BOTTINEAU, N.D. (KXNET) — In March, we introduced you to our top four local remarkable woman finalists.
Amy Artz was one of the finalists and she holds many titles, including breast cancer survivor.
Lauren Davis spoke with Artz about her battle with breast cancer and why it’s important for women to practice preventative care.
Amy Artz is a wife, a mother, and a breast cancer survivor.
She was diagnosed in the summer of 2019 at the age of 40 after her OB-GYN recommended she get a baseline mammogram the year before.
“Quite honestly just kind of bawked at it. Didn’t really think I needed to do it. Didn’t want to do it, but I’m ever so grateful that I did because, by June of 2019, I had developed aggressive stage three invasive ductal carcinoma,” said Artz.
Artz says she had no symptoms indicating she could have breast cancer.
She says she also had no family history or any genetic link to breast cancer so she never considered herself as high risk.
“For me, the thought of having that baseline mammogram at 39 seemed awfully young. It seemed like I probably could have waited a little while. I think some women think they can wait til they’re 45, or they’re closer to 50 if they have no family history, but I would really discourage that thought process,” said Artz.
She says after her mammogram, she went through biopsies, ultrasounds, and more mammograms.
It was determined that she did have cancer and she began her rounds of chemotherapy that August.
“Chemo killed most of it, but it didn’t kill all of it. So I had what they called an adjuvant treatment, which means I was treated with chemo before I was operated on, which was a real gift. I think that we treated it that way because I ended up having like 13 or 15 lymph nodes removed in my left arm. So February 5th of 2020 is my cancer-free day,” said Artz.
Artz says as a person that is always helping others, it was hard to be on the receiving end.
“I really had to lean into the people who offered to help with meals, or to help with my children, or to help with laundry. And that’s not easy for a doer, but it was really, really necessary,” said Artz.
She also says although going through cancer treatment isn’t fun, having a great support system helps in the long run.
“Finding the people that will lift you up on the day when it’s really hard and you don’t want to do this, cause there are a lot of days where you just don’t want to do it. There’s no part of it, that’s a lot of fun. We found a lot of fun and funniness in my treatment with my support system,” said Artz.
Artz says once you’re cancer-free, life is different.
She says she will always have to monitor her body for any changes and she will always be known as a cancer survivor.
She also recommends women make an experience out of getting a mammogram and treat themselves to something nice the day they are scheduled for one.