A year ago today, this was our reality. 4am wake ups. I’m guessing that’s why I’m up at 4am writing this.
A year ago Matt was going in to have his ileostomy reversed. He had originally gotten it during an emergency surgery to attempt to remove a blockage that revealed his cancer. For 11 months he suffered. He was so happy that day going in. He was not a morning person but he bounced out of bed, ready to go.
The following are my words from Facebook that day. They show the raw emotion and the roller coaster of what a cancer family goes through. We were so full of hope. Even with every setback, we never gave up. I’m so proud of how he fought. I’ve never seen someone so brave.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
– Deuteronomy 31:8
“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
– Psalms 139:16
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight.”
These verses are giving me peace this morning. I’m so proud of Matt and how far he’s come and how hard he has fought to get here. We love him so much!
*This is where I will post surgery updates today. Please refer to this post for updates throughout the day until Matt is out of surgery and comfortably in his room resting. Love you all*
Battle song for the day picked by Matt-
Update 6:37 am- Matt is checked in and on the 7th floor waiting to be taken back for prep. He is nervous and it could be hours before the surgery actually begins so please pray he can rest between now and then. I will update when he is taken back for prep.
Update 7:02 am- They have taken Matt back to prep him and we will be called back to be with him when they’re done.
Update 8:51 am- They have taken him back for surgery. They prepared him for possibly not being able to reverse the bag right now depending on what the colon looks like when they get in. Please pray so hard that they are able to safely resection the colon and reverse the ileostomy all in one surgery. He is desperate for it to be reversed so his quality of life is better.
Update 9:38 am- Surgery has started. Please hit your knees and pray for Matt. We are asking God to remove the burden of the ileostomy so he can continue to heal. Pray for the surgeons and the nurses and they work on Matt. Love you all.
Update 10:44 am- he has been under for over an hour now. At the 2 hour mark we will get an update. Please continue to pray and I will update when we get an update from the operating room at 11:40ish.
Update 11:31 am- he is still in active surgery. Please continue to pray for us. He is now 2 hours in and they could not give us a time that he would be done because it’s a complex surgery. Please pray they are able to do everything they need to do.
Update 12:43 pm- the bag is gone! The ileostomy reversal was able to be completed! Matt lost a large portion of his colon and had to be cut pretty big to remove the diseased portion of the colon but they got it. He still has evidence of disease on his abdominal wall so more treatment will be needed, but we are thanking GOD today for the ileostomy reversal and colon resection. Please pray for him as he recovers and I will update when he has a room number! I cannot wait to see his face when he realizes that bag is gone!
Update 3:30 pm- Matt is still in recovery. I’m with him, he’s doing good, but he is in pain. His incision is about 6 inches vertically and the ileostomy hole that was there has a drain out of it to help it heal. The are managing his pain with a morphine pump. His room number will be W714 in the Spain Wallace Building on the 7th floor at UAB. The first words he said to me were “Cyndi, it’s gone” (referring to the ileostomy). The original tumor is also gone. The abdominal spread is still there so he is NOT cancer free, but he is ileostomy free and the diseased parts of his colon are gone. I will update when we get into his room. Love you all💙”
This is when Q finally got to see him after surgery. He was so relieved to just squeeze her. She’s seen so much. We’ve been through so much. The trauma of it all is still very present in ways I’m not sure I can put into words, but the thought of going to a hospital for anything terrifies me now. My worst nightmare is something happening that makes us have to overnight at a hospital.
Last thanksgiving we spent in the hospital room with him. This thanksgiving we will spend with my family. He loved the holidays. Halloween was our anniversary and it almost took me out this year.
Last night we had Thanksgiving dinner at church. I couldn’t sit still. I kept having to walk away from the large group of people for fresh air. Last year he was there for that. This year he wasn’t.
Quinn and I left early. If he was there with us, he would stay til the very end and be stacking chairs and helping clean up like he did last year.
People tell me that the loss of loved ones is felt most at the holidays. I wasn’t prepared for how bad this would actually feel.
He should be here. He’s not. We have to try and go on somehow without him.
We’ll just keep forcing smiles until it feels ok.