Update on Matt (August)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

I wanted to update everyone on (my husband) Matt's progress. You can read my original post about his diagnosis with Classic Hodgkin's Lymphoma here. After I posted about this back in June, we heard from at least 20 people in my facebook group who had been through this disease (or in some cases, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) themselves, or had a sibling, coworker, parent or spouse go through it. A lot of people said the same thing - "It was a long six months." And that turns out to be true for us as well, at only two months in.

As you can see on the scans above, we are moving in the right direction! Between June 6 and July 8, the tumor in Matt's chest shrunk from a huge 9 cm to 5.29 cm, and vein that had been sticking out on his neck (his one symptom that brought him to the doctor in the first place) returned to normal. I don't have a more recent picture because the last one was a PET scan rather than a CAT scan, but the tumor has shrunk to 4 cm as of early August. The cancer is still active, so he'll go back in September for another scan – at that point we hope to see it totally inactive or "dead", but he will definitely need to continue chemotherapy into December.

Matt's treatments involve going into the hospital every two weeks and getting four chemo drugs via IV, plus benadryl and some anti-nausea drugs. It takes about five hours, but he's put in his own room in a hospital bed, so he's usually able to nap while getting the drugs. At any given time he's on about five different medications. And... not fun, to keep his blood count up and fight off infection, I have to give him Neupogen injections in his stomach every other day after his treatments. I'm pretty tough when it comes to medical stuff, but I do not at all enjoy sticking my husband in the belly with needles. (Pretty sure he doesn't much enjoy it either.)

Long before his diagnosis we had booked our annual trip to Cape Cod. We didn't really want to cancel and unfortunately it didn't align well with Matt's chemo schedule but we made it work. It was... an interesting week. That Saturday afternoon we drove down to the Cape. This was during the heat wave in July and it was somewhere in the high 90s. The AC had a hard time keeping up with the heat at first. On Monday night all our phones pinged and we experienced our first-ever tornado warning! We had to hide out in the basement and my younger son, who enjoys natural disaster documentaries, was in tears convinced we were all going to die. Tuesday morning - another tornado warning. The actual tornado missed us, but our patio umbrella did go flying away, and we had an impressive lightning show and quite a downpour.

Our week at the Cape wasn't the best one we could have picked, but we had fun anyway. Nice day at the beach collecting pretty rocks and getting lunch.

Once it was safe to leave on Tuesday, Matt and I left the boys in the Cape with my dad while we drove up to Boston. That afternoon Matt had an operation where they inserted a 'port' into his chest (another thing I didn't know about cancer until it hit our family - for many types of cancer your chemo goes into a little device called a 'port' which is embedded in your chest, rather than in through a normal IV in your arm). We spent the night at home, then returned to the hospital for several hours on Wednesday so Matt could have his chemo. Then Wednesday night we drove back to the Cape so we could could enjoy the last couple days of vacation. I don't know if 'enjoy' is the right word since poor Matt was wiped out! To cap it off, Chase got stung by a hornet and his arm swelled up for days. But it was still a fun week, surprisingly. We got to hang out for a few days with a good friend we hadn't seen in a while (and our kids got to hang out with hers). Matt liked sitting around the fire pit toasting marshmallows with the boys at night. And our rental had a basketball hoop so he and the boys got in a few games (before the chemo.)

Some things and some days are really good. We have more family meals together, Matt even feels well enough to cook a lot of nights. We can watch movies and play board games with the kids, and if he's feeling up to it, go to the dog park and walk around in the woods with Felix. Sometimes we have visitors come by or head to his relatives' houses - but we stay away from any place crowded or potentially germy since Matt's immune system is low and he could get sick. And he no longer has to stress about little everyday work annoyances since he isn't working. One of my current favorite things is just sitting on the deck with Matt in the morning, drinking coffee and watching the dog running around in the yard - no frantic rush out the door to work/school, just relaxed.

Some days are not so good, as all of us get very cranky, and I feel completely overwhelmed between the housework, the kids, work, and now my dad (who has developed a heart problem - although his treatment is going well so far and it doesn't seem too bad at this point.) Matt sometimes needs to sleep almost all day. He's not having many of the side effects associated with this type of chemo though (yet), other than part time exhaustion. But he feels, understandably, frustrated by a lot of aspects of this - although we both know it could be much, much worse.

That's a three-dimensional pop-up heart on the card. I think Matt's coworkers really miss him!

Friends have been wonderful - thanks to everyone who has brought us food! I really cannot cook well at all and takeout meals get boring. Also, Matt's amazing coworkers at Rue La La brought him the best gift basket I think I've ever seen (unfortunately I didn't get a photo since I was too busy being impressed with all the stuff they thought of to put in there) and made him a gorgeous card, which they all signed. They all went in to get us very generous meal service gift cards and Matt was really touched.

To repeat some important info from my last post - just in case you missed it! You can read more about Hodgkin's here. And please read about the symptoms, here. Don't completely freak out if you have some symptoms. I heard from one of my followers who had multiple Hodgkin's symptoms - she was referred to an oncologist and had a biopsy- but in her case it was it was another lymphatic condition and not cancer. (Huge sigh of relief!) 

*Please, please take ten minutes right now and make any doctors appointments you’ve been putting off.* You'll feel much better and it could potentially save your life. I now have two friends with breast cancer and in both cases it was caught through a routine mammogram. 

If you are a member of my facebook group and are one of the many people who have sent a nice message or sent me good deals and products to post, thank you so much!!!


For anyone who doesn't already - you can also follow me on Instagram, here.


  1. Prayers for your husband and great hope that all will be well again for him and your family very soon! <3

  2. Hello, I am glad your husband Matt is doing well after being faced with Lyphoma. I love being a member of your FB group. So thanks for keeping us ladies posted on all those good deals.
    I personally have been affected by blood cancer multiple times in my family. Because of that I am incredibly active in the Southern California chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I wanted to share with you the number for their Information Resource Center, its, 1.800.955.4572
    LLS is an plethora of information and help for lyphoma patients and their caregivers. Matt can call this hotline and give them his info. They not only offer financial assistance but they have a wonderful peer program where Matt can speak to someone who has experienced what hes going through. Also they have nutritionists and lots of information about treatment and such.
    I totally understand if your not interested, I just can't help but share the information I know about this great organization.
    Good luck with everything and I'll look forward to your continued updates. ♡
    -Selena Clark