Grabbing Life by the Horns: Gina Martinson's Story

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Breast Cancer

Gina Martinson shares her experience of being a breast cancer survivor.Gina Martinson shares her personal experience of being a breast cancer survivor.
Let’s face it. We have all encountered moments and experienced traumatic events in our lives. Whether it has been a physical or emotional struggle, we have all been there.

My name is Gina Martinson, and I am a patient access associate at UW Health at The American Center.
And I am a breast cancer survivor.

I was diagnosed on November 16, 2007. I was strolling through life with blinders on as if I were invincible just the day before. My youngest son was four-months-old.


When you hear the words, “You have cancer,” the first thing you think of is death. I became numb facing the possible reality I would not be there to see my sons grow up. Cancer is similar to the game we played as children – Duck, Duck, Goose. I never did like geese much but I got tagged. I was the goose.

I endured multiple surgeries and chemotherapy treatments for over a year. I lost a part of my body that I had wished for as a young lady to just hurry up and grow! I lost my vanity, my hair and my normal life. I did this all with a smile on my face and generated as much laughter as I could provide to all I met. It made them feel better and made me feel great! Trust me when they say laughter is the best medicine. It’s true.

When faced with any obstacle – grab the bull by the horns and don’t let go (and do it with sass and class).

-Gina Martinson

My care team at UW Carbone Cancer Center, comprised of Dr. Tom McFarland, Karen Huseby-Moore, NP and the whole staff were simply the best. We became very close and still keep in touch. If you have an oncologist that can speak like Donald Duck, you pretty much have it all.

I am now almost nine years out from my initial diagnosis and this past May 13 was eight years since my last treatment. I feel awesome and remain in remission! I have witnessed my son Michael graduate and move onto college life at Carrol University. My son Marcus graduated high school this year and will be heading to UW-Whitewater this fall. My youngest Brogan just turned 9 – going on 16 and has perfectly styled hair at all times.

Cancer is nondiscriminatory. It doesn’t care where you are in your life. Nothing life challenging does. I am surrounded by the most amazing family here at The American Center. Health and wellness is very important both physically and mentally and we have it all here. I am forever grateful I am part of this amazing facility.

YOU are a survivor just like me! We are all survivors. Life is a gift, and life is good. Everyone has a story. Share it. It gives hope and inspires others. What good is your light if you don’t let it shine.