Ben Martinka

First post: Sep 28, 2017 Latest post: Feb 12, 2018
Life comes at you fast sometimes, and that certainly happened to me on September 8th, 2017. A visit to the doctor for some swelling turning into a diagnosis of a cancerous tumor that needed to be removed immediately. The beauty of it was that I didn't really have time to think or worry about it--my diagnosis was at 10:30am, and surgery was set for 2:30pm. The team at Virginia Mason was awesome: Ultrasound, CT Scan and Surgery all in a few hours with all doctors and nurses on the same page. The surgery took only an hour, the tumor successfully removed and I was walking out of the hospital under my own power and feeling incredibly blessed to have noticed the change in my health and to have great doctors available so close to my home.  Thank God.

The bummer is that the CT Scan revealed a 2cm cancerous growth in a lymph node (near my right kidney) which is most likely related to the tumor that was removed. Initial prognosis is that this cancer is completely curable!

I am currently undergoing blood tests weekly and the results are looking good. My alpha-fetoprotein (tumor marker) levels are declining rapidly. My understanding from the doctors is that there are likely three scenarios for my treatment: 1) my tumor markers go to 0 and the cancer at my lymph node shrivels up and disappears now that the main tumor has been removed, ie, no actual treatment, 2) my tumor markers go to 0, the cancer at the lymph node stays, and I most likely have a surgery to remove it, or 3) my tumor markers remain and hold steady in which the treatment is chemotherapy.

At this point quality of life is as good as ever; just taking it easy recovering from surgery. Still working, still going to Husky games(!) and still staying active with the kids. All I ask is that you send good thoughts and prayers my way! As I learn more I will post to this site with any pertinent information.


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