*Information provided by Blue Ridge Energies*
The fight to beat cancer is now a celebration of life going on three years for Amy Michael.
“I celebrate November 7 as my anniversary—that’s the day in 2012 that I had surgery to remove the tumor,” said Michael, who continues to be monitored for triple negative breast cancer. It’s one of the most progressive and deadly forms of breast cancer.
Michael credits being able to celebrate her anniversary next month to early detection from breast self-examination along with her spiritual faith and expert medical teams in Boone and Charlotte. The mental and physical benefits of special yoga classes such as those offered by Kathy Billings for cancer survivors were also key as well as nutrition, exercise, massage, and journaling.
Michael also understands the importance of support from people who care as she was surrounded by family, friends and others in the community who helped Amy, her husband and two children through her journey with cancer.
“You never know who it’s going to happen to and everyone’s journey with cancer is different,” Michael said. I enjoy giving back now to women going through this journey and I’m honored to be able to help,” said Michael who is involved in many different cancer prevention outreach activities.
Michael found her lump while changing her shirt—she felt her thumbnail graze something that turned out to be a tumor. This was not long after receiving a clean bill of health from her regular mammogram. She is a strong advocate for mammograms and regular self-exams.
Once a disaster like cancer strikes and medical care begins, there’s also a need for auxiliary cancer support services.
“Community support is so important and that’s why companies like Blue Ridge Energies who donate to cancer support organizations are so important,” Michael said. “This is such a giving, loving community.”
Michael said one of the most important ways contributions to cancer support organizations help is by providing emergency funds. “This money helps with gas for traveling back and forth to chemotherapy and radiation during a time when the cancer victim as well as their spouse are likely to be missing a lot of work. When disaster hits, families need help with expenses of all kinds. There are deductibles and co-pays to meet. There could be children in the home. Expenses add up quickly,” she explained.
Michael says it’s an ongoing journey when it comes to cancer. “It’s a journey I’m on and things are revealed to me every day,” she said. Everyone has to make sense of their own journey.
“Thank God I felt my lump and it was caught early,” Michael said. “I never want anyone to get complacent about breast cancer. There are a lot of misconceptions but I want people to know that breast cancer can still be deadly. It’s also affecting women who are younger every day. There’s still a lot to do regarding awareness and a cure for breast cancer,” she said.
“When I was diagnosed, I prayed to see both of my kids graduate from high school and it was such a sweet experience to see my son graduate last year,” Michael said. “There’s so much more I want to do and see with my kids and family. Everything in life for me is so much richer and sweeter now,” Michael said.
Her gratitude for life and health is why Michael gives back to women going through their own journey with cancer. One of the most important people she’s been able to help is her mother, who was diagnosed with lung cancer.
“As out of control I felt with my own cancer, I felt even more out of control as the care giver,” Michael said. “I’m glad I was here to help,” she said, adding that her mother underwent surgery but did not require chemotherapy or radiation.
As for her own personal journey with cancer, Michael says there have been highs and lows but she is thriving. “I do have a fear of reoccurrence but every time I’m checked and hear things are good, I’m ok again,” she said. “I know I’m going home either way. You put your faith in something higher and for me that’s God and my oncologists.
“Every day I’m able to wake up and put my feet on the floor and be surrounded by the people I love is a victory!, Michael said.
In Watauga County, Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation will receive a donation from Blue Ridge Energies this month for $5,057. Blue Ridge Energies has donated more than $37,000 to cancer support organizations across its service area since beginning its Fueling the Fight program in 2013. Blue Ridge Energies is a propane and heating fuels subsidiary of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation with offices and appliance and hearth product showrooms in Boone, Lenoir, West Jefferson, Sparta and Independence, Va. Learn more at BlueRidgeEnergies.com.