We haven't updated our blog in a very long time and so much has occurred. The very, very latest thing to happen is that Mark sent in his video application to our favorite show Survivor on CBS. The video is less than three minutes long, as required, and it gives a brief update on what has been keeping us so busy.
As always we hope to update the blog more regularly, but in the meantime here are some highlights of the year in brief.
Yes, we got married! (See previous entry). Michelle was in school all year for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and graduated in December. Yay! Chris visited his Mom last spring break and Mark and Michelle took a natural hot springs camping vacation. We found some beautiful hot springs throughout southern Oregon and northern Nevada and it was the best vacation on the planet. Maybe we'll get some photos up one day
We stayed busy throughout the summer and finally found our perfect home where we moved in the fall. We love it! Our current project involvesremoving the popcorn from the ceiling of the master bedroom; texturing the ceiling; painting the walls, ceiling, and doors; installing base moulding, crown moulding, and door trim; and, installing built in drawers and cupboards. We have been living in what will be Mark's office one day and it's so comfortable that we're not in too big of a hurry to finish up.
Chris completed his first semester as a Junior in high school and has participated in both cross country and wrestling so far this year. Michelle continues to work as a Registered Nurse on the Telemetry unit and Mark continues to run his own business as a Real Estate/ Mortgage Broker.
The big news of course is that we finally figured out what was causing Mark's bouts of pancreatits. Mark was diagnosed with a non-functioning neuroendocrine tumor in the tail of his pancreas. This, it turns out, is the same type of pancreatic cancer that Steve Jobs had and which ultimately took his life. This we know because Mark was diagnosed in late October in the weeks following Steve Job's death, so the medical community was quick to use this example in explaining Mark's diagnosis.
Fortunately, we found the most amazing surgeon at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and Mark had between 50-60% of his pancreas removed, along with his spleen and his gall bladder on December 5th, 2011. Today Mark is a walking miracle as evidenced by the short video above that we made as his application for the television show Survivor. The follow up to the surgery showed that the margins were clear so now Mark is cancer free! His pancreas is functioning better than it has in the last year-and-a-half and he is already back on the bike. We spent the beautiful New Year holiday at a yoga ashram meditating, doing yoga, eating delicious vegetarian food, meeting lovely people, camping, and generally being grateful for love and health. We followed up the yoga with a nice visit to the Sierra Hot Springs. The hot springs were a real treat and we stayed in the lodge, made food in the communal kitchen, and met some intelligent and interesting people--one of whom gave Michelle a hand crafted hula hoop.
To all of our family and friends we are forever grateful for your love. We now know that the only things that matter in this life are love and health and we hope that each of you are blessed with an abundance of both.
Mark & Michelle