Amy Eiden, with her loyal dog Maggie. Photo by Phil Custodio
Amy Eiden of Springfield Township has walked at Clarkston’s Relay for Life for years, supporting her friend Teresa Wynn’s team.
On Saturday, May 14, walkers will hit the track at Clarkston Junior High School for her, as well as everyone else affected by cancer.
“It definitely has a different feel this year,” said Eiden, who has been battling Neuroendocrine cancer since January. “It’s all brand new, definitely huge. There are so many different types of cancer, the only way to get it is by fund raising.”
It was around Christmas when she discovered something was not right.
“It was weird, all of a sudden,” she said. “My lymph nodes were swollen and I had a sore throat.”
A self-administered breast exam revealed a lump right away.
“I immediately called my doctor,” she said.
After a mammogram and biopsy, she was diagnosed on January 13.
“I thought it would be nothing – there’s no history of cancer in my family,” she said. “This type of cancer is rare, a fraction of one percent.”
Chemotherapy and radiation followed, both at the same time to treat the aggressive form of cancer.
Radiation treatments have been Monday through Friday since March, and chemotherapy three days a week every three weeks.
“It makes you sick. I lost all my hair,” she said. “I lost a lot of feeling in my fingers, got the shakes in my hands, fatigue like I have never felt before, a lot of nausea. Food tastes different. A little bit of hearing loss.”
Treatments should be complete by the end of June.
“I hope it will. It depends on what they find,” she said.
Wynn, Kirsten Sande, and other friends and neighbors have supported her throughout the process.
“A fantastic support system of neighbors and friends to help me keep plugging along,” Eiden said. “If I need something, friends are here with whatever I need.”
Wynn set up a Go Fund Me page online, called Amy’s Fight.
“As a nurse, she has spent the last 20-plus years helping others and now it’s time we help her,” Wynn said. “She needs our help to supplement her greatly reduced income during treatment.”
Eiden continues to see patients in between chemo and radiation treatments, Wynn said.
“For those of us who know her well, asking for help is not something that comes easily for her,” her friend said. “Whether you give money, prayers or good thoughts, we appreciate your kindness.”
The response has been overwhelming, Eiden said.
“I’m blown away,” she said. “‘Thank you’ is not enough.”
Support from friends and the community make an enormous difference in making it through day by day, she said.
“You don’t realize how important it is, bringing food, sending a text” she said. “It’s a huge pick-me-up.”
Eiden was born and raised in Clarkston, and graduated from Clarkston High School in 1986. She has been a nurse for 25 years, specializing in wound care with OCC Highland and Evergreen Health Services.
Relay for Life is noon to midnight, May 14, kicking off with the Survivor Lap, followed by refreshments for survivors and their caretakers.
The event will also include fun family activities, and music including a live performance from local band Sail. A Luminaria Ceremony will be at dusk.
Check RelayForLife.org/clarkstonmi for more information and to donate. Contact Event Lead Amy Laboissonniere, 248-625-8223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.