Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Treatment #2

I have broken free from the fog of emergency room visits, an ambulance ride, and pediatric head injury monitoring to bring you this update about Matt.  While I would love to relate the recent dramatic events in my own children's lives, my brother's friends can't seem to stomach reading another line about my mundane life (Hi Ben! When you find yourself on the verge of a kitchen remodel, you better not come begging me for advice!).  I hereby solemnly swear to keep this post strictly Tunheim family-free. 

With the side effects of chemo all but dissipated, Matt spent the last week feeling generally great.  He had a shot of Neulasta, which aims to boost white blood cell counts and reduce risk of infection.  With the flu running rampant through schools (9 kids out of 25 are absent right now in Jackson's 1st grade class--ooops, my apologies, Ben, scrub your eyes!), my mom spent the week stripping Lexie and Ty down in the foyer each day after school, putting their school clothes in an incinerator to destroy any rogue H1N1 cells that may have been along for the ride, and spackling them with Purell.  Think of the scene in E.T. with the government men in the white space suits coming into Elliot's home; you can rest assured that their father having cancer won't have as much lasting psychological effect on these kids as their Nana's antibacterial cleansing regimen.  All in the name of love, though, and Mom is doing a terrific job.

Matt went to the local chemo center today for Treatment #2.  Good news rained down today on all fronts; here are the highlights:
  • no bitchy, condescending nurse at this place--the people are a pleasure, and much less waiting around.
  • his white blood cell count was superb, which means he responds great to the Neulasta shot.  This also means that on the off-week when he feels good, he can actually go out in public, hug his kids, and live like a normal person.
  • the tumors in his neck have been reduced to nubs already from the first treatment.  There was even talk of possibly altering/shortening his course of treatment at the next visit; we'll see how that plays out, but it's fantastic that the Hodgkin's cells aren't putting up much of a fight.
Matt should feel slightly worse this week than he did after his first treatment.  I'm heading to Florida on Thursday to visit, spend time with my awesome niece and nephew, and generally help out.  Now, I'm not one who is generally a stickler for cleanliness (to put it mildly, but how can you be with three boys?  Shit, sorry Ben!).  I am ready, though, armed with a pocketful of Purell and bottles of Lysol.  I will brave the 90-year old shoppers in motorized carts at the local grocery store to pick up whatever sounds good to Matt at the moment. 

I will talk dreamily about unicorns and rainbows with Lexie, and attempt to make my eyes adjust to this color that doesn't make an appearance in my household. 

With that gorgeous face, how could I not be excited?  My next post about Matt should be in a few days, from the front lines.


  1. We are so glad to hear how well Matt is doing. Its too bad we don't live closer to him because I am the germ police! Everyday when Jackson and Jason get home they have to wash their hands then purell them right after. I also clean Jackson's belongings from school with Clorox wipes:) Jason thinks I am extreme with the germ phobia but after going to the emergency room with little ones this is how it's going to be this flu season. I hope you get to spend some quality time with your family. Tell everyone we are thinking of Matt and that we said Hello.

  2. Annie, you are amazing. I'm glad to hear the effects of the chemo have been positive so far. Go take care of Matt's kids. And Matt. And his wife. Prepare to be totally exhausted afterward. (I speak for experience!) And be wary of suffocating your own children and husband with love upon your return. Thinking of you.

  3. Hi Annie!
    Years of knowing Matt have provided a firm grasp of how he operates - I knew my playful little remark about your kitchen would make it back to you... Feel free to keep up the paranthetical references - it's the best light I've ever been portrayed in within the blogosphere.

    Your kitchen is beautiful and your kiddos too! And thanks for the updates - you are a terrific writer and Matt's lucky to have you in his corner for his street fight against cancer.

    Any chance that your aunt could send me a similar package?