On her daughter’s second birthday, Liz d’Amato, mom of three, received a life-changing phone call. Her doctor diagnosed her with breast cancer. Discover her inspiring story of courage, battle and survival.
As a 47-year-old woman, mammograms were part of Liz’s regular health care regimen, and when she went to her doctor in September 2012, it was just for a routine check-up. However, a month later, her doctor asked her to come back for further testing. When she received the results, she was “shocked, devastated, upset and sad,” she remembered. “I didn’t know what to think. I had invasive ductal carcinoma in the left breast, grade 2, two foci (one measured 0.1 cm and the other was 3 cm). Extensive ductal carcinoma in situ was also present.”
Liz’s sister had already been through a similar experience, which gave her hope as she faced her own battle. A treatment plan was devised for Liz, including eight chemotherapy treatments, which she describes as the toughest four months of her life.
After that ordeal was over, she met with a radiation oncologist at a hospital to determine if radiation was necessary. She had read an article about proton therapy and brought it up. Fortunately, the doctor was familiar with it. “I really wanted to make sure I had options,” she explained. “Because my cancer was on the left side close to my heart, the doctor confirmed that I would be a good candidate for proton therapy. I knew this was the best option for me.”
Liz was referred to ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset, New Jersey. Proton therapy is a more targeted type of radiation that results in less damage of the surrounding tissue, which was critical for her heart and lungs. She underwent 26 treatments and reported that it was far easier on her than chemotherapy was. It only became tough for her the last week and a half of treatment.
She had a great experience at the treatment center, which boosted her morale and kept her optimism up. Two weeks after her last treatment, her doctor reported the good news: she was healing very well. She has now a lot to look forward to, with her three children and her husband to grow old with.