Race for the Cure: Woman with metastatic breast cancer stays strong

Race for the Cure: Woman with metastatic breast cancer stays strong

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The Susan G. Komen of Northwest Ohio Races for the Cure in Findlay and Toledo are a month away.

If you register, you can know your money is going towards helping women, right here in Northwest Ohio.

Sylvania's Joyce Bettinger is 87 years old and battling breast cancer for the second time. In 2014, when Joyce was 82, she went in for her yearly mammogram thinking, ''why am I still doing this at my age?''

Come to find out it was a good thing she did.

"My husband says, 'mom's got news.' and I said, 'ok, the good news is, I don't need a knee replacement. The bad news is, I have breast cancer.' So it was very difficult," recalled Joyce.

She said, she got over it. She went through chemo and radiation to treat her triple negative stage three breast cancer and she got better in time to celebrate her 60th wedding anniversary.

Then, last fall she learned it had come back, but this time it metastasized, meaning it spread, becoming very difficult to treat.

"I don't like to dwell on it because life is just too precious and I want to enjoy life without thinking of dying. I went through a period of that," said Joyce.

No longer a candidate for chemo or radiation, her doctor recommended Keytruda, a form of immunotherapy. Unfortunately, it's not always covered by insurance, but Joyce was able to become part of a clinical trial.

"I'll continue doing this until it's no longer working. Actually, I've had two scans and there's been improvement," said Joyce.

Joyce is incredibly active. She loves to entertain and cook. She plays golf and has been a member of Highland Meadows Golf Club for more than 45 years. She was even given the nickname "bagger of sand" because of her high handicap, but good showing in tournaments.

"I actually have that in my obituary because it's always been an affectionate term to me. People care enough to laugh with me, to have fun together," said Joyce.

That's right, Joyce has already written her obituary and planned her funeral, but she's not done living yet. She's also planning to celebrate her 65th wedding anniversary next year.

For others who receive diagnoses likes hers, she has some advice:

"Never give up. There's just no two ways about it. You just deal with it and you do whatever you can to stay alive. Life is just too precious," she said.

Joyce started the "Rally for the Cure" at Highland Meadows more than 20 years ago.

Last year the event raised more than $15,000 thousand for Susan G. Komen.

Copyright 2018 WTOL. All rights reserved.