Sarcoma Survivor Stories - Meet Amber Powderly
When were you originally diagnosed and what sub-type of sarcoma were you given?
March 16th, 2016. I was originally diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma. The day I went in for my first round of chemotherapy my biopsy results that had been sent to NYC for further break down showed Synovial Sarcoma. At that time, I was considered stage III.
What was your initial reaction?
I wasn't very surprised with the diagnosis honestly. I had a gut feeling that it was cancer, even before the doctors called me in to give me my results. Many of my family members had passed away from cancer and my father was battling lung cancer at that time so for me it wouldn't be a surprise. I felt God in an overwhelming way, I felt complete peace about the diagnosis. I knew it was for a reason and that I could handle whatever the plan for my life was to be.
What was your treatment plan?
Four rounds of chemotherapy, 4-5 days in a row with a two-week break in between. Six weeks of localized radiation to my right thigh. Surgery for removal.
What do you feel is the most important thing when going through cancer treatments?
I think support and faith. Support from anyone, friends, family, physician and hospital staff. I was fortunate to have all of the above. My physicians and staff at Levine Cancer Institute from day one showed me so much love and support. On my biopsy day I asked Dr. Kneisl if he would have to amputate my leg... He grabbed and hugged me and said no I won't be doing that but whatever this is we will get rid of it together. That was how my entire journey was. I was overwhelmed with love and support from everyone around, including people I've never met.
Did you have a recurrence and how long were you in remission before this occurred?
Yes, my first surgery was September 2016 for removal of the tumor in my thigh. I was monitored closely and had two lung surgeries a week apart to remove mets at the end of February and beginning of March 2018. I was in remission for 18 months.
If a recurrence happened, what was your next course of treatment?
Removal of nodules in the lungs. Continue to monitor with my 3-month scans post-surgery.
What is the best piece of advice you can offer someone going through a similar situation to what you went through?
Stay positive, don't read negative articles online or listen to negative advice.
I started dating my now husband a week after my initial diagnosis and I think something he told me in the beginning has helped me the most. "Every day you fight to survive someone is one day closer to finding a cure."- Jim Powderly
It's so true. My brother in law is an oncologist and is doing some experimental studies with the tumors that were resected from my lungs. With so many brilliant people in the world and new research being found constantly it's only a matter of time before a cure is found. Those of us who have fought and are fighting just have to fight long enough for the cure to be found.
What is one positive thing that has come out of your experience?
Attempt to not be stressed. Life is too short. If you complain about work all the time, don't do that job. Make changes in your lifestyle so that you may not have as many materialistic items, but you are happier. Be as healthy as you can be.... but splurge and be bad when you want sometimes because it's good to have a balance and enjoy treats sometimes. Help others always. You never know what someone is going through and how you could make a change in their day or their entire life.
I guess that's not just one thing. I'm not sure what would be just my one thing! Just make your life less stressful, more happy, extremely healthy and show compassion and kindness to others.