Episode 66 (Progyny): Becoming Mrs. Nevada and an Infertility Advocate
Amanda Klein, a 2019 Mrs. Nevada contestant and winner, who while preparing and planning for pageants, was simultaneously fighting her own battle with infertility. After experiencing three devastating pregnancy losses, Amanda discovered she had a bicornuate uterus, a condition involving a “heart-shaped” uterus and an increased risk of miscarriage.
We’ll hear her story of trying to find the right doctor, coming to terms with the idea of using a gestational surrogate, and finding the courage to share her story.
Amanda is an FCLV patient. She was also Mrs. Red Rock and competed for and was chosen as Mrs. Nevada-America. Her platform is You Are Not Broken, which is an infertility awareness campaign. This cause is near and dear to her heart.
“We have suffered through three miscarriages, seven surgeries, two IVF cycles and lots of tears. While infertility has been a painful and challenging journey, I wouldn’t change it for the world as it has given my life greater meaning and purpose. Through my platform, You Are Not Broken, I help women talk about infertility. At least one in eight women struggle with infertility, and yet you don’t often hear about it because women do not share this part of their life with society. I believe this is because we feel damaged or broken in some way. But the more we open up, the less lonely this journey becomes,” she explains.
It’s just a number until it hits your family. According to the American Cancer Society, about 252,710 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year in women, and nearly 41,000 will die from it. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Amanda Klein of Summerlin knows the statistics all too well. Her mother died from breast cancer in 2009. It led her to becoming a board member with Southern Nevada’s American Cancer Society.
Klein recalled being a little girl and hearing her mother, Bonnie Powell, crying behind a locked door. Powell, 37, had been given bad news. “All I understood at the time was that Mommy was sick. In the 1990s, you didn’t hear of women in their 30s getting cancer. It was something for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond. Even the doctors said to her, ‘There’s no way you can have cancer (at this age).’”...
Klein said her mother’s battle was a wake-up call...
When Amanda Klein was in the second grade, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It revealed a definitive career path: to help others in their time of need and improve the health of her fellow Nevadans.
“As a longtime healthcare executive, I educate the community about the risk factors and lifestyle changes needed for prevention, and as a life-long advocate, I raise money for research dollars and legislative action,” said Klein, a board member of the American Cancer Society who has raised more than $30,000 in the last two years.
A Las Vegas native who holds a degree in journalism from UNR and an executive MBA from UNLV, Klein began her career as director of marketing at North Vista Hospital in 2007, and also served at MountainView Hospital and Sunrise Hospital and Sunrise Children’s Hospital.
She joined health insurance provider Anthem Inc. as marketing director in September 2014 — responsible for all commercial marketing efforts in Nevada — and was promoted to her current position in December 2017, responsible for marketing Affordable Care Act products as well as non-ACA products across 14 states, with primary responsibility for seven West and Central states...
The verbiage for the new regulation is straightforward. It provides that “an insurer that offers or issues a contract for hospital or medical services that includes coverage for maternity care shall not deny, limit or seek reimbursement for maternity care because the insured is acting as a gestational carrier.” For intended parents turning to surrogacy in Nevada to complete their families, that one sentence makes a world of difference.
Because having cancer is already hard enough. - By Kendahl Servino
Receiving the news that you have cancer can put a slight damper on your day. Last winter, I sat in a radiologist’s office as he motioned to two large screens in front of us. They displayed the results from the mammogram I had just ten minutes prior. He gestured to the left side, where a discernible mass dismantled symmetry from the otherwise identical right side. There were tiny spikes emerging all around the perimeter of the tumor. Like a sea urchin, the radiologist told me. My tumor was tiny, terrifying, and right in front of me. I had been by myself. I was twenty years old.
The effects of cancer in one’s life are seismic. But one unexpected side effect was the possibility of iatrogenic infertility.
From career advancement to advocating for women’s access to genetic cancer research programs and competing in the Mrs. Nevada-America pageant, Amanda Klein from Cohort 12 has done it all. But she says “getting an EMBA from UNLV in 2014 has had a positive impact on every aspect of my life, from the whimsical to the significant. It’s hard to put a value on that kind of uplift.