Breast Cancer Awareness Month- Amanda’s Story

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and last week I shared my story about my recent scare with breast cancer. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to share the stories of some of my amazing clients that have fought (or are fighting) this disease. Today, I would like to introduce you to Amanda Petersen. Amanda and I have known each other now for about 7 years. We worked together at Starbucks and when I started my photography business several years ago, I was so blessed to capture and document her and Marc’s wedding day. I have also had the pleasure of getting to know her family. Her baby brother, Jack is one of my 2018 Seniors and I adore both her parents. She is wonderful and so kind-hearted and I have truly been blessed to know her both a as friend and client.

Amanda’s story started last year when she was pregnant with her little girl. She was undergoing some testing and her results came back that there may be a possible tumor somewhere in her body. Now, understand that Amanda is only 33 years old, so she has never had a mammogram. There were lots of tests run to check for tumors (MRI’s and scans) and all the tests came back normal. The last thought was to do a mammogram, but because of her age, they were having a hard time getting the insurance company to approve and before that approval came in, Amanda went into labor this past March with her little girl early at 35 weeks pregnant.
At about 6 weeks postpartum, Amanda had a check up with her doctor and mentioned some pain she was having during nursing. A mammogram was ordered and they found Stage 2 Breast Cancer. Her breast cancer is Her2+ and was detected both in the breast and in 5 lymph nodes. Things moved pretty quickly after her diagnosis and on April 10th of this year she started 12 weeks (12 rounds) of chemo therapy.
Now, for you mom’s out there. Imagine coming home with your newborn and having to go through cancer treatments. Let’s just think about that for a minute. Your a new mom, your tired, worn out and just trying to figure things out at this stage. And now your sick and need to take care of YOURSELF and a newborn. What a challenge to take on- moving through endless doctor visits, infusions, and follow-ups all the while raising a new human. When I interviewed Amanda last week I asked her “How were you feeling at this stage?” She told me that her and Marc have been in nothing but survival mode since coming home from the hospital with Aubrey. It’s been all reactionary and she really hasn’t had any time to really stop and think about it holistically. She said “staying active and having a newborn to take care of was my greatest distraction. I didn’t have the opportunity to lay in bed all day and rest with a newborn at home. I had to keep moving.” Amanda has also had the help of countless friends and family members. They have gone to infusions, brought over food, watched Aubrey, helped clean and offered so much support to Amanda, Marc and Aubrey. She is so loved and shows that life sometimes, truly takes a village.
After her 12 weeks of chemo, it was time to see how her infusions had impacted her cancer. Holding their breath, they got the results that her tumor had shrunk and was undetectable and that they couldn’t trace any of the cancer in the 5 lymph nodes. What an amazing blessing! She underwent two surgeries- a lumpectomy to remove all the tissue where the tumor had been and a second to remove some of the lymph nodes that once had tested positive for cancer. Now here she is 6 months, 12 infusions, 2 surgeries and several maintenance infusions later and she is kicking cancer’s butt.
So what’s next for this strong warrior? The next step is radiation. She has 6 weeks of intense radiation coming up where she will need to go 5 days a week. She had a follow up appointment this past week to get those treatments scheduled and get them started. After that? She is not quite sure other than continuing her maintenance infusions, but she is close to the end. How very grateful they are.
33 year old, new mom with Stage 2 cancer. Unfortunately her story is not that uncommon and becoming more common in young women her age. Amanda is a true light. When I talked to her last week to interview her on her experience you would think she was giving a power point presentation at work. She is so matter of fact about her diagnosis and has been so transparent in sharing her story every step of the way. I know behind the scenes there have been lots of emotions, tears and worries. I am so thankful that she has pushed so hard through all the pain and is standing tall.
Thank you, Amanda, for giving hope to so many people and sharing your story of courage, fear, and success. Amanda has put together a team that will be doing a breast cancer walk this Saturday, October 19th. Make sure you follow her on Facebook and go check out her amazing story. Click on her link below if you would like to donate to her walk and help raise money for finding a cure for breast cancer.
Amanda, you are an inspiration and light to us all. Keep going, my dear. You GOT this.

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