SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — People say “God will never give you more than you can handle,” but a Sioux Falls couple, who has been dealt a series of medical, financial and emotional setbacks, says they’re only able to handle them because of their faith.
“He started to slow down to make that left turn and when I looked up I didn’t realize it and I just drove right into the back of him,” Matt Tarbox said.
Matt, who is now in a wheelchair, says it happened so fast.
He suffered two broken legs after crashing his truck while delivering packages for work back in October.
He was driving north on Highway 19 north of Parker when his truck slammed into the back end of semi that had slowed down to make a turn.
“I was trapped in the vehicle for about an hour before they could get me out,” Matt said.
While they were attending to him, Matt says he found something hard and shell-like on his leg.
“First responder looks at me and says ‘yeah you don’t need that,’ so I just grabbed it and threw up on the dash, thinking ‘okay I don’t need it,’ it turns out it was part of my femur,” Matt said.
Matt says he remembers everything about the crash; the impact and the sound still haunt him to this day.
He even remembers asking the semi-driver, who he hit, if his truck was on fire.
“He said ‘no I don’t see any fire.’ My legs are so hot and he told me he could see a lot of blood coming out of my legs,” Matt said.
Matt was airlifted to a Sioux Falls hospital.
“Once I got to the emergency room of course they are hitting me hard with pain meds, so I was kind of going in and out so I don’t remember a lot of what they said, they were setting my legs, which I don’t remember at all which I’m kind of glad I don’t,” Matt said.
But that’s only half of the story for the Tarboxes.
“You wonder why I guess,” Jenna said.
Jen has dealt with her own medical conditions over the past year and a half when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I had a talk with God and I told him it’s in his hands and that helps me stay positive through all of it,” Jen said.
Jen went through three months of chemotherapy to try and fight the cancer, but despite doctors’ and nurses’ best efforts, it didn’t take care of it all.
So Jen decided to have a double mastectomy. She says it was not a tough decision.
“I call it cop mode, my dad was a police officer, so I just go into cop mode and you do what you have to do,” Jen said.
After months of recovery and growing her hair back Jen thought she had won a courageous battle against breast cancer.
She did, but only to soon face another one.
A week before Matt’s crash back in October, Jen was diagnosed with pancreatitis and had to be hospitalized once again.
Another devastating setback.
“Yeah definitely,” Jen said.
After surgery and a week-long stay in the hospital, Jen was being discharged and ready to go home to be with her kids and family pets.
That’s when she got the phone call about Matt’s crash.
She didn’t even have a chance to go home and unpack her things.
She headed straight to the ER to be with her husband, she didn’t have time to even rest from her own medical issues.
“Jen is amazing that’s why I married her I love her and she takes care of me and I’ll do the same,” Matt said.
“Every time start getting overwhelmed I remember we have stuff to get through and once we get through it we can kind of ease back and live life again,” Jen said.
A life that has been filled with lots of challenges that have brought them closer together and taught them to lean on one another.
“It’s hard because I know there’s some things she probably shouldn’t be doing to help me like lifting things and doing whatever and of course she’s going to just like I would for her, it’s just the way it is,” Matt said.
Matt had to undergo six surgeries on his legs.
Jen has another surgery planned for later this month.
There are two fundraisers where you can help them.
The first one is Saturday afternoon at the Poppadox where Matt is a bouncer and the other is next Saturday at the Safari Bar and Grill in Renner.