Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Hello from Team Fouch!

Team Fouch 14-Cancer 0
Matt had his second treatment yesterday.  After talking to our Oncologist, having his blood drawn, he was hooked up and we prepared to score our second touchdown.  The blood test came back with his WBC, RBC, Hemoglobin and platelets all in the normal range!  That news right there was a huge play toward scoring our second goal.  We were feeling so lucky that he didn't feel many side effects after our last score, and hoping that this would continue to be the case after his treatment.  He felt well enough to go to the scrimmages last night, and of course had his body guard with him(Zac).  His face showed pure joy as he watched all levels play, especially as he watched Jake in his first varsity scrimmage.  He did have some cold sensitivity last night.  This is a common side effect with the type of chemo he is on.  Touching cold and/or eating/drinking cold food and drinks are painful when this happens.  Today, he claims it is better!  I am not surprised because he is bound and determined to continue playing this game and will not let pain slow him down.

So I mentioned to "Cue the Band" in the title of this post.  It seems that when people are going through a hard time, a certain song gives them strength, focus and determination.  Well, leave it to Maddie to find just the right song.  She started Matt's day by blasting "I Am The Champion" by Carrie Underwood.  The lyrics and video can be found at the end of this entry.  It is a great song with a great message.  I challenge you to listen to it once for Matt!  

Until Next Time, keep praying and sending positive thoughts!
Team Fouch

I am The Champion, By Carrie Underwood
I'll be the last one standing
Two hands in the air, I'm a champion
You'll be looking up at me when it's over
I live for the battle, I'm a soldier, yeah
I'm a fighter like Rocky
Put you flat on your back like Ali
Yeah, I'm the greatest, I'm stronger
Paid my dues, can't lose, Imma own ya, ay
I've been working my whole life
And now it's do or die
I am invincible, unbreakable
Unstoppable, unshakeable
They knock me down, I get up again
I am the champion
You're gonna know my name
You can't hurt me now
I can't feel the pain
I was made for this, yeah, I was born to win
I am the champion
When they write my story
They're gonna say that I did it for the glory
But don't think that I did it for the fame, yeah
I did it for the love of the game, yeah
And this is my chance I'm taking
All them old records I'm breaking
All you people watching on the TV
You go ahead and put your bets on me, ay
I've been waiting my whole life
To see my name in lights
I am invincible, unbreakable
Unstoppable, unshakeable
They knock me down, I get up again
I am the champion
You're gonna know my name
You can't hurt me now
I can't feel the pain
I was made for this, yeah, I was born to win
I am the champion, oh
Born champion, Luda
The C is for the courage I possess through the drama
H is for the hurt but it's all for the honor
A is for my attitude working through the patience
Money comes and goes so the M is for motivation
Gotta stay consistent, the P is to persevere
The I is for integrity, innovative career
The O is optimistic, open and never shut
And the N is necessary 'cause I'm never giving up
See they ask me how I did it, I just did it from the heart
Crushing the competition, been doing it from the start
They say that every champion is all about his principles
I am invincible, unbreakable
Unstoppable, unshakeable
They knock me down, I get up again
I am the champion
You're gonna know my name
You can't hurt me now
I can't feel the pain
I was made for this, yeah, I was born to win
I am the champion
I'm the champion, yeah
Surpassed all rivals
It's all about who wants it the most (I am the champion)
Fight for what we believe in
That's what champions are made of
I am the champion
Songwriters: Brett James / Chris De Stefano / Christopher Brian Bridges / Carrie Underwood
The Champion lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Journal entry by Holly Lampen

Hi Everyone
After much work, Sue McKeel, Kathy Larson and I finally convinced Jill that some meals might be helpful. We all love Team Fouch so much and are looking for ways we can show it, so here is the link. 

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Hello, and Happy Sunday!  What a beautiful day! We embraced each and every minute of the weekend.  Matt had a busy week that was so wonderful for his mental well-being.  He made it to almost every football practice and stayed as long as he could. (which most days was the entire time) Mornings were much easier, by the middle of the afternoon practice he was hot and tired.  Naps and/or rest was a great help in between.  Maddie returned from camp on Friday and had a great time.  She was tired as well, and appreciated having some time to decompress.  Zac started his week as his dad's bodyguard at practices, then had a short trip to my sister and brother-n-law's house.  No news to us that he was spoiled every minute he was there.  Jake made it through his first week of varsity football practices.  He came home sweaty, tired, hot and hungry.  Most importantly he came home so happy!  This weekend we spent time together, soaking in the last days of summer before I start professional development on Tuesday at school.  Our kids start next Monday, August 20.  When I first heard about our early start date, I have to admit I was sad.  However, I am ready to wrap up summer and get our routine established and more of Matt's chemo treatments completed so we can mark them as "done."

So I titled this post as "Meet Our Team Members!"  We have had so much support from everyone!  Matt and I reflect on this often, it brings great joy.  We know that due to this support and our faith, that is how we have gained strength, a positive attitude and peace about our journey.  Of course we have so many relatives, friends, students, former students, student's families, colleagues and community members cheering us on in the stands!  It is not possible to adequately express how this has made us feel, and will continue to carry us going forward.  We have also had our immediate family members providing support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I thought it would be fitting to introduce our families and the current position they hold on our team.

Assistant Coaches-Our parents, Carolyn and Gary Vaughan and Jerry and Sue Fouch- Looking at our own EGR staff, I know how important it is to have many people with different talents supporting the head coach and the team.  God of course is our head coach, but each of our parents provide help, instruction, pep talks, needed hugs,  unconditional love and inspiration to us.  These are all things that will continue to make us a successful team.

Referees- My sister and brother-n-law-Kristen (Sissie as my kids refer to her) and Uncle Tim Hennessey.  These two help with some of the tough decisions and tasks.  They are monitoring our team emotionally and making sure that penalties are called when necessary. (stress can sometimes require team members to take a brief water break)

Team Nutritionists-Matt's sister Allison and our brother-n-law Brody Duncan.  When Matt first came home from the hospital, he took on an entirely new way of fueling himself.  Allison and Brody were by his side, using their experiences and knowledge to help.  They have researched, shared information and given us some hands on instruction.  This has been very important to keep Matt's body ready for chemo, hopefully sidelining or decreasing side effects of his treatment.

Media and Marketing Specialists-Matt's brother David and our sister-n-law Ashley Fouch.  They have spent endless hours of sharing ways to show Matt support.  They made the hats possible, and WOW, just WOW!  They have also been able to communicate to others about what our journey looks like, which sometimes has become so exhausting for us to do.

Team Chaplins-My brother Greg Vaughan and my nephew Brady Vaughan.  My brother has been able to strengthen our faith in ways he may not be aware of.  He gives us things to ponder and provides guidance when needed.  He has helped give words of encouragement to our kids and helping them understand that "God has a plan."  My nephew Brady, sends us texts that lift our spirits, come from the heart and seem to come at just the right moments. After he found out, he rode his bike to church and lit candles for his "Uncle Matt." 

Team Trainer-My sister-n-law Karri (greg's wife), is a PA in Traverse City.  Karri has been our go to with questions that arise about physical, mental and emotional components of cancer.  She is always a phone call away, but she checks in each day to see how things are going, while giving us encouragement.  She is able to break down some of the medical terminology we don't quite understand and was on speaker phone for our first appointment to the oncologist.  This was so comforting to both of us.

Comic Relief-Cooper and Sully Fouch, David and Ashley's kids.  Anyone that went or attends East knows about the "Chicken Man" at games. If you don't know about "Chicken Man" he is a HS senior that has been picked by the previous "Chicken Man."   He has the important job of swinging a rubber chicken above the student's heads while leading them in a chat after each touchdown. Well these two come pretty close to hyping up the crowd when they are around.  We are lucky to have these two around showing us that humor is good medicine.  Really,Who doesn't love popcorn and lemonade while picking up "Team Fouch" hats!.  I think these two have a future in sales.

Cheerleaders/Dance Team-Max (Karri and Greg's son) and Scout and Luci (Allison and Brody's girls)-These three are rocking the entertainment, leading group cheers and performing dances for whatever might be happening during the game.  They really don't realize that they doing this, but we do and love it!  Sometimes it's pure innocence that helps us see what is important in life. 

Players to watch-Jake, Maddie and Z- These three are the players coaches love.  They switch positions on the field and during the game when asked, because it's for the team.  I have never seen such flexibility and commitment to do whatever our team might need.  These kids are strong, tough and have their sights set on a win!  

Matt and I sure feel fortunate to have the best team and fans around.  We are so appreciative and will continue to need you all during this game.  The game may drag on, water breaks and time outs will be needed, some calls may go our way and others we will want to argue.  We will see turn overs, first downs, "Hail Mary" plays, crazy plays, unexpected penalties, plays that make us smile and cheer.  However, yard by yard, we will work towards scoring against cancer.  
Enjoy your week!  Keep those prayers, encouraging words and loud cheers coming!

Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Those of you reading about our journey, you get two updates today!  As Matt posted earlier, he went to practice today, both practices.  It felt good to get him out of the house doing something he loves.  I felt a bit uneasy, since he hasn't been out of my sight much in the past couple weeks, lucky Matt!  He thought he was free, but Zac assured me he would keep his dad under a watchful eye.  (He also mentioned getting our awesome trainer Courtney for back up if needed, he is something else!)
I think Z looks forward to practices as much as Matt does.  Z has been on the sidelines since he could understand that he needed to stay out of the way, when the coaches are yelling at him for water, they really aren't angry and what is said on the field stays on the field.  Jake made it through both practices, coming home hot, hungry, tired, but super excited!  Maddie is at Springhill Camp this week.   It seems strange to have her gone, she is my deep thinker and seems to know just when I need a hug.  I ventured out this evening to run errands, after my 4th or 5th call home to check in, Matt sort of indicated that I didn't need to call again:)

Tomorrow, August 7th, we celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary.  Each year we have searched for the perfect card, perhaps splurged on a gift, went to dinner and toasted to another year filled with joy, love and adventures!  This year, our anniversary feels different, it reminds me of the vows we said and what they truly mean.  When I repeated "In sickness and in health," I never dreamed how important that single line would be nineteen years later.  I have a whole new appreciation for our vows as I cheer Matt on and commit to being his biggest fan, throughout this entire game we are playing.  Fortunately we have so many fans supporting us, cheering loudly, helping us up, getting us prepared for the next play, coaching us, giving us a pat on the back, a hug, a prayer and reminding us that their is no "I" in team.  

I know the game we are playing is tough, but right now I feel a strength I have never felt. I feel great joy because Matt and I can celebrate another year together.  I am experiencing love that only seems to get stronger every day. I feel at peace knowing that our family will continue to make memories each day.  

Keep those prayers coming, positive thoughts and good vibes coming!  And most importantly, remember...

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a 

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

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 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 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

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 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

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.