Friday, April 29, 2011

Week 2 of Radiation Complete!

This has been a slightly rough week for Matt. At the beginning of the week, he already noticed his first blisters. Then, his face continued to swell. The doctors were confused as to what might be causing the swelling. They thought it could be an infection from his surgery or from the radiation itself. The swelling was making Matt feel miserable and unable to speak without pain. After seeing 2 different doctors this week, his radiation doctor called Thursday afternoon and said she knew what it was that was causing the swelling. She assumed that it might be a clogged duct or gland. She called in a prescription and after 3 doses his swelling has gone down significantly which has lifted his spirits. He is unable to taste very well and it still is painful, but unfortunately is has to get worse before it gets better. He is also still very tired.

Please continue to pray that Matt doesn't get discouraged. He is faced with having to endure this everyday knowing that it is going to just get worse. On Tuesday, he was flat out angry that his face was so swollen and made for a long drive to the radiation office that day. :) He did take in a video camera and tripod this week to video the 15 minute process of his treatment. You can see it on our Paragon Church blog :

Monday, April 25, 2011

Resurrection Day!

We had a blessed Resurrection Day! We had a beautiful morning at Paragon Church. Then, continued to celebrate the Risen Saviour with great family friends. Poor Maylee Grace came down with an awful fever at lunch and took a long nap and missed out on hunting for Easter eggs.

Bryson and Camden

Maylee Grace and her buddy, Nick from church

Saturday morning, we made our annual Resurrection rolls to remember that Jesus wasn't dead, HE IS ALIVE. We take Jesus' body (marshmallow) and anoint it with oil and spices (melted butter and cinnamon/sugar). Then, we wrap His body in clothes (crescent roll). We put the body into the tomb (oven). When the rolls are done, Jesus' body (marshmallow) is not there!


Friday, April 22, 2011

One week down...

This week we left our house at 7am everyday to battle traffic to the radiation office. First, let me say, we have been abundantly blessed by a dear friend who has volunteered to come be with my sleepy headed children every morning so that I might accompany my husband to his treatments. I feel extremely grateful that she is giving her time so that I can support and be there for my husband. It is a gift that means more than she will ever know. I was sharing with someone this week about this sweet friend and they responded, "That's what the body of Christ does." It's a beautiful depiction of giving whatever you are capable of giving and then, serving whenever God calls. Thank you, Juanita.

Matt is doing well after his first week of treatments. The only side effects he has noticed at this point is extreme fatigue and his face is swelling. He asked the radiation tech today about the swelling and they mentioned that was a common side effect. The hardest thing right now is that he is so tired. His body is remaking cells that the radiation is killing, so it is working overtime trying to catch up. He has met with a radiation consultant this week and the doctor. They were checking in to see how he is feeling. They began to prepare him for the side effects that are to come: dry mouth, severe sore throat, blisters on the inside of his mouth and outside of his face and the continuation of fatigue. Matt is staying positive, but not looking forward to the drive the next 5 weeks every day. Although, he did invite all of the people working at the radiation office to Easter service. Their excuse was that it was too far from where they lived. He said, "If I have to come all the way over here to see you everyday for the next 6 weeks, you can drive over and see me once on Easter Sunday. "

Maylee Grace relaxing with Daddy. She was trying to get him to say "cheese".

Aunt Carrie, Uncle Steve and Easton came to visit!

While my sister was here, we took a trip to the Aquarium. I thought it was hard to get a good picture with 3 kids...add another toddler and it's almost impossible. We had a great time though!

Payton (4), Maylee Grace (2), Easton (1) and Camden (9)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Preparing for Radiation Therapy

Today was a difficult day for me emotionally. I felt a heaviness in my heart as we walked into the radiation clinic. I know that in the next couple of weeks, this will become routine, but today, it shook me to my core. Sitting in the waiting room, I looked around and Matt and I were younger than everyone there by at least 30 years. What was wrong with this picture? My 35 year old husband is preparing for radiation.

Today, his appointment was to be fitted in the mask once again and get accurate marks onto the mask for where the radiation rays will be directed. The nurse came to the waiting room and called Matt's name. We both got up to head to the back of the clinic. The nurse stopped me and said that I couldn't come just yet. My heart was crushed and my stomach sank. Like a scolded puppy, I turned and went back to my seat. In my defense, I wanted to turn and say, "Wait, we're a package deal. We're a team." It's not that Matt was scared or needed me. I just didn't want him to have to do it alone. With tear filled eyes, I sat back down in my seat, clutched my purse and begin to pray that God's presence would be so evident to Matt.

A few minutes passed and the nurse came back to get me. I walked into the room and Matt was in his mask bolted to the table. It was surreal. It was disturbing. We've decided to document this journey in words and pictures. Not that we are experts, by any means, on radiation, but it has been interesting to hear what people assume. Matt is tightly fitted into his mask. He told me today that he can hardly swallow or move his eye balls because it is so tight. He has to wear this 5 days a week for the next 6 weeks. This is going to be painful and take a toll on his body and I would imagine his spirits. Please continue to pray for strength and encouragement for Matt.

His very own parking space!

Who says girls can't like Batman?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Glory of the Lord Revealed

This week was a week of ups and downs. Thursday, we got a call from the radiation doctor saying that they had met as a team of doctors and discussed Matt's case. The doctor was calling to tell us that she felt Matt should go see an oncologist about getting chemotherapy as well as the radiation. This was not welcomed news. Matt was not happy. He began praying asking God why would he possibly need to do both. Several hours after the original phone call, the doctor called back and said after speaking to the oncologist, the didn't think he needed to have chemo. Whew! What a relief!

Friday Matt went down to the radiation office where he had a CT scan and was fitted for his mask. This mask keeps his face/head from moving at all. It will be bolted to the table during the treatment. He had to wear it for 15 minutes or so during the CT scan. A whole hour later, you could still see the imprint from the tight fitting mesh. From here, we have to wait a week for the CT scan results and our insurance to approve the treatments. He is scheduled to start treatment on April 14.

Matt preached this morning for the first time since surgery. He was so excited and did very well as he always does (although I may be a bit partial). At the end of the service his incision site was rock hard and swollen. This afternoon he felt rough and took it easy.

I am not sure why God has allowed this trial in our lives. I am not sure why Matt, the happiest person I know, has to go through this. I may never know this side of Heaven. This is a passage of Scripture that has been especially encouraging.

Isaiah 40: 3-5

"In the desert place, prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountian and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the GLORY of the Lord will be revealed and all mankind will see it...."

Praise the Lord that one day, the glory of the Lord will be revealed! Our lives don't come trial-free, but Isaiah told the people--"Prepare to see God work!!" God is going to continue to do great and mighty things through Matt's life. What a day that will be to see the glory of the Lord revealed!