Fighting Norma’s Cancer – Easing Her Fears and Worries
November 30, 2023
Norma, who relocated to South Florida just before she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer that affects the bone marrow, said her biggest fear was for her family. She became less fearful after meeting her doctors.
“Dr. Fernandez was just great. He was very clear. He tells you like it is, and I like that,” Norma said.
“Chemotherapy reduced Norma’s disease to less than 90% from her previous numbers,” said Hugo Fernandez, MD, Chair and Medical Director of Moffitt Malignant Hematology and Cellular Therapy at Memorial Healthcare System. “So we did a consolidation therapy with autologous stem cell transplantation.”
Soon after, Norma was released from the hospital and now takes a maintenance therapy medication to control her disease.
“She was caught early, and she was at the right place at the right time,” Dr. Fernandez said.
“The blessing in all of it, honestly, was that she was here,” said Norma’s sister, Leah, who is also Chief Operating Officer for Memorial Healthcare System. “Our staff helped to really calm my fears. They saved my sister's life, and I'm pretty sure if she’d had her care anywhere else that might not have been the case.”
“In the course of her journey I was able to meet Norma where she was, making sure she had the care and support she needed,” said Leonard Mckhan, MSW, patient navigator.
“Leonard always assured me that you don't have to worry, I've got you,” Norma said.