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Infusion Treatments Inspire Family Time

Published on Aug. 27, 2020

Peninsula Township Man Nears Seven Consecutive Years of Weekly Infusion Treatments

Cancer Munson Healthcare

For 82-year-old Porter Martin, Wednesday is his favorite day of the week.

That’s because it’s infusion day. Not just a day to receive the injections that control his Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), but also because he’s able to catch up with the Cowell Family Cancer Center nurses and patients he’s become close to over the years.

“Wednesdays are the absolute best days of the week for me,” he said. “When you’ve gone to the infusion clinic as many times as I have, you not only get to learn their names, you also learn about their families and their children and their pets. It’s my favorite day of the week because you see so many good people.”

In fact, September 2, 2020, will mark Porter’s 368th consecutive Wednesday receiving treatment. That’s seven consecutive years. But he’ll tell you one of those weeks does have an asterisk from being treated for pneumonia in Munson Medical Center’s ICU.

“They wouldn’t let me walk across the street to the Cancer Center, but they did take care of me,” he said. “So I think it counts.”


From Diagnosis to Hope

MDS is an often undiagnosed condition that occurs when a person’s bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. This condition is considered a malignancy of the bone marrow that can evolve further.

When Porter received this diagnosis in 2006, he and his wife Sharon were living in Illinois. They chose treatment at the Mayo Clinic but didn’t like the answers they received when it came to long-term care. Thankfully, a visit with his daughter in Traverse City led to a referral to now-retired Richard Kosinski, MD, who understood there was a better way to manage the disease.

Porter and his wife moved to northern Michigan in the summer of 2013 to be closer to family and to begin his weekly infusion treatments. When Dr. Kosinski retired, Porter began treatment under the care of his current physician, Yelena Kier, DO, FACOI.

“Treatment for hematologic diseases can be very taxing and difficult,” said Dr. Kier. “Mr. Martin exemplifies true strength and courage in the face of his disease.”

“Dr. Kosinski gave me so much hope, Porter said. “It was so great to talk with him and share hunting stories. And Dr. Kier is wonderful too. She and the oncology nurses treat me so well.”


Enter Cowell Family Cancer Center – More Than Just Cancer Care

Porter’s treatment eventually led to Cowell Family Cancer Center when construction was completed in 2015. The second-level Carls Foundation Infusion Suite serves patients of all ages with 44 available chairs in an open-air, private, and relaxing healing environment.

Cowell Family Cancer Center Munson Healthcare Cancer Care

 

 “The facilities are second to none, Porter said. “I’ve been in a few of them in Illinois and also the Mayo Clinic. If you don’t need to visit, it looks like just another building, but we have a world-class medical facility here in Traverse City.”

On a typical Wednesday, Porter is immediately recognized at the Cowell Family Cancer Center registration desk and proceeds to a room for a blood draw. Then it’s a quick elevator ride to the infusion suite, where oncology nurses determine his level of treatment based on blood hemoglobin levels. His standard therapy is two injections of specific medications that stimulate blood cell growth.

Patient room cancer care munson healthcare cowell family cancer center“I see many patients here getting treatments all the time,” he said. “They’ll never go to a facility that’s any nicer or that makes you feel more comfortable. I think over time I’ve met almost every nurse that has worked at Cowell Family Cancer Center. And these conversations are a part of my treatment. It’s a joy to get caught up with their family life. Each one is as nice as or nicer than the last one.

“I had a surprise birthday one time – someone brought in a cake, I’m sitting in front of the fireplace while they were singing happy birthday. It’s been just a wonderful experience.”


Infusion Treatments Lead to More Family Time

These days Porter is staying as active as possible and enjoying all the time he can with his wife, four children, and 10 grandchildren. A limited amount of hunting and fishing during the summer months and continuing his weekly visits to Cowell Family Cancer Center are all a part of his treatment plan.

“There’s no question in my mind if I wasn’t having treatments and a program that’s helping, I wouldn’t have the energy and inclination to spend time with the kids,” he said. “These treatments are keeping me upright and I let the nurses know all the time.

“The nurses at Cowell Family Cancer Center have taken really, really good care of me.”

Munson Healthcare’s Cowell Family Cancer Center provides non-oncologic infusion services at locations throughout northern Michigan. If you’re suffering from a chronic illness or immune disorder, we can provide expert care close-to-home. Ask your primary care provider for a referral.