Hugs and love to you and Mark. I wish I could help with both your pain. I know sharing it with others can't do anything to make it go away and I so wish it could.
I hope he's feeling better and that the trip goes well for both of you. Laughing or talking or just quiet time with people you love means the world. As much as phones and skyping and the internet are amazing ways of keeping people close, that time in their presence is always such a gift.
Cleaning with dogs in your house is like brushing your teeth while eating oreos.