Starting around October, Matthew started experiencing short blackouts that would sometimes result in falling down. They were short and spread out, but then started getting more frequent.
On Wednesday, November 4th, Matthew was coming home from work and blacked-out. He rear-ended a car, and luckily everyone involved was ok. He went to the emergency room and experienced another black-out while waiting to see a doctor. He was admitted from there and began a series of tests. To make a long story short, the doctors did CTs with and without contrast, MRIs, and a CTA to look for blood flow. They identified a highly vascular tumor on his right frontal lobe. It was 6.2cm by 6.1cm by 6.5cm...very large. At the time the brain tumor was discovered, he was not insured and was now reliant on all available aid to face both cancer and the many hospital bills that accompany it.
On November 6th, he had a cerebral angiogram and then was taken for a biopsy.
The 11th was Craniomoty time! An incision was made from one ear, up along the hairline and to the other ear. The tissue was then folded back to expose the bone. Using a high-speed drill, the surgeon drilled a pattern of holes through the skull and used a fine wire saw to connect the holes until a segment of bone (bone flap) could be removed and this is where they will access the tumor and remove it.
The surgeon removed as much of the tumor as he could. Then a replacement 'bone' made of titanium was inserted and secured with surgical screws. The four-hour surgery took just over 5.5 hours, but he survived and felt great!
Matthew was 'officially' discharged on the 19th, but not because they felt like he should go home, but because they couldn't keep him. He has no insurance and should have been sent directly to a rehabilitation center for around the clock observation. Unfortunately, until we obtain insurance for him, we have no option but to send him home and try to keep him as still as possible. He looked good and sounded good. Everyone knew he needed to take it slow, or he would be right back to the hospital again.
On the 24th Matthew had his follow-up with the surgeon and despite a continued inability to get clarification on the type or grade of this tumor, he said they want to give the wound time to heal before introducing something else to him. Meanwhile, we're working on insurance so we can schedule his chemo/radiation.
On December 4th he had an appointment with Oncology. The new doctor was really great, patient, and explained a lot to us.
They have determined there was only a subtotal resection of the tumor....right??? Well, that means that they did not get all of the tumor taken out.
Our greatest fear is that he has a Grade IV Glioblastoma (GBM), a rare and aggressive brain cancer, an especially shocking diagnosis for someone his age. They've decided to move his tumor from the University of Michigan's lab to the Cleveland Clinic for further analysis. The path for treatment will require chemo, radiation, clinical trials, and professional expertise to slow the progression of this terrible disease.
We believe in Matthew, and choose to believe that he will be the exception against this cancer, just as he has been the exception in so many other things throughout his life. Please consider donating to remove the financial worries that come with extensive cancer treatments, and give our own buckeye the chance he deserves.
These funds will help Matthew with previous and future treatments, therapies, and quality of life costs. He's also looking for help to provide his kids a minimally nice Christmas.
- Jordon Johnson
- Tim Rau
- Patricia Feltman
- Brian Stark
Organizer and beneficiary
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