ShareThis Page

Greensburg doctor writes about personal experiences in 'I Had Cancer'

Jacob Tierney
| Thursday, April 9, 2015, 8:24 p.m.

Greensburg's Matthew Walton has always tried to make the best of a bad situation — even the cancerous brain tumor doctors found when he was 13 years old.

He is now 32, cancer free and a doctor himself, and he's written a book about how his experiences have shaped him.

“Holey Ship High In Transport: I Had Cancer” is a 68-page paperback published by Pittsburgh's Dorrance Publishing Co.

The title is an inside joke that will be made clear by reading the book, Walton said.

“It stands for something,” he said.

He wrote the book with help from his father, Gary Walton. It was originally a way of working through his own experiences, he said.

“At first it was kind of like therapy, looking at how everything fit together and drawing conclusions,” he said.

As a teenager, Walton had brain surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. He said he wrote the book to detail his own experiences, and to help others find the strength to work through a terrible situation.

“It's basically a way of picking from the bad to make the good,” he said.

Walton coped with his cancer through humor as a teen. He remembers having his mother draw a smiley face on his bald head after he lost all his hair from chemotherapy.

His treatments were successful. Walton has been in remission for years. Along the way, he said he has met many loving, helpful people who inspired him to keep going.

“People doing small things can make a huge difference in your life. Certain radiologists, you never forget because they were so nice to you in the hospital.”

The kindness of others encouraged his own life's path.

“A lot of people kind of inspired me to push my life in a certain direction,” he said.

He decided to pass this kindness and caring on to others by becoming a doctor.

He received a medical degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and recently finished a residency at UPMC McKeesport.

He is now an attending family practice physician at Prime Medical Care in Belle Vernon.

His book is available for $11 in paperback or $6 for a digital edition at

Jacob Tierney is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6646 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me