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Amanda’s Story (Retinoblastoma, Osteosarcoma, Head & Neck Cancer)

Amanda's Story (Bilateral Retnablastoma)My name is Amanda Presley. I am 32 years old. I was born with bilateral retinoblastoma. I had my left eye removed at six weeks of age. I underwent two years of chemo and 30 rounds of radiation. I was in remission!

At 12 years of age, I found a lump in the eye orbit where my left eye had once been. My prosthetic eye wouldn’t fit right. I made an appointment with my previous oncologists and sure enough the cancer was back in a different form. This time I had osteosarcoma, a result from having the radiation when I was a baby! I had to have a 16 hour surgery for the removal of my orbital bones, as well as half of the roof of my mouth, along with my sinuses, and anything else in that area. I also had to have chemo every week for two years! I was now in remission once more!

Now I am 32 and yet again I battle this beast known as cancer. I was diagnosed in January. I now have squamous cell carcinoma on my tongue and throat. This being another result of having the radiation when I was a baby. I have underwent 35 rounds of radiation and three chemo treatments so far. I have a feeding tube in and had to go seven months where I couldn’t eat or drink anything by mouth.

In March I was in the ICU for 11 days and on a ventilator for nine of those days due to pneumonia from aspiration of fluids. My prosthetic pallet would no longer fit due to the fact that I had lumps in my mouth and they had to pull all of my teeth for the radiation. They told my family that I had put up a good fight and the best thing to do was to take me off the vent, the fight was over. The most the could do was place a trach tube in to help me breath, but it would most likely never come out. However, my mother knew I was a fighter and always had been. She pulled me off the vent and gave me a chance to breath, and guess what?? I FIGHT LIKE A GIRL FOR MY LIFE! I am here today to tell you that no matter what NEVER GIVE UP! My recent scans show major improvement, but the fight isn’t over yet!

I intend to FIGHT LIKE LIKE A GIRL and win this battle once again!

Submitted August 31, 2013

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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  1. milica

    God bless your heart Amanda!Your story made me cry,how brave and strong are you!Go girl!You are an you amazing fighter and you will beat the cancer butt.I will pray for you to stay strong until win.Hugs and kisses for you.Best of wishes!

    • Amanda

      Thank you! I am glad there is people out there who care! I will keep fighting this battle, I won’t give up!

  2. Gayle Nguyen

    Amanda, you are truly a warrior! I thought I fought a good fight when I was diagnosed with stage 11 TNBC cancer and did a year of treatment. You show us all how to continue fighting even when the odds are stacked against you. You’re an inspiration. May God give you strength for each day. God bless you and your family!

    • Amanda

      Thank you so much! It’s been a long hard battle, but I will continue to fight. I won’t give up! I hope you are doing better yourself!

  3. Katie Gross

    Amanda you are an amazing person, you are an inspiration Thank You so much for taking the time and sharing your story and being brave fighting this battle…Your grand-father would be so Proud of you as he always was…KEEP ON FIGHTING SWEETIE~~~ SHINE!!!!!

  4. Jessica

    You’re the strongest person I know!!! God Bless you.. We love you!!!

  5. Sandi Bishop Turnmire

    we were blessed 32 yr 9 months ago with an amazing baby girl not knowing she was going teach us about what Life is about and how to FIGHT LIKE A GIRL…She has fought her entire life and smile during the toughest days of her fight….Love you Miss Amanda….

  6. Sandi Bishop Turnmire

    Prayers for Amanda Presley is a Prayer page set up thur Facebook,please take the time to go and Like this page and keep my beautiful niece in your prayers….Thanks

  7. Charlotte Johnson

    You are an amazing human being! I feel so ashamed for whining about anything physically after reading your story. You are so strong and positive, I’m sure you’re a beacon of light for many people. Prayers for you sweet lady!

  8. Amanda

    Thanks to all who have written on here about my story. I wanted to share it and remind people to never give up. No matter how hard it is, you can get through it if you keep your head up! I have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me!

    • james b horne (lol GRUMPY)

      amanda reading this story just breaks my heart cause we have went to school since we was little n i rem all this n ur so strong and amazing n i knew u never give up n u fight to come home and i know you will continue to fight to sis and as you continue to fight this i will continue my prayer for you no kid or adult should have to go thru this is so miserable but im so proud of you n i look up to you in so many ways esp your courage is so impressive the most to me n i love you so much sis n i be praying for you

  9. David lee

    I love you sis

  10. Debbie Vandyke

    Praying for complete healing through Jesus Christ….I wear your shirt in honor of you and your fight…

  11. Melissa slone

    I know that I don’t know u but , I love u .you are a strong women … Don’t ever give up and keep on fighting …

  12. Ron

    In the famous words of Jimmy Valvono, “Don’t give up don’t ever give up!” Prayers always for ya. You are strong and you can beat it again.

  13. Keesha Hunt

    You are amazing to survive this mister so many time you are a true hero

  14. Kayla, Nick, Gabbi, Michael

    Sis, you are one of the strongest & amazing people I know. You have fought a long hard fight and I know you will continue to! We love you very much

  15. Jamie Whitt

    Amanda, you are and always have been a fighter! You are such an inspiration to all of us with your bravery and strength! God has great things in store for such good people like you!! I love you dearly!

  16. Kim Black

    Amanda, you are one of the strongest women I know. You amaze me every day!

  17. Kim


  18. Courtney

    Amanda you are the thoughest chick ever. Don’t ever give up just hang in there and keep fighting… We have been best friends for years and no matter how long we go without seeing or speaking to each other when we do we pick right up where we left off… I will always b there for u no matter what anything u need u know I will b there… I love u like a sister!!!!

  19. Donette Childers

    Amanda you are such an INSPIRATION to me !! You have been through so much from birth on yet you have such amazing courage and strength . I believe God puts people in our lives for a reason i’m so blessed he put you in mine . You and my dad were diagnosed at the same time a cure for him was not meant to be , but i know you will beat this monster called CANCER!! cause you will always fight like a girl your strong will and determination IS AMAZING Love you girl .. GOD blessed you with a Momma who taught you those skills ..

  20. Heather Pinion

    Amanda IS the strongest person I know. She is my sister and my best friend. She has more fight in her than anyone I have ever seen or known. She makes me see that the crazy things I complain about each day are nothing compared to what so many other ppl including herself go through. I pray each day for a cure for this, for this horrible disease to stop hurting ppl and causing so much pain and heartache in the lives of so many ppl. I can’t for a second imagine what its like to go through cancer once, but to go through it again and again and still keep coming out on top when the odds are stacked against ya….that alone lets me know that God has something amazing in store for Amanda. She has touched the lives of so many ppl, some she may never know that she has touched but she is the most amazing person in the world and is a BRIGHT light in this dark, dark world! My love and prayers are always with her and everyone who has to FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!

    • Amanda

      Sister,I don’t even know where to begin with you! You are truly my BEST FRIEND! I wish I could be there for you more than I am right now, and hopefully will make up for it one day when I am healed. There are times I know you need me and I can’t be the sister I should be and I am sorry. Just know that you and your girls are my life and I love you very much. Cancer takes a lot out of me but I refuse to let it ruin me. I will get better and we will make up for lost time. I love you more than life!

  21. amy parks

    Amanda you are my cousin and I love u so much. I have always knew you was a fighter and you always will be. If it wasn’t for our Mamaw adopting my mom we wouldn’t of never met and I have prayed every day and night for you to get better and that’s how I new you was a fighter when aunt Sandi would tell me u was getting better and you r more braver then me I wouldn’t of put up a fight like u and I love u more than words can say.

  22. Thelma Thacker

    Amanda, I love u more than you’ll ever know! I’m so proud to be one of your best friends. And even more proud of what a strong woman you are. You always say I’m a tough cookie, but I am nothing compared to you! You keep fighting and I’ll always be in your corner and always have ur back. Love u sista!

    • Amanda

      Thelma, you are WONDERFUL! I love you so much and I am glad you are one of my BEST friends! We have been friends ever since the first day my freshman year of HS, and I have cherished every day of it! I am lucky to have a friend like you who ALWAYS, no matter what, has my back! Thank you for being there for me! I love you!!

  23. Robyn Tackett

    When I met Amanda in the Summer of 2006, I was the Exec. Director of American Red Crosss in our area. I was contacted by Amanda and asked what she had to do to be a Redcross Volunteer? We made the appropriate arrangements for her to be trained even before we had even met. I had no idea what I was in for? Amanda showed up bright and early for her first training Class. All of about 4’8″ tall, and a spit fire with a fire in her belly to help others that I have yet to have seen riviled by anyone. Amanda received Volunteer of the Year awards along with her mother for two consecutive years. Her ability to motivate others is unwaivering and her faith in God is steadfast. Today she STILL leads the fight against her cancer with Valor that few could muster. She is in my daily prayers as a true warrior against this horrid disease. I count it an honor not only to have met Amanda, but to be able to call her my friend. She is truly a testimony to what attitude can change in our lives. Amanda, I wish you God’s Speed in the latest battle that you are faced with, and for the rest of us…. Well, I hope that by her example, we can all learn to, “Fight like a Girl!”

    • Amanda

      Robyn Thank you for those kinds words and thoughts. I am truly blessed to have the family and friends that I do. You are such an inspiration to me even tho you may not know it! You yourself have overcome to many things in life! I love you so much and look forward to many more memories with you in the future!

  24. Amanda B


    The way we met was really strange, But you are by far the strongest girl I have ever met. I think the world of you. I believe if anyone can kick cancers butt its by far you by a long shot. I wish I had as much courage and strength as you do. Your an inspiration that no matter what life throws a you, you come back gloves off and FIGHTING LIKE A GIRL!! Love you Amanda.. Keep fightin and never give up. Your an amazing person and I’m glad to be able to call you my friend.

    • Amanda

      Mandi, I am blessed to have gotten to know you. EVEN IF IT WAS AWKWARD, lol!! We all meet for a reason and I am glad we did. You are always there when I need a friend and I am thankful for that.

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