Hi, I’m Mat. I’m 36, I’m a father, a lover, a colorectal cancer survivor and of course a beard lover.
I will tell you a bit of my story. I will begin with the most important… my beard!!!
I had my first facial hair at 16. I was so proud to be a man that I thought “let it grow”. To this date, I have had all different types of beards: trimmed beard, styled beard, a full beard and long beard. For the last 20 years I saw my chin about only 6 times (and I don’t miss it!!!) When I see my face without a beard I’m like ” who are you and what are you doing in my bathroom???” And I started growing again, the longest was a year long and then…
In February 2013, I was diagnosed with stage 2 Colorectal cancer. That news changed my life. My son was almost 4 years old at that time. It was very difficult to accept my condition. I was always tired and weak. I wasn’t able to play with him anymore, I had to always lay down on my bed or on the couch. He didn’t deserve that.
After a few (and painful) exams, I started chemo and radiotherapy. Five days a week for five weeks. It was rough and very painful (my tumor was in my rectum so…). I had a lot of pain killers but the pain was still there and it was only the beginning.
I shaved my one year long beard. I needed to see the man behind the fur… What a mess!!! Anyway, in July 2013 I had a surgery to remove my tumor. When I woke up I had an ileostomy. A painful journey began!!!
For nine months I lived with this bag full of sh!t in my pants. Reminded me that I have to be strong. And then, in September 2013 the chemo begins… Three month taking pills (I choose the pills so that I didn’t lose my beard !!!) Ok I had my beard, bravo champion but I had a lot of diarrhea too.
It was very hard living in pain. The pain of the body is one thing, the emotional pain is the toughest. I was feeling guilty to have this disease and to be a drag for my family. I was just trying to pass through this hell.
And I passed through!!! I had a second surgery in April 2014 to reconnect my small intestine. No more ileostomy. Ok, it’s not easy every day but I’m still here for my son who began elementary school and for my girlfriend who helped me a lot (she took a year off just to take care of me) and of course I’m here to grow another badass beard.
We don’t know much about Colorectal Cancer. I’m proud to be a survivor and a part of the always bearded community. If we can help people to learn about this dIsease and help people growing amazing beard with good products… I’m in.!!!
Follow Mat on Instagram @matbrass