The McHugh-Mitchum families would like to thank you for the love and support that Amy, Chris, and Maela have received on their crazy journey battling Stage IV Breast Cancer. We can't express enough gratitude with all of the help we received with the previous funds raised.
For those of you who are new to their story, in February 2017, right after we unexpectedly lost our grandfather to Leukemia, Amy was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer. The cancer had metastasized to her bones, and largest of all, her right hip. She was told by several oncologists that even with conventional treatments, the goal was to give her "a little more time." This was not enough for Amy. She chose the "alternative" route of fighting cancer for hope of longevity for her husband's and baby girl's sake.
After a few months of making extreme lifestyle changes to fight this nasty thing, despite some positive changes and decreased bone pain, high blood calcium levels were out of her control. Because of the cancer deteriorating the bones, this increased the blood calcium levels and caused her nausea and trouble holding down food or drink. This lead then to dehydration and her kidneys started to fail. Her husband rushed her to the hospital and the doctors said if she waited another day to come in, she could have been in a life threatening situation. During this time, she was told to use a walker at all times to keep all weight off of her hip to avoid breaking her hip.
Instantly, she knew she had to do something different and drastic so she could be there for her husband and their daughter Maela, who at the time was one and a half. She ended up finding a cancer treatment center in Dallas, Texas focused on integrating nutrition and alternative/holistic treatments with conventional cancer treatments. My sister Sharon took a leave of absence from work to head to Texas and be her full time care giver. Amy entered treatment in the beginning of July at 93 lbs with cancer markers of 1,469. Although she finally agreed to do all treatments, she wasn't at the weight limit to do chemotherapy because at such a fragile state as she was in, that would have simply killed her. At the nutritional clinic they started her on a strictly all organic diet to help nourish her and help her gain weight, vitamin IV infusions to boost immune system, natural supplements, and lots of alternative (yet proven effective) treatments. The oncologist in Texas started her on hormone blockers (the cancer is hormone fed), monthly bone strengthening IV infusions, and radiation. She completed the everyday radiation treatments to her spine and hips after 3 weeks. The radiation caused problems with eating and keeping food down because of subsequent burns to the throat, stomach, and intestines, causing her to backslide to 89 lbs. At this point her right leg had become very weak and atrophied due to her non-weight-bearing status. Despite the setbacks, a couple months after radiation with hard work, dedication, hope, and lots of prayer she was able to reach her much needed goal of 100lbs. She finally had decreased back and hip pain also. Because she had radiation to so much of her bones (where the blood is made) her immune system took a big hit though, so the doctors still have not approved chemotherapy.
In Texas, as Fall started she continued with the oncology visits, vitamin infusions, strict eating, exercise, and the other alternative/holistic therapies. Miraculously, by early November the cancer makers dropped to 237. During her time in treatment, she missed her husband's birthday, her daughters second birthday, and spent her 30th birthday there fighting with hopes of going home by Thanksgiving. She started weight-lifting after radiation to increase strength and weight. It started with a 15 ounce can of tomatoes and eventually became 8 lb dumbbells by November. If that doesn't show you strength, I don't know what does. She was finally able to go home the week before Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful reunion!
Unfortunately, life wasn't done giving them obstacles. One week after being home Maela had a seizure, stopped breathing, and was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Maela and Amy have been sick with the flu twice since November and Maela had another seizure in January as well. During the holidays, they had issues with a water leakage in the house which led to the discovery of mold under the ruined floor, on the walls, and in the air. Since before Christmas they have been taking turns living with Amy's parents and with my parents until the house gets completely cleaned and repaired.
When she was first diagnosed, someone came over and tried to get Amy to "Release her soul to GOD!" Yes, I can't make this up but Amy never got upset or mad at her. She respectfully told the visitor that she "believed in God, believed in Jesus and his healing, and isn't afraid to die. She just didn't think it was her time to go or her time to leave her husband and her baby motherless." I remember that day like it was yesterday. NOW I look at Amy, who couldn't walk, drive, or hold food down less than a year ago, now defeating the odds. She is no longer using a wheel chair, walker, or even a cane. She DROVE for the first time last week and talked about how liberating it was for her. Never once did I ever hear her complain about pain or how much treatment sucked!
With cancer, your immune levels are low. The risk of having setbacks with her progress are extremely high. On top of that, with a mortgage on a house they can't live in, car note, house bills, lots of medical bills for both momma and now baby, groceries for the strict diet, supplements for continued treatment, diapers and so much more on one income has been a silent but much aware issue lately.
My brother and sister didn't ask me to reach out. I'm reaching out to everyone on my own to ask for help with Amy's continued progress. I know the struggles of life will always come and go. They are strong enough to defeat this. I don't want to reverse her progress simply because treatment costs too much or life got too stressful.
If you could please continue to help support Amy, Chris and Maela on their continued journey to defeat this cancer we will forever be grateful. Please send good vibes, prayers, happiness their way as they lift their head above water these next few months. Amy and Chris will fly back to Dallas next month for her checkup and treatments.
Again, we thank you for your kindness.
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- Nick Mitchum
- Christina Mahmood
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