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Patient lives her best life while fighting cancer thanks to AdventHealth

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“Hugs matter these days. I have lost count of how many hugs I’ve received from my care team at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission because I get so many every time I am here.”

Sylvia Peerson, 83, loves her life just the way it is and credits her compassionate care team at AdventHealth Cancer Center Shawnee Mission for providing her the strength to always think positively throughout her 5-year journey with cancer.

“I have been blessed. Even though I still have cancer, that’s ok. I have felt so good that I even joked with my doctor that I should feel guilty,” Sylvia laughs. “But I don’t feel guilty at all.”

In April 2018, Sylvia, a homemaker from Tonganoxie, Kan., was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that develops from plasma cells in the bone marrow. Right away her primary care physician referred her to the Cancer Center at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission under the care of M. Jameel Kyasa, MD, oncologist and hematologist.

“I wasn’t ready to die,” Sylvia recalls saying to her daughter after her diagnosis. “I still felt like I had so much to live for.”

Sylvia did have a lot to still live for, including adding great-great-grandmother to her name when, in 2023, her great-grandson became the father to identical twin girls. If it hadn’t been for Dr. Kyasa, Sylvia says she wouldn’t have ever had a chance to meet them.

“People like Sylvia are why I am here doing what I do and doing what I love,” Dr. Kyasa says. “Despite her diagnosis, she doesn’t let that define her. She has been a fighter from day one and continues to live her best life while committing to her treatment plan, which isn’t always easy for patients. I am truly honored to be her physician.”

Sylvia also credits the nurses who have been a part of her care from day one. One such nurse is Margaret Potter. Margaret made national news in 2023 for sharing her story about shaving her head to show solidarity with her cancer patients.

“People like Margaret make you feel glad to be alive. All the nurses here are gifts, but Margaret never stops. Even if things seem busy, she always has time to stop by for a hug and to make patients feel good about themselves.”

Sylvia and Margaret’s story was featured on Good Morning America. Watch the clip here.

When Sylvia isn’t in treatment, she enjoys spending time with her family and has resumed her work around the home which brings her joy and fulfilment.

“I’m blessed to still be here and to feel as good as I do.”

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