Hi, my name is Markus Schouten and I have bone cancer. This website was not supposed to be a blog about cancer. Here’s my story.
I’m just like most other 17-year-old guys. Enjoying my last year of high school and looking forward to getting out into the big, wide world out there. I’ve tried a few things in the past number of years. A bit of woodworking, some dairy farming, grass cutting to name a few. Through these experiences I learned about myself that I would love to start my own business. Actually, it’s been a dream of mine for quite some time. I also have an aunt and a few uncles who are businesspersons and there’s a certain challenge about it that just makes me want to give it a shot. Why not right? I’m young and can afford to make a few mistakes.
Sometime in the fall of 2020 I decided that I wanted to start a landscape business, one that was focused on maintenance. Charis is my mom’s sister who runs a similar business. Her and I had lots of conversations and she encouraged me to pursue this dream of mine. My parents thought this would be cool too. Charis gave me lots of tips on how to get started and helped me make a business plan so that I could get started in the spring of 2021.
Towards the end of the year, I started getting things ready for my business. I got a business license, insurance, bought a good used pick-up truck, started buying equipment to maintain yards, and I bought a brand-new cargo trailer for all my tools. My friend James helped me make some neat brackets and stuff so that I could store all my tools in the trailer in the most efficient way possible. And I even took the trailer to school so we could make some shelving and cabinets for it in woodworking class.
It took a while to figure out what to name my business. We’d chat at the dinner table about names and every time we found a good one it had already been taken. I finally settled on On the Mark Maintenance. Full credit to my sister Sara and her husband Aidan for thinking of it, and to my cousin Deanna who made the logo. Pretty good eh!
Everything was ready to go. But God had other plans.
Last November me and a few of my buddies decided to start working out at the gym. I’d never done anything like that so I hired a personal trainer for a few sessions so she could show me how to use all the equipment. I had only gone a few times and then I hurt my shoulder doing some exercises. The pain didn’t go away so the trainer suggested I go see a physiotherapist who could help me get it fixed. After about six weeks of doing that it still wasn’t getting better so the physiotherapist said I should make an appointment with my family doctor to get the shoulder looked at. He said I’d probably have to get some X-rays and stuff to see if I had a soft tissue injury. At the time he thought it was most likely a torn rotator cuff. My mom and me visited with the doctor on a Zoom call – due to COVID-19 right – and she sent us some paperwork for X-rays and an ultrasound on my shoulder.
I guess you could say my life changed on February 18, 2021. That morning I went for the X-ray before school. It went good and I was at school nearly in time for the start of classes. It was only about 45 minutes later, and my mom was texting me that she was coming to school to pick me up. The doctor had called her and wanted to see us right away. I could tell something was wrong as soon as we got to the doctors. She said it was a hard visit for a doctor. She told us that the X-ray showed some form of destructive process in my humerus bone, that’s the large bone in your upper arm. She said that she was already in touch with BC Children’s Hospital and we would probably have to go there the next day.
Anyway, that’s just a bit of my story but I’m going to turn this blog thing over to my Dad (full disclosure, he helped me write this too) and my little brother Kayden because they are better at writing than me and they will keep you all updated as to how I’m doing.
I know there’s lots of people who are concerned about me, but I just want you all to know that God has made His mark on me. He marked me when I was baptized and I’m His child. I’m praying that He will help me kick this cancer thing and let me use this website for what I wanted to do – fulfill my dream of starting my own business.