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Kayia's Story, & so much more

Published on Monday March 6, 2023

My name is Cami Smith, and I am your host. And today, we have a really special conversation that we're going to dive into. I am here with Dr. Cecilia MacCallum, who is a Medical Oncologist and Hematologist at the Centra Alan B. Pearson Cancer Center. That is a mouthful. And I'm also here with Kayia DeVivo, who is a patient at the Cancer Center, and they have formed a really special relationship. And I don't want to give too much away because we're going to talk through that, but we're going to get to hear Kayia's story. And so, we're going to dive right in because I feel like even in introducing you, I don't want to tell your story on your behalf. So first Kayia, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and then what led you to Centra?
Kayia DeVivo: Sure. So my name is Kayia, and I am 26 years old, sometimes I forget. And I have been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer that has metastasized, I've had to

practice that word, to my liver, which still doesn't feel real to me. I was diagnosed at the beginning of July, and it was kind of a fluke thing how we found it. I went into the walk-in doctor thinking I had a gallbladder issue, and they kind of agreed with me and went over to the emergency room to get a scan of my gallbladder. And at six o'clock the next morning, a doctor walked in, not Dr. MacCallum, and told me that we were looking at Stage 4 cancer, and it was kind of a whirlwind from there. And we kind of hit the ground running.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah.

Kayia DeVivo: Yeah. Thankfully, Dr. MacCallum and I had a relationship previously in 2019. I had developed a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in your lung. She was my hematologist, so I already loved her already. Even though it was something so hard, I was thankful that I already had that trust and that relationship in such an impossible time. So I immediately called, in tears, "Help me." And she called me right away and we hit the ground running.

Cami Smith: So started out as your hematologist, now your oncologist. And this relationship is three years running strong.

Kayia DeVivo: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah.

Cami Smith: Okay. So Dr. MacCallum, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and what brought you to Centra?

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: I'm Cecilia MacCallum, and I am a Hematologist and Oncologist. I trained at the University of Virginia. My husband grew up here in Lynchburg, so that was why we first looked here. And I ended up coming here, really because the community is so wonderful and it's such a wonderful place to raise a family. And the medical community is unbelievably strong. It was so supportive, and I just thought, "This is going to be a wonderful place to practice." And it really has been. So I've been here about 14 years and we love it. And the Cancer Center is wonderful, so we've had a great experience.

Kayia DeVivo: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: We love working here.

Cami Smith: And I've heard bits and pieces about yes, your experience, but also this team that you have around you at the Cancer Center. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Kayia DeVivo: Oh, my gosh. It is unlike... I have goosebumps even talking about it. It is unlike anything I've ever experienced. The team of nurses, even the greeters when you walk in, the schedulers, everyone from the day I walked in there, even dealing with the hematology aspect, but now so dealing with the cancer aspect. My nurses, they're family. I could... Sorry.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah.

Kayia DeVivo: They're amazing. They are truly put on this earth to do what they do. They care about you and they listen. There's been times where, just to be completely real and raw, I've had to be wheeled into the Center because I'm so sick and I can't walk. And they just hug you and they love on you and they listen to you. And even though it's such an impossible diagnosis, I've never felt so seen and so listened to. If I tell anyone, the nurse practitioners, Dr. MacCallum, the nurses, "I'm feeling this way or I'm concerned about this," it's, "Okay. We're going to figure it out. What can we do to make it better?" And so, I am in such good hands and I am exactly where I need to be.

Cami Smith: And it's almost palpable between you two. Even as you came in, and it's immediately like, "Oh, hi." Is this pretty common at the Cancer Center? And well, why don't you tell us, how long have you been over there specifically, unless you've been there this entire time you've been at Centra. And is this a common provider/patient relationship?

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah. So I've been here in Lynchburg 14 years practicing. The Cancer Center, I can't really remember when it was built, but I think about... But yeah, so we've been at... But it doesn't matter what building we were in, it was always the same support. And Kayia couldn't be more right. It's really a community of people. And cancer is hard, and it's hard on a lot of people. And the medicine is hard and the treatment is hard. And I hope and I think every single patient feels the way Kayia does.
There are volunteers. We have a little cart they putter around.

Cami Smith: I've seen the cart.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah, yeah, with snacks.

Cami Smith: It's magical.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah, it is magical. And they even let the doctors eat off of it, which is great.

Kayia DeVivo: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And so, it's just little tiny things in addition to obviously, the massive and great support down from our... We have a wonderful pharmacy that is in the Cancer Center. We have private rooms, little cubicles for each patient. You can bring your family now that Covid has settled down a little bit. There are TVs, there's beverages. But really, they're just so smart. The nurses that we have and the check-in people and the phlebotomists, they're just very well-trained and dedicated and love the patients. And you can tell. You can tell. And it makes my job so much easier and I think a much better experience for the patients.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Kayia DeVivo: Yeah.

Cami Smith: I love that.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah, it's amazing.

Cami Smith: As much as you are comfortable sharing, you said you ended up in, was it the emergency room, thinking it was a gallbladder issue. So what were those symptoms that led you to even go to see and find out, even from a gallbladder perspective?

Kayia DeVivo: Absolutely. I was in the best shape of my entire life. I was actually in the gym the day before. I was going to the gym five to six days a week. I had what I thought was a handle on previous medical issues, pulmonary embolism, blood clotting. I was also diagnosed with PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome, so I had a hormonal imbalance, things like that. But I had really, what I had thought, had nailed down those things. And I had a sharp pain in my upper region. I thought, "Okay." Kind of ignored it, got sick to my stomach. "Maybe I have a stomach bug." Didn't really think much of it. And it got to the point where I was like, "I need my mom."

Cami Smith: Aw, yes.

Kayia DeVivo: We always reach for our mom.

Cami Smith: I know the feeling.

Kayia DeVivo: I've reached for my mom so much, my mom, my grandmother. But previous to that, I had issues with IBS. It's not glamorous, it's not cute, but I feel like so many people, if I say that, everyone's like, "Oh, yeah. We have that." And so, I didn't think too much of it. I have an issue with gluten, and a lot of people do. And the way that food is processed now, it upsets your stomach. And so, I didn't really have too many symptoms that would lead me to believe... You don't think cancer, and especially you don't think cancer at 26.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Right.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Kayia DeVivo: So I didn't have any reasons. I don't have family history. We even did genetic testing, and I didn't have anything remarkable that says, "Oh, this is a big glaring red flag." I think one of the NPs or someone even said, "You just kind of hit the cancer lottery." And it was just unlucky. So nothing glaring, but it's just scary. I feel like this is becoming, from what I can see, such a thing younger and younger.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Right, right.

Cami Smith: Yeah. So technically, you received your diagnosis in the emergency room. Is that pretty common?

Kayia DeVivo: I don't know.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah. And I think the point, or the tricky part is, you really can't diagnose somebody with cancer without tissue. So tissue is a biopsy. So we rely on actual biopsy to diagnose somebody with cancer.

Cami Smith: Okay.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: So what happens usually in the emergency room or in the hospital is the scan is abnormal.

Cami Smith: Okay.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: So that's really all the doctors can say. And what you can say is, "We have a very high concern that this is cancer because of the way an organ looks or lymph nodes or things like that." They say, "Well, this is very concerning and it looks like you might have cancer." And then, we have to proceed to a biopsy to prove it. And as you know, cancer can start anywhere, and especially in a young person. And so, that's a little bit of the investigation process to figure out where it started from, where it spread to, and actually what kind of cancer it is.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Kayia DeVivo: I did have a follow-up biopsy.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Kayia DeVivo: Unfortunately, the doctor was correct, and I had a biopsy where they took a needle and they went into my liver. They took samples out and then, that was...

Cami Smith: Okay. And you took that very seriously in that moment. And even where it was like, "We have a concern. You should follow this through." Are there those that don't? Are there who are like, "Um, Probably not."

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah. And Kayia probably too, I don't mean to interrupt her, but yeah. Nobody wants to have cancer. And what Kayia touched upon too, is we all have pain, right?

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And we all have aches and, "Oh, well, it's not that. It's not going to be that." So it's normal, I think, to have some denial in the beginning. And a lot of people do. A lot of people feel like, "Oh no, no. The doctors are wrong and this can't be right." So that's part of my responsibility and our responsibility both in the hospital and outpatient, is to help people through that, because it's not always cancer.

Cami Smith: Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: I don't want everyone thinking that if they get a pain in their side, it's not always cancer. But it's certainly worth figuring out and certainly worth looking into and talking to your doctor about. So that's part of our responsibility is to help people through and show them the scans and see what we're worried about. "This is what this looks like. It shouldn't look like that. Let's go ahead and get tissue. If it's not cancer, we'll know." Knowledge... And Kayia and I always say that, "Knowledge is power." That's how we get better. That's how we get stronger, is to know.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And know what we're dealing with.

Cami Smith: And your team has turned into really translators, right?

Kayia DeVivo: Right.

Cami Smith: Because there's all this information that, at the beginning, I'm sure was just foreign, like, "What do I do with this?" So at this point, how has this impacted the rest of your life?

Kayia DeVivo: It's impacted every area, to put it bluntly. But I think the biggest thing that Dr. MacCallum said to me at the beginning was, "This is a marathon. It's not a sprint." Which was very hard for me, very hard for me, because I wanted to just fix it. I wanted to, "Okay, let's just fix it and get it done and over with." And this isn't something that you can fix. And so, my poor, poor parents.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: I know.

Kayia DeVivo: And I am truly blessed with the world's best parents. They are amazing. And my grandparents, my boyfriend, my boyfriend's parents, my friends, my family. I have the world's best support system and I'm very blessed and I'm very lucky. But all areas. I'm not able to work fully right now, just because of my up and down of my chemo regiment that I was on, which is okay. And it sounds funny, and I've told people this and they look at me a little strange, but I actually am happier with cancer than I was without it, just because I've learned to, every single day, you just take it as it comes and you really don't know. And I've learned to appreciate the little things. And it sounds cheesy and cliche, and you let the things that don't matter go.
And the biggest thing that I've stuck to is you take it one half day at a time, because at one point, I couldn't even look at the full day. I couldn't, because to wake up in the morning, you have that few seconds of peace, and then you remember you have cancer. And you cry and you get upset and you get frustrated and angry, and then it's like, "Okay, now. We're just going to wrap this up."

Cami Smith: So is there support for that mental and emotional side of it as well at the Cancer Center? Because I know there's obviously a clinical side of it, but when it comes to just how you're walking through this, because everything you just shared is so real and raw.

Kayia DeVivo: It's heavy.

Cami Smith: Yeah, it's heavy. So what does that look like at the Cancer Center?

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah. So we have a wonderful social work and mental health team, and it's in place solely for that purpose. And we have a screening questionnaire that you do every single time you check in, and that'll red flag it. So if someone has a high depression score, anxiety, or even troubles at home. It's hard. As Kayia is saying, your whole family is involved. And that will trigger a consult, or the social worker or the mental health facilitator will just meet you after I talk to you. So a lot of times, I'll come out of a room with a patient and they'll be standing there. And they just talk to the patient, say, "How can we help you? What's going on?" Those kind of things.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And so, that's very helpful. And then, if I'm talking to someone and I feel like they're feeling blue, I can also trigger it. So I can call them or let them know, "While they're in infusion, can you check on them and make sure that they're heard and seen?"

Cami Smith: Wow.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Because it's a very big part of cancer.

Kayia DeVivo: Mm-hmm.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And an important part.

Cami Smith: Yeah. And it seems like there's net after net after net to just make sure that there's nobody who falls through the cracks.

Kayia DeVivo: That's right. I remember at one point, one of the NPs, they were looking at putting me on a medication. And again, because I'm a big fan of transparency, I am on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication, which I was on pre-cancer, which thank goodness that I was on them. But she asked me, they were putting me on a medication. She goes, "How married are you to your anti-anxiety medication, because it can interact." And I was like, "Do not touch that. Do not take me off of that." Just because I was like, "That is a need that I have for this time." And she's like, "Okay, we won't touch it. We won't."

Cami Smith: Wow.

Kayia DeVivo: So I think the biggest thing is if you need help, ask for it.

Cami Smith: Yes.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Right.

Kayia DeVivo: Because again, they will.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Right, right.

Kayia DeVivo: They will help you.

Cami Smith: Yeah, very personalized care.

Kayia DeVivo: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yes.

Cami Smith: So real quick, I want to push in a little bit deeper and look at the clinical side of this. And this side, just full transparency, I don't fully understand everything that goes into it. And so, you were diagnosed with colon cancer and you said that it has spread. Is that the correct way of saying, the word that I...

Kayia DeVivo: Metastasized.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Metastasized.

Cami Smith: Metastasized.

Kayia DeVivo: Yeah.

Cami Smith: So it has metastasized to your liver. So can you break that down for us, Dr. MacCallum, in just layman's terms?

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Absolutely. So Kayia's cancer started in her colon.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: The most common side is the left side, but it can occur anywhere in the large colon.

Cami Smith: All right.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Hers started there, and it spread by blood and lymph system to her liver. So one of the very common things is, so she does not have liver cancer, per se, she has colon cancer that has spread to her liver.

Cami Smith: Okay.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: So it's a little subtle, but it helps us understand the pathophysiology of it.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And also the treatment. So as I explained to Kayia, and as she knows very well now, the chemo will go all over her body and it's targeting colon cancer. So it will hit the spots in her liver the same as it treats the spot in her colon.

Cami Smith: Gotcha.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And all the lymph nodes in between.

Cami Smith: Okay.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And chemotherapy is the only modality we have to treat cancer that goes all over the body. So surgery, as we know, you remove the primary tumor. Radiation kills what it's targeting. And then, chemotherapy's job is to go all through the body.

Cami Smith: Okay. Okay.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Where the cells are floating around, yeah.

Cami Smith: Oh, okay.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: So the cells floated from that primary colon tumor to her liver. So we know they're floating in her body.

Cami Smith:Okay.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And that's what chemotherapy does, yeah.

Kayia DeVivo: That was confusing to me as well, when you hear Stage 4, because the stages I didn't understand. And so, Stage 4 just means that it has spread from one area to another.

Cami Smith: Okay. That's actually a really good point. What are the difference between the different stages?

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: So Stage 1, and colon cancer is staged, and most cancers are staged by what's called TNM staging regimen. So the T is the size of the tumor, and in colon cancer, the depth of the tumor. N represents lymph nodes, are there any lymph nodes involved? And M is metastatic, so has it spread from the primary site? So breast or lung or colon to a different site, that's metastatic. And the stages are based on that.
So Stage 1 and 2 are differentiated by the depth of the tumor, so the T, how deep it is, how deep it went through the wall of the colon. And then, Stage 3 means you have nodes. So generally, colon cancer is diagnosed the majority of the time by a colonoscopy, which signs and symptoms like Kayia was talking about led to the colonoscopy. They do that. They see they have colon cancer. Then they go and remove that primary tumor. So they take that colon tumor out and they bring all the lymph nodes around. So if any of those lymph nodes are positive, then you have Stage 3. But if it has spread to another organ, the liver, the lung, it's then Stage 4.

Cami Smith: Okay. And so, when you were diagnosed, it was immediately Stage 4.

Kayia DeVivo: Stage 4, right.

Cami Smith: And so, a colonoscopy, the age that is suggested is 50, right?

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yes, ma'am. Yep, that's right.

Cami Smith: And so, what does prevention and screenings... How do you get ahead of some of these things? I look at your age, being 26 years old. Thankfully, you had something that brought you in to find what was found. But what would you say to those who are in their twenties, thirties, even forties, and could this have been caught sooner? What would that look like? So what role and how does prevention and screenings play?
Dr. Cecilia MacCallum:
So yeah, the recommended age for colonoscopy is 50. And if you have a family history or risk factors, it's 40.

Cami Smith: Okay.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: So obviously, Kayia is nowhere near that.

Cami Smith: Yeah. Right.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And she's a very, very unique case.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And so, colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. And there are about 150,000 people diagnosed a year. Under 50 is much rarer. So if you're under 40, I think it's about 10% of patients are under 50, and then 3% are under 40. So it's a very rare occurrence to be this young, in particular.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: So the screening has to be appropriate. We don't want every 20-year old getting a colonoscopy. There are risks associated with that that are not appropriate, because your risk of having colon cancer is so low. So the things that you... And Kayia didn't have any of these red flags, but if you have a big family history of cancer, and particularly colon cancer, that's definitely something you want to address with your primary care doctor because there are inherited syndromes, like Lynch syndrome, that you can get screening earlier. So if you have an inherited Lynch syndrome, you can get screening earlier and the insurance will pay for it and it's appropriate.
But colon cancer is a cancer that is of older people. It is generally for people over 50. And your risk increases as you get older. So really, you just have to rely on symptoms when you're young.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And it's rare. It is rare to get it.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And for Kayia, I don't think, unfortunately, what we all pray had happened is that she bled. Usually colon cancers bleed, and that is the first sign, so that you can find it before it spreads to the liver.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Her tumor did not give her signs like that. It didn't bleed, it didn't obstruct, very rare, yeah. And so, it can grow for some time, because you just don't know it's there.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And hers grew for a while and then had time to spread to her liver.

Cami Smith: Yeah. So, a very important message kind of impacted there, that while this is a very rare case, it should not invoke any kind of fear to go to your doctor and say, "I want to get all these things done," especially at a young age. However, I do think that it is important primarily to have that relationship with your provider.

Kayia DeVivo: Right.

Cami Smith: Because it sounds like that's where the knowledge is going to come.

Kayia DeVivo: Right.

Cami Smith: So if you have primary care, whether you have a history or not, understanding what are some concerns or some reasons you should not jump and ask for a colonoscopy, or at least have a conversation.

Kayia DeVivo: And I also think not ignoring the signs and the symptoms.

Cami Smith: Yes.

Kayia DeVivo: And not just, "Well, I don't want to deal with that."

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Kayia DeVivo: And I especially want to say, I have a very good friend, her name's Demi. And her husband, Mike was in his thirties, and unfortunately, he did pass away earlier this year of colon cancer. And he was in that 3% like I am. And Demi has been a wonderful source of information and support for me. And he had those symptoms and he had those signs. And it's not that he necessarily ignored them, it's that his doctors didn't listen. His doctors didn't... "Well, you're young." And they refused to give him a colonoscopy. And it's not that he was coming out of fear, it was that he was coming out of a genuine concern.
So on the other hand, just like everyone shouldn't be running in fear, it's up to the providers as well, if there is that genuine concern, to listen. And I think that circles back to what I was saying about at the Pearson Center, I'm listened to with the genuine concerns.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Kayia DeVivo: So it has to be a balance. It has to be... You can't panic, but you also need to listen to your body.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah. 100%, yeah. And there are non-invasive ways like stool cards and things like that-

Kayia DeVivo: Right.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: ... that can help screen people.

Kayia DeVivo: Sure.

Cami Smith: So how would you encourage those listening today to be cancer informed?

Kayia DeVivo: Wow. That's hard, because everything that I thought I knew about cancer, pretty much isn't real.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Kayia DeVivo: Well, not real, but it's just...

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Well, it doesn't fit into the box, that's for sure.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Kayia DeVivo: No. And what you see in movies and what you hear, and to be quite frank, when I think of cancer, I think of older people who are bald and who that, that's just cancer. That's all the knowledge I had.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: They're old and there's smoking like a chimney.

Kayia DeVivo: Yes, exactly. And so...

Cami Smith: Yeah. You have a stereotype.

Kayia DeVivo: Sure. And that was my knowledge. So social media has come a very long way with cancer information. I'd say that way is a great way, especially with the younger generation because you're already on that platform. Dive in. I think, ask questions. Knowledge is power.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah. That's right.

Kayia DeVivo: The next time that you're seeing your primary care physician, if you have a question, just ask. I think that's what I would say.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: That's what I was thinking.

Kayia DeVivo: Just ask the questions.

Cami Smith: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And the American Cancer Society has a wonderful website.

Kayia DeVivo: Yes, it does.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And I think it's very manageable. And there's all kinds of screening things and risk things and background.

Kayia DeVivo: Sure.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And you could sometimes even put in a symptom and it'll help you. And that is a good source of accurate information.

Kayia DeVivo: Yes. That specific website. Do not Google symptoms.

Cami Smith: Yes.

Kayia DeVivo: I made the mistake of Googling my survival rate when I was diagnosed at first.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Oh, no. That's bad.

Kayia DeVivo: And I was like, "Oh." My mom was like, "Kayia, why did you do that?"

Cami Smith: Why? Yes, yes.

Kayia DeVivo: I called my mom, and bless my mom's heart. Mom, I love you so much. But yeah, I love your mom. But yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah. Just make sure that-

Kayia DeVivo: So make sure it is a good source.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yeah, yeah. We don't need to be doing that.

Cami Smith: So it really needs to be a compilation of information that you are receiving and you're receiving carefully.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Right.

Cami Smith: And so going to, and what was the website you said?

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: American Cancer Society.

Cami Smith: So American Cancer Society is going to be a good resource for you, but also your primary care doctor. And advocate for yourself.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yes. Right.

Cami Smith: And then, a healthy balance between those things is going to have you in the right space. And then, a good support system and developing a relationship with your doctor. You guys have such a cool relationship.

Kayia DeVivo: Yes, we do.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Well, as you can tell, Kayia is a very amazing woman.

Cami Smith: I love that.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: She's an amazing woman and an amazing friend and patient. And I could also cry. It's a gift and a privilege to be involved with Kayia's life. And I'm sorry that it has been this, but I'm very grateful. It's been quite a gift to me.

Kayia DeVivo: Oh, cool.

Cami Smith: So Kayia, if there was any message that you could send to those listening, what would it be?

Kayia DeVivo: It sounds cheesy, but like I said, the take life one half day at a time. If you can get from breakfast to lunch, as much as you have to look at a big picture when you're looking at a marathon, don't focus too much. Just take it in small bites.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Yes.

Kayia DeVivo: Yeah, small bites.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And like Kayia said in the beginning too, it's the joy of life.

Kayia DeVivo: Yeah.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: She has a wonderful life and she has a wonderful family. And find that joy in your life, because you don't ever know. We don't ever know. We're not guaranteed tomorrow, which is a silly thing or cheesy thing to say.

Kayia DeVivo: It's true.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: But it's true.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: And we see it all the time in our job, and those amazingly strong people, but it's a good thing to remember.

Kayia DeVivo: Yep.

Cami Smith: Well, thank you both for being here.

Kayia DeVivo: Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Cecilia MacCallum: Thank you. Yeah.

Cami Smith: For sharing your wisdom and for sharing your story. I just feel honored to get to see your relationship together, but also just hear a small part of it. And for those of you who are listening today, I hope that you do take those few just stepping points where you can create a strong relationship with your primary care provider, to listen to your body, to pay attention and take action when things feel unright. And also, the American Cancer Society website, make sure that you're getting factual information if you're looking at information online. And then, all of those things together are really going to equip you to make good decisions and stay informed.

Learn more about Cancer Care

Guests: Pearson Cancer Center Patient, Kayia DeVivo and Hematologist and Oncologist Dr. Cecilia MacCallum