Journal

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Hello,

 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families and friends.  Most importantly, I hope you made treasured memories.  Our Thanksgiving was very low key this year.  Our goal was to be home and rest.  We did venture out to cut down our tree the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Yup, we were the crazy family in the pouring rain picking out a tree to cut down.  I will say, we made record time picking just the right tree.  No one got upset that “their tree” wasn’t the one, and everyone worked together to cut, haul and load the tree into the truck!  Now that is a Christmas miracle in itself!!   My guess is the rain and wind helped us out with such peace and calmness at the tree farm.  

 

Monday night Matt and I left for Houston for our scheduled appointment at MD Anderson.  Matt started Tuesday at 6:00 am with tests and scans, and then the waiting game started.  We both got some much needed sleep, have I mentioned how wonderful naps are?  We didn’t venture out at all, never left the hotel and hospital. (The hospital is connected to the hotel)  Wednesday we had our appointment with our oncologist and then we met with the clinical trial doctor and his team.  Prior to our departure we spent time praying and asking for peace in the plan that God had for us.  I will say we were both at peace going into our appointment with Dr. Johnson.  We learned that Matt’s treatment we were so hopeful about 7 weeks ago, isn’t working.  The cancer in his body has progressed in previously diseased areas as well as metastasized to his lower spine and pelvic bones.  This is definitely heartbreaking for all of us.  We are sad but determined to keep our faith that the plan for us is greater than the pain.  I had a friend that has gone through great heartache herself, text me something that is important when we were talking about how difficult this is for our kids.  She said we can’t control the situation, but we can control how we respond.  That is exactly what we will do, we will respond by continuing  to pray and keep our faith as we look at what’s next.  Matt is tired and achy, but a fighter.  He lives with nausea and fatigue everyday, but brushes it off.  You will be glad to know he hasn’t lost his dad humor, love of sports and the drive to be present for the kids and I.

 

We have continued to be given signs that we are not alone on this journey.  Last February Matt was very sick, and we were given hope and time.  This time our room when we met with Dr. Johnson in was the #23.  This is a special number for our family for two reasons.  Colossians 3:23 and Psalm 23.  We were able to book a late night flight home on Wednesday night so we could be home with our kids.  The switch from Thursday to Wednesday night was so easy and we were able to get two of the four remaining seats on the plane.  While we waited for our flight in Houston, I met a wonderful woman, Debra.  Debra and I talked for quite awhile.  She shared that she had lost her son just days before his 18th birthday.  She gave me some comforting words and how her faith kept her going when life seemed so painful. Debra just happened to be  our head flight attendant to Chicago.  She must have shared our story with the other four attendants because they were so kind and couldn’t do enough to make us comfortable.  What a blessing, we were both emotionally and physically exhausted and were just trying to keep ourselves together.  There was something comforting about someone knowing and understanding the sadness we were experiencing on our flight home. The kids were so happy to wake up this morning and find us home.  

 

We haven’t ended our game, we haven’t given up and we will still keep fighting for a win here on earth.  We also know that that we aren’t calling the plays, God has the final  say on how things are called.  Either way, victory will be found.  We have no idea how many minutes are left on the clock, none of us do, which is the most difficult part.  Miracles do happen, we are still asking for one, but also know the realities that may be ahead.  I just want to make the most out of the time we have together.  Matt, the kids and I are looking forward to events on the calendar and will see each event as a celebration.  So as I close this update, I challenge you this season to look out for one another, your family members, your friends, your neighbors, your enemies, the person you do not know.  Celebrate life’s little moments and keep cheering and praying for our Team Fouch.

 

Love to all,

Team Fouch

 

#FaithOverFear

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Journal entry by Jill Fouch


Hello!


I believe that fall is in full swing, the temperatures are colder and my love for pumpkin flavored coffee, cake, candy, cookies, pie  etc. is on overdrive! The end of October also means chilly Friday night football games, crockpot meals, a running furnace, twelve blankets on our bed and the anticipation of Hallmark Holiday Movies!  The end of October also means football playoffs, conference swim meets, basketball evaluations and this year Senior Recognition Night for Jake. This past Friday, Matt and I lined up with Jake before his last regular season game, so he could be recognized as a senior.  The amount of pride Matt and I felt as we walked arm and arm with Jake, could never be captured in words, but rather a feeling in our hearts. His grit, kindness, hardwork and perseverance the past 15 months since Matt’s diagnosis make our hearts swell with love. Often, being the oldest isn’t easy, just ask Matt and my older sister Kisten.  You are the “trial and error” for your parents, you often have “all the rules”, you are a product of overprotective first time parents (yes, rookies), you have to be a “good role model” (run perfect plays) for your siblings, you need to lead by example (team captain status), you have responsibilities because you are older and so many other things that fall on your shoulders. Then add in having a parent with a life threatening disease, that is a lot for a high school senior.  Jake continues to take it all in stride, we are so proud of Jake and look forward to watching him as he continues to grow and take on his hopes and dreams.  


I would be lying if I said the past three weeks have been easy.  The last time I updated, Matt was finishing a short stay in the hospital for a mystery reaction and fluid in his abdomen resulting in his first Paracentesis.  Since that short time out he has had two additional Paracentesis procedures and another scheduled for this week. After the fluid is drained from his abdomen he does feel some relief.  We are hoping that his new treatment is effective in decreasing the production of fluid and keeping the cancer from spreading anymore. The side effects continue to keep Matt feeling like he isn’t  playing his “A Game” but he seems to fool many of the bystanders. This past week, Matt made a difficult choice, but the best choice for our family. Matt has always put our family first, and once again this is his priority.  Matt decided to take an extended medical leave for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. At the start of the year, Matt had no intention of giving cancer an opportunity to score by giving up something he dearly loved, teaching.  However, sometimes you have to let something go knowing that the gains will be greater than what you see as a loss at the time. Sometimes coaches need their star players to sit a game when they have been battered and bruised to get ready for the next game.  This is how I see Matt right now, he is getting healthy enough to continue to take on our opponent. Matt is now able to attend appointments, receive treatment, rest and focus his time on our family. I have prayed for “time” and God is giving us that, precious family time.  One of his concerns was consistency for his students, he decided it was selfish to not be able to give them his undivided attention and attendance.  


Throughout this journey we have used the mantra “Faith Over Fear!”  This continues to be how we look at each day, knowing God is leading us. We have been blessed beyond belief and the blessings continue to pour in day after day.  Some days I truly tell myself “For we walk by faith, not by sight” -(2 Corinthians 5:7) because there is no way we would keep walking if we could see what may or may not be ahead.  Had we relied on sight, we would have given up on this journey. There is something joyous about not knowing what lies ahead, but focusing on what is with us at this moment. We have a beautiful support system within our family, church family, friends, school district, students, parents, coaches, athletes, community members and people we have never met.  We have felt the prayers and words of hope and encouragement. We have smiled at the kindness we encounter daily, we embrace and appreciate each prepared meal, bag of snacks, giftcard, treasure and service you have spoiled us with. I truly have no way to explain the gratitude we feel, we have no way to say thank you to each of you individually (I still have 98 of the 100 note cards I ordered a year ago:))   My hope is that if I see you, I can say thank you with a hug or a smile. My hope is that you all know you have been an important part of this game, our offense, defense and special teams!  


So Team Fouch, keep cheering, keep fighting with us, keep living each day to the fullest, keep sending good thoughts and keep praying.  


Lots of Love,

Team Fouch

 

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Happy Sunday!
I hope you all have had a great weekend!  Besides watching some football we have been on a get-a-way to a 5 Star Hotel, okay, it’s the hospital but I find comfort in pretending.  Saturday morning Matt had a reaction to something that caused his lip to swell up.  The cause remains a mystery, so we are now the proud owners of a couple Epi-pens.  The size of his bottom lip was huge, after meds, it has returned to normal.  He was admitted for monitoring and also with a plan of draining his abdomen.  He is very uncomfortable, he doesn’t say pain, discomfort is his go to description.  This was supposed to take place today.  However, the IR team is minimal on the weekends so we have been rescheduled for tomorrow.  He will then be monitored for 4-5 hours and hopefully be able to sleep at home tomorrow night.  I am praying this offers some relief.  In Matt fashion when asked if they could touch his stomach, he said “Sure, if you touch right here maybe you will feel the baby kick!”  He hasn’t lost his sense of humor.  A couple things that we have given thanks for while here are..
1. We are on the Oncology Floor, while taking some walks around the floor we have noticed some patients have been here since August.  We thank God for our two day stay.
2.  There is a way to bring him comfort, and he has been taken care of by some of the kindest people.
3.  We are so lucky to have so many people in our lives that do not hesitate to jump in.
4.  This is more of Matt’s grateful reason, he can watch all the football he wants!  I am not sure we have watched anything else while he has been awake. (I may have binge watched The Hallmark Channel after he fell asleep last night:))

We are ready to get to our game after this brief time out. We have a special prayer request for a family in our community.  A man that has been an inspiration to many, especially us since Matt’s diagnosis passed away Friday.  Please pray for his family!  His wife is one of the strongest people I have met and he has four beautiful children.  Please also pray with us for a miracle, peace, comfort and days filled with love!

Enjoy your week!
Team Fouch

Faith Over Fear

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

We have all had that moment in the game of life that we would love to have a do-over or maybe just have it disappear.   Yesterday was one of those moments for us. You have all been part of our game battling cancer, right beside us cheering, supporting us and praying which has given us great strength.  The news we received from MD Anderson was not in our favor this trip.  We had a penalty thrown at us and we have some major yards to regain.  Matt’s tumors have grown in size and have progressed to other locations in his body.  We are still trying to absorb this information and keep our heads held high.  We told the kids last night but we will have so many questions to answer when we get home today.  Being so far away and wishing you could all just hold onto on another is hard.  So what do our next steps look like?  Well first we will pray, asking for strength, comfort and guidance.  We also will ask for help to stay on the path that has been set for us.  It would be easy to step off that path looking for other ways to cope.  But we will continue to use our faith to see more clearly and believe in the plan.  We are bringing home a plan to start the last treatment plan we have as an option at this time.  The Beacon Trial has been in the news of late and we are hoping it will help us fight the opponent.  There are a few tackles before we can start that though.  The first is getting insurance to approve the treatment.  A couple of the meds have been used in prior cocktails  and they may deny it and say it didn’t work.  The next thing we need prayer for is that Matt hasn’t built up resistance to those meds used before.  He had some blood taken yesterday and we will know in 2-3 weeks the results of the blood test.  Then we need to pray Matt’s counts are where they should be to get his next infusion.  We also are praying that we can start the Beacon Trial within the next two weeks.  We are also going to begin the process of finding Phase 1 Clinical Trials locally (Michigan).  We will head back to MD Anderson in eight weeks to check the effectiveness of the new treatment and to consult with the Phase 1 Clinical Trial doctors there.  If insurance denies the treatment it is likely we will return to Houston sooner.  There will be some big decisions ahead of us.  There is no game plan that we can write at this point.  The only one that can lead us to victory is God.  We continue to go back to Joshua 1:9, it continues to mean so much to us.

 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

 

 

Please continue to cheer loudly, pray for strength, patience and guidance.  Please pray for our kids, it is so difficult to watch them hurt and confused.  

 

Love To All,

Team Fouch

 

#Faithoverfear

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Hello,
It's been about a month since I have written an update. I figured on this cold rainy day I would take some time to let you know how the game is going.  We are still playing, playing tough, taking hits and hopefully making some gains.  School is into full swing for all of us.  Life seems somewhat normal in the mornings.  We get up, scramble around to get ready for our day and then we are off.  I suppose I could say the daytime also feels "normal."  The kids are busy after school and Matt can be found on the field.  Many comment that Matt looks "good," and he does!  He is like that tough player on the field that takes a hard hit but doesn't want anyone to know he hurts because he doesn't want to lose any of his playing time.  He plays through the nausea, fatigue and joint pain that comes from chemotherapy.  Then, at about six o'clock, things don't seem as "normal" as they used to be.  We do the "normal" things like eat dinner, do homework and take care whatever business has a pending deadline.  However, for me it's evening when I notice that Matt has less energy, more pain and feels the effects of the hits he takes from the opponent.  He tries to be "present" but sometimes he drifts to sleep and rests his body, mind and soul after he walks through the door.  To be honest, I still crave our old "normal."  Some days I have a more difficult time remembering that we have a new "normal" then other days.  On those days when fatigue takes over and Matt sleeps on the sofa, we continue to move about doing our evening routine, because that is what we have to do.  I find I miss his spunk, bad jokes, loud voice, updates on what happened at school, his smile and his laughter.  I find that I can start to get angry, but then, I am simply grateful he is asleep on the sofa, at home, with us, and alive.  I find that watching him sleep is better then the alternative. So I dig down deep and tell myself "Faith is bigger then my fear."  Those that know me, typically see the person that looks at life as half full.  Most days, my glass is pretty full.  However, let's be honest, walking this journey causes even the strongest person to trip which causes their glass to tip.  When that glass tips, it spills, makes a mess and appears empty.  Yes, I have those days!  I trip, I spill, I make a mess and I feel a little empty.  However, the greatest things happen after that.  God puts the glass back into my hand, the love and support from all of you fill it back up and I am ready to walk again with the ability to see more clearly.  This clear view allows me to see the gifts that have been given to our family.  Clearly enough to listen to messages being sent from our Coach.  Clearly enough to trust in our plan.  Clearly enough to make sure everyday counts and that we hold each other tightly in love.  Clearly enough to keep on playing to win.

Next weekend we head to Houston.  We will celebrate Matt's birthday with all of our closest friends at the airport.  Yes, we leave on Matt's birthday.  His birthday wish is to get the news that his tumors are "stable."  MD Anderson does tests and scans seven days a week.  This was wonderful news because there was no way Matt was going to miss any of the kid's events.  Also, in Matt fashion, he doesn't want to take time away from school.  As you can imagine, the anxiety in our house starts to rise as our trip draws closer.  Zac goes into "parent" mode, trying to control his environment.  Maddie crawls into her shell, hoping that cancer will just go away.  Jake looks to his future with excitement but also fears what the future looks like for his dad.  We try to comfort and reassure, but it is prayer that sees us through.  It is knowing we have support and prayers from our team that keep us strong!  Keep them coming!

As you begin your week, remember that you will never get another chance at today.  Make your today count.  Fill today with kindness and love.  Most importantly, give those in your life a hug.

Love to all,
Team Fouch
#Faithoverfear

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Hello,

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend and squeezing the last little bit of summer in!  Team Fouch is still "In it to win it" and won't back down to this awful opponent! We are reminded just how bad this enemy of ours is each day, it rears it's ugly head in many ways.  Our team is tough, but a lot of that toughness has grown through the inspiration and motivation from others involved in their own fight.  This last week was a week of possible "realities" when we heard some heartbreaking news from not one, but three other families.  It times like this when I find myself repeating "Faith over fear!"  Please take a moment and pray for these families, as we know there is power in prayer.  Asking for peace, comfort and love is the greatest gift we can offer to others.  One family has been a model of how to carry on life, make every moment count and to live life to the fullest regardless of what the statistics tell us!  

Summer ended for Team Fouch August 12, yes, really, that early!  Our summer was filled with low key days, a few adventures and so many blessings from our head coach, God.   While we continue to play our game against cancer, we also started a new season of football and swimming.  These games and meets will be much more fun then our never ending game, and will give us the motivation to stay strong during our fight.  Matt returned to both to teaching full time and coaching freshman football this fall.  Jake started his senior year, Maddie started her freshman year and Z is in seventh grade at the middle school.  I started a new schedule at school and am enjoying every minute of both the middle school and Wealthy Elementary.  We officially went from busy to crazy busy once school started two weeks ago.  I guess looking at the bright side of being crazy busy is that we all operate better with a routine and that we would rather be busy then stuck at home missing life.  

Matt continues to receive chemotherapy every other Friday here in Grand Rapids.  We attend an appointment with our oncologist once a month and we will travel to Houston again in October.  Matt is handling the treatment like a pro, he looks good and would probably not tell you how he is really feeling.  He has adapted to daily nausea, vomiting,  joint pain and exhaustion.  It is hard to get him to rest, when we finally do he realizes how much he needs it!  Finding things that taste good and will stay down is a constant challenge.  Trying to find a pattern for side effects of this treatment has been unsuccessful and each week gives us something new.  We still are so grateful for God's protection over Matt and his ability to stay out of the hospital for infections, blockage or other cancer and chemotherapy related problems.  Our line of defense and support from all of you is also to thank for Matt's current health.  It is easier to maintain a fighting attitude when you have so many people fighting and praying with you for a win!

Well, that is all the news we have!  I guess I see this as a good thing.  Continue sending those good thoughts, keep your prayers coming and keep cheering for a victory!  

Love to all,
Jill
#FAITHOVERFEAR
#TEAMFOUCH

Journal entry by matt fouch

Today I am proud to say that I am a Cancer Survivor of 1 year.  

As summer is in full swing, today is a day that will forever be etched in my mind. 
 One year ago today July 18, 2018, I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.  This past year has put me on a journey that nobody wants to go on.  However during this process, I have learned so much about myself, my family, the EGR community, and friends.  So many positive things have come out of this.  I have mentioned that before but it’s so true.  

 

This past year has been a challenge in many ways.  The physical challenges have pushed me to a level that I never imagined.  When you are used to doing as much as possible and staying busy, it’s been a challenge to slow my life down and not do as much.  That has been a difficult pill to swallow.  The side effects can be brutal some days to be honest.  I try my best to not them interfere with life, but sometimes it is just not possible.  I mention to Jill many days that I want my life back, but I remind myself that this is life currently and I just have to fight through it. 

 

Another challenge has been keeping a positive attitude.  I would say that most of the time I have been positive about my journey but some days the battle feels a lot harder and the negativity sneaks in.  It’s during these times when I lean on family and friends to help get back to my positive attitude.  This goes right along with being mentally tough.  Mental toughness is a point of emphasis each year that I coach and teach and it has been something that I have had to remind myself of each day.  It would be easy to just say this is too hard or too painful or too difficult but I think about how I would push my students to be successful and I would remind myself that I need to take my own advice.  

 

Even though that I am going through chemo and all its side effects, the hardest part for me is seeing the impact on my family.  They live this nightmare every day and it’s so hard to see them struggle and hurt and there is not much that I can do or say to help them.  

 

As Jill mentioned in her most recent post, our latest trip to MD Anderson for tests and scans was very positive.  The tumors are stable with many of them being reduced in size. The mass on my colon is stable.  My team at MD Anderson was very happy with these results.  The plan is to continue this line of chemo. As Jill and I walked out of the office, we were thrilled.  I was able to make phone calls to my family to let them know the news.   

 

The trips to Houston put Jill and I through the wringer.  The anxiety begins a couple of days before we leave and lasts until we get home.  We are both physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted by the end of the trip.  After hearing such good news we thought we would celebrate this little victory but we were so drained, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed back to hotel to get some rest.  

 

As we begin year 2, I will continue on the same treatment plan with chemo every 2 weeks and trips to Houston every 10-12 weeks until this chemo stops working or a change is necessary.  At this point, the biggest issue is how my body can withstand the chemo.  Many times they will have to change some of the dosage or the mixture to make sure that I can stay on the treatments.  As the chemo has a cumulative affect, I am seeing that the side effects are a little more intense and learning to deal with these is a difficult task.  As I tell many people, this pain is a lot better than the alternative.  I have a lot of people ask me how many treatments I have left and the answer is I don’t know.  We just take it one trip to Houston at a time.  

 

I also need to mention a few others that have made this journey a lot easier.  First and foremost is my wife Jill.  She has been my rock since day 1 and I wouldn’t be where I am without her. My 3 kids Jake, Maddie and Z have provided me with motivation to keep battling.  Our immediate family has provided us so much support.  To mention all the ways they have helped would make this post very long.  

 

Many other people have been a huge support as well.  All of out extended families near and far, friends, the staff at EGR schools, New Heart Church, EGR football coaches both present and past and the EGR community.  This list could go on and on but I just want everyone to know that many people have played a huge role in getting me to year 2. 

 

As I wrap this up, remember to enjoy every day and live each day to the fullest.  Don’t let the little things in life drag you down and cherish your time with family and friends. 

 

Thank you all for the support, positive vibes and prayers that we feel every day.  It’s going to be a long journey but having all your support is a huge help

 

Enjoy the rest of your summer.  

 

Thanks again

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Hello!

I hope you are finding this summer enjoyable and are out creating memories with those you love! We are almost one year from Matt's diagnosis and we are still playing tough  Matt and I were in Houston for his scans and doctor appointment last week and I am glad we live in Michigan.  The sun is intense and the heat is crazy hot! We took a ten minute walk from our hotel to the hospital and in that time we were both dripping in sweat and Matt’s hands were scorched, his nose and chin were on fire.  We forgot his gloves and cover for his face, we won’t do that again. We decided that we would rely on Lyft for the rest of our travel. While in Houston we received great news. Matt’s tumors are stable and many decreased in size.  To give you an idea what decreased means if a tumor measured 2.1 cm by 4.3 cm in April, it measured 1.9 cm by 4.2 cm. Baby steps, but we will take it. The anxiety and worry we had prior to his scans and appointment was off the charts.  Although we know God has a plan, not knowing exactly what that plan is causes great stress. When we found out the good news we both felt like a boulder was lifted off our chest. We will make another visit the beginning of October, this gives us ten weeks to kinda forget about cancer.  Of course we need to schedule around a Friday night football game, cancer will not interrupt our game.  


Team Fouch continues to gain strength, peace and faith from all our supporters and fans.  This game will have the most over times ever, maybe even breaking a world record. Each time we line up, we are not sure what we might face.  Will Matt’s blood work be okay, will is blood pressure be low enough, will he have weight loss, how many days will he feel downright awful, which part of the body will have the most joint pain, how long will the pain last, will he struggle getting up and moving in the morning, will he keep food down, will he suffer from burns because he took the kids fishing and so many other factors to think about.  Now, I don’t want you to think we are giving up the fight, but it is also okay to know and accept the realities. You all know Matt and he is the most passionate and stubborn guy. He hides his pain and how he really feels well.  


We have had some summer adventures and we are going to make the most of the next four weeks before school starts.  The kids and I went to Mackinac Island to celebrate my parent’s anniversary. The kids were free to come and go, in pairs of course.  They spent time with their aunts and uncles, enjoyed cousin shenanigans and had some special time with Nina and Bumpa. Matt sat this trip out because he didn’t know how he would feel and since we were two miles from town we worried about his physical needs as well.  The kids and Matt have been enjoying my sister in law and brother in law’s pontoon boat on Reed’s Lake. They go fishing a lot but I have also noticed they come home empty handed. Lifting for football has been a regular activity, baseball ended this past weekend and swim practice is way to early for me but Maddie goes in some shape or form.  Our biggest news is that we added a member to our team. After asking, begging, doing research, saving money and some sweet talk, Zac got a puppy. Kabookie isn’t sure about Louie, but I am sure they will be best buds.


We are looking forward to sending Maddie and Zac to Camp Kesem.  This a place that they will be will other kids on the same cancer journey with someone they love, a parent.  We picked the Notre Dame sight to sell Zac on the whole camp thing. It is actually not on campus but all their counselors are Notre Dame students.  We will do some college visits with Jake, that is a whole other emotional issue for me. We will end our summer with an activity that we all love, camping.  After that trip football for both boys starts, swimming begins for Maddie and Matt and I head back to school. Matt will be going back full time to the middle school doing what he loves, this will be year 21 for him.  After twenty-two years in middle school, I will be spending part of my day at the elementary level. I am really looking forward to this. Since Matt, his dad and the two kids were all at the middle school last year, I was living cancer 24/7.  When presented with this opportunity my thought was, I guess God knew I needed a break from cancer for a few hours. We have learned that looking at situations with a positive attitude helps when presented with challenges. Jake will start his senior year (I am in denial), Maddie will be a freshman (Lord help us) and Zac will start seventh grade (Finally the only Fouch kid at the middle school).  I am sure this year will fly by, they always seem to be faster than the last.


I hope I haven’t bored you too much with this lengthy post.  If I have, you should have stopped reading sooner:)  


Until next time, love to all,

Team Fouch


#TeamFouch

#FaithOverFear



Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Happy Summer!
We have officially completed one week of summer break.  Although the weather hasn't acted like it is summer yet, we have fallen into break mode without any trouble.  Matt continues to be a warrior with treatment and side effects.  Typically he spends 6-7 hours every other Friday, letting the chemo drip through his veins with a goal of keeping cancer from gaining any ground.  He then is okay that evening thanks to the steroids.  He starts to fatigue and suffer from some nausea at some point on Saturday and the effects hit him hard by Sunday.  He bounces back midweek and usually has a few great days and then the joint pain hits.  This has been hard for Matt because it slows him down and his whole body hurts.  I admire him because he still participates in "life" with hopes not to miss a memory in the making.  The other side effect that has been bad is his sensitivity to sun.  We are figuring out what precautions to take and learning as we go along.  Zinc every hour, long sleeve shirts with SPF protection, gloves and sleeves that have protection as well.  He bought a new hat with attachable face masks, thank goodness he didn't buy the one that looks like a clown.  We are really trying to avoid the burns that are similar to the burns patients having radiation get after treatment.  Now that I think of it, maybe our not so summer weather has been a gift from God.

Summer doesn't mean our schedule is less busy.  We take school out of the mix but add in baseball, baseball and more baseball.  Jake is working at the ball fields and playing some summer league ball. Zac is playing little league and is on the All Star Team.  Maddie has started swimming again, I give her a lot of credit since practice is from 7 am-9 am.  I start teaching Extended School Year this week and Matt adds some football to his plate.  Kabookie is just trying to figure out why he doesn't get as many naps during the day, we have certainly disrupted his routine.

Celebrating today with Matt was very special for different reasons then in past years.  We have always celebrated Matt, each of our fathers and other men in our lives that give guidance as a father does.  This year seems like a celebration of life!  Matt told us tonight that last year in July he wasn't sure he would be with us, in person, this year.  We are finding each holiday, birthday and events mean so much more.  We find that we pray to be present each day and to give gratitude to God, our father that gives us so much love.  Our faith keeps us focused on the greater plan and helps us see more clearly after tears are shed.  Our faith provides comfort during the many side effects, to help answer tough questions that our kids have, to value what we often were to busy to notice and permission to love like tomorrow isn't promised. 

Team Fouch is not giving up this battle, we are fighting for a victory!  Part of our fight is to recognize when our emotional, physical and spiritual well being are in a place that we need to call in support .  Part of our fight is to recognize that we may get knocked down but we have a team and fans that will help us back up again.  Part of our fight is to continue to look to our coach and listen to his message.

We hope that you all are able to make some great memories this summer with those you love. I know we will be using every opportunity to make memories of our own.  

Faith Over Fear!

Love to all,
Team Fouch

Journal entry by matt fouch

Hello, 
Its been a long time since I have added a journal entry.  Its going to be hard to write an entry that is as good as Jill's, but I will give it a try.  I hope that everyone had a great memorial day weekend.  Jill and I and the kiddos were able to get away for a couple nights to relax, calm down and have some well needed family time.  Spring time is full of baseball games and water polo matches.  We are usually going in many different directions and have little time to slow life down and spend some time together.  This weekend was well needed and very productive.  Jill and I were able to have some discussions with the kids about how they are doing emotionally and opened it up for any questions.  

I wanted to write a journal entry this time because I was asked by a friend last week how I was doing.  He didn't want to hear it from someone else, but right from the horse's mouth.  Jill does a fantastic job of letting you know how I am feeling.  I just feel the need to let you know in my own words.  

Since the our last update and the good news from MD Anderson, life has continued on with new normal.  The day after returning from Houston, Coach LaMange and the EGR baseball team had a Team Fouch day.  The 3 teams involved in the day all wore Team Fouch hats that were made with a baseball instead of a football.  It was a great day.  A lot of people came out to see the game and it was very humbling and overwhelming.  The community support has been unbelievable and this day verified that.  Before the last game of the day, I was asked to throw out the first pitch.  I was so nervous that I was going to make a terrible pitch.  To increase the pressure, I had a lot of people giving me a hard time about whether or not I could get the pitch accurately to the catcher.  I was able to make a successful throw.  The highlight for me though was the catcher was my son Jake.  He came out and gave me the ball and a huge hug.  It was a very emotional moment that I will never forget.  

Back to the point of my post is that I am feeling good most days.  I still have chemo every 2 weeks and still have a few days of feeling worn out and tired.  However I have a lot of days that I feel good and am able to go about my usual activities.  The biggest issue that I deal with is fatigue.  I tire quickly and am trying to pace myself.  I am also learning to deal with the sun a lot differently.  Due to the chemo, my skin is very sensitive to the sun.  I find myself burned quite easily and have to make sure that I have plenty of sunscreen, floppy hats and long sleeve shirts available to stay comfortable.  Its going to be a learning curve this summer dealing with the sun and learning to protect myself.  I want to do as much as possible, but I have to remind myself I need to slow down and take care of myself. 

I have had a lot of people ask my family and close friends how I am doing.  They mention that they do not want to bother me.  Honestly, it doesn't bother me in the least for you to ask me how I am doing.  As I have said since the beginning of my chemo treatments, if you see me out in public, then I am feeling good.  If I don't feel well you won't see me.  The same can be said for people asking me how I am doing.  I have no problem letting you know how I am feeling.  I don't want anyone to think they are bothering me.  People asking me how I am doing makes me feel good. 

As we approach the end of the school year and look forward to family time this summer, I challenge you all to do a few things.  The first is enjoy everyday to the fullest.  You will never know when life is going to throw a curveball your way.  Take advantage of everyday to be the best you can be.  The second is don't sweat the small stuff.  All of those little things that used to bother me no longer do as much.  Sometimes I find myself going down that road and have to remind myself.  The last thing is cherish your time with your family.  Even though a cancer diagnosis is scary, I have had so many positives that come out of this.  Family time is one that is truly embraced and one that we now find more time together. 

As always, thank you for all the support, positive vibes and prayers.  Keep them coming.  This is going to be one hell of a battle but I am determined, driven and stubborn enough to see it through and beat this.  Cancer has messed with the wrong team and we will win. 

Take care and god bless. 

Matt

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Sometimes you prepare for that Friday night football game all week and things go exactly as planned.  Sometimes you plan for the game and the other team puts in some unexpected plays,  plays that weren’t on film and have their star players return after injury.  Well, Team Fouch needs to adjust our game plan that we thought we had figured out in our most precious game, everyday life!

After abnormal results on some blood work a month ago, again last Wednesday, again Sunday in ER, again today and then an x-ray and CT scan, Matt has been told he most likely has stage IV Colon Cancer.  This team we are facing is tough, scary and likes to win, just checking stats, outcomes etc. will tell us that.  With that being said, our team, Team Fouch will not back down, we will approach each play with love, strength, faith and by listening to God, the almighty coach.  Please say some prayers for our family as we prepare for this showdown.   This isn’t a game we wanted to play, no one wants this opponent called cancer, but now we will play tough, we will play hard and we will not quit.
So we now acknowledge what we know and that is...“It’s Game Time” and Matt Fouch is out to win!
Matt’s Story

Site created on July 19, 2018

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement.   Please pray for our entire family.

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