Matt Greene's Fight with Cancer

For: Matt Greene
West Hollywood, CA
Organizer: Jenny Greene
$76,175
of $75,000 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 453 donors

The Story

On June 20th my brother Matt Greene sent me a text saying that he had excruciating pain and needed to go to the ER. Matt had been to the ER several times in his life but had never reached out to say that he needed to go. Something was very wrong. I took him to Cedars Sinai where my sister Anne met us. While we waited, Matt writhed in pain that he described as a 10/10. He told us that he had seen several doctors due to nerve pain in his shoulders and neck; he even had an MRI done. Each doctor had dismissed him without a diagnosis but Matt knew that something was wrong. An avid athlete, he mentioned that when he last ran he had shortness of breath and had recently been waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air for long periods. 

With this information in mind, the ER doctor suggested a chest X-ray which ended up showing a 15cm growth in Matt's chest. The doctor said it was most likely lymphoma and a PET scan would tell us for sure. Matt was shuttled upstairs to the hospital and has been there fighting like a champ ever since. The following day's battery of tests confirmed that he had lymphoma. The tumor was filling his chest cavity and compressing his spine, esophagus and lungs (which explained the nerve pain and shortness of breath). They started him on steroids to help shrink the tumor which relieved his pain a bit. Over the next few days friends and family were able to enjoy Matt's random quips and "words of wisdom" courtesy of his generous morphine drip. 

Matt has a non-hodgkin's lymphoma, "T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma", which means that the cancer starts in his bone marrow. This particular type of cancer has a high rate of remission but unfortunately also a very high rate of recurrence. Matt's regimen is 29 days of chemotherapy (started June 29th), then remission, and then Stem-Cell Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT). This will then require additional, much much stronger, chemo to "condition" his system to receive the new stem cells. SCBMT is a very modern procedure that does have its complications and serious risks. Anne and I have had our blood tested to see if we are matches for Matt's bone marrow transplant and we will know the results next week.

So what does this mean? Matt will be in the hospital for 1-4 months now and then will be in and out for ongoing chemo treatments and not working for up to the next year. 


Expenses include?

-road to physical recovery
-2016 & 2017 out-of-pocket insurance maximums and deductibles  
-rehabilitation outside of network 
-rental supplement & living expenses
-transportation to hospital follow ups
-other unanticipated medical expenses


Matt has touched a lot of lives here in L.A. and all over the world. We're looking for these friends, those inspired and touched by Matt to help towards his road to recovery so that we can all enjoy his spirit, energy, and humor again. This would be forever be appreciated!

*Matt will be providing updates (below) as much as he can!!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on September 13, 2016

Posted on September 13, 2016

Sunday, Aug 21st

Stayed up ‘til sunrise for the next 2 nights with anxiety in anticipation of the checking back into a hospital for the next phase of chemo.

In the previous week, I was told I’d be checking into City of Hope either Monday or Tuesday. I called admissions Monday afternoon to check the status of my check-in and was told they’d reach out when a room is ready. When I got the call at 7pm for an 8pm check-in, I explained I couldn’t physically be in Duarte, CA in an hour from WeHo. The next day I would have to wait all over again for the call. 1st come-1st serve wait for rooms on a daily basis. 

Not knowing what’s planned for the next day seems to be the standard for cancer treatment. I have quickly had to learn to accept the uncertainty of what’s ahead and go with the flow to avoid frustrations.

Tuesday, Aug 23rd

Checked into City Of Hope hospital for what’s expected to be at least 2 months for my ‘induction’ (middle phase) chemo treatment, ‘conditioning’ chemo and radiation to prep me for my stem cell bone marrow transplant from my sister, Jen, and finally recovery. This may hopefully be the end of the road.

Got my Picc Line put back in my other arm this time. This is 2 tubes that go from my bicep into my heart. It’s convenient to avoid the needle prick every other day for blood tests, but opens the patient up to risk of infection. I wasn’t lucent the 1st time this was put due to the days of morphine I received when I originally checked into Cedars.

Wednesday, Aug 24th

Started the day with the usually blood draws for testing and what feels like hourly vitals (temp, blood pressure, weight) being taken.

Then the chemo starts. The regiment was; 2 hours, then 22 hours and another 2 hours again to end. Getting chemo via IV is easy. The harsh effects are delayed by 3-5 days.

Thursday, Aug 25th

I enjoy that the hospital has a social hour for patients where we played card games and would intermittently talk to each other about our diagnosis’s, prognosis’s and roads ahead. It was comforting to talk to people of similar age that had just gone through what I’m about to tackle or were a few weeks ahead of me so I could see there health condition.

Friday, Aug 26th - Saturday, Aug 27th

A fever kicked in, which is a natural side effect of this particular chemo. Nurse takes a blood draw from the other arm to test and ensure the fever is not from an infection in the picc line on the other arm.

This fever reached 105 multiple times and could only be quenched with a combination of Tylenol, ice bags packed in my crotch, armpits and around my neck and setting my room in the 60’s. Along with the fever I experienced my first bout of nausea from chemo therapy. Two days of puking, fever and not eating was dizzying. #ModelMondaysright?

As a side effect of the fever, I seemed to have ‘burned’ my leg muscles with an abundance of lactic acid and cannot stand for more than enough time to go #1. At this time extreme pain and burning ensue and I must sit immediately, even if it’s on the floor.

Monday, Aug 29th

It’s a new week with no fever or sickness and I’m just glad to have last weekend over. It wasn’t that bad and I’m hungry again after not eating (except for protein shakes) for a few days.

Met with the doctor and he surprised me with the news that I’d be going home in the next couple days for a short time only to return for the last phase of treatment, ‘conditioning.’ This wasn’t how I thought it would play out, but I’m not upset at having to go home. I am worried about my inability to stand issue, but am confident I can work this out with stretching, bed exercises and hanging my legs one at a time off the bed to work through it. 

I expect to have the stem cell BMT transplant roughly around October 1st. ‘Conditioning’ is 12 days so I figure I’m checking back in on roughly Sept 18th. 

Tuesday, Aug 30th

Got out and headed home to the Sunset Strip!

I have to flush my picc line daily to keep it clean and come back into the hospital every other day for blood draws, tests and consultations. I feel like a nurse.


Wednesday, Aug 31st

Got to sleep in an entire night (8 hours) with no interruptions from staff taking vitals on me throughout the night

Thursday, Sept 1st

Had my in home care specialist (nurse) scheduled for today to assist on my 1st flushing of the line and review home care. I was disappointed when an old Russian guy came to my door.


Tuesday, Sept 6th

Slept in and still woke up more tired than usual. Took my temperature, which registered at 101.9. Drove into COH with Anne and they informed me they’d be keeping me for a couple days until tests came back.

Bone pain from Nupogen (shot that boosts blood counts) caused severe bone pain. Felt like a chain saw to my pelvis, hips and femurs. They had to knock me out with pain killers at my request.

Sunday, Sept 11th

Got out of COH on Thursday and have been very fatigued for a couple days and laying low to avoid another fever or infection while I’m neutropenic (low blood counts).


Monday, Sept 12th?
Day trip to City of Hope to meet with Dr. Forman. The day to check back in has been pushed due to the mild cold that caused my fever and my legs not being 100%. 

After finishing up with my appointments I went to visit Jenny who was finishing up 6 hours harvesting her stem cells by continuously taking blood from one arm and return her blood (minus stem cells) in the other arm. Thank you Jen


Posted on August 4, 2016

Posted on August 4, 2016

by Matt Greene


OMG PARTY AT ROCK & REILLY'S TONIGHT!!!


Saturday, July 16th


Treatment has been going so well that the doctor’s informed me (2 days ago) I’ll be going home this afternoon (10 days early) if my blood counts allow it. It was kind of odd being wheeled out (per policy) to the car in a wheelchair, since I didn't need it. 

Packing things up from my hospital room was an all day affair with the décor Remi, Jamie, Dan and everyone else brought in. The Beyonce poster (per Remi Franklin) may have been responsible for my early release and possibly even the cancer remission. Craig meanwhile is giving the credit to the One Direction poster (also Remi), but this is being debated. 


Sunday, July 17th


Had Cedar Sanai appointments for next week changed twice today. :/ 


Slept thru this entire last week. I'm experiencing low energy levels due to low red blood counts (less oxygen in blood) despite wanting to be more active.



Wednesday, July 20th


Cedar's Cancer Center appointment for blood tests went well today. Got my PICC LINE removed! This is a peripherally inserted central catheter that is a form of intravinous access that can be used for a prolonged period of time for chemo. This was a relief because I had some anxiety about infection possibly entering this area and going straight to the heart. Plus the looks I get with 3 medical hoses hanging out of my bicep and a bald dome would make you think I had antlers. lol


The Cedar Sinai oncology department informed me that my sister, Jen, is a perfect 10/10 stem cell bone marrow transplant recipient. This is awesome! It's is better news that the 50+ perfect matches in the donor bank. Now there’s less of a probability for complications, which is my main concern with bone marrow transplant at this time.



Friday, July 22nd


My left calf muscle feels pulled and right rib feels sensitive. Hopefully this subsides as it feel like the wheels are coming off of my physical condition. 


Saturday, July 23rd


Went to the beach with Jenny. Got a little sun and all went to my friend’s Shawn & Bentley’s for some BBQ’ing in Venice beach.


Sunday, July 24th


Crashed and beached again for a little more vitamin D.


Tuesday, July 26th


City of Hope: State of the art hospital specializing in only cancer located in Duarte, CA. I’m going to commit to the stem cell bone marrow transplant treatment at this location instead of Cedars. They do much more volume and seem to be at the forefront of both treatment and research trials.



Wednesday, July 27th


Slept ALL day (noon-9pm)


Thursday, July 28th


Cancelled all Cedars Sinai appointments today (8:45am-1pm).


Saturday, July 30th


Venice Beach for some vitamin D on the cue ball.



Tuesday Aug 2nd


So my prognosis going forward is as follows:

  1. We’re currently waiting on the blood tests to come back from Jen & I’s visit to City of Hope to reconfirm Cedar’s test results.
  2. I’ll be going to City of Hope Hospital in the next couple weeks to start ‘conditioning chemotherapy.” This will be the second round I go through and much stronger. It will involve two spinal taps, a bone marrow biopsy take from my back hip and will ultimately wipe out any blood from being made in my bones.
  3. Stem cell bone marrow transplant (BMT):



Wednesday, Aug 3rd


Not feeling 100% and still not cleared (high enough blood counts) by the doctor to go the OMG fundraiser at Rock & Reilly’s tonight.


I want to thank Jamie, Anne, Jen, Craig, Jay, Adam, Alfonzo and everyone involved for putting this event together and their support. I also want to thank all my friends that have donated, left messages, texts, visited in the hospital and reached out with support in any manner. It really means the world to me and allows me to focus on getting through this and back to being me. THANK YOU!

CHARITY BUZZ AUCTIONThere are some awesome experiences up for auction on this link here!


http://www.classy.org/campaign/matt-g/c89896



Last, this whole cancer experience is obviously completely new to me and unlike anything I've gone through before. I understand that this is also a new experience (having a friend go through this) for all my friends as well. That being said, I'd like to ask that friends and acquaintances refrain from using the words "sad," "sorry" or any other negative or somber adjectives when talking to or first seeing me. Although I must be guilty of doing this to someone else at some point in my life, I've come to learn that this does not help and actual frustrates me since I do not embody this disposition (sad/sorry) at all. Please keep it positive, fun and funny. This is more on track to where I am and where  I'm going. 

Love you all!

Posted on July 16, 2016

Posted on July 16, 2016

Thursday, July 14th 

By Matt Greene

AM:

[email protected]*%k… Didn’t go to sleep last night for the 1st time in 3 weeks at Cedar Sinai. Feeling anxious. 

Roll into 3 meetings with hospital team members, then doctors (3) between 7am-10am regarding my voice on getting a second opinion (City of Hope Hospital) on my condition and treatment. All very positive.

Exhausted:

I do NOT have cancer in my blood or bones anymore. I’m in remission. Cancer free.

Tomorrow:

Docs and I will follow to finalize next steps.

  1. Plan Maintenance Chemo until chosen donor is selected. Jen is pending.

  1. Plan stem-cell bone marrow transplant (SCBMT) at my selected hospital. This is serious procedure with a very real mortality rate of 10-15%, among other potential complications. But the way I look at it, this % is a pulled from a pool of 60+ year-old lymphoma cancer patients. If this is a game of ‘musical-chairs,’ I’m not the going to be the one left standing. 

Dr's brought up leaving the hospital this weekend:

Honestly, a little apprehensive about if I’m ready to leave the hospital. I just ran a 103 fever 3 days ago. My room is cleaned twice a day and the lady who cleans it calls me “El Guapo.”

A great point made to me was that there's more chance of infection in a hospital than at home. 

I like the shape of my shaved head more than I anticipated.

The nurse tonight voiced how shocked she was that I have over 50+ perfect (10/10) matches for my stem-cell BMT. Occasionally patients don’t find a single match and have to resort to umbilical cord cell donation as their BMT. This can be longer, harder and have more complications. Thank you 50+ donors!

Friday, July 15th         

I GO HOME Saturday, July 16th (10 days early) if my blood counts rebound correctly tomorrow morning. Things change everyday, but seem to be going in the right direction. I then come into the Cancer Center daily for treatments and labs as an outpatient. 

I've been instructed to limit home visitors to reduce risk of infection and sickness while I’m still a neutropenic patient. Also, no large crowds for me. I'll let friends know when my immune #'s are back up. 

*Balance, Exercise, Diet & Sleep

I’ve read every message left on here, every share message on FB, every comment on posts and... so moved and touched. Thank YOU!

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