Knowledge is Power:

Promoting breast cancer awareness across the Ohio Valley

October 2013

A special supplement to The Gallipolis Daily Tribune, The Point Pleasant Register and The Daily Sentinel

Second chances: Defying the Odds

Personal support system important in recovery of all cancers

Sarah Hawley shawley@civitasmedia.com RACINE ? Three years ago doctors said it was unlikely she would be here today, but Lou Martin is defying the odds and taking a second chance at life. Martin was diagnosed three years ago with Stage 2 colorectal cancer. At the time of the initial diagnosis, Martin said her reaction was one of shock and disbelief as an otherwise very healthy 48-year-old. Eight months after treatments and the initial diagnosis, the cancer returned, this time as Stage 4, having spread to the lung and liver. Martin said the doctor wanted her to undergo the same treatments as before, treatments which had made her very sick. ?Initially I didn?t get a second opinion; I just trusted the doctor,? said Martin. ?I would recommend anyone get a second opinion.? She added that there are some doctors with more experience and success at getting insurance companies to cooperate and pay for treatments. Seeking other opinions, Martin traveled to Mexico to undergo alternative treatments in addition to her conventional chemotherapy treatments. The non-conventional treatments were not covered by insurance, which led to several fundraisers sponsored by various groups to help offset the costs. Martin spoke nearly two years ago to students at the Southern Local mini Relay for Life about her diagnoses and treatments. ?I am not dying of cancer,? she said. ?I am living with cancer.? Soon after, the Racine community hosted the ?Laps for Lou? fundraiser, along with other fundraisers hosted by Farmers Bank, O?Bleness Hospital, local church groups and other community members helping to fund the treatments. ?People want to help people even if it?s a dollar,? added Martin. With the Internet, there are other ways to get involved. ?A friend even placed a PayPal link on my Facebook page which brought in around $2,000,? Martin said. Today, Martin shows no signs of cancer, with the last PET scan showing ?no evidence of the disease.? Despite that diagnosis, Martin will continue to take a maintenance dose of chemotherapy for the rest of her life. ?People are living longer and have more options with today?s medicine,? said Martin. She encouraged anyone in a similar situation to pursue a second opinion, and if insurance turns down a treatment, to keep pursuing it. Martin also credits family as one of the biggest reasons for being where she is today. ?Family advocates can help when you Sarah Hawley | Gallipolis Daily Tribune Lou Martin, front center, leads the first lap of Southern Local?s mini Relay For Life in 2012 when she was the featured speaker. Also pictured are Martin?s youngest son, Ethan (far left) and husband, Jeff (back left). get depressed. You need family to help find things out and make arrangements,? Martin said. She credited her husband, Jeff, as being her biggest advocate throughout the battle. ?No way I would be this far if not for people not giving up on me,? said Martin. ?I gave up believing before they did.? ?God and the power of prayer have been bigger than anything else,? concluded Martin of her battle with cancer. Jeff and Lou Martin live in Racine and are parents to Ryan, Nathan and Ethan.

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