Well, it has been a very strange and interesting last two weeks. Really, one of the strangest, scariest and most blessed of my entire life. Let me do this Soap Opera style -
Previously, on Matt's life. . .
Okay, so two weeks ago, we were in Utah at my Grandma's funeral. We left the Beehive state on Tuesday and arrived in sunny Las Vegas later that day. I wasn't feeling great that day and Leah made the entire drive herself. She said she wanted to see if she could do it, but I suspect she didn't trust me behind the wheel at the time. I was totally exhausted from packing the car. I mean, I could barely get the suitcases into the car and was simply "dead on my feet". I don't have any idea how I got the cartop carrier on and filled. I would move a bag up, then sit down in the car and rest for five minutes. It was ridiculous. But, we made it to Henderson, signed the papers for our house and settled down campout style that night.
The new VP of sales was coming in on Wednesday night and my boss wanted to make sure we had everything ready. However, the movers were coming on Wednesday morning and I had to be there to sign for everything. I finally got into work on Wednesday afternoon and got things ready for the next few days, caught up on emails, etc. Again, I got home and was just exhausted. Except for feeling under-dressed on Thursday and Friday (all my nice clothes were still in boxes), the visit with the VP went well. Each night, after work, I came home and just fell into bed. I'm sure the kids thought I was the laziest person on the face of the earth, but I literally had no energy. I felt awful, but just assumed that as soon as things got back to normal, I would pickup.
Saturday, Leah and Sarah (visiting with her kids from Utah to help with the unpacking) decided to give me a day of rest. I slept almost the entire day. I was totally lazy. By the end of the day, I thought things were going better. I was excited for Church the next day and to meet our new ward. I didn't feel perfect, but I felt better. Until that night. Overnight, things got really bad. My stomach started really hurting. I threw up a few times and couldn't keep anything down. We'd eaten Chili's for dinner, so I thought maybe I overdid it, but I was in lousy shape. Sunday morning, I decided I would rest while everyone else went to Church. Then I decided I was being ungrateful and needed to go to Church. So, I got up and showered and got in my suit. I came downstairs and Church was going to be starting in about five minutes. I couldn't get my shoes on. It was too painful and exhausting to lean over. We decided to go to the doctor, instead of Church.
Bad to Worse
Sarah took the kids and Leah and I left to find a hospital. The first thing we spotted was the urgent care, so we went there. I was in terrible pain - was having trouble standing. Leah checked me in and the doctor came and took a look. He said, "You should have gone to the emergency room. Look out the window - it's right there." So, after assuring us that we'd get right in, he sent us next door. We sat in the waiting room for an hour. I even said to Leah that we should just go home and make and appointment with someone. Finally, they called me in and started checking things out. The pain and discomfort had grown pretty bad - I was at a 10 on the pain scale. They decided to admit me - I think really just to see if they could get the colitis flare up under control. In fact, on Sunday, when they took me to my room, there's this little white board with who's your nurse, treatments, etc. One of the categories is "What's Important". I told them to get back home to get to work as soon as possible.
You see, this past week was going to be busy. I had been building up to it really since I was hired for this job back in February. Two huge events were to take place, with meetings and dinners starting Tuesday night. First, my boss has spent the past several months working out some partnering arrangements with Sprint in Las Vegas (remember, I work for Embarq, not Sprint. Sprint = wireless. Embarq = wireline. Not quite that simple, but good enough for this blog.) So, there were a couple of things I needed to do for these meetings - plus attend a lead team dinner on Tuesday night and the big meeting on Wednesday. My boss would be in San Diego until Wednesday, so I was to take the lead. Then, Thursday and Friday was our first ever West Pacific Quarterly Sales Leadership Meeting, to be held at the TPC Summerlin. This was my baby. I had been working on agendas, logistics, presentations, etc. for about two months. We had about 15 presenters coming in for Thursday's session - all of them people I wanted to meet with. We had a big dinner planned for Thursday night. Friday would be the sales team only and I was working with the sales managers on what they would need to present to the boss. It was a big deal. I didn't feel like I could miss it.
Well, I missed it. I was in the hospital on Sunday night. At one point, during the night, the pain was so intense, I was literally praying in my bed and pleading for my own life. I was pleading with the nurses for help with the pain. I know they did all they could for me, but I was really struggling. Monday, the pain began to subside, but I knew I wasn't going anywhere until they did some tests. I just assumed the colitis has flared really bad, but would back off and I get on a different mix of medications. They scheduled a CAT scan on my abdomen and I waited. About three o'clock, I had the CAT scan and came back to my room. They even offered me the clear liquids diet and I had some frozen lemonade, apple juice and a delicious Italian ice. I figured we were on our way. At five o'clock, they took away any food and put me back on ice chips. They said I had a perferated colon and needed surgery. At seven o'clock, it became emergency surgery. They suspected it had begun to leak. By eight o'clock, I was in the OR. And then I slept.
Tuesday arrived with lots of pain. Here's what we learned. The large intestine had torn slightly. I had been leaking into my body. There was a mass the size of a grapefruit on my colon. The doctor had removed the entire colon and I was now colitis free. We weren't sure if the mass was cancer or not, but the surgeon was confident he had removed all the dangerous tissue and residue. I was going to be okay. I was in a lot of recovery pain. My life would be forever changed. If we'd waited even 48 hours more, I probably would have died. That was a terrifying statement for me.
So, there you have it. Now it's Sunday, the 27th. I missed all the meetings. I am still in the hospital. The mass was cancer, but right now there don't seem to be any worries about that. I'm surviving the recovery, though I am really bored sitting in this bed or in the chair or walking the hall. I'm really not very patient, but I'm trying to be a good patient, if you know what I mean. The next few weeks will be exhausting - at least a week of home recovery before I can go back to work. Fortunately, I work a desk job, so it will be manageable. Just lots to recover from.
I am really grateful for all the love and support we've received over the past week. Sarah stayed until Tuesday. My brother Chris came on Tuesday and basically just sat with me and talked while I was trying to breathe through the pain. He was here to ask questions of the doctors and support me so much. Leah's mom and sister came on Friday and left this morning. My mom is coming on Tuesday. I've had countless calls and cards and shows of support. I've had prayers and fasting and blessings from people who have never met me. We have really been taken care of. I'm sure I can't express the gratitude and love I feel at this time. It's overwhelming.
The Lord truly has a plan for each of us. We have no idea what that plan entails. I've been learning that lesson again this week. I do know this - he is aware of me and my family. He is watching our for all of us. His timeline and will and different than mine. He is truly my Savior. He spared my life in this process. Things happened, really beginning months ago, to put us in a place where this last week I had doctors ready to act. He knew we wouldn't be moving into the house in Southwest Las Vegas. He knew we would spend three weeks in Utah. He knew my Grandma would pass before we came to Las Vegas. He knew and He knows. I have to learn to trust that. Leah and I are truly blessed. I am so blessed by Leah and the strength and power she has. She lifts me up and makes me better.
I'm sure I'll have more to say about all this in the coming weeks and months. I'll try to give you some sports, too, so you aren't totally grossed out by all the medical stuff. Feel free to drop us a line. There are many of you who have reached out to us this past week and I hope you don't feel too ignored. Things will get back to normal. But they'll always be a little bit different.
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