Stellaluna ….is that you?

DustyMark's Journey 16 Comments


I don’t have much to say except we have a bat now. I can’t tell you guys things because then you send Amazon packages with bat exterminators in them…but it is the most exciting thing right now. We will conquer…I hope.

The bird feeders are working beautifully. Thank you!

I also would like to report that driving over an hour in a snow “storm” for a 15 min. appointment is not how we like to spend our day. It after 6pm and we are still listening to the machine him while it cleans Marks blood. We survived the journey and returned home safe and sound with only one small bag from Menards to get some shelves up. Oh,and a script.

He got some advice today on how to maybe ease some back pain and he will put it into action because that’s the worse part of ALL of this!! His back.

His fistula will get fixed probably next week. A quick outpatient procedure.

Now…words from Mark


Perceiving the ‘New’ Year 1/03/2022

I’ve been slightly invigorated over this Christmas break.  Everyone  likes it when people tell them that they’re looking good and I’ve had more people tell me that I look good the last few weeks then I’ve had in the last 5 years.  I’ve gained weight which has also been an encouragement to me as well—I think the weight gain helped my face not look so gaunt.  I also have been feeling more creative when it comes to the next year.

Then we had our meeting with Dr. V., my oncologist.  She reviewed my CT scans, MRI and blood draws.  It was discouraging, nodules have grown, others have appeared where she didn’t see them before.  My back pain has increased and moved, the fractures in my back are still there.  Kidney function has not improved.  The truth is the cancer in my body is not retreating, it continues to grow and spread.  The immunotherapy is not working.  She cannot increase the dosage because my body can’t take it.  However, she is recommending another route—radiation on the lower back and a new drug with different side effects.

I am worn out.  Worn out from trying to keep my head up, be positive and push on.  I’m tired of being so dependent,  I see how it wears on my family. I think I convince myself that I am getting better, that I am improving; because I want it to be so.  But reports are saying it is not so.  I’ve been trying to wean myself off pain meds, do my daily stretches and back exercises to strengthen my back, eat more food and plan for the future.

When is the right time? When do you just say it?  I am dying.  Modern Medicine can’t fix it.  We have no indication/information to suggest anything otherwise.

If the goal of this blog is to be open with you, I am discouraged.

I am reading in Isaiah and decided to read some of the contemporary history from 2 Kings that coincides with Isaiah’s life.  King Hezekiah was one of the few good kings, he ruled in the southern kingdom (Judah) in Jerusalem after the Assyrians had pretty much devoured the northern kingdom of Israel, deporting them eastward where they have remained until the last hundred years or so.  This Assyrian army is the same dynasty depicted in the movie “of 300” they were ruthless conquerers of the entire middle east.

In 2 Kings 18 King Hezekiah was confronted by the Assyrian army— saying basically surrender or we will lay siege to your city and your people will be drinking urine and eating feces before you know it.  No nation or god has been able to withstand us so far..what makes you so special? The Assyrian commander told the citizens listening from the wall  “Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says ‘The Lord will deliver us.’  Has the god of any nation delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?”  He told them giving up their freedom would be to “Choose life and not death!” Vs 32 (this could be another blog topic in todays day, ironically).  I like this scripture because Hezekiah laid the reports out in front of his God in prayer and he answered.  2 Kings says that 185,000 Assyrian troops died in the night and they were forced to retreat!  Sennecharib, King of Assyria was killed by his sons shortly after, just as the prophet Isaiah had foretold.  I want a victory like that!  Lay out all the reports, inject me with a drug and 4 months later see that 185,000,000 cancer cells have died!  —And the giant tumor is dead!

Isaiah 43:18 

“Forget the former things;

    do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!

    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

    and streams in the wasteland.

My Aunt Karen sent me this verse New Year’s morning—and once again it comes from Isaiah.  Between Pastor Chris’ FB posts from Isaiah and the letters, cards, and messages I have received, I feel like I’ve been bombarded by Isaiah this last month.

Dusty and I spent a night in a nice hotel downtown Ann Arbor last Sunday night due to my Monday early morning U of M appointments.  I used the last of my Marriott points for the stay.  I used to travel so much I always had a lot of hotel perks that we used for personal vacations and gifts to friends and family. It was funny seeing the points go—like an end of an era.  Dusty and I ate out at a nice restaurant and I told her that I really missed the excitement of traveling to new places, I we reminisced and got a little teared up, (I cried, Dusty teared up).  For the last 15 years I have travelled around the country and I miss it. This last scripture really makes me contemplate my situation.  

I’ve spent the last few months hoping for a miracle.  I dream, desire, pray and hope for things to return to the way that they were, while making decisions based on worse case scenarios.  Selling our home, the airplane, resigning from the FAA DPE position, getting rid of all this excess junk and things that required resources to maintain.  Trying to put my wife and family in a position where they can thrive with or without me.

My body returning to its previous state, my job/work to return to the way that it was. My role in my family and community to return to “normal” is my hope.  However, looking at 2022 I’ve been contemplating the “new thing”.  I’m not trying to take Isaiah’s quote out of context, I realize it was written to Israel and was a prophecy of the future work and covenant of Jesus Christ.  

But, like Israel, I/We get stuck in the past.  Maybe God is asking me to open my eyes to the “New”.  I’ve been praying, writing, brainstorming, and talking with friends and family about “it”. 

Maybe, I have a short time left…maybe my health will return and I will return to the activities and purpose I had before,  or maybe there is something “New”.

“New” scares me a bit,  does that mean my “New” will be with a cane for the rest of my life? Does the “New” mean constant physical pain—I hate the fact that it takes me forever to get into the car or walk across the parking lot (I’m the guy who has the car in reverse while talking on my phone, trying to shut the door and putting the seatbelt on with my other hand while pulling into traffic.  I am ashamed to say that there have been several times in our lives where Dusty has screamed “Mark STOP!! Hatcher isn’t all the way in the car yet! —As I’m already backing out.  

All of the “New” I see is not an exhilarating adventure, but suffering.  Chronic back pain, shuffling with a cane, daily dialysis, and a hunched over shriveled man,  I need Alyeska to open the Honey jar now!  🙂  Is that the “New”?  Because I don’t really want it—don’t get me wrong I will make the best of it, but I don’t desire it.  

I struggle with the thought that the God of Israel and Isaiah wants to give me a better “New”, one with renewed purposes, and that He will kindle desires and a great satisfaction within me to accomplish them—even if it means with a cane and without an airplane. I do want to be able to open honey jars for Aly no matter what my “New thing” is.

Isaiah 43:18 

“Forget the former things;

    do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!

    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

    and streams in the wasteland.

Lord, Help me perceive the “New”.


What can I say?  To encourage my kids and Dusty, but not ignore the facts.  

I quoted Isaiah 43 above, it’s a strange passage he’s telling the Israelites to forget about the past —He’s talking specifically about how God had saved their nation miraculously!  I’m looking for a miracle—and continue to review the history of the scriptures to look for encouragement. Isaiah writes during the time of King Hezekiah, who is in constant threat of the Assyrians taking Judah and Jerusalem captive, (they already had taken the northern Kingdom of Israel captive).  They had no chance, but 2 Kings tells us after Hezekiah prayed, that one night 185,000 Assyrian troops mysteriously died outside the walls of Jerusalem —what a victory and relief for King Hezekiah whose back was against the wall and had no where to turn, (his allies were not coming to his aid).  I want that kind of victory!

The very next paragraph in 2 Kings tells us how king Hezekiah becomes very sick, Isaiah tells him to put his house in order because he will not recover, he will die.  Isn’t life ironic!  Full of ups and downs.  What does Hezekiah do?

2 Kings 20:2 “ Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord,  Remember O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”  And Hezekiah wept bitterly.”

Dusty hates it when I talk like this, but after this last oncologist meeting, I feel more like Hezekiah did after hearing from Isaiah in Chapter 20.  Like —Mark, it’s time to put your house in order.  I’ll be honest with you, last night I wept bitterly.

Comments 16

  1. Did you get the prayer books I sent?
    I hope so.
    It’s like the Holy Spirit praying for you when you don’t know what to say.
    I was going to say that you look so great Mark, in this photo.
    It is encouraging.
    We worship a God of miracles.
    I continue to pray for one for you.

  2. Mark, I don’t even know you personally but I am affected by your path, your faith, your victories and your pain. Every one of those things in your writing have reminded me that God is sovereign and kind, even in our deepest valley, the shadow of death. You’re a blessing, in your vulnerability and candor. I pray for Christ to comfort you whatever is on the other side of the hill.

  3. Oh Mark, We have no words. Ray just said we never know what the Lord can do.
    We love You!
    Ray and Shirley

  4. Mark, I am sure It’s tough I couldn’t imagine how hard it is, but you are in constant prayers and thoughts by people in your circle and way out of your circle. I look at you as one tough ass guy.
    Maybe the “New” is the new but if it is than maybe it is okay. It’s okay to have a new, probably not wanted but it was brought to you! and your family and friends will know because honestly they probably couldn’t make it as far as you have without giving up.. just keep trying and and moving forward and by the way you have one hell of an amazing wife.. keep on keepin on bud.!

  5. Mark, I have been so blessed by your writings. Your commitment to seek God in these troubled times show your inner strength! I looked up the verses you wrote about in 2Kings20 and found that the verses that follow says that God promised to heal Hezekiah and gave him 15 more years! I would say that would be your “new.” But there is more: Continuing with the next verses, Hezekiah asked what will be the sign that the Lord will heal me?
    :9And Isaiah said, this sign will be that the Lord will do what he has spoken:

    It would be easy for some to say, “the Lord has spoken” so dhouldvsettles it, but Isaiah knew that Hezekiah needed more reassuring so he gave him a leading question.

    :9b shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or back ten degrees?

    :10 -11And Hezekiah answered, it is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay but let the shadow return backwards ten degrees. And Isaiah cried unto the Lord and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward!
    God knew Hezekiah needed more so he gave a sign by causing the Sun to rotate back ten degrees which is physically impossible. This was to reassure Hezekiah that He would heal him.
    So I feel the same for you that you need a sign of reassurance. I pray that God will show you that He will /has healed you and also of what is your “new” to come!

  6. Mark,
    It hurts even to read these words. I don’t know what God’s will is, but I’m going to keep praying for miracles.

  7. Mark, my heart nearly broke reading this. I want my husband to read this, but I don’t know if I can get him to. I feel like you have put to pen what he feels as his body deceives and fails him daily. The pain of CRPS breaking him into a shell of a man. My heart breaks because on a human perspective, I want to cry out to God and tell him ” Mark and Dusty don’t deserve this”, but I don’t know the plans that God has for you. I can only pray that He continues to give you the strength each day to get up and keep on keeping on.

  8. Mark I pray or you with your struggles. I have had deal with my cancer diagnosis and my new outlook on life. I understand your fear and concern for you family. Stay strong in your belief and cherish your family.

  9. Mark,
    This was posted this morning and I thought it might comfort you as it does me. We are all heaven bound.

    I am praying for a miracle and your body to be healed every day.

    Morning Blessing: May the veil between heaven and earth seem especially thin. May you sense, like never before, the presence and the power of the living God. Jesus won the victory. He defeated death and sin. He made a public spectacle of the powers that oppose us. Though you have troubles and trials, you serve a strong and mighty God who means what He says and does what He says He’ll do. One day there’ll be no more tears; no more war; no more hatred. Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose faith. Keep walking. Keep believing, because you’re only passing through. You’re heaven bound. Live like it’s true today. A most blessed day to you. #SusieLarsonBlessings

    Psalm 47:2 (NLT) ~ For the Lord Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth.

  10. Thank you for your words and scripture. Tom and I struggle with the “new” God has us in. For weeks, I’ve prayed that God would allow us to go back to our normal fulltime ministry that we’ve done for over 40 years. But He has a new plan for us. We’re starting to figure out what that is, even in the midst of Tom’s ongoing health issues (not as drastic as yours but lifechanging all the same). We’re starting to see a new avenue of ministry Tom has developed through daily morning devotions that he sends out via email. The list is growing as people share with people, etc. all around the world. What a blessing!! He’s still touching lives for Christ and not leaving our home. I share this because that’s exactly what you two are doing. Mark your insightful, honest words are touching and encouraging more people than you probably even know. You’re being a faithful servant even in your pain and suffering. we’re sorry you’re going through this and have teared up while reading your words; but please know that you’re constantly surrounded by prayers from many avenues and may this comfort you.

  11. Hey Mark
    The faith of your grandparents and parents is evident in you also, my dear brother. You are fighting the fight. You are keeping the faith. Nothing more could be asked of you. Thank you for your testimony and integrity.

  12. Mark, I heard you say that you would still like to travel, so after you have this back surgery and go through the radiation and get back on your feet again, you and Dusty need to travel somewhere even if only for a short time. Look into the future with an expectation to do something you love. If will give you hope to make a plan. Kraig and I, Katie, believe in miracles and were praying for a miracle for you!! 🙏🙏🙏🙏

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