Sunday, September 29, 2013

Kelli's Update

Taken after lunch this afternoon

I know that we are about due for an update.  I will start with Matt.  He is doing really good.  He is responding to medicine really well and has had minimal side affects.  I notice that he is a lot more tired so he takes more naps and he says that he has (what feels like) heartburn.  That has really been it.  The Dr's continue to fill him with blood and platelets.  Tests are coming back good but I have (wisely) been advised to not put my trust in Dr's tests and what they say but continue to put my trust in the Lord.  Matt's parents left yesterday and he has had more visitors which he looks forward to when he is up to it.  

As for how I am doing.....I have mentally written this part of the blog over a couple of times.  I share because I don't know how to be anything but honest and this blog is kind of like a diary.  WHY I make my diary public, I don't know.....some of my friends don't know.( I laugh as I write that)  But I feel better.  Would it really do anybody any good if I just share the times when my faith and trust in the Lord are strong and unwavering?  Then you wouldn't think that I am being honest.  When you hurt and struggle, you wouldn't think that I could relate at all.  Well I can.

I actually had a really good day yesterday, soccer game, pictures, washed cars, clean apartment.  As we were talking to Matt last night, he asked me to bring him some chips.  That was it.  I got mad and irritated.  I said, "Matt, I am dealing with money, bills, insurance, the girls, schedules, babysitting, bible study, cleaning and your chips are the last thing I am going to worry about."I ranted to him about packed days, schedules,etc. while he listened and apologized.  Then, of course, I felt bad and apologized.  We got off the phone and I knew my attitude was bad,  I tucked the girls in and said prayers (while in my head thinking that here I was alone doing all of this by myself again.)  I was irritated knowing that I needed a spiritual spanking.  I prayed for the Lord to take it all from me, did part of my bible study, hoping that Jesus was going to have me read something that was going to change my attitude and heart.  I went to bed and woke up feeling the same.

This morning on my way to church I was still praying about it, when we got to church and I stood there singing(or listening) , something that my friend had said in a conversation at bible study came into my head.  We were talking about the book of Psalms in the bible.  How that book is a very emotional book and filled with people crying out to God.  My friend had said,"God can take your anger at Him."  I started to cry.  It was as if the Holy Spirit told me exactly what was bothering me.  I was mad at Him.  I don't want to be.  I just stood there thinking.....  I don't want to be a spokesperson for trials.  I don't want to be a cancer advocate.  I don't want to "hold down the fort" all by myself.  I don't want to drive to Nashville everyday and find places for Lucy to go.  I don't want to be used by Him in this way.  I don't want this to be God's best for me and my family.  I don't even want this to be my attitude.  I don't want this bad attitude in my heart.  

Then to make matters worse,  I started to think of all of the people working so hard for my family.  Even with this terrible attitude, the Lord is working on blessing my family.  He can take it.  All of it.  And still working everything for my good.  My best.  

I wish there was another way.  Another way for Him to be glorified, teach me lessons, minister to others.  So what was my conclusion today?  What answer did I come to?  It's not all about me.  I'm so glad that He offers forgiveness.  He died for my attitude.  I need Him. 

 Standing there in church I told him simply that I trust Him.  I don't like it.  I don't get it.  But I trust Him.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fundraisers for Matt

For someone who loves to write on her blog, I wish someone else was writing this post.  It feels weird for me to be writing this but since people check here for updates, I am here to highlight a couple of fundraisers that people have set up for our family.  Although,  Matt and I do not want to be the ones asking people for money, we acknowledge that God has already shown us that He has put it on people's hearts to bless our family and I know that is one way He chooses to give us what we need.  I also want people's hard work that the Lord put on their own hearts to be successful.  Matt and I have been surprised and overwhelmed by people's creativity and ideas that they have  thought of.

I guess now is as good a time as any to really share what our needs are.  I look at them as two fold.  One,  Matt is going to be out of work for at least one year.  We are looking into and have applied for a program that will provide us with a percentage of what his salary was.  The rest...... we haven't thought of the rest and we don't know when we will start getting that assistance.  I will say that I have speedily given all of the nessesary paperwork in to get the ball rolling.

The second is that before our insurance pays anything, we have a $10,000 deductible.  Every year.  (His treatment is going to be at least 3 years).

I am not going to lie.  I have freaked out a little but I have chosen to concentrate on Matt and the girls and I have chosen to remind myself of all of the ways the Lord has provided for us in the past.  And......I haven't gotten a bill in the mail yet which makes it a little easier to push aside.  But.... it's coming.  Soon.

So let's get off that topic and let me tell you about some amazing opportunities that have come our way.

The first one is THIS SATURDAY, September 28 in Valencia, California.  Kristen Wells, author of the book, "The Warring Soul"  is having a book signing at Baker's Gourmet Coffee and Pastries, 23880 Copperhill Drive from 1-3pm.  All proceeds go to Matt.  There will be donation jars and an auction with amazing prizes such as a photography session, hair cut, desserts, and a vacation!  You can "like" the Warring Soul on facebook to get information or go to her website where she has an article about Matt and his best friend, Greg, who is Kristen's husband.

The second is a page a friend set up as a paypal page to donate to Matt.  You can click on the right side of my blog to go straight there or  You can also "like" this page or share it on Facebook.

I happen to think that my friends are pretty awesome and creative.  Today I came home and recieved gifts and cards with donations in the mail.  Daily reminders that God will provide.  Matt and I are so thankful for all of you.  We don't want anyone to feel obligated to give money.  Actually prayer is what has lifted up my heavy heart the most.  I'm thankful that while I am concentrating on the needs of my girls and husband, that the Lord is working in the hearts of people we love and that love us to accomplish His will for our family.  So, thank you everyone.

OK.....enough about money!  I'm going to get back to concentrating on Matt.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Journey Continues....

I feel like I need to write more often to let people know how we are doing.  Matt is doing really good.  The Dr. said that he is taking everything (medicine wise) really good and responding well.  He had a spinal tap last week that showed no leukemia in his spinal fluid!  I have noticed that he is tired more and he had a hard time sleeping last night because of tingles in his legs.  I had a really good day with him and we laughed ALOT!  Our favorite nurse was working and Matt told the whole team of Dr.'s that she had not been tending to him all morning!  You should have seen her face!  She had actually been in a lot.  All the Dr.s were laughing....Oh Matt!

The Lord showed us that He is watching over our needs.  We had three visitors from Matt's work and they told us that he had a couple bonuses coming that we didn't know about and they had also taken a collection from all of the fellow managers and some customers.  I think I am going to have enough money to pay our bills next month!  We are working to apply for some disability and that will take some time.  I feel like the Lord wants me to depend daily for our needs and to watch Him work.  Matt will be out of work for at least a year.  I remind myself that the Lord already knew that, He allowed it, and while I freaked out at first.... and don't get me wrong, I still fight the urge to freak out.  I am working hard to loosen my grip and let the Lord do His will.  I am finding more answers than I knew before and I am trying to just focus on Matt and the girls and let the Lord do the rest.

Lucy got a bad cold this week and I still pushed her and that resulted in her and I missing both days of preschool this week.  It was rest we both needed and I tried to use my time wisely and get things done.  Matt's parents are here to see him and they watched Lucy today so I could spend the day with him.

Here are some thoughts from the week......

It is so funny to be going through something terrible yet feel so much blessing.

First my love for Matt.  I told Ivy yesterday that I love her daddy more now than I ever have.  He is my best friend.  When we go through a trial, we just get better.  I love him so much and how much he tells me that he is going to fight for his three girls.  I start to cry every time I say goodbye to Him at the hospital. I don't know how different he is going to feel when I return.  Today he told me how much he loved me and I felt it.  He told me that he watches me out the window walk to my car and today I stopped across the street and turned and waved at the hospital.  I didn't even know what window it was but he saw me.  I might have felt a tad stupid but I wanted to wave one more time.  #iluvmatt

I am overwhelmed by the love of my friends and the body of Christ.  Our family feels so loved by packages, texts, letters, facebook messages.  I can't believe how you can be scared and broken hearted and yet feel so loved and lifted up at the same time.  #iluvmyfriendsandfamily

The Lord knew what He was doing giving me Ivy and Lucy. They are so different but I need them both! Ivy is so tenderhearted.  There have been times when I have started to pray with them at night and I just fall apart.  I cry HARD and Ivy rubs my back telling me that sometimes it's good to let your body cry.  We cry as I try to point her to Christ.  He is the One we cry out to.  He is the great Healer for our daddy.  We beg Him through tears together.  My friend Ashley says that when you cry in front of your kids, they see who you are turning to in times of heartache.  I've done that with Ivy (although I try not to cry in front of her too much.)  Then there is Lulu.  Man.  She has been my source of laughter and entertainment.  I swear she is getting a southern accent and she is as funny as ever.  She has times where she sincerely tells me that she misses her daddy.  I agree with her and we keep going.

So...the journey continues.  I feel like a rambled long but my thoughts are endless.

Psalm 34:18 " The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Only Way Out is Through

I have quoted lines from this sermon so much over the last couple of years that I finally decided to post it.  I think every Christian should take the time to listen to this.  My pastor Byron preached this sermon in 2011 when we weren't even living in Nashville but I have listened to it so many times, including today.  If you are not a Christian but you are wanting to know where my focus has been, then here it is. Leave a comment and tell me how it has ministered to your own life.  I would love for ya'll to take time and listen to it.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Matt's Story

I have had many texts, phone calls, messages asking me about Matt, if he has been sick long, what happened so I thought I would write it all out on my blog.  That gives better explanations than Facebook can.  I do really good thinking when I write a blog post and I'm hoping that is the case today.  Then.... when someone asks you about Matt then you can give them the blog address.  Now lets talk about my Matt.
(This picture is of Matt and my brother Kyle last Sunday night, the day before he went to the hospital.)

A short answer is that Matt had not noticed anything wrong with him until about a week and a half ago.  He had 2 days off from work and he thought that he had the flu.  He also had told me that he pulled a muscle in his leg and it really hurt him.  Although, he could not tell me how he had done it.  He spent his 2 days off in bed to trying to get better.  We had some big discussions during that time and he wouldn't talk to me like the usual Matt which had me frustrated.  I kept saying to him, "You are not acting like yourself."  I thought he was blowing me off which he never does. ( I now know his mind was foggy.)  Last Sunday he went to work, said he was feeling better...just a little off, which we thought he was still getting his strength back.  His leg was still sore.  We went up to Nashville to eat with my brother who was in town for work and I snapped the above picture.

The next day he went to work and texted me later saying he had the flu again and was going to the Dr. Since we both thought he had the flu, I went back to Nashville to have dinner again with my brother and the girls so that he could come home and rest and have the apartment quiet while he rested.
Just as I pulled into my brother's hotel,  Matt called to say that it was not the flu.  They thought his leg had a blood clot and all of his blood levels were really low so he was anemic.  They were taking him by ambulance to Nashville.  He told me to eat dinner because with the traffic we would miss each other.  Right after dinner he texted that they were going to run tests for leukemia.  I was stunned........  In my head I thought, It can't be.  I didn't know what situation I was walking into so I brought my girls back to Spring Hill and got their stuff together to spend the night with my friend and neighbor.  I got to the hospital and they had him in the ICU. ( I had no idea.  By this time it was almost 9 o clock at night.)  They told me right away that all tests they were running all pointed to leukemia. He had a platelet count of 5. ( Normal count is 150-500.  The nurse said she had never seen it so low.)   I just stared at Matt.  The nurse asked me if I had any questions and I said, "I am too naive to have questions.  She told me that was a good thing and not to Google anything because there are lots of types of leukemia.  She said wait to see what it is and we will tell you.  That is exactly what I did.

Matt spent 4 days in the ICU.  The pain in his leg turned out to be a vein that had burst because he didn't have any platelets.  They pumped him continually with blood and platelet transfusions.  They still are even now.  They did a bone marrow biopsy on Wednesday to know for sure what kind of leukemia and if it had over taken his bone marrow.  And Thursday the news came...... B cell ALL leukemia.  It is aggressive and curable. He cannot work for one year at least.   He will be in the hospital for 28 days and then they do another biopsy to see if he needs a bone marrow transplant.  We are freverently praying that is not the case.  They moved us to the cancer wing to get Matt all set up.

When the Dr. left, we cried and each took turns once again begging the Lord on our behalf.  Knowing He is the great Physician, He has numbered our days,  He loves us.  I begged him to spare my husband's life.  We prayed for our girls.  We prayed for our finances and that the Lord would carry us.  

They came and took Matt for a echo on his heart and while he was gone a knock at the door and two of my pastors, Byron and Jared were at the door and then came Rob and Dawn, our Tennessee parents.  And then Dawn tells me (who has leukemia herself) that she has the exact same kind as Matt.... My gracious God showing us that He sees us.  He loves us.   Someone will walk through this with us.   A gift to us.  

Kelli Iverson brought the girls to see Matt for the first time that night.  They have a waiting room where the girls can go and Matt comes there to see them with a mask on, to reduce the transfer of germs.  Adults can go and see him in his room.  My poor brother was still in Nashville and got to finally see him before he flew home. There is unlimited ice cream, Popsicles, soda, snacks for the families and I can bring him anything to eat except fresh fruits and veggies. His appetite hasn't been great but I stocked their fridge with Diet Pepsi so he was happy.  

I am trying a routine.  I leave when Ivy leaves on the bus and take Lucy to a play date and then I come home to get Lucy and meet Ivy's bus and the three of us stay home for the night.  His parents come this week and his best friend is here now.

The day we found out our diagnosis, my mom finally told me that my dad had had a heart attack the night before and he is still in the ICU in Iowa.  

Many times I have cried out to the Lord telling him that this is too much.  I'm scared.  I can't lose Matt.  My pastor, Byron, said in a sermon, " God will not bring anything into our life that we cannot ultimately bare.  BUT We can bare more than we think."  

Prayer requests:
1.  The Lord will completely heal Matt.
2.  That through this trial, we can stay in Tennessee and won't have to move.
3.  That the girls will be OK.  And that they will come to truly know Jesus.  They will see their mom and dad cling to Him in time of despair and they will come to a faith in Christ.  
4. (Immediate)  That at the end of these 28 days, he won't need a bone marrow transplant.
5.  That we won't get sick so we can visit him and that he won't get sick or get an infection.  
6.  For me...for both of us...strength for today.  
7.  Encouragement for our parents and siblings who feel so far away.
8. That we will be able to pay our monthly bills this year.  ( looking into that)
9. Pray that the Lord heals my dad and he feels better.
10.  That I will serve my husband better than ever.  That I will be a better mom and sense the needs of my girls. 

1. The body of Christ. It overwhelms me.  
( My friend Marci says that we go to a church that prays and she said that I would LITERALLY feel it)  I have.  Matt has.
2.  Danny Woods coming to the ICU and popping his head in to tell Matt he loves him. ( It's just the start of that love in the body being poured out on you Matt.)

Byron says,"  God's aim is not to get you out of the trial but to get you through it.  Drop your own resources and trust in Him.  When you get down on your knees, weary, exhausted and sad and there is no way out of your trial, escape, drop everything you have and pick Him up instead.  If you are broken hearted and wonder how to go on, DON'T, die to self where you are and watch what HE will do.  When we are faithless, HE is always faithful."

Amen my brother.  Amen.