In a routine checkup last March, Janillia’s doctor observed that she had lost a lot of weight over the previous year—about 40 pounds. Had she been dieting?
No, in fact, she hadn’t thought anything about it.
“I haven’t lost my appetite, and I’m still eating and snacking,” she said. “But it’s been a pretty stressful year with financial stuff and, you know, just life.”
The doctor ordered some routine blood work. The results were anything but routine.
Janillia was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer that affects the plasma cells in the bone marrow. That explained the weight loss as well as other issues she was experiencing—bone pain, compression fractures in her spine, anemia.
She spent several weeks at Community Hospital North, followed by 45 days in rehab at Carmel Health and Living. Her dilemma upon discharge was how to get to her weekly chemotherapy treatments.
Navigating life when everything changes
Janillia, 61, was born in Evansville, Ind. She moved with her mom to Indianapolis while in high school and then attended Indiana State University. After school, she returned to Indy, where she was married and later divorced. Her only child now works as a teacher and coach in Pike Township.
After getting sick, she went on FMLA, but subsequently lost her job along with 13 other co-workers as part of a workforce reduction.
“So, everything kind of happened at once,” she explained.
“The challenge of the cancer—and just being ill, period—is not being able to work. You’re used to driving and going and doing everything for yourself. That’s been one of the big adjustments, having to ask for help.”
Reliable and affordable wheelchair transportation for medical appointments
A nurse navigation team put her in touch with CICOA’s Way2Go transportation service.
“They’ve been a real lifesaver,” Janillia said. “It’s one of the best options for wheelchair transportation in Indianapolis. There was another transport company that wanted $120 roundtrip, and that’s for one appointment! Who can afford that?”
“So, there’s consistency and affordability, and then reliability is huge,” she continued. “My doctors say the less you worry, the lower your stress level, the better you will heal. Knowing that transportation is there—especially on chemotherapy visits—has made a huge difference in my recovery by not having to worry about it.”
“All the drivers are super nice and go above and beyond to make sure I’m safe getting in and out of the vehicle and the buildings. It’s been a great experience,” she continued.
CICOA provided Janillia’s transportation during four months of weekly chemo and wound care treatments. Her chemo has since been cut back to only once a month.
“Yes, I have my blessings! I have improved immensely with the care I’ve been given,” she said. “And while my disease is not curable, my quality of life is improving. I’m getting back to as normal a lifestyle as I can. Thank you for being with me on this journey.”
TRANSPORTATION IS ESSENTIAL FOR HEALTH