On a typical day at work, sitting at her desk in the Digital Risk Maitland office, Amy Hix answered a phone call and received the news that no woman ever wants to hear. It was her doctor on the line informing her that she had a precancerous condition and a benign tumor in her breasts. The terrifying words “breast cancer” ran through Amy’s mind.
Most would likely agree that receiving this kind of pivotal news would not be best while sitting among colleagues in a busy office. However, from Amy’s perspective, she was surrounded by her “work family.”
“My teammates aren’t just my co-workers,” Amy said. “They are my family. They are my brothers and sisters. We celebrate the good, we bond through the bad, and we get through it together.”
Following this phone call, Amy went through a series of tests and doctor visits, and it was determined that based on the condition, coupled with her family history, that she undergo a bilateral mastectomy. During this time of uncertainty, Amy maintained a sense of normalcy; like any working mother, she went to work, came home to her family, managed the household and did it all over again. Sometimes she cried at work, sometimes she cried at home, but Amy maintained a strong front for her children.
“The overwhelming sense of fear is unimaginable,” Amy recalled. “But I had to stay strong.” Although maintaining her strength at times seemed impossible, Amy believes several factors helped her through her journey. First, she sought guidance from a former colleague who had fought breast cancer. Second, she kept a notebook that consisted of appointments, research, questions, pre- and post-surgery to do’s, grocery lists, chores, etc. to maintain order. Third, she developed a set of short-term and long-term goals to keep herself motivated and kept in touch with her boss regarding those goals. Fourth, she never jumped to conclusions, but rather had an open mind as to what her health options may include. Lastly, she stayed positive. Yes, she cried, but she stayed focused on her work, her goals and her future.
Amy is currently in recovery and looking forward to her next goal – returning to Digital Risk. She feels that after this experience, her relationship with her children is stronger than ever, her bond with her “work family” has grown and she is ready to get back to the job she loves.
Amy is one of the strongest people I know,” said Forensic Loan Review Sr. Manager Minnie Baus. “She is an amazing person who inspires others with her ‘never quit’ outlook. I could go on and on about Amy and all that she means to the team. She truly is one of the family.”
As a woman who was fortunate to find a precancerous condition early on, Amy strongly encourages women to get an annual mammogram, especially women who have a history of breast cancer in their family.
“Do it. As scary as it can be,” Amy said. “It’s better to catch it now then have to go through all of the hardships and everything else that comes along with finding out later.”
Florida Hospital’s Join the Pink Army initiative hosts a Web site for women to find detection and diagnostic services available at hospital locations throughout the state.