Tag Archives: Amy Oestreicher

Roundup: Amy Oestreicher, Joey’s By The Shore, Jamie Lebish, More

Amy Oestreicher — daughter of Westport dermatologist Dr. Mark Oestreicher — has had a tough life.

At 18, a blood clot caused her stomach to explode. After a months-long coma, she endured 28 surgeries, and 7 years without food or drink. She also came to terms with a long-kept secret: sexual abuse by a trusted mentor.

She persevered, and developed a one-woman show about her challenges and triumphs. Then she wrote “My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey  from Gutless to Grateful.”

On Thursday, October 22 (7 p.m.), she’ll talk about her book at the Fairfield University Bookstore. The inspiring event — celebrating positive mental health strategies and the transformative power of creativity — will be broadcast on Facebook Live.

Amy Oestreicher

After a very successful summer, Joey’s by the Shore is pivoting to fall.

It’s a slower time for the beach deli, but they’ve made some menu tweaks and added a few features.

There’s are seasonal specials, like pumpkin spice latte, along with homemade peanut butter chocolate pie, Boar’s Head meats, fresh salads and rotating soups. Breakfast is offered all day long.

Monday through Thursday, they open an hour earlier — 7 a.m. — to catch the Old Mill sunrise. They close those days at 2 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Joey’s has added more (socially distanced) outdoor seating.

Jamie Lebish has led quite a life. He left Staples High School before graduating with the Class of 1977. He’s battled drug addiction and been incarcerated.

He’s also used music to heal a relationship with his father Irwin, a noted jazz pianist.

After moving to Maine, Jamie founded El Rancho De La Vida (“The Ranch of Life”) — a fully licensed substance abuse agency and non-profit recovery home.

But COVID has hit El Rancho hard. Federal and state funding dried up. Potential residents are finding it tough to go there.

Jamie says, “As my fiancee and I look at the road we left behind, from what was once our hometown on Main Street to the home we have built here in Maine, in the spirit of recovery and living a life with dignity and purpose, it is our hope that our hometown will support us as we navigate through these turbulent times.”

Click here to learn more about El Rancho De La Vida.  Click here to contribute. (Hat tip: Stevi Lee)

El Rancho De La Vida

And finally … happy 43rd birthday (!) to Fairfield’s own John Mayer.

Amy Oestreicher: Show Me Your HeART!

Amy Oestreicher is a 28-year-old Westport artist, actress, musician, speaker and writer.

Ten years ago, all those dreams were interrupted. A blood clot left her in a coma for months. For 3 years, she was unable to eat or drink on her own.

Almost 30 surgeries later, Amy continues to fight medical setbacks. But she still has her art.

Amy uses painting and mixed media creations to transcend 10 years of physical and emotional trauma. Her art demonstrates her journey into daylight, to a life of normalcy.

Amy Oestreicher, with some of her work.

Amy Oestreicher, with some of her work.

Amy’s work has guided and inspired her. Now, she is sharing what art has taught her with her community.

Amy is offering mixed media “Show Me Your HeART” workshops. Through eclectic materials, unique insights, messy fun and guided prompts, she helps people of all ages and abilities discover creativity as a means of personal expression.

Using mixed media art, Amy says, anyone can “discover what being in the ‘flow’ of creativity feels like, and use art as a way to navigate through life’s messy detours.”

Amy Oestreicher

Amy Oestreicher

All artists — all people, in fact — face detours. Amy will help workshop attendees learn innovative strategies for “conquering a blank page or empty canvas.” She shares tips on “silencing the ‘inner critic’ and ‘can’t’ voices that often surface as we outgrow elementary school art classes.”

Amy’s workshops include music, mingling and guidance. Her sessions are great for children’s parties, company workshops, teambuilding events, bridal showers, fundraisers, family get-togethers and more.

“All materials are provided,” she says. “Just bring your heart!”

Amy has brought her heart into her everything she does. Her journey — and her art — now inspires us all.

(For more information, email amy@amyoes.com or click here.)

“Gutless & Grateful”: Amy Oestreicher’s Amazing Story And Show

In 2005, Amy Oestreicher’s life was good.

After years of acting and singing locally, and auditioning in New York, she had just been accepted into the very prestigious University of Michigan musical theater program.

Suddenly, Amy suffered a major blot clot.  Her stomach exploded.  She lapsed into a coma.

During the 1st week of that nightmare, she had 10 surgeries. Doctors removed her entire stomach. Her coma continued for months.

Amy Oestreicher

Amy Oestreicher

Through her long siege in ICU, “my father saved my life,” Amy says. (He’s Westport dermatologist Dr. Mark Oestreicher.) Her 3 brothers were constantly by her side. (The experience helped one decide to be a doctor. Jeff is now in his 1st year of residency — as a pediatric gastroenterologist.)

For nearly 3  years, she could not eat or drink. Not one morsel of food, or a drop of water.

The Oestreichers moved to a smaller house near Compo Beach, where they could better help Amy.

She was hungry and thirsty. But as soon as she realized what lay ahead, Amy vowed not to be a permanent patient. “I wanted to live life,” she says.

Curtain Call in Stamford had a casting call for “Oliver!” “I couldn’t eat or drink, and I was as skinny as a pole,” Amy recalls. “I had tubes and bags all over. I could hardly walk.”

But she got the female lead — Nancy — and managed to do the show. By the end of the run, she was drinking 2 ounces of water a day.

The next summer, she landed a role in Staples Players‘ production of “Cats.”

“I was still starving,” Amy says. “I just needed to be around people. Doing that show was great.”

Surgeries continued. One took 19 hours, using 3 shifts of doctors and nurses. The outcome was not as good as expected.

Finally, though — 27 surgeries later — Amy can eat and drink.

She’s also — at 26 years old — just been accepted at Hampshire College.

Before she goes away to school, though, she’s working on another project. “Gutless & Grateful: A Musical Feast” is Amy’s 1-woman show.

First performed last October at the Triad in New York, it’s been called “a moving personal history told with grace and humor, and garnished with great songs sung from the heart.”

“Doing that show meant so much to me,” Amy says. “I had been so isolated. For 7 years I talked only to my parents and my doctors. Then to perform, and have people I don’t know hug me! It was so rewarding to share my story, and know it inspires people.”

Amy Oestreicher onstage.

Amy Oestreicher onstage.

Written by Amy and Jerold Goldstein — based on hundreds of pages of her journals — it returns to Bridgeport’s Bijou Theatre June 1 and 2. On June 16 and 24, Amy takes her show back to the Triad, and on July 16 to Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

“I’ve always written and performed,” Amy says. “So many things have happened to me over the years. I just wanted to tell my story.”

You and I may not call the past 8 years of Amy’s life “funny.” The fact that she does — and sings and talks about it with such intimacy, gusto and pride — is reason enough to put “Gutless & Grateful” on your calendar now.

(For information on the June 1 and 2 shows at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport, click here or call 203-332-3228. For the June 16 and 24 shows at the Triad in New York, click here or call 800-838-3006.)

Amy Oestreicher poster

Amy Oestreicher’s Story

Last month, “06880” reported that Amy Oestreicher’s story would be featured on The Today Show’s “Everyone Has a Story” segment.

Today it was.


Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda sat with 24-year-old Amy, her mother Marilyn and father Mark — a Westport dermatologist.  Matter-of-factly, they described the events of 2005:  Amy suffered a major blot clot.  Her stomach exploded.  She lapsed into a coma.  For 2 1/2 years, she could not eat or drink.

After 20 surgeries — including the removal of her stomach — she now finds blessings in life.  Her creativity enriches the lives of those around her.  She inspires everyone she sees.

Amy Oestreicher (Photo credit/Westport News)

A year ago, “Today Show” viewers learned, Amy picked up a paint brush.  Her home now overflows with canvases.  She showed 60 mixed media creations at an exhibit.   And she performs as a singer.  (A couple of summers ago, she was in the Staples Summer Theater production of “Cats.”)

After Marilyn talked about the lessons her daughter taught her — for example, how to love life — Broadway’s Heidi Blickenstaff performed an original song about Amy.

The title:  “Still Alive.”

Afterward, the “Today Show” hosts showered gifts on Amy:  a MOMA membership.  Limousine trips.  Free vocal coaching.

They gave a shout-out to the Oestreichers’ friends and neighbors in Westport and Fairfield — “great, great people.”

Through it all, Amy smiled a broad, loving smile.

So did millions of viewers, all across America.

Thanks, Kathie Lee, Hoda, Heidi, and the rest of the “Today Show” crew.

And thank you, Amy!

(To see the “Today Show” video, click here.)

The Oestreichers Have A Story

Every Thursday, the “Today Show” has a segment called “Everyone Has a Story.” 

Hoda and Kathie Lee

Anyone can submit an inspirational, intriguing and/or sad tale.  One is chosen.  Kathie Lee Gifford and her song-writing partner write about it; a Broadway star or similar person performs it, and the folks who wrote the letter watch in the studio. 

(This all was explained to me a few minutes ago.  The things you learn as a blogger…)

This morning, right after their Oscars report, Kathie Lee and Hoda (if you have to ask…) previewed this Thursday’s “Everyone Has a Story” story.  It involves Amy and Marilyn Oestreicher, of — as Kathie Lee noted — Westport.

A while back, Amy was in the Staples Summer Theater production of “Cats.”  Marilyn is her mother.  Amy’s father is a dermatologist in town.

Kathie Lee and Hoda did not say what kind of story the Oestreichers will share.  However, Kathie Lee revealed that she is looking forward to it.

And, I imagine, so is Hoda, Kathie Lee’s song-writing partner, Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry, Al Roker, everyone else on the “Today Show” whose names I just had to Google, Dr. Oestreicher’s patients, Amy and Marilyn’s friends, and everyone else in Westport.