May 4 Update: Tarceva is Working!

Good news from Matt:

Just got my first CT scan since starting treatment. Tarceva (the cancer drug) seems to have stopped the cancer growth completely.

It even shrunk it in some places (ESP the left lung which was the worst and where the lung was weeping into the pleural area).

I still have a LOT of pain on my left side. I was “sure” it was water but Doc Murphy was adamant (looking at the scans) the pain is not coming from water.

It is possible the pain is from the fractured vertebrae. It is also possible a nerve got nicked when they were punching holes in my left side/back to drain water (we did that six or seven times).

I’m going for an MRI shortly. The MRI is trying to determine where the pain is coming from and how to stop it since it doesn’t seem to be from cancer (that is a fantastic phrase 🙂

They will try to find a way to stop the pain in a localized way so I don’t have to be on morphine and oxycodin.

All in all the magic was when he said “really you shouldn’t be in pain, Tarceva is working, we will sort out the pain and then keep an eye on you for the next ten years or so…”

Thank you God!

Thank you all for begging God and the saints on my behalf!

Thank you ALL for being a fantastic part of my life and spiritual journey!

MRI Results – 5/9/17

UPDATE FROM MATT: KEEP PRAYING!
(picture circa 1999)

My dear humans of earth. I wanted to give you a quick update now that I’ve heard back from the doctor regarding the results of the MRI. It’s confusing, but I’ll be fair and tell you what I know. The nurse told me that it’s not nothing, and the doctor wants to evaluate me again on Thursday. She mentioned that it’s possible that they’d have to radiate that area (that rib or whatever) and yet she’s not sure they would be allowed to do that because I’m in a trial with Tarceva. I said, “Oh, so if you would radiate, that means it’s cancer, right?”

She said, “No. I want to clearly tell you that I’m NOT telling you it’s cancer, but it’s SOMETHING. The doctor and the radiologist are looking at it again to try to understand what we’re seeing. It’s really dangerous to speculate at this point because we don’t have enough information.”

I’m personally hoping a superhero implanted a device that will solve many of the world’s problems in my side and that the radiation from the future tech is causing my cancer. I’m not crossing my fingers, but one can hope! In one sense, it’s really great to know that there’s a reason for the pain. In the other sense, it’s truly terrifying to be in this situation AGAIN—don’t know what’s going on. I had to take a chill pill last night. (I don’t know what it’s called, but it worked. That’s the second time I ever had to do that.) It’s a strain on everyone in the family. Pray for us (and whatever it is). It really could be no big deal, a cyst, an old fracture, or who knows what, but obviously it’s terrifying.

I wanted to give you an update on something else regarding the MRI. I’ve never in my life been claustrophobic. I used to enjoy spelunking and going into ridiculously tight situations and never had an issue. For some reason, partially because I can no longer lay on my back without discomfort, the MRI was pure agony. I had a full on panic attack before they even put me in the gizmo. I didn’t freak out or scream or kick, but I literally couldn’t do it. I had to push the button to stop it. I managed to get through it praying REALLY hard and imagining my head in the lap of the Blessed Mother and Tajci and my mom in succession. I don’t remember doing anything that hard in my life. I have a new appreciation and empathy for people with claustrophobia. The idea that I may have to do this hundreds and hundreds more times is daunting. In the end, I imagined myself surfing, and as long as I didn’t fall down, that worked BEAUTIFULLY. But in my daydream, if I were to fall down, I would instantly be trapped underwater and not able to breathe. As long as I could stay on the board, feel the wind on my face and the power of the ocean, I was free.

I know this is a bleak update. I don’t feel bleak. I’m still scared and sad. And one more thing (I have to be honest) is everybody celebrating after my last post made me VERY, VERY depressed. I know you didn’t mean anything by it, and I know we’re thanking God, but it’s like thanking God for the first step of EVEREST. And I thought, “Oh no… now they’re all going to leave me for the next new and shiny person in need and pain…”

But it came to me REALLY hard how much all of you are really carrying me. And that I (Mr. Independent) am leaning on so many of you for prayers, words of encouragement, work (literally – those of you hiring my company and booking Tajci…. THANK YOU) and also helping support us financially.
You have shown me love from places unknown and unexpected!

And for that, I’ll never forget. Love you all.

Matt Entrusts His Miracle to “Father Gus”

Matt has decided to entrust his miracle cure to Father Augustine Tolton (1854-1897.)  As many of you already know, Matt is suffering from Stage IV Cancer.

MORE INFO ON MATT

From Matt’s brother, Father Ben Cameron, who launched the campaign:

We are asking that you pray for a miracle through the intercession of the Servant of God, Fr. Augustine Tolton, who was the first African-American ordained to the priesthood. The official prayer is here:
http://www.toltoncanonization.org/prayer/canonizationprayer.html

Since Fr. Tolton was very devoted to the Most Blessed Sacrament, we are asking for everyone to join us in a novena from June 9-17, and then to offer your Mass, Holy Communion, and participation in Corpus Christi devotions on Corpus Christi Sunday for Matthew’s healing and Fr. Tolton’s beatification.”

So, we are asking EVERYONE to pray the Tolton prayer above for those 9 days and then to go to Mass the next day for Matt’s intention.

The official Facebook Event is here and is open to the public:

FACEBOOK EVENT

Go to that page, and click “going” if you can do all the devotions.  Click “interested” if you can say other prayers for Matt.

 

 

Bishop Perry to Join Novena For Matt

I reached out to Bishop Perry, the postulator for Fr.Tolton’s cause in Rome. He was nice enough to respond with the following quote about Matt and about how miracles are looked at in a beatification process:

“I appreciate this news about Matt’s referral of his health to Father Tolton. I will schedule my prayer during June 9-17 to include the Tolton prayer card for Matt. Might I add here — important in these matters for Rome is that we document when the prayer starts, when it ends if it ends, who is praying and where; the nature of the health situation upon start of the novena and notation of any changes in the health condition throughout the campaign of prayer. Rome prefers that one saint-candidate is used for intercession and tends to reject a proposed miracle if more than one saint is prayed to in these matters.”

In other words, ALL public prayer for Matt should be directed through Father Augustine Tolton’s intercession.  This is Matt’s wish – personally stated to me – and it is the way that opens the possibility for the miracle to be considered in Fr.Tolton’s beatification process.

Thanks for your prayers!

Here is that link again to the prayer (written by Perry) to be said from the 9th to the 17th.

Then we are asking you to dedicate your Mass and Communion on the 18th for Matt’s cure through Fr.Tolton’s intercession.

2nd Tolton Novena to Include Pilgrimage

A second novena to Servant of God, Father Augustine Tolton will be said for a miraculous cure of Matt Cameron.  The novena will go from July 1st to 9th, and culminate in a mini-pilgrimage to follow in “Father Gus'” footsteps.

July 9th is the 120th Anniversary of Tolton’s death.  He passed away of heat stroke in Chicago at the age of only 43.

A public facebook event is linked here. Click GOING if you can say all nine days.

The actual text of the prayer is here.

If you would like to meet me near Hannibal, Missouri on the afternoon of July 7th or 8th for the pilgrimage, please email me at chrisfoley@yahoo.com.   I can give you a mini tour of the places Father Tolton lived and worked in Missouri and across the river in Illinois, where I will visit his grave.  We can pray along the way for Matt’s miracle!

There is an outside chance Matt himself will be joining me if he is feeling well enough to travel!

You can find out more about Matt and his battle with Stage IV Non-Smokers Lung Cancer, by going to this blog home. 

Matt has decided to entrust his miracle to Father Gus, who also needs to have a miracle attributed to him in order for his Sainthood to be declared by the Catholic Church.  Bishop Joseph Perry of Chicago, who is the postulator for Tolton’s canonization cause in Rome, joined us during our first novena.  The bishop also visited Matt recently at the hospital to bless him and pray to Father Gus together.

 

July 23 Update from Matt

Cancer & Life Update:

Hello everybody! I hope this note finds you all in good spirits and happy. A lot has changed since the last time I wrote. I’m in remarkably good health and good spirits all things considering.

Since last I wrote a “cancer update”, I was admitted to the hospital and I had a pretty close call. As you know left lung was basically non functioning. I was only getting air in the top third of the left lung and I was on oxygen full time. I was REALLY struggling. I could barely lay down without losing my breath. Laying on my back for radiation with a “Hannibal Lecter” mask from the top of my head to my chest (snapped tight to the table) was a nightmare. It was really a dark time. Then, to make matters worse, my right lung filled up with 2.5 liters of fluid. I literally was not able to breathe.

I went into the doctor when, WHILE on oxygen and sedative, I was panicking because I could not get enough air. They admitted me to the hospital (which the Sarah Canon institute is a part of). I was there for seven days while they were figuring out what to do. It was one of the harder times of my life. I had things I wanted to say, particularly to my boys and to Tajci, but I literally could not speak because I could barely breathe. I thought I was going to die. The thought didn’t scare me … it was just part of the journey of life. Although I never really felt “close” to God (I CHOOSE to serve) I did picture Him with me and feel that comfort during the dark moments.

Tajci, never for a moment, had a single doubt I’d not only get through that trouble but she was ADAMANT that I’d beat cancer altogether. She never cracked. Never once. Tajci and my parents and sister MK took turns staying with me 24/7 and were a huge comfort to me. I also had a slew of friends and cousins come to visit which was really wonderful!

One of the advantages of being part of the research institute is that all the doctors who attended to me were INCREDIBLE. Most were research doctors at the top of their game. I felt like I was being treated by the all-star team, like Babe Ruth and Willie Mays were my doctors. They gave me several options and we made the decision to do surgery and glue the pleura (the “bag” all of our lungs are in) to my right lung to make it impossible to accumulate fluid there. (Part of the reason my left lung was damaged was because the pleural area kept filling with water and had to be drained eight times. That process and cancer caused a mass of scar tissue in the lung which damaged it.)

After a week in the hospital they did the surgery, and then I was recovering for another week. When they finally let me go, I was incredibly weak. I could barely walk from the car to my house. I had lost so much muscle and strength. I was down 65 pounds since February 14.

Since then, things have been getting considerably better on a daily basis. We’ve figured out my pain meds, which is super important, and I started riding the bike for exercise (which I posted about previously).

The first week I could only walk back and forth in front of my house – pushing to go to a 2nd and then third house before heading back to my chair. And then I worked up to struggling to walk around the block ONE TIME for about a week, and then all of a sudden something shifted. I felt it. I suddenly got stronger. All of a sudden I walked around the block twice, then two days later FOUR times. Then I started going to the rec center (because it’s murderously hot at 7 a.m. in Nashville), and for a week I walked for a mile on the treadmill each morning and went into the pool to walk (using my arms to do a modified walking breaststroke) in the afternoon. Yesterday and today I walked TWO miles on the treadmill in the morning (today I did the two miles in 45m). I’m also doing breathing exercises and exercises from physical therapy on a daily basis.

One piece of FANTASTIC news is that at the last doctor visit, they could hear air in the middle AND the bottom of my left lung for the first time since all of this started.

I think both prayers are working and chemo is working. I’ve had two rounds of chemo, and although I was MISERABLY sick for two days and then just weak for another two days after each round, that’s pretty easy compared to what a lot of people go through.

The best news of ALL of this is that I went into the research center to sign all the permissions for the “CAR T-Cell” trial, and I was shocked at how many people recognized me. It turns out that I’m one of 28 people ON THE EARTH that matched genetically for this particular trial. Rachael, the research person doing the paperwork, was visibly excited to see me and have me sign the papers. People in the Doctors office (staff and nurses) have come up to me and say, “You’re the one! You’re the one that matched!”

If you’re watching the news, CAR-T Cell is all over the news for all different kinds of cancers. They might have just cracked this code on how to kill cancer. For me personally, going from my first on oncologist telling me “This will end your life” to “We just don’t know, but we want to monitor you for the next 15 years at least” is INCREDIBLY good for my positivity (and already a positive fella).

Nuts and bolts:
They will take out “a bag” of my white blood cells in early August and then I’ll do another round of chemo. Then, in early September, they will admit me to the hospital (this trial is not without its dangers) and return “billions” of my own (replicated) cells which have been trained to hunt and kill my particular type of cancer. And we’ll see what happens!

Although health-wise I couldn’t be more upbeat, we are in for a long haul. All of my plans and goals to build a successful business and support my family are off for now. My job is to heal and I am grateful for the support that has already been shown to us.

Tajci is pulling her weight, but our families (and our growing boys’) needs are great…

Please keep supporting us through:
Hiring Stormlight (my video production/marketing company):
www.StormlightPictures.com

Donate on GoFundMe:
https://www.gofundme.com/caring-for-the-camerons

Booking Tajci:
http://wakingupinamerica.net/speaking/

Donate to “Sons of Tumbleweed (that’s me) College Fund”:
http://tumbleweeds.info/index.htm
I am starting to work a little bit, but I’m taking it slow and easy. So if you have a story you need told, I would be happy to help (and it is SO GOOD for me mentally and emotionally to work and tell stories). And don’t worry, if I get sicker again and am unable to personally to do the job my partners are incredibly talented and supportive (and brilliant at our work). Finally, DON’T FORGET to book Tajci for Christmas! You would giving your community a huge blessing.

Matthew “tmblwd” Cameron

PS: Some people have asked if they can just send a check or gift card to us directly … the simple answer is … yup 🙂
Drop me a line and I’ll send you our address!
matthewshanecameron@gmail.com
Or drop me a line to say howdy – or remind me where we met – or a funny story from our travels … I’d love that!!!

CAR-T Cell Process Starts Now for Matt

Matt’s CAR-T Cell procedure starts today!  He is in the very first group to try this new technology for this type of cancer.  The process involves taking Matt’s cells out, then training them in a laboratory to fight cancer.  When that process is done in September, the cells will be re-inserted into Matt’s body to go to war.

Matt had a scare yesterday when it appeared that he had failed the final test to determine if he could participate in CAR-T.  I’ll let him tell the story:

“Almost positive the crisis was side stepped (thank you all for the prayers and thank GOD for hearing them.)

I passed all the lung tests (that I found out I failed a few hours ago).

Today I failed the first one as well (not much I could do) and the technician (God bless Diane) asked “how tall are you?” I said I was 6′. She persisted “when was the last time someone measured”. I said that I’ve been regularly measured at the Dr’s offices.
She persisted further “mind if I measure”. I said sure but I was curious why. She explained that 1″ or even 1/2 inch shorter would give me a different body mass which would effect the tests.

We measured: sure enough I was shorter. And, thank God, the numbers changed and suddenly I passed the test I had failed. (She didn’t fudge the numbers – cancer and age just ate an inch of my height.)

I never imagined I’d be so happy to be a bit shorter. That literally might have kept me in the trial and, in time, save my life.

And so, I’m back on schedule to give them my white blood cells tomorrow (and I’ll get them back, by the billions and trained to kill my cancer) around my birthday (mid September).

Thank you all – and God bless you each and every one!”

3rd Tolton Novena for Matt’s Birthday

As many of you know, Matt is entering a crucial stage in his cancer treatment.  His fortified cells are to be injected back into him on October 6 as part of the CAR-T therapy.  In the meantime, the cancer has spread to other parts of his body, causing him breathing and heart problems.  Matt is back in the hospital here in Nashville, praying that he can stay well enough to participate in the CAR-T.

We are turning once again to Father Tolton’s intercession for Matt.  Please join us in saying the Father Augustine Tolton prayer for 9 days.  We’ll start on the Feast of Mary’s Seven Sorrows on Friday, September 15th and conclude on Matt’s birthday on the 23rd.

Here is a link to the FACEBOOK EVENT where you can pledge your support.

Here is a link with the text of the PRAYER we will be saying.

 

 

Matt Closes in on CAR T Miracle?

As Matt Cameron’s army of prayer warriors continue to beg God (and his friends in heaven) for a miracle, the answer MAY have arrived in an unexpected form.

Matt has been approved to take part in a trial procedure called CAR T Cell Therapy.  This process has worked wonders on other forms of cancers, and Matt will be in the first group in the world to undergo treatment for Stage IV “hard” lung cancer.  The process involves removing Matt’s cells, fortifying them in a lab to fight cancer, and then re-inserting them.  The first stages are complete and the re-insertion is now scheduled for October 16th.

The trial for Matt has been at risk due to several health issues related to his cancer, but as of today – October 4 – he has the green light.

From Matt:  “All systems are a GOOOOOO!!!!!   whew.  🙂  Grinning.  Getting a biopsy today.  I’m on the HOME STRETCH.  Start getting chemo on Mon (three days). And I get admitted on Sun the 15th (evening) and they give me my cells on Mon.  And watch me for 2-5 days (might be longer … they really don’t know).  And then … God knows.  The researcher Docs said that the results in the blood cancers are nothing short of staggering.  She said it is like when the polio vaccine was discovered. They really don’t know what to expect with hard cancers like mine – but hopes are high.  Thanks for the prayers!!!!!”

Please keep the prayers coming!  Matt has a special devotion to Father Augustine Tolton, the first African American priest, who he is producing a movie about.  Asking “Father Gus’s” intercession for Matt is greatly appreciated.  Tolton needs a miracle to be attributed to him in order to be raised to sainthood; as you know, Matt needs a miracle too!

You can also help by contributing to the college fund that has been set up for Matt’s 3 sons.  Click here.

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