As Jim Maultsby walks down the halls of the hospital cancer floor these days, it is not as a patient…anymore. He is a hospital volunteer who felt called to help and encourage the patients just as he had been encouraged years prior.
Jim’s cancer story began at the end of 2016. His left side was hurting and after a couple of trips to his primary care physician with an acid reflux and respiratory issue diagnoses, blood work drawn finally revealed something else was going on.
“My doctor was concerned that there was something wrong and wanted a scan done. It showed that it was cancer. A colonoscopy was then done right away,” says Maultsby.
His doctor referred him to Dr. Bruce Gould at Northwest Georgia Oncology who after evaluation diagnosed Jim with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Having experienced losing his older brother to cancer, Jim was concerned.
“I asked Dr. Gould if it was curable,” remembers Maultsby. “He responded: absolutely.”
Jim then began his chemo treatment in February of 2017, which involved going in on a Tuesday for a several-hour starter and then returning to the hospital on Wednesday for an inpatient infusion that lasted until Sunday. With 21 days in between treatments, he had six cycles of chemo to undergo and every cycle included a five-day hospital stay.
“On the morning of my first day in the hospital, Dr. Gould walked in and I was lying in bed. He said to me ‘tomorrow I want to see you out of this bed.’ So, I began getting up every morning before the doctor came in and did not get back in the bed until time to go sleep at 9:30 PM,” recalls Maultsby. “I made the conscious decision to get up every day and walk once an hour 3-4 laps throughout the day.”
Jim was diligent with his walking and quickly realized getting out of bed and moving was a motivator to getting better. He even named his infusion pole “Mary Jane” never losing his sense of humor as he rolled it along on his walks.
“The nurses, hospital volunteers and Dr. Gould were an encouragement to me,” says Maultsby. “I told them that I was going to be a different patient and keep a great attitude. I never even got sick from the chemo. My positive outlook kept me going.”
Jim also attributes getting up and having a great attitude to his outcome. After his second treatment cycle, he received a PET scan revealing incredible news.