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Jun 29 / lindsay

Update

Matt has had several appointments since our last post so I wanted to share an update. Generally, everything has been going well. We are hopeful that Jon’s healthy donor cells are working hard to fight the cancer cells. An indication that this is happening is that Matt’s white blood count has been decreasing over the past several weeks, rather than increasing. My understanding of what this means is that the leukemia has not been replicating as it typically would. The doctors see this as a very positive response to taking him off immunosuppressants. So that is good news, and we truly believe that it is a sign of God’s presence affirming our (and your) prayers for a healing miracle.

Matt has been struggling day to day with nausea, lack of appetite, fatigue, and most recently, a pain in his side. At his doctor’s appointment yesterday, the doctors determined that Matt has an enlarged spleen (which was causing the pain in his side). This is apparently common in leukemia patients. The treatment is steroids, so Matt has started taking those. The steroids should also help him feel better in general.

Because nausea is a common symptom of graft vs host disease, Matt had to get a double endoscopy on Monday (“double” meaning that they go in both ends). That procedure involved getting tissue samples from areas along Matt’s gastrointestinal tract to biopsy and check for graft vs host disease. (Luckily Matt was fully knocked out during this procedure and doesn’t remember a thing.) We will get the results of this procedure on Friday. Depending on the results, Matt may be admitted to the hospital in preparation for a DLI (donor lymphocyte infusion) as early as next week. The DLI involves four days of chemo, and then an infusion of lymphocytes (a particular type of white blood cell) from Jon. Then a few days of recovery in the hospital for a total stay of 6-10 days. The doctors expect to be able to set dates for the DLI on Friday, so we will have more to share then.

The best bit of practical good news from all this has been that Matt is able to eat fresh fruit. And he has been eating a lot of it! Blueberries, cherries, mangoes, watermelon, apricots – he loves it all! A daily smoothie has become a habit. We enjoyed a day by the pool at Jim & Beth Styer’s on Sunday, which included a picnic of fruits!

My sister has been visiting us since Saturday, and we have enjoyed her company and help with meals and dishes. Plus my parents are coming all the way from Oregon tomorrow and will spend the holiday weekend with us. So we feel the support from all directions! Thanks to all of you holding Matt in your thoughts and prayers.

7 Comments

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  1. Wanda and Leon / Jul 2 2011

    We appreciate the update. It’s good to hear that Matt’s white blood count is decreasing – and that he can enjoy fresh fruit again. Glad you’re able to have time and support from family.
    We continue to hold you in our prayers.

  2. Beth Styer / Jun 30 2011

    Thanks for the update… sending our love, prayers and positive energy your way! Always welcome for R& R and pool time!
    Love,
    Beth & Jim

  3. Marilyn Wenger / Jun 30 2011

    Thank you for the updates. Please relay that the Wengers are thinking/praying for you often. I’m sure it’s a roller coaster you’d rather not be on. Enjoy time with your family. David and Emily will be here from Texas this week. Sara asks about Matt when we skype too (she is Peace corps Ukraine.) Peace, Marilyn

  4. maria fuentes / Jun 30 2011

    So appreciate the update. We will keep everyone in prayer!

  5. Deb Dory / Jun 30 2011

    So appreciate the update and happy about the positive news as we continue to keep you all in our prayers.

  6. Ellen Darden / Jun 30 2011

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Matt and you all.

  7. Mary Schrock / Jun 30 2011

    Thanks for the update, Lindsay….we really appreciate your efforts (and Grace’s) to keep us in the loop. Glad that family is around you! Both the Martins and the Styers! Believing for health and wholeness for Matt!

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