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John - Elko, NV

john-1My name is John Martin and I am from Elko, Nevada. I practiced dentistry here for thirty five years and retired a few years ago. My bout with cancer started in 2000 when I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia which has been successfully treated with chemotherapy at Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. In 2004, skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) developed in my left external ear which defied four surgical attempts and twenty two radiation treatments. Finally, I had modified radical neck surgery in August 2006 which included the removal of my left ear. Subsequently, I had a prosthetic ear fabricated at Huntsman just two months later.

My fight against cancer has been a team approach with my dear wife Mary Ellen (a RN) and the excellent care I have received from so many at Huntsman! Leukemia treatment will be ongoing and I am one year post-op from my ear surgery. Both my chemotherapy and surgery have been very successful. My life is different in that I have a greater appreciation than ever for modern medicine and those who fabricate ear prostheses to help restore form and function! In my case, I am able to confidently interact with others and be amused by their inability to discern which ear is natural and which is a prosthesis!

I feel very fortunate to be living an active life as an avid fly fisherman and fly tier of mediocre skills. My casting techniques are still a little shaky though when fishing from my pontoon boat. I have recurrent nightmares about hooking my ear on my back cast and sending it to a watery demise. I therefore protect my beautiful new ear by leaving it at home when on the water! – Best, John