Happy hump day everyone. I have a story of hope to cheer everyone up and perhaps give you something to lift your spirits…
A few years ago, my bestie and I had a couple of people we “took an interest” (TBH…that’s putting it lightly) to on Instagram, and one of said people was Amanda Wilcox. She’s a singer based in Nashville, Tennessee, and we both thought she was extremely kind and talented and it just broke our hearts when in October 2014, she announced on Instagram that she had just been diagnosed with late stage colon cancer. And worse yet, she didn’t have any health insurance to cover her treatments. “How awful that must be”, I thought.
So here goes. This is me exactly 1 week ago. I was having some digestion issues so I went in for a colonoscopy. When I woke up the doctor, with tears in his eyes, told me he found a large tumor. Thursday they confirmed it was cancer. Yesterday they found spots on my liver and ovaries that they are going to test and if they come back positive then I'll have Stage 4 Cancer. I have to go through 5 weeks of chemo and radiation and then 8 weeks of rest before surgery to remove the tumor. I don't have health insurance so trying to navigate paperwork and money has been a little overwhelming. But strangely through this whole process I've had peace. My God is still in control. My God always has and always will take care of me. I do pray for healing but more than that I pray that satan does not get the victory and that God would change lives through this story. "For what satan meant for evil, God meant for good." This is just the beginning of a difficult but beautiful road. Let's start walking:)
What really caught my attention was that almost immediately, Amanda began to fight. She mobilised her #AmandaArmy, who donated towards her medical bills and sent her sweet messages and prayed with her. It just struck me how strong she seemed, just taking it in stride; like the feared outcome was not even in the cards for her. She wasn’t going to go down without a fight, the ultimate survivor.
She started updating us almost daily about her condition, when she started chemo, started radiation, to the heartbreaking day she was informed by her doctors that they had found yet another cancer; this time, in her thyroid (like one wasn’t bad enough).
UPDATE: Sadly today's update is not a great one. They found a nodule on my thyroid a couple weeks ago and biopsied last week just incase. Yesterday I found out on top of Colon Cancer I also have Papillary Thyroid Cancer. They will do surgery sometime the beginning of January to remove my thyroid. There is also a possibility it could affect my ability to sing. I'll admit…..my heart is heavy. I'm only 30 and I have 2 separate cancers. But I refuse to sink!!! My flesh may fail, but God never will. It's day 36….and my God is walking for me today. #AmandasArmy
As gloomy as everything looked though, Amanda never wavered; she didn’t let her cancers get the better of her. In fact, 3 weeks before her diagnoses, she began dating this guy, Reid, who she had met back in May 2014. I honestly believe that he was a godsend; I mean, he was there with her on the day she found out, and every step of the way since then – dancing with her, carrying her, doing all these romantic things, trying to give her as normal a life as she could get. And there was also her sister, Brianna, also a singer in Nashville. Honestly, in that moment, I was able to see her as more than a cancer patient because she never portrayed herself as just a cancer patient. She made the most of every day and continued to trust in her faith.
By January 2015, Amanda had a successful surgery to take out her thyroid, and then in March of the same year, she successfully had her colon cancer and her lymph nodes surgically excised. As if that was not good news enough, Amanda and Reid got engaged in March 2015 after about 6 months of dating.
A sad effect of the cancer was that she had to give up singing, her passion, however, over that summer, her and Reid bought a new house, she found out she was thyroid cancer free, started writing a book and officially ended chemo. It was like that saying, one day closes and another opens. The ordeal as bad as it was, was also opening doors up for her left, right and centre.
Guess what guys. After 6 weeks of radiation, 3 surgeries and almost 8 months of chemo……TODAY IS MY LAST TREATMENT!!!!!!!!!! I have a few more surgeries, but today I'm just praising God that I made it through!! "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."- Isaiah 41:10 #amandasarmy #byebyebye #cancer
By spring 2015, she was completely cancer free and married Reid in November 2015. By the next summer, she had started and completed writing a screenplay with her friend, Dominic Scott Kay and started touring again and giving public motivational speaking. Bad news struck again in August 2016, when Amanda found out that cancer in her thyroid had come back and she would have to have surgery again. This didn’t stop her fight though, cause she finished writing her book at the start of Sept 2016.
Through all of this, Amanda and Reid had given up on the idea of having a biological baby together, thanks to all the chemo and radiation she had endured over the year. However, like a miracle, Amanda’s sister-in-love, Rachel informed Amanda that she would like to volunteer to be a surrogate to carry Amanda and Reid’s baby.
I am often amazed by Redemption, taking something grievous and watching it grow into joy and new life! When my husband Reid and I first talked about getting married we knew that having our own children would not be an option because of the chemotherapy and radiation I had in 2014/2015 from Colon and Thyroid Cancer. With open hearts, we started exploring all of the different options for growing our family after we got married in 2015. We got a phone call from my sister-in-law, Rachel, one afternoon in July of 2016 and what she proposed was something too amazing to comprehend. She had walked with us through my cancer journey and had heard the Lord calling her to help us start our family by volunteering as a gestational carrier (surrogate). This was not even something on our radar as an option and took us by complete surprise! We spent months meeting with counselors, fertility doctors, asking every question imaginable, all the while asking the Lord for wisdom. It is with extremely happy and slightly terrified hearts that we have all decided to move forward, grateful to Rachel for this unimaginable and beautiful gift she is so willing to grow! If you feel inclined to join us in this endeavor, we would covet your prayers, encouragement, and love! Would you also consider aiding the financial load we will take on? The entire fertility process will cost around $30,000. Rachel and my brother Micah have agreed to take on this burden at no cost to us, but we also would love to spoil them during this season as well as taking care of all of her medical expenses. (Click on the link in my profile to give) This isn't something we were ever seeking out but we are so overwhelmed by Rachel's love and sacrifice for us. We can't wait to start walking forward to see where this journey will take us. The Patterson's
Suddenly, having a biological baby together was again on the table. After a butt load of counselling and fertility treatments, Rachel began to carry Amanda’s baby girl in January 2017. As if this was not enough great news (not like there’s anything like too much great news), Amanda found out at this year that the cancerous lymph nodes had shrunk on their own and she would not be needing any further surgery. She and Reid also moved into a new house at the beginning of the year to start their new family.
Honestly, who would have thought she would have such a happy ending after all she went through. Goes to show that sometimes you have to almost lose it all to get it all. I don’t know what anyone is going through, but all I have to say is “Never give up”, “hold on cause it gets better”. Believe in whatever you need to believe in to make it through and reach out and accept help.
You are not alone