Monday, April 12, 2010

A Screwy Blessing In Disguise & Random Roadtrips

Monday April 12, 2010

Hey All, Leslie here. Man, do I have some interesting updates for you all.

Okay first and foremost, Mark is doing so incredibly well. His doctors actually have postponed his admit date to April 19th, and his actual transplant will not happen now until April 26th. The week of the 19th he will begin the hardcore drug treatment, "pre-op" plan, and yes, we just found out that he will be losing his hair. They are giving him 1 shot, of 1 drug, only 1 time. It's called Melphalan, and he'll be getting it on the day after he's admitted. It's apparently so potent, it will definitely kill his hair follicle cells too. He's surprisingly okay with this, as he's planning a mohawk. You think I'm kidding. He wants to dye it blonde. I promise you, I'll take pics.'s a bit of my news: I was laid off from my job, (of 12 years), on April 1. I'm finally pretty okay with it. I get to be with Mark as much as possible as he goes through this, and I don't have to worry about my PTO days or any other "day job" nonsense. Yes, I was completely blindsided and in shock. Mark totally took care of me and has been absolutely wonderful with my ups and downs in dealing with it. It really is like a death, especially after you've been at the same company for so long. Thankfully, I was taken care of with a severance and am now on unemployment, as I figure out my next steps. I knocked my resume into shape, after not having looked at it for oh...a decade or so (I know, bad!!), and I realized that I actually do have a LOT of marketable skills and that there really is no reason for me to be freaked out. My initial panic and anxiety had me convincing myself that I'd never find another job ever again...(my flair for the dramatic works in bad ways I'll be okay, I will land on my feet. I always do. Thank god for the amazing support system I've got around me. Thank god for Mark. So, I'm trying to believe this was my screwy blessing in disguise. The possibilities are endless, and this is truly a once in a lifetime kind of thing, so my goodness am I going to enjoy this. I have so many ideas for what I'm going to do, and I can't wait to try them all. In the meantime, I get to be close by the man I love as he travels through one of the most difficult times in his life. Thank you universe for forcing me out of my comfort zone in order to embark onto better things.

In the time I've been laid off, Mark and I have had so much fun. We've been to two Sox games (yes, he's a die-hard Cubs fan, but they weren't in town for opening week, so if Mark has any chance to see baseball, he's all about it, even if it is the Sox). His doctor even cleared it that he could go, that it was alright that he was around that many people because it was in the open air.

We went to Cascade drive-in movie theater to see a double feature, (Clash of the Titans & Cop Out). Since he can't be actually "in" a movie theater with tons of people around, a drive in was perfect.

Our next "no day jobs" adventure, had us at Hawthorne Race Track to see the Illinois Derby. I won $17. ;)

And the best part? As I type this, I'm sitting on the back porch of a Palm City, FL home, staring out into a beautiful lake, in 75 degree weather. When his appointment was switched, we decided to hop into the car, (we brought Godiva), to take a spontaneous road trip to visit his brother Pat and his sister-in-law Cheri before he went in for transplant. How cool is that?? We've had a blast driving down here. We stopped in Nashville, TN and saw Music City and had some traditional Tennessee bbq. Next, we headed to Savannah, GA and hung out a bit on the River Walk, (what a beautiful city. I would love to go back and spend more time there). Our next stop was in Melbourne, FL where we stopped at Bonefish Willy's to have some fresh oysters & beer...right on the water,(it was delightful). Then, we hightailed it to Palm City, FL to surprise his brother. Cheri, (Pat's wife) knew we were coming, but Pat did not so it was a huge surprise to him to see Mark walking up to his front door with Godiva and myself. It was a pretty cool moment. After only having heard (and read) the crazy stuff his brother had been through, I'm sure it did Pat's soul good to see Mark, beaming smile and all, walking up his front porch to greet him. I personally got a bit choked up to tell ya the truth.

We hung out last night with Pat & Cheri and Mark made a delicious dinner of fresh shrimp & steak, with asparagus and a caprese salad. The four of us drank wine and played poker and laughed...a lot. It was truly a lovely time. Pat & Cheri's house is so pretty and homey and just plain relaxing. Godiva & their dog, Bailey get along for the most part, aside from a few tense moments, it's been totally fine. Godiva almost immediately went for a swim, and I got it on video, (trying to figure out how to get it uploaded here...will post as soon as that happens). :)

I think today's plan might either be golf or the beach, not sure...who cares though, we're on vacation right? Mark and Pat and the dogs are fishing off of the dock now, what a lovely time.

Will keep you all updated as the days get closer to transplant. Mark's in amazingly great spirits, and he is still in his ass kicking mindset, which I believe makes all the difference in the world.

Love to you all.

-Leslie & Mark

Some pix and a video:

Mark at one of the Sox games we went to, wearing the Rockies windbreaker that his dad sent him from Vegas:

Mark, as happy as can be after eating some fresh oysters and drinking some beer at Bonefish Willy's in Melbourne, FL:

Me, (also after oysters), at Bonefish Willy's in Melbourne, FL...good shot by Mark, with his cell phone!!:

Mark & Pat, all smiles!!


  1. Alll I can say is f*#&ing alright! Nobody I know has a brighter smile than you two! What a difference a few months can make: Laid up in a gurney in Jan. to hoisting dogs in the ball park and capturing life in its essence with friends and family in April. It's inspiring.

    All the best

  2. Leslie, I'm sorry you got laid off - it's hard - but I'm glad you and Mark are able to spend more time together! Great to see that you're having a good time on your trip and I can't wait to see the mohawk!


  3. Mark’s sister Jeanne donated her stem cells this past Thursday and Friday. She needed 2 shots a day for 4 days to stimulate the production of stem cells for filtering on Thursday. The shots were started on Sunday and she was led to believe she would be able to work as usual. However by Sunday evening she was sore all over and in a lot of pain. Unable to work she spent the next 3 days in bed. On Thursday her husband and I took her to the University of Chicago Hospital for the procedure. With construction on the Eisenhower it took us over two hours to get to the hospital. Soon she was in a bed, tubes sticking out of both arms getting her blood filtered for plasma and stem cells. Five plus grueling hours later the procedure was finally over. She said the hardest part was not being able to go to the bathroom. When the doctor visited he said they would have liked to harvest 5 million cells but they were only able to get between 2 and 3 million so she would need to return on Friday. This meant 2 more of the dreaded shots and another long day at the hospital. Another 2 hour trip home only to be greeted by the last 2 shots.

    Jeanne never really complained and I am so very proud of her I felt you all needed to know. Now lets hope the stem cells work for Mark.

    Tom Vancura

  4. We are so glad you were able to visit Pat and Cheri. What a great getaway before entering the hospital for the transplant. Glad to see a picture of you Leslie on the blog. I know Jeanne is afraid of needles so a great big thank you to her for her part in the cure. We will keep you both in our thoughts and prayers. Thanks for keeping us informed. Kandi and Dick Vancura

  5. Patrick and Barb Kerrigan, MOM &DADApril 19, 2010 at 2:15 AM

    Mark and Leslie, we are so happy you both were able to go on that small road trip.We never stop our prayers for you and Mark. We love you both !Keep us posted Please. Love, Mom and Dad

  6. (my flair for the dramatic works in bad ways
    ...sooo not you, Les! Hang in there, guys! You both are the strongest support system for each other. You both look good!

    hide me behind the alias ed.