Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reader Story: Marilyn Amstutz

Marilyn Amstutz with her daughter in Toledo, Spain in January 2012: Enjoying life, each other, and the amazing old city.

Here's Marilyn's story, in her own words:

I was diagnosed eighteen months ago with TNBC Stage 3C Grade 3 with 33 positive lymph nodes and a 5.2 cm. tumor. I immediately had a left mastectomy and a complete axillary node dissection. Then I entered a study at UNMC [University of Nebraska Medical Center] and received 4 cycles of Adriamycin plus Cytoxan followed by 4 cycles of Taxol plus 4 cycles of gemcitabine plus 4 cycles of Avastin and an added 6 months of Avastin every three weeks. After chemo, I had 35 daily treatments of IMRT radiation with a boost at the end.

That was what my doctors did.

I changed my diet and eliminated sugar and fat and lost 35 pounds. I still eat that way - except when I went to Spain. I walked a mile a day through treatment and added pilates two times a week after I recovered from surgery.

I went to a wonderful twelve-week program called A Time to Heal and my type of program included our caregivers, so my husband came too. My friends fed me healthy, fresh organic food through chemo. I continued to work part time - which was really good for me.

In May I finished treatment and took my first trip to Spain to visit my daughter, son-in-law and grandson. In August I went back to work full time. I just returned from my second trip to Spain and feel very, very blessed.

I have a ton of energy -- probably walked 4-5 miles per day in Spain and kept up with my toddler grandson - even helping my daughter carry him and his stroller up and down many stairs at the metro station! I have a strong faith and look at each day as a gift from God. I believe I am at this point because of Him, my doctors and caregivers, my family and friends, my students and co-workers and my positive attitude.


Anonymous said...

I have been so encouraged throughout your experience with cancer. God has used you to demonstrate what trusting in Him through the good and awful looks like... I am so thankful you have continued to serve at school throughout this time in your life!!! Thank you for sharing!
Love, Alicia S.

Anonymous said...

God has written another wonderful chapter in the story of your life, with some pain, tears, and suffering, but more importantly, with healing, courage, and redemption. Your faith has been an encouragement to me. Thank you for being an open book and giving the Author of Life credit! Love, Janice