Pink Warrior: Amy Eggers
Story by Liesel Schmidt | Photography by Jonathan Thorpe
Special thanks to Bowlero Arlington
When Amy Sills Eggers got the news that she was cancer-free, she gathered all of her medical papers and burned them in a bonfire to symbolize the end of the battle and the beginning of her future. As the flames engulfed the papers, all of the months of fear and uncertainty became smoke and ashes.
Eggers’s diagnosis came on April 1, 2022, on the heels of a routine mammogram, a scan that showed results needing further confirmation with an ultrasound and biopsies. After all of the tests were run, she was looking at stage 1B HER2-Ductal Carcinoma. “I remember feeling disbelief and wondering if this was going to be treatable,” Eggers says. “Was I going to die? My nine-year-old son and husband were all I could think about.”
Fortunately, Eggers’s initial prognosis was that her cancer was treatable because of its early stage; but more exams were needed. “Always more exams and scans,” she recalls. “I had ultrasounds, MRIs, a PET scan, dexascans and I'm sure I'm forgetting some—the appointments and worrying and wondering never seemed like they'd end. Having cancer is a full-time job.”
Indeed, it was a full-time job, as over the next months, Eggers spent what seemed like every waking moment fighting. “I had my first surgery on May 4, 2022,” she says. “I had a central lumpectomy and nine of my lymph nodes removed for biopsy. It was determined that the margins were not clean, so I had to have a second surgery in June, followed by a third in July to install my port for chemotherapy. Two of the nine lymph nodes were malignant, so I opted to receive four months of chemotherapy. I then received radiation treatments from November until the end of December 2022.”
Initially, the news that Eggers was cancer-free did not reassure her. Because it spread to her lymph nodes, she did not believe she was in the clear. She was concerned that there was still disease on a micro-level. But now that she knows, in her heart, that she is truly free of cancer, she has embraced her life as a survivor.
“Having gone through this changes your perspective on nearly everything,” says Eggers. “I live a much more positive life, I don't take things too seriously, I avoid drama and dramatic people at all costs and I take more time for myself and to spend time with my family.”
Eggers credits her husband, son and her support system with giving her the strength she needed to fight. “I received nearly 100 scarves from friends and family all over the country and I would post a ‘scarf of the day’ picture on social media, thanking the person who gave me that specific scarf,” Eggers recalls.
The word “survivor” means something different to everyone. To Eggers, it feels like the punctuation to a question that could have ended quite differently. “It's still surreal that it even happened to begin with,” she says. “But I put my mind to the fact that I would survive. Now, my mission is to help those less fortunate going through this same ordeal, whether it's due to language barriers, financial obstacles or not having a social or emotional support system."
“I do feel like I lost a year of my life,” she goes on to admit. “In retrospect, though, I wouldn't have had time to ‘stop and smell the roses.’ I’m in real estate, so I still like to hustle, but I now actually take breaks and enjoy my surroundings and try to live in the moment.
Life now looks different for Eggers than it did pre-cancer—and she’s grown as a person. “After having gone through this, I feel that I have extreme empathy for anyone going through anything tough,” she says. “We're all in this together and need to give each other a leg-up sometimes. I am now a huge believer in the power of positive thinking and hope that my message and story can help even just one person.”