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!
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Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Day 3 and we are warming up to what will be a new normal for a while.  We have felt so much comfort, love and support reading all your well wishes, blessings, love and cheering from all directions!  There has been a lot of information to digest in the past three days.  We have learned more about Cancer then we ever thought we would.  We have interacted with more nurses and doctors then we have in our entire lives.  Matt has had more polks and shots then he ever thought he could tolerate.  We have two more procedures left to complete before we can sleep in our own bed.  He has a liver biopsy to see if the large mass is the same kind of cancer as his colon and lymph nodes and then they will place his port for chemo.  The kids are doing ok, emotionally all three are different and absorbing this news their own way.  The love and support by my family and Matt’s family has kept me strong.  Keep those prayers coming, faith in God is better then any medicine or treatment available.  
Many people have asked how they can help, what an amazing village we have.  I am sure we will need help, we just don’t know how or what until we settle with the Final Plan we feel most confident with!  So, let’s get loud, “It’s Game Time” and winning is our mission!  
Love to you all from Team Fouch

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

It's Monday and a new week has begun!  Our life seems pretty "normal" as in, like before we received the news of Matt's diagnosis.  We are so humbled by the outpouring of love and encouragement from family, friends, community members and those we have never met in person.  We are comforted by the fact that we have so many fans cheering for Matt and our entire family! Keep cheering and we hope you will refuse to quiet down.  

They say family would do anything for you, and from what I have witnessed the past five days I cannot agree more.  The minute our siblings and parents heard our life changing news they were by our side to do whatever need to be done.  We can't thank them enough for coming to us in our time of need, taking on unfinished yard and home repairs that had been started as Matt's "summer to do list."  They cleaned and cleaned and did laundry.  They took Maddie and Zac away to enjoy the weekend, distracting them from what was going on.  They provided meals, support to Jake (thank heavens for his good friend Noah that has been by his side since Jake first found out), helped with communicating to many people that had reached out, stayed by our side when doctors gave us new information, sat and listened, sat in silence with us, watched us sleep, watched us pace, gave us a shoulder to cry on, provided comic relief, started teaching us how to best fuel Matt's body to take on chemo and so much more.  So many people have asked "What can we do for you?"  To be honest, we don't know yet.  We will reach out, we will need help, we just have to figure out how and when.

Now we prepare for our meeting with our Oncologist on Wednesday.  From there we will compare notes and the treatment plan with another Oncologist as well as having our doctor reach out to two cancer centers in other places in the country.  

What we do know is that given the stage and type of cancer Matt has, chemotherapy is our first step.  As the doctor's told us, surgery is not an option because we cannot operate on blood and that is where we are at right now.  We can not do radiation on Matt's entire body so that means we have to stop what is killing him first.  We have had so many people graciously reach out with surgeon's names and we will for sure be recording all of that information for when and if we get to the point of surgery.

Matt's main mission is keeping life as normal as possible.  Fighting and playing as hard as he can in this game versus cancer.  His weekly goal is to get his treatments, get healthy, feel well and watch his kids do what they love.  He is looking forward to Friday night football games (He has achieved Press Box status:), watching Saturday football games and cheering Maddie on during swim meets.
With this being said, he will probably try to stay invisible, keeping germs away. 

Once again, we can't begin to tell you how all the encouragement, support and love are lifting us up and helping us prepare for our big game.  Love to all, "It's Game Time!"
Team Fouch

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

We have had a few appointments this week to determine what our next move will be to tackle our opponent, cancer.  We will have another appointment next week with hopes that we can begin treatment soon after.  We were blessed with an offer from a special family to use their cottage as a get away for some quality family time. (kinda like a time-out)  We are looking forward to laughing and playing without thinking about the difficult game that is ahead of us. We plan to fill our time together swimming, building sand castles, walking the shore, eating "Pronto Pups", enjoying the chaos of Coast Guard Festival, eating an ice cream cone or two, enjoying the musical fountains, watching the sunset, playing numerous games of Rummy, participating in an intense putt putt golf game, talking, dreaming and praying for strength and peace as we go forward.  

As you begin your weekend, take a moment to tell those in your life that are important to you, how you feel.  Don't be afraid to say "I love You" out of the blue to your family members, sit a longer at the dinner table and talk, put your phone away for a day, help someone just because, smile at someone you don't know, count your blessings and say a prayer.

Remember, we will fight, we won't back down, we have winning on our minds and in our hearts.
"It's Game Time!"     Love, Team Fouch

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

We have had a few days of fun in Grand Haven.  I didn’t realize how much we needed this time together.  Our “Coin Tosses” have been over things such as, where are we going to get ice cream, do we want Pronto Pups or Butch’s Burritos for lunch, should we go to the beach now or later, should we play UNO or Yahtzee etc.  I love these types of decisions!  Matt has generally been feeling good, he jumped feet first into a plant based diet the day we got home from the hospital.  He tires easy, for those of you that know Matt well, he is typically the energizer bunny.  His ability to fall asleep is good but staying asleep is a challenge.  He is just ready to kick his treatment off and start to tackle the crap inside his body.  
We continue to try to keep things as “normal” as possible for the kids. I feel like  the last three days we have had a miracle of some sorts, the three of them have been getting along!  
Matt and I will attend an educational meeting to learn all about the where, who, when and the what about chemo.  We of course know the why!  Hopefully he will have his first treatment the day after.  
I know that God is walking beside us on this journey, I know this because I never thought I could have the strength I do right now.  Everyone’s prayers, comfort and love can be felt each moment of our days.  We know we are surrounded by super fans!  Please keep those prayers coming, they are bringing a lot of peace and joy to us!  I will update in a couple days at “Kick Off” time!
love to all, Team Fouch

Journal entry by matt fouch

First of all, I wanted to say thank you for all the love and support for me and my family over the last 2 weeks.  Honestly it still feels like a blur and haven’t set in yet. 
Jill has been using the coaching and game analogy to describe what we are going through.  I can’t tell you how true it has been.   
Today we meet with the team at Lemmon Holton to walk through the game plan for chemo treatment.
As I like to say the beginning of kicking ass and taking names.  We went through all the scenarios that I could face tomorrow and how to respond to each one.  I am so confident in my team and support staff that I am ready to take this on.   
As we were driving home tonight, I was getting knots in my stomach and nerves just like I do the night before a game.  I have been asking myself if I feel that I am ready, have we looked at every possible scenario, what else could we do to prepare.   But as I sit and think, I am so confident in my team, that I know we are ready to begin this battle and win.  Tomorrow morning we begin to beat cancer.
Once again thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. Now let’s go!  “It’s Game Time!”

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Welcome all Team Fouch Fans!  The game has begun and kick off has taken place.  We have possession of the ball and our score is Team Fouch 7, Cancer 0!  As I was watching the chemo drip into Matt's port this morning I was also thinking about how we have heard your cheering through prayer, positive thoughts, encouraging words, acts of kindness and so many other ways.  I was also thinking about what cancer can and can't do to a person, family, friend or community.  I decided to focus on the positive of what it can't change, so here is the list I came up with,specifically for Matt.

Cancer can't change his love for us, his family!
Cancer can't change the pride he has watching his kids participate in the things they love.
Cancer can't change the devotion and love he gives me each day.
Cancer can't change the love he has for teaching all students at East Grand Rapids Middle School.
Cancer can't change the enthusiasm he has when he talks about Pioneer football, whether that be as a coach, dad or community member.
Cancer can't change his sense of humor.
Cancer can't change him wanting the best for everyone, even if it means he takes a back seat.
Cancer can't change his love of camping, chopping wood and being off the grid sometimes.
Cancer can't change his need to watch golf on television, sometimes waking at 1:30 am to see it live.
Cancer can't change how he can manage to get us all together to watch the Redwings!
Cancer can't change his laugh when his brother or dad tell him a joke.
Cancer can't change his need to carry a measuring tape in his pocket "just in case."
Cancer can't change his satisfaction of figuring out how many square feet we need of mulch, carpet, dirt etc., without using a calculator.
Cancer can't change his yearly "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" marathon.
Cancer can't change that he watches reruns of MASH and Seinfeld.
Cancer can't change him taking the chance to watch outdoor shows about Alaska, the swamp and other scary places.
Cancer can't change his ability to carry on an entire conversation using Caddyshack quotes, sometimes intermixing quotes from other classic movies.
Cancer can't change his love of the movies, Rudy, Blindside, Return of the Titans, Field of Dreams and Miracle.
Cancer can't change the times he watches Spaceballs and Bad News Bears with the boys for the 100th time.
Cancer can't change watching Pitch Perfect with Maddie and not being ashamed.
Cancer can't change him playing the "Wake Up Song" the first day of school so loud the neighbors can hear!
Cancer can't change his stories about being an awesome golfer, pursuing his dream of being a golf professional and then changing professions because being a teacher was what he was meant to be.
Cancer can't change his ability to recycle materials when doing a building project, usually it is something that only he can visualize.
Cancer can't change taking the kids fishing in the "Hamma Sue.".
Cancer can't change building the perfect bonfire.
Cancer can't change his love of Neil Diamond and his infamous singing of "Sweet Caroline!"
Cancer can't change his love of Faygo Red Pop. caramel, Frank's Hot Sticks, a spoon full of peanut butter and honey sticks.
Cancer can't change the stories he has from hunting with his dad and grandpa since he was young.
Cancer can't change how he gives his mom a hard time about moving furniture, "5 Minute Jobs" and how she never make Golumpki the same way.
Cancer can't change a good competition at anytime between he, his brother and sister. 
Cancer can't change his hopes and dreams for our kids.
Cancer can't change his hopes and dreams for us!
Cancer can't change the friendships he has made or will create.
Cancer can't change the wonderful man I married.
Cancer can't change the devoted and unconditional love he has for our kids.
Cancer can't change many things about Matt!  What cancer doesn't know is that Matt is a fighter, he is stubborn and he refuses to give up!
Cancer doesn't know that love and prayer will lift him up when he trips, a he has a village supporting him all the way to the finish line.

Thank you for being there to lift us all up, the game has just started, but we are prepared and know that we have such a wonderful support system!  Keep cheering!

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

I like days that seem to be "Slow News" days!!  The game is on, pretty uneventful, but that is okay with us!  Matt was able to get rid of his pump yesterday morning, and will not see it again for eleven days.  It was an adjustment carrying something around with you that you are not used to 24 hours a day.  They switched from fanny packs to over the shoulder type pump bags, someone really needs to come up with a bag that suits all body types and genders:) After his chemo drip Wednesday morning, he was feeling pretty good.  He continued to feel good until mid-day Thursday.  He still didn't feel awful, just not great.  He slept a lot Thursday evening and then almost all day yesterday.  As you know, Matt doesn't nap often but he made up for that yesterday.  I was happy to see him sleep, that is what his body needed.  

The kids went up north to enjoy some more summer.  I am so glad that we have so many people taking our kids and keeping things "normal."  Maddie leaves for camp tomorrow, the timing couldn't been better.  Jake starts football on Monday, Z is going to be his dad's body guard should he decide to visit practice.  Somehow, I think he probably will, it will be good for his mental well being.  

So I mentioned our mascot, well every team has one.  Our mascot knows something is going on, I guess our furry family members understand so much more than we give them credit for.  Kabookie ( our 2 year old Springer Spaniel) has been next to Matt since we came home from the hospital two weeks ago.  Now usually I am his person, but his allegiance is switching to Matt.  Kabookie (yes named after the one and only Jimmy Gerken) knows how to make Matt laugh, cheer him up, get him moving after a while, rally our team and most of all show devotion to the coach of our team.  I have frequently found him snuggled close to Matt as he sleeps, only lifting his head as I enter the room, almost looking like he is saying, "Everything is good, I've got him."  

So there is our brief intermission and highlight on our very own Mascot, Kabookie!  Oddly enough, I am glad there isn't more to share, sometimes no news is a wonderful thing!  
We hope you enjoy your weekend making memories, being thankful, giving away kindness and love and saying a prayer for us!
Love to all, Team Fouch

Journal entry by matt fouch

Even though my own game started a couple of weeks ago, This morning high school football started and it brought a little bit of normalcy to my life.  After a couple of days of adjusting to chemo I feel as good as I have in a while.  So to take advantage of my good days I was able to go to football practice this morning.  It felt so good to be out there with the boys.  Even though I was riding in a golf cart and not as involved as I normally am it felt so good to be there.  2-a-days can be long, hot, and tough on players and coaches, I was so happy to be there.  
Being there made me realize how much I enjoy teaching and coaching.  I am appreciating things so much more and realize how lucky I am to do what I do.  
I wanted to give you a quick update. I know this is short and to the point but it’s time to head back practice.  
Thanks for all you prayers and support.  

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
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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.