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West Fargo mom thanks thorough nurse practitioner for catching cancer early

Jessicca Bye thought a hectic work and home life was wearing her down, but a quick-thinking, persistent nurse practitioner made sure no stone was left unturned.

Jessicca Bye, 45, gets emotional speaking with Essentia Health nurse practitioner Joe Halvorson. She had just finished chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery for Stage 3 colorectal cancer that Bye said was caught after Halvorson pushed for answers.
Ryan Longnecker / WDAY News

WEST FARGO — Jessicca Bye is ready for some much-deserved family time at the beach after an unexpected year of battling cancer.

"Now it has so much more meaning," Bye said.

Like many, Bye's life is busy with work, and chasing kids. But a year ago she didn't feel like herself.

"I'm a single mom, I'm busy all the time. I'm always tired, that's just kind of the norm," Bye said. "Just felt a little off."

Her Essentia Health provider, nurse practitioner Joe Halvorson, ran tests and eventually scans. That's when things got concerning.


"Then the race was on," she said.

A colonoscopy then confirmed it. She had Stage 3 colon cancer.

"It's amazing how you just figure it out. When your given a set a problems, how you just figure it out, " Bye said.

She underwent chemotherapy, radiation therapy, as well as surgery.

Now on Thursday, March 16, Bye is celebrating the completion. She went to her first ever Timberwolves game with her son, then on to sun-soaked beaches with family who are grateful she is finished with treatment.

"Don't put things off, there' never an excuse not to go to a game," she said. "You work to live, not live to work."

To say that Bye appreciates her nurse practitioner is an understatement. Halvorson said he is glad to see a patient celebrate victories like this one.

"It started with you. You saved my life," Bye told Halvorson.


"You listened to your body," said Halvorson, who also gave thanks to the entire team of providers for helping catch the cancer early.

"That's what it's about, trying to face those challenges in a way that lets life persist in a really wonderful and celebratory way," Halvorson said.

"Just the things that I've learned about this," Bye said. "If we hadn't done the things we did when we did it, it would be a whole different story."

"You believed me. Thank you," Bye told Halvorson

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
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