(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."
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.