“I lost a lot of weight,” he says. “When I first went into hospital, I couldn’t really eat for a few days. I was struggling a bit – I dropped to 61kg at one point. I was like a rake.”
Unfortunately for Mat, things went from bad to worse after his initial hospital stay, and his Crohn’s was getting worse.
“I started getting things called fistulas – which are like bridges or tunnels in your bowels and intestines,” he explains. “We postponed the surgery but it wasn’t getting any better so I had to have surgery in May last year.”
If it wasn’t for the surgery, there’s no way Mat could have competed in House Rules.
“If I had been in the condition I was before the surgery, it would have been a lot worse,” Mat says. “I used to get flair-ups and it used to make me crook and at the moment I’m feeling all right.”
The Melbourne carpenter – who is competing on the show with half-brother Tim – says he is doing much better since the surgery.
“I’ve been symptomless,” he says. “It’s called surgically reduced remissions, so I’m in remission at the moment, but I haven’t had a chance to go and get myself checked again – because I’ve been doing the show – to see if it stayed away. I will have to have a colonoscopy to find out if it’s gone away fully.”
For more, see this week's New Idea - out now!