February 19th, 2014:
My younger brother, Matthew, has been battling stage 3/4 skin cancer (metastatic malignant melanoma) for the last 18 months, and he suffers from multiple tumors throughout his body and is currently able to move around for just a few minutes a day before becoming exhausted. He’s undergone a number of various treatments now, but nothing has yet put the cancer into remission. He has a wife, Niki, and two young daughters: my nieces Ally and Lilly.
Last month when I received that middle of the night call, we thought the worst. Matt had suffered multiple seizures, and ended up unconscious for 2 days in a hospital in Northern California where he lives. When he came to, the MRI showed six unidentified spots on his brain, leading to the deduction that these were brain tumors.
This all happened a couple days before Felicia and I were supposed to leave on a trip to Singapore to visit Felicia’s grandparents, including her 90-year-old grandfather who is also battling cancer (F***ing cancer), then we were to head on to Japan for a little vacation for us. Needless to say, I canceled my trip and Felicia shortened hers (you can see pictures she took in Tokyo), and I headed up to Sacramento to be with my brother and our family. The next weeks were extremely difficult, but the spots on his brain turned out to be an infection (which had caused the seizures) and they have since cleared up. Matt is still stuck on the couch or the bed for most of the day, but not having brain tumors is nonetheless a small victory for now.
About two weeks after all this happened, I was still with Matt in Northern California. He was having a good day and wanted to do some Angels Baseball themed photos with his little girls and his wife. We headed over to a park a couple blocks from his house and he tapped all his strength to get out and play with his kids for about 20 minutes. Here are a few of those images.
If you would like help out Matt and his family, you can check out their page, www.ThePaetz.com