Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A True Champion

I have always considered myself a good pugilist in my day. I am proud to say that I dodged when I should have and my defense was second to none. But I will also say that I never had that killer instinct that you need when battling a formidable foe. Maybe I needed a better trainer. Maybe I needed someone who could show me how to fight. Maybe I needed Marty.

Meet Marty E.

A 67 year old fighter who has had more emotional spikes than the great majority of us will, or could, ever endure.

To begin with, at age 44, she was separated from her husband but found emotional stability with her 15 year old son. Although anxiety was a daily curse now because of her new, single motherhood, Marty was blessed that her boy was coping better than she was at times. Shortly after this breakup, she was diagnosed with beast cancer. Because of the immense mental and physical difficulties associated with this disease, Marty wanted to give her marriage one more go. Radiation and a partial mastectomy were successfully performed, but regrettably, her marriage was not as successful and she found herself a single parent once again.

For the next few months, being a single mother was starting to ease its financial and emotional grip, with the fear of cancer on the back burner, behind her son. Then one day, she felt that grasp, pulling her back into those yesterdays of fear and uncertainty. Marty was diagnosed, again, with breast cancer. This time, she decided her treatment would be fast and furious. Enough so that this bothersome bandit had no where to hide. Radiation, chemotherapy and another partial mastectomy would surely loosen that recurring hold.

By 1994, it was agreed between Marty and her physician that she was cancer free. Even with 2 partial mastectomies, she had been given a reprieve and found herself doting on her son and looking for another love. A couple of different men entered her life, but for reasons that partly involved the results of her cancer bouts, Marty and her new beaus just couldn't make it work. It truly does take a special man to stumble along with a woman, yet make sure she doesn't fall. A man that wouldn't judge her for the physical wounds but how she tried to heal from the fight. .

Her high school reunion was in 2005 and boy did she have stories of victories to tell. While enjoying seeing her graduating class again, someone from her earlier life remembered her vividly. His name was Phil and his memories of Marty stretched back to Junior High. They spent a great deal of time talking, reminiscing and she simply loved the feeling of smiling. She remembers in short, "We danced.....and he felt good". Although something sparked, it would not be for another four years that they would reconnect. Marty recalls that on August 31, her phone rang and yup, it was him.

"We talked for hours! Such joy for us. He came to see me in Pittsburgh for my birthday on October 1, then I visited him in Florida, where I always wanted to be. We were falling in love."

Sweet love, unfortunately at times, needs to be proven. Would Phil stick around if Marty was ever diagnosed again? Did he have the fortitude to cope with his new, sweet love if cancer ever returned? Could he accept her with some physical anomalies that would only be visible if intimacy evolved? Does he know a woman is more than each part separately? Or can he truly see the sum of all parts? In essence, can he love? Truly love?

October, 2010. Marty was selling her home and getting ready to move to Florida to be with Phil and hopefully answer these questions. But cancer returned, lung cancer. With a renewed vigor, she vowed to take care of it as quickly as possible, and with her new-found support, no matter how far away he was, she was on the plane. "My dream!", she recalls. "I got a condo on the the beach, on the sand for a year! Oh what fun! I spent the weekends with Phil. After a year, he asked me to move in with him. So I did!.....happy girl! "


End of story. Life was good, wedded bliss soon to follow and the beach as the backdrop for the rest of her life.........until Valentines Day, 2014. Unbelievably, Marty found another lump in her breast yet again. "After all my history, my surgeon advised a double mastectomy.....so I did it without reconstruction". She goes on to explain...."radiation affects skin so it looses it's elasticity. Dear Phil took wonderful care of me..so much love!".

By January, this once in a lifetime man married her. "He is amazing. I survived 4 cancers, 3 breast. I amaze myself."

Marty's granddaughter, Toren, was her flower girl and with all the strength she amassed through her own ordeals, it was the tender innocence of Toren that showed her weak side. Toren was diagnosed with leukemia. "Her beautiful blond hair.....she never left my side." Toren will be continuing with chemotherapy until December, 2015. Although her immune system is suppressed for the time being, she is full of sprite, as are all children her age. She is full of love, as all around her are and Toren is full of hope, as we all should be.

Marty has found her niche, now, in life by supporting, and believing, in alternative medicine through acupuncture and essential oils being a distributor with http://www.youngliving.com/en_US/

 "So now I am again cancer free...I am currently making my own organic deodorant and body care products...my contribution!"


Anonymous said...

Holy Moly, these last three posts about the cancer survivors really makes you wake to hell up and smell the flowers. Kind of puts life in perspective.

Anonymous said...

I just can't imagine. So lucky in one way but not others. I pray for you and that little girl. Bless all of you and thank you Jim for posting these blessed stories.