Help Matt Get a New Liver
Up until a few years ago Matt Storch led a very active life with his wife Lisa and their two sons, Michael and Eric. But then he began to develop health issues that were traced to reduced liver function. Finally, he got the diagnosis no one wants to hear – cancer. Matt has had the cancer treated several times, and each time it appeared it was gone. But then it would return. So far, Matt has been fortunate in that the cancer has remained confined to his liver. But his doctors have told him that it is now only a matter of time until it metastasizes and spreads. His best chance for survival is a liver transplant. Matt’s condition is worsening and Lisa is now his full-time primary caregiver.
September 14, 2016
Post-Transplant Update #2: It was 2 weeks ago today that I received my new liver. I’m continuing to heal well and quickly. All my bandages are off and 90% of the bruising is gone. A lot of the swelling has also gone away. Yesterday they took out half my surgical staples, removing every other one. I’m not sure why they did it that way, but I’m glad to have them out. I can twist and bend more comfortably now. I’m hoping they will take out the rest on my next visit on Friday.
I still have pain in the area of the incision. The surgeon told me this is the biggest incision they make in the procedures they do. And then they break out the rib retractors. So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I still hurt. But other than that I’m feeling great. I literally feel 15 years younger. You really can’t appreciate how important your liver is until you’ve lived without it working right and then get it back. My whole body is changing. Everything from how my mind works to my digestion to the way I look has changed. Even my skin looks and feels different. It’s amazing.
Life is getting somewhat back to normal. I’m out and about, and I try to walk at least a mile every day. We’re doing normal stuff like grocery shopping and such, and at night we mostly just hang around the apartment and watch movies. Some friends from Idaho are passing thru town today on their way to Canada so we’re looking forward to seeing them.
We are getting homesick, and really miss our kids, our dog, and just being in our own house. They originally told us to expect to be here for 3 months, but they also said that sometimes they release people early so we’re hoping and praying for that. I know for a fact that we will have to stay until at least the end of September, but any time after that is a possibility. Besides missing home, the longer we stay here the more expensive it gets. So as far as we’re concerned the sooner they cut me loose the better.
Thank you again for all the prayers, kind thoughts, words of encouragement, get well cards, etc. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. I can’t even imagine how much tougher this would have been without you all standing beside me through this. God bless you all.
September 8, 2016
Post-Transplant Update: Well, I’m feeling pretty good now so I thought I would give a personal update. Lisa has been doing a spectacular job of trying to keep everyone informed, and that is the least of the thousands of things she has done for me in just the last few days. She is a saint and an angel all rolled up in one.
As I think you all know, I went into surgery at about 6:30 pm on 8/24 and came out at about 2:30 am on 8/25 with a replacement liver. I had been told that it would probably be at least 24 hours before they could wake me up and remove the breathing tube, but by about 9:00 am my body was responding so well that they woke me up and pulled the tube. Not a pleasant experience, but we’ll leave it at that. I was surprised to discover that I actually felt fairly good (all things considered). The doctors kept performing tests and all indications were (and are) that I’m recovering very swiftly. By the evening of that first day I was up on my feet and with the help of a walker (and a morphine drip) I walked 5 laps around the 7th floor ICU unit. By the next day I was able to take a shower, walk 10 more laps, go up and down 4 flights of stairs, and get in and out of bed on my own. All the nurses and doctors kept telling me that my recovery was nearly unbelievable and that I looked great. (Eye color, skin tone, etc.)
Now it would be really easy and it’s really tempting to take credit here, or throw around catchy phrases like “Bronx Tough”, or talk about good genes, or the benefits of my lifestyle choices in food and exercise. But in my heart I know none of that is true. My “miraculous” recovery, the fact this liver is working so well so soon, my survival until the surgery (the surgeon told me my old liver was a smoking ruin) and my survival after the surgery are due to things far beyond my hands.
First and foremost, it is a GIFT of Grace from the Lord. I didn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, and it is beyond my feeble capabilities. It is simply a gift of grace given to me by a loving God. I’m not trying to evangelize here, and I fully understand that many of those I call my loved ones may not share my opinion. I also understand the many intellectual arguments that my position touches on. But I don’t want to debate them, I just want to share how I feel.
The other factor that I believe has been essential to me in this journey is all the prayers, good wishes and positive thoughts that have been sent my way. I am OVERWHELMED by how many people have participated. I think I can say without any hesitation that the number of people engaged in “traditional” prayer for me is at least 500. And if someone came to me and told that they had discovered there were 2500 people praying for me I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised. Add to that all the other people lifting me up in their own ways (which, with apologies to my atheist friends, I also consider prayers) and it has become a force that helps to sustain, strengthen, and energize me.
I thank each of you, and truly appreciate every FB post, text, email, and call I get. I don’t even want to contemplate what this would have been like without you all.
And I truly could not have survived this without my wife, best friend, defender, and source of joy, Lisa. She has taken every word of our marriage vows and lived them out without reserve or hesitation. She has stood by me for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health. So, I am going to hang on to her for dear life until death do us part – and then for all of eternity.
Anyway, back to the day to day stuff. They discharged me from the hospital yesterday, 6 days after surgery, and Lisa and I will be staying in Seattle in a furnished apartment for 2-3 months as the transplant team monitors my progress and fine tunes my anti-rejection drug needs.
Now, it hasn’t been all sunlight and unicorns. Honestly, the last 2 days have been very rough. There were some issues with some of the drugs, including the pain management drugs (it’s always a trial and error process as every body is unique.) and there have been some very painful, frustrating, and faith-challenging moments. I went from feeling like a rock star to feeling like a truck stop speed bump in a matter of hours. But things seem to be back on track now, and I’m comfortable and looking forward to the future.
We’ve got mountains to climb, Lisa and I, but I’m sure the view from the top will be magnificent, awe-inspiring and unforgettable. We look forward to sharing our travels with you.
Thanks again, EVERYONE!
September 14, 2016
Sending prayers and love for continued healing!!
Jen and the Bobs :-)
August 26, 2016
Prayers for healing, strength, comfort, love and support. May God always be with you and bless you. Love and hugs from our family.
Eva Mariano Lopez.
August 4, 2016
Stay strong my friend we are praying for you.
Dennis & Pam Peterson
August 4, 2016
Praying for you brother! May you rest in the shadow of the Almighty!