Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm Back

About a week before exams, I found out that my mother has stage 4 lung cancer. It’s not good stuff. At the time, I didn’t really know how to deal with it or talk about it outside of people I know at least pretty well. I also didn’t want to worry about other concerns, so I pretty much dropped everything when exams were over and flew home to DC to be with her for as long as I could.

She’s doing okay. Physically she is very weak from the chemo, but she has always been a mentally strong person and she has a lot of resolve and positive energy. It gave me energy and I try to stay positive and encouraging to give her energy. I have no greater role model in life than my mom, and that’s pretty much always been the case. She is such a wonderful person on so many levels.

A few things have struck me from this experience. First, there’s never a wrong time to let people around you know how much you care about them. Things happen suddenly, and some tragedies are more sudden than others. Being able to hug my mother and let her know how much I care about her every day over the past few weeks meant so much to me, and you never know when you won’t have an opportunity to do that again.

Second, it really has bolstered my feelings about protection of the environment. My mom has never been a smoker, and that’s the cause of the large percentage of people with lung cancer. But she has been in some very polluted areas, including growing up in a much dirtier Los Angeles than today and living in China where pollution is also really bad. She’s convinced that’s what led to this given she doesn’t smoke, and I tend to agree. Protecting our skies, water and other natural resources isn’t just an end in and of itself – it affects the lives of human beings as well.

A lot of other things have also transpired since I last posted. I graduated law school, so that’s done. I’m currently taking a bar review course, which is no fun at all. There’s an incredible amount of information you’re supposed to memorize, and I’ve never been good at memorizing things. Luckily the review course is really helpful in keeping me focused and teaching me the materials I need to know. I can’t imagine trying to pass the bar without one of those courses, particularly in California.

One other random note is I nearly got involuntarily bumped from my flight back to LA twice. I was scheduled to fly home on a Sunday, but United overbooked the flight massively and 15 people on the plane with "confirmed" tickets weren't allowed to board. I had my first bar review class the next morning so I wanted to get back. I tried to fly standby, but the two next flights to LA were also overbooked. So I just took the next flight I could get a "confirmed" flight on, which was the next evening. Went back to the airport, and it was again overbooked, and again I was waiting to see if I'd get on. This time I was literally the last person called and they closed the door behind me with another 20 or so people unable to leave. I've never experienced anything like this flying other airlines. So my recommendation in short: never fly United. One more time for emphasis: Never Fly United. They ought to be ashamed of themselves, making that sort of treatment of customers a regular policy.

I’ll return to writing about Raw on Monday. I thanked Justin Shapiro and Steve Khan for helping out while I was gone, and I’d like to do so again here. It was much appreciated. Also, I’ve got an exciting new opportunity writing for sportsillustrated.com. They are getting into MMA coverage, and I’ll have a lot of flexibility in covering events, as well as writing feature and opinion pieces. So look for articles on their website starting very soon. I will also start blogging again now at pretty much the same pace before I took a break.

Hope everyone is well.
Todd

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Todd,
You don't know me, but congrats on the writing opportunity, and my thoughts are with your mother. I wanted to thank you for raising awareness that not all lung cancers are caused by smoking. I recently spoke at a bookstore near LA and emphasized that the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. is radon. From lectures I give, very few people are aware of this, even educated, health conscious individuals. Yet, a simple test kit that costs less than 20 dollars can detect a problem, and it can be fixed if present. I have known too many people like your mother with lung cancer that were non-smokers and it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart even more, because the stigma associated with lung cancer assumes they were all smokers that did this to themselves. Let her know that we know differently, and our prayers are with her, as well as our efforts to raise awareness about the issues other than smoking that can cause lung cancer.

And, good luck on your bar. It sounds like you have the empathy and concern that my JD friends have that make them outstanding lawyers!

Lynne Eldridge M.D.
Author, "Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time"
http://www.avoidcancernow.com

9:43 PM  
Anonymous James said...

Todd,

Welcome back, bro. My thoughts, once again, go out to your mother and you. It sounds like she's more than mentally equipped to fight the battle that lies ahead of her and, trust me, that's gonna be a big plus for her.
Congratulations on all the other things going on in your life. Graduating law school, preparing for the bar, writing for SI.com ... wow, I can't imagine how proud your mom and the rest of your family is of you. They must be bustin!
Alright man, hopefully you'll be at the Coliseum on Saturday night and we'll see each other. I would love to catch up.

take care,
James

10:44 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Thanks very much for your thoughts, Dr. Eldridge. Keep up your good work. Education is such a key to prevention, and I'm glad there are many people out there trying to raise awareness. I also appreciate your kind sentiments.

James, I'll definitely be at the Coliseum. Looking forward to chatting with you.

6:05 PM  
Blogger houston.mitchell said...

Welcome back. Your mom will remain in my prayers.

Boy, those idiots at the L.A. Times really missed the boat, huh? :)

8:47 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Ha! I don't know what they were thinking in bringing me in, actually....

3:40 PM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

Good to hear that your mother's doing well, here's hoping things stay on the up and up. The wife of one of my very favorite professors back at BGSU came down with cancer, and he was balancing that and work and it was clear to see how terribly difficult it was on him...I can only imagine.

Congrats on the SI gig, maybe you can convince them to put your Raw reports on SI.com. That'd be a coup.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

I would like to go along with the sentiments of the other posters here by wishing your mother and your family all the best. And also congratulations for getting a chance to write for SI.com. We're glad to have you back.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous the masterbater said...

Great to have you back, sorry to hear about your mom I know that has to be tuff thing to handle. Also, great to see you make an appearance in Inside the Squared Circle.

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Eddie T. said...

Todd, I'm another follower of your blog, and want you to know my thoughts (as I'm sure everyone else who reads this) are with you and your family at this tough time.

My aunt (my dad's sister) passed away at the special age of 33 from lung cancer, and she had never lit a cigarette in her life, nor was around cigarettes. The scariest part is that I find out she was a geologist, travelled mountains where you would think there's nothing but clean air. It truly is amazing how some diseases work, and who they attack. I wish your mother the best!

Lastly, as a fellow Bruin, I congratulate you on finishing law school at UCLA! That's definitely a big accomplishment, and I'm sure you'll do great on your bar.

P.S. - United is as good as a Great Khali title run.

11:17 PM  
Blogger AdamAnnapolis said...

Todd-

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your mother is lucky to have you, and I have no doubt that the pride that she has in all of your accomplishments really helps in the most difficult of times.

Sports Illustrated! Don't forget us back here on the east coast, now that you're big time...

Don't hesitate to drop me a line if you need to talk/vent...

Be well,

Adam

6:51 AM  
Blogger janie said...

Hi Todd

I read your Raw reports on the Wrestling Observer website often, and was so sad to hear you're going through a such a tough time. I can empathise totally - my own father passed away from lung cancer nearly two years ago and the whole experience was really traumatic. He was elderly and only survived a week after diagnosis, though he'd been ill for some time.

I send you and your family all my best wishes. Be positive and stay strong.

Take care - please don't hesitate to contact me if it all gets a bit much - it can help to unload your anxieties on a stranger sometimes.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Dan Wahlers said...

Hi Todd,

Very sorry to hear about your mother's illness. Cancer has unfortunately ran rampant through my family over the past few years, so I know what you're going through. Stay strong. My prayers are with you and your mom.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Bluefist said...

Todd,

So sorry about your mom.

Being a cancer survivor myself & with my own mom going through chemo, I can relate.

She sounds likes a GREAT lady.

Congrats on SI.com. Well deserved.

All the best to you,

Ken (aka 'Bluefist' from the F4W board)

4:20 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I really appreciate the well wishes from everyone. It's comforting to know that many of you have gone through similar struggles and still have been able to keep going and stay positive. I've come to think that's the key to the whole thing.

Thanks so much.

5:19 PM  

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