Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Greatness of our God

Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since Matt's last treatment. His first week was rough. Two days after completion of treatment, he got 3 new blisters/sores on his tongue. It was so painful for him to talk. It was a little discouraging knowing he should be on the mend.

Moving into the second week, we finally began to "see the light"! He began to feel better. He was able to talk without gagging (this was a huge accomplishment). This past Sunday was his first Sunday back to preach at Paragon Church. I think I held my breath for the first 5 minutes. He brilliantly planned to have our worship leader, Gerome, read the passages for him and then sing songs between his major points. This allowed him time to rinse his mouth out and take a break. God is good!

A couple of nights ago, Matt and I were talking about the whirlwind that we've been through in the last few months. February 14 of this year changed any plans we had for the immediate future. We talked about how we had made it. Now, things are going to only get better from here. The battle in my mind begins to flip-flop. One minute, I resonate our accomplishment. The next my mind races with all the "what if's". What will the results of the next PETscan show? Will the cancer come back? Will cancer take my husband's life? I don't remember being this fearful the first time. Maybe it is because it did return and in such an agressive way. Then, God quickly reminds me of His greatness. My mind turns back to how faithful He has been. Matt is still here. He can still speak...Praise God. He has been faithful in our church. People have stepped up and the ministry to Rio Rancho didn't skip a beat....Praise God. I have to hold onto His greatness. He is greater still. I have to trust in His greatness. I will never be able to fully know His greatness this side of Heaven, but I have to purpose to recognize it in everything He has entrusted to me....blessings and trials.

"Give me grace to see beyond this moment here,
to believe that there is nothing left to fear.
And You were on it, high above it all,
And You, my God, are greater still"
by Natalie Grant

God's Word reminds us that NOTHING can separate us from His love....not fear, not cancer, not inadequacy, not imperfection, not distance....NOTHING.

Romans 8:38-39
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Today we celebrate!

I don't even know where to begin to reflect on this journey. While the physical part of this trial is over, the next few months will be filled with recovery, healing, doctor's appointments and routine PET scans to ensure all the cancer cells are indeed out of Matt's body.

Let me first acknowledge that I am married to a man of incredible strength. He is truly amazing. Everyone that saw him during the last few months could see the physical toll this was taking on his body, but there was so much that everyone didn't see. He was fighting a major battle physically, emotionally and spiritually. I am so proud of him for not stopping treatment when he wanted to. He still has a long road to get "back to normal", but at least he's on THAT road now. One of his biggest concerns when things started getting rough was how hard it was for me and the kids. That is who he is and I love that about him.

God has been working on me through this journey. I had to let go of things or expections that I held so tightly to. There were times that I thought I might not make to this day. I specifically recall a night that Matt had gone to bed really early (which had been routine due to his fatigue). The house was quiet and dark. I sat down on the floor and vocally cried out to God. I was done. This was too hard. We were surrounded by people who loved and supported us, but yet I felt completely alone. It was like He said to me...I am the One you need.

I am so elated to celebrate today. The kids are excited too. We've been counting down the treatment days on our paper chain. We had planned today to take all 3 kids and Mrs. Juanita with us to the very last treatment. Then, we were going to a donut shop around the corner to celebrate! That is just what we did. While Matt was unable to enjoy a donut, he was excited to be done and share in the celebration with the kids.

From here, it's just going to get better.

Last day of treatment 212 lbs

First day of treatment 257 lbs

Waiting for Daddy to finish his last treatment

Poor Daddy couldn't eat a donut today, but we hope to visit this same donut shop at his 1 month appointment and he can down a French Crueller. :)

An Unexpected Blessing

Before Matt started his treatments, Juanita Peralta from our church, approached me. She said to me that she wanted me to be able to go every day and be beside my husband during his treatments and doctor's appointments. While she would probably graciously bow out of any public thanksgiving, I wanted to share with everyone I know the blessing she was to me personally during this journey. One of my first concerns when we found out about Matt's cancer and then, the treatment he was going to require, was how am I going to be able to be there for him and take care of the kids? I cried out to God knowing that I could not do this alone. Juanita had no idea about that plea to God from me. She just stepped up and knew that she was able. This beautiful woman came to my house almost every treatment day (37 treatments) and I think she still loves us. :) She was here before my kids even got up most days. She got Camden ready for school. She fed everyone breakfast. She saw our family up close and personal...the good, the bad, the ugly. She saw my messy house. She saw my crazy kids. She even saw some of my melt downs. Most of all, she allowed me to let go of the huge responsibilities I have at home, so that I could fully support and physically be there for my husband every day. Not to mention, my children have totally fallen in love with "Mrs. Nita". Thank you with all my heart Juanita.

No One Fights Alone

As we turned the corner to our street, we were so surprised to see our house all spruced up with decorations! Not only that, we had a group of people waiting to meet us when we got home. What a humbling moment to see a group of people that were genuinely as excited about this day as we were. Several weeks ago, we sold 100+ bracelets at church to show Matt that we were all praying for him and rooting him on. The bracelets read "No One Fights Alone". The group of loved ones standing in our front yard today was a beautiful reminder that we haven't been fighting alone.
I have the last chain link in hand!

Only 1 more left!

The paper chain only has one more left! One more treatment! I have no doubt that the kids and I are just as excited as Matt is! We want our Daddy back.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Splash Day!

We had so much fun playing in the water today. Several friends from church came over to have a day of fun in the sun. There were lots of smiles and giggles in our backyard today. A highlight for all the kids was playing with shaving cream. They all got a kick out of getting covered in gooey shaving cream.

Chick-fil-a Pirate and Princess Night

We had lots of fun dressing up for Pirate and Princess night at Chick-fil-a. The kids had been so excited for this night for a week! We got to meet Miss New Mexico and a real pirate ;) and of course, the Chick-fil-a Cow. It was so cute to see how excited they were.

5 more treatments!

Matt will complete his 37 radiation treatments next Wednesday! We met with the doctor today. Again, she was concerned with Matt's weight. He weighed in at 215lbs. The doctor said he will have 3 month check-ups with her as well as his surgeon/cancer doctor after completion of radiation.

One of the side effects from the radiation treatments is hair loss. We took a picture of Matt's bald spots before we shaved his head to make it a little less obvious. The two spots on the back of his head are where the lasers exit. They enter on his chin where he also has baby soft skin with no hair.