Amy Neely

Belle Center, Ohio
Breast Cancer Survivor

Amy NeelyI went to my oncologist on January 5, 2004, with two lumps diagonal from each other on my breast. Despite my fears, my doctor seemed confident they were not cancerous. He did some blood work and, sure enough, it came back normal.

In May 2004, I went to my family doctor to have two moles removed. I asked him while he was removing my moles if he could remove the two lumps. He said yes. He tried to numb the one in front of my upper rib area, and then he tried to cut it out. I told him that I could feel him cutting and he tried to numb it again, but I could still feel him cutting. He told me he was going to send me to a surgeon for a biopsy, and in four weeks, I got the results. The surgeon said that the reason it took so long was he wanted to make sure that his diagnosis was right.

That was when I was diagnosed for the second time. I had stage IV metastasis breast cancer. My husband and I were devastated. We had to tell our family and our children that I had cancer again. At the time, I had a 7-month-old child who would not be able to understand. But I was certain my 12-year-old who had already lost his father to cancer would not take it well.

I changed my oncologist and went to Hi-Point Regional Cancer Center in Bellefontaine, Ohio. We met with my doctor and I asked him what my chances of survival were. He told me that if radiation and chemotherapy did not work, I would only have two or three months.

I didn't know what to do, but I knew that I had to continue fighting. I turned to Susan Cronkleton, a patient navigator with American Cancer Society. Susan found programs to help me with gas money to get back and forth to the doctor and radiation appointments. My oncologist left Bellefontaine and went to Lima so I followed. After he did everything he could for me, he sent me to Houston, Texas, for a bone marrow transplant. The American Cancer Society helped me make the trip to Texas. Susan called organizations and told them about my situation. We met and she told me about some programs that might be able to help with the airfare. Mercy Medical Flight would fly the patient and a caregiver to their destination. In conjunction with finding us airfare, Susan researched housing for us. While in Houston, we stayed at the Hospitality Housing for three months, spent two weeks in hotels, and then moved to the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) House of Hope.

With the support of my husband, family, friends, and the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program, I made it through and have overcome my breast cancer. My doctors tell me I am doing well and that the cancer is stable. I am thankful for all the people that have helped me live to see my children grow up.