Back in mid-August when St. Charles Parish Clerk of Court Lance Marino was shaving, his razor went over a bump in his neck. Little did he know that the small bump would have a huge impact on his life.
“It was about the size of a coin, but about the size of a coin sticking out sideways,” he said.The 51-year-old Marino continued about his day, but began to grow concerned about the lump that had seemed to pop up overnight.
He mulled over what it could be.
“I waited about one day hoping it was a swollen gland or something like strep throat or tonsillitis,” he said. Realizing it could be serious, Marino made an appointment with an ear, nose and throat physician. His worst fears were realized when tests showed that the bump was indeed a cancerous tumor.
Shortly after the diagnosis, Marino broke the news to his family and his employees.
“I was real open with the (clerk) staff because I didn’t want them to hear any courthouse rumors. I told them just as soon as I finished telling my wife, children, my brothers and sisters. My mom is 86, I hated to do that, but she is getting through it alright because she sees it is a pretty positive prognosis,” he said.
A treatment program was developed that included six weeks of chemotherapy, followed by seven weeks of radiation treatment.
In mid-September, Marino began chemotherapy, which he just recently wrapped up.
“On Sept. 18 I had my first full day of chemo. A few days later I was shocked to find out the lump was gone,” he said. “When I reported that to my doctors the following week, they said that it was great. They hope that means it is responding to treatment and they are going to be able to cure this thing.”
Marino said his family has handled the situation well.
“My wife, Mary, has taken on a lot of extra responsibilities with the kids and our household. If it weren’t for her, this would be a lot more difficult,” he said. “My children are very resilient. As soon as they heard that Dad’s going to be OK, and they believe that and are confident in that, they are not showing me any special deference other than letting me know that they love me. They are the same teenagers they were before.”
In addition, Marino said his staff at the Clerk of Court’s Office has functioned well through the ordeal.
“The clerk’s office is still operating at 100 percent efficiency. I’m there most days and have to leave often for appointments, but other than that my energy level is up again so I expect to be there every day. In the interim, the staff has done an excellent job,” Marino said. “They are very competent and reliable, and I appreciate the love, support and prayers that they’ve shown me.”
Marino, who is a non-smoker, said his doctors were perplexed that he would contract a type of cancer that is usually found in smokers. He believes that it may have been caused by secondhand smoke.
“I have in my lifetime been around a lot of secondhand smoke. My father smoked when it was OK to smoke inside and I worked in a bar and restaurant for years in college where there was a lot of smoking. I would say for the first half of my life I was exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke,” he said.
Whatever the cause, Marino said he is confident that he will beat the disease and that the tumor will be completely gone following 35 straight days of radiation treatments that are set to begin next week.
“I am going to beat this thing because we caught it very early. I could have easily sat back for weeks and worried about it and be afraid to find out, but something told me to go find out now and I am not one that is always quick to go to the doctor,” he said.
For others who may be experiencing symptoms, Marino said they should go to a doctor immediately.
“If you think you have a problem, go early and get a quick diagnosis,” Marino said.
|Clerk of Court Lance Marino with his wife, Mary, and children Elena, Dominic, Jacob and Rachel at a Destrehan football game.|