Age 49, diagnosed at 45
Family history, no known genetic mutation
COURAGE. Our theme for A Calendar to Live By 2021, INSPIRED, shares the word that resonates most with each of our calendar ambassadors and reflects the woman she has become since her cancer journey began. Amy's word is COURAGE. Here is her story.
Amy, Ms. January in A Calendar to Live By 2021, received an unexpected diagnosis of stage 1 breast cancer after a routine 3D mammogram. She had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction followed by hormone therapy. Because her father’s side of the family had a history of various cancers, Amy was eager to get genetic testing to find out whether she carried any genes that could be passed on to her children – she was relieved to find out that she does not. Concerned her business clients would doubt her ability to work, Amy, a small-business owner of two businesses and single mother of four children, didn’t share her diagnosis right away. Now, she wants to use her experience to let other survivors know they aren’t alone, they can make it through, and they can make a difference in others’ lives. The word courage resonates with her because she feels it is critical in facing a cancer diagnosis. You need “courage to fight the unknown, courage to tell your loved ones and hold it together, courage to face treatment, courage to accept that your life will never be the same, and courage to accept your new normal,” Amy says. She isn’t normally a courageous person, but after her diagnosis, “I had the courage of a lion.”
MORE TO ADD: Here are some additional thoughts Amy has about the link between cancer and genetics and why that was important to her: "My father's side of the family is rich with cancer - 98% of his family has died from many types of cancer, so I immediately had genetic testing. I was happy to find that I was BRCA 1 and 2 negative. My two daughters that were over 18 tested negative, as well."