Bringing You Up To Speed - The Diagnosis

I am writing you from Martin’s bedside on March 17th, 2019.

I’m not necessarily sure where in the journey we are if I’m being honest. Some days, I feel like we are just starting our battle, some days I feel like we’ve lost the battle, and some days, I just wish I could slow down the 60-minute intervals called a day.

Martin’s real journey in life begins far before his diagnosis with cancer in September of 2018. He’s been fighting his entire life.

For the sake of right now, let’s just talk the cancer and the origin of Nittystrong.

In September of 2018, after weeks of Martin having on and off severe side pain, we decided to take him into the hospital as he could barely walk. The really big red flag for us was when he was getting ready one morning (I believe it would have been his 4th day of his senior year…) and he fainted. He’d had episodes of fainting before, and we would run into the hospital and get multiple tests only to be told that it was due to anemia etc. We thought nothing of it.

We were transferred into the Doernbecher/OHSU system here in Portland, OR as they are the best of the best, and is where Martin had been seen for years. (He, at the time, was the youngest recipient of a kidney transplant at 2 years old!). So, as mentioned before… he is a pretty miraculous guy.

Back to September. Tests upon tests, upon tests. To the point that it’s almost eerie because you know something larger than planned was going on. We assumed anemia, crohns, the usual bits that were Martin. In walked an oncology team…

Martin had an enlarged lymph node in his lower abdomen (hence the pains…) The tests that would confirm if it was cancerous or not, would take a few days to get results. So this entire time, we are sitting in the hospital waiting.

Nearly two weeks in the hospital, and we received his diagnosis. It was cancerous, Martin officially had Lymphoma.

I don’t think I can put into words the things that went through my mind at that time, in fact I just sat there in silence, no tears, no sadness - just regret. Regret that I hadn’t put my phone away more, regret that I hadn’t just dropped everything whenever he asked for something, regret that I might have barked at him as a parent. Even stronger, was my fear and wish for more time.

Martin would take his first dose of R CHOP chemotherapy on his 18th birthday. September 25, 2018.

We would be told that his lymphoma would be a “chip=shot” and that cancers like this one, caught this early, in this young of kids - normally don’t stay past the first round of chemo.

I knew in my mind, these people they were talking about… were not nearly as unique, as our Martin.