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Cancer patient taking things one day at a time

It’s a decision that no one just starting their adult life should have to make.

Knowing that cancer runs in her family (her father, grandfather and aunt all died from it), Rylee Dosch made the difficult decision this past year to hopefully avoid the same fate of hearing that she, too, had cancer.

Sadly, it was the opposite.

“I was opting for a preventative double mastectomy to try and avoid breast cancer altogether and in my pre-op is when they found something on my MRI,” the 26-year-old said in a phone interview from Reno, where she is getting treatment. “They diagnosed me the night before my surgery. Then, I didn’t know if I was still having the surgery. There was just a lot in the mix at that time.”

In recent years, Dosch found that she is a carrier of Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, which according to the Cleveland Clinic, “is a rare hereditary disorder that increases the risk you and your family members will develop cancer. Li-Fraumeni Syndrome can’t be prevented. But early and consistent cancer screenings and treatment can limit the syndrome’s impact on your life and your family’s lives.”

She said nearly 50% of women who carry the Li-Fraumeni gene will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 30. Knowing that the mastectomy may be needed in her future, she made the decision to do so but waited until after she got married and graduated with her Master’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno.

She had the double mastectomy/reconstructive surgeries on Nov. 13 of last year in California and today marked her eighth of 12 chemotherapy treatments. Even though there were no signs of the cancer having spread into her lymph nodes, Dosch said doctors felt it was best to go with chemotherapy to help prevent it from spreading, especially considering the gene she carries.

However, before starting with the chemotherapy, doctors gave her two months to start with fertility preservation (egg retrieval) because chemotherapy can have an adverse effect when trying to conceive down the road.

“As each week goes by (with treatment) I’m a little more tired and find myself sleeping more than normal,” the 2016 BCHS grad said. “For the most part, I really am doing well. I’m eager to be done with chemotherapy.”

Dosch’s dad, Paul, died on July 7, 2018, after a two-year battle with lung cancer, despite not having been a smoker but he did work in casinos for 14 years. A 1990 BCHS graduate, he was a longtime coach of girls’ basketball at the high school. In 2019, he was inducted posthumously into the Golden Eagle Hall of Fame.

Before his death, Paul was diagnosed as being a Li-Fraumeni Syndrome carrier. Dosch said she and her sister, Harper, were then tested. She came back positive and her sister negative as a carrier.

“I found out when I was 19,” she said. “That was incredibly hard for my dad, but he didn’t know that he was giving something like that to his kids. I remember how upsetting it was for him to find out one of us had it.”

Regarding her dad, Dosch expressed what he meant to her and still does to this day.

“Where do I start?” she said, fighting back tears. “His humor. His cooking. I miss his cooking a lot. Honestly, I’d love to hear his voice and give him a hug one last time.”

At the time of her dad’s death, Dosch told the Review, “As a person, my dad was incredible. He had many passions; he was generous, funny and caring. He meant the world to me. I always wanted to work hard at whatever I did to make him proud. He was my best friend growing up, and he was (my sister) Harper’s best friend, too.”

In order to assist Dosch with medical expenses, a charity golf tournament will be held May 4 at 8 a.m. at the Boulder City Municipal Course.

The cost is $120 per person, which includes golf and lunch. Of that amount, $50 from each entry will go to Dosch. There will also be prizes for the top three teams and drawings for prizes. For more information, contact Russ Meyer at 702-617-0555.

Dosch said the funds raised from the tournament will help cover out-of-pocket expenses that she and her husband, Anthony, had not planned for when receiving the cancer diagnosis.

“I am so thankful,” she said of the tournament and its organizers. “I grew up on the golf course with my dad, so it’s a happy place for me. So, to have people want to put together a golf tournament means so much. I can’t express how grateful I am.”

As for the support she has received from her husband, family and friends, she added, “I couldn’t have done it without them. Every step of the way they’ve been with me. All the love and support has been unfathomable. It’s meant so much to us.”

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