Wednesday, April 23, 2008

So thankful!

Today, Matthew has had the best day he's had in several weeks!
We are SO thankful! Just wanted to share!
Love, Nancy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Beautiful Spring!

Well, we've been home from New York for almost a week. It's still so good to be home!!

Matthew has had a bit of a "roller-coaster" week -- some good and some not so good days. But thankfully, after a tough weekend, the past 2 days have been good. We'll take every good day we can get!

Matthew's new meds seem to be going well. There are no apparent side effects so far that we can detect which we are very thankful for. One week down, five to go!

Matthew has such amazing friends. They have been calling and visiting steadily since our return from New York. They have been such a boost to Matthew. Friends have a way of doing that!!

Our weather has been gorgeous with the cool breeze, warm temps and bright sunshine. We go for at least one and sometimes two walks per day. That helps all of us!

A good friend recently reminded me of a scripture about hope and strength that is also a beautiful choir anthem many of us have sung often. It is from Isaiah 40:31 and says, "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Love and blessings, Nancy

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday, 4/15

Matthew & I saw Dr. Wexler this afternoon. The good news is there are NO new tumors.
But the rate of growth of what is existing is 25% which is too high for Matthew to remain on the current medication (clinical trial).

Sooo....Matthew begins a new treatment today which is in pill form that he will take everyday for 6 weeks which is when we will return to New York for scans. We will also see our oncologist in Knoxville, TN in two weeks.

There have been many positive results shown in studies about this new medicine that Matthew will be starting. If I could remember the name of it I would tell you but my brain has not been in top form recently! If you ask Matthew, he'll know! We are encouraged today about beginning this new medication.

We are leaving NY on the 9:20 pm flight and will be home hopefully by midnight. We are looking forward to being in Tennessee!!

Much love and blessings to you all,

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday, April 14 - partial results

Whew! It's been a long day. Remember I told you that we have learned to "expect the upexpected"?? Well, today added more evidence to that statement.

We arrived at Sloan Kettering at 10:15 am and for various reasons didn't see the doctor until after 2:30 p.m. We have some answers but not all that we need so we have to stay another night to see the doctor tomorrow afternoon. He needs to have more consultation with the radiologist in the morning to determine the final results.

As you can probably figure out, the results were not good or we would already have a definitive answer. The cancer has grown in several areas but what they are not sure of yet is if there are new areas. That is what will be definitively determined tomorrow. If there are no "new" areas, then we can continue the clinical trial.

Ian is here for another few hours so he and Matthew have gone to the movies. Then, we are all going to supper together before Ian's train leaves. The three of us have enjoyed our time together this weekend.

Your love and prayers are so important to us. It's such a comfort knowing you are "there".
Love, Nancy

Sunday, April 13, 2008

News from our friends in Hong Kong

I couldn't wait to share the news I heard from my new friends, Stephen & Jacqueline Chu from Hong Kong. They received much better news from the doctor yesterday than they expected. The doctor actually believes Jacqueline may be able to "beat the odds" as Stephen put it.
They will return to Hong Kong mid week and Jacqueline will begin chemo very soon.
I told them how thankful I was for answered prayer but that the prayers would not stop since they are only at the beginning of their journey. I also told them I would be communicating this with all of you as well. Thank you for your continued prayers for this precious couple.
Let me say also that in the midst of their despair this week, they continue to ask about Matthew and pray for good news for him on Monday. Isn't it amazing that we will be praying for each other from one continent to another?
I shared Romans 15:13 with Stephen and Jacqueline on Thursday and Stephen felt it came alive for them on Friday. It says: "May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Friday, April 11, 2008

"Not so Short" - Update

Sorry it's taken so long to send an update. Believe it or not, I had the whole, long e-mail typed yesterday and the computer automatically re-booted on me, making me lose the whole thing! I just didn't have it in me to retry at that point, so....I waited until today!!
Matthew had his treatment on Tuesday and scans on Wednesday. We are waiting for Monday for results and the next step.
Now, if you are busy and want to stop there, you've got the basic info. But if you are like me and like DETAILS, then read on. Let me say at this point that we have learned on this journey that when you are trying to figure out what to expect, expect the unexpected. So...
We arrived at McGhee Tyson Monday evening for our 6:20 pm flight. Thirty minutes before the flight came the fateful words: "The flight has been delayed, maybe as late as 8:20 p.m." Great!!
So Matthew & I decided to go get a bite to eat not knowing what the night would bring. We were about to give our order when the announcement came for all passengers on the New York flight to come IMMEDIATELY!! (It was 6:50 pm) So much for the food!
They changed our flight to go to Cinncinnati and then change planes to go to New York. They were frantically getting us on the flight and getting our luggage re-routed before the plane had to leave. Whew! We made it!
As soon as we got in the air, Matthew started feeling bad. I think he has become allergic to planes now! Ha! It was a short flight to Cinncinnati and I got him to a place to sit so I could go get pretzels and a coke for him. There were 2 other Clintonians on the flight, the Cunninghams, that we met up with on the layover in Ohio. Mrs. Cunningham, being the prepared teacher she is, pulled out a bag of pretzels to the rescue. We enjoyed getting to talk with them while we waited for the NY flight which - you guessed it - was also delayed.
The flight to NY was uneventful until we landed and then we sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes before a shuttle took us from the plane to the airport back door where we climbed the steps to the terminal. (flying just ain't what it used to be!!) At 11:55 pm we were finally in the cab to Manhatten. At 1:00 a.m. we were sitting in our room at Ronald McDonald House eating a sandwich from the 24 hour deli around the corner.
Matthew had a tough day Tuesday. He didn't feel well when he arrived at the hospital so they gave him meds to help him before the treatment. The nurse, Chris, that has put his IV in several times before took 3 trys using both arms before getting him set up. That's never happened before and she was mortified. During the treatment, Matthew had a reaction to the meds for his stomach. Not a fun day for him. He finally fell asleep after the treatment and since they didn't need the room, I let him sleep until he woke up which was after 4 pm. The sleep seemed to help him alot.
Tuesday evening we enjoyed watching the Lady Vols win the NCAA National Championship over Stanford! What a game! I actually wore my orange shirt the next day.
On Wednesday, we arrived at the hospital at 12:30 pm and after drinking the "yummy concoction" Matthew had his CT scan at 2:30 p.m. His Petscan was scheduled for 4:30 pm but we got there early thinking we'd get out early - we left at 6:10 pm - par for the course.
Matthew slept most of Thursday since he wasn't feeling well again. Today, he's a little better and we hope to go to Central Park for a ride around the park after I finish up here. Ian is supposed to be here before supper today.
I'd like to ask for a special prayer request for a couple I met when Matthew was having his scans. Their names are Jacqueline and Stephen Chu and they are from Hong Kong. Jacqueline was diagnosed last week in Hong Kong with a sarcoma and was given a few months to live. Within days they made the 17 hour trip to New York to Sloan Kettering for tests to see if anything can be done. They receive their answers today. They are in their mid-30's and have two small children. We are communicating by e-mail. Thank you for remembering them in your prayers.
God continues to bless us by meeting people that bless us and that we can hopefully bless by sharing our story to encourage them. As I sit here in the computer room at Ronald McDonald House, I look at children who are at the computers with their precious bald heads and smiling faces. They are an inspiration to be around! I ask your prayers for them, as well.
Well, now that you've had to eat a snack, take a walk and a nap to finally get through this message, I'll close. I send my love and thankfulness for each of you. Love, Nancy

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Quick update for week of 4/7/08

Dear Friends and Family,
Just wanted to let you know that Matthew and I are flying out Monday evening (4/8) at 6:20 p.m. to New York. It's a direct flight so we should be settled in by 10:30 p.m. at the RMcHouse.
Tuesday, Matthew has his 6th treatment beginning at 10:00 a.m. We are usually there until about 2:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, (4/9), Matthew will be at the hospital at 8:30 a.m. with exams and scans throughout the morning. We're not sure when we'll be done that day because there is usually alot of waiting during this process.
We are looking forward to Ian coming up either Thursday night or Friday to spend the weekend with us.
On Monday, (4/14), Matthew will see the doctor at 10:00 am to receive the results from the scans from the previous week. If the scans show the 6 treatments have worked, Matthew will have treatment #7 that day and we will continue on with weekly treatments. If the 6 treatments have not worked, we will discuss the next choice of new treatment for Matthew which will be a form of chemotherapy.
If there is more news as the week progresses, I will certainly send out an update.
We are leaning on the arms of our Lord where we receive our strength.
Love to all, Nancy

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April 1st Update on Matthew

Just a quick update to let you know that Matthew had his 5th treatment yesterday (Monday, 3/31) and we arrived home at 11:30 pm last night.
Matthew had a very difficult time with the Sunday flight to NY and ended up sleeping most of the day. Matthew felt better on Monday and we were actually able to walk to the hospital for treatment.
Dr. Wexler was glad to hear that Matthew had done better this past week. Since the exam and bloodwork went well, Matthew was able to have his treatment. Matthew slept until early evening when we left for the airport to return home.
Next week is Matthew's 6th treatment. It will be on Tuesday (the 8th) instead of Monday.
On Wednesday the 9th, he will have scans to see if the treatments are working. We will stay until the following Monday (the 14th) when we'll receive the results of the scans.
If the scans show that the treatments ARE working then we will continue treatments (Matthew will have his 7th one that day - the 14th). If the treatments are NOT working, we will discuss our other options that day.
We continue to pray for Matthew's healing. We also pray for grace and strength to meet the challenges of each day. Thanks to each of you that still lift us up in prayer and encourage us with your gifts, e-mails, and calls. We are SO humbled and filled with gratitude.
Love, Nancy