TAMPA, FLA. – – A Tampa Bay mother and son fought cancer together during a pandemic.
Amy Sapien said her son, Landen, was diagnosed with leukemia in June 2019.
Prior to diagnosis, she noticed swollen glands around her son’s neck. She took him to a walk-in clinic where a doctor asked if the family had a history of leukemia and advised her son to see his pediatrician.
She said Landen’s pediatrician diagnosed tonsillitis.
Sapien said days later that her son had collapsed in a store.
“We were getting a fish from a pet store and Landen said his stomach hurt and then he just dropped to the floor,” said Amy Sapien, Laden’s mother.
Her 8-year-old son is being treated for leukemia. He needs 3.5 years of treatment and is about halfway through.
“He’s been such a trooper. He’s had such a good attitude, ”Sapien said.
About 9 months after her son’s diagnosis, Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. A biopsy showed that her left breast had invasive lobular carcinoma, a cancer that starts in the milk-carrying ducts and spreads beyond them.
She needed a mastectomy and chemotherapy.
“My husband couldn’t even be with me for surgery, so he dropped me off at Moffitt at 6:00 am, then turned around and grabbed Landen and took him to St. Joe’s for emergency platelets,” said Sapien.
Sapien said she asked for both breasts to be removed.
“I had a mastectomy. I would have had a double, but they said it was an elective at the time. They canceled all planned surgeries, so double surgery if you only need one wasn’t an option,” said Sapien. .
It has been a year since Sapien had a mastectomy. She recently had an MRI and the results were good.
She became a board member for PREP4Gold. The organization focuses on prevention, research, education and programs for children with cancer.
Sapien said her family is focused on her son’s health.
“I’ve only met a handful of people whose kids and they both had cancer and even fewer of them had it at the same time, so I think it brings us closer if that makes sense because I’m the only person who understands anything that he has experienced it, ”said Sapien.
Sapien also encourages women to get a mammogram.
“Ladies, I was only 41, 40 when I got cancer, I was only 40. It can happen and it happens. Don’t delay your mammogram. Don’t delay your self-care.”
“All you have is your health, and if your health fails, you have nothing.”