Living Pain Free
LaRosa Esquivel was born and raised in the heart of Arkansas. While she was in her mid-twenties and raising two sons, her brother told her of the many opportunities that West Michigan offers. So she decided to make the move. boys were like ten and seven when we moved to Holland back in 1990,” LaRosa disclosed. “And we’ve been here ever since.”
A few years ago she was diagnosed with a fast-spreading cancer called Metastatic Sarcoma. “They said it was most commonly found in animals and children, so it was odd that I had it,” LaRosa said. “When I was diagnosed they told me it was stage four. So I started to do chemo.”
After almost a year of chemotherapy and 31 radiation treatments, LaRosa was notified that her cancer was gone. She was overjoyed by the news, but she remained in a lot of pain. She was referred to a physical therapist to help with her pain, but the therapy was not helping. “I could hardly stand it day by day. I was in so much pain,” LaRosa said. “My arm was just strait, I could hardly move it.” It affected every aspect of LaRosa’s life, including her career. “People told me they couldn’t believe that I was actually working because of all the pain I was going through,” she reflected. She was forced to take a different position within her company which required less manual labor.
LaRosa had been provided the option of going to the pain clinic to seek treatment or coming to Keystone Medical Services. “They told me about this palliative care and said it could help me with my pain,” said LaRosa. She decided to give Keystone a chance. “I had never heard of palliative care before, but I thank God that they told me about this,” LaRosa divulged. “The Nurse Practitioner who saw me, she’s just an amazing woman. First, she talked to me. She wanted to know my life story pretty much and everything that I had been through. She said she was here to help me with my pain. We went through a few different meds, tried a few different things. Some didn’t work but finally she got it right and just like that my pain was gone. I was so excited because it had been so long since I had not felt pain.
Now that she is living pain free, she is able to continue her job as she did before her diagnosis. She says that thanks to Keystone, she is able to work everyday. “I’ve come back up in my job,” she said proudly. “I can actually work. I can continue working. If it wasn’t for Keystone Medical Services, I don’t think I could continue working. That pain was so severe and excruciating. I thought I’d have to live with it for the rest of my life. But thanks to Keystone, I don’t .”
In addition to easing LaRosa’s pain, Keystone Medical services also stepped in to provide emotional support, help her navigate the healthcare system, and assist in accessing additional community resources that are available. “They make it so you don’t really have to do much of anything! They do it for you. And that’s such a relief because you feel like you have so much in your mind that you have to take care of. They take care of all of that for you so you don’t have to stress out. The social worker has helped me, she’s just amazing. And anytime she hears something, she’s on that phone letting me know. And I love it because they’re helping me to get things done.” LaRosa says she takes comfort in knowing that she has 24/7 support. “They told me anytime night or day, if I needed something, if I was in pain, if I needed anything, even just to talk, don’t hesitate to get on the phone. And that was a big plus for me. Just knowing that I could call anytime, it’s just a relief.”
Since choosing treatment under Keystone Medical Services, in one year LaRosa has not had to make a single hospital visit. She is able to live without pain and difficult symptoms. “People don’t understand what it’s like, you know, being pain free,” she shared. “They don’t understand the difference in your life. When you have pain, your mindset is totally different. I’ve told other people about Keystone. I tell them to talk to their doctors. If you can get help here, get it because it’s wonderful. The hospitals couldn’t do anything for me, but Keystone has. I would recommend anyone in pain, come here. I wish I had come to you just as soon as I got out of the hospital. Had I known about this place then, have come immediately. I hope they never shut the doors on something like this. They do wonderful work. And they care. That’s key to me. They treat you like you’re a human, and not just a disease. And they really, really care. They care about what happens to you and your future and how you’re feeling. They want to help you in any way they can. They’re there for us and that’s amazing to me.”