PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After seven grueling weeks of radiation and chemotherapy for throat cancer, KDKA Radio’s Marty Griffin is now back on the air.
Regaining his voice, Marty is now speaking out about ways his particular cancer can be avoided.
“We’ve described this as a journey, and it’s been hell,” says Marty.
He’s down 50 pounds and his once full face is now drawn and gaunt. Seven weeks of daily radiation and weekly chemo has left him in more or less constant pain and robbed him of his sense of taste.
But Marty’s a survivor now, given back the gift of life, his family and his wife, Kristine.
“If I never taste a hamburger again, and I have her and I have my kids, I’ll take it, brother,” says Marty.
The treatment for throat cancer can sometimes be even more lethal than the disease itself. A supreme test for even otherwise strong and healthy people like Marty.
Even more reason not to get it in the first place, if at all possible.
And, so, Marty has made his own journey a crusade for people — especially young children — to get the vaccine to prevent HPV, or the human papillomavirus, a common virus that can result in cancer — throat in men and cervical in women.
“We have reached out and changed so many people, who grab us on the street and they have tears in their eyes, say, ‘I ordered my grandchildren to get the HPV vaccine.’ Makes it all worthwhile, all of it,” Marty says.
Last week, Marty rang the bell at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center signifying his last chemo and radiation treatment.
While he’ll continue immunotherapy treatments and have scans to makes sure the cancer doesn’t return, Hillman director and oncologist Dr. Robert Ferris says all signs are good.
“He appears to be disease free,” said Dr. Ferris. “Ultimately, time will tell. But he starts from a strong position of having a very curable cancer.”
Never one to stay on the sidelines, Marty was back on KDKA Radio on Monday morning, reconnecting with his listening audience.
But throughout the entire ordeal, Marty communicated one thing to KDKA’s Andy Sheehan personally, that he owes his recovery to the men and women at Hillman and the love of his wife, Kristine.
“She’s been my guardian angel. She has been the love of my life times 12. She has been there morning, noon and night,” said Marty.
“It’s hard to watch the person you love in pain when you can only do so much to stop it. That’s been hard,” said Kristine Sorensen.
Given the pain our community is experiencing right now, Kristine knows even more deeply just how blessed they are.
“I feel that we’ve been given a second chance at life with him, and I just see all these people who didn’t get that second chance in Squirrel Hill,” said Kristine.