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Amy's Cancer Journey
6/29/2016 Latest post:
Hello! My name is Amy Warlick. I have been married to my high school sweetheart Jeremy for 9 years and we have a 5 year old son, Easton. My journey all began on Saturday, September 5, 2015 when a large cyst appeared in my right breast! This was labor day weekend so I had to wait until Tuesday to go to the dr! On Tuesday I went to the doctor and was send to the hospital to get a mammogram and ultrasound done. Then they "confirmed" if was only a fluid filled cyst. I went the following week to my OBGYN to get his opinion on this and he aspirated the cyst. Within two hours the cyst was back! My OB said that was odd and he had never seen one come back that fast. Then I was sent to another doctor where I wasn't impressed at all. He recommended for me to see a plastic surgeon to have the cyst removed and have implants put in! Imagine if I would have listened to him! I then returned to my OB to have it drained again because he thought maybe he didn't aspirate it all the first time. He then aspirated it and got 70ml. out of the cyst and had some bloody fluid. He didn't think it was anything to worry about so he again did not send the fluid off to pathology. It again returned larger than ever with a few hours! At this time I was getting very aggravated! It was very painful and large. I knew I had to do something, My husband and I had been trying for a second child for 1.5 years with no success. The doctor recommended for us to stop trying until I got this cyst taken care of! I then requested to go see another doctor that was a breast specialist! On January 21, 2016 I was send to see Dr. Sandra Schultz in Gastonia, NC. She aspirated the cyst and drain 90ml. out of the cyst. The fluid was sent off for pathology and I was to return in one week for the results. On January 28, 2016 I received the news I was never expecting! It had came back as cancerous cells!! What in the world..... I am 28 years old and receiving the news that I could have breast cancer!! Our next step was I needed to get a MRI with contrast done but it could only be done 7 days after my menstrual cycle. I was supposed to start on that following Monday so I wasn't going to have to wait long! Six long days past and I was 3 days late!!! I knew something was up! I went to drop my son off at school and decided I needed to take a test! Yes, you got it.... I WAS PREGNANT!!!! At the time I just knew this was the worse news I could receive and my life was over! How in the world could I live thru pregnancy and breast cancer!!!! How in the world could this be possible??? We had tried for 1.5 years with no luck and stopped trying and BOOM! I frantically got on the phone calling all my doctors letting them know the news! Everyone was so shocked but assured me I would live! Lol. They did some research and then told me I could no longer have the MRI done because the dye wouldn't be safe for the baby. The next step was to go under the OR and have the cyst and surrounding tissue removed. I also had a swollen lymph node removed. Again, I had to wait another week for the test results. All we knew is the doctor said it looked very "funky". February 18 came my family and I went to find out the results. Not what we wanted to hear but I was Stage "2", triple negative breast cancer! My only option at the time was a complete mastectomy and chemotherapy! Due to the pregnancy I couldn't have the mastectomy until I was 10 weeks pregnant and chemo until I was 14 weeks. Waiting was the hardest part! My family came together stronger than ever though and we prayed and prayed and knew we could overcome this! March 16, I went under to have a complete mastectomy and 11 lymph nodes removed! Me and baby came thru the surgery with flying colors! Again, we had to wait another week for pathology results! March 22 we went back to see Dr. Schultz and found out it was now considered Stage 3, triple negative breast cancer! Six out of eleven lymph nodes were positive! Our hearts sank! Again, due to the baby they couldn't guarantee that any further testing would be safe for me to have to see if the cancer had spread to any other part of the body. We prayed and prayed, talked with the doctors and I was able to go get a liver ultrasound and MRI (without contrast) done of my chest. At the time they thought they found a spot on my liver. Again our hearts sank! My family came together and prayer over me and this baby. I went back for a second ultrasound and to have the place biopsied and boom, there was nothing there and everything appeared to be clear! Thank God for answering prayers. Especially during hard times you learn that if you are patient and trust in Gods word that he will never leave or forsake you! God is so good!!!! I healed up well from the mastectomy so the next step was chemotherapy. On April 7, I went in for my first chemo. I was so nervous but had awesome people with me to get me thru it! That was probably the longest day of my life! You just don't know what to expect! I done pretty well with the chemo. I did receive and terrible migraine and kept it for 5 days! The following Monday I had to return for more chemo. They ran it alot slower and I did great! Ten short days after my first chemo it all got real.... my hair started falling out! I knew what it was time to do so I called a good friend of mine to come over and take family pictures of us before I lost all my hair, then had pictures taken of all of my family taking turns shaving my head then pictures after we shaved it! I always said I would never show my bald head but you know why hide it.... Live it!
I had to go every 3 weeks for more treatments! I had 4 total rounds of FAC chemo then it was time for more decisions to be made! The next step of chemo was Taxol. With that drug it is not actually documented safe to be given to pregnant women. I have done a ton of research on this medicine because I really felt that it was best for me to continue on with the treatment. I am also doing a clinical trial for pregnant cancer patients thru "Hope for Two". I have spoke with Dr. Cardonick several times about my treatment and she continues to tell me have them to treat you as you aren't even pregnant. The same for my high risk doctor says. They say at 12 weeks your baby is formed so the chemo isn't going to affect the baby. Dr. Cardonick said the last 600 patients she has treated, 450 of them decided to continue on with treatment of Taxol and all 450 of them done completely fine with little to no side effects. I am also on several different Facebook pages for pregnant cancer patients so I have been doing alot of research to see how many "real people" I could find that have been or going thru the same thing as me and how many have taken this medicine while pregnant! I have had so much feedback thru these pages that I decided that it was meant for me to continue on with my next treatment. The only problem is my oncologist wasn't sure about it! I went and met with him and talked for quiet a while over all of my options. We both agreed that they honestly can't tell me any medicine is 100% safe during pregnancy. Its all in Gods hands. I have been praying about this for so long and I honestly have peace over my decision to continue on with this treatment! With me already being stage 3, triple negative breast cancer I knew that I had to do the most aggressive treatment possible to be able to be here to raise my precious little miracle baby! So tomorrow, June 30 I will go for my first treatment of Taxol! I will go every 2 weeks for 4 rounds then I should be finished with chemo at 31 weeks!!!! Please continue to pray for me and Baby Graham that everything goes very smooth! My goal is to be able to have the baby, get all my scans asap after he arrives then be cancer free!!! That would be so awesome!