When Beth, now 60, was 38 years old she felt a lump and soon learned she had Stage II cancer. When the doctor was putting in implants after her double mastectomy, he found cancer cells in the scar line. Further testing revealed that Beth actually had metastatic breast cancer, which is Stage IV and incurable. When Beth’s husband asked her doctor about her prognosis, she recounts, he responded that she had 6-18 months to live. “When he [my husband] hung up, I said, you think I’m going to leave you with those children?!” Beth jokes. At this point, she says, “I just went into survival mode.”
That was 22 years ago. Today, Beth has seen her kids, who were 10 and 12 at the time, grow up, and she continues to thrive. The Boca Raton native is an active member of her community and participates in several breast cancer groups and raises funds for METAvivor. She believes research is the way to a cure. Beth, who has HER2+ and ER/PR- cancer, was one of the very earliest recipients of Herceptin, a game-changing treatment for a number of women who have the HER2 mutation. Beth believes she is the single-longest recipient of a Herceptin as a single agent only protocol in the world, and she has stayed on this same treatment since diagnosis, receiving treatment every week, then eventually every two weeks, and now every three weeks.
Asked about a special diet, Beth says that while she generally doesn’t enjoy “eating crap,” she also doesn’t want to “sit there and drink smooshed-up celery all day. Forget about it!” With her trademark humor, Beth continues, “I grab a straw and bring on the wine.”
This longtime survivor attributes her sense of humor and desire to watch her kids grow up to helping her get through the devastation of her diagnosis. And now, over 20 years later, Beth has generously agreed to share her amazing story with our readers.
Thank you, Beth, for contributing your wonderful humor and candor to this site!
Readers, please feel free to ask Beth questions in the comments.
Great and inspiring story! Thanks for sharing!
There is no better motive than wathing your kids grow up. I’ve walked the walk. I loved your humor. I also think that humor is such a healing tool! When in the dumps, it is such a great way to forget the bad things and have a good laugh. Very healing!
So true, I would have done anything to stay alive for my kids. I decided I had to laugh a lot or I would be crying.
That is the attitude that brings on healing!
I so agree. I could have sat around crying all day long and trust me I had my moments. But I said BETH get over yourself you have 2 children and need to create as much memories and teach them everything you can NOW and that’s what I did.
Great sense of humor you have, I love it! Laughter and vino… excellent treatment for all! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!
It’s so funny before Cancer I rarely drank, I said “well that didn’t work out so well” LOL and every time I go to a group and there is someone there taking about nutrition they bring up breast cancer and wine….the group always looks a me, and I say “what if I don’t have breast” hahahahaha. I have learned to love red wine cause it good for my heart ,my oncologist said it’s fine.
This is such an inspiring story. I’m wondering if over your thriving life have you had much progression of the disease as has it been mostly stable. Continue to share your story and inspire other Metastatic persons.
Herceptin kept me stable for all these years. I have just bone mets that started T2 went down my spin into my hips and pelvic. I was on Chemo for 2 1/2 years and then in Jan 2000 just Herceptin. No progression since Nov 1998. I am so grateful. STABLE is my fav word.
Beth! Thanks for your story. May I ask where it Metastasized to when you found out you were stage 4
Just to my bone. T2 down my spine into my pelvic before I became stable on Herceptin.
Thank you for your story. Gives me hope, as im on Herceptin, and at the 5 year Mark.
Are you just on Herceptin? It’s an amazing drug and very little side effects. I pray you get 22+++++ years like me 🙂
So inspiring. Just diagnosed Metastatic last spring after original diagnosis of Stage IIB 13 years ago. This story gives me reason to be hopeful!
Debbie don’t every give up on HOPE. There are so many things out there for us these days. I know it’s overwhelming. One day at a time. And we are all here for each other.
This has given me hope. I was diagnosed last year stage 4 spread to bones. I found your story comforting, thank you.
Your optimism and sense of humor is evident from your story, soo happy that you are doing well! Cheers!!
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