Marty's Journey

Week 4 - Treatment Rollercoaster

Marty's week started out normally, landed him in the hospital, and ended with him going home with more than half his treatment behind him.


Week 4 of treatment was a roller coaster for Marty. It started out normally, or as normal as things can be when you're battling HPV-related throat cancer. By mid-week, Marty landed in the hospital with a high fever, an unexplained rash, and low blood pressure that had caused him to become dizzy to the point of running into walls and barely being able to stand without falling.

His doctors were surprised and not surprised at this relapse. As they put it, anything can happen during cancer treatment. Marty's radiation oncologist Dr. David Clump said doctors were trying to diagnose what was wrong with him by ruling out some things. "Things they're going to rule out, make sure you're not infected," Dr. Clump told Marty. "You were coughing, the kids have been sick at home," meaning he could have developed an infection. Even thought doctors weren't 100% sure what caused Marty's symptoms, they gave him a dose of antibiotics anyway.

Friday Marty was well enough to go home, and well enough to celebrate the fact that more than half his treatment is behind him. "Life is good," Marty said with a smile as he was wheeled out of Shadyside Hospital by one of his favorite volunteers, Denise Daugherty.

To read all about Marty's Journey through his cancer diagnosis and beyond, click here for a collection of those stories.

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