Lisa and Matt are Health Stories Project members from Austin, Texas that believe their community made the difference when Matt had an unexpected hospital stay related to colon cancer. They allowed us to visit them (socially distanced!) to capture their story. Please join us in thanking them for sharing.

Matt: “The beginning of the story is kind of long and muddled in that I had a family history of cancer. When they found the tumor in a colonoscopy, 5 years ago, on April first.I knew it was small, and hadn’t gone through the intestinal wall, so the prognosis was very good. It was really kind of non-traumatic and [afterwards] they recommended colonoscopies yearly.

In October, they found a tumor half the size of the other one. I figured I’d get through it and everything would be pretty quick and easy like it was last time. That was the start of it.”

Lisa: “Everything was really good until it wasn’t and that’s when he started throwing up. [We] get into the ER the room was all ready for us. They took his heart rate and it was, I think, 170? Immediately four nurses came into the room, kind of shoved me out of the way, they had the crash cart.”

Matt: “My memory starts to go out after a couple days.”

Lisa: “They took the tube out and then the next morning they put it back in and at that point everybody was freaking out. On the 9th at like one in the morning he was asleep and he woke up and screamed my name and that’s when he had gone septic. He had been trying to pull the tube out and he was screaming at me, ‘I’m dying! I’m dying!’.

So, I’ve got one foot in his room and he’s screaming.

One of the doctors approached me about a DNR and going and getting our will and bringing it to the hospital. I don’t remember ever crying for fear. You’re in the moment and you just go. I wanted him to be proud of me whenever he woke up.”

Matt: “All together I think I was in the hospital for real close to 70 days. I got out on the 24th of January. I’m most thankful for Lisa being there [and] being an advocate. She saved my life multiple times.

The most surprising and eye-opening thing was how many people came through for us: all of our friends, the people that Clyde goes to school with… “

Lisa: “I’d call them up at 8 o’clock at night and ask ‘Can I drop Clyde off on the way to the hospital,’ and their door was always open. And you just breathe that in and know that you’ve done something, you’ve changed somebody’s life, you’ve changed my life with your kindness.

Matt: “People look out for each other, everybody works together to make life better. I think it’s always been that way and that’s what I’ve always loved about Austin.”


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