Matthew’s Story

Site created on January 18, 2019

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate everything that God lays on your heart! I have written the story below but most updates will be done by my beautiful wife Denise.

Hi everyone, just some background to let y'all know what's going on. For about 2 1/2 years now I have been battling skin cancer in my mouth. I have had 2 surgeries to remove the affected areas. Unfortunately, it is back and more prominent this time so we are looking at a very extensive surgery with some major reconstruction. 

Surgery is scheduled on January 29th, it will last 10-12 hours with the removal and reconstruction being done during the same surgery with 2 surgeons, one doing the removal and the other doing the reconstruction. They will be removing my upper pallet and some bone up to the base of my nose along with some of my upper lip. The reconstruction will be done using bone & soft tissue from my left leg. I will be in the hospital 7-10 days with the first 2-3 in ICU. Recovery will be 3-6 months, probably closer to the 6 month part due to I will most likely get radiation treatments after healing. I will also have my lymph nodes removed. Due to the swelling in my face afterwards, I will have a tracheostomy for breathing but this will be temporary till after the swelling goes down where I will feel comfortable breathing through my nose & mouth. I will also have a feeding tube, this will also be temporary but will last longer than the trach because I will have to learn how to swallow and eat on my own again. I will go home with the feeding tube, I will have home health come visit a couple times a week for a bit. I will regain the eating, swallowing and breathing all 100 percent with recovery. 

I know this surgery sounds pretty bad and scary, I have to admit that I struggled for about a week after hearing all that is involved but I have a great surgery team here at Emory Midtown, they are specialists at this. 

I am at complete peace about this now and know that God is in control and who am I to get in His way. I know He has a great plan for me afterwards and I'm ready to follow it. We have great support with friends, family and church who will be here for anything we need.

I ask that everyone pray for us, especially my wife Denise and my daughters at home, Magela, Lavitha, Myrlanda, Rose-Kerline & Daphkar to help them through this time. Thanks everyone in advance for all of your prayers & support.  Matt

Newest Update

Journal entry by Denise Clark

Good Evening,
I wanted to share a update on Matthew. His last surgery biopsy did indeed show that it was cancer. The Dr said he believes he removed it all. We then met with the tumor board to see where to go from here. They had three suggestions. 1) wait and do nothing. 2) Do a clinical trial or 3) try immunotherapy. He has decided to go with the immunotherapy. He will have a infusion every three weeks and after 3 months he will have a scan. The immunotherapy  drug is Keytruda. They have found that this drug may help people with head and neck cancer that keeps recurring to keep it from coming back. We are asking for your prayers that this works and that Matt’s cancer NEVER returns. He had his first infusion three weeks ago and will have his next one tomorrow. There can be some side effects but all he has had is a bit of fatigue the day after and some dry skin, praise the Lord. Thank you for all your support, love and prayers through this whole journey. We love each of you dearly
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