(By Mary Elizabeth Bennett and Molly Grantham) - It has to be weird to be devastated and elated at the same time.
That's how it feels for Amy Warlick from Bostic, North Carolina.
She's battling an aggressive six-letter monster WHILE preparing to bring a precious new life into the world. She calls it a "rollercoaster of emotions."
"I was diagnosed with Stage 3, triple negative breast cancer on January 28, 2016," Amy said. "Just SIX days later found out I was expecting my second child."
The Rutherford County woman and her husband, Jeremy, have a 5-year-old son, Easton. They tried for over a year to have another child. Never in a million years did the Warlicks imagine they would receive the exciting news they'd been waiting to hear... immediately after discovering the rough news no one wants to hear.
"My immediate reaction was 'Why? This isn't fair. No one deserves to go through that up-and-down,'" Amy said. "But then I changed my tune and realized everyone has challenges."
On March 16th, Amy had a complete mastectomy. She was allowed to start chemotherapy when she hit her second trimester at 14 weeks. She has completed four rounds of FAC chemotherapy and recently started a new drug, Taxol.
(MOLLY ADDITION HERE: For those who don't know Taxol is a tough drug. Not easy for anyone, let alone someone pregnant.)
(BACK TO AMY's STORY, by MARY ELIZABETH:) She is on track to complete four rounds of Taxol and hopefully finish chemotherapy before her baby arrives. "So far baby Graham is doing great," Amy said. "He – yes, we know it's a boy! – measures in the 60% growth range. My due date is October 13th, but the doctors plan to induce me around 36 weeks."
Amy is the definition of a fighter. Despite being tired, she says she feels okay right now considering all the treatments. Even if she wasn't feeling well, she wouldn't want you to be able to tell.
"I am the type of person who likes to push myself," Amy said. "When people see me, you would never know anything was wrong. I try to always be positive."
Three days after her first chemo treatment, she was in the woods turkey hunting. Yes. Turkey hunting. She is fighting this extreme battle and pregnant… yet out hunting.
Amy is a daughter, wife, mother, and friend. Her church family at Florence Baptist Church – as well as much of the community in Rutherford County – are joining forces to support her through this difficult time. Amy refers to the support system as true angels.
She says her family has always been super close, but now has an even stronger tie. Her mom and sister go with her to appointments so her husband can continue to work and provide for their family.
Amy is the owner of PAWSitively Perfect Dog Spa in Forest City. She has temporarily closed her business.
"This experience has definitely changed my family," Amy said. "It brought us closer to each other, God, and made us realize you have to live life to the fullest."
Amy had two aunts battle breast cancer AND a male cousin who also fought. One in one thousand men are diagnosed with breast cancer... it's rare, but certainly not unheard of.
At doctor's recommendation, Amy got the gene test done. It was discovered Amy does not carry the breast cancer gene... and yet... she was still diagnosed. Proof breast cancer happens with no rhyme or reason.
In our phone conversation, everything was positive.
"I feel like this baby was a gift from God," she said. "Knowing I am not only fighting for myself, but for my family and new baby boy has made me fight harder. I have to be here for my family and they push me every day. Overall, God has blessed my family immensely."
Amy's strength, love for life, and determination are admirable. I hope her story will touch many lives - it definitely touched mine.