Beth Wycoff

First post: Jun 5, 2022 Latest post: Jun 19, 2022
Hello, friends!  


I think it is a good time to share my story over the last year.  Here we go!


It actually started in April 2020 when I was flagged on a mammogram.  They followed up with a high risk mammogram and a biopsy after which I was told to come back in six months.  That high risk mammogram was cleared and I was told to come back in six months again.  So January 2021 I had a high risk mammogram after which I was released to go back to yearly regular mammograms.


Then came April.  I found the tumor in my left breast right around my birthday and was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer on April 16.  From the CDC...



Triple-negative breast cancer is a kind of breast cancer that does not have any of the receptors that are commonly found in breast cancer.

Think of cancer cells as a house. The front door may have three kinds of locks, called receptors—



- One is for the female hormone estrogen.external icon (https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/estrogen-receptor)
- One is for the female hormone progesterone.external icon (https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/progesterone-receptor)
- One is a protein called human epidermal growth factor (HER2external icon (https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/her2)).
If your cancer has any of these three locks, doctors have a few keys (like hormone therapy or other drugs) they can use to help destroy the cancer cells.

But if you have triple-negative breast cancer, it means those three locks aren’t there. So doctors have fewer keys for treatment.

Leave it to me to get a rare type of cancer!  But I followed protocol with chemotherapy, a double mastectomy without reconstruction, and radiation.  I showed no evidence of disease after treatment so we were thrilled!

In January 2022, I started having headaches.  Those who know me will not be surprised that I was sure the cancer had metastasized.  They did a scan and assured me that was not the case.  The headaches continued to grow in intensity and frequency through January and February.  I was supposed to return to school but couldn't because of these "episodes."  We were doctoring in Sioux Falls and I spent three nights in the hospital trying to get them under control treating them as migraines.  Again they continued to happen more often and with greater intensity through March until by the first of April they were occurring  multiple times an hour and causing violent vomiting.  My Sioux Falls oncologist called on Monday, April 4 and said to go to Rochester. 

We arrived at Mayo emergency room by early afternoon that day.  By 7:00 we heard the words we were dreading - the cancer had metastasized to the lining of my brain.  This cancer I can't beat.  Knowing that I was right is a small consolation!  

I spent almost two weeks in the hospital getting the medications worked out and three weeks total in Rochester having 13 more whole brain radiation treatments. We were able to come home April 23!  It is so awesome to be home!

Looking forward,  I am able to take the chemo drug Xeloda here at home.  They will mail it to me and as long I tolerate it well I can continue treatments from home and just go to Rochester or Fairmont for appointments as needed which is awesome!

On a side note, Tom has postponed his knee replacement surgery twice now because of me.  He is now scheduled to have one knee replaced on May 17.  I'll keep you updated on his progress as well here!

If you've read this much - good for you!  It's a lot!  I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from friends and family. All the thoughts, prayers, messages, gifts, and food have been sooooo appreciated!  If I missed you in a personal thank you, I apologize!!

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