This blog post is part of an ongoing series that highlights Hope Clothing GB's Beautiful Warrior Program. Amanda Marie was nominated and took part in a $200 shopping spree because of all of you. The following is Amanda Marie's story, in her own words:
My story starts like this...October 2018 I was weaning off breast feeding my son Brayden. I was 34 years old had a 1 year old and a newborn. I felt a lump but chalked it up to a blocked duct. Then about six weeks of completely being done breast feeding the lump was still there and bigger, this was Dec 25th 2018.
I got in to see my doctor on Dec 26th. She referred me to imagining who stated they wanted me to get it biopsied. The radiologist told me he didn’t think it was cancer because the area was round and clear in the center but because it was so large they wanted to biopsy it. On Jan 8th 2019 I got a biopsy and on Jan 10th they called me to tell me I had breast cancer, triple negative (fastest growing/deadliest) infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma grade 3 and ready to spread throughout my body.
My doctor said that my son saved my life. She said if I didn’t breastfeed that the tumor wouldn’t have shown itself as soon as it did, it would have probably spread throughout my body before I discovered it. She said the tumor was growing for about 2-5years. The tumor itself located in my right breast was around 4cmx4cm. After meeting with my oncologist we decided on a treatment plan chemotherapy X20 weeks, 8 weeks of AC (very intense chemo). This is the chemo that makes you VERY nauseated, tired, and lose your hair, then 12 weeks of Taxol which can make you lose your fingernails, your eyebrows/eyelashes, and can give you neuropathy (numbness and tingling) in your fingers and toes. This would be followed up with surgery (double mastectomy) and possibly radiation. And then reconstruction surgery.
I finished the 8 weeks of AC chemo and x12 taxol chemo treatments and my tumor grew. My double mastectomy was moved up to July 3rd. During surgery they found more cancer to the same breast so they entered and encouraged me to do a clinical trial of another six weeks of oral chemo to prevent reoccurrence. This chemo made me get blisters on the palms of my hands and soul of my feet which were very painful but I completed it after six weeks. I lost all my hair from my chemo which at age 34 is very hard to swallow. My hair started growing back Dec 2019 and I was considered in remission from my stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis. Statically I had 15% chance of cancer coming back.
I continued with every three month check ups and blood work. May of 2020 I became very short of breath and I got a CT which showed two nodules in my lungs. Biopsy confirmed it to be my breast cancer. After 6 short months in remission my cancer came back and now currently I have incurable cancer stage 4 with a textbook prognosis of 2 years. Since being diagnosed with stage 4 I had to do 3 months of chemo, localized radiation, and immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy is something that keeps your cancer from growing and if one can handle it be on the rest of their life. The last two weeks my immunotherapy turned against me and caused me to get immunotherapy colitis resistant to steroids. This hospitalized me for two weeks in which I just got out of the hospital and I am waiting for the colitis to resolve and find out If I continue on my immunotherapy the treatment that is keeping me alive.
Overall chemo therapy is no joke and I have never felt so sick/tired. I am losing my mind I literally forget what I am doing at times or what I did 5 minutes ago, this is just getting worse day by day (chemo brain.) I never knew how strong I was until I had to deal with something like this. It is so physically and mentally exhausting. The thoughts that run through my brain on the daily are draining.
But, everyday I put a smile on my face and I thank the lord I am here and able to spend another day with my babies/family/friends. I have good days and bad days, days I feel sorry for myself but then I pick my self/ head up and remember that I am breathing. So I choose not to let this cancer run me I will RUN this cancer and run it right out of me...Hope clothing gave me some hope that I needed. I stopped taking care of myself for awhile just being wrapped up in the motions of cancer that I forgot that I need to do something for myself and not the cancer. I was nominated by my friend Jessie and I was able to have a shopping spree which made me feel human again. I am so humbled that is such an amazing program out there for people going through the motions that I am it truly means a lot and it’s something I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life. Every time I wear them cloths I remind myself that I am me “I am a warrior and I will fight until there is nothing left in me.”