Matt Schmitz

First post: Sep 8, 2020 Latest post: 20 hours ago
WELCOME to our CaringBridge website!

Matt recently underwent an emergency brain surgery to remove about 50% of a very large tumor. The surgery was step one in a very long journey we are just getting started with. This website will be our hub of communication, where we will post updates and ways that you can help and support our family through this.  We appreciate your words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

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OUR STORY

Over the past few years, Matt's tumor was slowly growing and creating problems that we had no idea were related to a brain tumor. It was slow growing and the shifts and changes in Matt's personality and demeanor were also very slow to change. He had headaches here and there, but who doesn't? He had increased fatigued and decreased motivation, but again, who doesn't? We are living in a very stressful time of life and he was working 60+ hours a week, split between two jobs. So, of course he wouldn't feel super motivated to leave the house on his one day off.  I was starting to notice an increase in his melancholy personality, and like any good wife, I complained about it. Hahaha... I honestly remember saying to my closest confidants "I want my husband back." 


At a routine physical in early July, Matt's Nurse Practitioner diagnosed him with depression, anxiety and migraines, and offered to write him a prescription. He declined the prescription at the time. Over the next 4 weeks, Matt's health began to rapidly decline. The migraines were keeping him in bed all day, and he would periodically get up to vomit. He had a few migraines that were accompanied by blurred vision. He had lost his appetite. His gait even changed. He didn't seem to notice and would tell me, it was probably just his shoes slipping off his feet and being annoying. 


I was beginning to worry more and more about Matt, he would have good days and bad days. And on those bad days, he looked pail, with sunken features, and a crippling walk. I remember telling him he looked like a very old man, like a 90 year old man. We would talk about how he needed to make a follow up appointment and yet that lack of motivation kept him from doing so. So, I finally had to take matters into my own hands.


I called his doctors office and said we needed help and started listing off all the signs of his deterioration. A few days later I went with Matt to his appointment and started to tell the NP about his lack of concentration and inability to retain information. She wrote a prescription for a depression/migraine combo medication. Towards the end of his appointment, I mentioned his gait change and that we wanted a neurological work up. She said we had to make a second appointment for that. 


On August 28th, Matt went to the NP again. She ran a few neurological tests on him and ordered a non-contrast MRI.  Five days later, as the MRI tech was watching the scan of Matt's brain come in, he immediately started making phone calls to the on-call physicians and nurses and had the MRI orders amended to include contrast as well. I knew then, that it was definitely a brain tumor but I didn't want to let myself believe it, and I certainly didn't know how big and dangerous the tumor was.  


After the scan was over, the MRI tech looked us in the face with tears in his eyes and said "I'm going to escort you to the ER, you have a very irregular scan and need to be admitted immediately. The on-call doctor and radiologist are waiting for you to review your scan." A STRANGER, looked us in the face with TEARS IN HIS EYES, and I still did not fully understand what was about to happen to our lives.


As soon as we entered the ER room, the doctor said, "You have a very large mass on the left side of your brain. It's pushing against the right side, and you need immediate transfer to Stanford." Then he left to make arrangements. That night, we were at Stanford and the next day, September 3rd, Matt went in to surgery. His tumor was the size of a fist. The neurosurgeon was only able to remove half of the tumor, the rest is far too integrated into the brain and is sitting right up against his speech center and the section that controls the right side of his body. Radiation and chemo therapy are a must, but for now...

We are so very grateful for all the health care professionals who took action so quickly on our behalf. They each played a roll in saving my husband's life. Had we left him to push through the pain, and ignored all the signs, the results would have been catastrophic. 

Yes, we have a long road ahead of us.
Yes, our lives are forever changed.


But, we remain hopeful and feel God's peace all around us. Our friends and family have mobilized just as quickly as the health care professionals. We are beyond grateful for the outpouring of love and support by each and every one of you. Thank you for partnering with us in this fight.

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