John Mark’s Journal

February 16, 2023– First Chemotherapy Treatment

Woke up early this morning after enjoying a bottle of wine with Merideth last night. Probably to ease our nerves for what was to come.

Upon arriving at the Spencer Cancer Center, my suspicions were confirmed that Merideth had arranged another surprise for me. (She is always doing that!) There were thirty something people awaiting our arrival to the cheer me on with encouragement for the journey on which I was about to take. This was a bit emotionally overwhelming. I did not know what to do. So, I started on one side of the group and hugged and thanked every person for their love and support. Fighting back tears and visibly shaking, we all took a group picture, and Merideth and I, holding hands, walked into the cancer center for what was going to be a long day.

The nurses and staff in the infusion room could not have made a difficult day any easier. They were kind and caring. Merideth was by my side for all 9 hours, and was a courageous wife in the face of what would make a normal person fold like a cheap chair. My love and appreciation for her grows daily.

February, Friday, 17, 2023– First week after 1st round of chemotherapy

I felt better today than I had in months. Merideth and I had lunch at O-Town Ice Cream for a pop-up lunch by Rich Bright. We did some shopping for household needs and had to return to the Spencer Cancer Center for another shot that is required. We then went downtown to have my very long hair cut for the first time in years. Donated over 12 inches to Wigs for Kids. Forgot how easy short hair is to manage! Looking younger and Merideth loves it!

Saturday, February 18- 22, 2023– Steady headaches and fatigue are the predominant symptoms I’m experiencing. I also have frequent dizzy spells. The side effects have been milder than I expected them to be. I am grateful for this, but I feel there will be rougher days ahead.

Thursday, February 23, 2023– Starting to lose taste and experiencing a few mouth sores. Hurt from my muscles all the way down to my bones. My internal pain in my back and abdomen has returned.

Friday, February 24, 2023– Internal pain around spine and pelvis is back and is consistent. Both of my ears are hurting. Think maybe an ear infection? Today has been better than yesterday. Felt good enough tonight to grill some steaks and have some wine with Merideth.

Saturday, February 25-27, 2023- The past few days have been great. Very little pain. Headaches have subsided I have returned to cooking dinner every night and doing the grocery shopping (online/grocery pick-up). Dizzy spells still continue along with fatigue. Going a little stir crazy.

February 28, 2023- Hensley was kind enough to send dinner from The Hound. Merideth and I enjoyed a little wine with our dinner.

March 1, 2023- Still feeling pretty good. David Bancroft invited to lunch at Bow and Arrow. He prepared a chicken-fried steak with caramelized onions, mashed potatoes, and pan sauce gravy with green beans. IT was FANTASTIC! Great conversation and time spent with a longtime friend.

March 2, 2023- Had lunch with Thomas Price at Sheila C’s Burger Barn today. Best burger around! This was Thomas’ introduction to Sheila C’s. I was able to go and visit several business accounts in town in the afternoon. Merideth met me for dinner at Vintage 2298.

March 4, 2023- Gibby came over to watch the TN vs. AU Men’s Basketball game. Auburn won its regular season finale. We cooked a backstrap and enjoyed some bro-time. Merideth went glamping with some girlfriends at The Destination in Dadeville.

March 9, 2023- Second Round of Chemotherapy

My buddy, Jeff Gibby, picked me up for my chemo treatment. He came with a Bojangles breakfast for us to enjoy. We again had a great experience upon entering the Spencer Cancer Center and throughout the day. There is all so kind. Dr. Brandon Johnson was pleasantly surprised by how mild my side-effects have been. Gibby went and let our pups out for a potty break and pick up Mrs. Story’s chili dogs on his way back to the center. I was done much early today and was home by 2:30. Gibby beat me 3-2 in Gin Rummy.

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