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Amy Avant Breast Cancer Foundation

$9,660raised of $200,000 goal
4%

Organizer: Rachael Baptiste Burger Beneficiary: Amy Avant

PLEASE HELP! Amy Avant, 42, mother of 4, is currently battling Stage IV Invasive Metastatic Breast Cancer. This is a recurrence from Stage III battle in 2011. ANY amount $ HELPS! Chemo $21k each week.

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Amy is battling a recurrence of breast cancer that is now stage 4. Two years ago she was diagnosed with stage 3, underwent surgeries removing lymph nodes and had double modified mastectomies, followed by 8 rounds of chemotherapy, and 38 radiation treatments. Beginning of Summer 2013, Amy started having severe pains in back, neck and ribs. After several visits to doctors, she went in for a CT scan which showed lesions on the bones. Next, the bone scan which confirmed metastasis to the bones of neck, spine, pelvis and ribs, and femurs. After the news, she didn't know what she was going to do. She was raising 4 children as a single mother and just lost her job as a full-time neonatal nurse practitioner. Amy had just started working part-time at a rural hospital in Texas. With no insurance, medical bills piled up from her last battle with breast cancer, it seems impossible to survive financially with this new battle! Amy asked God," why me? Why now?" So, she prayed to God for guidance & to make the best choices for her & her family. She just wants to live & see her little on start Kindergarten, and see her oldest son graduate from high school, then college. She wants to see her daughter play softball and her other son to rodeo. Then, Amy was referred to MDAnderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas. She qualifies for Louisiana Medicaid  automatically, but MD Anderson doesn't accept Louiaiana Medicaid, and with working in TX for only a short while, Amy doesn't qualify for TX medicaid. We are hoping to do everything we can for her in this time of need. We want her to get all the medical attention she can get as she has to go there weekly for cancer treatment. We are so thankful for Pilots for Patients, which has been doing a great job helping her get to and from the hospital in Houston, Texas from Monroe, Louisiana. Amy now has insurance, but it only covers a portion of the large cost.  Her chemo is $21,000/dose. She gets 3 doses/ month. She also gets numerous CT scans, nuclear bone scans every 8 weeks. Shr recently finished her 3 weeks of daily radiation treatments as we'll. We pray Amy and her 4 children can have the financial burden eased for assistance with medical & living expenses while she undergoes treatment for the next 6 to 12 months. God bless! Phil 4:13
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Updates

Updates

04/26/2014
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
April 25, 2014   (sorry this is lengthy, just keep reading, I eventually get to the medical portion of update :-)) I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter Holiday! He has risen! My children and I had a wonderful Easter service, followed by a picnic, egg hunt, and walking the trails at Kiroli Park on Sunday. Thursday, Pilots for Patients flew me home in time to see my oldest son, Garrett, go to PROM with his beautiful date. I'm so blessed to be present for this. My initial diagnosis was April 14, 2011, when I had Stage 3 invasive Ductal Cell Carcinoma. I prayed back then & especially now with this Stage 4 recurrence that I live to see Garrett, 17, graduate, go to Prom, see Meredith, 15,  become a bride & a mother one day, to see Haden, 13,  rodeo, run track, & graduate high school, and little Austin, 4, I hope to take him to Kindergarten next year-2015, and see him play football, baseball, soccer, & track. He LOVES sports! 
God willing, I will beat cancer & do these things & help other women, and men, live a better quality of life with cancer. That's why I started this foundation. I do need a lot of financial assistance now as I battle this ugly disease, but my long term goal is to utilize my nurse practitioner background, my athletic & healthy living knowledge, and pair it with my 2 battles with cancer to assist others in looking better, feeling better, in order to have a better quality of life. With Jesus Christ as a center, goals can be set, a plan formed and implemented. Any way, this is not just about me, but about getting myself well, glorify God, spend time with my kids, and help others beat cancer!!! 
       Last Monday, the weather wasn't safe for flying, so I flew Tuesday to Houston, and had to be NPO, so I was very hungry by the time my contrast CT scans were performed at 5pm. Wednesday, I had 2 doctor appts, my oncologist discussed my results. My metastatic bone disease is stable, meaning I still have a great deal of diseased bone, but cancer is not spreading, yay!! My liver, however has sever spots that radiologists says could be early metastasis. My oncologists says he feels they are cysts? The areas are too small to biopsy. We will get a special liver MRI in July, along with CT scans & bone scan. My tumor markers are essentially stable. They did rise slightly, but they were last checked following the radiation treatments in January, so that may be the reason for this mild rise. My CTC (circulating Tumor Cell) went from 0 to 3 (<5 is good). My other marker went from 97 to 100, and less than 25 is normal. However, this good compared to what it started at in October. So, he took me off Abraxane, but added 2 other cancer fighting agents. One med is a monthly pellet in my abdomen. I think the needle must have been a 12 or 14 gauge!! It hurt!! This will shut off my ovaries & it is based on my symptoms. I will get Zometa for life as long as I don't get jaw necrosis. So, please continue praying. My disability has not started yet. It wont be much anyway- $1,100/month. I think I am getting better & value your support & prayers! Have a great week & God Bless!

Amy

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04/10/2014
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
April 10, 2014 Good morning! I hope everyone is enjoying Spring. We have had many storms here lately, but God always comes through with Sunshine to follow. Speaking of storms, I've been in many storms over the last few years with my cancer battle. In life, we are either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or between storms. I hope to be coming out of a storm over the next year. :-) I think as long as I stay positive, avoid negative people & situations, and continue my walk with Jesus as I get healed, I will be just fine. Let's see, I've completed 6 months of chemotherapy, Abraxane & Avastin, as well as Zometa to repair my bones. I'm going to the dentist today. A major side effect/potential complication of Zometa is "jaw bone necrosis", and I'm aware of several people who experienced this & were taken off the drug. So, I have to keep my teeth, gums, etc free of infection & in great shape. This can be challenging since the chemo & radiation I had several weeks ago cause mouth sores, a very tender tongue, and sensitive teeth. My toothpaste from my dentist is $20/tube, but it's great! Pain medications also can contribute to dental caries. Ok, enough of that, lol. Monday, after I sign Austin up for pre-K 4, I'm flying to Houston, if weather permits-bad weather is forecasted (of course). Tuesday 7am, my day starts with lab work & an IV for my CT scans & full body bone scans. This will take several hours, since they are performed with & without contrast. Wednesday, I will see my oncologists, meet with the researcher regarding the cancer vaccine clinical trial, & get the results of my scan. I'm praying the aggressive cancer has stopped spreading and there are no new fractures. I feel positive, however, by biggest struggle is when my pain is bad. Negative thoughts & fears try & many times do creep in :-( I've been very accurate with diagnosing my fractures before I'm even scanned. I think I'm 100% on them. My last prediction was my left posterior rib (left shoulder blade area in February. Report stated there was a fracture with callus formation which means it healing. My prediction for next week.... Um, my right hip/sacrum area refractured. It was damaged in either the Oct or Dec scan. I've had a lot of trouble with it lately, but my worst pain, especially the last 10 days is my cervical spine (upper neck). It has been terrible!! I continuously rub Biofreeze gel on it. I still use icy hot patches on my back & hip, & ribs as well. I love those menthol patches, but they get expensive. Please keep my kids & I in your prayers. We appreciate each & everyone of you who follow my progress. Ladies, get your mammograms, and please pray for other women who are going through this terrible disease. I'm praying for my new friend, Jodi Pipes, stage III & my friend Laurie Burkett, who is stage IV, and going through this as well.
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03/21/2014
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
March 21,2014 . I apologize for it being so long since I posted an update. so to catch up, I recap the past  few months. Oct 30th, scans showed ALOT of bone disease (cancer)-ribs, spine, pelvis, left femur, hips, neck, skull. Oct 31,3013-started chemotherapy. November, a 2nd chemo drug, taken off the market for approval in breast cancer treatment, was started on me. I've also received Zometa monthly to repair damaged bones. Then Dec 22, scans repeated. I didn't say much about those. Tumor markers actually rose somewhat. There was a little change in CTs- cancer seen in my sternum & both femurs,and an area of concern on one of my left lung (my breast cancer was on my right in past),  but in essence, the aggressiveness of my cancer was slowing on the films, so I was thankful for that. So, much prayer from everyone, prayed for at several churches in West Monroe took place. I had 3 weeks of daily radiation to my neck, lower back, & top of left femur to prevent predicted  future fractures. Then Feb 18th, nuclear bone scan & CT scans repeated-reveal stable metastatic bone disease, a new fracture on my left posterior rib near my scapula (shoulder blade), some "cysts" ? on my liver, but too small to biopsy, lungs look ok, other than radiation scarring pneumonitis. Tumor markers dropping finally!!Chemo continued, taking neurotin for my numb, yet painful fingers, remain on Zometa to repair bones, and managing bone pain as much as possible. Then March  19th, saw Dr Alvarez, he says I'm looking better, tumor markers dropped a little more-PRAISE the LORD! We started my 6th month of Abraxane & Avastin, continues Zofran for nausea, Zometa for bone repair, said need to increase blood pressure med (side effect of Avastin), and wants to repeat my scans April 15th. I'm pretty sure I have 2 more fractures. I've self diagnosed each one without an X-ray. You just know.  He also wants me to meet with a researcher & enter another clinical trial for my type of cancer. I would be getting a cancer vaccine!! So, thank you for your prayers-they are working!!! on another note, I've been very blessed in other areas of my life due to the goodness of others friends & people in my community. I still, have zero income other than donations! I honestly do not know how I would have survived with Jesus & the love others. Disability will start in May, hopefully, but it is not enough for 1 person to survive on. Have a great weekend-loving this Spring weather :-) Phil 4:13
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02/19/2014
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
February 19, 2014 Hi! I hope everyone had a lovely Valentines Day! It's finally  nicer weather this week here in the south. Monday I flew over to Houston with Mr Bo Hunter-flight was good. Yesterday was a long day at MD Anderson. It began with nuclear bone scan, then followed with contrast CT scans of my chest, abdomen, & pelvis. This morning, I saw my oncologist, Dr Alvarez. He reviewed my scans with me & compared them to the ones from October & December. There is no new metastasis & the cancer has not spread to my organs, so praise God for that!! I still have diffuse metastatic bone disease at different levels of my spine, Both femurs, pelvis & ribs bilaterally (reading from report), but it is stable. I'm happy with these results given the "aggressiveness" of my cancer. I will remain on Abraxane, Avastin, & Zometa. I'm starting Neurotin for the burning & numbness in my hands & feet, continue zofran for my nausea, and several pain meds for my bone pain. Thanks everyone for the many, many prayers, messages, & texts. I'm hanging in there & will continue battling this. I was really worried it was going to be in my liver due to a lot of pain in that area, but it wasn't. So, praise God! Keep praying! I'm happy with this report that the cancer hasn't spread & my tumor markers are much better :-) love you & God bless!

Amy
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01/31/2014
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
The date in last update should be January 31, not 21st. Sorry-tired & nauseated right now :-(
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02/01/2014
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
January 21,2014 my oldest son, Garrett, flew with me yesterday to Houston. I'm so blessed to fly with PFP once again. God continues to bless me & give me what I need. Recently, I was offered a place to stay while I'm in Houston getting my cancer treatment. The family is so gracious & strong in their faith, and have made me feel very comfortable while I'm away from home. God is so good! 
   Today, Garrett drive me to MD. I started with lab work, then went to supportive care to manage my symptoms from chemotherapy & cancer. Zofran is my friend when I have nausea, and when I can get it. The insurance companies are stingy with this med. My fatigue is increasing week to week, but there's no magic pill for that, lol. I try to balance rest,meds, diet, & exercise. I conserve& reserve energy for things I enjoy most. My pain is increasing, I am not sure why. I did start Neulasta this week as well. Im getting radiation daily too, and tolerating it well, except for the scary mask I have to wear During treatment. Later today, I received my chemotherapy trestment. I'm actually nauseated as I write this update. just overlook the typos, lol. Please pray for clear CT scans on the 18th. I'm claiming total healing! God bless & love you!

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01/23/2014
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
A new update has been posted. See Jan 23rd post
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01/23/2014
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
January 23, 2014 it's been a few weeks since I posted an update. I apologize for that, but I've had extreme fatigue! My energy had just disappeared. I've remained on my current chemotherapy plan & received my most recent dose yesterday. My avility to fight off an infection is very low, so Dr Alvarez had me return to MD Anderson this morning for a Neulasta shot, which will increase my WBCs & my ability to fight off infections. The injection is quite expensive $5000 or so. I received these injections in 2011. I remember how they caused really bad pain in your long bones. On February 18, I will have my CT scans repeated. I'm praying for a miracle & to be cancer free! I believe!!!
   I have been very blessed by my community & family support. My son's soccer team did a Pink Out fundraiser which is a blessing. I have also been blessed by several other people God had aced in my life. God always provides for us. He knows our needs before we do. 
    I was unable to fly home today due to icing , & hope 
to go back tomorrow. I always miss my children, family, & clips friends. Speaking of which, my friend Chris got me a adorable little Maltipoo puppy! He's white, 8 weeks old, & was essentially free. So, I'm excited about some "pet therapy" with this sweet little thing. :-) thank you for your prayers! God bless!

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12/30/2013
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
December 30, 2013 I'm back at MD Anderson today for another chemotherapy treatment. I flew in earlier today with PFP. It was a long flight, bad headwind, but thankful I didn't have to drive. Ice had quire a bit of hip, lower back, leg pain this week. The cold just intensifies it. ?? Anyhow, Im getting my pre chemo meds now, waiting to see if my blood pressure will come down so I can get my chemotherapy. The Avastin I was started on a little over a month ago along with pain and other stressors has really elevated my BP. This may be why I get the frequent nose bleeds I thinking. 
My fingertips are much better!! Thank you for the prayers ??
I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year 2014 & may God bless everyone with health & wellness emotionally, physically, & spiritually. 

Amy

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12/26/2013
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
December  26, 2013 Early Christmas Eve morning, my daughter, Meredith & I flew home compliments of PFP (Mr. Petrus was our pilot). We made it home early. I celebrated Christmas last night with my 4 children & my family. We had a really nice time, and of course, ate too much ??. Today was quite noisy with Austin & Haden running around playing. Meredith & Garrett did normal teenage stuff. Lately, I've been extra sensitive to noise & smells due to the Chemo & from being in pain. But, I have to say, the noise was actually music to my ears today. I've noticed that when things in life "get real", you start noticing every detail, and tend to want to hang on to each moment & truly enjoy the little things.  I feel extra blessed this Christmas. There are a lot of good people in this world, who want to see others feel joyous. 
      Sunday, I had my CT scans & lab work done, then Monday was a very long day with doctor appointments & chemo. The doctor appt was quite brief due to staffing shortage that day, resulting in many call ins (physicians & nursing -think the flu), so my reports had not been posted, but Dr. Alvarez  said he looked at scans & think there is some improvement, but wants me to start radiation (10 treatments) & continue the same chemo I'm currently on. The radiation will help with pain control & to stabilize some area that look weak, to prevent fracture. The fracture in my right sacrum is healing & so is the left posterior rib fracture by my shoulder blade. The weakened area are my cervical spine C2-4, left hip, top of left femur, so will have radiation in those areas. Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas & keep my family, friends, & I in your prayers. Thank you ??
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12/23/2013
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
December 23, 2013 wow! Only 2 more days to Christmas! I hope everyone is having a blessed holiday season. ?? Last Friday the 13th, I received chemo dose # 6, which was  given several hours behind schedule due to some abnormal lab work, so I missed my ground angel transportation to the airport by nearly 3 hours. Ugh! Thankfully, Pilit's for Patients (PFP) pilot, who flew from Wilmot, Arkansas to Houston, Texas, waited for me at the airport so that anorher patient & I made it back to W.Monroe, La. safely. The weather was about to get bad. I'm truly blessed by the goodness of others
Yesterday morning (Sunday 12/22), my 15 yo daughter, Meredith & I were flown by PFP. We spent most of the day at MD Anderson for lab work & CT scans of my pelvis, chest, & abdomen. Dr. Riccardo Alvarez, my oncologist, who I really like & have a lot of confidence in, wanted the scans repeated from October 31st, when I started chemo. I remain on Abraxane & Avastin (stop or slow the cancer growth) , Zometa to repair damaged bone,  zofran for nausea, & another drug to shut off my ovaries, since my cancer is Estrogen Receptive +. 
Today, I should get the results from my CT scans, have 2 dr appointments, followed by the chemo Tx regimen I just mentioned. Praying & claiming that God is performing a miracle in me, that I will be cancer free, with new healthy bone growth. 
As a follow up from last week, my nose bleeds continue, but my finger tips are a little better. My nausea has improved some as well. Thank you for the prayers ?? my spine, rib, & neck pain persists, and my lymph edema in my rt arm had a lot of healing to do. I remain on antibiotics and wear my compression sleeve & beginning OT for this exacerbation. 
Lastly, I want to just say-enjoy the time you have with your loved ones, we arent guaranteed tomorrow, slow down & enjoy the moments of "life". As I mentioned in last weeks update, I regretfully chose work over spending time with my kids. I've been very blessed with great, healthy children & family & friends that love me. However, it is extremely stressful on everyone in contact with you, very tough to maintain healthy relationship due to financial burdens & my own emotion instability at times. Cancer brings many ups & downs during the battle. Please continue to pray & support those experiencing this disease. Merry Christmas Everyone! Love you!

amy
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12/22/2013
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
December 13, 2013  Well, back to reality. I checked off  my bucket list-seeing the Christmas tree at Rockerfellar Plaza in New York. It was absolutely gorgeous & very romantic. The area was decorated beautifully, especially the Ice Skating rink! It snowed twice, which is extremely rare for a southern girl to see :) I went to the production of the NBC's Today Show & Kathy Lee & Hoda. I got some awesome pics from the Empire State Building, thr Rockettes, the Statue of Liberty, & the Top of the Rock Obervation Deck. Wow! I'm truly blessed to get to experience this trip & visit a dear, old college friend, Dan Reidy. For a week, I almost forgot I had a terminal illness (that's what they call it anyway-I'm being healed!!) Now, for what I really experience since pics can be deceiving. I mentioned 2 1/2 months ago when I was diagnosed as stage 4, that I would be very candid with my updates to educate others. Although I'm a nurse practitioner, I had no idea what cancer entatailed. I still have daily nausea & moderate to severe bone pain in my spine, ribs, & neck. My feet feel like I walked across hot coals, my fingertips are burning, peeling, & splitting open in some areas. We take for granted the little things like buttoning, digging in our purse for things, and putting in contacts with our fingertips. I still have about 5-10% of my hair. I'm surprised the vacuum cleaner isn't broken! Let's see...the Avastin is causing daily (multiple) nose bleeds, and let's not forget the mild lymph edema, which is now moderate from going up in the elevator so quickly 70+floors at Rockerfellar Center. My arm is huge :(  I would have expected flying at 35k feet to have caused the exacerbation, but, no...a dang elevator did it. So now, antibiotics, wearing my compression sleeve & starting OT soon to try to relieve the pain & swelling. I have no regrets about the trip!!! I experienced a lot with a great friend, visited a dear friend, & made some new friends.
Today, I'm back in Houston, Texas at MD Anderson receiving chemo dose #6. Hopefully, they will hurry so I don't miss my flight back home to West Monroe, Louisiana.  Thank you everyone for the thoughts, prayers, & support. Cancer is so tough on the patient, family, and close friends. It literally turns your world upside down! I used to be so Type A & a forward thinker, regretfully choosing work over time off with my children just to make a few extra $$$. Now, I live day to day, & have a desire to "stop and smell the roses". Life is short- enjoy it, and tell the special people in your life, you love them. Have a great weekend.

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11/28/2013
by Rachael Baptiste Burger
November 27, 2013  I've received Abraxane chemotherapy for the last month, weekly at MD Anderson in Houston, Tx. It's a great facility. I had an MRI of the brain  Tuesday night, Nov 26th, which showed no cancer, but metastasis is in the skull. I wasn't surprised by this since my other mets are to bone as well (ribs, spine, pelvis, hips, left femur). Dr Alvarez, my oncologist added Avastin to my chemo treatment plan for the next 6-7 months. I'm also receiving Zometa to repair my damaged bones. My oldest son, Garrett (17), traveled with me this time. I feel good about the chemo being added, although it is very expensive! We are traveling home now, the nausea is already setting in ??, but I'm ready to get home for Thanksgiving & see my family & friends. Happy Thanksgiving & God bless!     
Amy
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