When I hear the words "breast cancer" on the national news, my ears naturally perk up. What’s up? A new drug? A research breakthrough?
Or another celebrity diagnosis?
Unfortunately, today it was the latter. TV news anchors tonight confirmed that Amy Mickelson, wife of wildly popular pro golfer Phil Mickelson, has breast cancer. She’ll undergo "major surgery" (most likely a mastectomy) in 2 weeks.
Amy Mickelson is 37 years old.
Those of us who’ve been through breast cancer are savvy enough to know that 37 is awfully young for a diagnosis. After all, a mere 5% of breast cancer cases occur in women under 40. And unfortunately, breast cancer in these younger women is more liable to be aggressive.
And more likely to involve young children. The Mickelsons have three kids: Amanda, 9; Sophia, 7; and Evan, 6.
Phil and Amy Mickelson are arguably professional golf’s best-loved couple. Personable, down to earth, and unfailingly friendly, the two attract crowds wherever they go. Especially on the golf course, where "Lefty," as Phil is affectionately known, has staged some epic battles with Tiger Woods.
Now, Phil will be in the battle of his life: with Amy, as she goes through treatment. He’s suspended his playing schedule indefinitely.
Thankfully, Amy Mickelson has a mentor out there, someone I’m sure will reach out to her: Deanna Favre, wife of pro quarterback Brett Favre. Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, at age 35. The couple’s two daughters, Brittany and Breleigh, were 15 and 5 at the time.
Deanna Favre will reach an important milestone this October: 5 years beyond cancer. During that time, she’s founded and oversees the Deanna Favre HOPE Foundation, which provides assistance to women who are underserved or underinsured in their battle against breast cancer.
Deanna Favre, a young mother with breast cancer, is a 5-year survivor.
On May 20, 2014, I want to write that Amy Mickelson, a young mother with breast cancer, is a 5-year survivor. I want Phil to be walking down the 18th fairway beside Tiger Woods. I want Amy to be leading the crowd in cheers; she is after all, a former professional cheerleader.
Most of all, I want Amanda, Sophia, and Evan to still have their mom.
We’re with you, Amy every step of the way.
Additional posts about well-known survivors at their time of diagnosis:
"It takes just a single moment to change your life forever."
Senator Kennedy and Brain Cancer: the Biggest Fight of his Life
"There’s no justice in cancer."
Elizabeth Edwards’ Cancer Recurrence Strikes Us All
"You’re one of us now."
Robin Roberts - Now She’s One of Us
PJ Hamel is senior digital content editor and food writer at King Arthur Flour, and a James Beard award-winning author. A 16-year breast cancer survivor, her passion is helping women through this devastating disease. She manages a large and active online survivor support network based at her local hospital and shares her wisdom and experience with the greater community via HealthCentral.com.