Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Matthew - June 8, 2010

Our precious and much loved Matthew passed away and went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, June 8, 2010 at 1:45 a.m. after a courageous, 3 1/2 year struggle with cancer. His dad/Greg, mom/Nancy, brother/Ian, and fiance/Tiffani were present.

Services are on Saturday, June 12 at First Baptist Church, Clinton, TN
Receiving of friends 1-3 p.m.
Funeral 3 p.m.
Burial to follow

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I can't believe it's been since mid-May that I have updated the blog. Many of you have gotten the updates via other means so this will be a repeat of what you already know. Others of you could use a few details of the past few weeks.

In the middle of May, Matthew had not recovered enough from the chemo he took in April to continue with the treatment scheduled for May 17. He received a blood transfusion on the 19th to improve his hemoglobin. Beginning the 2nd week of May, Matthew had begun retaining fluid and by Friday the 21st the swelling was so uncomfortable, an ER trip was warranted. Because of the excessive swelling in his feet, he developed cellulitis on his left foot as well as a bad rash on both feet due to the irritation of the surface tissue. Matthew was admitted on the 21st, had a paracentisis that removed 9 liters of fluid and was put on IV antibiotics for the cellulitis. He stayed in the hospital until Monday the 24th during which time he also had trouble eating.

After coming home, Matthew began to feel a little better, continuing the strong antibiotics but not being able to eat much because of sickness. Unfortunately by Friday the swelling in his feet returned and on Saturday he had blisters on his hands and feet as well as swelling in both hands. He was unable to walk without assistance and had to use the wheelchair. Due to these changes, we returned to the ER on Saturday afternoon, May 29th.

During this hospital stay, MANY blood tests were run to determine the problem with the rash/blisters/swelling of hands and feet. Nothing is definitive yet but Vasculitis was considered the most probable option. Since steroids are given for someone with Vasculitis and that was not a good option for Matthew, nothing was done. Since more fluid had accumulated, another paracentisis was done on Monday, the 31st removing 6 3/4 liters, making it necessary to stay in the hospital until Tuesday, the 1st of June.

I am happy to say that the swelling is gone in his hands but some sores remain. The swelling in his feet has improved and the blisters/rash is improving slowly each day. They still have a long way to go. We are thankful that he is now able to walk without pain. Matthew is still having a lot of nausea and sickness issues so he is still eating a liquid and soft food diet. Our son and Matthew's brother, Ian, came in on the weekend and has been a tremendous help this week fixing nutritious juices and smoothies for Matthew to help him regain his strength. Ian's energy has been a help to ALL of us.

In the midst of his fatigue, feeling weak and sick and waiting on his feet to heal, Matthew's sense of humor stays in tact. Suddenly in the middle of a conversation his quiet voice will come out with a pun or statement in his own special, dry humor and his Dad, brother, fiance and I will all burst out laughing. I've always told him he needs to become a comedian!

Thank you for all the acts of love, support, and thoughtfulness we are receiving daily. Even after 4 years of receiving these blessings, the support remains strong and your commitment to us never wavers. God has used you all in so many special ways to provide what we need and at just the right time. I pray for God's blessings on your lives and that one day we will be able to reach out to you in your need.

Our prayer requests are: strength & energy for Matthew; less pain; healing of his feet; his ability to eat without so much sickness; the removal of fluid without infection; energy and wisdom for those of us who take care of his needs - doctors, nurses, family and friends.

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sometimes it's like a roller coaster ride...

Just wanted to update you on Matthew and ask for your prayers as we face new hurdles.

Matthew ended his last chemo treatment on April 27. Unfortunately it was a very rough treatment and left Matthew feeling extremely tired and sick with very poor blood counts. We were in hopes that over 2 to 3 weeks break he would recover and be ready for the next treatment to begin on 5/17. Unfortunately that has not been the case. So this weeks chemo was cancelled. In addition to low counts, Matthew has developed swelling due to some liver issues.

Please pray for Matthew especially tomorrow (Wednesday, 5/19). He will have a blood transfusion to hopefully remedy some of the blood count problems. We are in hopes that this will make him feel a lot better.

Back in April, our doctor from MD Anderson told us about a clinical trial at Sloan Kettering in New York (where we went in 2008) that is a specific treatment for people with DSRCT - the rare cancer that Matthew has and that we should consider it at some point in the future. Last Friday, Dr. Anderson recommended that we pursue this now because he felt this is the best option for Matthew at this point. We began making calls today to look into this possibility.

So, you can see the situation has changed quite a bit since the last email. We ask for your continued prayers for strength, direction, and peace about the decisions that are being made. Please pray for Matthew's pain and discomfort, the swelling, and for energy to meet the challenges of each new day.

In the midst of the hard times, we are blessed with laughter and fun times together and we are thankful for that.
Also, we are thankful for your prayers for us and the encouraging cards, texts, and emails you send our way. They help so much.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Matthew began chemo today

Just a quick word to let you know that Matthew was able to begin his chemo today. He will be hooked up for 2 wks followed by a 2 wk break. His counts were borderline so he also received a shot for his red count today as well. Thursday he will return to receive his additional chemo (Avastin) that he takes once every 2 wks.

Thanks for the love and prayers,

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Blood counts are improving

Just a quick note to let you know that Matthew's white cell count was better on Thursday but only slightly. This is good news in that the "trend" for all of the counts is on the upswing. This means they have "bottomed out" since the first week of chemo in Houston and are now recovering. Unfortunately they were still way too low for him to begin chemo again. He did receive 2 shots (one Thurs and one Fri) of Neupagen that helps encourage manufacturing of the white cells. Hopefully with the shots and the trend of the numbers already moving upward, Matthew will be in good shape to begin chemo on Monday the 19th. Our appt. is at 1:00 p.m. that day.

Many of you have sent supportive messages this week reminding us that God continues to be in control and things happen for a reason. In the midst of these setbacks, Matthew is feeling much better, eating better and has gained weight. Praise the Lord for that!

I'll send a quick note after Monday's doctor's visit to let you know the latest.

Have a wonderful weekend!



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chemo postponed again

We went to the doctor yesterday for Matthew to begin chemo again. Unfortunately, even though his urinalysis was ok, his blood counts were extremely low and the doctor would not allow him to begin chemo again. He wanted us to wait until next Monday but Matthew persuaded them to check him again Thursday to see if his counts had recovered enough to begin then.

The original intent of this plan of chemo treatment was for Matthew to be "hooked-up" to the chemo 24/7 for two weeks. (They only temporarily unhooked him last week so he could fly home.) Now, instead of an overnight break, it has turned into 4 days and ultimately could be over a week's break. After contacting our doctor in Houston yesterday, he told us that when Matthew gets to start again he will then need to continue 2 weeks from that point. Even though he had already had a week's worth of the 24/7 chemo in Houston, it didn't count since the weeks had to be consecutive.

So... we are praying for patience, wisdom and strength to face these setbacks. We are also praying that Matthew will continue to feel well enough to eat to maintain his strength and weight. We are also praying that his counts have already bottomed out and will begin to recover soon.


Friday, April 9, 2010

We are home from Houston

Just wanted to make you aware that Matthew's Houston doctor allowed him to come on home to finish his current round of treatment at our Knoxville Oncologist's office. The details were taken care of over a matter of 2 days and we were on our way. Matthew was unhooked from his chemo yesterday morning (Thurs) and we flew home last night. This morning we went to Knoxville for him to "re-hooked". Unfortunately his urinalysis wasn't acceptable so they gave him a large bag of IV fluids and rescheduled his chemo hook-up for Monday. They'll retest him at that time to make sure he is in shape to take the chemo. If so, he will take the 2nd bag of chemo over a 7 day period ending the following Monday. At that point, he will have a 2 week break. When the break is over he will again be connected to 24/7 chemo that will last for 2 wks followed by another break. On June 1st, we will return to Houston for repeat scans.

It is WONDERFUL to be home! I believe that just the positive effects of being home will be a boost all the way around! Thanks to Greg, our yard and flower beds look amazing. Spring has definitely hit East Tennessee.

God blesses us daily through your prayers, phone calls, texts, supportive emails, blog entries and Facebook comments. They definitely lift us up and help us keep moving forward. Since we are home, I look forward to some local hugs as well!