The Little People, Big World star recalled how he spent a chunk of his childhood in surgery at Shriner’s Hospital or recovering from procedures at home in his memoir, Against Tall Odds: Being A David In A Goliath World — and revealed that his younger brother wasn’t sparred from any pain either.
Josh was diagnosed with lung and heart problems shortly after he was born, and started undergoing countless surgeries to try to “correct his condition” during his youth. Matt's brother Sam also had health problems stemming from dwarfism, and was confined to hospital beds throughout his childhood as well.
“It must do something to your sense of compassion to watch your children go through thirty-odd surgeries,” he wrote of his parents. “It certainly had an effect on my father. He and mom have had to go through my surgeries, Sam’s surgeries, and Josh’s surgeries, including one in which he was operated on for a brain abscess that could have — the doctors say should have — killed him.”
“Even when everyone was home from the hospital, there was always evidence that sick kids lived there,” he described of his home. “There were Sam and me in our body casts and Josh breathing from an oxygen tank.”
Matt, 55, also relived his own experiences being isolated from his friends and family while he was in the hospital — and even recalled feeling "lonely" when he was just 9-years-old.
Josh ultimately died in 1999 as a result of his heart and lung problems at 34-years-old. Unfortunately, the Roloffs experienced even more health problems after his death, as Zach, 27, has had at least seven surgeries pertaining to his dwarfism and almost died from having excess fluid in his brain as a child.
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