On March 16, 2018, Marty was diagnosed with cancer in his gallbladder. This uncommon form of cancer typically presents no obvious warning signs or symptoms, so therefore is usually discovered at an advanced stage. Due to involvement with his liver, surgery was not an option. While receiving chemotherapy, Marty stayed relatively strong and extremely positive. Our motto quickly became #makinglemonade, as we continued to enjoy as much of life as we could and looked for the positives in each day. The lemon tree in our yard was a physical reminder to make the best of things. Hiking, exercising, eating healthy (with only an occasional In N Out burger), and enjoying his ministry at Emmanuel Lutheran and Laurel Hall School continued as usual. When it was discovered that the chemo was not successful in shrinking the tumor, Marty volunteered for a clinical trial of immunotherapy through UCLA in Santa Monica. Again, he stayed relatively strong and eternally optimistic. While receiving those treatments, his view out over the Pacific Ocean brought him peace. Unfortunately, this trial was also unsuccessful in shrinking the tumor. Over the past 3 weeks, as the disease has progressed, continuing with his work has not been an option, and as his pain increased, hospitalization became necessary.
Marty is currently resting very comfortably at Providence St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank, CA. His room overlooks the Walt Disney Studios and the back of the Hollywood Sign. His pain is under control, and we are so very thankful. He mostly sleeps during the day, but knows and appreciates when we are there with him.
Looking forward as this disease progresses, we are looking at hospice and palliative care either in the hospital or at home. Everyone here has been extremely cooperative as far as respecting Marty's privacy regarding visitors, and we respectfully ask that to continue. As I mentioned in the letter to the Emmanuel and Laurel Hall Community, this is not how Marty would have chosen to leave you. He would have welcomed a hug from everyone, shared a smile and positive words, and reminded you that "God is so good, and God's got this."
We would like to use this site as a streamlined way to update Marty's many friends and loved ones about his condition, but I would also love to see it as a platform for you, his friends, to share a story, memory, photo, or happy thought about your time with Marty. Those memories continue to bring us joy and comfort.
Thank you all for your love, concern, prayers, and care for our family. We have received so many offers of support, and they have not gone unnoticed. I'm banking them, and you know I will call on you when we have a specific need. Until then, keep the prayers for comfort and peace coming. Share a good memory. Tell someone you love them, and continue our journey in #makinglemonade.