In mid July our daughter-in-law Amy felt a lump in her right breast and thought it was probably just a fibroid cyst, which occasionally occurs during hormone therapy or pregnancy. However, it grew bigger and on August 11th, she had a biopsy done in San Antonio. The next day Amy learned she had breast cancer of the worst kind, IBC. She did not want to believe it, so she had her doctor send the specimen off to M.D. Anderson in Houston. On Monday, the 16th, M.D. Anderson confirmed the diagnosis of IBC (inflammatory breast cancer), and she notified a few of us what was happening. On Tuesday morning, the 17th, she had a C-section and precious Harley Quinn was born.
On August 23rd, 24th, and 25th Amy underwent several tests at M.D. Anderson. The results came back last Monday, the 30th. She has stage IV inflammatory breast cancer. Her right breast is 75%-80% diseased, her left breast is slightly involved, and it has spread to two places in her pelvic/hip bones (which is why her hips have been hurting all summer). However, it has not spread to her lungs, liver, or ovaries. She will undergo twelve chemo treatments (one a week) and after those another six treatments every 3 weeks. Then she will have a mastectomy and radiation treatments. The mastectomy does not come first, because she would not be strong enough after the surgery to start chemo.
On the 30th she also had a bone scan and chest x-ray as part of the qualifying process for a special bone cancer study for the lesions in her hip bones. Another of the qualifications is that a patient can have no more than 3 cancerous bone lesions. The study involves radiation directly to those areas and may begin as soon as she finds out if she qualifies. The treatment may/may not take place at the same time of the chemo. She will learn that later.
On Wednesday, the 31st, Amy began chemotherapy. She can no longer breastfeed Harley. She also was given a bone strengthener drug. Amy and family came home to Seguin late Thursday night. Her parents left early Friday afternoon. By later that afternoon Amy was running a fever from the bone strengthener drug, which was normal. However, it spiked to over 103.4 degrees, which was not normal. Tracy and I went over to help Jud with the girls and Amy. We got her to take a cold bath and by 9:30 her temperature was down to 100; however, her skin was still red and hot to the touch. That is what the drug does. Luckily, she will only be having that every third treatment.
After Ripley and Harley went to bed, Amy said she was going to bed, too, so we left telling her that she should call us if the fever went up so we could take her to the emergency room, which is what the doctor said to do. When Tracy called her Saturday (Sept. 4th), she was feeling much better. So much so that she did not need anyone to come over and help.
We were all elated by that news. It was the 1st time in nearly three weeks that they had been alone as a family of 4. They even went to visit my parent’s, Jud’s grandparents, yesterday afternoon. Hooray!!! Amy is not on the road to recovery by any means, but now she knows what to expect from the treatments and can settle down into building a family routine with two darling daughters.
To say that Amy’s cancer news has hit our family like a lightning bolt is an understatement. Amy Lynn, who will turn 40 in October, has been a part of our family for nearly 20 years, which is as long as she has loved our son Judson with her whole being. We have prayer lines and requests out all over the country and the oncologist says he is going for “The Cure.” Amy is strong and stubborn, and she is backed and surrounded by all of our love, strength, support, and more stubbornness. No insidious disease stands a chance! Amy’s battle is our battle and we will be triumphant!!!