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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

What 12 years in cancer treatment teaches you

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VinaDelMar, Calif. — Martina Trevisan, 58, wakes up tired. That is how she’s known for the last two years.

She suffers from fatigue that has made her sleepy even when she goes out. But she has no ill-effects from being hospitalized for five months for lung cancer. The fatigue is from being cancer-free, but unwell.

From the MRI, computerized tomography and similar medical procedures, doctors diagnosed her with sarcoma (a type of bone cancer) in her right leg in July 2013. She had surgery in October that year, but the malignancy had spread to her lungs. She lost 60 percent of her lung capacity, and couldn’t talk and drink after the surgery. She spent 15 months in hospitals, with the last three months in the intensive care unit.

When she came home from the ICU in October 2017, she was like a toddler again, overwhelmed and unwell. At first, her children got her a room in her parents’ home, and Trevisan drove herself everywhere she needed to go. Then, she hired an attendant to care for her. A few months ago, she became increasingly susceptible to allergies that aggravated her asthma. She visits an allergist regularly.

Her five children and her husband of nearly three decades, Michael, would spend hours at her side, guiding her through appointments. Occasionally, she gave up work as a sales manager for an online magazine company because she was too tired to face the work, but she believed she had plenty of things left to do. She re-launched an organization in her name, of which she had been an executive director for 20 years, to provide education to women about breast cancer.

At her latest appointment, which she took because she thought it was time to get her pancreas checked, she leaned on her daughter, Maria, 25, her son, Adam, 23, and her daughter’s fiance, Patrick, 21. They packed a cart with medication and spread the armrests to ease her legs and said a silent prayer.

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