Coast Union’s venerable volleyball coach, Pam Kenyon, knows all about the strength, stamina and resilience it takes to battle cancer — and how to hang tough against the odds by getting the best health care services and maintaining a positive mental approach.
She was also fully aware that notwithstanding being declared “cancer-free” after the bout she had with colon cancer in 2013-14, the dreaded disease had a 30 percent chance to return. And it appeared to have returned in December 2015.
Following a PET scan in December and another in January, doctors weren’t certain whether they were seeing scar tissue or more cancer. So, after being administered powerful chemotherapy for six months, Kenyon went into surgery at Stanford Medical Center on July 1, performed by Dr. Andrew A. Shelton.
Last week, the longtime Coast Union volleyball mentor and science teacher received some positive news from her physician, San Luis Obispo hematology specialist, Dr. Brian A. Dicarlo.
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Dicarlo reported there was “no new cancer” after having reviewed the results of her pathology report from Shelton. Kenyon’s sister, Roche Nystrom, who coaches volleyball at Cuesta College, said through text messaging that Pam fully intends to be back on the job coaching volleyball and teaching this fall at Coast Union.
“Now that her intestinal blockage is cleared,” Nystrom explained, “Pam is working on learning how to eat. It really isn’t as easy as it sounds.”
Kenyon will be on a maintenance infusion of Erbitux every other week.
She has been assured by Dennis White and Jeff Smith, both of whom have served as assistant coaches for the volleyball program, that they will be on board to help her this fall. Approaching her 25th season in August 2015, Kenyon was quoted in The Cambrian: “I really like coaching. I like it a lot. I just enjoy being with the players. It’s the best part of my day.”