My name is Sarah Christina Davis and my husband Mike and I are leaders of the Northwest Florida MM support group in Panama City, FL.
I’m so grateful to God for everything and I’m very blessed to be here sharing my story with you.
We were living in Charlotte NC when around Nov 20th 2009 I started to have pain in my left shoulder and gradually it moved to the other side of my body. I thought I just had sore muscles since I was helping my husband do some work around our house few weeks earlier. But the pain did not go away and it got worse. I couldn’t move my upper body and my primary care doctor thought I might have acid reflux.
I went to see a Gastroenterologist and had an endoscopy that showed no sign of acid reflux. He also ordered a bone density, bone scan, MRI and CT scan. Those tests showed that I might have Multiple Myeloma. I asked him “what is that?” He told us it was cancer. We did not even know what MM was until the first time I saw the Oncologist referred by my medical insurance on February 10, 2010. By then, I had so much bone pain all over my body that I couldn’t even get out of bed alone and could hardly walk.
Finally on February 23rd the Oncologist confirmed that I had MM stage 3 after a skeletal survey and bone biopsy. The Skeletal Survey X-rays showed that my bones had a lot of lesions and looked like a road map. That explains why I was experiencing so much pain and fatigue over the last two months. Immediately he sent me have two pints of blood transfused into my body because I had very low red blood account. He explained to us that Chemo treatments would last about 6 months. We both cried all the way home and couldn’t believe the news that I had Multiple Myeloma cancer.
I thought to myself “my life is over and this is how I am going to die at age 55”. I felt a fear of the unknown sweep over me. Because of this strange cancer called Multiple Myeloma, I wondered how much suffering I would have to endure before I died? It was overwhelming not knowing what to expect and I prayed that somehow I would make it through this without losing my mind. No one in my family ever had cancer and I was the healthiest one, although I was anemic most of my life.
Finally on March 1st 2010 I started Chemo with Velcade, Revlimid and Dex twice a week and Zometa once every three weeks. It was not as bad as I thought it would be. I thought they were going to hook me up to a big machine and do a lot of radiation on my body. I was surprised that it was not painful when the triage nurse gave me Chemo intravenously in my arm. But after about 6 weeks of chemo the doctor had to put a port in my upper chest because both my arms were black, purple and blue from the Chemo IV needles. My husband was working full time so I was home alone during the day. It gave me a lot of time to think about my misery and I cried a lot and felt sorry for myself. I did not know how long I was going to have to suffer like this. I was afraid that this was going to be an even longer road if I didn’t snap out of the self pity and crying. The last thing I needed was depression.
So I had long talk with myself and God and I decided to accept the situation and be grateful for it. I was born very premature and almost died at birth but God gave me 55 years so I should thank him for everything and be positive and grateful instead of getting depressed and upset. So what if I’m dying. No one lives forever on this earth. From that day on I kept thanking God for the cancer and praying that my suffering would not be in vain. Somehow this will be a good lesson for me. I told God that His will be done and whatever he decides is Ok with me. I ate a healthy diet of a lot of vegetables, started gentle exercises and planted flowers when I was not in pain. I ended up in the ER three times within six months during the Chemo treatments because of so much bone pain. But I kept a positive and grateful attitude for the whole time.
Thankfully after two weeks of chemo my protein level went down to 136 from 750. So the chemo was working well although Chemo treatment made me feel very tired, dizzy, nauseated, constipated and suffered from insomnia and painful neuropathy in my legs, feet and hands. I had to constantly rub them. It felt like a thousand needles of fire were shooting into my nervous system giving me constant cramps and pain. It was unbearable but I had to go through it until the chemo is done. Chemo was killing the Multiple Myeloma cancer cells but it would not leave me without a fight because it got into my sternum so strongly that even the slightest movement gave me extreme pain. So I had to move very slowly and carefully. One day I ended up in the ER and they gave me Morphine for the pain. The pain pill did not work most of time and just made me very dizzy and I felt weird. I had to sleep sitting up until the pain in my sternum gradually decreased which took about six weeks. I did not sleep well at all during that time.
After the the cancer went into my rib cage it gave me shooting pains so badly that all I could was cry. We called my doctor (it was a Saturday evening) and thankfully the standby doctor called in a prescription for stronger pain medicine that saved me from going to the ER. That medicine made me very dizzy and I felt weird as always but it helped me to sleep.
After six months of chemo (1st of March thru the end of August 2010) at the end of November 2010 my doctor told me the Good news that I was in remission. I did not have a stem cell transplant although the doctor suggested it in the beginning, but I choose not to have it. Now I’m doing well on a maintenance regimen of 2.5mg Revlimid. It has been four years since I was diagnosed with MM and I’m still in remission and doing good so far.
Every day I give thanks to God, My savior Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He heard my prayers and gave me strength and wisdom when I needed it and led me to where I am by providing me with good doctors, nurses and medicines and everyone who prayed for me. God bless them all.
Lastly, I thank God for my wonderful husband who was there for me. We sold the house in Charlotte NC when we moved to Panama City, FL in 2012.
We are now leaders of a MM support group in Panama City, FL that we started in 2013 with help of IMF, especially their regional representative Anne Pacowta in Jacksonville, FL. When we started the group we had three members. Since then we’ve grown to 14 at our last meeting. We’re getting the word out about our group through local newspaper ads and we were recently interviewed for a radio spot with four local stations. They will start airing on March 16th and will continue as they are able to give us the air time. We’re also planning to get our message on local TV stations too. Let’s keep working together to beat this disease for good. We’re here to help each other. We appreciate you very much. God bless you all.
– Sarah D.