The Good News, the Bad News…but always, Hope

25 01 2011

I am really scared. Yesterday’s doctor’s appt. did indeed bring the fabulous news that my tumor is triple-negative. It also brought the shocking news that my cancer is at a Stage 3 or Stage 4. I had not heard these “staging numbers” before yesterday and early on in this journey that is only 16 days old but feels like 16 years, the hope was that we were looking at an early stage breast cancer, Stage 1 or Stage 2.

The MRI results yesterday told a different story, with a sizeable tumor and lymph node involvement in my left breast as well as a possible spot on my clavicle and right lung. I leave for the lung biopsy in a little over an hour. Results should be in by Friday. Please pray that the results are negative, that it’s a scar from a previous bronchitis. That result would scale me back to a Stage 3, with a much more favorable, long-term manageable hope.

All of that said, in breast cancer, Stage 3 or Stage 4 is not necessarily a death sentence. I have not been given weeks or months to live. Though no one has a crystal ball, I could conceivably live for many years through the amazing new treatments — like Iniparib — that are becoming available almost daily. For that, I thank God in heaven above and all of the amazing, dedicated scientists whose work is saving more and more lives every day.

I had a few hours of terror and trembling and crying. But through it all, with the help of my breast care surgeon, clinical trials staff and my AMAZING oncologist Dr. Dana Zakalik, I have learned that despite the “staging numbers” that sent me into a downward spiral with an expectation that the Grim Reaper was waiting outside the Examining Room door, I actually have a very good chance of long-term survival. I am a candidate for the PARP Inhibitor (Iniparib), which will be used in combination with two chemotherapy drugs: Gemcitabine and Carboplatin. Because Iniparib is still in the clinical trial phase, my name will be submitted into a national pool today. Names are drawn weekly, but at Royal Oak Beaumont, the 12 women who have needed this drug have all been able to get it through the pool, and the expectation is that it will also be available to me very soon.

I will sign the consent forms to partipate in this clinical trial before I go in for my lung biopsy this morning. That means that I will get in under the deadline for this week’s drawing and will hear back either Weds. or Thurs. as to whether or not my name has been drawn. If it has, I start the Iniparib next Tuesday. If not, I’ll be in the drawing each week until my name is selected. In the meantime, I will begin chemotherapy with the G & C drugs on Friday, and will also have a chemo port inserted Friday morning. I never thought I could say this about chemotherapy, but I cannot wait to get started.

Dr. Zakalik has explained to me that breast cancer is becoming less of a killer and more of a lifetime, manageable disease. I hope and pray I fall into the latter category. I truly have found peace in this overnight. I feel a peace that I am going to be OK, that I am going to survive this. Not a false hope, but a warm, emcompassing white light that comes from somewhere outside of me and shines into the depths of my soul.

Please pray for the negative result on the lung biopsy and that my name is chosen in this week’s Iniparib drawing.




7 responses

25 01 2011
Danielle Neilson

I love you! You are beautiful and wonderful and so strong. I’ll be praying for you guys and especially for those test results to come back negative. I have my whole church praying for you too. You will kick this cancer’s butt just like you did last time! Thanks to your magnetic personality you have a HUGE support base to lean on when you need to.

Sending you virtual hugs!

25 01 2011
Lisa Maskill

Thank goodness, Aim! You just keep doing what you can, every day, and it’ll add up into something huge– like beating cancer.
Love Love Love you guys.


25 01 2011

Virtual hugs going out to you. Keep the faith! You fall, but you always get up and are always stronger! Love you.

25 01 2011

Thousands…heck possible millions are praying and pulling for you! Your spirit and outlook is amazing and you are a wonderful mother, wife, friend, sister and communicator to all! Can’t wait to read your first novel and share in your jouney as we go through life together as bff’s!!

25 01 2011
Becky Cwiek


It is amazing how we process things as we go through this journey. You are so brave and please know that I am praying for you and your healing. Miracles happen everyday and it is about time for one for you!

God Bless You,
Becky Cwiek

25 01 2011
Bob Adams

Amy, my dear friend…
That light you’re seeing isn’t shining down on you it’s shining OUT from you. The inner beauty in you is phenomenal and is obvious to all who know you.

The beauty on the outside ain’t bad either.

I love you dear lady!

25 01 2011
Scott Orwig

Every day of survival is not only a day with your husband and son, but also another day for those dedicated scientists to find another way to make breast cancer a manageable disease. Staging numbers are just numbers. You’ve beat this before, and despite how it may feel time really is on your side!

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