Alaskan Bush People star Ami Brown has overcome cancer and is in remission. In December 2016, Ami Brown discovered that there was something definitely wrong with her health. Unfortunately, it turned out that she had stage 4 lung cancer and there was little chance of survival. Despite the bad news, Brown said she would try to stay positive and let her faith guide her in her journey. Brown told her husband Billy that she wanted to see her children grow families of their own and live life, so she was determined to fight for her life. But, no matter how much Brown ate, she continued to lose weight. And, regardless of what she did, she continued to be in pain.
Soon, Brown was using a wheelchair and then, she ended up in the hospital. Brown’s health crisis has played out on her family’s show Alaskan Bush People and fans have been lending their support online over the years. The cast has even relocated in order to accommodate the matriarch’s health needs. Get to know more about Brown’s cancer battle and how her family dealt with her illness below.
1. Originally Brown Thought Her Cancer Was Arthritis
When Brown was first in pain, she thought that it was her arthritis acting up, as she explained to Radar Online, in 2017,”Last fall I had some pain in my back. Walking from the house to the garden, I would get winded. There were days I was just bedridden, but I just thought it was my arthritis.” But, it was a trip to the dentist that led to the cancer discovery.
Brown also revealed, “In December I went to the dentist to get impressions made for new teeth and when they did a scan they noticed a little capsule. That’s how this all started.” Soon, Brown went through testing and her doctors found that she had cancer, but they didn’t know what stage she was at in the beginning. However, they did feel that it was at an advanced stage. It was later revealed that Brown was suffering from stage 4 lung cancer.
After Brown was diagnosed, husband Billy recalled to People, “The doctor came in and was very straight forward. I appreciated it. He didn’t mince words. He said, “It’s cancer. And there’s no primary but we’re gonna call it lung cancer. At least 3B. It’s in both lungs, in the middle and sides of the lungs.” We know if it’s in the brain, it’s over. And if it’s in the stomach, that’s bad but this cancer can be right where it is and go anywhere. It can go to the brain. It hasn’t traveled to any other organs, but that’s what they’re saying is next. Any time we talk to anybody, it’s bad news.” Despite the grim diagnosis, Ami Brown said she did not want to give up.
2. Ami and Billy Brown’s Seven Children Dealt With the Cancer News Differently
The Brown family is made up of Ami Brown and her husband Billy, with their seven children. Matt Brown is the oldest son and this past year, he suffered a major head injury when there was an explosion at the family’s home in Alaska. Film crews were not on-site, but they were near by and caught the bloody aftermath on film. Just last year in 2016, Matt entered rehab for alcohol abuse. In an interview with People, he admitted, “I’ve always been able to handle city life, no problem. But I started hanging out with people who drank. They didn’t have a problem with it so while I was around them, I started drinking … I could see myself spiraling.”
Bam Brown is not often on the show, but he returned when Mom Ami was battling cancer. According to The Hollywood Gossip, Bam quit the show last year and currently lives on a large boat with his girlfriend. He reportedly has been dating Allison Kagan for several months. She was previously a producer on Alaskan Bush People.
Previously, it seemed that Gabe Brown had been overwhelmed with his mother’s illness and, towards the end of the show’s 7th season, he didn’t want to be on camera. There have been rumors that Gabe might quit Alaskan Bush People.
Bear Brown is probably the most spirited son in the family and he was shown trying to stay positive on the show this past season. He seemed to not be able to completely digest the sad news.
Noah Brown had been away from the family and traveled to be by his mother’s side during her cancer struggle. Brown is engaged to fiancee Rhain Alisha and Blasting News reported that the couple may be getting married in Colorado.
The two daughters Bird Brown and Rainy Brown tried to update fans during their mother’s battle, posting messages and videos on the show’s official Facebook page. In August 2017, Bird thanked fans for their support, saying, “It’s nice to know that in the tough time that we’re having, there are so many people that actually care about us.”
3. Brown’s Cancer Was Discovered While Filming Alaskan Bush People
For the entire past season of Alaskan Bush People, Ami Brown’s cancer was the focus. Brown underwent testing to find out that she indeed had the disease. Meanwhile, her children continued to gather around her while she traveled back and forth to doctor appointments. Several of the kids then had to close up “Browntown,” which is an area that the family created in the Alaskan wilderness.
In trying to deal with their mother’s illness, dad Billy said the kids were each handling the news in different ways. Billy Brown told People, “Some of them don’t want to admit that she’s so bad. They’re all trying to get through it as best they can but no one knows what to do. I do what I can. This is really hard but this is also the strongest our faith has ever been. Our faith is giving us hope.”
When Ami Brown was put in the hospital after being cared for at home, her husband talked about what their average day entailed. He revealed, “I just sit with her. We sit and talk and the guys, they try to not all come at once so it’s not overwhelming. But they come by. I’m never more than 10-feet away from her. I don’t sleep. I don’t want to lose that time with her. I’ll stay up just watch her breathing while she sleeps. Eventually I’ll fall asleep watching her and then Bear will come in and sit with her until I’m up again.” During and after Brown’s cancer battle, the family continued filming new episodes of Alaskan Bush People.
4. Previously Brown Said She Had a Less Than Three Percent Chance of Survival
While dealing with her illness, Brown admitted that she had a less than three percent chance of living. In late August 2017, Brown told People, “It hurts. Everything hurts … I realized early into this that it’s very easy to want to give up and just die. And on the pessimist side, it could be my last days … Worrying about it only makes it worse. There is hope and that hope is having faith in God. You can’t give up.”
Even though Ami Brown was dealing with a lot of pain, she decided to put her illness on display via the family’s reality show. She explained her making her illness public to People, saying, “We wanted to do this [interview] and let people see what we’re going through because there are a lot of people that are going to be told one day that they have cancer. And that’s scary. I was nervous as a cat the first time I went in for radiation. I hope if people watch the show and see what I’m going through and it will take away a lot of their fear.”
According to The Hollywood Gossip, Brown’s cancer was decared to be in remission in November 2017. Despite the disease being in remission, Brown’s husband, Billy, admitted to Radar that there was a brief incident, where he felt his wife actually died. Billy Brown said, “She fell over dead for like 20 minutes.”
5. Estranged Relatives Have Reached Out to the Media Throughout Brown’s Cancer Battle
Over the years, Ami Brown’s estranged mother and brother have reached out to the media “in hopes” of reuniting with Brown. Earlene and her son, Les Branson, have said they blame Billy Brown for isolating their daughter, according to Radar Online. Previously, on Alaskan Bush People, the family revealed that Ami Brown left home at just 15 years old to be with Billy because she was in “an abusive household”. The Bransons have reportedly denied these claims.
When Brown’s illness was made public, her brother Les lamented to Radar, “The hardest part is that she’s dying, and we can’t get through to see her.” Her mother also said, “This just breaks our hearts. It breaks my mother’s heart.”
Earlene Branson has not seen her daughter in about three decades and is reportedly in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Radar Online previously reported that Billy Brown was 26 years old with a wife and two children when he got together with Ami.