Meet Betsy Soule

It was November 2011, and Betsy Soule thought she had a case of food poisoning. “Fast forward two months,” Betsy recounts, “and my primary care provider called me into her office to tell me I had colangiocarcinoma – liver cancer of the bile duct.” Her provider made an appointment for her the very next week with Lahey general surgeon Roger Jenkins, MD, and Betsy’s journey began.

Betsy Soule Cancer Survivor

The Lahey folks, they’re the experts. When there are different choices or decisions to be made, I look to my doctors.

Help for a Helper
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Help for a Helper

Betsy is an attorney and executive director of MetroWest Legal Services, a legal aid office that helps low-income, elderly, or disabled individuals who need help navigating the justice system but don’t have the money to pay a lawyer. But this time it was Betsy who needed help.

Betsy Soule Cancer Survivor

I’m usually the organizer, the manager, the fixer – that’s what I do. But I knew I couldn’t organize, manage, or fix this stuff myself.

It’s Not Incurable

It’s Not Incurable

When she first met Dr. Jenkins, he asked, “What do you know about this type of cancer?” she remembers. “I said I looked it up on the internet and saw that it’s rare and incurable. And he said, well, it’s not that rare. And it’s not incurable either.”

Betsy Soule Cancer Survivor

That conversation with Dr. Jenkins was a game-changer for me.

A Second Cancer Diagnosis

A Second Cancer Diagnosis

Betsy went from wondering if she would die to focusing on a treatment plan for how to beat her cancer. But her joy at the success of her treatment was short-lived. “Two and a half years later, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer,” she said. “But it was comforting to know that I had the same sort of team with me that I had at the start,” including Lahey oncologist Francis Nugent, MD. “Dr. Nugent has been with me the whole way,” Betsy said. “It’s calming to know you’ve got somebody you can call when you need them.”

Betsy Soule Cancer Survivor

My immediate reaction was you have got to be kidding me. Wasn’t once enough?

The Support of Friends

The Support of Friends

She also looked to her close friends for support, many of whom she met decades earlier through her involvement in theater performances. For Betsy, an only child with limited family in the area, her friends are like family and were more important than ever.

Betsy Soule Cancer Survivor

I’m usually the organizer, the manager, the fixer – that’s what I do. But I knew I couldn’t organize, manage, or fix this stuff myself.

At Her Side Throughout

At Her Side Throughout

Betsy credits the expertise of her Lahey providers for her successful cancer treatment and recovery, and she remains grateful to her friends for being at her side throughout. “My friends played a huge role in my journey and recovery,” she said. “As of now, I’m two years cancer-free.”

Betsy Soule Cancer Survivor

My immediate reaction was you have got to be kidding me. Wasn’t once enough?