Journal

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Merry Christmas to all!  I hope your day was filled with joy and blessings!  We have been busy making memories, forgetting about the “C” word for a few days and spending some much needed time together in the sun.  Last Wednesday Matt started his new treatment!  That means we got the ball back!  We are ready as ever to score again and get our momentum back.  However, we are on a break so I will be sure to fill you all in when we resume play!  
Continue to send those positive vibes and prayers!  
Faith Over Fear!
Love to all, 
Team Fouch

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Sometimes you fall short of a first down by inches.  One way to look at this instead of “we didn’t score” is we can give the offense a much needed break and showcase our tough defense!  Well for Team Fouch, that is true after today.  
As many of you know, Matt had a biopsy last week to remove three lymph nodes in his chest.  We were very hopeful that those nodes that lit up were due to an infection.  However, the results told us today that it is cancer. Fortunately it is the same colon cancer cells found in his liver, colon and now in his chest.  We would lie if we said we weren’t somewhat heartbroken and numb.  However, like warriors do, we will get back up, and pursue our victory.  Matt will start a new line of treatment in two weeks. I have no doubt our strong defense will force a turnover!   We are thankful that there is a plan and we will choose our Faith over Fear!  The kids continue to struggle in their own unique ways.  Please keep them in your prayers. They are really trying not to make “cancer”, the “C” word as Z calls it, a daily focus.  As always we will continue to play hard, embrace changes in plays as they are needed and head towards another touchdown.  We will also let our FAITH be bigger than our fears, feel free to join us! 
Love to all!
Team Fouch

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Hello,
Matt and I will head to meet with his team and hopefully receive his treatment as planned tomorrow.  He is feeling much better than he did over the weekend, but not 100% fully himself yet.  In the spirit of the holidays, I had some fun writing a different type of "Twas The Night Before..." story.  
Have a wonderful week, keep cheering!
Love to all, Team Fouch

‘Twas The Day Before Chemo


‘Twas the day before chemo, and all through our minds,


We wondered and wondered what answers the doctors would find.


Team Fouch knows that prayers and thoughts are coming from those that care,


They know that all that are supporting them will continue to be there.


The day is filled with activities and distractions good for our heads,


We know the "Coach" above will lead us, “It’s Game Time” is what is said!


 Matt continues to be determined to finish the next lap,


And will not let anyone slow him down with what they found on some app.


When we look ahead to the future, we smile and start our game time chatter,


Our love and faith will hold us close together while dealing with this matter


Cancer came into our lives unwanted and in such a flash,


But we have faith we’ll beat it, and throw it out like trash!


Each day is a gift like new fallen snow,


Embracing those you love is so important we know.


We know in our time of need something wonderful always seems to appear,


Love, good thoughts,faith and blessings to chase away our fear.


On July 18, we learned life can move so quick,


It gave us permission to slow down, and enjoy it a bit.


Our lives may have changed, never to be the same,


But if we waste time being sad and angry, that would be a shame.


Tonight when we try to lay down our hearts and our heads,


We reflect on all the encouraging words that have been said.


Tomorrow Matt will be dressed in his orange chemo shoes,


Pumping his fists refusing to lose.


The cancer center staff will do all that they should


Working to make a scary situation feel “sorta” good.


The oncology nurses and doctors will give him such care,


Knowing that having cancer just is awful and is not fair.


Matt will take his treatment like other chemo days


Knowing that trusting in God will help him be okay.


After sitting so brave for several hours again,


We will leave for home with a feeling of a win!


Now, fans, supporters, family, friends and more


Our coach and leader has a great plan in store.


To the end of the field, another touchdown in sight,


We can hear your cheers, continue to cheer with all your might.


So back up we rise to show cancer a thing or two,


We will continue to pray this whole game through.


 We want a win is what we yell from the roof,


Matt’s strength and courage will be our proof.


I know one thing for sure  and that’s what I ask God every night,


Please keep Matt close to you and give him the strength to win this fight!

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Happy Saturday and Happy First Day of December!
November is behind us and so is the biopsy surgery!  Sometimes you are glad a series of downs is complete and that is the case for Team Fouch.  Matt is still at the hospital healing and getting his strength back.  What we didn’t know when we went in Thursday was that he would have a three night stay.  Once again, a lesson in patience, trust and going with the plan. (Not necessarily always our plan.). His drainage tube in his chest was pulled out just before I left an hour ago.  That made a huge difference in his comfort level.  Next step is pain management with a goal of going home tomorrow!  He is comfortable, being taken care of, watching and talking football with his dad.  I have a swim meet to cheer at and two basketball games to watch!  I will venture back up later to check on my favorite player!  Wishing you all a great weekend filled with love!
Faith Over Fear,
Team Fouch

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Hello Team Fouch!
I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving filled with lots of memories with those you love.  Matt had chemo last Wednesday as planned, there was no way he was going to give up a chance to score, Team Fouch 56-Cancer 0.  After he completed his infusion we headed to Hart Tree to find The "Fouch Family Tree!"  Typically we do this on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but sometimes you have to alter your plan, a valuable lesson our family has embraced since Matt's diagnosis. Since Matt has his pump disconnected around noon on Fridays and feels the "hit" of chemo, we started a new tradition!  Like in the past we headed to Hart Tree Farm, in search of the perfect tree!  Unlike previous years, no one cried, got mad or pouted about the tree we ended up selecting.  By some miracle, we all agreed on the same tree in the end, mission accomplished! In record time I might add! Perhaps the bribe of The Corner Bar played a factor in this year's tree success.
Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with Matt's family.  We had a great day focusing on being Thankful without focusing on cancer.  Everything felt normal which was an absolute gift we all needed.  
Our game has not taken many timeouts since it began in July 18, 2018.  However, we have had to stop to measure our progress towards a first down a couple times. We received Matt's CT scan results November 7, 2018 and have been busy with appointments to develop our next move since then.  Matt's tumors in his colon and liver were "stable" however, he had some lymph nodes that lit up in his chest that caused some further investigation.  Like many teams often do, we called on the necessary players, looked at the potential plays on a dry erase board (literally) and were given information about why a biopsy was our next move.  We then met with the Thoracic Surgeon to prepare for the biopsy.  So, here we are two days later, hanging out at Meijer Heart Center. The lymph nodes in question have been removed and sent to the pathologist.  Matt and I are taking a time-out at the hospital for the night, not a five star hotel, but better than the locker room.  The goal is to have his pain under control and be able to have his drainage tube removed in order to go home.  So, like we have learned to do, we will put our heads down and push through for a first down.  We will continue to put our FAITH before fear.  We will listen to our coach and follow the plan that has been set in front of us.  We will continue to fight for a victory.  Continue to send those good vibes, thoughts and endless prayers, we can feel each one.  
Love to all, Team Fouch
Psalm 56:3-In the day when I am afraid,  I will trust in You.

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

gratitude noun
 
grat·​i·​tude | \ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd,  -ˌtyüd\
Definition of gratitude-Merriam Webster Dictionary

the state of being grateful THANKFULNESS

expressed gratitude for their support

Today is Thanksgiving!  A day set aside to reflect and give thanks to all we have in our lives.  A day to see a bigger picture, a day to count blessings, a day "Team Fouch" is embracing this year.  This year feels somewhat different than Thanksgivings past.  Today is a true gift, a day to be grateful for the game we are playing.  You may question "Thankful for Cancer?"  Cancer isn't something to be grateful for, but that is only part of the story.  The night we found out, we didn't know what the future would hold, we never dreamed the amount of love, support and prayers that would keep up playing the game of a lifetime.  To be honest we hadn't even come close to realizing all that we had in our lives. We often asked for more, never fully showing true gratitude for all the blessings we already had in our life.  Learning that we were going to fight cancer and play an opponent so evil really opened our hearts and allowed us to see and feel what true gratitude should be.  We find that the small things we assumed would always remain the same are worthy of attention and gratitude.  We find that we are slowing down to in order to give thanks, pray and use faith to keep us in this game. We find that we share more openly our emotions and express our deepest gratitude for knowing one another's fears, hopes, love and dreams. I find that we show gratitude to our Coach leading us to victory, our team and our supporters.  This gratitude doesn't come in the form of gifts, phone calls, texts or thank you cards. (I don't even know where to begin with that)  Rather we give thanks by praying for all of you.  We hope that you will feel happiness, health and the love we feel every yard we gain towards a win.  We wish you a wonderful day of giving thanks with your family or friends.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Love To All,
Team Fouch 
 

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Happy Friday-
I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful flakes of snow that are falling outside.  I am sure some of our fans in warmer climates wish they could experience the beauty of the snow as it falls, sticks to the trees and reminds us that each day brings another surprise, each day we wake up brings about blessings and hope.

I have hesitated posting anything this week after our scan results.  Part of the reason is because Matt, the kids and I needed to wrap our heads around what we know, and what that means as we continue towards our victory. I guess we needed a "replay" of what we had heard. Matt and I met with our oncologist Wednesday prior to Matt's 8th treatment to discuss what the scans showed about Matt's cancer.  We were so anxious to get these results, the unknown is very freighting.  We were fortunate enough to have some great distractions Tuesday evening to get our minds away from the "what ifs!"  Tuesday was Jake's 17th birthday and to celebrate we headed to Detroit to watch our favorite hockey team and our favorite hockey player, #41.  The Wings were victorious in an overtime win!  Being at the game helped us forget our worries and enjoy Jake's birthday and simply being with each other doing something that felt normal. 
The next morning we went through the normal routine, sent the kids to school and headed down to Lemmon Holten.  Matt had his labs done and then it was time to see Dr. Santos.  We were told Matt's tumors were "stable" meaning unchanged.  This was disappointing to hear at first since we were hoping for great changes, we wanted to hear that they had shrunk.  We were then told that two lymph nodes by his lungs lit up, which caused concern and further investigation.  I have to say that this was a huge hit, loss of yards in our minds.  Our doctor can't confirm what that means or why.  He referred us to the pulmonary doctor at Lemmon Holten to get some more information.  Now, immediately we assumed the worst, that cancer had spread to another part of his body.  However, after taking a few days to absorb the information we know, we are hoping that it is an infection or another reason that does not involve the word cancer.  We are also feeling thankful that his liver and colon are "stable."  Yes, no shrinkage, but no new growths in those areas! Sometimes it takes some time or a replay of events to put things into perspective.  We have only been playing this game since July 18, 2018.  It feels like years on many days, but actually it has only been a few months.  We also know that Matt feels good!  He looks good and he is a fighter.  Cancer has nothing on this guy!  We know that we have fans and supporters all over the world and that God has a plan!  So, with this said, we are not done with this game, we will continue to fight for victory!  We might need to look at our playbook and choose some new defensive plays to use, but thank God, we are able to do that!  So, until next time I will leave you with what I am finding strength in as we learn more.

I will choose..
Faith over fear
Affection over anger
Joy over jealously
Serenity over sadness
Peace over panic
Love over loathing
Support over stress
Tranquility over turmoil
Assurance over anxiety
I will choose to trust in the plan!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!  Spread some love, cheer loudly and keep us in your prayers!
Love to all, Team Fouch

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Often teams have sponsors, an individual or group that supports the team and believes in the team.  Team Fouch has had and still has many sponsors that keep us going, believe in us and are there to guide us and help us succeed.  One of these many sponsors is the EGR Football Program.  This sponsor has been part of Matt's life for the past twenty two years and continued to be there this fall even when our journey was unknown. 
When we first learned of Matt's diagnosis in July, we were not sure what our "normal" would look like as we entered the time of year we loved, football season.  The one thing that gave us reassurance was that The Pioneers rallied around us, showing us they believed in us and the strength we had to start our very own game.  The football program has been part of our "family" long before we had kids, let alone a kid playing high school football.  This program has taught and continues to teach Matt and our family so many lessons. Lessons that can be used right now during our fight against cancer.  The players past and present have shown us how to get back up, play until the buzzer sounds, practice toughness both mentally and physically, lock arms together and play as a team, stand tall in the face of an opponent that is fierce and much bigger, out play the opponent by using the tools taught in practice, hold our heads up high, cry if we need to, lean on others for support, be flexible as well as work together for a single goal, victory! 

The coaches that have been there with Matt the past twenty-two years, some still coaching at EGR and some that have moved on, have taught Matt how to lead by example, except nothing but each player's best effort (including himself), plan for the opponent, how to use each player's talents to succeed, when to be a "jerk" and when to "let up", how to encourage mental and physical toughness, how to win, how to lose, how to apologize for his actions on the field and how to take high school boys and help them become young men that yearn for a common goal, victory.

The parents and fans that have been there with Matt have showed us how to support our "own" kids as well as their kids.  They have modeled how to face a loss with Grace and how to win with class.  Passed along what tradition looks like, that family is the most important part when it comes to falling short of a goal and as well as when the team celebrates a victory!

Well the season ended after a well fought game last Friday against Muskegon.  The boys, coaches, parents and fans all knew that heart would carry our Pioneer Team when put up against a team that had many players much bigger than our guys.  No one thought that our guys could hang with Muskegon, but guess what?  They did, they were a team, a group of young men that played with all their heart, play after play!  They played with class and integrity.  Yes, the score indicated that we lost by a touch town, but the way our Pioneers carried themselves and played with 100% heart and pure grit, they were victorious!  

Without this as one of Team Fouch's sponsors this fall, our fight would have been much different.  Each day Matt knew that at 3:00 pm he could head to the high school and do something he loved. Bantering with coaches, watching players grow from August 6 until October 26 was a driving force for Matt.  Since we didn't know what his treatments were going to do to him physically, taking time off school was our best option.  I can tell you that he has hated every minute of being out of the classroom.  The one thing that kept him going was the connection to football program.  So now we put coaching away, and welcome back teaching this month.  Matt will head back to the classroom and continue with treatments.  He is beyond excited!  We aren't exactly sure what will happen after this first round of treatments, but what we do know is our game is not over.  The score is 49-0 and Team Fouch is out to win.  

Please say a prayer, send a good thought or whatever you feel you can do tonight to bring peace to us.  Tomorrow Matt will have his first scan since his diagnosis.  I would lie if I said we were not extremely anxious about this scan.  The worst part is, we wait a week to find out what progress has been made.  I will update and share news as we feel comfortable understanding the results of his scan etc.

Keep cheering loudly, we want a victory against this horrible opponent.  We are a team, with a common goal and that is a VICTORY!

Love to all,
Team Fouch

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Sometimes during half time a player has to get a body part  taped up to help during the rest of the game.  Well Matt is one of those guys.  At this moment he is having his current port removed and a new one placed on the other side.  His current port had some issues so the best plan was to replace it with a new one.  At first he was kinda like “are you kidding me?!”  Now, be fore they took him back he said “Well at least now I can go hunting since they are switching sides!  Yes folks, glass half full!

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Hello Fans!
We have officially ended our first half of this game.  Last week Matt had his sixth treatment, six more to go for this round of treatment.  We met with our Oncologist and then started with Matt's infusion.  Since his rash had healed up we added the Vectribix back into the regimen.  We are prepared with the right meds, creams and know what it might look like at it's worst.  Matt was extremely happy to get that extra cancer fighting med back.  Matt's three month scan is also just around the corner.  We have it scheduled, but then will have to wait until we meet with the doctor to go over the results.  That might be the worst part, but we will use some distractions to get through our "Scanxiety."

So like any game, by the time half time comes, we are tired in so many ways.  Knowing that we need to keep our eyes on the win and that there is a bigger plan helps most of the time.  However, sometimes we struggle, feel beat down, lose a few yards and feel that our emotions have taken a big hit.  But, we remember, we are strong, prepared and looking for a victory.  We pick ourselves up, give our selves a pep talk (prayer and meditation), huddle together and get lined back up to play.
It seems that just at the right time we start hearing the cheers from our supporters again, loud and clear energizing us to make another tackle.

So during this half time we have given and listened to many pep talks.  We have looked at our goal, how we want to play this game and what the next half will look like.  Spending this time together and reflecting is precious and needed as we move forward.  I find myself looking for different ways to refresh, hydrate and enjoy this time.  On my travels this past weekend I ventured into Five and Below looking for "fidgits" for my classroom.  Like those that have been to that store before, you walk in looking for one item and leave with many more items.  One of the things I picked up was a book.  This book is a place to record answers to 2000 questions.  These questions are short, some are easy and some are hard, but  tell so much about a person.  Poor Matt, he now was the victim as I asked him fifty questions the first night.  The boys were listening and actually enjoyed both the questions and answers Matt was giving.  Zac has repeatedly asked if we can ask dad more questions, and asking ten at a time is not enough.  This will continue to be a fun way to reflect and let the kids get to know their dad in a different way.  I enjoyed the questions so much, I bought myself a copy and intend on answering the questions too.  I realized by doing this with Matt, that even though we have been with someone we love for a very long time, we do not know everything about them.  It made me realize that I want to know everything, I want my kids to know everything they can about both of us.  So this is how we will spend the rest of our half-time, and since there are 2000 questions, we will be doing this for a while.  

I challenge you all to get to know someone you love better, I mean really get to know them.  Once you find out more, treasure that information.  As we all know, life can be changed in a matter of hours.  

I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Keep praying, cheering and sending positive thoughts. All of these acts help us pick ourselves up, prepare to carry on our fight and get closer to victory.

Love to all,
Jill
  • What a great way to spend time together!
    What a great way to spend time together!

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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