Fam­ily’s can­cer warn­ing

Southern Telegraph - - News - Stuart Hor­ton

A Shoal­wa­ter woman has urged any­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pro­longed symp­toms of acid re­flux to see their doctor af­ter her hus­band was re­cently di­ag­nosed with oe­sophageal can­cer.

Jo Hyke-Martin’s hus­band Garry Martin is in in­ten­sive care at Fiona Stan­ley Hos­pi­tal un­der­go­ing treat­ment af­ter a rou­tine exam for acid re­flux in May turned into a can­cer di­ag­no­sis, flip­ping their world up­side down.

A rig­or­ous course of chemo­ther­apy failed to shrink Mr Martin’s tu­mours, leav­ing doc­tors with no op­tion but to op­er­ate. He was ad­mit­ted for surgery on July 19, when his can­cer­ous oe­soph­a­gus was to be re­placed with a sec­tion of bowel. The eight-hour op­er­a­tion failed how­ever, ow­ing to a pre­vi­ous surgery, and the sur­geon was not able to con­nect Mr Martin’s newly con­structed oe­soph­a­gus to his stom­ach. In­stead, the sur­geon had to re­move Mr Martin’s en­tire stom­ach and con­nect the oe­soph­a­gus di­rectly to his lower in­tes­tine.

This surgery ap­peared to go well ini­tially, how­ever af­ter a week of be­ing moved back and forth from in­ten­sive care, Mr Martin’s re­place­ment oe­soph­a­gus be­came in­fected and was dy­ing.

A fur­ther eight-hour sur- gery fol­lowed to re­move it.

Mr Martin now has a bag in­serted into the side of his neck to col­lect saliva and flu­ids from his mouth, and a feed­ing tube is con­nected di­rectly into his lower in­tes­tine.

He un­der­went another pro­ce­dure on Sun­day but sur­geons were un­able to close.

Yes­ter­day, he was set for his sixth surgery in just 25 days.

Ms Hyke-Martin said any­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing signs of acid re­flux should not be dis­mis­sive and should see their GP as soon as pos­si­ble just to be sure. “This has had a devas- tat­ing im­pact on my fam­ily and amaz­ing friends who are sup­port­ing us,” she said.

“My hus­band has never smoked, he is not a drinker and he was fit and healthy . . . bang out of nowhere it hits us. It is so, so un­fair, like (can­cer) is for many fam­i­lies.”

Adrian Barnes, Mr Martin’s best friend since the pair were eight years old, has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to sup­port Mr Martin, Ms Hyke-Martin and their two daugh­ters, Ge­or­gia and Har­riet.

“Garry is the type of man that will do ab­so­lutely any­thing for you, and goes out of his way to help oth­ers; he is loved by fam­ily, friends and neigh­bours,” Mr Barnes said.

“Garry only has two weeks of sick pay left to claim and is ob­vi­ously un­able to work dur­ing this pe­riod and fi­nan­cially pro­vide for his fam­ily, al­though lis­ten­ing to him he would go back to work to­mor­row. His wife, Jo, needs to be by his side to care for him and the girls. This, of course, will pre­vent her from work­ing full­time. We are look­ing to sup­port this very spe­cial man dur­ing such an ex­tremely dif­fi­cult pe­riod in his life.”

Mr Martin faces the prospect of more surgery af­ter un­der­go­ing a sec­ond round of chemo­ther­apy. Once he is de­clared can­cer-free, sur­geons will revisit op­tions to re­con­struct his oe­soph­a­gus again by tak­ing another piece of his bowel.

Ms Hyke-Martin said she was over­whelmed with “love and sup­port of ev­ery­one” since her hus­band be­came ill, es­pe­cially the “amaz­ing staff” at Fiona Stan­ley Hos­pi­tal’s ICU.

“The care he is re­ceiv­ing is fan­tas­tic,” she said.

Mr Barnes said any ex­cess funds raised via GoFundMe will be do­nated to the Can­cer Unit at Fiona Stan­ley Hos­pi­tal, to sup­port oth­ers. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/help­garry-m.

Jo Hyke-Martin, her hus­band Garry Martin and their daugh­ters Ge­or­gia and Har­riet.

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