Terry starts her story using numbers to describe her journey up to her current cancer care at Oncology Specialists of Charlotte:

  • 69 years of life
  • 15 procedures under anesthesia
  • 4 days in a coma
  • 8 days unconscious
  • 1 stem cell transplant
  • 1 stroke
  • 4 totaled cars
  • 2 ambulance rides
  • 3 marriages
  • 3 divorces
  • 0 children
  • 24 homes/apartments
  • 15 months of unemployment
  • 11 years of cancer
  • 6 years of retirement
  • Innumerable friends
  • Immeasurable love
  • God’s enduring faithfulness

“My path has not been the interstate highway, but more like a meandering country road that is sometimes paved and sometimes gravel and sometimes a rutted dirt trail covered with overgrown weeds. It has had innumerable potholes, a good many hairpin turns, a few U-turns, bad signage, and several crossroads. I ignored the GPS provided by God (Jesus) and went my own way…and ended up in the wilderness. As I look back, I now realize that He was there all along. He was in the details,” shared Terry.

In March 2011, Terry was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow). MM is incurable. After 7 months of oral chemotherapy, she underwent a stem cell transplant at Duke University. A stem cell transplant involves a lot of blood tests and a lot of chemo. And some baldness, she reports. Terry says, “Any day that I wake up and have hair to comb is a good day!” Because she was relatively young (58) and healthy, her oncologist at Duke, Dr. Cristina Gasparetto, wanted to follow a protocol that included two massive hits of chemo. “Actually, massive isn’t a big enough word. Dr. Gasparetto said this double-hit approach would give us the best chance at longevity with the goal being 10 years. I was totally agreeable to the longevity approach!” Terry declared. However, the following evening, she received a call from Duke. Dr. Gasparetto said that it was not possible to do the double-hit protocol because she only had one kidney and doing that much chemo would surely kill it. Terry only had one kidney because nine years earlier she had donated her left kidney to a church member. Terry was devastated over this development. As she sat alone in her living room that night, her thought was that she probably would not live 10 years. Terry said, “I had quite the pity party for about 10 minutes and then I realized something – this is a God thing and He doesn’t need chemo!”

After receiving cancer care in Charlotte at another cancer center, Terry asked Duke for a referral to another oncologist in Charlotte. Dr. Gasparetto referred her to our Dr. Justin Favaro. Now she is part of the OSC family of care, compassion, and health. She continues a schedule of treatments for multiple myeloma. Terry stated, “I’ve had several oncologists in my cancer journey, and I can tell you that Dr. Favaro is the best. He is amazing!” She said that she would drive whatever distance in order to get her cancer care through Dr. Favaro.

“I do not think that I am so very special that I will be the first person ever healed of multiple myeloma. Nope. What I do think is that this cancer thing may not be all about me. An astonishing thought, for sure. I don’t think it’s about the cancer …… or the unemployment (15 months) …… or the failed marriages (3 of those) …… or the bad decisions (too many to count). I think it’s about the journey,” Terry proclaimed. She prays not for healing, but for the strength, the grace, and the faith to do this journey the way the Lord wants her to do it. She herself does not have much strength, grace, or faith. She says she is here by the grace of God and is grateful for the blessings He has provided, such as awesome folks like the OSC team. Looking back at that 10-year survival goal, Terry is joyous about the journey that has gotten her this far….. 11 years ….. and still traveling. “As you travel along whatever road the Lord may have you on, whether interstate or dirt path, I pray that you journey with faith and confidence, trusting that He has your back. Because He does. It’s a God thing!” remarked Terry.