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Son Is Thankful Each Mother’s Day, After Mom’s Breast Cancer Scare

Athens, Ga. (May 10, 2019) – Every year, we celebrate Mother’s Day during the month of May, a day set aside to remind the mothers in our lives how thankful we are for all that they do. Mother’s Day is extra special for a Barrow County son, who is reminded of how he could’ve lost his mother after her cancer diagnosis. He’s thankful each year that she is here to celebrate the holiday devoted to her, as well as for the exceptional care that she received through Piedmont Athens Regional’s comprehensive breast care program.          

Fifty one-year-old Amy Ivey made sure to complete her mammogram exam, making an annual routine. Although she doesn’t have a history of breast cancer in her family, she understands the importance of the screening tool.

In July 2013, however, the unimaginable happened. “My mammogram came back abnormal and Piedmont Athens Regional’s Breast Health Center called me back in for a follow up,” said Ivey, a long-time local business owner in Winder, Ga. “They said they had located a small mass and wanted to do a biopsy. I tried to stay positive, thinking it wasn’t anything serious.”

Soon after receiving her biopsy, however, doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer. She was devastated, but knew she that needed to stay strong for her family: Her husband and two sons.

Ivey’s youngest son, Grayson, knew his mom’s diagnosis would be tough. He understood that this would change things for their family, but that his mother was going to fight..

“She’s a strong woman, so I knew she wasn’t going to let this get her down,” Ivey said. “I never had a bad outlook about her diagnosis and we stayed positive for her. This was not just her fight!”

Ivey’s older brother, Dylan, was already in college out of town at the time of their mother’s diagnosis, and he was to begin his first year at an out-of-state school as well.

Although it was scary knowing she had breast cancer, things went smoothly for Ivey after her diagnosis.  She quickly met with Cody Gunn, M.D., breast surgeon at Piedmont Athens Regional. Dr. Gunn also leads the hospital’s comprehensive breast care program, which has been providing care to patients in the community for 14 years.

The program, managed by the hospital’s Breast Health Center, is made up of a number of specialty services, such as breast imaging, breast surgery, genetic counseling, cancer support services, oncology services, and patient navigation.

Providing guidance and support for Ivey, Dr. Gunn’s team completed a double mastectomy, removing the mass found in her mammogram as well as several lymph nodes around Ivey’s breast. After her surgery was complete, Ivey also completed chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments.

Grayson Ivey remembers it was a tough time for the family. “When I started school, I still came home every single weekend to be with her,” Ivey said. “It still amazes me how strong she was through everything with her surgery and treatments. If there were any issues, we would’ve never known it because she stayed so positive through it all.”

It has been nearly six years since Amy Ivey first received the news about her breast cancer, but since her treatments have finished, she’s been living a healthy life, enjoying spending time with her family and running her business.

During her cancer journey, Ivey found support in many forms. Her family members, loved ones and her faith kept her strong, but she also appreciated the amazing care and support that was provided through Piedmont Athens Regional’s comprehensive breast care program.

Every year for mother’s day, Grayson Ivey said his family always thinks back about his mom’s journey and are thankful that she is a survivor.

“Her cancer diagnosis really put things into perspective. We’re all so much closer because of it,” Ivey said. “My mom’s cancer journey is our whole family’s journey.. It affected all of us. The best thing that we could do was be there as a form of support, and we were thankful that we could trust her healthcare team to help her beat it!”

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