I’m a woman – I’m a HERO

This year’s Yoga on the Steps was supported by over 1,100 participants! But what made the event even more inspiring were the personal stories of the powerful women who were chosen to be a part of Jennifer Schelter’s “Hero’s Journey” year-long experience. Amy Lessack was among the women who shared her story on May 15th at Yoga on the Steps. The emotional story was able to bring LBBC’s mission to Yoga on the Steps.

I never expected to be a cancer patient at 36. I never expected it would take 18 months to complete treatment.  I never expected to have my cancer come back.  I never expected to have both breasts and all of my reproductive organs removed by the time I was 38.  I never thought the lingering effects of treatment would impact me almost every day.  I never expected that I wouldn’t be married with children.  My life experiences are so far from that.  I never expected that surviving cancer – twice – would be my elephant in the room.

On my journey with breast cancer, I faced choices that were truly life changing:

–  bilateral vs mastectomy

–  what type of breasts do I want

–  do I get genetically tested

–  what kind of wig should I get

–  when do I shave my head

I have been so so lucky to have so many phenomenal guides, mentors and angels on my journey.  My parents and my sister are the very best caregivers EVER.  My camp friends, friends from forever and Charlotte all made me smile and laugh every day.  And I have my true guardian angels who I thank every night since being diagnosed:  Bubbie and Zaddy, Aunt Frances, Aunt Betty and Laura, and more….

I love my body because it is still here and alive.  It is tough and strong and puts up with a lot of poking and prodding and nuclear dye and it keeps coming back for more every day.  My body looks different.  It tells the story inside and out of my cancer journey and survivorship.  I need to embrace it more!

What keeps me going is that I don’t want to die.  I want to live!  I want to be around to laugh, love, smile, travel, discover, garden, water ski, put my toes in the ocean and in the sand, and just enjoy my family and friends.

My wish for all women is that they NEVER EVER have to go through breast cancer, never know fear and that they support of each other.

I am blessed by being alive and able to enjoy life, smile and laugh every day.  I am blessed to have excellent health care, great doctors, family and friends who only want the best for me.  I am blessed to have a voice to share my story so that others can benefit from my journey.

I am a hero because I keep getting up in the morning and tackling the day – whatever kind of day it is – with fun and a smile because you know what? – I have the day!

I hope all of you seize each day even if it is crummy, icky, however you deem a not-so-great day. 

Smile, Laugh and Love!

yoga on the steps philadelphia, yoga on the steps dc, metastatic breast cancer, lbbc programs

Jennifer Schelter holds her “warrior pose” while Amy Lessack reads her “Hero’s Journey” experience out loud during the Yoga on the Steps class.

Amy Lessack is living WELL with metastatic breast cancer. LBBC’s programs have been instrumental in Amy’s recovery. To learn more about the next program for women living with metastatic breast cancer:  Metastatic Breast Cancer: Understanding Your Options, visit our website today.  

15 thoughts on “I’m a woman – I’m a HERO

  1. Amy,
    I cannot thank you enough for sharing your most inspiring, motivational, very personal journey with everyone. Your words touched my heart to the deepest level. My young 27 year old daughter is currently facing this journey and your strength and inspiration, positive attitude and way of finding the LIFE in everyday is to be applauded. You ARE helping others and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. God Speed!

  2. Dear Amy,

    Let’s say it together……. YEAH!!!!!!!

    Looking forward to participating in the Hero’s Journey program with you.

    Hugs,
    Sue P

  3. Wow… I am inspired by ALL OF YOU!! Thank you for your wonderful comments. Nancy… please give your daughter my best and a big big hug!! If she needs anything…just let me know. Let’s make sure she and ALL of us say “YEAH” every day.

    Sue… it was a pleasure to be on the steps with you!!
    Amy

  4. Thank you for your story. I am 52 and I have breast cancer. Had. Have. Is it gone when the breats are removed? I am green. So much to learn. I laughed when I read the decisions you were forced to make, and then I cried. I am finding myself on that road making those wierd and unfamiliar decisions. I had a double mastectomy two weeks ago. I start chemo in 3 weeks. I am lucky. I have triple negative. I am unlucky. Triple negative is a mystery. I am lucky. I have great caregivers and so much support it is overwhelming. I am happy. I am alive. I caught it eary: it did not show on my mammogram last year. I found it with a self breast exam on my 52nd birthday.

    You laugh, you love, you go to the beach, you put your toes in the sand and enjoy your family and friends. You fight like a girl. You are an inspiration. You are a friend to everyone who reads this. Even if by accident.

    Sandy

  5. Sandy… you found me on purpose – not by accident. Oh for goodness sakes I am so so sorry. What a story! Ugg… Well… Thank goodness for breast self exams – good for you! I am hoping you have a port and ready to tackle chemo. Remember, make chemo fun (meet people, read, snack, sleep, etc.) I will continue to think about you like crazy! If you need anything – certainly email me: aelessack@verizon.net.

    Hang in there and enjoy enjoy enjoy every day even if it is an icky day!
    Amy

  6. Amy,

    It was great running into you on the steps. I’m so proud of you and VERY proud to call you my friend.

    Love ya, xoxoxo

    Debi

  7. Thank you for your story. I am completing a memoir of my journey with being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at age 38 almost 3 years ago. We need more stories like yours. I am so open about my cancer, as I want everyone to know what happens and what can happen to women of all ages. Your story is a gift to everyone. It is an extra special gift of hope for me and for others in my situation. I am currently doing well on chemo although the disease has left me hobbling around on crutches. You are right every day is a gift. I have 2 children and I am alive! Keep fighting, eat well, and take care of yourself everyday.

  8. Am a Woman and a Hero!

    Amy’s story is so inspiring and comforting to me because although my case could be a bit difference, we are sailing in the same boat and she has come out in the open to share with us her fears and worries. We encourage her to be strong in fight against this dragon called cancer cos I have fought it 3 times and I am grateful to LBBC who have worked day and night to eradicate this disease from our bodies because women is the cornerstone of a home and we all rise and shine while chasing away the dragon.

    Angela

  9. Hi Amy! Thanks for sharing your story. My daughter, also Amy, was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer, Triple Negative, Positive BRCA gene. Whew! She was breast feeding her baby at the time she found a lump and the MD thought it was just a clogged milk duct. Within a few months it was 12 cm (about the size of a ping pong ball). She had Chemo first to shrink it. Then the double mastectomy with 5 positive nodes, then radiation. She really had no side effects but as know, the toll on her “body” was huge. She praises God for every new day. It will be one year June 4 that she was diagnosed. She will have surgery in July for reconstruction. Amy too, lives out loud. She has shared every (well almost every) thought and emotion on her caring bridge site. It has been and will continue to be a journey of “hope”. Hope will not disappoint!!

    Bless you,
    Nancy

  10. Amy: It was indeed a blessing and joy to have met you and to know your story. I am sure your story is inspiring and provides comfort to many. That’s what it is all about when you have been comforted then you pass it on to others. Your propose is to give hope to others and that is what you are doing. Even in the darkest moments hope is needed in order to see the light. I will continue to pray for you and all who have and are still going through breast cancer.

    JoAnn

  11. Amy is my sister and I am very proud and in awe of the way she continues to kick cancer’s ass every day by fighting, being strong, and not letting cancer win. Having read all of your post’s, I am inspired by each and every one of you, and know that you or your loved one’s will survive this hurdle that has been put in front of you path–lean on your family and friends and each other. Together you will WIN.

  12. Amy,
    I am a close friend of your sister, Abby. Abby and I have participated in the Avon Walk for several years, and I feel like I know you but have never met you before. Your story, positive outlook and tenacity are amazing! I think your approach to life and focus on enjoying every day is fantastic. I can’t wait to meet you in person. Thanks again for sharing your story.
    Best, Cathy

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