Welcome to all that are reading this… this blog is mainly designed for our Long Service Leave which hopefully starts on April 13th (subject to us being organised). But before that we wanted to share about our time in the last few months. (Matt writing) After our awesome holidays at the end of term three, I started to feel unwell. I was really up and down health-wise during fourth term, but soldiered on at work and at home. Here are some photos of those holidays (so the blog isn’t all about health!)
Fishing out the back of the houseboat… Thanks Robin & Rebecca!
The two Matts, Naomi & Felicity all holding big reds…
Lucy at the Minlaton show and nearly all of the Vince/Baird kids jumping off a small dune… December: (Felicity writing) About the 8th December we went to the local Barker Clinic cause Matt had persistent headaches, but the doctor said he had the flu. We went home, but he got worse and experienced loss of balance. Matt said to me he was fine to go to the toilet, but needed help to get there. I rang the Ambulance. He was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and after many scans was diagnosed with “bleeding on the brain…” He was then transferred to Memorial the next morning. (Matt writing) I needed to stay in hospital for 4 days. Being in hospital during this time was frustrating because of the pain I was in, and the doctors and the nurses didn’t help me… The pain was shooting down my legs and then would go away… I got out on Day#1 of the Australia India Test match. This was frustrating as I had just become a SACA member and could see the Adelaide Oval from the balcony of the hospital. I came good for Christmas & New Year but then went downhill again… January (Felicity writing) We had planned a weeks’ holiday at Moana Beach with family and friends. While packing for this Matt continued getting headaches and pain in his back. I emailed the prayer chain and remembered writing how when I was praying I saw a picture of Matt and I wearing backpacks which seemed to be weighing us down. I felt like in these backpacks was “Matt’s Health Journey”, where I always seemed to be thinking and worrying about his health. I was over it!!!! On the day before we went to Moana I said to Matt that if he still had aches and pain on the Monday then he needed to ring his Professor, because something was not right. (Matt writing) I remember unpacking the camper trailer (or should I say trying to unpack) when we reached the park. I was still in lots of pain. The few days I was at Moana I spent sleeping in the camper or lying in my parent’s caravan (with air con). My head was throbbing and the shooting pains were back in my leg. After a few days of me only getting up to go to the toilet (a 50m walk) Felicity made the ultimatum… I agreed, as I was a mess. (I should have been teaching Naomi how to surf with her new board amongst other holiday things). I rang my Professor (who was actually on holidays). He organised for me to have a scan the following day. I actually ended up ringing him again because I was then being physically sick as well. (Felicity writing) So here we were sitting with Professor on Wednesday morning a 9am. He looked at the scans. He said there seemed to be some fluid build-up which he reckoned needed to be drained… he then went on to say there seemed to be some tumour growth too??? WHAT!! He was on holidays so he couldn’t perform the surgery… the person who normally took his spot when he was away…. was away herself. So he then found a lady at the RAH who was prepared to do the drainage that day (and might do the tumour resection as well), we just needed to wait and see. Within a day we went from scans to operation. The operation was successful which was great (thankyou surgeons & thankyou God).
During Matt’s 2 week stint in hospital I was going to and fro. Initially from Moana and back, then from home and back. The kids during this time were fine as they were being occupied and being looked after. (Matt writing) I felt lots of pain, but not from my head… it was down my back and into my legs and arms. I was tested in many ways until thankfully they found the ‘problem’. The doctor and the head nurse organized a time to meet with me and my wife and told us that the cancer had moved to my spinal cord. They called it ‘sugar coating’ of the spine. This was a tough thing to hear. Which led to… Radiotherapy (Felicity writing) Matt had this for 12 days. It felt like a long time, going in each day etc. He was generally tired and just lay on the couch. He took in his go pro camera one session so he could show the girls what was making him so tired and unwell. It wasn’t really until day 11 that it started getting hard for him to swallow and keep things down. (Matt writing) Radiotherapy of course doesn’t hurt when you are there actually doing it… But every day you do the same thing… You wait, you finally get in and then 20 minutes later you are back in the car. But being in the car hurt my back and by the time I got home I was in agony. The real pain came after radiotherapy: throat issues.
- The throat issues came with being unable to eat and drink properly
- I would do really well by eating then swallow badly and vomit
- God taught me patience in a major way during those 3 weeks
A slow recovery… But then in four days I had exponential health improvement. Since then I have had some of my painkillers taken away. I feel unbelievable compared to before the operation and radiotherapy, and I’m getting better and fitter every day! That’s why we are going on long service leave (which we have planned for four years) as all our doctors have given us the all clear to leave for a couple of months. So this blog is actually to show you that we are going on long service leave very soon. However we know that a lot of people wanted to hear the story of our journey in the last few months.
Here is a song that encouraged Felicity through these months…