On the Mend - Betsy Berrey

It has been quite a summer for several notable members of our dressage community as they face various stages in recovery for illness and accidents. One thing they all have in common is a grateful feeling for family and friends, and a new outlook on life, as they have been forced in one way or another to slow down, take a look around, and appreciate life and health which often can be precarious. With their permission we are giving you their e-mail address, so send them a note, let them know you care, you never know, someday it could be one of us!

Betsy Berrey – Dressage Judge


In early August Dressage judge Betsy Berrey went to have an MRI in Wellington to see if the back pain she was experiencing was due to a disc problem and was shocked to find the were 2 completely unexpected masses near her spine and hip. She traveled to Massachusetts General Hospital, near family for further testing where she was diagnosed plasmacytoma, a cancer of the blood plasma, also referred to as multiple myeloma, since there is more than one spot.

This type of cancer is very treatable and responds well to radiation and various drugs. Once the initial course of treatment is over they will monitor and scan her periodically to be sure that no new spots have appeared.

Here is a recent e-mail Betsey sent to those on her e-mail list:

As you know in the horse biz when we hear hoof beats we don't think Zebras!” reports an optimistic and cheerful Berrey. “Who would have thought that a lingering flu and some low back pain were early indicators of my illness? The blood tests and chest x-rays that I had this spring were all completely normal.”

The crack team of doctors at Mass General Hospital in Boston went right to work and I have had daily, 5 minute radiation treatments that have shrunk the 2 masses on my back. I will have 3 more of these and then go home to Wellington for the weekend to sleep in my own bed and see my much beloved, and missed, Corgi the remarkable Roxie.

Along the way my step-brother Ralph, who is the Chief of Radiation/Oncology at the University of Chicago, and Adam's friend Dr. Justin Campbell who is a radiologist here in Boston have given us excellent feed-back and guidance.

As for the future the prognosis is excellent and I feel that I have dodged what could have been a much larger bullet, or perhaps it was Hurricane Dean! I have no plans to retire but will try taking life at a slower, easier pace. After decades of competing and judging from coast to coast I'll do fewer shows, perhaps a dozen a year instead of 2 dozen. Of course as a member of L Program Faculty I'll continue to teach our wonderful L Sessions.

This will give me more time to spend with friends and family. I will also be devoting energy to creating additional educational DVDs for riders, judges and trainers with my good friend Chris Hickey, who won double Gold at the Pan Am Games in Brazil, a wonderful and very-well deserved victory!

So that's the scoop from C! If anything new comes along I'll let you know but for now I'm doing fine and feeling very optimistic about the future.

Thank you all for your kindness and caring, love and energy. I know it helped me to come through this ordeal in a much easier and more positive way.

Betsy Berrey - betsy@berrey.org




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