Aug 212011
 

–Update from Mark Benton in Japan–

Hello everyone,

I apologize for no updates for a while. First of all, thank you very much for your love and kindness. Many have sent messages of support and others have given money to help with our medical expenses. Thank you! We are really blessed to have so many friends and family sharing our burden.

Kathleen received her first dose of chemotherapy a week ago in Los Angeles. It was a cocktail of drugs, including a very strong one called cisplatin. She’s had that one before, as it is one of the most effective platinum-based anti-cancer drugs. The main problem is that the side-effects are really bad. Sure enough, Kathleen was very, very sick for several days and just now, 1 week later, is feeling better. She’s at her mother’s house in Seattle recovering from that as well as the surgery. Originally, she was scheduled to return to Japan today, but we decided that it would be best for her to wait another week and get more strength back for the return trip.

The good news is that she can receive continued chemotherapy back here in Japan, where we have insurance coverage. Also, she probably can’t handle any more cisplatin and will switch to a different drug or drugs when she gets back here. Even though surgery is traumatic, the real work remains to be done with the chemo, as it is given to kill the remaining cancer cells. Without it, surgery doesn’t have much meaning, because the cancer just comes
back. Please pray for her that the chemo is effective and that the side-effects are not so severe that she can’t continue the treatments.

Kathleen will return to Japan next week. We’re really looking forward to having her home! Again, thank you very much for your support of our family. I can’t begin to explain how moved we are to have so many people standing
with us. The Lord is good!

Blessings,
Mark

(original posts found below)
Kathleen recovering from surgery; awaiting chemo assay results

 

— UPDATE from Mark Benton in JAPAN — 

Greetings everyone from stormy Japan. We have a typhoon passing by. Lots of wind and rain, but not really bad where we are. Unfortunately, school was canceled for the second day in a row! Kids are happy, dad not so much.

My apologies for not updating lately, but we’ve been waiting for test results. Kathleen is at her mother’s house in Seattle recovering from the surgery. She is doing very good, actually, remarkably well. As you know, she’s had 5 major surgeries in the past 4 1/2 years, but I’ve never seen her recover so quickly and so well. The Lord is good!

We still don’t have results back from the chemo assay tests of the tumors, which will tell us which chemo regimen should be best. At this point, Kathleen will likely go to L.A. early next week to meet with the doctor and receive a dose of chemo, then back to Seattle. If the decided drugs are available in Japan, then she will probably come home soon after that. Since the schedule has changed, I’ve decided to remain in Japan with our kids for the time being. A lot is up in the air, so we continue to ask for your prayers for wisdom and patience, and above all complete healing through all
of this.

I hesitate to talk about money, because I don’t want to focus on that. God has always taken care of us. However, many are asking about how to give to help. In fact, we just got a call from the hospital saying that we owe an extra $15,000.00, even though I thought that I had already paid in full. I’m in the process of negotiation with them about that. If you would like to help, it would be sincerely appreciated. In the US, you can write a tax-deductible check to “Reach Japan” and note for “Surgery Expenses.” The address is:

Reach Japan, 18026 15th Ave. W., Lynnwood, WA 98037.

Our mission secretary is Lisa Landry: lisalandrycm@comcast.net.

If you are in Japan, please contact Fumikazu Chito: fumi@crossroad-web.com for information, or you can send me an email and I can give you a bank account number for transfer.

We are very encouraged by all of the positive results, both small and large, thus far. We are convinced that God is in control and has touched Kathleen already. Your emails, messages, and prayers are very, very meaningful. Thank you again for your love and care. I’ll stay in touch.

Mark

(original posts found below)

Mark heading to LA to see wife; consult with doctors

Kathleen update 9/12.

Briefly, Kathleen continues to mend and is getting stronger each day. I will go to Los Angeles on Thursday (Sept. 15) to attend a very important doctor’s meeting with her about which chemotherapy regimen to go with from here, then be with her for the first dose.

Our prayer is that the best chemotherapy drug(s) will be something that we can get in Japan and covered by insurance. I’ll stay in touch.

Mark

BFI editor note: Some have asked how and to where donations for Kathleen’s surgeries and treatment can be made. Mark gave us details in an earlier post as to where donations can be sent. Please read below:

Some of you have asked about money. We do not have any insurance in the US, so must pay for everything. Fortunately, the hospital and surgeon are working with us to try to reduce the costs, though it will probably end up at around $30-40,000.00. We hope to be able to make payments for some of that. If you would like to donate to help, it would be very appreciated. In the US, donations (designated for Kathleen Benton Medical) are tax deductible and can be made to “Reach Japan,” our mission organization. The address is: Reach Japan, 18026 15th Ave. W., Lynnwood, WA 98037. Our mission secretary is Lisa Landry: lisalandrycm@comcast.net. If you are in Japan, please contact Fumikazu Chito: fumi@crossroad-web.com for information.

 

(original posts found below)

Kathleen Benton to Checkout in 1 or 2 days

 

— Mark reports from Japan, Thursday, September 8 — 

Kathleen is doing much, much better. She got the tube out of her nose and throat yesterday. Unfortunately, she had problems for a few days with bad reactions to some pain medications, but those seemed to have worked out. The incision is healing nicely, which has been a concern, because she had an infection develop last time that was difficult to deal with. The doctor saw her today and says that she can probably check out by the end of the week, in 1 or 2 days.

After checking out, she will go back to the hotel where her mother has been staying. Next week, she will probably have an important consultation with the doctor about chemo. Even though the surgery was important, the follow-up chemo is just as important to kill remaining cancer. Otherwise, all this misery has no meaning. He will have the results of the chemo assay by middle of next week, so then we will have to make some decisions based on that information.

As always, your prayerful support and messages are very meaningful. I can’t reply to each message, but I read each one and am saving them for Kathleen to read when she gets better.

Thank you!

Mark

(orginal post(s) found below

Update: Kathleen’s recovery “miserable,” but normal

— UPDATE from Mark Benton in JAPAN — 

Greetings everyone.

Your support has been wonderful! Thank you for all of the kind messages and continuing prayers for Kathleen and our family. Thank you as well for the generous gifts to help us pay the bills. I wish that I could answer every mail personally, but things are a bit hectic right now.

Kathleen is doing OK. We haven’t heard details about the surgery procedure yet, but that’s not unexpected. She needs to be in better shape before comprehending all of the details. Right now is maybe the most miserable time. Her insides are still raw from the operation and her body is still in shock. The surgery was major and comprehensive, and lasted about 5-6 hours. When they removed the tumors, they also cut out healthy tissue. Part of her pancreas was removed and also part of her colon, which was then rebuilt. No colostomy bag! She has a painful bruise on her shoulder, which is nowhere near where any cancer was, but probably caused by manipulation during surgery. She’s beat up and still has a tube up her nose and down her throat to drain her stomach, since she’s not allowed to eat or drink anything yet. They’re giving her very strong pain killers, so she drifts in and out of sleep, and sometimes hallucinates. Her mother says that she was talking to me yesterday, but I wasn’t in trouble. 🙂

This is totally normal and to be expected following such a major procedure. Fortunately, she gets up and walks a few steps from time to time, and the nurses are surprised at how quickly she is getting better each day. We are so thankful for the fantastic surgeon and his team who operated on her, even if the resulting post-surgery misery isn’t so fun.

I’ll keep you up to date when more info comes available. She’s doing fine, and the kids and I here in Japan are also doing well. In fact, we’ve been very well supported with food from people at Crossroad, which makes Jay and Elly very happy to not to have to eat dad’s cooking every night!

Thank you again and God bless.

Mark

(orginal post(s) found below

Update: Kathleen “out of surgery and it went well”

— UPDATE from Mark Benton in JAPAN — 

A brief update, late Wed. (Aug. 31) Pacific Time, afternoon Thur. (Sept. 1) Japan time.

I just talked to my mother in-law who talked to Donna, our sister-in-law who is with Kathleen in LA. Kathleen is out of surgery and it went well. Dr. Eisenkop is very difficult to understand when he speaks because of a speech impediment, but Donna thinks that he said that he removed 95% of the cancer. He also removed part of her pancreas. That’s very good news, as we knew that it would be impossible to remove 100% of the cancer and still have her survive the operation, because of the locations of the tumors. They allowed Donna to go in to see Kathleen for a few minutes, which means that she is coming out of the drugs and doing well.

I’m very relieved. This was a big operation that most surgeons in both America and Japan would refuse to do. Now, the next big step is to find a chemo drug that works well and that we can get in Japan. I will call there tomorrow to try to get more details, but those are probably the main points.

Thanks again for all of your prayers. I felt incredibly supported today and I wasn’t even the main one being prayed for! I’m sure that Kathleen felt it, too.

Mark

(original post(s) can be read below)

Update: Mark reports on Kathleen’s pre-op visit, plus financial help

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 Let us continue praying!

— UPDATE from Mark Benton in JAPAN — 

Dear friends and family.

We are overwhelmed by your messages and offers to support us financially and in prayer. Thank you very much!

Kathleen visited her surgeon in LA today and everything went well. Surgery is scheduled to begin at 3:00PM on Wed., so 7:00AM Thu. in Japan, and should last 3-4 hours. Interestingly, she was told to check in to the hospital for surgery at 1:00PM on Wed., 2 hours before the procedure started. In Japan, they would have wanted her to check in on Sat. or Sun. before and Kathleen would have fought them to allow her to wait until Mon. morning to check in. A big difference!

A praise report. While at the surgeon’s office today, Kathleen visited his administrative assistant to talk about the chemo assay, a special test to determine which chemo is best for her tumors. The last time she had this performed was about 4 years ago and the final price was $20,000.00, which I was able to negotiate down to $12,000.00. Obviously, we are very concerned about the cost, but think that the test is necessary. In the office visiting the administrator was another woman, some kind of sales person. When Kathleen asked for information about the chemo assay, the other woman said “Oh, I’m the representative for that company.” Kathleen then said that she
wanted to have the assay, but we are missionaries and have to pay in cash. The representative immediately said, “Don’t worry. We have a program for cash patients. We want everyone who needs a chemo assay to be able to get one. The price for you will be $450.00.”

She gave Kathleen her business card and said that she will take care of us. Praise God!

Prayer changes things.

Blessings to you and thanks again.

Mark

(original post(s) can be read below)

Update: Kathleen Benton arrives for urgent surgery

Greetings again everyone,

First, thank you very much for your many kind messages and emails. We had hoped to respond to them personally, but can’t get to them right away. Please know that every message sent is a huge blessing!

Kathleen has made it to the States after a difficult week. For a few days we thought that she had a bowel blockage (not uncommon for her condition), which if serious could have delayed the surgery and caused lots of other problems. Fortunately, the blockage was not serious and she was allowed to fly.

Her surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 31, in Los Angeles. Her sister-in-law Donna will be with her for that, then her mother will go down a day later to be with her during recovery. She may or may not get a chemo treatment while in LA. First, they will do a “chemo assay” of tumor specimens to determine which chemo will be most effective. This is very important, because our hope is that the most effective chemo is something that we can obtain in Japan. So, please be in prayer that the surgery goes well and that the most effective drug is a type that we can get in Japan.

Some of you have asked about money. We do not have any insurance in the US, so must pay for everything. Fortunately, the hospital and surgeon are working with us to try to reduce the costs, though it will probably end up at around $30-40,000.00. We hope to be able to make payments for some of that. If you would like to donate to help, it would be very appreciated. In the US, donations are tax deductible and can be made to “Reach Japan”, our mission organization. The address is: Reach Japan, 18026 15th Ave. W.,
Lynnwood, WA 98037. Our mission secretary is Lisa Landry: lisalandrycm@comcast.net. If you are in Japan, please contact Fumikazu Chito: fumi@crossroad-web.com for information.

We have been encouraged by the story of Hezekiah in Isaiah 38. The Lord told him he was going to die and to get his affairs in order. When Hezikiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, O Lord, how I have always tried to be faithful to you and do what is pleasing in your sight.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly. The message came to Isaiah, “Go back to Hezikiah and tell him, This is what the Lord says, “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears, I will add 15 years to your life.”

Please join us in praying for complete healing for Kathleen one more time.

Thank you once again for your love and support.

Mark

(original post can be read below)

Kathleen (Frazier) Benton needs prayer support now

This report just in from BFI missionary Mark Benton in Nishinomiya City, Japan —  Please pray now for the Mark Benton Family!

Greetings everyone.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve given you an update about Kathleen’s health. Since the first of the year, she’s been receiving steady rounds of chemo. However, the drugs have not been working and the tumors are growing. Since early June, we’ve known that something needs to be done and have investigated various treatment options, though nothing seems to be available or effective, except for surgery. So, Kathleen will return to the US next week for her fifth surgery over the past 4 years, while Mark will stay in Japan with Jay and Elly, and Andrew will return to university in Seattle. After surgery, she will need to take some potentially strong chemo. Her body is not as strong as in the past, so both the surgery and following chemo are expected to be harder on her.

We can’t deny that her situation is serious. The drugs seem to be no longer effective. But, we are encouraged that her surgeon is willing to perform another operation. As a result of all the chemo (more than 60 doses over the past 4 years), Kathleen has lost much of the feeling in her ankles and feet (called neuropathy). On the other hand, her liver continues to function well and a tube placed in her ureter has kept her bladder in good condition. She’s feeling pretty good now, because she hasn’t received chemo for a few weeks, and we have been enjoying some time with our children, including Andrew who is home on break.

We definitely need your prayer support. Sometimes we struggle with our faith asking, “Why?” Sometimes Kathleen has no strength left for the fight. You, our friends and family, have always supported us, and we are constantly encouraged by so many who continue to pray. So, one more time we are asking for God’s favor with all of the medical procedures and surrounding details. In addition, our family needs strength to continue doing our daily lives and what we are called to do here in Japan.

Thank you very much for your love and care!

Mark Benton


 Posted by at 3:52 AM