Amy’s journey on Earth has come to an end.
Amy was born in February of 1978. She was a shy child who only wanted her mom to do things for her – “My mother will do it!” Amy was always so much fun & enjoyed doing things and being around people who made her laugh. Amy was first diagnosed with cancer in the form of Hodgkin’s Disease at the age of 8, after finding a lump in her neck. She endured at least a year’s worth of chemotherapy and went into remission. Phew!
Amy was in dancing school, played volleyball & was in the band in high school and she graduated in 1995. Amy went on to graduate from IUP and completed her Master’s Degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Amy instantly made friends wherever she went. She has such good & faithful friendships that have stood the test of time, illness and hardships. Amy met the love of her life, Jerry, while at IUP and they were married in 2002. Amy then became part of another large and loving family and her circle continued to grow.
In 2005, while living in New Jersey, Amy and Jerry had their first child, a daughter named Riley Angel. They moved back to the Pittsburgh area to be closer to family in 2006. In 2007 their second child, a boy named Ryan Jerome was born and completed their (human)family. They added their furry pup, Kona, in 2010.
One night in April 2009 Amy was folding laundry and started to notice a loss of sensation in her right side. Having the education she had, Amy knew something was wrong.
She ended up in Presbyterian Hospital where it took them 1 week to determine that the cause of her symptoms was a brain tumor. They successfully took the tumor out the next day and her recovery began. Amy was not able to work after that due to the residual effects of the tumor and surgery. She had gammaknife radiation, chemotherapy (2 types because they were unable to determine the exact type of tumor) and radiation. In the fall of 2010 Amy was considered cancer-free. Yay! She celebrated at her brother’s wedding and also took the kids to Turks & Caicos and also to Disney! She wasn’t going to take a single day for granted and would never miss an opportunity to make Jerry or her children smile.
In December of 2012 Amy started to feel the numbness and tingling again on her right side. An MRI revealed a recurrence of the tumor in the same exact spot. Surgery was scheduled for January. The day before her surgery Amy had a sudden worsening of symptoms and went to the hospital where they determined there was a small bleed. Ugh.
Surgery proceeded as planned the next day and Amy went home just 2 days later. She again started chemotherapy. She found out it was a gliosarcoma after this second surgery and so the beast finally had a name.
In April of 2013 an MRI showed a shadow area. Amy again had gammaknife radiation, chemotherapy, and radiation. Surgery was no longer an option because the tumor was always in the same spot. In August of 2013 our family was told there really wasn’t anything more to do for her from a medical standpoint.
Since August of 2013 Amy and her family have been dealt blow after blow but one constant always remained: Amy’s strength, determination and love. Amy made a point to surround herself with love and with people and things that made her happy. Amy has lived with cancer lurking around every corner for most of her years yet she has lived more and touched more lives than some people do in 80+ years. Amy doesn’t want her death to be viewed as losing a battle to cancer, she doesn’t want anyone to think of her as a “loser”. Amy won…she never once let cancer dull her shine or diminish her spirit.
“When you die, it does not mean that you lost to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, while you live and the manner in which you live.” – Stuart Scott
She stood in the storm, smiling and dancing in the rain…