My name is Matt Barrett, I have been fighting cancers and other issues since I was 2 it all started with basal cell nevus syndrome, a genetic form of cancer I inherited from my dad and has been in my family 6 generations. since then I have fought 11 types of cancer over 44 yrs , 4 brain tumor, twice with lymphoma and bone and all 3 skin cancers, have had 1708 operations; no that’s not a typo, have lost sense of smell and taste,75% nerve in left leg and been scarred extensively over my body and face, have been homeless dealing with this most my adult life with little to no help from my family, hearing people ask how you doing when in severe pain n they can’t see or fathom , when pain meds don’t work anymore cause you been given so many, being stared at or over hear comments from people about how you look, or asked to leave store or restaurant cause you are scaring kids. These are just a few things I face daily. my wish is people wouldn’t judge a book or person by their cover rather get to know person inside, I am so thankful for IDA and the work they do to help and educate people, have been told am inspiration to people, I just see myself as someone trying to live best I can and leave positive mark behind me in this world.
This is how I started a project a friend asked me to write, it got me to thinking, how many others have asked me to write more of my story and I’ve procrastinated. So here goes.
I grew up in small middle class family in largest city in western Colorado, Grand Junction, was my home from 6months old till I was in late teens. I have three siblings 2 brothers and a sister, we don’t see each other or talk much anymore, though to be honest I was never really close to any of them, the black sheep I was, I grew up watching cancer change and destroy my life and my family, going to dr. after dr for problem after problem and all the while trying to hide it from those around me in school and public. I was asked at my 20th h.s. reunion why didn’t I tell anyone what I was going through. The only answer I could give was my family didn’t want me to.my life has been a struggle from the beginning , was bigger than my classmates told I couldn’t fight back when teased or picked on and not to tell what I was going through.Not exactly the best way to grow up , it left me with lot of anger and emotional issues , I dealt with in not so good ways as a young adult, Its taken a long time learning things the hard way and maturing but I’m a better man for it. I’ve done things in my life I regret and others that have made me proud and stronger, all in all they have made me who I am, a survivor and understanding gentler person who hopes he leaves a positive mark on this world.