End of Cancer Treatment is Bittersweet
There were lots of tears, and not just from Marty and Kristine, as Marty completed his final day of treatment for HPV-related throat cancer.
Marty's and his caregivers became close over the past seven weeks, and while the staff celebrates the fact that he made it through the treatment, they'll miss seeing him everyday. "This is a journey not just for the patient but a journey for us," said Clinical Research Manager Annette Quinn as she wiped away tears. "We become a family. and we help them we hold their hands through treatment. when they finish it's also a success story for us." Annette treated Marty with low level lasers that prevented ulcers in his mouth and throat from radiation.
Marty's doctors will also miss him. "You build relationships by seeing them each and every day," said radiation oncologist Dr. David Clump, who created and administered Marty's radiation plan. "You can't just talk medicine so you learn the ins and outs of their lives, what drives them, their kids, and how everyone walks through this process."
Marty's team speaks of him with respect when they talk about how he completed a particularly difficult course of treatment with few complaints. "It's a very tough treatment. It really puts you through a lot both from a pain perspective," explained Oncologist Dr. Dan Zandberg who coordinated Marty's chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments.
Radiation technologists Derik Claar and Ashley Pluchinsky who administered Marty's radiation the past 35 days, agree. "He fought hard," said Derik. "This was a tough treatment. The head and neck cancers the treatments for them is a lot harder" than others.
The doctors are also proud of Marty for sharing his story. "It's really amazing with what he's dealing with personally with cancer which is probably the biggest adversity anyone will ever face," observed Dr. Robert Ferris, Marty's doctor and the Director of the Hillman Cancer Center. "For him to also at the same time to do good for others by telling his story, There's no question it's made an impact."