Thursday, December 4, 2008

Matthew's Scan Report

Dear Friends and Family,

We saw Matthew's doctor late yesterday afternoon to receive the results from the scan he had on Monday. Basically, the scan showed that the cancer is stable with low activity rate and some slight reduction in a few areas.

To help Matthew continue to build his weight and strength from being so sick a couple of weeks ago, the doctor wants to take Matthew off of 2 of the 3 meds he takes as part of his treatment until January. (The 2 he's coming off of are the culprits for his major side effects.) The one left (Avastin) is a very good drug that helps keep cancer stable and should have virtually no side effects. So he'll have a wonderful break through the end of the year.

Matthew had gained 7 pounds back yesterday - great news! He has been feeling pretty good this week, able to get out and hang out with friends, appetite returning. So, without chemo, his basic health situation should improve tremendously through the end of the year. (Boy, that's a paradox, isn't it?) Thank you for your continued prayers for Matthew and our family.

I got to go to choir rehearsal last night for the first time in awhile. Whew, what an uplift and blessing to my spirit! We're working on our Christmas music to sing each Sunday morning in December as well as a complete program on the 14th.

This is the first year in many that I am not directing - a bit of an adjustment. But this year God is giving me the cherished blessing of allowing me to add my voice to the many others who, up to now, I have directed. Along with the choir and a friend who is singing the part of Gabriel, I am singing the words of Mary's response to the angel sometimes referred to as The Magnificat.

Once Gabriel tells Mary of the task that God has for her does she say:
no, or let me think about it, or maybe someone else would be better prepared????

No, she humbly and courageously accepts God's task by responding:
(in the paraphrased words of the song)
My soul glorifies Your name, O God; My spirit rejoices in You.
My offering to You is my service, Lord. Let it be as You say.
My heart embraces Your gift of love;
My hands will nurture Your living Word;
I will be the earthly mother to Your holy Son;
Let it be as You say.

From the Fay Family: Merry Christmas to each of you, God bless you all and, hopefully, along with Mary, our hearts can embrace God's gift of love this season!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dec. 1st Update for Matthew

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. We were blessed to have 13 members of our family and friends to share our Thanksgiving meal. The meal was prepared by our Sunday School class at our church which was a double blessing. Other dear friends brought special gifts of food to round out the meal. We were so humbled and uplifted by all the generosity and love displayed to us that day!! We praise the Lord for His goodness shown to us through these precious people.

Thank you for your prayers for Matthew over these past 3 weeks. It was very tough on him. The combination of the virus and chemo left him dehydrated, weak and with loss of weight as well. He had IV fluids along with additional meds a week before Thanksgiving to give him some help for recovery. He is feeling better now but has not regained his appetite. He is going for his Petscan today. We'll receive results Wednesday afternoon. I'll e-mail as soon as I can.

In the meantime his Dad also contracted the same dreaded virus and is just now recovering after 1 week's time. Thankfully, I just got the "Reader's Digest Version" of the virus. Mom's just can't get sick, right?

As we begin the month of December, let's challenge each other to smile and be especially kind in the midst of the hustle bustle where others may be rushed and agitated (and make us agitated, too!). This is the month we celebrate God's greatest gift to all of us, His son, Jesus Christ. He gave us His greatest gift. As the result of the love we know in Him, surely we can find small ways to give of ourselves to others at this glorious time of year. You never know how the smallest kind act will touch someone.

Love and blessings to all,

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Update for November 19th

Dear Family & Friends,

Just wanted to bring you up to speed on Matthew's progress.

He did complete his week of chemo that came on the heels of a stomach virus. The week turned out to be one the most difficult chemo weeks in a long time.

When the weekend arrived, we knew we were on the "uphill" climb to Matthew feeling better. But unfortunately, with continued chemo side effects that mimic the stomach virus and the inability to eat more than apple sauce and popsicles, Matthew has been unable to make much progress at feeling better.

We canceled the Petscan that was scheduled for tomorrow (Fri, 11/21) and the doctor has requested that Matthew come in and see him instead. Hopefully, we'll get some more answers tomorrow. His scan will be rescheduled when he feels better.

The most likely scenario is that because of the virus, Matthew's body was in such a weakened state that it could not handle the chemo and its side effects as well as usual. We continue to pray for improvement even if it is ever so slight.

Thank you for the encouraging e-mails and entrees on the blog site. They really encourage us! Of course, your faithful prayers lift us up when we don't have the strength to do so.

In case I don't talk to you before then, I pray that each of you will have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving! We ALL have much to thank the Lord for!!

Love to all,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Riding on the wings of prayer...

Dear Friends and Family,

I would like to bring you up to date on Matthew's current situation and schedule. Yesterday (Nov. 10) began another week of chemo (This will be the usual Mon thru Fri w/ shot on Sat). Even after 2 years, Matthew does so well "taking things in stride". He is amazing!

This chemo week had a tough beginning since Matthew had a stomach virus on the weekend that was still underway Sunday evening. It was touch and go to see if he could even begin chemo yesterday. Riding on the wings of prayers of those that knew that he was sick, Matthew was able to get up and make the trip to Knoxville.

Since his bloodwork was acceptable and the virus seemed to over, the decision was made to go forward. Matthew was given extra meds to help him rest during chemo as well as to help his "post virus" symptoms. It was a long day, but thankfully he completed his treatment.

On the ways home, around 5 pm, we stopped to pick up something for Matthew to eat. (He had hardly had anything for a day and a half.) As we left the parking lot after getting the food, a driver to our left did not see us ( I believe the sun was shining right in her eyes) and came very close to "t-boning" us (better known as hitting us broad side on the driver's side). I slammed on the brakes and blew my was very, very close.

Well, since it was so unexpected, this finished Matthew off and he became so sick to his stomach we had to pull over for him. Needless to say, he didn't get to eat the food we had just purchased. We got home, Matthew ate a little bit of applesauce, laid down and went to sleep. Thank the Lord for restorative sleep! We are praying for a calmer, better day today!

Matthew is also scheduled for a Pet Scan on Friday, Nov. 21st. We'll receive results on the 25th at a follow-up doctor's visit. We will be praying for phenomenal news to add to our Thanksgiving celebration that week!!

It has been 2 years this month that we have been on this journey with Matthew. Thank you for loving us, praying for us, and supporting us through these tough times. Your faithfulness to us has been so humbling and we love you for it. God has blessed us in so many ways during this time and you definitely are a big part of His blessings! Thank you.

Love, Nancy

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More great news!

We received great news from the doctor today! The results of Matthew's recent scans showed more shrinkage of the tumors throughout Matthew's body. He has also gained another pound and the doctor feels Matthew's skin color is looking much healthier.

Praise the Lord for His love and mercy!! Thank YOU for your many prayers to God on Matthew's behalf!

Matthew will continue on the current treatment plan and will begin his next round on Monday, (Oct. 20).

Love, Nancy

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Matthew's next scan is scheduled

Matthew and I went to see his oncologist today. Matthew had gained 1 1/2 pounds and the doctor was very positive about his exam and how Matthew is looking. Praise the Lord for HIs blessings!

Surprisingly, a Petscan is already scheduled for tomorrow (Friday). We go back to the doctor for results next Wednesday (Oct. 15).

We are so anxious to see how Matthew has progressed after 3 more rounds of his "new" chemo regimen. He's now had a total of 5 rounds since July. ( A "round" consists of a combination of 3 chemo medications taken each day for 5 days taking approx 3 1/2 to 4 hours to administer. Two meds are given directly into the bloodstream through Matthew's port. The 3rd is a capsule taken by mouth)

The results of his scans this summer after only 2 rounds were amazing as you recall. That was such a miracle from the Lord; a tremendous answer to many, many prayers. We are trusting the Lord for continued healing this time.

I'll keep in touch when we have more to share. We are so humbled by your love and your committment to pray for Matthew and our family. Thank you.

Love, Nancy

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Matthew is taking chemo this week

We are thankful that Matthew was able to take chemo this week after his delay last week. His white count is still low but not so low that it kept him from chemo treatments.

Matthew was feeling pretty rough yesterday. Hopefully today will go better.

We see Dr. Dobbs (Matthew's Oncologist) next Wed. to schedule scans. I'll keep you posted!!

Love, Nancy

Monday, September 22, 2008

9/22/08 Update for Matthew

Dear Friends and Family,

Just wanted to send an update to you on what's going on with Matthew.

He has felt quite well with more energy than usual since his last chemo treatments allowing him to get out more and do some fun things with his friends.

Imagine our surprise today when we went in for his scheduled chemo treatment to find that his white blood count was too low for him take his treaments this week. So... he is now rescheduled for next Monday. Hopefully, the extra week will give his body opportunity to re-build his white count to a high enough level to take the treatments next week. So, breakout the face mask and hand sanitizer and stay away from any "sickies"!! Ha!

Matthew had already taken one of the meds he takes in capsule form before the blood test. Since he had no premeds for nausea, etc. today, he got sick from the one capsule this afternoon. We are praying it will be isolated to this afternoon and that he will get back to feeling well until next Monday.

Later in October, following his treatments next week, more scans will be done to see how far we have come since the last scan in August which, I'm sure you remember, was very good.

Hope each of you are having a wonderful day! Thanks for your love and prayers.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

September Update

Dear Friends & Family,
Just to let you know that Matthew's blood counts (although still low) were back up enough for him to begin chemo yesterday (Tues). He'll will continue through Friday and have another treatment on Monday the 8th to complete this 5 day treatment.

I also wanted to share with you that Greg (Matthew's Dad - in case you don't know) had another clean scan last week meaning he's been cancer free for 2 years now. We are SO thankful for that news!

Earlier this year I requested prayer for a couple I met from Hong Kong at Sloan Kettering hospital in New York. Jacqueline has been in chemo ever since and has finally seen a ray of hope in the response to her treatment. I humbly ask for your prayers for she and Stephen as they continue to face this horrible disease. Thank you.


Monday, August 25, 2008

No Chemo This Week

As I have shared numerous times along the way, things can change on a dime on this journey. Matthew and I went to Knoxville this morning fully expecting a week of chemo to find that Matthew's white blood cell count was too low to take treatments this week.

So...he is rescheduled to begin next Tuesday, Sept. 2nd. Hopefully his blood counts will have sufficiently recovered by then.

At least he feels good and can enjoy another week of doing some things he enjoys. He just can't be around any "sickies" because when your white count it down, you are much more susceptible to germs/viruses/etc.

One of the "upsides" is he can enjoy his Labor Day Weekend plus the first UT football game of the season! Woo hoo!!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!
Blessings to each of you,
Love, Nancy

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Great News for Matthew!

Are you sitting down? We had more great news yesterday that just came "out of the blue"!

Matthew had a routine doctor's visit yesterday that is always scheduled in between chemo treatments. When we arrived, the doctor had "new" news about Matthew's most recent scan.

Three weeks ago I sent you the wonderful news about that scan... that the new treatment was working. It had not only stopped the growth of the cancer but had reduced it as well.

The "new" news is that last scan was compared to the February NY scan instead of the June NY scan. As many of you may know, there was considerable growth from February until June when we received very devastating news.

So...What does this mean? It means that there has been much more reduction than we originally thought in July and we are pre-February in the size of the tumors!!! Can I hear a Praise the Lord??

Matthew has also gained some weight and felt well enough to get out this week. We're having the big 24th birthday celebration with his friends on Friday since he was in chemo on his actual day (8/8/08)!!

Matthew will resume chemo on Monday (8/25) for 5 days. He'll have 2 wks off and then another chemo week with 2 wks off before another scan is done. So, the next scan is in @ 6 weeks.

God blesses us each day but yesterday we got an extra helping! Just couldn't wait to share the great news with all of you!

Love, Nancy

Friday, August 1, 2008

Great News!

Great News!
The chemo meds that Matthew has been taking in June and July are working! Not only did the meds stop the "growth momentum" of the cancer but there has been some reduction! We are praising God for His blessings and miracle in Matthew's body.

Matthew begins his next round of treatment on Monday, August 4th (5 days worth). Not sure when the next scan will be. We'll figure that out later. Right now, we are just very happy!

Let's bombard the heavens with prayers of thanksgiving to God for His mighty works thus far! We thank you in advance for continuing your precious prayers of healing - as Matthew certainly has a long road to go.

God bless each of you and thank you for sharing this journey with us.
Love, Nancy

Friday, July 25, 2008

Quick Update

Dear Friends and Family,

I just wanted to bring everyone up to speed on the latest schedule for Matthew. He has completed 2 rounds of the new medication that began in June. On Mon., July 28, Matthew will have a scan to determine how well this medication is working. He will receive results on Wed., July 30. I will send out an update as soon after that as possible.

Please continue to enjoy Matthew's picture that Ian has posted and print it out if you wish. Please see below for instructions from Ian. We have had enthusiastic response from Ian's blog entry! We are SO thankful!

Love, Nancy

Monday, July 14, 2008


Hello everyone,

I'm writing today to ask your help in healing my brother. I went home recently to spend time with him and my parents. It was a heavy emotional experience to say the least. We are desperate for hope right now, especially since his last two treatments were shown to be ineffective against combating the cancer. I haven't spoken up much about his condition, I guess somehow it was a coping mechanism -- I didn't want to really believe that my 23 year old brother, whom I love very much, is still battling this vicious disease. After over a year and a half of this, I want to try and multiply the power of the multitude of people supporting and praying for Matt all over the world. Whatever your beliefs may be, I know that visualization has a lot to do with how we as humans connect on a spiritual level. I took this picture of Matt from an overlook in our neighborhood while I was in Tennessee. I ask you to print out this prayer card (It fits perfectly on an 8 1/2" by 11" sheet of paper) and put in it in your daily sight. Please have it in your presence when you pray, send loving thoughts, or any similar meditative activity. I have also included a high resolution photo if you want to use it in another form, and a smaller photo if you want to have something to print that will fit in a book or wallet. Please print any or all of these, forward this message to friends, notify your support groups, and through this collective network of love, I know we can help heal this amazing person. I love Matt Fay, odds are you do too.

::Download links::

Prayer Card -
High Resolution Photo -
Mini Card -

::Join The Facebook "Help Heal Matt Fay" Group::

Please let me know if you have any trouble downloading or printing these files. (


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sunny & breezy in East Tennessee

Dear Friends and Family,

Just wanted to bring you up to speed on the last 2 weeks.

Matthew completed 5 days of chemo treatments on Friday, June 20th. The week started out uneventful but as it progressed became quite grueling. Matthew was very ill from Friday to Tuesday and then had an additional 5 days of feeling very weak, tired and nausous.

Yesterday, (Monday, June 30) Matthew had an amazing day of strength and feeling alot better. What a blessing! Today started out good, as well, but this afternoon, has taken a bit of downturn. We are so thankful for every hour that is a good hour for him.

Ian has been with us since June 22 and plans to stay until after the 4th of July. It's been great having him here. Obviously, Matthew has enjoyed having him to "hang out" with, someone other than the old parents he sees daily! Ha!

Matthew begins another round of chemo treatments on Monday, July 7th that will last for 5 days. The treatments will be identical to the ones he finished on June 20. After having two weeks off from the treatments, he will have a scan to see how this medication is working. That will be the last week of July.

We have received many loving calls, cards, e-mails, food and treats these last 3 weeks. Thank you so much! God's timing is so perfect as He works through you as His Angels to encourage us and meet our many needs. It continues to remind us that we are not alone in this journey!

Love, Nancy

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Update for Matthew for Tuesday, June 17

Dearest Friends and Family,

Matthew began a new regimen of chemo yesterday. He will have treatments for 5 days this week, have off 2 weeks and then have this same round of treatments again. He will have scans in about 6 weeks from yesterday.

His first day went very well even though it was very long. He actually was able to have friends over for a visit last evening. Today went ok but he is very tired this evening, not wanting to eat much, and having some stomach issues. There have not been any other bad side affects so far so we are thanking the Lord for that. We are praying for strength and endurance for him through these days of treatment.

As many of you know, these last 2 weeks have been very tough. Thank you for the extra words of encouragement, powerful words of scripture and prayers sent right through your e-mails and blog entries!! Knowing that God is "everywhere" takes on a whole new meaning when we think of His word and power coming through cyberspace!! Thank you, too, for sharing our needs with more of your friends that have felt led to pray for us as well.

We have exciting news that our son Ian is coming in for a visit next week. It will be so good to have him here with us!!

We have had absolutely beautiful weather today - blue skies, white fluffy clouds, and an amazing cool breeze. It's supposed to even be cooler tomorrow! We are thankful for less humidity and the ability to be outside. Matthew was able to sit out and enjoy the weather for awhile late this afternoon.

Isaiah 41:10 says: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Love and blessings, Nancy

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Update from NY on Wed., June 4

Dear Friends and Family,

Don't have much time but wanted to give you a quick update this afternoon.
Matthew and I are in New York where Matthew had scans yesterday and we received the results today. Unfortunately, those results were not good. There has been more growth of the cancer.

Matthew will begin another chemo combination next Monday in Knoxville with our doctor there with updates being sent to New York periodically. Not sure when we'll do scans again.

We are going to be able to come on home tonight which we are very thankful for. Our flight has been delayed and will not leave until 11 pm to arrive in Ktown at 1:23 am. We plan to go to Matthew's favorite Japanese restaurant and maybe catch a movie before we leave.

Please, please, don't let up on the prayers. If anything, let's all pray even harder. Thank you. We still believe God is in control.

Love to you all,Nancy

Saturday, May 24, 2008

May 23 update

Good morning! What an incredibly beautiful day here in East Tennessee! I hope you have the same where you are.

Although there is not much NEW news, I want to update you on Matthew. He has continued to do well on his new medication with one exception. For the last two weeks, his white count has been low so the doctor has decreased his cancer medication dosage to see if that will take care of it. He returns next Wednesday for another check on his bloodwork. Hopefully by then, his white count will have increased.

Matthew has not felt as well the past two weeks and we are wondering if the blood count is a contributing factor. He still eats pretty well and is able to get out occasionally for walks and to see friends. He drove himself to the doctor on Wednesday and did just fine.

Some fun news is that Matthew was able to go to Nashville with friends and their family last weekend to hear a comedian. They were gone Sat. and Sun. Although some parts of the trip were rough on him, Matthew had a great time. I think this week has been a bit of a recovery time from the weekend!

We will go to New York the first week of June for scans to see the progress that this medication has made on the cancer. We are praying for great results!

We are so thankful for the time at home to rest and be with friends. "There's no place like home." God bless you all!! Love, Nancy

Friday, May 2, 2008

May 2 in Clinton

I haven't written in a week so I thought I would bring everyone "up to speed" on how things are going with Matthew.

Matthew continued to have a wonderful week last week - getting out in the beautiful weather, spending time with friends, eating better and going to some church activities. Matthew has not felt very well the last few days but at least he and his Dad got to go to the movies last night. They've been anxious to see "Ironman" and both really liked it.

Matthew went to his local oncologist (Dr. Dobbs) on Wednesday for bloodwork needed for his New York doctor (Dr. Wexler) for the new medication that he is on. All of his counts were good and he had gained some weight -- really good news! We go back for the same checks every two weeks until we return to New York.

Our return trip to New York is scheduled for June 2nd. The scans will be on June 3rd and hopefully we'll get results the next day.

We certainly serve an amazing God and continue to discover the immense ways He blesses our lives. Thanks to each of you for being a BIG part of those blessings.
Love, Nancy

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

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Just a quick note

Just a quick note to let you know that Matthew has improved over the last few days. We are so thankful! This is so good because he'll be better equipped to handle the trip tomorrow.
We leave at 7 a.m. on Sunday and have a lay-over in Cinncinati. It was the only flight we could get since Delta is cutting back on flights these days.
Matthew's treatment is at 10:00 a.m. on Monday. We'll return on Monday evening. I'll update everyone after I get back.
Hope each of you has a wonderful week.
Love, Nancy

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Good News for Tuesday

Thankfully Matthew was able to take treatment #4 today and he & Greg will be coming home tonight!
They are taking the late flight because it is a direct flight with no stops. I'll pick them up about midnight.
Matthew is on an antiobiotic, his fever is coming down, and he actually had some Fruit Loops this morning. I just received a text from Greg that the treatment is over and they are heading back to Ronald McDonald House to rest before the plane ride. Hopefully, that will build Matthew's energy for the trip.
We are praising the Lord for good news today!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Treatment #4

Just an update to let you know about Matthew's week home. It ended up being very difficult with alot of pain. We were in touch with New York several times and had to go to our local oncologist as well.
With pain meds in tow, Matthew was able to return to New York on Easter Sunday with his Dad to hopefully have treatment #4 today. Instead of treatment, many tests were done to try to determine the reason for the pain and fever. After a difficult day of a rollercoaster of news, Matthew's doctor determined that there was nothing alarming in the tests but that the pain is probably from the tumor.
Matthew is feeling better and the doctor has changed some of his meds and has determined that it would be ok for Matthew to get a good nights rest, and, barring any complications, have his 4th treatment tomorrow and then go home tomorrow night. So, that's the plan!!
Thanks so much for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Dear Friends and Family,
I'm sorry it took me so long to update you about the latest with us. I have to admit I've been a total "blob" today (Tuesday - 3/18) trying to get over the 3 weeks gone plus the amazingly long day yesterday trying to get home to Clinton, TN. But, yes, we are, in fact, HOME!!!!

Our weekend was pleasant with our family in for a visit. We ate out at the Japanese restaurant again (at Matthew's request), looked around in some beautiful stores, and saw their oldest daughter's apartment that lives in Chelsea in Manhattan. They joined us at the hospital on Monday during Matthew's treatment which was very cool since we're used to it being "just us"!

After the treatment on Monday, we returned to Ronald Mc House and rested for awhile. Matthew and I neither one rested very well in NY so we always needed a little rest to get through the day. Sure glad we got it because we would need it later on.
We had to vacuum, clean the bedroom and bathroom, and wash & fold linens before we could be inspected to leave Ronald McD House. We already have a room reserved there for the weeks we will return for Matthew's future treatments. They are SO great there.

We packed and decided to go ahead and get a cab and wait to eat at the airport so we wouldn't rush. As soon as we sat down to eat at the airport, we found out that our flight was delayed an hour, from 9:30 to 10:30 pm. It was 7:45 p.m. at the time. Yes, we had PLENTY of time!!
We finally boarded at 10:45 p.m. on a through flight which put us in Knoxville at 1 am and home at 2 am. We drug in the suitcases, brushed our teeth and went to bed! Ahhhhhh! In our OWN beds!

The good news is that Matthew made it through the evening just fine and has felt well today. He's played his video games, talked with his friends and had a buddy over for a while. It was good to hear him laughing with his friends. That's always a good sound!

We found out from Corporate Angels today that they will not be an option for us because there is no one they work with that flies out of Knoxville because the airport is so small. We thankfully have precious friends at church who have made our next few trips available through their sky miles.

Greg is planning to go with Matthew for his next treatment. They will leave Sunday evening (Easter) and return on Monday evening after Matthew's treatment that day.

I will continue to keep everyone updated on Matthew but possibly not quite as often. Let me express my deepest gratitude for the calls, cards, gifts, and e-mails we have received over the past 3 weeks while in NYC. We have received so much encouragement and strength from them. I still love to get up each morning and the check the computer to see what "mail" I have.
Many of you I look forward to "hugging" in person in the next few days!!
God bless each of you.
Love, Nancy

Friday, March 14, 2008

Another week in NYC

Good Morning,
It's Friday morning, March 12 and we are having a quiet morning in New York.
Greg arrived last night at about 9:45 p.m. After unpacking, the three of us walked to our favorite Italian restaurant around the corner so Greg could get a bite to eat. No plans for today yet.
Matthew has done well this week since his treatment. He's been able to get out and do a few things with his friends that are here. That at least helps him get a break from me on occasion!!
Greg's sister, husband and daughter are coming in this evening for the weekend. We are looking forward to spending time with them.
We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity and love being sent our way during this part of our journey. Many of you have offered skymiles and through Greg's Sunday School Class coordinating things, we have several tickets already lined up to get us back to New york for Matthew's weekly treatments. Isn't that amazing? Matthew and I are SO appreciative because we can't wait to be home. Some people don't have the option to go home, so we are truly thankful and are praying for those who can't.
Our prayer request today is for strength to be positive in this time of uncertainty.
Love, Nancy

Monday, March 10, 2008

Just a quick update

Matthew had treatment #2 today without any problems. But since they are SO thorough, he was examined by the nurse practitioner and one of the doctors on the team, had his blood checked twice, blood pressure and temperature taken 4 times during the treatment, etc. We were there from 10 am to 3 pm. The actual treatment only takes an hour. Yikes!
He has to go tomorrow for a Petscan at 4:30 p.m. He can't eat for 6 hrs prior to the test so we're getting up early and I am cooking a BIG breakfast so he can eat before the 10:30 a.m. deadline.
We are off for the rest of the week. If all goes well the next couple of days and Matthew has no reactions from the meds, we will plan to be here for next Monday's 3rd treatment and then come home.
Greg is coming in Thursday evening and will be here for the treatment. We hope to get the same flight he has to return Monday evening. Once we are home, we'll be making the weekly flights to get Matthew here for his Monday treatments. We are both looking forward to being in good ol' Clinton, TN!
Let me say a humble and heartfelt thank you to those who have already helped make it possible for Greg to fly up this weekend and for those who have offered sky miles to get us back up here as the weeks and treatments come and go. We hope for MANY weeks since that will mean the treatments are working. I may have already said this, but after the sixth treatment a Pet and CT scan will be done and we will know for sure if it is being effective. If it is, we can keep on going for as many as 18 weeks total.
We have a precious nurse, Ava, that takes care of Matthew from beginning to end every time we are at the hospital. God once again has blest us with one of His Angels - this one is named Ava!Nancy

Sunday, March 9, 2008

New York Nicks

We went to the New York Nicks game last night at Madison Sq Gardens thanks to my nephew, Kip, in VA. Unfortunately, yesterday afternoon, Matthew started feeling really badly. I suggested some meds that might help and then he laid down to rest. I went ahead and got ready and prayed.
The final decision that he felt like giving it a shot to go was made about 30 minutes before we needed to leave. We took a cab, arrived and got our tickets that were waiting for us. Then...
The room had it's own 2 rows of comfortable stadium seating. We sat in the front where the glass is and had a perfect view. There was food - hot dogs to die for, chips, cheese, fruit, drinks, etc. The sauerkraut & dog was top notch!! (Don't say yuck - I love sauerkraut!) Matthew got feeling so much better that he ate 2 hot dogs and sampled everything else as well! He hadn't been able to eat all day.
The game was great!! The score ended up at 108/108 and went into overtime. The Nicks lost but the locals said they played better than usual. #4 - Robinson scored 45 points (a career record) and he was only 5'9"! The rest of the guys were from 6'6" to 6'9".
I was so thrilled that Matthew got feeling better to be there and enjoy. We laughed and routed for NY like we were New Yorkers. Fun stuff.
Hope you all have a blessed Sunday, Nancy

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Saturday in NYC - rainy, dreay and cold

Good morning!
It is Saturday morning in NYC... dreary, cold, and rainy. Unfortunately, it's the 3rd day this week like this. Oh well, we needed the extra rest inside anyway.
Matthew developed a cold Wed night with a low grade fever. We went for bloodwork on Thursday and really struggled to get there, he was feeling so badly. Unfortunately, he had to "fast" and not eat 8 hours before the test which didn't help things. In addition to the clinical trial bloodwork, they did blood cultures and other tests to make sure there was no bacteria anywhere. So, thankfully, his cold was viral.
I'm glad to say that Matthew was feeling alot better last night so it looks like we are on the mend. Just in case you are wondering, this cold had nothing to do with his treatment. His next treatment is Monday morning at 10:00 a.m.
Everyone continues to be so generous to us. Greg has been invited out to eat 4 times so far so he's being well taken care of at home. Also, Greg's Sunday school class has gotten him a flight so he can come visit us next weekend. How cool is that?? Thanks SS friends!!
My nephew called me this week and said he had a friend who was able to get us tickets to the Nicks game (vs. Portland) tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Gardens!! We will be in a "suite" with 8 chairs and it's own bathroom. We cant wait!! You da man, Kip!! So glad Matthew is better to be able to go!!
So are you ready for my "escapade" yesterday? I decided since Matthew was ok, I'd go out for a little while. I took the subway downtown to Macy's to shop. There are lots of other stores right there, too, so I thought I'd be set for a couple of hours.
I left here at 3:00. I got to Macys to realize that I needed another map similar to my subway map to find my way IN the store - 7 stories - tons of elevators - tons of people - in the store. I shopped a bit and decided to buy some "good" shoes. They were a little pricey but if they would help my feet it would be worth it.
My phone was going dead so I had it "off" until I called Matthew to check in. He told me it was raining and I said I would start heading back. I walked out of Macy's to find it was raining cats and dogs and me with no umbrella. Now what? So I started walking and getting wet. Suddenly a guy walked by me selling umbrellas for $3. Needless to say that was an amazing blessing.
So, then I started trying to hail a cab. Nothing doing. Because it is now around 5 pm, downtown NY, raining and just about every cab is full! I thought to myself I would pay a hundred dollars for a cab to just GET ME HOME!!
I stopped to got shelter in a store front area to put on my coat, scarf and gloves. I laid down my Macy's bag and when I picked it up it fell apart from being wet. So I took the shoe box out and put it in the large shoulder bag I had with me. I found a trash can and threw out the Macys bag.
I kept walking and trying to hail a cab every now and then. There were a million buses...if I only knew which one to take! Ha! By the way, have you ever tried to walk on a very crowded NY sidewalk, people going both ways.....WITH UMBRELLAS!!!
I finally walked the 8 blocks from Macy's to Grand Central to get on the subway. I stepped on the subway and the door closed ON me. Thank heavens for the guy on the subway that opened it for me to get in! (I told you it was funniest home videos!)
I got off the subway at 68th and tried to get a cab once again. I walked a block trying to do that and when I realized I had walked a block in the wrong direction, I thought I would scream!!! I am now drenched, including my shoulder bag and the shoe box IN the bag.
Finally a cab stopped to unload a passenger and motioned for me to get in next. I was so thrilled to be in the cab. I thought hugging the cab driver would have a been a little overboard so I restrained myself. He deposited me at Ronald McD and I drug myself to the 9th floor.
I announced to Matthew that I would probably never leave the house again while in New York. I told him my story and of course he laughed and eventually got me to laugh, too. I told him that the shoes I bought better be the best shoes I've had in my life!!!
Thank you for the comments on the blog. It is phenomenal that some of you don't even know us personally yet you continue to pray for and support us because your friends have asked you to!!
So many of you have asked what can you do to help us. As a need arises, we certainly will let you know. Sometimes the comment is "I guess all I can do is pray". That is the biggest thing you can do! Just think that all of you out there that are praying are a part of this miracle unfolding for Matthew. If it ends up helping others with this type of cancer also, you will be a part of that as well. Our hearts and minds are joined together in an amazing journey together. I praise the Lord for the opportunity!! Love to all, Nancy

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sunny and warmer in NYC

Today went well for Matthew's first treatment at Sloan Kettering. We were there at 9 am and left about 1:30 pm The actual treatment took 90 minutes. He is feeling well so far - so thankful for that. We go back for blood tests Tues and Thurs then we are "off" until next Monday when Matthew will have treatment #2.
Not sure when we'll be home. We'll be here at least until after the 3rd treatment, maybe longer. After the 6th treatment, more scans will be done. If the treatments are working, we'll continue them. If not we'll be done. There will be a recheck every 6 weeks to access how well the treatment is working. The doctor even ventured to say that if it works like they want it to, maybe surgery could maybe become an option by late summer. But...I'm getting ahead of step at a time!!
Matthew's treatment is called R1507. It is an antibody that is supposed to attack a certain protein in cells (in this case - the insulin-like growth factor 1 cell receptor). By blocking this protein the hope is to prevent tumor growth and cause tumor shrinking. We are praying for it's success in Matthew as well as the other 257 who will participate. If it works for us, there are potentially thousands that this could help once it is approved by FDA.
We had quite a busy weekend. We decided to splurge Saturday and go to see "The Lion King" on Broadway. It was amazing!!! Then, we woke up on Sunday and there was a note in the "house" (that's the Ronald Mc House) that there were complimentary tickets for "A Chorus Line" at 3:00 p.m. So, we were able to go!!! FREE!!!! Another fabulous time.
Greg left this afternoon and Ian left this evening. Matthew felt well enough to go hear a band with a friend of his that works here in New York. Mom, the old fogey that she is, is happy to be back at the RM house, in my room, in comfy clothes, talking to you (or should I say "typing" to you.) My feet and legs can't believe what I've done to them these past 6 days!! Matthew and I are definitely sleeping in tomorrow!!!
I'll send any knew news as we have it. Love to all, Nancy

Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday in New York

I still can't believe we're in NYC!!! Somebody pinch me and wake me up!
Matthew is napping as I type. He had quite a morning. We arrived at the hospital at 7 a.m. and met with Dr. Wexler for Matthew to sign all the necessary legal documents to take part in the clinical trial. He, then, escorted us downstairs to the imaging center for his scans. Yes, I said that the doctor, the best in his field in the country, escorted us to Matthew's scan location. We had a wonderful conversation all the way there.
Then, Matthew started his delightful adventure of drinking about a quart of foul, thick stuff for his Petscan which took 2 hrs to complete. Then, he was given another quart of another absolutely awful concoction to drink for the CT scan. All this on an empty stomach, of course. Scans were completed by 1 p.m. afterwhich Matthew went for a burger and fries!!
Dr. Wexler has called twice since we have returned with numbers to the Corporate Angels for us to contact about flights for Matthew's weekly treatments. Hopefully, we can work out something. After 6 wks, new scans will be done to see if the treatments are working. Then, treatments will continue (weekly) for another 6 wks, then scans and so on in 6 wk intervals. So, we will be able to know where we stand pretty quickly.We have to be at the hospital at 9 am Monday for his initial treatment, additional bloodwork, EKG's and other initial tests that need to be done. Should be done by @ 1 pm.
Greg just came in and gave me news of another of God's miracles today. He called Delta about Matthew's and my flights that are supposed to leave with Greg on Mon @ 4:30 p.m. Greg explained the situation and that we didn't know when Matthew and I would be flying out. The person he spoke to immediately said, "Well, you have enough to deal with at this point. I will put a note on these tickets that they are "open" until you need them and there will be NO fee." OK, are you believing in miracles out there??? No doubt!!
Ian will arrive in early evening. We look forward to a fun weekend. Probably won't hear from me for a couple of days (unless I find a great deal at one the stores here! Ha!) Love to all, Nancy

Thursday, February 28, 2008

News from New York

We arrived in New York Wednesday afternoon with no problems. We got settled in the Ronald McDonald House which is very nice and the people are SO nice and helpful. $35 per night in Manhattan!!!! We qualify because this is a pediatric cancer and are working with the Pediatric Dept at Sloan Kettering. (Be sure to drop your coins in the donation box the next time you are in McDonalds!)
Today (Thursday) we had quite an amazing day! We met Dr. Wexler at Sloan Kettering this morning who had a precise grasp on Matthew's condition and treatment beginning with 11/06 and all committed to memory. He explained in more depth about Matthew's cancer (Desmoplastic small round cell tumor or DSRCT). As we knew, it is a tough cancer and with the year of treatment and three treatment medications that have now stopped working, the cancer is even tougher to fight.
He presented us with 3 possibilities. The first two choices were combinations of chemo regimens that we would use until it became unsuccessful. Then, we'd try another type of chemo regimen.
The third choice was a clinical trial that is being offered to Sloan Kettering for patients with various forms of sarcomas. Sloan Kettering will only have 25 patients that will be able to participate and only 258 patients will participate worldwide at other hospitals.
The treatment would be given once a week through the IV/port and would last about one and a half hours. So far, they believe there will be no adverse side effects that patients typically have with chemo.
The way the treatment works is by blocking the message receptor to the cancer cell that tells it to grow or multiply. Ultimately the hope is that the cell would die. Amazing!!
It took Matthew, Greg & I about a minute (or less) to opt for the clinical trial option! Then, Matthew had to qualify by meeting a several page list of criterion. After bloodwork & chest exray was done at noon, we found out at about 3:00 p.m. that he had qualified!!! Praise the Lord!
So, Matthew will have a Petscan and CT scan in the morning and will begin treatments on Monday. He will have 6 treatments (6 weeks, 1 per week) and then they will repeat the scans to see if it is working. If it is, we will continue. If not, we'll go for one of the other options presented today.
Dr. Wexler was very careful to give us information about the choices and not do a "sell job". Once we showed our interest for the clinical trial, he said that he and his colleagues don't recall when they have been so excited over a clinical trial. Obviously, there are no guarantees but we feel this is a chance of a lifetime for Matthew!!
We also feel that God's timing is so evident in this opportunity. He is continuing to honor the many prayers that are being prayed for Matthew. Thank you for those prayers.
On a lighter note, Matthew is meeting a friend from high school for dinner tonight that just took a job in New York. How cool is that?
Greg will return home on Monday. Matthew and I will stay for a couple of weeks at least to see how he does on the treatment. Then, we'll come home and fly up weekly for his treatments. Many of you have offered your sky miles to help out. We may have to take you up on your offer. But not just yet. Dr. Wexler says there is a program called "Corporate Angels" that offer their company jets free of charge to transport people in our situation that live very far from our treatment location. He is checking to see if we have that in our area!
I promise to do a better job keeping the blog updated as we have new info. Thank for your love, prayers, and that you are "staying the course" with us on this journey. Nancy

Friday, February 22, 2008


I know it's been since November that I updated the blog. Our lives have taken many amazing twists and turns. Matthew began his new chemo treatment in December and had a second treatment in January. The treatments lasted about 3 hrs each day for 5 days. In between the treatments, Matthew celebrated Ian's 30th birthday by going on a weekend ski trip. Matthew absolutely loves to snowboard and had to skip it totally last year. This year the doctor said "OK". He had a blast!
After a scan at the end of January we learned that the new treatment had failed. The cancer had not only not reduced, it had grown by a small margin. So, now we are on to Dr. Leonard Wexler at Sloan Kettering in New York. We have an appointment for Thurs., Feb. 28. We will be prepared to stay for treatment depending on what the doctor recommends. He has all of Matthew's records up to the current scans and has reviewed them already.
We feel SO blessed that we have the opportunity to see this new doctor. He is a specialist in the research and treatment of the rare kind of cancer Matthew has. Please pray that he has the very plan that will ultimately bring about Matthew's healing.
Once we know the "scoop" I'll try to update everyone. Blessings to you all, Nancy