Unexpected turn in woman's battle against breast cancer

Amy Ragg didn't expect it to be easy, so she put on her gloves to fight breast cancer.  Her bout began when she discovered a lump in her breast.

"It felt like the size of a piece of popcorn," she recalled.  "I had no sensation in it. It didn't move and it didn't really hurt."

But the double mastectomy to remove that tumor sure did.  "It felt like there was fire under my skin."

Surgery didn't knock Amy out.  She feared the next round -- 20 weeks of  chemotherapy -- would.

"I just want it to start, so it can end." 

Instead of being defeated by the thought of chemo and its side effects, Amy decided to face her challenge head-on, taking the first punches, so to speak.  "Cancer, all of a sudden, runs your whole life and I decided one thing it wasn't going to run is my hair."

Amy had Lindsay Belcher,  a young cancer survivor, shave her hair off. She made barf buckets beautiful and she created a video blog.

But, before the bell could ring on Amy's first round of chemo, there came an unexpected time-out issued by her doctor.  "We had the port ready to go and he said, 'You don't need chemo.'"

Linda Hurtado was with Amy when she got the good news. Test results, just in, showed her type of cancer wouldn't respond to chemo, so she wouldn't be getting any. Amy's reaction? "Oh God, I'm so thankful."

The lesson Amy can now share with others: Sometimes you will prepare for a fight you never have to face.  And winning may be simply putting up your gloves -- just in case.

The type of test Amy's doctor ordered is called the oncotype dx. It predicts whether chemotherapy will benefit the patient or if their cancer is the type that likely won't respond to current chemotherapy treatments. Because some chemo treatments are harsh and lead to major side effects, this test is often ordered to determine a course of treatment.

In Amy's case, she just happened to get her results the day her chemo was set to start. 

For more information on this test:  http://www.oncotypedx.com/
Or to follow Amy on her blog: http://bettyrants.blogspot.com/

If you'd like to get involved with the American Cancer Society, they are holding kick-off parties  to show you how you can take part in their walks in October. They are the perfect way to meet more survivors like Amy. Here are some of the kick off dates and locations: 

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer


Kick off
Thursday, August 11, 2016
6:00 p.m. Check-in & Networking   |   6:30 p.m. Program
Heritage Harbor |   19502 Heritage Harbor Parkway, Lutz, FL 33558

Saturday, October 22, 2016
Registration: 7:30 a.m. | Walk: 8:30 a.m.
The Shops at Wiregrass


Kick off
Thursday, August 18, 2016
6:00 p.m. Check-in & Networking   |   6:30 p.m. Program
The Birchwood |   340 Beach Drive, Downtown St. Petersburg

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Registration: 8 a.m. Walk: 9 a.m.
Vinoy Park


Thursday, August 18th 
Straz Center : Morsani Lobby

Saturday, October 22, 2016
Registration: 7:30 a.m. Walk: 9 a.m.
Amalie Arena


Tuesday, August 23rd  6pm - 9 pm
Junior League's Sorosis Building
90 Lake Morton Drive - Lakeland, FL - 33801

Saturday, October 29, 2016
Registration: 7:30 a.m. Walk: 9:00 a.m.
Lake Mirror