For those of you who are here and who know Kourtney, Matt and Noah, you know that they are a young, beautiful, Godly family whose lives, as this sweet unit, have only just begun. They are kind, generous and light-filled individuals who make those around them feel important.
Matt, at 38 years old, is fighting against Stage 3 Colorectal Cancer.
Kourtney and Matt met on Memorial Day weekend in 2011 at a friend’s house. Their relationship began and they eventually married on March 19, 2016. On October 5, 2017 the joy of their lives, Noah, was born.
On November 9, 2018, Matt was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colorectal Cancer Following many tests, it was confirmed at this time that it had not spread anywhere else. They were so grateful and on November 20, he had his chemo port installed in preparation for upcoming chemo treatments. Because of the size and location of the tumor, Matt would have chemo and radiation treatments to try and shrink the tumor so they would be able to operate. Chemo treatments began on December 12, and Matt wore a chemo pump attached to his port for 6 weeks straight that continuously pumped chemo into his body 24/7. Around the same time, Matt started radiation treatments as well. He endured 28 treatments over 8 weeks and finished both chemo and radiation treatments mid-January.
Their new life together was not to be the same and changed overnight with this diagnosis.
After treatments, the plan was to let Matt’s body rest and let the chemo/radiation continue to work and shrink the tumor. At this point, they had no idea whether the treatments had worked. Matt had an MRI just before Valentine’s Day to see if the tumor was operable, and it was confirmed that the tumor had shrunk to half its size and surgery was now an option.
On March 15, Matt was admitted for surgery to remove the tumor. Matt was hospitalized for three days post-surgery and had a long recovery at home over several months. While recovering, the pathology report came back, and it was good news. The surgeon got clean margins and the 17 lymph nodes that they tested were clean. They, and the doctors, considered him to be cancer free and while needing a permanent colostomy, he knew there was light at the end of this battle.
On April 29, Matt started post-op chemo during which he would be on a 2.5 hour drip each visit. He would then wear his pump home and return two days later to take it off. Matt would continue this same regimen, having 8 total treatments over 16 weeks. On August 23, 2019, chemo officially was over, and Matt got to ring the bell to close this chapter in his life. This was a time of some relief and celebration with the belief that he’d turned the corner and finished his fight.
Early October, only two months after ringing the bell, Matt started running a fever that continued for 10 days or so. They thought it was a virus Noah had brought home from daycare that Matt couldn’t shake. Finally, on October 28, Matt was taken to the ER, and the usual tests were run to check for infection. Tests came back clean for any infection, which was good news but didn’t explain the high fevers he was continually having. They waiting for hours to get the CT results which heartbreakingly confirmed he had two new masses. The scans showed a new mass on his liver and one near the initial tumor site. Matt was admitted to the hospital that night. The following day, they took a biopsy of the mass on his liver to confirm if it was cancer. Before leaving the hospital on Halloween, the biopsy results came back confirming that he had metastatic colon cancer…it had spread. Kourtney and Matt went home to once again position themselves to handle another heart-breaking and frightening turn of events. The day after leaving the hospital, Matt was scheduled to have a PET scan to find out if his cancer had spread anywhere else.On November 4, they met with his oncologist to get the PET results which did provide some good news—the mass at the initial site of the tumor was just scar tissue and there was only the one mass on his liver that they felt was operable. Matt’s surgeon called that afternoon after looking at the results and said, “Let’s take out the tumor. I can get it and still leave enough of your liver to function.” Surgery was scheduled for November 21, 2019.
While in the hospital that previous week, Matt started feeling short of breath and had trouble taking deep breaths. On Thursday, November 7, when back home, Matt woke Kourtney up in the middle of the night because he was in so much pain and could not breathe. She called an ambulance who took him back to St. Thomas. After more tests that came back clean, his CT showed he had blood clots in both of his lungs. Earlier this year, Matt had a blood clot in his port catheter, so he was put on blood thinners at that time. Previously when Matt entered the hospital on October 28, he had not taken his blood thinner meds because he was almost out of them. This was a blessing in disguise that had enabled the doctors to take the liver biopsy. Matt was instructed to stay off his blood thinner meds in preparation for surgery. But, with each day of not taking these blood thinners, clots appeared in his lungs and after an ultrasound, it was confirmed he had them in both of his legs and one in his upper right arm. Matt was in the hospital from November 7-14 to receive care for blood clots. He was and is in an immense amount of pain and is on oxygen currently to help him breathe.
Matt had to be seen by an anesthesiologist to confirm if he was healthy/stable enough to have this upcoming surgery. He agreed that Matt is fit for surgery and will have a liver re-section on November 21. Matt’s tumor biopsy has been sent off for molecular profiling, and they will get a post-op chemotherapy plan once again.
Their medical bills are mounting and grow daily, if not hourly. They have been paying $500/month in medical bills since last December 2018 and will start with new ones in January 2020 with more bills before they meet the new year’s deductible. The medicines he is on are expensive which we will incur a cost starting in January. Matt will be on blood thinners for the rest of his life. In addition, Matt has monthly ostomy supplies that will be a recurring cost every month for the rest of his life.
They need help…anything that you can donate to contribute to Matt’s fight for health will be eternally appreciated.
As you all know, Matt is a Godly man who has leaned on his faith and family to get him through the past year. He wanted to share some lyrics that have helped him, and that he continues to listen to over and over:
By Beautiful Eulogy
We will not lose heart.
Even though this present age will waste away,
We will surely suffer, but it's a slight momentary trouble.
The deconstruction is painful, but the transformation is beautiful.
When we, the children of God, are crushed under the heavy affliction of this world, be reminded that it's weightless in comparison to the eternal measure of God's glory.
We have lost our eyes for the unseen and have swallowed the false hope of the visible.
We must realize the empty grave and revel in the certainty of His resurrection with assurance of renewal, considering it worthy to suffer for the faith.
So, we will worship while we wait.
- Brian Bandas
- Mai Williams
- Nora Moser
Organizer and beneficiary