SurvivorRoom Survivor Spotlight presents Amy Burns
Breast Cancer at 35: A Memoir
Amy Burns was 35 when she discovered a lump in her breast in February of 2012. A few days later she had an appointment with OB-GYN who ordered an mammogram. In a little over a week from the time she discovered the lump, Amy learned she had cancer. At the time she was a wife, a mother to her young son, and a high school English teacher.
Amy had a lumpetcomy in late March and began radiation. All the while she was still working and scheduled her surgery over spring break. When her radiation was complete she began to write about her experience. Everyday she wrote while her son napped. The writings have been compiled into a book called "Breast Cancer at 35: A Memoir".
In her book, using a candid, raw, and humorous voice, Amy Burns wraps the reader in the intimacy and upheaval of her emotions as she struggles through her breast-cancer diagnosis. Her memoir offers unmatched insight into an experience that, unfortunately, has become far too prevalent and common among women. While sharing the news of her cancer diagnosis with her husband while still on the phone with the nurse, she writes, "I mouth it to you--the hard C of it choking my confidence and/ catching on my tonsils./ After the news,/ I see your eyelids like wet newsprint." Later, she admits that her “prayers are more fervent now,/ dogged like spring leaves,/ warm and sticky with a baited question." The language she carefully selects encapsulates the hopes and fears of any patient hearing the words, "This might be cancer," as well as anyone who's there to hold their hand. This is an honest story of hope, lightheartedness, and frankness for all patients who have cancer or know someone who does.
Amy is now in remission. In the Afterword, Amy writes about remission, her feelings and what it now means to her.
Amy lives in Golden, Colorado with her husband and son. She holds a master's degree in humanities and is still teaching high school English.
SurvivorRoom hopes you enjoy and find comfort in her story, her book and her insights as much as we have.
Maybe blunt is best.
The radiologist swivels to face me,
his gray-tweed chair, paltry,
and his office, inconsequential
for delivering any sort of news.
"This could be cancer."
His stare follows
like a scratched DVD,
I don't have the script.
I say nothing; acquiesce.
Three monitors project three images
like abstract art
like we could sip wine and say of that one,
Look at the lines-
Notice the negative space-
but he's too serious,
his face too dramatic,
and I can't move my lips.
I came alone.
This was just an
My keys dangle from my left hand,
from my shoulder.
I stand in the middle of his sterile office
like the new kid at school.
Where's the leather high-back?
The mahogany desk?
or a box of Kleenex?
to thaw the onslaught
of this one-sided discussion-
like a movie
where he swivels to face me,
it was just a lump.
for my time and anxiety,
a case of being too careful,