Nancy Martell

November 2005: by Don Martell - Husband
Ovarian Cancer entered my life via a phone call from my daughter. I was on a trip with my company in Las Vegas when my cell phone rang. My daughter was upset and telling me that moms stomach had became large and very hard in just the past two days and that mom is in a lot of pain. Upon arriving home to my shock she wasn’t kidding. My wife’s stomach looked 3 months pregnant. Now lets stop and rewind more than two years before that phone call.
2003 The Warning Signs:
My wife’s daily activities began changing gradually. She began spending more and more time in the bathroom. She finally broke down and visited her gynecologist. The GYN told my wife that she had irritable bowel syndrome. He gave her a prescription for an over the counter laxative and sent her home. Continued warning sign: Well the laxative did its job for what it was designed for but the pressure and bloating feeling continued. So back to the gynecologist we go and he told her to go to get a colonoscopy. Well she did that and she was fine. The doctor that did the colonoscopy told my wife that he thought her problem was GYN related and sent us back to her gynecologist. This cycle went on for around two years.
The bad news:
When finally diagnosed with ovarian cancer it had already progressed to stage IIIc. If the gynecologist had caught the cancer when we first went in it would have probably had been stage 1. You can find more about the different stages online. In a nutshell, a stage IIIc patient has a 5-year 30% chance of survival where a stage 1 patient has a 90% chance of survival.

Nancy Martell 56, passed March 20, 2010 after a courageous battle with Ovarian Cancer. Funeral Details
Make a Donation in the Name of Nancy Martell to fund Ovarian Cancer Research. Helps us find an effective screening test and eventually a cure.

What you need to do:
Due to the lack of care my wife’s GYN provided I decided that I would review every test result and the decision that the health professionals made from those tests. Guys, make sure you take the lead on this. You need to be the one reminding your loved one to ask the questions. During the exam it is difficult for the patient to remember everything. So please be prepared and make sure you get answers to all your questions.

I attend every exam and come to every appointment with questions on paper. What to look out for while your healthy. Ovarian Cancer does not have any one symptom. It is not something like a cold or flu that you just wake up and say, “ Hey I think I have the Flu” or “ Hey I think I have Ovarian Cancer”. It could be a backache, a cramp or bloating feeling that won’t go away, or even a missed or long period. Make sure you tell your GYN about any issues you have below the belly button. If you’re not happy with your answer then get a second opinion.

December 9, 2008:

My wife has gone through debulking surgery, three years of chemo and a bowel obstruction surgery. There were two times that they did not expect her to make it. She has shown everyone that positive thinking, determination and angels do what surgery and chemo can’t. Last year we did not have a Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years due to her bowel obstruction. This year she is feeling much better. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and look forward to a normal Christmas and New Years.
Don Martell - Husband of an Ovarian Cancer Survivor
Last updated on: 06/17/2009

Comments: I have known Don and Nancy Martell for over 20 years. I have witnessed Nancy so weak - but out shopping and just keeping going with life. She is an inspiration to me. Frieda Weeks - 06/17/2009

I am the person who wrote this for my wife. Two weeks ago we found out that the cancer is now in her liver and lungs. She had Chemo last week and again today. We don't know if this will work but we need to try. Donald Martell - 06/17/2009

I have known Don and Nancy for about 22 years, I have never known Nancy to let anything keep her down, at least not for long. I remember her playing with my son and her daughter while Don and I rehearsed with our band. A couple of months ago my daughter had the opportunity to go shopping at Great Northern Mall with Nancy and I for the afternoon, before she started to take a turn for the worst. We enjoyed that afternoon. Nancy is a good person and didn't deserve having a doctor that just dismissed the symptoms she explained to him... One of the biggest problems that we all face, men and women, is that a lot of these doctors think they are god and the patient knows nothing, so instead of listening and investigating further, they send them off with a prescription that only puts a band-aid on the symptoms. I'm not saying all doctors are bad, but if Nancy doctor would have taken that extra step and looked a little harder at the big picture, she may not be fighting for her life now. She may be able to see her daughter walk down the isle, and watch her grand children grow up. Tell me, do you think that's fair to her or her family? I don't!
Annette - 06/23/2009


Nancy is my Aunt, and for a long time, I knew she was sick. We pray for her every night and we wish that she could just stay with us a bit longer (more like forever) to tell her how much she means to us. She is our hero and always will be. SHOP ON AUNT NANCY!!!!
Emily Martell - 06/23/2009


I have had the pleasure of knowing Don & Nancy for 6 years. I had been in a band Don was in for only a few months when Don found out about Nancy's cancer. I have worked in the medical field for over 30 years and have known few patients that have the tremendous courage Nancy has. Patients like Nancy are an inspiration to all others giving them hope and strength to continue living life with sometimes impossible odds. I can't begin to express my admiration for people like Nancy. God Bless you both.
Bill York - 06/23/2009

Well we received bad news today. Nancy will be coming home with Hospice Care on Friday or Monday. She is not getting any better and there is no known procedure to help her. She wants to be home so that is where she will be. I know all of you want to see her but she is not up to visits and she does not want to be seen in her present condition. She is still beautiful so I don't understand what she is talking about. Please know that I will do my very best to call all of you with updates. Love ya all
Don Martell - 06/23/2009

Some people you meet for a moment and you remember for a lifetime..Nancy is one of those people-angels on earth..My heart sends hope for love to carry them through this difficult time and to find some comfort in knowing that people out here praying for you Nancy and your family... for now and always...love is the ultimate connection to those we care about and God** it keeps us together always and forever.... to have a family brings us full circle to the most amazing gift...the gift of light, love and life...which makes living all worthwhile, and where all of the "best" memories will live on forever and ever...and will create new ones and life goes on ..and the light of the angel will never fade. Love to you all,
Lynn York Lynn York - 06/23/2009

Hi all, well we got Nancy home today after a full week at Crouse. She sure did smile when we pulled in the driveway. Hospice will be here at 1 PM tomorrow. I already picked up the meds so she is covered for pain. All of the meds are working very well. She is very relaxed. She thanks everyone for the kind words and well wishes.
Don Martell - 06/25/2009

Don is my little brother. I wonder if he realizes what a wonderful Man he is, and how strong he has been through all of this. Our Nancy has fought like a warrior, and Don has been right beside her. He would have gladly accepted this cross for Nancy. Since it was not to be, he has carried it with her, making it as light as possible for her now frail shoulders. We, as a family, love and respect both Don and Nancy. Still praying for that miracle, despite all. Love from older Sister
Patt Briest - 06/30/2009

Hospice is looking for a Pink Wheelchair for Nancy. They want her to ride in style. Based on her condition lately I do not think that she will be able to use it outside the house. When she wakes up the first thing she wants to do is get out to the mall. Unfortunately she falls asleep before we can get her dressed. The Hospice nurse is great. Nancy is very comfortable with her. Thanks for all the support. It is appreciated.
Don Martell - 06/30/2009

My Aunt Nancy is such an inspiration. Even throughout the tough times, she still keeps that amazing personality we all know and love. She is such a kindhearted person, and I, along with many others, hope for the absolute best. I love you, Aunt Nancy!
Mary-Jenna Briest - 06/30/2009

Don and nancy are an inspiration to me. Reading the comments from the other people who know and care for them, they said it all. You three are strong, kind and in my thoughts and prayers Thank you nancy for taking don and my picture on the deck for the band........and putting up with me in the basement with don-o. You are an angel. love
greg - 07/01/2009

rev 7/31/09
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