Amy’s 2011 Letter to Spring For A Cure I joined the fight against breast cancer in October 2000 when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31. I found the lump myself and was sent for a mammogram and ultrasound. I spent my 31st birthday having a needle biopsy done…not a fun way to spend your birthday. After an incisional biopsy, I was told that I had breast cancer. I was in shock as was all my family and friends. I was only 31 and my son was just a little over a year old and all I could think was how is this happening to me, I’m too young. Being told you have cancer is absolutely terrifying! All I could think about was my little boy and whether or not I was going to watch him grow up. I was determined to fight! I had a lumpectomy and lymph nodes were removed. The cancer was only in a few lymph nodes. After the surgeries I wasn’t able to lift my son for a week or two at a time. It was heartbreaking to watch him lift his arms for me to pick him up when I wasn’t able to. He couldn’t understand why mommy couldn’t pick him up. I went through seven months of chemo followed by radiation every day except for the weekends for 6 ½ weeks. After 10 months of treatments, I was given a clean bill of health. I was thrilled…I fought and won!! I was put on Tamoxifen (an estrogen blocker) for five years to reduce the chance of a recurrence. In September of 2006 I was taken off the Tamoxifen. This is a very scary feeling because you know that there is now nothing helping you to keep the cancer from coming back.
By December 2006 (three months after stopping Tamoxifen) my blood count was elevated and in January it was abnormal. They sent me for PET scans and biopsies and in February I was told the breast cancer was back. I was devastated. You would think that it wouldn’t be as hard to hear the second time, but it’s even harder. It’s much scarier. It had spread to the lymph nodes in my neck. They felt very strongly that I needed to have my ovaries removed to stop the estrogen. I had the oopherectomy in April and was thrown into menopause…hot flashes and all. Since I was now post-menopausal, I was put on Arimidex to block the small amount of estrogen that my body was still producing. I was sent for scans about every 2 - 3 months and the nodes in my neck kept shrinking until they were normal size and were stabilized. I thought everything was going great and that I was going to be ok. Then I found out there was a spot showing on my sternum. The news knocked the wind out of me. You feel like you have no control over your life. I started chemo in April (2009) and continue to have scans to monitor things. I will continue to be strong and fight. Some days are harder than others, but I have a strong faith and I will never give up! They keep coming out with new drugs and cancer patients are living much longer today. That is why Spring For A Cure is so important to me. I want to help raise money for research to find new and better drugs and ultimately a cure. Right now 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. My team and I have been walking every Mother's Day in the Race For The Cure in Pittsburgh. It is an amazing event. When I stand on the hill during the Survivor Ceremony and look out at all the people in the crowd that are there to support this cause, it is very overwhelming. Visit my race web site to view more information and please join me in the fight against breast cancer!
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