Washago woman decided to ‘step up to the plate and start talking about multiple myeloma,’ while encouraging people to support research into the deadly cancer
A Washago resident is on a mission to spread awareness about multiple myeloma, the second most common form of blood cancer.
Kathryn Davis, 64, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma almost five years ago.
“I was completely shocked,” she said. “I was scared and blindsided. I’ve always been a physically active person and a healthy eater.”
The retired consumers’ package goods industry worker kept asking herself “why me?”
“Sometimes I’m very good at parking it and not thinking about it at all,” Davis said. “Other times, without a doubt, I can let my mind take over and have thoughts about the future, which are always not so bright.”
The Toronto native does her best to live in the present, but it can be difficult given that multiple myeloma is not curable.
Myeloma manifests itself and develops differently in each patient, Davis says. Each person responds to the same therapies differently, making myeloma a difficult disease to both diagnose and treat.
Symptoms of myeloma include bone pain (resulting from bone fractures), and kidney problems. Davis has also suffered a severely weakened immune system making her more susceptible to viruses like COVID-19. Thankfully, Davis has avoided most of the physical complications that can be associated with myeloma.
“I’ve been very blessed to be able to do a lot of the activities that I’ve wanted to do,” she said. “I’ve taught yoga in Washago, I do a ton of snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.”
Through her activities, Davis has met lots of people in the community who have offered her support. She also has a supportive family and friend base who have kept her positive.
“I’ve been really lucky that I haven’t had the physical complications yet,” she said. “I have no other choice but to learn to live with it.”
Initially, Davis had diagnostic work done four times a year to manage her cancer. To date, she has avoided the need for chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Davis belongs to a charity organization called Myeloma Canada, which is celebrating the month of March being myeloma awareness month.
“It’s a horrible life-threatening cancer that is not well known,” Davis said. “I just had that moment of feeling like I better step up to the plate and start talking about it.”
According to Davis, there are 10 people diagnosed with myeloma a day in Canada; statistics indicate 44 percent will survive five years, and 56 percent won’t.
“They have made great strides over the years in terms of life expectancy with new treatments,” Davis said. “We always need new therapies and treatments to find new ways of helping people get through the disease and to find a cure for the disease.”
Davis encourages locals to help by going to www.myeloma.ca/en/get-