September 4, 2012

TD for People Like you [and] me

myHeart’s Conversation with CEO, Amy Ohm

 Treatment Diaries: Your Diary. Shared Healing.

I had the pleasure of talking with Treatment Diaries’ CEO, Amy Ohm, last Friday before noon carpool [and] I am SO thankful that she [and] Td have a presence in my life and the life of myHeart, yourHands.

Td was borne out of Amy’s personal experience of catching a glimpse of an odd looking mole on her upper back while traveling on business. In 2004 @ 34 years of age and busy with her professional life, she did what most of us would do: backburnered it!

Two months later while at the beach with friends, a friend asked Amy if she was aware of that mole on her upper back. Her friend recommended that she make an appointment, so it went on Amy’s to do list. In making the appointment, the nurse asked Amy if she had any areas of particular concern. Amy replied, “no” and openly acknowledges denial had a role in her answer.

Given no areas of concern, Amy’s appointment was not viewed as urgent, so she was scheduled for 3 months later. On exam, Amy mentioned the mole on her upper back [and] the dermatology team removed the mole immediately that day noting that it was suspicious, but the pathology wouldn’t be available for 2-3 weeks.

Amy found herself in the waiting place: alone, angry, and unsure of what the future now held for her. A phone call came 2 days later to inform her that indeed the mole was malignant [and] she needed to make time to go to Washington Hospital Center in metro DC for wide excision as the margins obtained during her biopsy were not clear.

Final Diagnosis: Melanoma Stage IIB

Amy went where most of us would go in 2004, the days before FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube; she went to the world wide web and searched melanoma. She found a tremendous amount of scientific, technical, sterile, and cold information; most of which meant nothing to her.

What she craved was access to someone who had walked the path she was now facing. Someone who would understand her anger, her aloneness, her questions, her frustrations, and her fears. Amy noted during our conversation that part of her treatment plan involved pre and post counseling which consisted of a lot of “you should” direction as Amy sat holding her breath waiting anxiously to exhale.

Td represents Amy’s desire to make a difference in the lives of individuals persevering through daily life with a chronic condition. Td is a place where you can go, make connections with those like you and those unlike you knowing that there are so many elements that transcend the conditions themselves.

Td [and] myHeart, yourHands share a common vision in that we are compelled to take our lived experiences [and] leverage them to make a difference in the lived experience of others. To that end, we have joined forces the month of September, Childhood Cancer Awareness month, knowing that together we can accomplish so much more than either of us could do alone.

Amy, thank you SO much for your time [and] your desire, willingness to act on behalf of myHeart’s mission.






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