Sadly Matt passed away on April 4, 2010. He passed away at home surrounded by his family. We had the chance to exchange a few emails with Matt before posting his profile and his joyful energy was contagious. Many people were inspired by his story, and we are grateful he shared it on our site.
What school did you attend?
St. Francis Xavier High school
What is your career goal?
Would like to do something in Healthcare, Oncology
How did you find out you were sick? What led to the diagnosis?
I was playing Junior A hockey, I constantly had ankle injuries and was in pain. After a routine X-ray I was told 8 cm of my bone was deteriorated.
What year was it? What was your age at the time?
2006, I was 18.
At what level of education were you at diagnosis?
Just had graduated High School
What was your diagnosis?
What were your first thoughts when diagnosed?
What are my chances of survival
How did your family react?
They we’re quite supportive although very distraught.
How did your friends react? Were you treated any different?
My friends we’re also very supportive although unsure of how to treat me. A few friends were unable to deal with it which caused a bit of a strain on our friendship. Others were very supportive which strengthened our friendship
What did your treatment consist of?
31 weeks of chemotherapy with a surgery half way through. I received methotrexate, cisplatin , doxorubicin. Almost all of my treatments were inpatient. Normally I would be in the hospital for 4 days, 3 days out. Half way through my treatment they decided to amputate as per protocol. ( reconstruction or amputation). Mentally it was draining, I think the biggest toll on my body was all the different drugs and side effects that came with them. I was able to stay fairly positive until I went through an opiate withdrawal due to poor administration of the drug ( fentanyl). Side effects were all related to lethargy, just an overall cloudiness mentally. About a year after that I had a relapse, the cancer metastasized in my lungs, resulting in lung surgery to remove the spot.
In which Hospital were you treated?
Cross Cancer Institute Edmonton
What is your current medical status?
How is life different for you now post diagnosis (physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually)?
I am definitely more spiritual. Physically It has been a bit of a challenge learning to adapt to a prosthetic leg, but slowly returning to norm. Emotionally it hasn’t changed a whole lot, I do feel like Chemo messed up my brain a bit, just never feel quite like I used to.
What was the toughest part of your challenge?
Seeing friends, other cancer patients pass away
What is/was the best part about having your challenge?
I’ve learnt a lot about life, learned some valuable lessons I wouldn’t have otherwise
What really motivated you to keep going while you were sick?
The chance that I might inspire someone with compromised health to do the same
What lessons or messages have you taken away from your experience?
Make the most of each day.
Did you attend any support groups during your challenge?
If you did not attend a support group, why?
I was happy doing my own thing, had a good support group of friends and family.
Would you if one had been available?
Do you think attending one would have helped you?
What are your thoughts/feelings on Young Adult Cancer Canada?
Seems like a great outlet/resource