A Mother’s Fight Against Cancer
Pam Davis finds joy in family, exuding positivity in the midst of cancer treatment
Of all the things 2020 has taken, it couldn’t take away the joy Pam Davis experienced watching her 26-year-old son get married at a small, private ceremony in the summer. As an oncology patient at Personalized Hematology/Oncology of Wake Forest, Pam had the option of a stem cell transplant as part of her cancer treatment. Throughout her road to remission, God, family bonds and Dr. Castillos’ team have played integral roles. Davis took the time to share her experience of multiple myeloma with us.
How did you become a patient of Dr. Castillos?
My initial cancer diagnosis was in 2011 when I had colon cancer and had a 10-pound mass surgical removed at Nash General Hospital. My interaction with Dr.Castillos began there. A few friends who are doctors recommended Dr. Castillos to us while recovering. After choosing from many options, my husband and I decided Dr.Castillos would be my cancer doctor. And he is terrific. If I called Dr. Castillos today, he or his staff would call me back. That’s just the way he and his team are.
What led to your second cancer diagnosis?
It was right around the fifth anniversary of my colon cancer remission that I started to feel severe pains in my side. No one could tell me what it was, but I remained persistent and kept going to the doctor. I felt that something was truly wrong and I could not deal with the pain. Dr. Castillos tried so hard and sent me to several doctors. Finally, one surgeon was able to get a PET scan approved. They found bone lesions on my brain and spine, and I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
What was that like for you?
I have two sons, 29 and 26, and I’m going to do everything in my power to live for my children and my husband. I have my faith in God; He pulled me through it one time, and I handed this over to Him too. Whatever it will be, it will be. That’s just how I feel about it. It’s not in my hands, and it’s not in my doctor’s hands. I’m thankful I’ve got what I’ve got because it could be worse, or it could be my children – and I couldn’t handle that.
How did you choose to share your multiple myeloma diagnosis?
My husband and I have always been very open with our boys. We’re the type of family that talks about everything. We sat together to pray and cried, and we knew we could do it. But, I knew there would be tough days, but I try to keep myself together because I push forward for my family.
How has your treatment for multiple myeloma gone?
The first medication I went on kept my blood count low, and we couldn’t get it back up. After that, I went to a bi-weekly injection, and March was three years that I’ve been on that. A couple of days, you may not feel the best in the world, maybe a little nauseous, but it’s nothing too bad. I can’t complain. I am fortunate that I’ve not been very sick from the chemotherapy. Your energy levels will feel drained, but after a few days, you’ve perked right up!
During treatment for multiple myeloma, what has been your biggest struggle?
Knowing the day and time of your next injection are coming, knowing you’re going to get the chemo and not feel good for a few days. I like to stay busy. I journal and meditate daily. It’s tough for me to know I will be down for those few days every two weeks. And I am trying to plan on all the things I need to get done on my good week.
What has gotten you through your cancer treatment?
My husband makes it easier for me to be there for my boys. We’re high school sweethearts, together 42 years. He asks me how I am doing often, and he takes excellent care of me. I have to remind him that I can do things for myself. He’s been cautious about everything I do.
Within our circle of friends, everyone has reached out. And we have a great, close-knit church family. My friends who also battle cancer have been tremendous support related to our diagnoses’ daily struggles. I couldn’t have asked for a better support system.
Where are you now in your cancer journey?
I have been in remission since my stem cell transplant. The process of having the stem cell extraction was actually straightforward. It wasn’t bad; my energy levels were really low, although not as bad as I expected. Stem cells are kept for up to 10 years in case I need another transplant, and the application is just an injection into your IV.
How has your patient experience been at Personalized Hematology/Oncology?
Everyone on Dr. Castillos’ team is great. He is very knowledgeable of my condition and takes the time needed to care for me. If I need extra time during an appointment, he does not rush me out. He’s going to be there and answer all my questions. Some of my family goes to see him as their primary care physician. He asks about my family; for example, he asked to see wedding pictures of my youngest. I have recommended many of my friends to him because Dr. Castillos is more of a friend than most doctors. He’s moved locations in the nine years I’ve been a patient, and I moved right with him.
Treatment for multiple myeloma in North Carolina
Personalized Hematology/Oncology of Wake Forest is grateful for patients like Pam Davis, who have followed us from our old office to our new. We’re so proud of our powerful community of cancer fighters and survivors.
Patients at Dr. Castillos’ practice receive not only his loving care but that of his entire staff. The facility also includes a dedicated infusion center and infusion specialists for hematology and other infusion therapies.
If you, or someone you know, are struggling with cancer, the team at Personalized Hematology/Oncology is here. Contact us today and let us know how we can help you in your fight against cancer.