push of Velcade and he has another scheduled for Monday. After that the “chemo” is behind him until the lighter doses in maintenance. The weight he had gained is gone but a bright red skin rash has taken it’s place - mostly on his handsome face. Thank goodness it is not bothering him much. He is looking slim and trim again.

Our nice spring days have reverted to winter - it is cold and the north wind has the golf course flags streaming straight out. Guess we will pull out our winter duds again. Our little ones are to be heading to the beach for spring holidays - Lee told me they were planning on wearing sweatshirts with their bikinis! They will probably get wind burn instead of sun burn. Hope they have a great time in spite of the cold.

The time is beginning to really drag - as Mark says “groundhog day again” - in case you are wondering, that is in reference to the movie of that name. I had never seen the movie until we were home last break and he is pretty much right on it! But we are thrilled to have every day - may God bless us with many more, Groundhog or not.

Our dear sweet friends at church are in special need of our prayers. We think of you often and pray that God will heal and sustain you and yours.

I have to go clean, clean - Mark is neutropenic so now it the real sanitizing time- glad I am good at it! Never knew why I was so ticky……………

Please continue to pray for us.

Love, Karen

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 8:34 PM, CST

Never have heard tornado sirens before, not a good feeling!

We have had lots of rain and lots of big hail tonight. I am sure my big old tank truck will be just fine - not so sure about the new windshield…..

Rain is running in our front windows and they are covered by the porch - weird.

Mark has felt very tired today and we had to stay longer at the clinic for them to make sure all was well. He is still swollen and the nurses are doing their best to eliminate any possible problems. They gave him lots of good medicine and sent him home with his first magnesium/potassium infuser of this cycle.

We had a visit from our friends, Bob and Kathy, from Panama City while we were at the clinic. They are waiting a couple of days to make sure all Bob’s problems are resolved and then they are on their way home. It was so good to see them and it really made our clinic wait nice. He looked and felt great, so encouraging for us!

The nurses are a bit fatigued by the time we get to clinic. I decided they needed some sugar and chocolate. After planning, calling Linda twice for instructions and taking three trips to the grocery, I finally got the cake made. Not a good idea to bake when you aren’t in a fully stocked kitchen. Of course they were all thrilled, I was just glad they had never had the opportunity to taste Linda’s as they would have thrown mine in the garbage! Think next time I will follow Katie’s advice and pick up Frosty’s for them. I am constantly amazed by these wonderful compassionate people. God continues to bless us with the best care.

Mark must be feeling the effects of the chemo - he ate the cake and said he loved it - it has coconut in it.

Last evening he wanted Chinese again. PFChangs is on the way home from the clinic so we stopped. It is a beautiful restaurant, but the food isn’t quite as good as the old hole in the wall in Scottsboro. If I HAVE to eat Chinese that is the place to go! Mark loves Chinese anywhere he can find it!

Oh my, it is hailing again! The entire golf course is white with hail.

We love and miss you all,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 7:57 AM, CST

Looks like a duck day, should have bought some of those cute rubber boots…….

Inflated Mark has gained 5 more pounds, but the nurses were on it in a flash and gave him a tummy shot of Lasix. Which not only helped the fluid retention but (as John Thomas and I call him) the “Grumpy Bear”. Our sweet nurse, Laryn, ask Mark if he really felt miserable and he said Oh, yes!

Really, really miserable?

Yes, yes!!

She said,” Well now you know how we women feel once a month!! “. We cracked up!!!

Last night he just grinned and said he had wrinkles in his hands again! Never knew we would be so thrilled over wrinkles. Lasix is great stuff, but it also pulls minerals and electrolytes, so I am trying to keep the balance with supplements and food. I can’t imagine being this swollen. His swelling will continue for a couple of more days before it tops out.

Today is his last day with Mrs. Hall, by 5:00 he will be cable and purse free. I imagine Mark is about as thrilled as when he graduated from Mrs. Hall in the third grade.

Mark has made friends with the golf club house manager at the apartment. He is Tommy Tubberfield’s cousin so I am sure they have lots to talk about. The manager runs a little breakfast/ lunch counter right across the parking lot and Mark has walked over to eat breakfast with him the last two days. That means I can get dressed without smelling like some variety of cooked pork!

Love to you all from Little Rock,

May God Bless us all.


Sunday, March 7, 2010 12:49 PM, CST

Mark has just announced it is after 12. Okay, so now what? Do you want to eat, nap, or ?

He is especially funny on this medication.

Every trip brings new interest, this time it is the search for the best hamburger. The hospital dining hall was winning until we went to Shorty Smalls. But now he has heard of others to check out…………

His daily appointment at the clinic is at 2, which gives us lots of morning time to be lazy. He is on the porch trying to find the sunshine as I write this. We walked for a bit earlier but his energy level is waning. This is the third day with Mrs. Hall and the oral chemo. He is again very pink and very round - as of yesterday he had gained 8 pounds. We are very pleased to be on 7C again as the nurses are very familiar with Mark and are watchful that we don’t have the same drama that occurred last time. The nurses say they always remember the trouble makers!

He is on the same medications as before less the Melphalan. It is the bad boy that causes mouth sores. The doctor says it is 25% less chemo than before which translates to no Melphalan with everything else the same.

We have seen a few familiar faces, Bob from Panama City is ready to go home. He had his first transplant the same day as Mark and has done great! Mike from Little Rock and Curtis from North Carolina are both just now recovering from the awful pneumonia that went through the clinic while we were home. There is still lots of sickness around so we are diligent in staying sanitized. Our other friends are due to arrive in the next weeks. They all had longer times at home to recover. We were saddened to learn that Mr. Papo from Greece passed away while he was at home. We will miss him and his family.

Guess I better sign off and find out what after 12 means…

Thank you for all your notes. We love hearing from you.

May God Bless,


Happy Birthday sweet baby Matthew and Miss Inez.
Also prayers for Uncle Mickey - hope he will be feeling better soon.

Friday, March 5, 2010 7:19 PM, CST
Hello everyone,

Over the past 5 days I have been:

Stuck, bent, aspirated, biopsied, taped, untaped, injected, radiated, MRIed, pet scanned, cardio-gramed, sona-gramed, inserted, ejected, rolled, data managed and asked some strange questions. The strangest from a research person while another nurse is pulling bone marrow from my hip. The question, "Have you grown any hair and if so what was the date." This is in the middle of the bone marrow puller "pulling" marrow through a needle stuck through your hip bone into the marrow beneath.

For those whom have never had this experience, it is like having a 220 volt bolt hit you down both legs and into the feet for as long as the nurse is pulling...usually 4 segments each lasting 10-15 seconds. Very invigorating. Hence, the humor in the interest of my hair growth fro research.

Karen and I met with the "doc" Thursday ... he said my cancer has been smoldering (dormant) for many years ... now it is under control. While remission is the goal the important markers they watch are all good. He said it takes most people a year or more to reach remission..but if my disease never reaches remission it is nothing to worry about because it is under control and doing no is back to a dormant type stage.

Every Tuesday all the docs in Ozdom meet and discuss cases. He said that my case was studied at this meeting a month ago and all the OZ's in Ozdom concurred on the above. He even said the head OZman, Barlogie, concluded that my disease was doing well with the treatments and nothing to be concerned about. As a Frenchman told me many years ago "no problem to me."

Started with Mrs. Hall today..she will be with me 4 days, slowly pumping chemo and killing what little MM is hanging around.
For those not familiar with Mrs. Hall please refer to past journal post around Sept of last year.

Well enough of medicine.

Many years ago, I sold a bunch of Insurance and won a trip to England for Karen and myself. The company said we could invite 2 others to go if they paid. So my mother and mother-in-law were mustered and volunteered. Of course, being 28 years old, I had no idea what one would encounter with such a diverse group in a foreign country.

We arrive in England with jet lag and go to our rooms to rest. Of course they have a mini-bar ..Mom and i decide we need an adult beverage of sort...however the key to the bar does not open it in either room. Therefore, I call room service and a frenchman comes to our room..we explain the problem and he says "may I see the key".
Now this key is LARGE about 8 inches long by 3 inches wide and made of thick metal. You could pry a door open with it.
Our French chap trys to open the bar as we did with no success. He looks a little perplexed ..however being the true service pro, he proceeds to put the key into the door crack and pry...much to our surprise the door does not budge...our man trys much harder and completely bends the steel key into an L shape...pulls it out of the bar door (which is still not open but is also bent)..he looks at the key and us, then flips the key onto the bed. As our man makes his exit from the room, he shrugs his shoulders and says in a french accent "no problem to me!" Needless to say we forgot about the mini and went to the lounge downstairs.


  • Everyday we awake with little pain, we should immediately thank God ..for it is truly a precious thing to behold and enjoy!
  • God has been good to me all my life ... just do not know why
  • Forget water boarding terrorists .. bring them to Little Rock for a bone marrow aspirate biopsy..they will tell you ALL
  • glad Olympics are over ... kind of like being at an all weekend revival..can only take so much
  • eat an apple and drink some wine everyday is not an old wives tale
Enough of my chemo rants,

Love from LR
Tuesday, March 2, 2010 5:13 PM, CST

Mark is finished with this round of test. I am sure he made all A's. I didn't go with him to UAMS therefore I missed getting to see our friends Tom and Donna Dunnam. I spoke with her and she had gotten a really good report. She is on maintenance and handling it well. Mark thought they both looked great - Donna has hair! They are inspirations to us both.
Hope everyone is nice and warm. The children told us we had lots of snow at home - I know it is beautiful. Got a great picture of Lillie Kate with her snowman.
Love from chilly Little Rock,

Sunday, February 28, 2010 6:12 PM, CST
It is back to Little Rock time.........and as you might know it is CLOUDY and rain is in the forecast.
It was beautiful this afternoon though and we walked around the neighborhood. Mark is still trying to regain his strength to get ready for the next round. His testing begins in the morning and will last for two days. He sees the doc on Thursday and will find out then when the chemo will begin.
We were blessed to be home for two of the babies birthdays and we got to go to church. It is such a blessing that we all take for granted. It was a precious time for us both.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
Much love, Karen
Saturday, February 6, 2010 7:22 AM, CST

We are so thrilled to be back in our own nest!

Mark has been feeling good except for a swollen aching ankle. He had to have his scheduled labs yesterday in Chattanooga and saw Dr. S who checked out his fat ankle. The doc ordered scans, x-rays, more labs - and after prodding and poking decided he just didn't really know what it was. We should get the test results on Monday. Mark was put on more antibiotics and joint medication - what is one more pill??????. He has been trying to get around with a cane - we used a wheelchair at the hospital ( he doesn't like me driving that any more than a car). Last night he progressed to crutches. We have decided that Chemo just does some very strange things to your body!
Dr. S was very interested in what was going on in Little Rock and in all the strides they have made in MM. That was very encouraging to us. I think he would have liked to have talked and found out more but he had other "customers "waiting.
It was such a yucky day and I tried my fire making skills to much success. Another thing “girls” aren’t supposed to do. BAH! When we got home last night our dear friends brought us dinner, wonderful soup, fried chicken and DESSERTS. Linda and I didn't get to see each other at Christmas so we had a talking good time in the kitchen and listened to Mark and Donald laugh in the living room. We made supper trays for the guys to eat by the fire and watch TV. It was good for our souls (and our stomachs)! Only now I have gained more weight!

Mark is scheduled to return to LR the first of March for the consolidation phase. It is another round with “Mrs. Hall”, but will be a lighter version. We had wanted to be here for Matthew’s 2 year old birthday, but we will have to celebrate early! Our prayer is that the consolidation will put Mark into remission or very close to it! The maintenance phase of his treatment should begin around the end of April which should make our trips to LR less often.

We are praying that all of our friends in LR are doing well and are home or on their way.

May God continue to bless us all.
Love from Valley Head,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 9:21 AM, CST
We were released from OZ at 4:30 PM yesterday. Karen and I ate at a resturant to celebrate. Got home and ate a half gallon of ice cream with dessert ... to celebrate.

Since I had my CVL line pulled yesterday ..cannot pick up, bend over and do any sudden Karen is running around packing and I am doing Fred Sanford imitations in the middle of the room.

It is truly a miracle that one day you are in the dirt and the next you are being released to go home. God is a great god.

The DOC said everything is progressing well, all counts look good.
So we now go home for a month and play with screaming grandkids!

Tom and Debbie went home yesterday ..I know they are thrilled!!

Thank all for your prayers and thoughts.

Years ago I made a living (meager) selling on the road. I would leave on Sunday afternoon and return on Friday. As aways the kids would run to the car and hug me before I could get out. On one of my returns I hugged Matt and said " Matt I believe you have grown a foot since I left". He looked down at his feet and said "but Daddy I got 2 feet".

Well Karen is telling me to move again so

Cheers from Little Rock.

Mark and Karen
Tuesday, February 2, 2010 8:33 AM, CST

The snow is gone and the rain is on its way. Best duck weather in the US!

Mark has an appointment with Dr. Nair this afternoon! Everything seems to move in random spurts - one day you are about as low as you can get and the next they are telling you bye! We pray this is his “BYE, see you in a month - go get your CVL pulled” visit. All of his blood work looked really good yesterday - not normal but going in that direction. He did get a unit of blood, it really does give him a boost. His white count was a whopping 10.41, platelets are growing on their own, CRP is going down, and red cells are kind of iffy. He needs a steak, medium rare with a big fat baked potato - maybe a night for Copeland’s (we can use our Christmas gift from Inspec!)

Tom is out of the hospital and has a doc appointment today as well - we are all ready to be out of here!

As one lady told me yesterday, "I want to go home, but I miss everyone here terribly". We hug, share and try to encourage each other - my heart aches for those that will not get to go home.

The windshield guy is supposed to show up this morning. Sure would like to get that repaired so it won’t delay our leaving. Maybe he will have a perfect one this time!

Never ever pray for patience! God will give you the opportunity to use it! When the children were small I prayed for it often - now I have to use it!! I have never “waited “ well.

Your encouragement and prayers sustain us.

Love from Little Rock,

PS: One of nurses told Mark he needed to run for office - seems like I have heard that before!

Monday, February 1, 2010 8:40 AM, CST

Zoom Zoom - Mark’s white count is now 5.43 - WOW.

I could not believe it had jumped that much. No wonder his bones are hurting!! This also means no more tummy shots - I know he is really thrilled about that. He was feeling rather yucky yesterday and will get a unit of blood today at the clinic. We are expecting the clinic to be packed today since many patients could not make it in this weekend with all the frozen roads.

Last night to celebrate no longer being neutropenic he bought ice cream from the Sonic next door, sorry to say it didn’t taste right. Of course nothing taste good right now and I still “stink”. I try to keep the smells to a minimum - lotions, hairspray, scrub my teeth, but it happens every time anyway. He can officially call me a “Stinking Wife”.

The pantry and frig are about empty and I am trying not to restock in hopes of getting out of here this week. Perhaps we will get a dismissal appointment set up today.

Update on Tom - he is much better . Maybe he will be out of the hospital today.

We still have snow and it is so beautiful. The roads are clear thank goodness - no more ice.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday and February first.

Love to you all from Little Rock,


Did anyone see the show last night about the Duggar family with the 18 kids from AR. The Mama had her 19 child at UAMS
Friday, January 29, 2010 8:35 PM, CST

Brrrrrrrr, cold day. We had a good mix of sleet and snow today. We decided to go to the clinic early as the weather was to worsen later in the day. It was a slow drive in but we made it there and back safely. Mark’s WBC has jumped! Hence his aching bones - he still says it is the weather…. His LPN, Alaina, said he was doing very good. Always love to hear that!

Our room mates at the clinic were Tom and Debbie. His platelets did not take yesterday so they were giving him blood today - we pray that will do the trick. It was so nice to get to talk with them for a bit. One of the RNs, Frances, had golf towels embroidered with frogs on them for Tom and Mark. They were both thrilled. She is a sweetheart.

Hope you all stay warm and safe.

With love from Little Rock,

Friday, January 29, 2010 8:35 PM, CST

Brrrrrrrr, cold day. We had a good mix of sleet and snow today. We decided to go to the clinic early as the weather was to worsen later in the day. It was a slow drive in but we made it there and back safely. Mark’s WBC has jumped! Hence his aching bones - he still says it is the weather…. His LPN, Alaina, said he was doing very good. Always love to hear that!

Our room mates at the clinic were Tom and Debbie. His platelets did not take yesterday so they were giving him blood today - we pray that will do the trick. It was so nice to get to talk with them for a bit. One of the RNs, Frances, had golf towels embroidered with frogs on them for Tom and Mark. They were both thrilled. She is a sweetheart.

Hope you all stay warm and safe.

With love from Little Rock,

Thursday, January 28, 2010 8:37 PM, CST

Day Eight after transplant and Mark is feeling it. He is tired and sleepy plus his bones are aching. We know all this is part of the treatment but it doesn’t make us like it any better. He will soon rebound and hopefully be released to go home by the end of next week. All his swelling is gone and his lab counts are where they should be at this time. Everything is at the bottom! (Or in the dirt as he says) Little, growing Stem Cells take a lot of energy.

We are anticipating ice, snow and cold as are many of you. Hopefully most of us will have only a small amount. The golf course guys have covered all the greens with huge white tarps - must be some special grass???? Funny looking - like it has already snowed. We have one long river bridge to travel over on the way to the clinic. Our nurse said it is usually salted so it shouldn’t be a problem - they gave us supplies just in case we can’t make it in. A man in the grocery line told us that Kroger usually sells 500 gallons of milk as day, Tues. they sold 1400 and yesterday 1600. I don’t know if I believe that but if it is so, there are some tired cows out there!!

Platelets were the treatment of choice at the clinic today. Everyone we knew got a unit! If your count goes below 20 you get treated to some. Tom had a bad reaction to them last time and we are praying that he is okay tonight.

Wrap up and stay warm!

Love, Karen

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 9:32 AM, CST

Good morning,

Everything with Mark is going as planned. His white count is .000 so I am diligently trying to keep him safe. As he says, “there is only one way to go now - UP”. His daily counts have been good, he has only had to have one unit of blood and one of platelets. He lost 5 more pounds yesterday for a total of 23 in the last three day. Needless to say he is feeling like a new person. He should lose the rest of the fluid in the next few days. I still have all my extra 20 pounds just in case you were wondering.

Since Mark’s appointment time has changed to the afternoon, we have not seen Tom. But the nurses keep us updated and he is reportedly on the upswing also. Debbie is coming this weekend. Hope she beats the “storm” . I have to go get bread and milk - yes, they do that here as well. The weather people call it the "Bread and Milk forcast". Never have figured out why we need it but it must be important. Remember Todd Yakoubian, Chattanooga weather guy, he is out here now - makes us feel like we are at home.

We are having to have a new windshield put in the truck - guess we were hit with a rock. The crack has steadily made its way across the windshield. I love that they will come to your car instead of having to go wait at a shop. Very nice for us!!
Just went out to check on the windshield - oh well, this one is wavy - now to schedule another one...........

As my friend says, "You never know what you are going to have to deal with on any given day". As long as the Good Lord is with us - we can carry on.
Love you all

Monday, January 25, 2010 8:20 AM, CST

Greetings from Little Rock.

Looks like another beautiful day is unfolding. I know there have been many storms in the southeast these last few days but it is so wonderful when they are gone. Just like the storms in our lives.

Mark is feeling really well and we are back to 7C for labs everyday. His white count is plummeting and he should bottom out tomorrow. The growth factor shots have begun so his new baby stem cells will find a wonderful new home to grow in.

The stay in the hospital really made us appreciate this little apartment and the way his treatment is administered. Previously patients had to stay in the hospital to receive this treatment and now it is out patient!

Mark was most excited yesterday as he had lost 18 pounds. We are hoping for more today. We never thought we would be happy to see wrinkles in his skin. No more balloon boy!

His nurses were very glad to see him and had 3 days of aggravations saved up for him. They make this tolerable. I don’t know if it is because it is winter or what, but this time it seems harder and is taking its toll on many of the patients. Hopefully with the advent of some pretty weather everyone will begin to feel better.

Mark’s cousin Larry who is a patient at MD Anderson got a very good report this week - still cancer free. Thank the Good Lord!

Our dear friend, Sue is really suffering and having many problems from an auto accident . Our prayers are with her and her family.

I know we thank all of you when we post this, but you could never really know how much your love and support sustains us. You lift us up and keep us going!

May God bless.

We love you,

Saturday, January 23, 2010 11:06 AM, CST
We are ready to leave but as with all hospitals the paper work takes a while. Mark has had excellent care! His heart rate and blood pressure are good and he is feeling great!
As his neutropenia began today I am praying that great feeling will continue. He is wearing his mask and I am cleaning everything he might touch. I am in love with Cavi wipes - found out I can get them on Amazon - now I can sanitize everything!

We marvel at how these health care professionals are able to keep going on this rigors pace. My hat is off to them! His day nurse and night nurse had very opossing ideas on nursing and we thought it might come to fisticuffs before the day nurse left. It was entertaining - could have been on Grey's Anatomy!

Thank you all for your concern and prayers. We know it is in
God's hands and it is in him we trust.
Much love, Karen
Friday, January 22, 2010 3:09 PM, CST

Quick update: Mark's sinus rhythm is back to normal, which means his heart is beating like it should - YEA and praise the Good Lord

6PM - doc just in and said we should be able to check out tomorrow - he is adjusting some of Mark's medication and said all should be fine!

Friday, January 22, 2010 12:53 PM, CST
We just heard that our dear friend and sister in Christ, Sue, had an injurious car wreck. Our love, thoughts and prayers are with her.
One never to let moss grow under his feet, Mark now has us in the hospital - he is in the bed and I am on the couch/bed. Yesterday at clinic his heart rate excited the nurses who decided they had had enough of Mark and sent him to the cardiac wing of the hospital. It wasn’t long before the cardiac nurses had his blood pressure and pulse back in line and now they are working on his heart rate. They are telling us it may take a couple of days. Since we are having to stay here just let me say this is a super nice place - brand new and very high tech. There is a monitor over Mark’s bed that is constantly beeping and flashing bright lights - Mark says Belle would love it, Matthew too. Mark has leads stuck all over him that go to the monitor. (Of course he is wishing for wireless) There is a window by the door where his nurse sits and monitors the monitor over the bed. He is being very well taken care of. We have seen an array of medical people including a technician that did a sonogram of his heart. So amazing!! The consensus is that this problem was caused by the 34 pounds he has gained in the previous 4 days and the chemo. He is receiving medication for fluid retention so hopefully he will be back to his running weight soon!
Tom and Debbie just stopped by to sat Hi and tell us it was a zoo on 7C today. They had to sit in the “Festival Seating” area. It was a good thing he was feeling well and didn’t have to stay long. It can be a very madcap area.
 Please continue to remember us in your prayers.
 Love from Little Rock, Karen
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 3:10 PM, CST
LPN Alaina - second stem cell transplant Ah...........the sweet smell of creamed corn! We are so happy to have that wonderful aroma! Mark had 6.8 million of those little sweet stem cells infused about lunch time. That gives him 21.02 million in reserve. We are so blessed! Mark was in rare form today. He is so swollen (topping out at a 31 lb weight gain in 4 days) that he he kinda waddles around so he has had lots of comments to entertain the staff and other patients. He even had a special request from one of the other patients to come to his room for some of Mark's entertainment!
We were in the room with Tom and Debbie, as he was getting his stem cells today also. It was so nice to get to visit with them. Debbie and I went to the cafeteria to get hamburgers for us and the guys at lunch. Mark says they are the best and a very good value. So we pigged out and tried to ignore the cream corn fragrance.
There is a nice Oriental family at the clinic and the gentleman that is the patient turned 80 today. His sweet daughter brought cup cakes for us all to share -yummy (we ate dessert first!).
He sure does look great to be sick and 80!!
The nurses are so great and johnny on the spot to take superb care of everyone. They are angels.
Mark was given Benadryl to prevent any reactions to the transplant so he is now snoozin in his chair. His fluid retention should begin to get better now.
Sorry we were premature wishing Aunt Jimmie Faye a happy birthday. Now everyone knows and she should be well wished!!No excuses that anyone has forgotten.
We are praying that Mark's cousin, Larry, test results are still cancer free! May God be with he and Sharon as they are now at MD Anderson.
Thank your for your prayers. God is caring for us.
Love, Karen
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 6:39 PM, CST
Yea last day of chemo is over..tomorrow get those new stem cells just raring to go..labs still real good.

Karen's eye flared up so took her to the eye clinc at the same hospital...took her right in because we are a MM patient. Told her it was fine for now and take Ibropoprin for relief. The doctor told her if it gives anymore trouble to come back and bypass the lobby and just come see him directly. Great care.

Please continue to pray that the good Lord will heal us. It does matter.

I have gained 24 pounds in 4 days..feel like a stuffed toad in a cricket shop. The dex makes you gain the weight was last day for it.


  • Brown may win Kennedys MA seat...would that be great or what
  • Happy Bday aunt Jim Faye!
  • You become what you think about
  • I need to write a book
  • God is good and full of grace
  • It is well with my soul ... one of my favorite hymnals
Thanks again for your prayers and thoughts,

From Little Rock with Love , Mark and Karen

ain't nothin but a winner"

Monday, January 18, 2010 9:33 PM, CST
Today was another beautiful day in LR..60 out of clinic at 12:30 and went straight to eat at restaurant ..have gained 20 lbs in 3 much for "Jenny Craig". Labs are great and progressing normally ..killing Myeloma. Got home took a short nap then walked about 1 1/2 miles ..doing good.

Enough of the medical.

Bear Bryant once said "I ain't nothing but a winner!" Which means he was not a quitter. He said he made his practices so tough so the quitters would quit. Then he would not have any quitters in the real game.
I learned this same ideal from watching my parents struggle thorough life many years ago. I am sure many times they wanted to quit..but didn't. Never quit was the lesson I learned from them for life.

Well I have never quit and have passed this principal on to my children. How do I know this? I know how much pressure, hard talking, and staying on them I have dished out through the years...but you know what , not one of them is a quitter. I am very sure they wanted to quit and may still hold some resentment for "my practices" but they ain't quitters. You can see it in their eyes and in the families they are raising..the way they conduct themselves. I am sure that many times they wanted to quit but they pulled themselves up and kept going. That's what the Bear was referring to as a winner. Someone that will not quit whatever the circumstance and will find a way around the negative to get the positive result, the goal set before them. That's a winner! I'm proud to say I have four kids that are all winners, each one of them.


  • We need more winners in this country!
  • We don't need losers ,whiners , victums and quitters
  • Mark Twain said "it ain't hard to quit ..I've quit a 1000 times
  • If God be for us then who stands against us
  • rumor has it Mark Richt is heading to Penn state as "head coach in waiting" for ole Joe Pa ..who knows

enough of my rant..chemo got me going

Love Mark and Karen
Monday, January 18, 2010 8:20 AM, CST
We have been amiss in thanking the generous people that have contributed to Caring Bridge in Mark's honor. We are not updated when someone donates, but we can read the tributes if we know of the donation. Thank you so much in supporting this wonderful portal for keeping families and friends in touch with loved ones going through illness. And most of all, thank you for thinking of us!
We love you all.
May God Bless,
Karen and Mark
Sunday, January 17, 2010 6:06 PM, CST

Hello All,

An absolutely gorgeous Sunday in LR! Warm with beautiful, brilliant, blue skies.

We were very fortunate to have the same superb nurse on 7C this morning. She had Mark in and out in record time - she said it was way to nice outside to be sitting in the hospital! We were very grateful.

All of Mark’s labs are looking great - we had concern about CRP, which shows any infection in his body, it was up a little yesterday but today it was way back down where it is supposed to be.

Thanks to the dexamethasone, he had gained over 6 lbs last night, but we were expecting that and he is beginning to get pinker. The appetite is again way out of control - I think he would even eat coconut and pineapple if I put hot sauce on it! It is so much fun to see him with such a healthy appetite and enjoying everything he eats so much. I love to feed and water him. It is a fine thing that he can stock up now for the leaner days.

Mark met up with Tom and his Dad this afternoon for a little time on the driving range. I think their desire to play was greater than their capability, but I am sure they enjoyed the time together.

I cleaned house and took a walk to Wal-Mart for a few items. It is such a treat to be able to walk to a store. Mark and I took a walk around the neighborhood when he got home. Nothing like fresh air and sunshine to energize you (and the bucket of Kentucky fried chicken he bought on the way home).

Tomorrow it is back to the clinic for day 3. As Mark says every time he receives the chemo he is thinking "Go-kill the myeloma! ".It is our battle cry.

Each day we meet someone that makes us more appreciative than ever that we were blessed to have found UAMS. This IS the place for Myeloma treatment.

We love hearing from you and thank you so much for your love and continuing support.

I pray your Sunday was blessed.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 3:43 PM, CST
Day 1 Second stem cell transplant

Hi everyone ...merry MLK week.

Just got back from day 1 at the clinic .. had 93 pills (it seems like) along with the various mixes of chemo...yum yum.

Doing good problems.. labs are good .. ready to wipe this MM out.

I know it seems strange but it was very nice seeing all our friends we have made that are on this same journey. Everyone is smiling, joking and very upbeat about our situation. One of the secrets to success maybe.

The Doc placed 2 MRI pictures side by side on the screen. One from September and the other this week. The MM hot spots are all but gone!!! Truly remarkable. So I am really encouraged by this and Doc as well.

Well enough of medicine.

Many years ago our family would go to both Grandparents for a few days before Christmas. It lasted about a week but to me seemed like a month. Of course, being a 14 yr old city kid , I wanted to go hunting - rabbit huntin. Fortunately, I had an uncle with rabbit dogs at each port of call. In Geraldine, Uncle Huelon Freeman would load the truck up with 6 Beagles, Daddy and me ... and go rabbit huntin. Then, when we went to Gadsden a few days later, Uncle CJ Croft would load the truck up with Beagles, Wade, and me....and go rabbit huntin.

I guess this is where the term “double dipping” was coined...not sure.

On one of these wonderful outings with Uncle was crisp morning, sunny blue sky...Wade and I each sported a 12 gauge shotgun, unplugged with 5 shots, semi automatic..load consisted of 6 shot big game powder load. What this simply means is anything within 40 yards would be vaporized.

Uncle CJ sported a 22 rifle….never understood why until later…….a 22 is for shooting squirrel and little varmints, not something hopping on the ground at 40MPH. As we topped a terrace, the dogs started yelping and chasing a rabbit. What a wonderful sound to hear beagles in the distance yelping. A word of explanation.. a rabbit on the chase will run in a complete circle and end up where it first was jumped.

So the hunter waits for the rabbit to return to the original point. As the dogs turn and start coming back towards you it is time to be ready for a shot. The rabbit will be way out in front of the dogs.

On this day Wade and I were making ready for a shot... along comes the rabbit doing about 20MPH. Wade and I start unloading the ammo...10 shots in a few seconds….dirt, smoke, corn stalks all flying we look through the haze, the rabbit is still going except he is now in overdrive about 40MPH and at least 35 yards out from us...then we here a single shot from Uncle CJ - yes, he shot the rabbit with a 22. damnest shot I ever saw.



  • don't get it ....Tommy Tuberville wins 85% of games in 10 years and gets fired
  • don't get it ... Dooley at Tennessee ...with a losing record resume
  • don't get it .... national health care .. its free? Been to the Post Office lately?
  • don't get it ... Bobby Bowden gone at Fl state
  • don't get it ... all these ex Notre Dame coaches as color analyst for SEC games ..what sacrilege
  • don't get it ... everybody I see is now an Alabama fan

From Karen:

Nice quick day at the clinic this morning. We had to be there at 10 and were home by 1. Mark had a great nurse who was witty and very good with her nursing skills and patient care. All the nurses are wonderful but every once in a while you get that special one! A couple of the nurses ask if Mark was red yet - they must have bets on when he will turn Day Glo Pink. He had his chemo pills for breakfast here and then a Velcade injection and a Melphalan IV at the clinic. He also got the drugs to prevent side effects and a shot in his tummy. It sounds rough but he made it with flying colors. The hardest part is eating the ice chips for two hours to prevent the Melphalan’s side effects. I am investigating getting an Icee machine for the clinic - has to be an easier way to keep your mouth frozen. Tonight he begins the Thalidomide pills. The chemo is for four days so he has only 3 ½ more days! Tomorrow is the same song and dance.

We got to catch up with a few other friends at the clinic this morning and everyone seemed to be doing well. We were really thrilled to see Curt from NC - last time we saw him he wasn’t in very good shape and today he was striding down the hall! That in itself is a miracle! The doctors had told him in NC that he wouldn’t survive the plane trip to UAMS much less the treatment and here he was ready to dance!!

Tom had invited Mark to putt some this afternoon but just as we were leaving the clinic the rain began. Debbie had to go back home to the girls and his Dad was coming in tonight. I am so amazed that Debbie is handling her job, Tom, their girls and a three hours trip here. She is quite a juggler - as she says, “I take it one day at a time”. And as I know with God’s grace.

Thank you all for your love and support.

Friday, January 15, 2010 7:42 PM, CST

Good evening, Mark and I are just getting in from the clinic.

It was another very long day beginning at 7 for a bone marrow and gene array test. Mark says the tech did a great job - in other words it didn’t hurt so bad!
Afterwards we met with Dr, Nair. Today was a day for long waits - lots of patients. He told us that the pet scan and MRI results looked very good, most of the bone lesions were healed. A great big YEA!! It was so cool to see the MRI and pet scan superimposed - like Dr. Nair stated - you have no secrets! It is amazing.

Mark is still not in complete remission and the doc said he thought it may stay that way - some people do. But it should not be a problem. It is a stubborn devil.

From the doctors office Mark went for labs and to have the CVL port put in while I went to the pharmacy and to talk with the nurse to make sure we had all the medicine and instructions we needed. He will begin chemo tomorrow.

Tom and Debbie took us to a really cute Mexican restaurant for an early dinner. They are so precious. Tom is also beginning his chemo tomorrow along with a few other people that we know from the clinic. It was like old home week - one lady ask us while we were all waiting if we knew each other before this. We all laughed and told her that this has made us friends!

Mark will begin the morning with his 14 pill breakfast mix. Yummy…………

Please continue to pray for us.
Love, Karen

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 8:49 PM, CST

Mark has just gotten home. He had a very long day.

There were some scheduling problems with his bone marrow test this morning so his schedule for tomorrow was wiped clean and the bone marrow test, doctor visit, and CVL placement has been moved to Friday. This means everything has been pushed back at least one day - chemo is now scheduled to begin Sat and transplant will occur on Wednesday. We hope there will not be any more delays.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010 7:03 PM, CST

Well here we are back in Little Rock. It has been very nice, cool at night and warm days. No rain or snow!

Mark started testing today. He has another day of testing tomorrow and them will meet with Dr. Nair and get his CVL on Thursday. All this is in preparation for the chemo that begins on Friday. He will have four days of the high dose chemo and his second stem cell transplant on Tuesday.

I have been staying in the apartment in hopes that I can get rid of this hanging on cold. I am sure they would frown greatly upon me at the hospital, hacking and coughing.

Mark is in good spirits and saw some of his buddies at the clinic. They are all putting their best foot forward and preparing to get the job done!

Mark’s cousin Larry is headed back to MD Anderson for a check up. We pray for them and hope for another great report.

Please continue to pray for us. The good Lord is our comfort.

Love to you all,


Monday, January 4, 2010 2:28 PM, CST

Back in 1982 I was President of the Optimist Club. The main function we provided was paying for the annual High School athletic banquet. As president, I was charged with rounding up a speaker for the event.

Therefore, being of sound mind and optimism, I called Florida State and asked for Coach Bowden. After a brief explanation to his secretary she said "you just hold on a second." Well sure enough Coach Bobby Bowden himself picked up the phone and said "yes sir how may I help you?.

As you can imagine I was stuttering around with my thumb in my mouth..finally I mentioned to the Coach we would like to invite him to talk to the kids at the banquet. He said I have my calender right here and it looks good! He went on to say it would not be necessary to come pick him up at the Perry airport..he had some friends that would drive him over.

I then explained we only had $600 bucks in our fund and he started laughing ..said no problem I'll be there!

Well after the word got out that I had booked Coach Bowden...should have declared my candidacy for the Senate right then and there...but missed that opportunity.

A few weeks later sure enough , and much to my relief, the coach comes walking right in the auditorium...30 minutes early. His wife asked if she could set up a table and sell her newly released cookbook. I immediately wished both of the m a hardy WAR EAGLE! Then Coach Bowden gave me a resume and he said now you do not have to use this but it may help since you're an Auburn grad.

I had the utmost pleasure and honor to stand and introduce this man. He is the most humble and positive person I have been around. He is truly what he seems to be on tv except better. Coach Bowden gave a great speech on enthusiasm. Everyone in the place was so fired up and ready to go hit something. Then he closed his talk with these words. "If you have the time I would like to step down off this podium and shake hands with all you athelets. Well I could not believe was Bear Bryant incarnate shaking hands with everyone in this place. I watched with amazement as he shook hands with every kid in the place. He looked each one of them in the eye and spoke kindly to them. It was a lesson in true humility. It is no wonder to me why this man has been so successful.

To think the high ups at Florida State ran off this man of such character is truly a disgrace.

What you saw on TV this past week, after his last bowl game win, was the same Bobby Bowden I met many years ago in a little south Georgia town with little going for it. He came and graced us for a few precious hours with positive thoughts and humility.

He IS one of the nicest and genuine people I have met in my lifetime.

Good luck Coach!!! And WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!

By the way Karen is sick again..but we are doing fine.