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Published on February 17, 2017

‘She has no idea how much she’s helped me’‘She has no idea how much she’s helped me’

wedding

Newlyweds

This was not your ordinary wedding.

When Tom Martone learned of his father’s failing health, he and his fiancée, Brittany Jeffries, took the next flight out of Phoenix, AZ, to be at his bedside at Cape Cod Hospital. Within a week, it became clear that the wedding needed to happen sooner rather than later and they were gathered in his hospital room exchanging their vows, with family members and clinical staff looking on.

The events happened fast. Just weeks ago, Martone’s father, retired ear, nose and throat doctor, Thomas Martone, MD, received what he thought was a clean bill of health. He even joked with his doctor that if he was around for it, he didn’t want to ever have to go through a colonoscopy again. Then came the second phone call.

“Twenty-four hours later he got the call that the doctor wanted a further look at what appeared to be a mass on his liver,” said Tom Martone, Dr. Martone’s son. “Within 24-48 hours after that he was diagnosed with cancer. All I heard was ‘inoperable’, ‘very advanced’, and ‘somewhat rare’; it just didn’t sound like he had a lot of time.”

wedding

Vows

And with that, Tom and Brittany made the trip from Phoenix, AZ to Cape Cod. When Tom arrived at his parents’ home, they were meeting with palliative care, discussing their options and working on a plan that would ensure Dr. Martone would be comfortable and happy.

“I talked to him weekly, he had just celebrated his 79th birthday,” said Tom. “To me, he sounded like he was getting older, not that he was getting sick. Within a couple of hours of seeing him I realized Dad was not in such great shape.”

Tom reflected on one of his favorite moments since being home – Super Bowl Sunday. His family had gathered together to watch the big game and his father, a huge New England sports fan, was quickly looking drained. The game was leaving him both fatigued and depressed, so he retired to bed before the Patriots had begun their comeback. As the game started to turn, Tom struggled with the decision to wake his father, but ultimately decided he would not want to miss it.

“He was screaming the best that he could, ‘you’re beautiful Tom Brady,” said Tom. “To see his pure elation, I had tears in my eyes.”

The next day however, it was becoming evident that Dr. Martone was getting worse. Tom knew his dad would rather stay at home in bed; but after speaking with his sister, Kristen Benevides, a Clinical Documentation Specialist at Cape Cod Hospital, they decided to take their father to the hospital. As the week progressed, Tom watched his father grow more and more sick, “to see one of your parents knowing this could be the moment, it’s very tough.”