On Thursday February 7th, the seven month anniversary of our wedding, Matt had a seizure while teaching. His wonderful students jumped into action immediately and called the school nurse. He was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, and continued having tonic clonic seizures. Once they stabilized him, multiple CT scans and MRI’s confirmed he has a large tumor on the right side of his brain.
Two days later (Feb. 9th) Matt underwent brain surgery. His neurosurgeon removed most of the tumor, but was not able to get all of it out. The tissue was sent to pathology. As we anxiously awaited the results, each day felt like 100 years. On the 14th, our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple, the pathology results came back confirming that Matt has an aggressive form of brain cancer.
This news hit us, and our whole families, like a ton of bricks. I have never cried so many tears in my life. But we have not given up hope!!! We are focusing on the positives, like the fact that Matt has a rare gene mutation that’s associated with better outcomes. Also, the fact that Matt has such as large loving support network (that’s YOU!) of family, friends, and even perfect strangers who are kind enough to reach out to us. We truly can’t thank you all enough for showing us so much love in our time of need.
On Saturday the 16th - a week after his craniotomy - he was discharged from the hospital and placed in a residential acute rehabilitation facility, where he was going to spend approximately a month re-learning to walk, regaining mobility and independence. Amazingly, he graduated from rehab faster than anyone could have predicted, and he was walking again after just ONE WEEK! Matt’s so amazing that CBS News decides to pay him a visit. They did an article and a TV news segment on him, which you can see here: http://www.cbs8.com/story/40006764/beloved-oceanside-teacher-mr-chewi-battling-brain-cancer :) As of Feb. 23, we are finally back at home, continuing to rest up and get Matt into fighting shape to KICK CANCER’S ASS!!!
We are sort of in the “calm before the storm” right now, as his radiation and chemotherapy will be starting soon. We had our first meeting with the Neuro Oncologist and she explained the timeline that Matt will be starting a 6-8 week course of daily radiation treatments soon, and during that time period he will also be starting chemotherapy. Thankfully the chemo drug he’ll be taking is in pill form and is known for having low side effects.
It is going to be a difficult journey ahead, but we are going to do everything we can to fight this with all our strength! You all know how strong Matt is and what an amazingly positive spirit he has. We all know he’s going to do an amazing job beating this thing. Like I said - Matt is going to KICK CANCER’S ASS!!!
This gofundme campaign so far has helped us keep up on bills while we’re fighting this fight. (As an independent contractor I do not get paid leave.) It has allowed me to be with Matt every day and night, taking care of him around the clock. It has covered gaps in our insurance that we have to pay out of pocket, such as gurney transport between facilities. It helps afford to install assistive devices in our home to help Matt as he regains his mobility and independence. And of course, it will help us keep up with all those random copays that have a tendency to pile up. I tell you all this because we want everyone who contributes to know just how much every dollar you send is helping us.
We are so grateful to all of you for contributing to our gofundme, for keeping up with our updates, and for showering us with all this love and support when we need it the most. I write updates on here almost every day, so please bookmark if you’d like to follow along. We can’t thank you enough for your support and generosity. Seriously, thank you all so much!!! You’re our heroes!
PS: Only because people keep asking, here is our amazon wishlist - http://smile.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2YRFMHFGY70SO?type=wishlist&filter=unpurchased&sort=priority
& Here’s our article/video on CBS - http://www.cbs8.com/story/40006764/beloved-oceanside-teacher-mr-chewi-battling-brain-cancer
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