calling most evenings with home-cooked meals and great conversation. “I was so appreciative, I could cry.” Faith, family, friends, food, “and fun,” chuckles Holloway-Davis, who is very eager to point out the positives of the experience – the five F’s. “My room was the ‘party room’ with some form of entertainment. Some days I would put on my iPod and walk up and down the hall with my ‘side kick’ (her mobile intravenous pole) and get my exercise playing high-energy gospel music. everyone would just look at me and laugh!” Keeping in good spirits, she would take pictures of whatever was hanging from her “side kick” and post them to social media labeling the “platelets as pineapple juice, the stem cells as guava juice and the blood as sorrel – a Jamaican holiday favorite!” But the best medicine has been her little girl – “Dr. Davis,” this mother says proudly. Told that depression could be a treatment side effect, Holloway-Davis says “not a chance with Arya around. She gets out her toy doctor bag. We bought her a real pink stethoscope. ‘Mommy, stick out your tongue, take a deep breath.’ It’s a riot. I can’t wait until she’s older so I can tell her all that has happened and have her understand the contribution she made to my healing. It’s incredible.” And at 4 years old, Arya “has not yet been tested for HTLV-1,” the “I lovechild beach. I always dreamed about going to play with Jamaica my outside,” shares self-proclaimed “island girl” and native Sandrine Holloway-Davis, pictured above with husband Odell and daughter Arya. notes mom, but knowing her own journey, it is definitely on the family’s radar. “I don’t know when remission happened,” adds Holloway-Davis, “it just happened,” although she says it’s been a little more than a year. Taking 17 medications a day, she follows up with Strair and his team once a month for now. Like the “soldier” her father raised her to be, she battles treatment complications like cataracts caused by steroids that help manage graft-versus-host disease. She notes emotional and mental challenges too. But she’s pushing toward that “strong finish” and a day when she can share with Arya the lessons she learned through this experience and the values she holds dear: “a positive attitude, kindness, generosity, support, gratitude and ownership – because at the end of the day, you’re responsible for your own health.” With that, she notes she’s grounded here with her family and extended family of Strair and team, “Odell gets job offers from as far away as California. He politely declines, saying ‘No, my wife’s doctors are here. We’re not leaving.’” I P HOTO By: JODy SOM eR S Summer 2017 I Cancer Connection I 13