Appendiceal Cancer, or cancer of the appendix, is very rare with only one or two out of every million people diagnosed each year.
Kelsy Wyse, Science Care’s Illinois Regional Lab Manager, was diagnosed with this cancer in May of 2022 after dealing with abdominal pain for nearly a year.
“When I was first diagnosed, I had never heard of appendiceal cancer,” Kelsy said. “Initially, my diagnosis was thought to be ovarian cancer due to having masses on both ovaries, but a biopsy revealed that the cancer started in my appendix before spreading to my ovaries and peritoneum.”
Kelsy’s treatment plan includes bi-monthly chemotherapy as she awaits hopeful approval for a clinical trial. Due to the rare nature of her cancer, clinical trials are few and far between.
“The initial diagnosis was devastating,” Kelsy said. “First hearing that I have a type of cancer I had never heard of, and then that it is a very rare form left me on a rollercoaster of emotions.”
Since her diagnosis, Kelsy has diligently researched to help understand her diagnosis and possible routes of treatment. She’s very quick to share that there are good days and bad days.
“My perspective on life has changed so much, especially when it comes to what is important,” Kelsy said. “If I’m having a good day, I try to live those days to the fullest.”
Her friends and family act as an incredible support system, and her loved ones are always around to listen to her openly talk about where she’s at in her journey. She also sought out a ‘Living with Cancer’ support group where she has found a lot of encouragement from others on a similar journey to her.
Kelsy almost always has a friend or family member accompany her to chemotherapy appointments.
“When I first began treatments, my friends would host ‘chemo parties’ the night before my chemo days,” Kelsy said. “It was such a gift to be distracted from my anxiety around treatment and spend time with my friends.”
She does her best to stay positive, but ongoing chemotherapy take their toll on her physically, mentally and emotionally. Shortly after being diagnosed, Kelsy sought out a therapist to help her process the weight of living life with cancer.
“As hard as it is, I try to stay as positive as I can,” Kelsy said. “I have my bad days, and I allow myself the space to feel everything I need to feel, but I won’t let myself stay in that negative space.”
Kelsy was a part of the Science Care team for more than 16 years and found true comfort in her team and the people around her at work.
Science Care donors continually play a key role in scientific advancements. Our donor community has contributed to numerous recent projects that focus on identifying biomarkers, developing diagnostic assays and furthering the understanding of different types of cancers.
“I am so proud of the work that we do,” Kelsy said. “Having a cancer diagnosis deepened my appreciation for our donors and their families for the gift of donation that could truly one day find a cure for appendix cancer.”
To learn more about how Science Care donors are contributing to the fight against cancer, read this blog.
It is with great sadness that we share Kelsy, our colleague and great friend, lost her courageous battle to Appendiceal Cancer on January 25, 2024. Kelsy was a treasured member of the Science Care team, and her impact to the advancement of medical science is immeasurable. She will be missed beyond words.