My pink ribbon story

imageLike pretty much everything in life I’m either all the way in or all the way out. Well, except when it comes to religion. But that’s a whole other story! Like I’ve previously stated that goes for TV too. I don’t watch many shows, but the ones I do watch I am very loyal to.

NBC aired this little medical drama between the years of 1994 to 2009. You may have heard of it. It was called…..ER. Okay, I know how big is was! George Clooney, Julianna Margulies, John Stamos, etc, etc, etc. It also starred Maura Tierney as Abby in the mid to later episodes. I loved Abby! I loved her wit, I loved her attitude, I loved her bad luck! And as we all know I have a tendency to name kids after beloved TV favorites (Don’t judge, we all gain inspirations in different ways!), we discussed the name Abigail for a girl. But after 3 valiant attempts at getting pregnant with a girl we have been blessed with 3 healthy, intelligent, beyond beautiful boys. I’m not complaining, I wouldn’t trade them for anything in this world or the next, but Abby just didn’t seem like a fitting name for any of them! So last fall when we adopted the sweetest little girl cat, Abby was an easy choice for a name. And because this mommy has 3 little boys who stole every brain cell in her head, I forgot to get her fixed in time and Abby got pregnant with a litter of 4 little babies. I allowed my older kids to name 2 of them, and I went on to name the other 2 Neela and Luca. I thought I was hilarious!

ANYWAY…..where was I? (Remember, crazy intelligent kids have resumed ownership of all remaining brain cells, including the ones that help me stay on one subject!) What I didn’t know about loving this character for so many years was is that it would someday come in handy for saving my life. A year after ER ended, back in 2010, Maura Tierney appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show to talk about her battle with breast cancer. (I was going to add the youtube link of the interview so everyone can see it for themselves, but I can’t seem to find it. I did, however, add a link I found of the end of the interview. Which I will reference to later) I was very taken back by her interview. She was young and healthy. She didn’t fit any “breast cancer category” so to speak. But there she was talking about her terrifying ordeal. I was pregnant with our 2nd son at the time and asked a nurse a my next prenatal exam about getting a mammogram done. She told me that because of my age and since I had no risk factors my insurance would probably not cover a mammogram at that point in my life. She also told me that I shouldn’t worry to much because my breasts would been naturally more dense and lumpy feeling at my age. So I stopped worrying and moved on. 2 years later, in the summer of 2012, I found a lump in my breast. But of course my 1st instinct was to ignore it and go on believing what I was told by that nurse. But then that interview popped in my head. And it kept popping in my head over and over. So I went to my doctor and had my first mammogram. I remember so well sitting in the waiting room in my little pink gown with all the other women who seemed so much older than me. A lump was detected and I immediately had an ultrasound. The ultrasound led to a biopsy, which holy hell did that hurt! The biopsy was inconclusive. So I had a lumpectomy which led to the diagnosis of a rare rapidly forming tumor. I had just turned 31 years old. The months after are a blur of medications, treatments, and surgeries. (A mastectomy and a full reconstruction.) I spent so many sleepless nights worrying. I was scared for my future, worried for my kids. My father passed away when I was 7. I know how difficult it is to grow up without a parent and  I would never wish that on any child. But I had an amazing group of doctors, family, and friends rooting for me. Even my Grandmother, who was 95 at the time, helped out with the kids. The best was the day my 18 month old came home wearing a depend! I had my late night Mike and Molly reruns and my Katy Perry music. And I had that interview. Today I am healthy thanks to that interview. I’m so grateful for it.

Naturally after I was better I wrote to tell The Ellen DeGeneres Show my whole story. In fact, I wrote a lot of times! And 2 years ago, when  I was pregnant with Micah, I got a call from a producer! We chatted over the phone and skype for several days and I’ll admit I was getting pretty excited about the possibility of getting to share this extraordinary story with so many people. I imagined all the women my age who could be inspired to listen to the instincts and get a mammogram. And of course there was also the chance to get to say thank you to Ellen in person. But one day the phone calls stopped. And suddenly no one would return my calls or emails. Todd and I were both so sad. So we took a chance and did something crazy. I flew to LA, 7 months pregnant, to try and get stand by Ellen tickets. I knew if I could get in the door someone would listen to this story. Unfortunately, I never got in the door. The trip wasn’t all bad. I went to a Mike and Molly taping and let Reno Wilson and Katy Mixon feel my belly! And I got to hang out with my sister from another mother Ashley! But I was pretty broken hearted about not getting my chance to share this story.

I’ve moved on obviously! I’m raising my boys and driving car pools and breaking up fights! And I’m in school now studying with the BYU pathways program. My life isn’t glamourous, although its never dull! But every night I thank God for it. And I hope someday I get the chance to thank Maura Tierney and Ellen in person. But until then I know the best thing I can do is keep on keeping on!


For Marie…..I’ll never forget you.

One comment

  1. Beth Millman · October 27, 2016

    Thank you for sharing, Amy. I’m sure that will help somebody too. My mom had her first breast cancer when she was in her thirties. Total mastectomy and lymph nodes removal. For some reason she never had a mammogram on the other breast. One October we were watching The Rosie O’Donnell Show and you know how she took advantage of her platform about detection of breast cancer. So I asked Mom to go with me for a mommy/daughter mammo and she agreed. She was 70. And yes, her only breast had a cancerous lump. I was able to have a couple more years with her.

    Liked by 1 person

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