Approaching Cancer the ‘Wright’ Way

 In Patient Experiences

Josephine Wright has been a part of our family at Personalized Hematology/Oncology for more than a decade. Having first met Dr. Castillos and his team during her father’s treatment, she became a patient herself in 2009 when she was first diagnosed with cancer herself. Josephine says she trusts Dr. Castillos, who told her people can live 20 to 30 years in some cases like hers, and she has advice on exactly how to make that happen.

What was your diagnosis, and what led you there?

I was doing fine during my remission since 2013, and before this incident in 2019, I had received a clean bill of health after several check-ups. Then last year in October, I started having pains that I could not explain, so I called Dr. Castillos. 

I went back to him and told him how I couldn’t sleep or lie down. He sent me for a bone scan, which is how I found out the cancer had metastasized. I was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer. I think my biggest fear before I found out was not knowing what it was.

What was it like for you to receive a second cancer diagnosis?

When I had breast cancer the first time, my surgeon called me into his office and I said a little prayer. “Well God, you helped me to get through what I’ve been through, so help me endure whatever else is ahead of me.” Once I said that, believe me, I never worried anymore. I’m the same way now [as last time I had cancer]; I’m dealing with it. 

When Dr. Castillos told me I had stage 4 bone cancer, I said, “When I tell my family, they’re going to say ‘oh gosh, Josephine, you’re on your way out!’” I’ve told Dr. Castillos, I’m going to take my medicine and do everything he tells me. I’m doing what I have to do to keep myself healthy.

What kind of treatment does Dr. Castillos have you on now, and how is that working for you?

I’m taking chemo in shots and pills now. Dr. Castillos did a bone scan about two months ago, and the results from the treatment show that it’s working. So, we’re going to continue to do what we’re doing and hopefully the next time I do another scan, he may be able to lower my medication. 

What has been your biggest challenge during this present cancer battle?

I had a sister die of lung and liver cancer, and Dr. Castillos said my bone cancer could spread. I always say, if it doesn’t spread to my lungs, everything is okay. That’s what I’m really concerned with, and now with this virus, we have to stay in the house. Everyone has gained a few pounds while staying in — I know I have. Sometimes I can get short-winded and don’t know if it’s from the medication or the weight gain and not exercising. 

How do you distract yourself during treatments or downtime?

I’ve been watching TV, and I have family here with me. My family, church members and everyone are very supportive. With everything going on, we’re staying a safe distance away, and they mostly call. The experts if you have any sickness, you don’t need to be around people, so I try not to do that. When friends ask, “Where are you?” I say, “What did they say? Stay home!” so I do not mind staying at home.

What words of wisdom would you pass on to other people facing a cancer diagnosis? 

Don’t wait to have yourself checked. Don’t avoid talking about your symptoms and trying to keep it all to yourself. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t be afraid to tell people what’s what. Just stay focused. Like I said, it’s a mind thing. Just look at it, and deal with it. If you’re not satisfied with your treatment, I can recommend Dr. Castillos. 

How has your experience been with Dr. Castillos?

I couldn’t have asked for a better chain of doctors, my surgeon and radiologist included. Dr. Castillos talked to me and explained everything when I had any questions, and I’m the type of person if I had any feeling and I questioned myself, I could ask him. I’ve felt comfortable telling him anything that goes on with me throughout this battle.

Personalized Hematology/Oncology treats you just like one of the family. When I started going to the practice, my Daddy was also seeing Dr. Castillos. He’s been a part of my healing for eight or nine years. Even after he moved locations, I still go to him. I’m not changing doctors because I love them. They’re sweet. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world, and they’re there for me with any problems I have. 

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