My name is Tamara Ammons. I was born October 31st, 1960 in Hawthorne, California. I'm the oldest of 3 siblings. I graduated from High School in 1978. I birthed my only child on January 1st, 1994.

My first job was waitressing at a diner called Polly's Pies. Then I moved on to Albertson's, where I was manager of the service deli for 17 years. Then I managed a Hallmark for 6 years. My last position was manager at Sears in the Del Amo Fashion Center. I was there for 6 years. I worked up until I was 45 years old. I am now on permanent disability.

I am a huge animal person and I love movies. My biggest passion is working in my backyard garden. I love growing pumpkins, carrots and many different flowers.

I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. Then in 2009 the breast cancer returned: At the recommendation of my physician, I had both of my breasts removed, as well as my uterus. In 2012 I developed pancreatic cancer which progressed to Stage 3. In October of 2016 I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I currently do intravenous chemo therapy bi-weekly and a daily 2,500mg regimen of Capecitabine(Xeloda).

I want to use reddit to reach out to people who have any questions about being newly diagnosed or anything at all. Here is my proof: http://i63.tinypic.com/2lsvcp2.jpg

Comments: 188 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

2weeksago_122 karma

No I'm not scared. I keep myself very busy. And yes, I do believe in an afterlife. Thank you for asking 😊

lonelycatgirl6976 karma

do you recommend women get tested for the brca gene if breast cancer runs in the family?

2weeksago_112 karma

Yes definitely. Early if possible. I can't stress that enough.

suchdownvotes32 karma

What is it like, knowing that something in your own body has grown with the intention of taking you down? It must be absolutely dreadful having these thoughts...

2weeksago_61 karma

Well yes it is. I just get checked every month to see if something has come back. Not much you can do when you're chronic.

lonelycatgirl6931 karma

Do you have any animals? I have 4 cats and a dog and I love them madly

2weeksago_75 karma

I have two cats and they're my babies 🐈

angstandchickens19 karma

What advice would you give to people who are scared of death or to people who wish to console their sick loved ones?

2weeksago_55 karma

First off try not to fear death, it's the other part of life. As for consoling; all you can truly do is be by their side as much as you can ❀️

Anssab17 karma

Do you regret working so much?

2weeksago_42 karma

I do and I don't. I started working when I was 15 years old and there was a lot of stress.

lonelycatgirl6912 karma

Also, do you have any goals you want to accomplish? a bucket list perhaps?

2weeksago_27 karma

Yes my dream is to be a forensic specialist. As for a bucket list, not right now.

GuyFuhrery11 karma

Ethnic background? Ashkenazi Jew perhaps?

2weeksago_1 karma

I'm a quarter Native American. Half English and half Dutch.

Gatorgoddess6 karma

You say the doctor recommended the mastectomy and hysterectomy after the breast cancer diagnosis. Did you question why having a hysterectomy then made sense? And were they done at the same time?

2weeksago_2 karma

They both made sense at the time. It was a preventative measure. The chances were high.

kikipi6 karma

What are the signs you get when you have cancer? Is it 'just a feeling' or are there symptoms?

How do you know if these symptoms are early developments vs severe/too late developments?

This is coming from a guy that thinks he has cancer when he gets the flu.

2weeksago_2 karma

If it's advanced you'll feel something. If it's early there may not be much feeling. You may get tired and out of breath if it's more advanced. For instance, when I had pancreatic: no symptoms from it, but what I did have, was gallbladder issues. When it was removed, I got violently sick. Couldn't keep any food down. Throwing up all over my house. 2 days of that then we went to the hospital. It took 68 days in the hospital to find a tumor wrapped around my pancreas. It was discovered by chance.

nuck_forte_dame4 karma

What is your views then on eugenics? To be clear I mean basically people get tested and those with high risk of passing on genes like this don't reproduce and instead find a donor for one side or the other.
Over time the gene will go extinct.
Would you also be supportive of other methods like gene editing? Basically people get tested and if they are high risk then they go to a lab where an egg is then fertilized outside the body and edited to take out that gene or to put a new one in that will cancel it. This method would rid the world of unwanted genes much faster as the offspring wouldn't be carriers.

2weeksago_1 karma

Yes I had a child and the gene mutation was passed on to him. My father has it and it was passed to me from him. My brothers and all their children have it. It's been traced at least 150 years back and it's not giving up. Had more knowledge of the BRCA-1 gene been available back when my son was born, maybe things would have been different.

BlowDuck3 karma

how did you get tested for this gene? Asking for my gfs and wife.

2weeksago_1 karma

I had a persistent doctor who pushed on and got me the testing because the insurance company wasn't going to allow it. There wasn't anything that showed them at the time that I would test positive. You need to talk to your doctor if cancer runs in their family.

_zero_cool_2 karma

No real question, just a thank you really for doing this AMA. Im 35 and got tested for the mutation last year came back positive. Just had a double masectomy and recostruction. Did you have any side effects after your masectomy? I'm currently have loads of shoulder pains.

2weeksago_1 karma

I didn't get my breasts reconstructed. I had other illnesses arise which prevented the procedure. Yes I had pain in my chest and a phantom nipple.

just_talking_1252 karma

Have you read anything on Cimavax and, if so, any thoughts?

2weeksago_1 karma

I have not but I'll check it out.

cant_read_captchas2 karma

At what point were you tested for brca1? How expensive was the test at the time?

2weeksago_2 karma

I was tested in 2010 when my first breast was removed. The cost was covered by my medical insurance so I'm not entirely sure.

menimrkva2 karma

Have you practiced something like Buddhism or meditating to make you feel better ?

2weeksago_1 karma

I started meditating a while back.

energydoesntlie2 karma

My mother is 56 and has breast cancer, but she did not test positive for the BRCA gene. Should I still bother getting tested for it? I'm a 21 year old girl btw

2weeksago_1 karma

You most likely don't carry it if your mom tested negative. Has your father been diagnosed with anything?

2weeksago_2 karma

My family. All the dreams I have. And my garden πŸ’š

noname90761 karma

Did you change your dietary habits after being diagnosed?

2weeksago_1 karma

Yes I gave up a lot of junk food and I lost 90 pounds.

kaygeehigs1 karma

What are some things you do to feel feminine, what was it like having those surgeries on a mental level?

2weeksago_2 karma

I felt worthless and I didn't feel like a woman anymore. Especially the first 2 years. I cried everyday. Once I was fitted for prosthetic breasts and bras, things psychologically changed for me. I didn't get reconstructive surgery, and to this day, I'm still sad about it. Another illness surfaced before I could get them put on.

Thank you for askingπŸ’•

DigbyChickenZone1 karma

How the hell have you afforded all of that healthcare and treatments; are you millions of dollars in debt?

2weeksago_1 karma

Not really, more like a couple thousand. I went on SSI when I was 43, which automatically gave me medicare/medi-cal and they took over everything. There's been thousands of scans and tests. I have to follow my cancer on scans because it always wants to return.

HierEncore1 karma

What is your greatest regret in life? Did it change any of your long held beliefs?

2weeksago_2 karma

My greatest regret in life was not having more friends and leaving my ex husband. I loved people and I loved being around them. But I just became a lone wolf. It changed my belief in love and romance.

1barney21 karma

Are you happy ?

2weeksago_2 karma

Yes I am. I'm happy to be alive.

iwas99x1 karma

How many pets do you have and which types and breeds and colors and what are their names?

2weeksago_1 karma

I have two cats named Banana and Billie. Banana is a grey long haired domestic. Billie is a tortoise shell calico.

iwas99x1 karma

What are your hobbies?

2weeksago_1 karma

Gardening most of all. Arts and crafts. Decorating. Baking.

qoverqs1 karma

This must be so difficult for your child also. How is he/she coping with it? What do you do to help and do you feel like it has brought you closer?

2weeksago_1 karma

First diagnosis he was five. Now he's twenty-three. It has been difficult but we manage.

iwas99x1 karma

Do you ever ask questions on other people's AMA's ?

2weeksago_1 karma

Sure do!

iwas99x1 karma

How long are chemo treatments, how many minutes? What do you while being treated? Read? Watch TV or movies? Draw?

2weeksago_1 karma

They're 3 hours. I read magazines. I play with my iPad. My mother accompanies me to them so she keeps me company.

iwas99x1 karma

What are the side effects of Xeloda? And what can you do to make some of them not as bad?

2weeksago_1 karma

There's nothing that can be done about the side effects. It makes me exhausted and I just have to sleep.

iwas99x1 karma

What was the last movie you saw and what was your opinion of it?

2weeksago_2 karma

I saw Get Out. And I thought it was fucking phenomenal.

ReadyForHalloween1 karma

If you could fix one major world problem with the snap of your finger, what would it be and why?

2weeksago_1 karma

Global warming.

ReadyForHalloween1 karma

And why do you choose that?

2weeksago_1 karma

Because I'm passionate about quality of life on earth.

iwas99x1 karma

What are your favorite movies?

2weeksago_1 karma

The Lovely Bones is my favorite movie πŸ’–

iwas99x1 karma

How do you grow a good garden in SoCal with so little if any rain in the spring summer and Autumn, do you just use lots of water?

2weeksago_1 karma

I don't use a whole bunch of water. I use very soft soil and it grows very well.

iwas99x1 karma

Which of your jobs was your favorite and why? Which of your jobs was your least favorite and why?

2weeksago_1 karma

My favorite was Hallmark. I worked at Alpha Beta bakery in the 80s: my boss used to throw bagels at me. That was my least favorite job.

iwas99x1 karma

What foods and drinks are you supposed to not consume? Or can you have most things in moderation?

2weeksago_1 karma

I can have most things in moderation. Health foods are optimal tho.

2weeksago_1 karma

I have heard about it, I'll definitely look into it. Thank you!

ameyerk1 karma

What is a a mastectomy?

2weeksago_3 karma

It's when you have your breasts removed to prevent cancer from reoccurring in them. In my experience it was going to return.

Frostbyte091 karma

What is your daily regimen? Does having a good diet directly improve your condition or is medicine still directly responsible for prolonging your life?

2weeksago_2 karma

I nap a lot. Both a healthy diet and the medicine equally help. Through the day I eat fruits, nuts, yogurts. I eat small and I'm at a satisfying weight.

pacificat0 karma

Thank you for sharing, this is very inspiring! I love animals too. I worry about living longer than my cat sometimes. So my question: What do you like to do to celebrate life (besides gardening, planted 300 seeds of only 6 sprouted cuz over watering) that I might be able to do?

2weeksago_1 karma

I have a goal to return to college and study forensic science. I also am interested in horticultural science. Perhaps you could find something that you want to study. Are you a cancer patient?

xmarticus-28 karma

Do you think Kim Jong Un pees and poops?

2weeksago_26 karma

Nope .