But, Amy is not a typical person. She is my sister. She is amazing.
I have posted about Amy several times before over the last five years. The first post My Sister's Cancer being about finding out in February 2008 that she was diagnosed in Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer - an invasive and very aggressive form of breast cancer that does not generally have a defined lump. There were successive posts on her journey and battle - many of them that brought hope and some that brought angst. All of them were in honor or celebration of her - and for a kick in the ass to the bastard of cancer.
This post is no different.
Amy is larger than life. From her colorful hair to her love of fancy rats, there is nothing about her that is not vibrant, interesting, and totally genuine. Each person that knows her would describe her essence as strong, witty, straight forward, authentic, dedicated, compassionate, and even snarky. As a woman with a teacher's heart, a deep and devoted faith, a compassionate heart for all of God's people and creatures, and a strong sense of right, her actions towards the world have influenced, touched, and nurtured her family, our larger family, friends, students, colleagues and even some she has never met.
She is a force to be reckoned with in this world - in a good way. I say it again... She is amazing.
On November 12, 2012 the world forever changed. After many valiantly fought battles, at the age of 45, Amy passed away of Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC). She fought through chemo and radiation and all of the possible side effects that come with both. She showed strength and grace as she pushed her tired body through the day to day as best as she could - volunteering, mentoring, running her rattery, being mom, wife, daughter and sister, singing on the worship team at her church. She fought hard, she fought long, and she fought admirably.
My heart, our family's hearts are so heavy and our existence will never be the same. We no longer have the physical presence of Amy as mom, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, friend. We will forever miss her presence here and always long for more time with her. But, the force of Amy, her essence can't be defeated. In that we find some peace.
Through her fight, many were educated about Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Her teacher's heart wasn't stilled by the battle.
Through her fight, she showed strength and grace. Her spirit wasn't crushed by the battle.
Through her fight, she showed tremendous love for others. Her compassion wasn't soured by the battle.
Through her fight, she showed what it was let go of things out of her control. Her will wasn't destroyed by the battle.
Through her fight, she left the lessons, the words, the actions, and the seeds that her family needs to move forward and be strong and good men in the world. Her loving, nurturing and mothering were strengthened ten-fold by the battle.
Through her fight, her identity never became Amy, the Inflammatory Breast Cancer patient. She was always Amy, who happened to have this battle present in her life.
Through her fight she remained rooted in her faith, even when she didn't understand why this battle was hers. The battle didn't destroy her trust and faith in God and her Salvation.
She could not win every battle. But she NEVER lost the war. Today she is singing and enjoying the splendor of HIS courts. She is in perfect peace and whole. That is something that cancer could never take from her.
|Don't Let the Silence Continue|
We knew about breast cancer. We didn't know about Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
Learn more about Inflammatory Breast Cancer at:
The IBC Network
MD Anderson Cancer Center