Journal entry by Jill Fouch

Good Evening,

We made it back to Grand Rapids late Friday night from our recruiting trip.  We were welcomed back with the blessing of a generator to help warm our house up and three excited kids.  Our power went out at 2:50 am Wednesday morning and came back on last night.  I have to say that we felt pretty helpless in Houston knowing that so many were without heat, but grateful my brother kept everyone laughing and making memories regardless of the situation.  I am sure we are not the only ones extremely thankful some of the things we have taken for granted in our lives.  We found ourselves thanking God for the ongoing support and love from our family, friends and community that seem to hold us tight during a time of a big tackle.    

The last time I updated we had just finished a long day at MD Anderson Hospital.  Tuesday was a day of rest, reading and a short field trip to the Galleria Mall.  I was surprised that Matt wanted to go, in fact it was his idea:)  I have to say, a much different experience than my Target or TJ Maxx trips.  Watching people interact and move about is one of my favorite things to do, I was able to to do plenty of that.

Wednesday afternoon was our appointment with our oncologist to go over results of Matt's scans and blood work.  I have to say that we all were pretty nervous, pretty normal when you are learning about a possible new play or the stats of an opponent that is so fierce.  As we started our appointment I could sense that we were about to be tackled big time with the results.  Matt's tumors showed progression in size in both the colon and the liver.  The amount of lymph nodes affected increased in his abdomen and one spot showed up in his right lung.  For a brief time I think we had the wind knocked out of us.  As we managed to get back to our feet, and we started talking about our defense. We discussed what needed to change in order to be strong and stop the B-RAF mutation that adds an extra punch to stopping this monster.  We felt comfortable with the team that we were given at MD Anderson, and they continued to answer questions and give us needed information.  It was decided that we proceed with the new treatment locally, with another trip to Houston mid April for scans and blood work.  This will probably be the game plan for the future, a visit to MD Anderson every 10-12 weeks.  We are hoping to keep treatments locally but we will let God take control, for his plan is the one we need to follow.  Please pray that our local oncologist feels the same urgency that Dr. Johnson did in Houston to get this treatment started as soon as possible.  Also pray that the side effects are manageable for Matt.  He is a trooper, mouth sores, stomach issues, constant fatigue and nausea have a hard time keeping him down. 

We finished up the week absorbing the new information, getting familiar with all that MD Anderson has to offer and setting up our next steps.  One observation that I made as we walked around the hospital is the care and compassion that everyone had for one another, regardless of their age, gender, race, cultural background, gender identity, religion or physical abilities.  This made me think that if people that are dealt such a difficult time can accept, embrace and understand each other, why can't our entire population do this on a daily basis.  I am still trying to come up with that answer, I probably won't in my lifetime, but I will continue to model the behaviors I saw.

I mentioned before how nothing is a coincidence, which leads me into our Thursday night Lyft story.  We decided to meet up with some EGRPS HS staff for dinner.(They happened to be there for an IB conference) We climbed into our Lyft car and on the dashboard was a baseball cap that said "Pray."  I mentioned to Darren, our driver, that we had been doing a lot of praying.  We shared that we were in Houston for another opinion on Matt's cancer.  He started reciting the verse from James 5:13.  Matt and I looked at each other in disbelief since this was the verse shared with us prior to our departure by Adam, and we knew once again, that nothing is a coincidence but rather a message from above.  When we arrived at the restaurant he asked if he could pray with us, we jumped at the chance.  What an experience, what a message, what a great way to send us back home.

So as we start out new defense, our new game plan, we need you to continue to cheer for us, pray with us and send thoughts that wrap us with courage, peace and love.  All of these things help us stay in the game.  Our opponent is trying really hard to knock us down, but Team Fouch does not give up without a fight.

Until next time,
Love to all,
Team Fouch
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