Thursday, February 24, 2011

Radiation Consultation

Today, I sat in a patient room (with my husband) being educated on radiation therapy for cancer patients. I learned that a patient can only be treated once in a particular area. Matt’s radiation treatments will be localized to his neck and through his cheek to his tongue. After this course of treatments, that will last 5 days a week for 6 weeks, he will never be able to have radiation again in that area. A metal/mesh mask will be made to fit his face/head to keep his head still while he is in his treatments.

The doctor walked us through each step of the process. Then, she started speaking of side effects. I huge lump formed in my throat and tears filled my eyes when she told Matt that after 2-3 weeks of treatments, he will be in total pain. His mouth will be filled with blisters at the area of treatment and the outside of his face and neck will be much like a horrible sunburn. Before I could even clear my throat to speak, Matt asked how he was going to be able to preach. The doctor just shook her head. She said it will be extremely painful and that head and neck radiation was the hardest treatment to endure. I literally just sat stunned knowing exactly what my self-less husband, pastor of Paragon Church, was thinking. How was he going to do what God has called him to do?

Lots of people have been asking how I am doing. I’ll be honest, I am sick to my stomach over all of this. I have lots of fears, questions, and even a cry fest almost every day. I am human and someone I love with every ounce of my being is hurting. It breaks my heart to see what my husband has to endure over the next few months. But even in my sadness, I have to remember where my hope comes from. I cannot “grieve like people who have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13-15) We serve a mighty God that could rid Matt’s body of every cancer cell IF that was HIS WILL. God has a magnificent plan for my Matt Sellers and it’s far from over. God will be glorified and all honor will be given to Him. We sang a song in church on Sunday and I keep singing this truth over and over this week.

Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God, You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer awesome in power
Our God, our God

Psalm 16:8
I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.

Results from CT scan

The doctor called last night after hours with results from Matt's CT scan on Tuesday. He said that a 9mm spot showed up in the same area as on the PET scan and that it was on a lymph node. He is not 100% sure this is cancer, but doesn't want to take any chances. His words were, "I want to get agressive with this cancer before it gets agressive with you."

So, the plan from here....
The surgery will be rescheduled. We should know the date by the end of today. The surgery will be a more intrusive surgery including a selective neck dissection that will remove any lymph nodes that need to be taken out. He may also remove Matt's salivary gland, because of where the spot is on the scans.

This isn't quite the news we were hoping for, but still thankful the cancer seems to be localized. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Psalm 121:1-2 "I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More testing

Today was Matt’s CT scan. This test should show exactly what it was that was highlighted on the PET scan. We should have results by tomorrow afternoon. Then, Thursday, Matt goes in for his Radiation Consultation.

Over the last few days, we have had some serious conversations. God has provoked thoughts in my mind and drawn me closer to Him. My human nature asks all the questions: Why? Why NOW? Why Matt? I have struggled with the thoughts of Matt having to go through all of this again…the surgery, the pain, the recovery. Then, I am reminded that I don’t need to know “why”. I simply need to trust God.

I have been reading about Job and what he experienced. Job had literally lost it all. Job 1:20 says, “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’” When, he was at the end of the rope, Job still praised God. God has given us this life…our health…everything. He gives and he can take away. This does not mean that God is looking down on us trying to make our lives miserable. He is just. He is sovereign. He is a jealous God who wants us to be fully devoted to Him. Our life, health, stuff is His for the taking.

The thing that drew me to Matt when we first started dating was his smile. He was always smiling, laughing and having fun. While the news last Monday took his breath away, he woke up Tuesday morning ready to fight this battle….with a smile. Spending time with him, you would not know he was sick or in pain, because he’s always smiling. He has told me and others countless number of times that God knows what He is doing. I am so proud of him.

Friday, February 18, 2011

PET scan results

Today, we visited Matt's doctor. The doctor checked the healing of the areas where he had biopsied last week. He also had received the results from the PET scan. The scan showed a spot under Matt's jaw line. The highlighted area seems to be in a muscle right behind a salivary gland. The doctor is very optimistic that it is just irritation and swelling from the biopsy from last week; however, he doesn't want to guess. He has ordered a head/neck CT scan for Matt next week. As long as the CT scan comes back clean, surgery will remain on March 8th. The doctor said he would remove up to 1/2 of what's left of Matt's tongue (about 1/4 was taken out 5 years ago). He did say that because of the tongue being a muscle that it most likely will regenerate a little bit. The tongue muscle also heals quickly. IF, for some reason, something else shows on the CT scan, surgery would be rescheduled due to a more complex procedure where he would do a selective neck dissection to remove lymph nodes on that side of Matt's neck.
We are praising the Lord that the cancer doesn't seem to be anywhere else in his body. This is an aggressive form of quick moving cancer cells, so we were relieved to see that his organs are all healthy. We are so overwhelmed at the number of people, literally all over the world, praying for us. Thank you so much for your compassion for us. What a special blessing to our family. Matt is in great spirits, as he usually is. He is just ready to get this party started AND finished. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Matt's "feel better" toy

Have you ever gotten a special treat or surprise for your sick know, to help them feel better? Well, consider this Matt's "feel better" toy. Right now, we are a one car family, so Mr. Baker loaned Matt a vehicle so that he could travel in style to all of his appointments today. It's a 2010 Shelby GT 500 Mustang with 540hp. (Matt made me add that last line).

Matt had his PET scan today. This procedure is one where radioactive dye is injected into his bloodstream to locate any possible cancer cells in his entire body. He had to lay still in a tube for 45 minutes the first round and 10 more minutes the second time. After completing the scan, he had a blood draw as well as a chest x-ray to prepare him for his upcoming surgery. The PET scan tech said that they would rush his results, so that we should have them tomorrow at his appointment with his doctor. We should have much more information following tomorrow's doctor's visit.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February 14th, 2011

I had no idea before the day started what Valentine's would bring for our family. It started just like years past. We had special goodies for the kids and Matt and I had placed our cards on the kitchen table for each other. A part of what Matt wrote in my card read, "We have been through so much together and I would not have had any other woman by my side through it all." There was a lot of other mushy stuff too. :) I still get the little butterflies from all the sweet things he says to me. I had no idea what the rest of the day would hold for us and our family and that we were getting ready to embark on a whole new chapter in our love story.

Monday is Matt's day off. He kept Maylee at home and I had taken Payton in the morning to go on his special date to the aquarium. We looked at the fish and had a fun lunch next to the big shark tank. I was standing in the kitchen telling Matt all about our time at the aquarium when the phone rang.

Matt looked at the caller ID and said, "well, this is it". It was his doctor. We had waited all weekend for the results from a biopsy he had taken on Friday. Matt listened as the doctor gave him the news we were dreading. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and gave me a thumbs down. Everything stood still for a moment. He kept listening intently to what the doctor was saying. He asked a few questions and then the doctor ended the call leaving us to sift through the thoughts and emotions that were to follow. My big and strong husband melted into a vunerable, weak ball of emotions. He just shook his head not knowing what to say or do. We held each other. We cried. We cried some more. We questioned what the next few months would be like for our family and our church.

Our Valentine's Day was the beginning of a new journey that God is going to carry us through. We fully trust in our God. I have no doubt in my mind that Matt is going through this, because God knows that Matt will unselfishly give God the glory through this trial. Our God is good all the time.

Our 3 Valentines :)

We decided several years ago that we would take the opportunity to spend extra special one-on-one time with each of our kids during the month of February. We let them pick what they would like to do for their special date. Christy takes the boys and Matt takes his princess. It was so fun to see how excited they each were as their "date day" approached.

Mom and Camden went for Super Saturday at Putt-Putt golf. We got to play in the arcade and have 2 rounds of golf. Then we went out for lunch at Taco Bueno.
Maylee Grace and Daddy went to the mall. They went into Johnny Rocket's to share an Oreo milkshake. Then, they went over to Build-a-Bear where Maylee Grace picked a cat to stuff. Then, they finished the date off with a ride on the carousel.
Payton and Mommy went to the aquarium. The highlight of his morning was petting the sting rays and baby sharks. Then, they had lunch at the Shark Reef Cafe where they got to sit right next to the shark tank.

Super Bowl Victory Day

What a fun day! It was a blast having a team we love be in the Super Bowl. We spent the big day with our friends the Bakers and Brownsons. We had lots of yummy food, fun and cheering on the Packers!

Joslyn, baby Cooper, Bryson, Camden and Payton playing video games.

Brooklyn, Maylee Grace and Lauren enjoying their own movie while we watched the game.
Scott, baby Cooper, Matt and David
Jan, Christy and Carla
My Packer's Princess

My little Packer Backers