Marty’s Story

Marty Chaney’s large extended family includes second and third generations whose many activities packed the Carlisle woman’s schedule. When she began to experience discomfort in her abdomen, it affected her appetite, her energy level, and ultimately her ability to enjoy her family.

Chaney managed to go to nearly every activity involving her family or her church. But after an activity-packed day, she found she often needed to take the next two days to recover.

“My primary care doctor first talked about testing because when he examined me and pressed on my stomach, it was very tender,” Chaney said.

Through a series of tests, including an endoscopy, Chaney learned she had some inflammation in her stomach lining. She was diagnosed with mucosa-associated lymphoid, or MALT lymphoma. While the cancer was slow- growing, it wasn’t something to be ignored. Mucosal tissue is the soft, moist, protective tissue that lines many parts of the body, such as the mouth, stomach, breathing passages and other internal organs. Lymphoid tissue (where lymphocytes collect) is normally found in mucosal tissue.

“Her symptoms were typical for this type of cancer,” said Ryan Steinmetz, M.D., radiation oncologist at Atrium Medical Center. “MALT lymphoma can show up in many different parts of the body because the body has this type of tissue in many places.”

While Chaney experienced abdominal symptoms, the condition also can trigger symptoms such as rapid weight loss, night fevers, and heartburn or acid reflux. Dr. Steinmetz urges patients to check with their primary care physician if these symptoms persist and aren’t controlled by medications.

Chaney’s treatment plan included daily doses of radiation with minimal side effects of nausea and perhaps some fatigue. Thanks in part to her general good health and positive attitude, her treatment and recovery went well.

After the radiation rounds, she had a series of follow-up visits with a gastroenterologist, medical oncologist and with Dr. Steinmetz, the radiation oncologist. The three physicians gave her the all-clear. She is currently cancer-free.

Dr. Steinmetz said in rare cases, the cancer could return, but periodic check-ups should detect any reoccurrence.

The ordeal has given Chaney and her husband, Bob, a new lease on life. Married 54 years, the two are nearly inseparable. “I can’t imagine going through this life with anyone else or anywhere else,” she said.

This month, Chaney celebrates three years of being cancer-free. She has returned to football games, school events, church events and large family gatherings. On any given Friday night, you will see her surrounded by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the stands at a Carlisle football game.

Chaney received radiation treatments at Atrium Medical Center. “I’m glad we were there,” she said. “Everyone is on a first-name basis and so friendly.”

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