Home Lifestyle Amy Faw: A Story of Resilience and Faith

Amy Faw: A Story of Resilience and Faith

Amy Faw (center) is surround by her family. Pictured left to right: daughter Emily, husband Bran, Faw, daughter Macy and son Davis.
Photo courtesy of the Faw family.

ROCKINGHAM – Amy and Bran Faw are pillars of the community, and know a thing or two about overcoming adversity.

Amy works at Carolina Jewelry and Pawn and Carolina Tax service, and Bran is the postmaster in Richmond County. The Faws have three gifted children, Emily, Macy and Davis, and they attend Freedom Baptist Church. It’s hard to find a nicer family if you tried.

On March 2, 2016, at age 42, Amy discovered a lump near her armpit and was soon diagnosed with state 2A breast cancer. With no history of the cancer in her family, Faw’s friends and the community rallied around her and her family.

Those that knew her were not surprised when, after the intense series of treatments, the word came that Faw had beaten the cancer.

Now nearly two years since her diagnosis, what follows is an exclusive interview with Faw about her battle with cancer, its treatment, and where she is today.

How did you feel when you first received the news?

“When you have something that affects your life like that it is really emotional,” Faw explained. “It is a life changing event. I was for sure in shock. I thought the worst.

“We were numb for the first couple of days,” she continued. “Then we were just trying to figure out what to do. There was some sadness as well, and we were wondering what does this all mean.”

 How did you choose to share this diagnosis with your family?

“With Bran, I told him as soon as possible over the phone,” Faw stated. “We told our parents. When the kids came home from everything, I explained to the kids all at one time.”

Were there any problems with your duties as a parent due to the cancer its treatment?

“Definitely,” Faw said. “The treatment kind of made me feel bad at times, but I tried to stay as normal as I could. But I had a lot of help from Bran so I could focus on the treatment.”

Bran, who stood by Amy every step of the way, noted his wife’s resiliency and hard work ethic throughout the entire process.

“She would work all week,” he said. “Treatment was on Wednesday, so she would take off Wednesday and be at UNC for chemo all day.

“She would get up and run on Thursday morning and work,” Bran continued. “Then she would work Friday. Usually by Friday night she would be wiped out. On the weekend, she would lay on the couch a lot to recoup her energy for the following week “

Faw noted that the last eight weeks of her treatment were really tough. She found herself on the couch a lot more because the drugs were a lot stronger during that time.

Describe your support network you had during your battle with cancer.

“Oh, my gosh. My family, you are looking at it,” Faw noted. “Of course, Bran, he was right there for everything. He made sure everything here was normal. I don’t feel the kids missed out on a whole lot.

“Then there was our church, Freedom Baptist,” Faw continued. “And I will always be thankful to Ronnie and Karen McLean. Our friends and family. I had friends to drive me to UNC for treatment. I have said before that only in a small town like Rockingham could you have the kind of support I had.

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Tell me about your treatment process.

“I underwent treatment for 20 weeks,” Faw said. “That was the standard of care for that type of cancer, triple negative.

“Triple negative means breast cancer cells tested negative for estrogen receptors (ER-), progesterone receptors (PR-), and HER2 (HER2-),” she explained. “Testing negative for all three means the cancer is triple-negative. They didn’t have any clue as to what caused mine. It is only 10 to 20 percent of breast cancer that is that type.

“There were twenty weeks of chemo, which is twelve weeks every week and eight weeks with two different types of stronger drugs. This was followed by surgery. Then they check the lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread there. If it had, they would have done radiation, but mine were clear, thank God.

“Going through (treatment) seemed so fast but also slow,” Faw concluded. “The last eight weeks were just rough. I had to take a drug to boost my white blood cell count.”

Did you do any kind of things to distract yourself when you were going through treatment?

“Yes, work. I tried to stay busy with work, with the kids,” Faw said. “My goal was to keep my life as normal as possible, so that life would seem normal. Fortunately, I have three wonderful children that stay so active, so it made it easy.”

Did you face any obstacles with your treatment process?

“For me, the very first time, my white blood count was too low to receive treatment,” Faw commented. “I had it all planned out from the beginning to the end of the treatment, and I found out differently.  I wouldn’t take this experience for anything because my relationship with the Lord got so much stronger and I learned that where I thought I could be in control of things, that I wasn’t in control of things.

“I just had to say okay, Lord, whatever your plan is, that is what it is. I had a couple of times where my white blood count was too low for treatment.”

What message would you like to give to women in the community?

“I want to encourage them to not ignore anything they find and take care of yourself,” Faw said. “Have your yearly exams and checkups. My mammogram would normally have been at a later time, but when I found the lump I went ahead and scheduled it as soon as I could.”

Where are you now with your journey with cancer?

“As of Sept. 12, 2016, they said that the treatment was a best-case scenario, that the chemo had destroyed the tumor and there was nothing in the lymph nodes,” Faw explained. “So hopefully it is gone for good.

“I go to UNC for every three months for checkups, and they do an exam. They told me to just live life and if I had a pain that wouldn’t go away to let them know. I believe that it is gone, that the Lord has healed me.”

Is there anyone you would like to thank for their help?

“I would start with Bran, I don’t know if I could have done it without him,” Faw noted. “The kids were so sweet; they would go out of their way to make my life easy. 

“Freedom Baptist, our friends, the rest of our family. I hate to call names, because there were so many people. It was just mind boggling the amount of messages I received. I am thankful for the journey and meeting a great group of people at UNC. I am thankful for how it changed my perspective.”

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