Keeping the Faith During Cancer Treatment
Pregnant during her chemotherapy treatment, breast cancer patient Amy Wilmeth talks about the power of her faith during her cancer treatment and how her cancer actually helped her better focus on the blessings she had and on the good things in life.
A young mom with three kids, Amy was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Raising a family while going through cancer treatment is difficult enough, but it was even more amazing that Amy was expecting another child as she began her chemotherapy treatment, which has now involved several cancer drugs, including Herceptin for targeted therapy. While she is still battling her cancer, Amy has already witnessed some incredible blessings during her treatment, such as the birth of Asher, her little “miracle baby.”
A Family Going Through Cancer
Baby Asher was born six weeks early because of Amy’s amniotic fluid going away during her chemotherapy. While he was originally in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), he has grown into a healthy, energetic baby, without any problems associated to the chemotherapy treatment. But even before Asher was born, Amy and her family were well acquainted with cancer, as this was Amy’s second go-around with breast cancer. She was first diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer when her first three kids were quite young.
At that time, she received preventive treatment, which included neoadjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy treatment before surgery), followed by breast surgery and then radiation. “It’s been a way of life for them to have me going through treatment for cancer,” Amy explains. And the kids now know what to expect when Amy goes through her chemotherapy treatments. “They know to be careful around mommy during those times and that I’ll feel better after a few days, so they’ve adjusted really well,” she says. It helps that her kids are close in age and are good playmates, which makes a difference when Amy needs to rest.
Advice for Other Parents Going Through Cancer
“Your energy level is not going to allow you to do everything you want to do,” Amy says. “You kind of have to pick and choose what’s really important and the things that you really want to do with your family.” Amy realized early on that she just couldn’t do everything, so she concentrated on focusing her energy on her family, rather than on other things. “For me, my family is more important than anything, so I’d rather spend my energy there,” she says.
Accept the help of others. Support coming from others really helped Amy be able to enjoy more quality time with her family. “There are lots of people out there who want to help you as you’re going through cancer. They want to bring you meals. They want to help you with your kids,” she says. Amy found this help to be yet another blessing she discovered during her cancer treatment. “Having meals brought in was a huge help to me, because I didn’t have to spend my energy going to the store, planning meals and cooking meals. I could spend that time with my kids instead. That was a huge blessing.”
The Importance of Faith
“God has been my rock,” Amy says. “I realized that He has a plan in all of this and He keeps His promises, so I have to trust that He’s going to keep doing that,” Amy says. She recalls Romans 8:28 “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
Amy believes that there’s a reason God allowed cancer into her life. “I don’t know what that is exactly, but I know that there have been many lives that are touched by my story,” she says. Amy started a blog when she was first diagnosed with cancer to chronicle and share her journey with cancer to others. “It’s just amazing to go to different places and meet people that I didn’t know, who say that they saw me on my blog, that they read it and follow it, ” she says. Amy hopes that she can help provide encouragement for others by showing her continued faith in God throughout her battle with cancer. “Maybe that’s my purpose. To help other patients along the way, to show my faith in God,” she says. “I’ve seen Him do miracles in my life, even in my battle with cancer,” she adds.
Don’t Let Cancer Define Who You Are
Amy reaffirms the importance of enjoying your blessings as they come, no matter what your situation might be. “Cancer is not what defines me,” she says. “No matter what the situation is you’re in, you can choose whether to have joy in that situation and to look at the blessings you already have. Cancer makes you more aware of this. Just the blessing that comes with each new day. That you’re still alive. That you’re there with your family and your friends,” she adds. “What’s really important in life is people. It’s not the things you do and the things you spend your money on. You just realize that people are what’s important in the long run.”
While Amy may not appreciate some of the hardships her cancer has brought, she does appreciate the perspective it has given her. It’s given her the opportunity to focus more of her time on doing what is most important to her in life: Enjoying time with those she loves.
Her perspective has provided her with additional strength and clarity as she stays positive in her battle with cancer, and to not dwell on the negative. “If you allow those thoughts to take over, that you can’t do it or that it’s too much, the will fester and grow,” she says. “But if you choose not to focus on that and change your focus to the blessings you have and the good things in life, that will give you the strength to keep going each day.”
A Special Thanks to the Staff of Oncology Associates
hrough her journey with breast cancer, Amy remains upbeat and strong in her faith. She also appreciates the support and encouragement she has received from the Oncology Associates team. “Dr. Lemon, he just has a heart for the patients. And Alecia Raymer, PA she has cried with us, she’s come to the hospital to tell us news and she’s just so caring, I love that about this office,” she says.”
“And even all the nurses are just your friends,” Amy adds. “They want to help you through everything that’s going on. Every week you come in and they have a smile. They ask you how you’re doing, really wanting you to just have the best lifestyle you can while you’re going through cancer, so they’ve been a huge encouragement and help to me.” Watch Amy’s testimonial about the personalized cancer care she receives from Oncology Associates.