Tuesday, October 10, 2006


** Okay, I guess I'll add a caption to this photo to be thorough. This was the view of my wheelchair in the bathroom as I concentrated on BM#2, if you don't want to learn anymore about BM's you should have enough information to bail out beforehand **

I'm not going to elaborate on my recovery due to the small size of my cell phone keyboard - wait! I was released from the rehab hospital - my meds and other medical procedures are supplied. I'll have spend more time telling you how I am. This update has been in the works for several weeks. I collected and/or created much content which I will soon post on www.marksmelon.com.

My previous rehabilitation hospital left a lot to be desired. Their daily rehab exercises seemed to fit the bill well. I shared my room with a 94 year old man who recently had a stroke. Everyone called him Connie instead of Constantine. Once I found we were both engineers, we had a base level we could communicate at and it turns out niether one of us were crazy. Connie still took the abuse, seemingly because he was the eldest and more easy to abuse. Here`s what little I know about Connie: He had an MSEE, He had his ME PE, He ran a division of his company, He speaks five languages fluently, He enjoyed earning a paycheck, and he managed to do that until he was 88. Seems pretty enviable to me (except working `til>65)

The "Partial Resection" of my tumor went very well. Partial Resection describes the process of removing the most tumor possible without hurting the critical surrounding structure of the brain. My father finally told me about my diagnosis just about four days ago. Medulloblastoma Two problems there, I wish my surgeon would have earlier and medulloblastoma is cancerous. I will be going back to Moffitt next week for further MRIs of my Brain and any new growths along my spine. I don't know type of recovery time new growths will require, but I think it is highly targeted and therefore has vastly reduced recovery time except I will be faced with chemo-fatigue. After treatment (chemo and targeted radiation) my survival odds are heavily dependent on the initial size and extent of the tumor, the amount of tumor that can be removed safely, amd the level of the metastatic disease (the M Stage). The Central Brain Tumor Registry reports about 65-70% of adults with medullablastoma are alive at 5 years following diagnosis.

**Here's were we add some realism that may make some people sick!**

These are some of the other problems I have had, first and foremost, I was put on a course of steroids that didn't have a good effect on my body. The first part was the lack of sleep. If I slept more than 1.5 hours per night, it was a good night. They quadrupled dosage closer to surgery, and there was no chance for sleep at all - Scott Cooper you need to see if you can find some for the next big project deadline...

The urinary catheter is a necessary part of the operation that allows you to urinate during surgery and recovery. It is a rubber hose at least 1/4" in diameter that drains your bladder into a container, no problem. My problem is that I found out from the "Failed Attempt" that I don't recover well from it. My friend who is an RN explained it like this ,"It's like trying to stick a garden hose up a banana..." OK, that's exagerrating a bit, but it HURTS. The urinary catheter, once it is in the bladder, has a balloon inflated so it doesn't come out. So, about the time I was leaving ICU, the cather was also coming out. Oh yeah, and once I'm able to painfully pee by myself, my bladder tells me it is full even though it isn't...

Of course, I must have other bodily functions that don't function as well. It's now Saturday, 5 days post-operation, and I haven't had a bowel movement. I begin feeling that if I don't go soon, I'm going to die. My surgeons prescribe a smog enema, their special recipe that will be sure to get me going. A nurse administers the enema and tells me to try to hold it for about 30 minutes. I managed 20min and couldn't hold it any longer. I was sitting in the middle of my room in a booster seat to a "fake" toilet. What if it overflowed? It didn't overflow, but BM #1 (Bowel Movement #1) just about triggered a brain aneurism. I continuously say that I don't like anything that hurt's my head and I think short of hitting me in the head with a large block of cast iron, there's nothing worse than a bowel movement. The Second BM is worse, followed by an even worse #3 BM. Of course, now I was screaming,"When's it going to stop?" It stopped with the #4 BM. I was exhausted and relieved... that day was Saturday, September 29th...

Note that went into surgery a healthy 175 lbs and returned home a weakend 160 lbs,

On Thursday, October 5th, I was due for another BM. The Doctors at HealthSouth kept me on a regimented BM plan, a combination of Senokot and another fibrous supplements. I went into my bathroom, closed the door, said I would come out until something past. Hours went by, my ass was numb. I held the rails and jumped around to create some movment. Eventually, I passed BM#1. About an hour later, I passed BM#2. That was 85% but I knew there was more. I did some physical therapy t0 losen me up some more, and sure enough I had BM #3. My bowels were cleaned out by then. Since then, their digestive "regimen" works for me,

I will discuss some more of my symptoms tommorrow, it took me about 6 hours to type this update from just three pages of scribbled notes I wrote down Saturday, September 7th. More to come...


Anonymous Anonymous said...


10/10/2006 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Although Hallelujah clearly sounds good!

Are you out of rehab??

10/10/2006 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously Mark has become the invisible man, and has no need for clothing or a wristwatch. Mark? Is that you? Mark?


10/11/2006 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll take one of the t-shirts with the MRI on it ;-)

10/14/2006 10:32 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I'm working on those "Timmy the Tumor" T-Shirts right now. I might have to use armadillo roadkill instead to play it a little safe.

10/15/2006 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Mark -- it is good to "hear" from you again!!! We are so pleased that you are progressing in a FORWARD movement. Some of your notes included words I could not say, but that does not stop the power of prayer and keeping the faith for healing purposes! The "BIG DOCTOR" can work many wonders....so know we'll be talking to HIM fervently. We also know you will work deligently with a positive and earnest attitude in order to get through the medical processes that are ahead! Call us if we can help.

Much love,
Mary & Bill Gregory and the rest of the Clan from Florida, Utah & California!!!!!!!

10/15/2006 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy S*%$!!

I haven't put that much thought into BMs (especially another man's BMs) combined in my entire life.

5 days without a BM. Did you turn brown?

Oh, and let me be the first (and probably the last on this page) to say...

Go Big Blue!!


PS - Obligatory qualifier: Naturally I will pull for PSU to win the rest of their games.

10/16/2006 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear that things are "moving along" well for you and that you are able to get some rest and maybe even eat some things without feeling too sick. The weight will come back to you quicker than you want it to. Rest up and eat well to prep for the next coming stage in your treatment. Keep us informed and we'll keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
---Jim, Bek, Alexa and Ryan

10/16/2006 9:02 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Carson, I was probly somes shade of brown between,"Let's give Michigan more time on the clock dark brown" and "Let's lay down on the turf and see what color the turf is - brown again!" Some Penn State Agricultural student are working on the formula right now. You've been warned...

10/17/2006 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hang in there buddy. i can easily tell that you're doing a little better each week. like weave said, eat up! ask bill if you're having any trouble in that department. don't forget that gravy is the new other white meat...unless it's brown.


10/18/2006 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, i guess mark doesn't need to consult with bill when he has scott right there to give sound diet instructions. Scott, after you pimp his ride, can you set up a video camera on the dashboard and record when you take mark for the drive?

10/20/2006 5:28 PM  

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