2017 has brought many changes to my world: In May, I turned 65, went on Medicare and learned I have esophageal cancer. It was a complete surprise to get cancer period -- especially such a relatively rare form. And it was all the more unexpected because I was never a smoker.
My life has turned upside down. Instead of planning trips with Carolyn to new and familiar destinations or hanging out with friends and family, we have become immersed in the Kaiser Permanente medical system, getting a battery of tests and scans, visiting oncologists, radiologists, surgeons and more. I now have a permanent PICC line in my arm and a feeding tube in my belly. I began chemotherapy several weeks ago and the plan is to continue with that, eventually adding in radiation and then the ultimate, surgery on my esophagus. That surgery is expected to take all day, require 10-12 days in the hospital and, according to the surgeon, a recovery time of one year.
In addition to Carolyn's being here every step of the way, I have benefited from having the loving support and help from family, including daughters, Jessica and Kristen, sons-in-law, Tyler and Mike, grandkids, Grace, Ryan and baby Greta, my church family at Tigard United Methodist Church and many, many friends. One of my now-many doctors has said that fighting esophageal cancer is like running a marathon, not a sprint. I am now running that marathon.
Kristen came up with the idea to have hats made to support me and the family. Jessica thought of the name Marty's Mafia. Kristen originally had 20 baseball caps made with Marty's Mafia written on them. When a few friends wondered how they could get their own caps, she made the information available on Facebook. I am overwhelmed to say that more than 50 dear people thought enough to support us like this and order caps. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Right now I feel terribly normal, but the reality is that will probably change as we add more procedures. I am not someone used to people fussing over me -- this whole event has flipped my comfort zone upside down. But many people have asked for us to keep them linked to my cancer marathon, so this is the system we have decided to use.
Welcome to the Marty's Mafia CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. We are hoping for a happy ending.