At just five weeks pregnant, young mother Baylee Alsup of Cape Girardeau found a lump in her left breast. Concerned, she brought it to the attention of her obstetrician, Jessica Lemmons, MD, FACOG — and Baylee’s unexpected battle with cancer began.
When initially examined, the lump appeared to be a benign, fluid-filled cyst. The “cyst” continued to grow, and Baylee knew something was not right. Weeks of diligence and persistence paid off – pathology testing confirmed Baylee had a stage 3C, grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma at 32 weeks pregnant.
“Through the whole process, my OB, Dr. Jessica Lemmons, helped us fight to get everything looked at,” Baylee shares. “The day I was diagnosed, Dr. Lemmons came to my appointment to comfort me and be there for support, which was amazing of her.”
Just one week after her diagnosis, Baylee received her first round of chemotherapy. Following a three-week waiting period to rebuild Baylee’s white blood cells, labor was induced. “Little Miss decided she did not want to come out, so I had to have a C-section. That was not fun to recover from,” Baylee recalls.
Just two weeks after delivery, Baylee returned for a second round of chemotherapy. “I feel like I handled the chemo extremely well. I did not have any nausea or vomiting,” Baylee explains. “My biggest side effect was exhaustion. I had to fight through and take care of my four-year-old and newborn and be a mom while going through all of this.”
Baylee compliments the Saint Francis Cancer Institute staff for working so hard to make her treatment and visits as pleasant and easy as possible. “My experience with Saint Francis has been fantastic,” Baylee adds. “Dr. Michael Naughton has been great, along with his nurses and everybody in the Cancer Institute. It helps to have good doctors.” Baylee recalls multiple times the oncology nurses provided quick and caring assistance during treatments and put her at ease. “Every nurse I had was awesome. I loved every one of them.”
To date, Baylee has completed 16 rounds of chemotherapy and awaits a bilateral mastectomy at Saint Francis Medical Center in August. Joseph S. McCadams, MD, FACS, general surgeon with Cape Girardeau Surgical Clinic, performed the initial biopsy and will complete the mastectomy.
Focusing on the End Goal
Baylee offers this advice to anyone in a similar battle with cancer: “First, embrace the bald. It is hard at first, and I cried a lot, but it is easiest to embrace it. Second, keep your head up and push through. There will be some setbacks, but you have to focus on the end goal and think about what you would leave behind —fight for that. Next, I always tell people to trust their gut. If something in your body does not feel right, it probably is not right. Lastly, ask for help and do not be stubborn. I look back on the times I did not ask for help when I needed it and now wish I had.”
Baylee’s journey symbolizes strength, endurance and hope. Join us in sending her well wishes and lifting her up in prayer as she continues her battle against cancer.
Jessica Lemmons, MD, FACOG, obstetrician and gynecologist, provides care at Cape Care for Women, a Saint Francis Medical Partner. Cape Care for Women offers comprehensive healthcare for the unique needs of women at every stage of life, tailoring prevention, treatment and care plans to meet the healthcare goals of its patients. Learn more about our doctors at Cape Care for Women.
Michael Naughton, MD, specializes in the treatment of breast cancer at Cape Medical Oncology, a Saint Francis Medical Partner. The oncologists at Cape Medical Oncology specialize in the treatment of the four major cancers in our region – breast, prostate, lung and colon – as well as other forms of cancer, offering chemotherapy, immunotherapy, clinical trials and more. For more about our Cancer Institute, click here.