Pohler determined to defeat leukemia
SHINER — One day at a time.
That’s the way Matt Pohler is currently living his life, especially since Nov. 13. It was on that day that Pohler’s life took a turn for the worst when he was airlifted from Yoakum Community Hospital to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Pohler, a 2012 Shiner graduate who starred in basketball, baseball and golf, spent nearly a month in the hospital for the initial phase of his treatment. While he is in remission and is now living at his home in Shiner once again, Pohler still must undergo treatment for leukemia — some of which makes him feel unpleasant.
“I’m nauseous most days, and I rest most days,” Pohler said. “I can’t play contact sports or do anything outdoors such as hunting, but I would like to try and play golf again.”
Before his diagnosis, Pohler was enrolled at Houston-Victoria as a member of the men’s golf team. He also is an avid hog hunter.
The treatment regimen that Pohler is undergoing requires him to receive chemotherapy for three years. He goes to M.D. Anderson every Monday for blood work and every Thursday for a treatment, which ranges from spinal taps to injections.
There is an alternative to chemotherapy — stem cell transplant. If Pohler can find a sibling match, he will consider undergoing a stem cell transplant.
Since Pohler was diagnosed, numerous people from Shiner and beyond have rallied behind him in support. Several friends traveled to Houston to visit him in the hospital, and a pair of benefits took place to raise funds for his cancer treatments.
On Dec. 8, the Friends of Matt Pohler hosted a golf scramble at Independence Park. Another benefit took place Jan. 6 in Shiner, which featured a silent auction, 5K run/walk, barbecue chicken dinner and washer tournament.
A week ago, Pohler made an appearance at the Shiner-Louise basketball games. Having played for the Comanches the previous four seasons, Pohler was quick to point out that things have changed since his playing days.
“It’s a little different watching from the stands,” he said. “I want to holler at them on the court, but I can’t do that anymore.”
His presence was felt by many of his former teammates, including Shiner junior Caleb Kalich. Kalich also happens to be one of Pohler’s best friends.
“It was fun seeing Matt at the game,” Kalich said. “We’ve been good friends for a while and I enjoy hanging out with him and his family. I stay by his side and support him.”
The Comanches beat Louise, 64-43, last Friday. That victory occurred hours after the Lady Comanches ran past the Lady Hornets, 54-24.
Suiting up for the Lady Comanches is another good friend of Pohler’s — Meagan Chumchal. The junior forward said her team was inspired by Pohler’s attendance at the game.
“We were motivated to play for Matt,” Chumchal said. “I always play for him, and our friendship is stronger now.”
Among the many ways people show support for Pohler is by wearing either a Team Matt t-shirt or a Team Pohler bracelet. Chumchal is the proud owner of two Team Pohler bracelets, which she wears at all times.
“I wear the bracelets for inspiration,” she said.
In the week’s following Pohler’s diagnosis, he wrote a letter of appreciation for the support he received. His letter was posted on Facebook for all of his Facebook friends to see.
“After all the support that I’ve received from all the great friends and family, I know that it’s impossible to individually thank all of you for what you’ve done without leaving someone out. Just know that from the bottom of my heart I appreciate everything that the great people of this community have done for me. Y’all make the fight much more bearable knowing I have y’all behind me.
I also have been blessed with the most loving and supportive family that God could have assembled. I would not trade any of you the world and I realize that this process has been hard on y’all too. I love y’all and thanks for everything.
While this disease takes its toll on its victims physically, I believe it takes that strength and distributes it elsewhere. During these two months I’ve had a lot of time to simply think about the occurrences, memories, and mishaps of my life. I have evolved my way of thinking about life as a whole. To have it being so close to being taken away from me, I now cherish each day in this life as a gift from God. A couple nights before being diagnosed with ALL I thought I was on top of the world having some beers and catching armadillos with my brothers, my boy Caleb, and my cousins Craig and Chris. Never would it have occurred to me that my life would flip in merely hours. From this I learned that each day we have is a gift and our life is vulnerable. God has a plan for each of us and I firmly believe that He will guide me through this speed bump. Although a long and sometimes painful process I will strive to take it day by day and live my life according to His will.
For those of you reading this, may I give you a New Year’s resolution. In this new year, identify the things you love the most and commit to them day in and day out with the passion and love they deserve. To your loved ones, let them know you care and always be there for them. My family has done this for me and I only wish everyone could experience that love and support. Do what you love and do it often. If I could rewind all of this and know that I was going to be diagnosed with leukemia on Nov. 13, 2012, I would have begged my brothers to go hog hunting every waking minute. It may sound ridiculous, but now that it is withheld from me for quite some time, I cherish that aspect of my life even more. Live life for today and cherish the little things. Time is the essence of life, use it doing what you love with who you love.” — Matt Pohler
Pohler’s parents — Don and Gerrie Pohler — also wrote a letter of gratitude.
“On behalf of our entire family, we, Don and Gerrie Pohler, would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you wonderful people who in any way contributed to the various fund raisers and events surrounding the recent diagnosis of our son Matthew. Not only are we grateful for your unselfish donations of time and resources, for we know that none of you had to do anything, you chose to do so, but we also thank you for the unending prayers and words of encouragement that always lift us up when times get tough.
Also, the countless donations of blood and the organizing of these drives in so many places not only helps Matt greatly, but also benefits many others needing this precious gift of life. Not often do we get to witness a community and surrounding area go to such awesome lengths to help others in need with such joyful enthusiasm and love.
This in itself is cause for praise. We can never repay you in any other way but to say that you are loved and we feel blessed every day to be a part of your world.
May our God continue to guide us, as well as all of you, on the path to His reward. You have all traveled quite a distance toward His glory already by your selfless generosity.
We will never forget. Love to you all.” — The Pohler Family
Matt wants to return to school and play golf, but he is uncertain as to when he will.
“I just have to see how things go,” he said.
As for right now, he is fighting leukemia — one day at a time.