4 Months Ago Our Lives Changed: Long Overdue Medical Update on Matt

I have dragged my feet on this post for way too long.

My Matty update. As most of you have gathered by now, I call my Matthew, Matty.

4 months ago our lives changed.

On the night of January 29th, 2012, I was sitting at Kent County Hospital thinking that my husband has appendicitis. And I’m going to be 100% honest here, and I’m hoping you get what I mean when I write this… but I was actually thinking, “Please don’t be appendicitis, it will make my life so much more difficult right now.”

I feel so bad that I thought that, but it was true. Matty is the glue to what makes our family run. He takes care of the kids. He gets them to school. He takes care of them and the house when I’m away. If Matty’s down for the count, it disrupts everything. We just aren’t that well-oiled machine anymore. But I do… I remember sitting in the hospital waiting for someone to take him for his cat scan and thinking to myself, “I’m supposed to be away this week for work, this won’t be good if he needs surgery.”

Oh, Audrey… little did you know.

Life went in fast forward motion from January 29th through mid-March. Matty was diagnosed with a GIST Tumor, something that they classify as malignant because it’s so rare in a man Matt’s age. You usually don’t see GIST Tumors in people until they’re over 50 years old. Not to mention, it’s a genetic thing, so we need to get the boys tested, too. Life just sort went blurry for a solid 4-5 weeks. And it’s amazing what you suddenly can “cancel” or “miss” work wise and not even give it a second thought. Matt was in the hospital for 7 days. 7 long days. They originally told us 14, but as it is with Matt… he was determined to get home for me and the boys. We met with a doctor at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in March to discuss options and what we could do to help prevent another tumor from every coming back again and he recommended Matt go on Gleevec… it’s a chemo drug that you take orally and it will work to reduce the chance of a GIST tumor coming back to less than 10%.

And so here we are.

4 months later.

Matty’s in the basement watching basketball, drinking a beer… so long story short, life is good. Life is really good.

But still, as I sit here, I still have tears streaming down my cheeks. We’ve been through a lot the past 4 months. More than we ever wanted to at such young ages. Matty is 37 and I’m 34. I guess I always thought “this stuff” happens when you’re older, a lot older. Not when you have 4 kids that are 7 and under. And honestly, I don’t know if we’ve fully processed everything. We didn’t have time to internalize anything. We needed to be strong for our kids, for each other, for our parents and for our friends.

Every time I see someone that I haven’t seen in awhile, they ask me one question, “How is Matt doing?” It warms my heart to see so many people caring about the man I love the most in this world.

Honestly? He’s doing great. He’s positive. He’s happy. He’s living fully!

The Gleevec seems to be doing well, his body is handling it better than we expected. The first few weeks on it, it was almost like he was taking Nyquil every night. He would just pass out and it scared me. But now… it’s not like that anymore. His body is tolerating it and that’s all we can ask for.

Matt’s back has been hurting him again, it’s in his upper back… and since he had had that type of pain for a few months prior to discovering the Tumor, our doctor didn’t want to mess around with it and so he ordered Matt to have a cat scan the Friday before Mother’s Day. With it falling on a Friday afternoon, we didn’t get the results back till Monday night. I was a basket case. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t function for 3 1/2 days. Mother’s Day was a daze… I couldn’t stop thinking about Matt’s results.

Fortunately… we got the call that they were clear.

I’ve never known what it was like to actually feel such a sense of relief that you actually may pass out. That was me when we heard. It was an outer body experience. I felt joy – true joy – from head to toe. It was like life could start up again.

And so… May 29th, 2012.

You’re here. We’re here.

I know I will always be terrified for as long as I live about something coming back. This I know. And I know I need to live with this fear and not allow to it effect my life. I know this logically. Right now, this is the biggest hurdle for me. I’m dealing with it the best that I possibly can.

But most importantly, my Matty is doing well. He’s doing really well.

And I thank you all for your prayers and thoughts still.


*I typed this through some tears, so please excuse any spelling!

4 Months Ago Our Lives Changed: Long Overdue Medical Update on Matt was last modified: May 30th, 2012 by Audrey McClelland
SHOWHIDE Comments (28)
  1. hugs and prayers to you always, Audrey and Matty and family!!!! you have so much support and we continue to be here for you 🙂 <3

  2. Audrey,
    So glad to hear that everyone is well and I totally know what you were talking about in the first few paragraphs…

    Thoughts and prayers are with you all so that “Matty” stays healthy and is around for a long time to come.

    All the best,

  3. Audrey – You are so strong to be putting this all in writing, sharing it with us. My heart goes out to you and I wish nothing but the best for your entire family. Having been through so much turmoil myself, I can relate to your feelings. Bless you and know we all wish you the best.

  4. Audrey thanks so much for this update – definitely sending out some prayers for you, Matt and the rest of the family.

  5. Thanks for the update. I was thinking about you and everything you went through these last months and let you know that you were never far from thoughts. Many hugs to you and Matt and raise a glass to say L’chaim. To life:-)

  6. I am so happy to hear that things are going so well. I think about you and Matt and the boys often. I keep you in my prayers. XOXO

  7. Big hugs! I know you are so relieved with the good news.
    What a lesson in never taking life for granted, huh? My husband’s family has mega health issues and heart problems. EVERY SINGLE ONE of them has died of heart failure or had heart surgery. It scares the crap out of me. Every pain he has, every greasy food he touches, ever day he doesn’t work out… I know how you feel! It’s like a looming thing you can’t completely get rid of and say goodbye to forever. There is always a chance…
    So, big big hugs to you and Matt!! Keep living full!

  8. OMG! I’m sending you both HUGE HUGS! I am so happy for the good news you’ve received, and hope that it continues to remain all-clear! LOVE & HUGS!

  9. Amazing how life can change in an instant and make everything that really matters so crystal clear. So happy Matt is doing great. It has been one heck of a year for you -I always say the adversity makes us stronger and you’ve been through it all. Always thinking of you guys. xoxo

  10. What a lesson in being mindful and grateful for the time we have with those that we love. It’s hard to balance everything and good for you for being authentic with this post and the emotions you felt through all of this. I’m so glad that things are going well for your husband – what a relief indeed! 🙂

    Side note: So glad we met just before you left BBC Philly – I hope we get to see one another again soon. 🙂

  11. Thanks for sharing the great news! I can’t believe that was 4 months ago already. I remember the evening; twitter party was canceled due to you having to take him to the hospital with – what you thought – flu-like symptoms. How scary for you & your family, I can’t even imagine. Thanks for the update.

  12. Audrey,
    this post takes me back to when my dad was first diagnosed with cancer. Every day I would wake up fine and then remember… oh right, we have THAT now in our lives. Over time, and with good scans, it became more like an unwanted relative that just wouldn’t leave. You learn to live life around it.
    But don’t stop living. Make plans. Focus on family activities. And push the fear to the back as far as you can. I learned that fear is not necessarily based on reality. We don’t really know the future and sometimes we can’t even conceive of the good that is in store for us.

  13. Audrey I am so glad he is doing better and able to be with you guys and enjoy a beer and be a dad and a hubby. Thank you so much for sharing and know that you have so many people, myself included, praying for his continued health and your whole family. Much love! Brittany

  14. That is such good, relieving news – so glad things are getting back on track. It’s a sobering reminder to live each day fully and don’t sweat the small stuff–it may be cliche but so so true. All my love to you and your family. xoxo

4 Months Ago Our Lives Changed: Long Overdue Medical Update on Matt was last modified: May 30th, 2012 by Audrey McClelland