When Steve Martin is asked how his day is going, the answer is simple but developed by hardship.
"I’m blessed by the best," is the three-time cancer survivor’s reply and mantra.
The 68-year-old Martin has the love of Jesus Christ in his heart and tattooed on his back, and shares that love through testifying to all who cross his path, hoping to inspire and make a difference in a person’s life each and every day. He said he is blessed to be a survivor of cancer and going through the journey has helped him love Jesus Christ even more.
Martin was first diagnosed with cancer in 2005 after he told a nurse at his doctor’s office in Covington he wasn’t feeling like his normal, healthy self. "I said, ‘I ain’t been feeling real chipper.’ I said, ‘How about just having Dr. Patton write me a prescription for some B-12 and I’ll take it and give myself a shot at home,’" Martin said. "She (the nurse) said, ‘Well, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.’
"She called me back in the next few days and she said, ‘Dr. Patton thinks it’s time for you to have a physical,’ I said ‘I don’t really feel the need for a physical , I’m just feeling a little sluggish.’ His PA (physician assistant) Evelyn called me back and said ‘He wants you to have a physical, and I said, ‘I don’t need one, but what the heck.’
"[I] said, ‘Well my God, I don’t feel good now. If he thinks I need a physical, why [can’t] I have a physical?’ She said ‘Because it’s not enough [time] in order to give a complete physical, you have to have so much time.’ So I said, ‘What the heck, we’ll just wait until [July].’"
When July finally rolled around he had his physical, which consisted of having blood drawn, chest X-rays and several other procedures. Following the physical, Martin didn’t really think much of it.
"About two or three days later, Evelyn called me back and said ‘We didn’t like that X-ray. Could you come back and take another one.’ And I said, ‘Sure.’ So I went back over there and took one," he said. "In like a day, she called me back and said, ‘Steve, we’re still not satisfied with that X-ray. Could you go up there on there on Salem Road and have an Open MRI (a medical imaging technique used to scan the body)?’"
After having an Open MRI, Martin said he was asked to have a PET Scan, which is a nuclear medical imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image or picture of functional processes in the body, commonly used to trace signs of cancer.
In August 2005, Martin was diagnosed with lung cancer. A few months later in October, he had surgery on his lungs, where the majority of the cancerous cells were removed. In November, Martin went through chemotherapy (cancer treatment) with Dr. Richard Carter at the Atlanta Cancer Center in Conyers, where he talked to and met a number of people.
"There was this black lady there, and I believe it was her grandson [who] sat there with her. He had on his do-rag, and you know I said, ‘Don’t you be mad at me, but, what do you call that?’ and he said, ‘That’s my do-rag.’ And I said, ‘Well what is it for?" And he said, ‘This keeps my hair and everything," Martin said with a smile.
"So anyway, he told his grandmother, ‘I’m going to get something to eat’ … he’s been gone for 15 minutes and then she gets a call on her cell phone and she said, ‘Yeah that will be fine’… Anyway when he gets back he’s got me a red do-rag… And I said, ‘Well, the only problem is I don’t know how to put the thing on,’ and he says, ‘I’m going to show you.’ So I take it and he goes around and puts it on, and he ties it. And I said, ‘Hey man, I’m cool.’"
Martin said he embraced the hair loss typically associated with chemotherapy, rather than worrying about what others would think of him hairless.
"I kept it shaved off for five years, I just enjoyed it," he said. "The reason I let it grow back out was because every time I would see someone, they would say, ‘Steve, it’s a real shame you lost your hair,’" he said.
Martin was diagnosed with cancer two more times - prostate cancer in 2007, and then colon cancer in 2008. He said it’s amazing how God picked him out of all people to live through the disease.
"God is an awesome God, his miracles are yet to be seen," Martin said. "God was there 7 1/2 years plus."
After living through all three diagnoses, Martin wanted to keep a reminder of what and who he felt was the reason for his life permanently marked on his body. Among Martin’s tattoos are a picture of Jesus Christ on his chest and the archangel Michael on his arm. But his personal favorite is a full-sized tattoo of Jesus Christ on the cross, which took about 16 hours to get.
"I get such a joy out of telling people how wonderful God is and how much that he can take and do in their life."
Martin and his wife Helen, 72, have been married for 50 years. They attend The Church of Covington.