I am Amanda, who in this blog will expose myself raw from all areas of my life publicly on the internet in hopes to reach even just ONE individual who may need just a shred of hope, a dollop of faith or a link to strength. While I am fully capable of Photoshopping all my images to present myself in a more socially acceptable form (like omitting my second chin and shiny skin... as well as the imperfect laying of my hair in the photo above), I will refrain as I work through embracing the being that I now am, as confusing as I may be not only to myself but most others as well. My family appropriately calls this place of confusion "Mandyland" and I shall take you there among so many other places as you join me on this somewhat ridiculous documentation of being "Tethered."
Diagnosis: Stage 4 RCC
Prognosis: 6 months to live, at best.
After a couple months of hip pain, a tumor was found in my right femur which lead to a full body scan which then revealed a large mass in my left kidney. I was notified by a very inconsiderate resident doctor while pre-op for my first surgery ever that they would likely find stage 4 kidney cancer and that I should get my affairs in order because I will have 6 months to live, at best. Curtain closed, lights out, surgery time. Left Nephrectomy (kidney removal) followed the next day.
Removal of last tumor: full hip reconstruction.
Medical procedures move much faster when life threatening, if you have the right doctors. Thank God I did! I had to say goodbye to my left kidney in January; then after healing, I was right back in for the most painful event of my life: a complete hip reconstruction with a "mega prosthetic" which included removing about 5" of the top of my femur to get the metastasized tumor out. I had two tumors total, the first in the kidney, the second in the femur.
Each and every day is a gift.
After my literal 6-month state of shock wore off, I realized I might actually live for a while...
That's when anxiety started to set in.
While living is great considering the alternative, life after cancer is not the same as life before cancer... and it never will be. This is most widely known as a "new normal." I don't like that phrase as much as I don't like the term "cancer survivor." It is this stage of living after cancer that inspired me to write about my experiences... it's the stage often overlooked and forgotten about, but a stage of cancer none-the-less.
LIFE IS GOOD!
BFA (Drawing/Painting): Arizona State University
K-12 Art Teaching Credential: Arizona State University
Middle School Art Teacher: Orange County, California
Real Estate Agent
Business Owner/Art Teacher
Art Cube Studios
For a full resume and small sample of personal artwork, visit: