Martha’s Health Journey Update October 24, 2023
Come on in, kick off your shoes, and welcome to my health journey blog.
If you’re here for the first time, back in May, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. I had a successful surgery, all the affected tissues were removed, and there was no sign of spread to surrounding tissues or to any lymph nodes. It was however recommended I do a series of chemotherapy treatments and some radiation treatments because my type of cell was a grade 3 cancer cell, which is more aggressive than the more common grade 1 cell.
It seemed back then that going through six chemo treatments was a long and winding road indeed.
Yet day by day I have made my way to today, October 24, when I have completed five out of six of my treatments. Only one more to go! By Thanksgiving my life with IV’s every 3 weeks will be in my rear-view mirror, hopefully never to return. I will be monitored frequently at first to check for signs of recurrences, that’s how my success will be measured. No recurrences = success. My oncologist told me he’s “optimistic, very optimistic” that will be my case.
For many the scariest word in the English language is cancer. The second scariest word is chemotherapy. Everyone reacts differently, depending on your body type and your specific chemotherapy drugs. The way it goes for me is the days immediately following the treatment, I experience fatigue, along with bone pain due to an injection they give you (Neulasta) to build up your white blood cells. The fatigue is cured by rest, I’m seriously talking about going to sleep at 6:30, and the bone pain can be taken care of with Claritin and, if needed, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like acetaminophen or ibuprofen if your doc gives you the ok for that.
One of the people who inspires me is Def Leppard guitar player, Vivian Campbell. During the chemotherapy treatments he received for Hodgkin lymphoma, he continued touring with Def Leppard, only missing a few shows when he experienced a recurrence in 2015, which he has knocked back. Currently Vivian is using his 6-string talents in the band Last In Line, who will be playing on the Rock Legends Cruise in February 2024. Great to see you rocking Viv, and thank you for sharing your story to give courage to others dealing with cancer, like me.
One of the people who inspires me is Def Leppard guitar player, Vivian Campbell. During the chemotherapy treatments he received for Hodgkin lymphoma, he continued touring with Def Leppard, only missing a few shows when he experienced a recurrence in 2015, which he knocked back. Currently, Vivian is using his 6-string talents in the band Last In Line, who will be playing on the Rock Legends Cruise in February 2024. Great to see you rocking Viv, and thank you for sharing your story to give courage to others dealing with cancer, like me.
If you know someone who is facing a journey with cancer, please feel free to share this blog, so your friend or a loved one can feel less alone.
Welcome to my blog page if you’re here for the first time, and if you’re returning… welcome back!
If you joined the Martha Quinn Show the past few days, you may have noticed that I was out and my radio sister, my co-captain on Team Love and Good Vibes, Christie James (seen in the pic of us at the Golden Gate Bridge) stepped for me, along with producer Karena Velazquez who behind the scenes made sure everything ran smoothly!
Last week I was out crossing a major health journey milestone, completing the fourth out of six of my chemotherapy treatments. Only two more to go!
The post below this one gets into detail about the cancer diagnosis that created the need for chemotherapy, so I’ll just sign off here and say let’s rock out soon!
Martha’s health journey update: September 14, 2023
Thanks for stopping by to check out the latest on my health journey. I was told early on this experience would bring with it many blessings. You are one of them!
Lots has happened since my August 21 entry but the first thing I wanna tell you is I am feeling really good. Both physically and emotionally. I was telling my old friend from back in the MTV days Mark Goodman, that I thought my days of crying in the closet would never end, but in fact, I have found that I’m living in pretty much the same amount of sunshine as I did before my diagnosis. Now, my crying in the closet is much less and I have developed my gratitude muscle during this time. Every day I wake up, even on chemotherapy days, and say, "today is going to be a great day." At the end of the day, my husband and I count up all the ways that our day was in fact a great day.
Even if I’m not talking about my health journey directly on the station, I’m trying to communicate to you every time I turn on the mic that I love you and please don’t worry about me. I’m doing well. (that being said, worrying about your friend who is undergoing some kind of healing is natural. If it was you, I would be worried about you!)
If you’re here for the first time let me catch you up. Last May I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.* It’s a cancer that is contained in the uterus. Many times all you need is a surgery and your journey is finished right then and there. For me, although I was stage 1 and no cancer had spread to any of my surrounding tissues or lymph nodes, my type of cell is a rare more aggressive type. Because of that my doctors recommended I undergo a six-round session of chemotherapy, with a side order of three doses of radiation to increase my chances of not having a recurrence from about 70% (if I did nothing) to between 85-90%. I’m a wife, mom, and a DJ here on the station, (a job that I love!) so I decided to undergo the recommended protocol to shoot for the bigger window of staying recurrence-free.
When I started out, all those steps ahead of me seemed like an endless road. But today I’m more than halfway through! This past Tuesday I had my third out of three radiation treatments, so I am done with that. I also completed three chemo sessions so now I have three left. I can hardly believe I’ve traveled this far.
As far as side effects go, I’ve had some fatigue after my chemo treatments but nothing too crazy. It’s also had a bit of nausea which I have been able to deal with by taking walks, and chewing on my homemade ginger lozenges.**
Today’s blog post is dedicated to my cousin Lynn, who passed away yesterday, Wednesday, after her own cancer battle. I will be forever grateful for the bonding we were able to do these past few months as we traveled this road together. We talked about everything from health insurance to our pets and Game of Thrones, and she gave me loving advice as I was starting my treatments. Lynnie, you are missed tremendously.
With love and true faith, Martha
*Please check out the early warning signs for endometrial cancer:
**(if you’re experiencing any kind of nausea, try this: Peel ginger and slice it into round pieces about a quarter inch thick, so they look like stacks of nickels. Place those ginger slices in a Ziploc baggie, add in a squeeze of liquid Stevia, and boom you’ve got homemade fresh, healthy candied ginger. It worked for me, maybe it will work for you!)
Martha’s Health Journey Update: August 21, 2023
If you’re checking this space because you just thought to yourself, “I wonder how Martha is doing?” Well, guess what-you have filled my heart with gratitude!
A lot has happened since my last post. It’s been one of those periods of time where there’s been joy, challenges, and more joy. I’ll start at the beginning, which happens to be one of the joyous moments. Are you ready?
My daughter Annabelle and her boyfriend Andrew got married!! They tied the knot in Las Vegas, just like my husband Jordan and I did 32 years ago.
It was a beautiful ceremony. Watching Jordan walk our daughter down the aisle was definitely one of the most moving moments I’ve ever experienced. Our baby girl is over the moon and we are ecstatic to have an awesome son-in-law in the family.
Christie my friend, mentor, and good-vibes radio sister who’s been in for me at the station, was able to join the festivities which was totally awesome. She and my producer Karena Velazquez have known my kids since my son Ryder was in middle and Annabelle was in high school. They are part of our family so we were thrilled Christie could make it.
A few days after the joyous wedding, (here comes a challenge!) I had my second chemotherapy treatment.
The chemo day itself was not that bad. It just took a long time. First, they give you an IV with saline solution for hydration. Then they give you another set of liquid infusions with a steroid and antihistamine so you don’t have some kind of reaction. Then they go onto the chemotherapy drugs themselves. The first one I get is a three-hour infusion, the second is a one-hour process. So right there I’m about five hours in.
An extra 90 minutes is added to my chemo day as I’m trying something called a “cold cap” to help minimize my hair loss. It’s like a mixture of a bathing cap and an ice pack. It’s hooked up to a machine that keeps the cap cold the entire time you’re there. The extra time is tagged onto the end of the two infusions to help insure those chemo drugs can’t make their way up to your scalp as easily as they could if your scalp wasn’t frozen.
The reason chemotherapy causes hair loss is because it kills fast-growing cells, which your hair is made up of. The cold cap isn’t a 100% guarantee. I have lost some hair, but I have a bunch left too! They say to focus on the hair you’ve got, not on the hair you lost. But soon I’ll have my long hair back! Before this whole process started, I cut all my hair off to be made into a wig. My daughter Annabelle contributed some hair too so it’ll be extra special, but I don’t think it’ll be ready for at least another month.
After I left the center, and most of the day following my chemotherapy I felt awake. Probably due to the steroids they infused me with. But that didn’t last, I had a few days where I crashed, felt a bit nauseous, and very very fatigued. Thankfully each day I feel a little better.
I mentioned at the top of this post, there was joy, challenges, and more joy. On one of the days when I was feeling super low, our new car arrived! About four years ago, my husband and I ordered one of those new electric SUVs, the Rivian. We finally got it! I wasn’t able to take a ride because I felt just too nauseous, but I was able to enjoy looking at it in the driveway.
Thank you for checking out this blog post. One of the reasons I’m writing here is, you or someone you know might also be undergoing a challenging health journey. Between the procedures themselves, plus the tangle of insurance, juggling appointments, family, and work, it’s a lot to handle. There can also be the emotional component of potential anxiousness and maybe even depression.
Are you now, or have you ever, gone through a challenging time? Sometimes just knowing we’re not alone can help soothe our mental health and give us the strength to keep marching forward.
As you might have heard me mention on the station, we’re getting through this thing called life together. For info on my specific condition, check the post below where I get more into the weeds about it.
I’ll be back with you soon until then, miss you already!
Martha's Health Update from August 14, 2023
If you’re checking this blog post, you might’ve heard me mention that my friend and radio sister Christie will be covering my shift at the station for a few days due to my health journey.
Keep checking this page for more updates, but right now August 11, here’s the latest:
First, I’ll be spending time with my daughter Annabelle who I haven’t seen since July 8. That’s not a crazy amount of time, but in mom years it’s an eternity!
Then I’ll start my health tasks. I go into more detail in a previous post, but to quickly catch you up, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer back in May. A surgery followed where it was determined I was stage 1, and no cancer had spread to my surrounding tissues. But because my cell type is “high grade” meaning aggressive, they are having me do 6-treatments of chemotherapy to make sure no potential escapees can set up colonies anywhere else.
My analogy is, it’s as though I called an exterminator to remove a beehive of killer bees from my living room. As they were carrying the hive out the door, they thought a few bees might’ve gotten loose and flown back into my house. Even though they took thousands out, the whole structure has to be tented to be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt there are no stragglers left. That house is my body and the chemo is the tenting.
While Christie’s in for me I will get my 2nd chemo treatment. I expect I will be tired so
Christie and my producer Karena Velazquez are stepping in to keep the Martha Quinn Show ship sailing. They’ll make sure your work day is filled with good vibes, Totally Awesome News, Mixtapes, and corny jokes. Just like always.
Plus Christie has free trips to Las Vegas to catch our 2023 iHeartRadio Music Festival (Goo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, and more) on September 22 and 23 with $1,000 bucks to spend. Listen at 1 pm for the keyword you text to 200200 for your chance to win!
I’ll be back to rock and roll with you soon. until then… Miss You Already!