Family crisis offers lessons to young medical student

Emily Casterline learned about testicular cancer as a second-year medical student.

A few weeks later, she encountered the disease in a very personal way. Her husband, Micah, was diagnosed with it in February.

Her coursework at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine taught her that if caught in time, testicular cancer has a 95 percent cure rate.

But Micah’s cancer gave her an insight her textbooks couldn’t.

"I didn’t know how it turns your life upside down even if your loved one is going to survive," Emily said. "I’ll be a better doctor because I’ve been through this with Micah. I’ll know how to talk to patients. I’ll know what they’re facing."

But in the midst of disease and upheaval, affirmation of life awaited.

Micah, a U.S. Defense Department auditor, and Emily had always planned to have a baby. But they knew his disease and its treatment might render that dream impossible.

On the day after Micah’s tumor was removed, Emily had a doctor’s appointment.

"On Feb. 26, I found out I’m pregnant," Emily exulted. "A miracle baby. We’ve been on quite an emotional roller coaster."

Over all the ups and downs, devoted supporters have buoyed them. Emily’s TCOM classmates were among those who brought dinners, mowed the grass, walked the dogs, cleaned the house.

"There were times I really wanted to give up," said Micah, whose last treatment was May 27. "I don’t know how we could have gotten through it if not for all the support."

Emily agreed. "Now I’ll know in detail what my patients are up against."

And she’ll relate well to those she cares for in her first rotation, beginning July 7. Expecting a boy on Oct. 24, she’s a natural for the OB/GYN patients she’ll see at John Peter Smith Hospital and the UNT Health Patient Care Center.

Recent News

Techstars Demo Day.
  • On Campus
|Dec 1, 2022

Techstars Demo Day brings innovation to the historic stockyards

For the last 13 weeks, the founders of 10 of the world’s most innovative startups have been in Fort Worth perfecting their new physical health technology. They are part of the world’s first physical health accelerator, and now they are ready to show the fruits of their labor. Techstars Demo D...
Dr. Sid O'bryant Award
  • Our People
|Dec 1, 2022

HSC named the winner of the D Magazines 2022 Achievement in Medical Research Award

The extensive research done by Dr. Sid O’Bryant and his team at the Institute of Translational Research has earned the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth the 2022 Medical Research Award by D Magazine. Dr. O’Bryant, the executive director of the ITR and a professor at t...
Dr. John Licciardone
  • Our People
|Nov 30, 2022

Key study results from HSC’s PRECISION Pain Research Registry published in JAMA Network Open

The Journal of the American Medical Association – Network Open has published findings from a recent HSC study about chronic lower back pain, race and the patient-physician relationship. The study revealed that Black patients reported worse outcomes for low back pain intensity and back-related d...
Ram flyer
  • Community
|Nov 23, 2022

Free pop-up medical, vision and dental clinic is just a week away

  The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth and Remote Area Medical – RAM® — a nonprofit provider of pop-up clinics that delivers free quality dental, vision and medical care to those in need — are bringing the free health care clinic to Dallas on Dec. 3 and 4....