178
178
7

Help Amanda fight Triple Negative Breast Cancer

$19,715 of $16,500 goal

Raised by 179 people in 4 months
Created March 6, 2019
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Amanda Burton
Just before Thanksgiving of this past year, our sister, Amanda Burton, shared the shocking news that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. After further testing, she was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma: Stage IIIC Breast Cancer. PET scans showed that it had spread to her lymph nodes. Amanda has been diagnosed with a fairly rare and aggressive form, called Triple Negative. It was difficult to wrap our heads around her diagnosis, as Amanda is only 37, and has two young children (Jefferson - 6 years old, Lennon - 2 years old). Amanda is currently receiving her care through Minnesota Oncology and the Piper Breast Center in Minneapolis.

Her particular subtype of breast cancer, Triple Negative, limits her treatment options. A diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer means that the three most common types of receptors known to fuel most breast cancer growth–estrogen, progesterone, and the HER-2/neu gene– are not present in the cancer. Since the tumor cells lack the necessary receptors, common treatments like hormone therapy and drugs that target estrogen, progesterone, and HER-2 are ineffective. Using chemotherapy to treat triple negative breast cancer is still an effective option. In fact, triple negative breast cancer may respond even better to chemotherapy in the earlier stages than many other forms of cancer. Amanda began chemotherapy at the end of November 2018 and should be wrapping up in April. After discovering some damage to her veins from the chemo infusion process, Amanda had surgery to insert a portacath (a device providing a direct line for infusions to a larger vein), to ease the process and prevent additional damage. Her chemotherapy treatment consists of two phases and 16 total treatments. Post chemo, she will undergo additional imaging to determine the effectiveness of the chemo at reducing the known tumors. Based on the results of the imaging, doctor recommendations, and Amanda’s preferences she will have surgery. The preliminary surgical outlook is a mastectomy. While a chance exists that Amanda’s tumors will shrink enough for a lumpectomy, the likelihood of this less invasive procedure is limited, at best. After receiving a course ofradiation treatment, Amanda will undergo reconstructive surgeries, and a lifetime of ongoing testing to determine if her cancer is still in remission. Whereas no guarantee exists her treatments will cure Amanda’s cancer, her medical team is confident that she is on a path to recovery and optimistic that her outcome will be positive.

This seems an entirely unfair experience for someone with such a loving, giving, and genuine heart (though we know that's not how the Universe works)! At the same time, we've never known a stronger, more determined fighter than Amanda, and are convinced she will conquer this, as well. Amanda has a supportive husband, Travis, and two amazing little boys that keep her battling each day. She is also blessed with a supportive network of friends as well as co-workers, and an extended family unit that is giving her love and support every step of the way.

While there is little we can do to ease the physical and emotional toll of this experience, we are hoping to help Amanda with the intense financial burden that cancer has brought. Though Amanda does have health insurance, it doesn't begin to fully cover all the expenses. We would ideally like to raise $16,500. This money will go toward covering additional health insurance costs from out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles for the years 2018-2020 including but not limited to: chemotherapy, mastectomy and reconstruction, radiation, various oral medications, medical scans (PET, MRI, etc.), and portacath surgery.  

We are immensely grateful for any and all donations! We know that a financial gift is not possible for everyone, but hope you will consider sharing Amanda's story with your friends and networks. We'd love to meet our goal by the end of March to give Amanda an additional boost as she finishes chemotherapy treatment and begins the second phase of her road to recovery. We would also appreciate any prayers, love, and positive energy you could send her way!


With love and gratitude,

Amanda's sisters, Emily Lewandowski & Molly Stangby
     PS: GoFundMe no longer takes 5% of donations! So all $ goes to Amanda (minus standard credit card fees).

37572938_1551919051727541_r.jpeg
37572938_1551923265193896_r.jpeg
37572938_1551923538995144_r.jpeg
+ Read More
Update and Reflections from Amanda (Part 2):

Surgery went well. They removed what was left of the two masses and completed a sentinel node procedure. They removed a total of 9 lymph nodes. The intention was only to remove my sentinel node but other lymph nodes were stuck together and she had to take all nine. The more lymph nodes that are removed the greater chance of lymphedema. The advantage of the additional node removal is more were tested by pathology giving us greater reassurance of my status.

I’ll never forget the moment I received the pathology results from surgery. My husband woke me up from a nap to tell me. He told me I was “cancer free!”. I had a PCR (pathological complete response). Everything they took out of my right breast and arm was negative for malignancy or benign. No evidence of cancer. I was shocked at the news and felt this instant sense of relief in my body along with many tears of joy. The cancer is gone!

It took me a few weeks for the cancer free news to register. It was a bit surreal and I wanted the test results in my hand. How could I possibly be the 30%!? Amazing! Blessed is an understatement. I met with both my surgeon and oncologist and received the verbal and written confirmation I needed. We celebrated and proceeded to make a game plan for the rest of my treatment, recovery, and long term care.

I had my portacath removed last week and will be starting radiation in the coming days. I will have a total of twenty sessions over the course of four weeks targeting my right breast, arm and chest. At my set-up appointment they completed a CT scan. They will take the CT scan and compare it to my initial PET which shows the cancer. This will allow them to target my radiation therapy. Although I’m cancer free the radiation is part of the treatment regime to make sure any microscopic cancer cells are killed and to provide the best long-term results. Studies show women who have a lumpectomy plus radiation have the same long term survival rate as women who have a mastectomy. Sounds like the most challenging symptoms of radiation is the cumulative fatigue and skin irritation. I think anything will be easier than chemo. Reconstruction surgery may happen later but likely not until late 2019 or possibly 2020.

Additional good news: My doctors explained to me that having complete pathological response significantly reduces my long term risks of recurrence. Statistically the five-year survival rate can improve from 75% to 95% for those who have a complete pathological response.

My apologies for the delayed update and lack of message replying. I recently returned to work after taking off four weeks post surgery. Medically I only needed a couple weeks to recover but I took extended time off to heal and be present. I turned off my work email, abandoned my phone frequently and enjoyed my kids and Travis. The family time was amazing and we enjoyed simple things like having breakfast together and taking walks.

Each day I’m feeling better. Gaining my strength and getting over the fatigue of treatment. It’s truly amazing to feel good and I’m going to continue to work on gaining more of my strength and health back. I could look back on this journey and remember all of the horrible things because cancer truly does suck but I’m making the decision to embrace the good and positive changes it brought to my life. My life after cancer is about being present, active, vulnerable, compassionate, and loving. I will take care of myself so I can be the best mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend and employee I can be. I was given a second chance at living life cancer free and I’m going to embrace every moment and every relationship. Love to all and thank you for cheering me on during this journey.

My sisters will be closing our fundraising page. Thank you again for your generous giving and alleviating so much of our stress.

I’d love to connect on facebook if we’re not already connected. https://www.facebook.com/amanda.yokielburton
+ Read More
Reflection and update from Amanda Burton (Part 1):

November 15th 2018 my life changed forever. I had found a lump and it was time to deal with it. I saw my primary doctor and proceeded to have same-day mammogram, MRI and guided biopsies of two masses and a lymph node in my arm. I was told it did not look good. It was confirmed three days later I had aggressive, stage 3, invasive ductal carcinoma, triple negative breast cancer. I'll never forget that call. It changed my life forever. I had a PET scan to confirm cancer had only spread as far as my lymph nodes but was nowhere else in my body. Thank God it was not stage four cancer and it was contained. The days following were tough.

Things happened quickly and I was scheduled for my first chemotherapy infusion 1 week later. I was starting one scary journey but there was no other choice. Cancer was not going to take my life at 37. My kids and husband need me. I want to be present for this beautiful life we created. Bottom line it wasn't an option to lose this battle. I would beat cancer! The plan was chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Additional treatment would be based on my response to the initial treatment plan.

I worked full time during chemotherapy to keep my mind off things and to live as normally as possible but things were certainly not normal. I worked, went to the doctor, slept and generally only had 1-2 days of feeling somewhat okay per week. The 16 cycles of chemo kicked my butt in terms of energy, fatigue, pain, nausea. Climbing the stairs was challenging on many days. Not to mention the steroid ups and downs can make you a bit crazy. Thankfully I did not encounter any secondary illnesses or medical setbacks. I experienced only the typical chemotherapy side effects. I did have a few scary breathing reactions to the chemo drug taxol but my medical team and support system got me through. I missed my kids so much during this time. I didn’t leave the house (blessed to have the option of working from home) but most free time I had was spent sleeping or at doctor appointments.

I think God everyday for Travis and our families who stepped up and cared for Jefferson and Lennon. Travis has been truly amazing. With me at nearly every doctor appointment, seeing me through many tears, panic attacks, but most importantly caring for Lennon and Jefferson when I couldn't. Some days were more difficult than others but we took one day at a time and made it. Care takers don’t get enough credit. This wasn’t easy on Travis but he remained strong for all of us.

April 4th, 2019 I finished chemotherapy and had an MRI April 8th. The MRI was to identify how I responded to the chemotherapy. Chemo being the only option to treat TNBC this was critical. I knew I had been responding but until the results of the MRI came back I would wait and pray for favorable outcome.

We didn't wait long on April 9th we met with my surgeon and the results were in. My almost 8 cm mass was now only measuring 3 cm, 6 cm mass had completely disappeared along with my lymph nodes appeared “burnt out” - aka “cancer free”. Based on these results, medical input from my team, and my personal preference we decided to proceed with a lumpectomy, sentinel node procedure and possible axillary node dissection.

I was given a 30% chance the tissue they remove will be cancer free and a 70% chance I will have residual cancer. My oncologist requested the surgeon leave my portacath until pathology came back - additional treatment could be in my future. The odds were not in my favor for what they call a complete pathological response (PCR).

I continued to hang onto the possibility I could be part of the 30% who have a PCR. After all I was the special 10-15% who get this type of breast cancer (sarcasm). So just maybe I could continue to be special and beat the odds. Surgery was put on the calendar for May 6th. I had a lot of fear regarding the outcome of surgery and pathology but getting the cancer out of my body could not happen fast enough.

See Update 2
+ Read More
Update from Amanda:
April 4th, 2019 a day I will never forget! I had my last chemotherapy infusion and a meeting with my oncologist. It was a happy day with celebration (thank you, sister's) and relief! It also brought feelings of uncertainty and fear for what's to come.

My type of breast cancer is aggressive and can only be treated with chemotherapy infusions and surgery, so we need chemo to work!! Physical examinations and feedback from my doctor have us feeling hopeful there could be a complete response to chemotherapy. There struggling to locate an almost 8 cm tumor via physical examination. That's a really good sign my cancer has responded well to chemo!

Knowing if I have a complete pathological response won't be known until post surgery. If I don't have a complete response I will likely need additional chemotherapy. Keeping faith that I will not need additional treatment!

Next steps will be an MRI and a meeting with my surgeon to determine my surgical plan. Both happening this week!

The last 4 months have given us daily challenges but Travis has been our rock and stability at home. Caring for Jefferson and Lennon while I did what was necessary to heal. I could not have gotten through chemo without his strength and dedication to me and our family. Our parents and siblings never let us fall, we had their constant support no matter what. We are blessed and felt it daily.

A huge thanks to my work family! They supported me taking care of myself while working. Working through chemo gave me the sense of normalcy I needed. My team has rallied behind me each and every day. It's been pretty awesome to have this type of daily support at work.

Thank you to all for being amazing people in my life! Your support has carried me in this journey and I will forever be grateful.

Taking this cancer stuff day by day and will continue to embrace the love, healing energy, and prayer from all of you.

Cancer will not win! TNBC survivor!

Love to all,
Amanda B.
+ Read More
WE DID IT! In barely over a week, we've exceeded our goal! Words cannot begin to express the immense gratitude and love we have for all those that donated, shared our post, and sent their positive, healing energy to our sister, Amanda. It is beyond what we had hoped for; thank you! We actually set our goal fairly conservatively (aim small, miss small, right) in terms of what Amanda is likely to incur financially. Any donations not needed to support medical-related costs or loss of family income will be donated to triple negative breast cancer research. Again, we are extremely grateful and welcome your continued support! Thank you, Emily & Molly
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update

$19,715 of $16,500 goal

Raised by 179 people in 4 months
Created March 6, 2019
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Amanda Burton
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
   Connect
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
$20
Anonymous
1 month ago
$100
Sam Riesgraf
1 month ago
$150
Anonymous
2 months ago
AC
$100
Arlene & Mike Cochran
2 months ago
JL
$100
Janna Lundberg
3 months ago
HH
$40
Helene Hartigan
3 months ago
SK
$100
Samantha Kohn
3 months ago
JS
$50
JoAnn Schoengold
3 months ago
SF
$100
Seth Fair
3 months ago
SS
$100
Sara and Dennis Stapf
3 months ago
or
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.