About Our Family

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Tuscaloosa,, Alabama, United States
"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Romans 8:14-17

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012 and Update

It seems like forever since I updated and alot has happened since I last posted.  First off...we had a very Merry Christmas!!!  This was Ashlyn's 3rd year to go see Santa.  This year we all got our picture made with Santa.  Last year she wasn't happy about sitting in Santa's lap but she wasn't mobile enough to do much about it.  This year, the second I sat her on his lap she started crying and slipped immediately off his lap...but we still wanted a Santa picture so...next year I'll prepare and wear more Christmassy colors just in case. LOL!
 
 
Ashlyn REALLY enjoyed opening her presents this year!  All she wanted Christmas morning was her breakfast until we reminded her that Santa brought her presents over the night.  She didn't really believe us and went around the couch to look under the tree.  Her expression was priceless!!!!  She looked over at us with huge eyes and whispered, "Oh, WOW!".  We got to see so many family members and Ashlyn thoroughly enjoyed playing with the cousins and aunts and uncles that she got to see!!!  Christmas dinner was delicious!  I was really glad my appetite was back by Christmas!
 

 
 
The Saturday before Christmas, we got to spend our evening in the St. Vincent's ER because I blacked out for a very short time.  I was very disappointed because my sister and her husband had taken the day to come visit me.  I believe God has perfect timing though because she was literally walking in the door as I was passing out.  David called the Oncology doctors while Bonnie stayed with me.  They told him to take me to the ER, he packed a bag in case we had to stay and Bonnie was able to stay with Ashlyn while she finished her nap until Mary could get there and we didn't have to wait any extra time.  We had a really good experience, as far as ER visits go.  We didn't have to wait long at all.  I had a great nurse named Sam.  We got to talking a little and turns out, not only does he live in Tuscaloosa, but he attends our church!  The only thing we really discovered from the visit was that I have an overactive thyroid.  Other than that, all my other levels were in normal (at least for a person taking chemo).  I will have to follow up with a primary care doctor to see what I need to do about my thyroid and I'm praying for miraculous healing for whatever the problem is.  I checked with the oncologist and he said it's not a side effect of chemotherapy.  I felt pretty good after they pumped me full of lots of anti-nausea drugs at the hospital.  My step-mom and step-sister were at our house when we got home and they agreed to "babysit" me and Ashlyn on Sunday so David could spend the day hunting.  I was so glad they stayed because I had a pretty bad episode on Sunday.  In a time span of about 10 minutes I went from feeling pretty good to aching so bad I was having a hard time standing up.  Jacque took the reigns, told me to get in bed and put Ashlyn down for her nap.  I am so incredibly grateful for all her help!  After about 2 hours, it passed, but I was so drained physically.  I got to meet a fellow Breast Cancer survivor on Sunday afternoon.  She was so encouraging and talked with me a lot about her surgery and reconstruction.  I really appreciated her taking the time to come visit!  Monday I started going on the upswing.  I had pretty bad mouth sores, but nothing a little Tylenol wouldn't help.  I did call the dentist and got the prescription toothpaste that a friend told me about.  Hopefully they will keep the mouth sores at bay in the future.


 
I've spent the last few days since Christmas taking all the decorations down, cleaning up and preparing for the next go around.  We left the tree up because it's surviving pretty well and Ashlyn and I REALLY like the lights. :)  While we were cleaning up, I let Ashlyn try on my "princess hair" (that's what she calls my wig).  It looks pretty natural on her too!  This wasn't the way that I envisioned my Christmas break this year, but I am so grateful that the timing of the treatments allowed me to feel pretty good for the holiday!  I go for my 3rd treatment on January 2nd.  This time around was pretty rough for me so I'm much more nervous, but I also learned some things from the last 2 treatments, so hopefully I'll be able to be more proactive about getting on top of the side effects.  I also spent a lot of days dealing with the emotional aspects of losing my hair.  Since I won't have to deal with that this go around, I can be more level headed.  I'm really getting used to my wig and it doesn't feel as unnatural as it did at first.  This whole journey really is teaching me quite a bit about myself...but that's for another post.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A new day

Last night I faced my fear.  I cried all day.  I felt sorry for myself a little.  That didn't help anything.  It just made me feel worse.  Teresa called last night, in the middle of one of my fits of tears and I told her I had asked David if he would shave my head.  She asked if I wanted her to come over with the clippers and I said yes.  She and her daughter came over and spent time with me and encouraged me and I appreciate them so much!  Physically and emotionally I felt better after we were done.  I cried most of the time she was shaving my head.  It's easy to look from afar at other people who are waging this battle and think their bald heads are beautiful because they are fighting for life...but it's different when you are staring at the mirror and looking at your own.  This is a small price to pay to live a longer life...to see my baby girl grow up...to hug my husband for years to come.  I asked my daughter last night if Mommy was still pretty and she gave me a big smile and said, "Mommy pretty!".  It melted my heart in so many ways that it still brings tears to my eyes.  I have so many encouraging people in my life and I can't express how eternally grateful I am for each and every one of you!  One of my friends emailed me this verse and I felt it very fitting considering how weak I've felt through this part of my journey:

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-11
This is the new me...I have to say my wig turned out pretty natural looking. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rough

Last night was rough.  I don't think I've felt that bad so far.  My whole body ached.  My stomach was just not right.  I tried to sleep, but sleeping is so hard.  I called my mom just to cry.  This is really hard.  I wish there was an easy way to kill cancer.  I wish cancer didn't exist.  This morning was really hard too.  I tried to help get Ashlyn ready and then I went back to bed.  I'm just tired.  I don't feel as bad this morning, but I'm so emotional.  My hair is on it's last leg.  Hair is everywhere.  I thought getting it cut short would help, but it's still everywhere.  It's covering my pillow and my sink and my bathroom floor.  I know it shouldn't be, but losing my hair is one of the hardest things for me so far.  I'm not really a vain person, but losing my hair makes me feel sick.  It's a reminder when I look in the mirror that I'm in the middle of a battle.  I'm a strong person and I know tomorrow will be better...but today is kinda rough.  I've reminded myself several times today that my battle will end with victory!  My hair will grow back and I'll be cancer FREE!  I will continue to praise God through this storm and I know He's with me every step of the way.  He didn't promise it would be easy...He only promised I wouldn't be alone.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

No news is good news in our house...

My family has always lived on the premise that "No news is good news".  I know it's been a while since I updated, but although I know people are glad to hear it, the "I'm feeling good today" only flies for so many entries. :)  Well, although I'm doing well, I have been busy for the last week.  Friday I had my port placed.  It was outpatient surgery.  My stepmom came to stay the night with us on Thursday to help with Ashlyn on Friday morning.  She got up early with Ashlyn so we could sleep a little later than usual (which we REALLY appreciated!).  I had to be at the outpatient center at 11:45.  We got there at about 11:30, they took us back really quickly to the triage room and got me all set up for the procedure.  We didn't have to wait very long at all before they were wheeling me back to the operating room.  David gave me a real kiss (we risked the germs)...and then the anesthesia lady gave me some sleepy medicine.  I got situated in the operating room and I was talking about my sweet little one and then I asked the anesthesia nurse, "Did you give me some more of that stuff"...and then I was out..that's the last thing I remember saying.  I woke up in recovery and just felt like I'd had a good nap.  They went and got David and I got to go home really shortly after that.  The prayers were felt and appreciated and the procedure went super smoothly!  I went home and went back to sleep for a while, but I didn't feel bad.  The next day I was a little sore from the incision...but I was handling it with the pain meds...until little one was pitching a fit and I picked her up and she whacked me!  Oh boy...now that hurt!  That took laying down and putting some frozen peas on for a while to get over.  Sunday we were pretty much back to normal.  Saturday my hair started coming out and I have to admit I was a little upset.  I knew it was coming soon, but nothing can prepare you for your hair coming out.  Sunday it was coming out even more and my hair was shoulder length so it was making a pretty big mess, so I called our good family friend Teresa (who normally cuts my hair anyway) and asked her if she could see if she could do a short little do to help me transition.  I don't look half bad with short hair!
Monday we took Ashlyn to school and headed back to the hospital to get my second dose of chemotherapy.  This was my first dose in the outpatient setting.  They took me back pretty quickly and used my port to set up the IV.  No arm sticks was nice, but the whole port thing is a little weird for me.  David was allowed to come in every so often and check on me, but family members don't stay the whole time.  Once I got all my papers filled out and the IV hooked up if really only took less than two hours to do the whole treatment.  I watched an episode of Bones on my Netflix on my Kindle and drank my Gatorade.  David brought me chicken nuggets for lunch.  We headed back to Tuscaloosa, did some errand running while I still felt pretty good.  We picked up Ashlyn and David had a couple things he had to do at the restaurant so we stopped by there and I had some Fried Okra.  I LOVE the friend Okra at T-Town Cafe and it was SO GOOD!  David still had to finish a few things, so my mother-in-law took me and Ashlyn home.  I was getting pretty tired by then.  Mary stayed and watched Ashlyn so I could lay down for a rest.  Tuesday, David had a lunch event he had to work, so my sweet step-sister drove me back to Birmingham to get my Nuelasta shot.  We were entertained while we waited by some live music in the waiting room.  We sang Christmas carols for about 10 minutes, then they came out to get me.  It only took a few minutes and we were ready to go!  I was really tired by the time we got home so I took a really long nap.  I felt better after my nap so David and I decided that I would meet him at the mall at around 4:30 after he picked up Ashlyn so we could try to beat a crowd and get Ashlyn's picture made with Santa.  Well...Ashlyn really likes Santa...from afar.  She likes to wave and talk about Santa, but actually sitting in his lap was just too much.  I'll share the picture when I download it from their website.  She sat on Daddy's lap this year and we all took our picture with Santa.  She is such a funny kid!  For now I'm just trying to make it through these few days that I know I won't feel so good to get to the ones where I feel pretty normal.  We've had several people bring us yummy dinners and that helps so much!  My husband may be a chef, but he rarely cooks at home and I am so tired by the end of the day that it's nice not to worry about dinner.  We really have appreciated it.  Not to mention how nice it is to see our friends!!!  I miss going to church so much, but there is just too much sickness right now to be around that many people!  Maybe when the cold and flu season passes we'll be able to go again.  It still feels like this whole process is going to take a really long time, but I try not to think that way.  This too shall pass!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 10, 11, and 12

I'm happy to report that these have been the most normal days of the lot so far.  We may have bedtime at 7pm for me AND Ashlyn now...but short of that...we've had days just like any other in our lives.  The difference is I appreciate the normalness.  I'm savoring the normalness because I know it's not going to last, but I feel confident there will be more than just these 3 days of normal in my future.  I'm grateful that I tolerated my first round of Chemo well.  I know the second round is just around the corner.  I am having my port placed on Friday and Chemo #2 is on Monday.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 7, 8 and 9

Day 7:  Day 7 felt like a fog lifted!  On day 6 evening I took the Ativan and had a good night's rest and although I was really sleep on Day 7, I wasn't dizzy and lightheaded anymore.  I felt like I could form a coherent, non anxiety filled thought!  After a full day at work, I was really looking forward to David coming to pick me up after he picked Ashlyn up from school.  I was crushed when David called me to say that Ashlyn's teacher had called him to tell him she had a low grade fever.  Seriously crushed...I burst out into tears because I knew I would be able to see her again until she was well.  My mommy protection instincts went into overdrive because I knew I wouldn't be there to take her temperature and rock her and comfort her.  I worried that it would be something serious, but I knew that I was truly helpless in this situation, so I did the most powerful thing I knew to do...I prayed for her.  I called others to pray for her.  I am claiming complete and total health for my family for this season.  A sweet friend from church brought us dinner and visited with me for a while.  One of the hardest parts of chemotherapy is no hugs.  I have to do everything I can to stay away from germs and that includes not hugging and shaking hands.  I'm gonna be a hugging freak when I'm through with this!
Day 8:  We slept late this morning since our little alarm clock was at David's mom's house.  I called my mother-in-law to check on Ashlyn and she was fine.  She woke up without a fever.  She has a tiny cough, but David decided to go get her that evening anyway.  We really think it's sinus drainage.  We drove around and saw Christmas lights (Ashlyn slept).  I had a very encouraging visitor today who kept me company while David had to do some things for work.  I mostly laid around and rested.  I feel fine, just a little tired.
Day 9: I felt really achy today.  Not sure what that was about?  Maybe I laid around too much on Saturday.  We tried to take Ashlyn to the mall to meet Santa before it got busy, but they don't open until 1 and there would be too many people there.  Maybe later this week...  We did go get our Christmas tree!  We always have fun picking out our Christmas tree each year!  There aren't any decorations on it yet, but there's a big tree sitting in the living room now. :)  My step mom and my step sister came to visit and brought Christmas gifts!  Ashlyn had so much fun opening her gifts and playing with Mimi and Aunt Caitlin!  Mimi decked her out in princess gear!



Friday, December 7, 2012

Day 6

Day 6:  This day was good and bad.  The good was... I got the ok from the doc on day 5 and decided to go back to work today.  BEST decision for me!  I'm not a home body.  I need to feel productive.  I need to be around people.  At home I couldn't get work done just right, but I was too tired to do house work.  It was too quiet and I was lonely.  The anxiety was overwhelming me and I hadn't slept a full night since the night before my Chemo started. I was waking up in cold sweats every two hours.  I thought, "I can't live like this".  I called the doctor and they called in a prescription for something to help me sleep.  I'm writing this on day 7 and let me tell you...I am still so tired I can't describe it in full justice with words, but I feel so much better because I had the break of a night's sleep.  The bad is... this isn't going away any time soon.  I've got a long haul in front of me and I know that I have awesome support of friends and family and I'm going to rally and be strong, but I'm not fooling myself into thinking that this is going to be pleasant or easy.  It's hard for me to let other people take control.  I'm learning the lesson of humility very quickly.  One of the highlights of my day was getting to sit down with a breast cancer survivor.  Out of respect for her privacy, I will not be blogging a lot about her, but can I just say that I am so grateful God put her in my path.  I needed to hear just the things she was saying yesterday.  I have had so many survivors reach out to me and I haven't gotten to talk with all of them yet.  It's not because I don't want to, it's just that I'm still trying to go through the stages of accepting that I have this battle ahead of me.  Sometimes I just want to pretend I'm not really sick.  The myriad of emotions that I've faced in one week is enough to make my head spin.  I'll be honest.  I'm scared.  I'm scared of so many different things that I won't even try to write them all down, but I'm also a Christian.  Because I am a child of God, I know I'm not alone.  None of this was a surprise to God and none of this is too big for God.  God will provide for our needs physically, financially, and emotionally.  I have to say a special thank you to my step-sister Lindsey.  She is really stepping up to help with Ashlyn.  I want more than anything to take care of my crazy little 2 year old!!!!...but yesterday I just had to go to bed before David had gotten back home.  Lindsey took over and helped get her into bed.  David is running around like crazy!  He drives me to work and then Ashlyn to school.  He works hard all day, then picks me and Ashlyn up.  He went to the drug store to get my new favorite medicine that helps me sleep and other items that were a complete must.  I am so blessed to be married to this gorgeous, encouraging, intelligent, strong, amazing man.  As always, I am so incredibly grateful for the prayers and encouragement!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 5

Day 5:  This has been one of the hardest days.  I worked from home alone all day and that wasn't good for me.  It's one thing if I don't feel good and I have to stay home to sleep, but I'm just not made to work from home.  I turned the television on for noise, but all the shows were stupid.  It's just too quiet.  I called the doc and got the ok to go back to work.  I am ok to work, I just can't overdo it and I have to watch out for germs.  Sleeping is really hard for me right now.  I'm just trying to get through one day at a time.  All any of us really have is the day we're living in.  I'm trying really hard not to worry about the weeks ahead.  I'm trying to focus on what I can do today.  How I can make it through just today.  The Nuelasta made me a little achy, but not anything out of control.  The Lord laid the 23rd Psalm on my heart for yesterday:

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:  For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forver."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 3 and 4

Day 3: We got up a little later than normal, but still relatively early.  We got ready and got Ashlyn ready for school.  We dropped her off and headed to Birmingham to the Dr.'s office for me to get a Nuelasta shot.  When we were finished, we headed out on our search for hair.  We drove to Hoover to look at a shop that had been recommended, but unfortunately they aren't open on Mondays.  We stopped into Firehouse Subs for lunch.  I wanted to enjoy getting to go out to lunch before I have to start being extra careful about being around crowds.  Loss of appetite has been really bad for me.  It's not that food smells bad or even tastes bad...I just don't feel hungry.  After lunch, we headed back to Tuscaloosa.  We stopped at David's office to get my computer back so that I can work from home when I need to.  We made a second stop at a boutique at DCH's cancer center.  We found a really good hairpiece and it is being ordered now.  I'm alot more nervous about losing my hair than I thought I would be.  I don't even wear scarves, so I've got to get some and figure out how to tie them.  I just don't think I can walk around without my head covered.  I know it's silly, but it's how I feel.  David was so amazingly helpful (as usual)!  He picked out the perfect hair color once we got the style down.  When we were done at DCH, David dropped me off at the office to meet with my boss about arrangements for work and he ran over to pick Ashlyn up from school.  We had a hugely busy day in my book.  I think I might have overdone it just a little bit, but it felt good to get things checked off the to-do list.  I didn't feel overly horrible, just everything took alot of exertion.  Something that I could do for 45 minutes before getting winded and tired before only took 10 minutes before I had to rest.  My heart just felt like it was racing to keep up all day long.  Having my mom here to help has been wonderful.  She got us all caught up on laundry and ran a bunch of errands for me.  Just having her shoulder to cry on was what I really needed.  She is encouraging and supportive and I am blessed to be her daughter.  After what felt like a really long day, I went to bed a little early.
Day 4: David got up and got ready and I got up and helped get Ashlyn ready for school.  Ashlyn is having some trouble adjusting to our new routine.  She knows Mommy doesn't stay home even when Daddy takes her to school - she knows Mommy is about to leave too, but that hasn't been the case for the last few days so I think she is confused.  She is two and this is a hard time for any kid, but extra prayers for Ashlyn would be appreciated.  This is the first day I stayed home all day.  Anyone who knows me knows that staying home all day is not my idea of fun.  I like to be around people.  I went back to bed to get some extra rest for a couple hours, then I got up and got started back to work.  I am so blessed to be working with wonderful women who are so supportive and are helping me do my job from home when I need to.  I'm hoping I'll be able to get into a good routine of what days I can go into the office and what days I have to stay home, but I know that I just have to take it one day at a time.  My mom had to leave this afternoon and I know I will miss her.  I called the doctor today because I wasn't feeling nausea so much as heartburn.  I started some Tagamet and it seemed to help.  David dropped Ashlyn off from school and headed back out to grab some dinner and some other items we needed.  He is so strong.  I am so lucky to have him in my life.  I can't imagine what he is feeling right now, but I know he is as overwhelmed as I am.  Day times I don't feel so back, but nights are a little worse.  I've been getting hot flashes and they wake me up.  I think I woke up 9 times last night.  Ashlyn didn't go to sleep easily and then she woke up extra early.  Hopefully she'll settle back into her routine soon.  I hate seeing her struggle.  I get overwhelmed really easy when I think about how long I'll be doing treatments and then I'll have surgery, then radiation too.  I'm trying to just think about each day at a time, but that is hard.  I'm praying that God's peace will still my soul.  Still trying to focus on my blessings because they are so evident! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 1 and 2 of Treatment

Day 1: My first task on this day was to go get an MRI.  Apparently I have boney protrusions on two of my vertebrae that are normal, but the oncologist wanted to make completely sure they were normal before the beginning of the Chemo treatments.  When we got the results that they were normal, he was able to say with certainty that I have Stage 3 Inflammatory Breast Cancer.  I know it sounds funny, but I praise God that He answered our prayers for Stage 3.  There is a good chance that I will be able, at the end of this, to say that I am cancer free.  That wouldn't have been an option with Stage 4.  The oncologist came and talked to me about the cancer and the treatments and was available for any more questions me or my family had come up with.  I am doing a dose dense chemotherapy treatment so I'll do 8 total chemo treatments. I'll do one every two weeks.  I may stop them at some point to do the mastectomy, but then they will resume until I have completed all 8.  After the mastectomy and chemo, I will undergo radiation therapy.  When I get the all clear (hopefully in about 6 months), I will be able to proceed with reconstructive surgery.  A lot of people have asked me if I have to get a bi-lateral mastectomy.  I don't have to, but I am going to choose to.  I don't want to take the chance that I will ever have to go through this again!  They started the treatment by giving me pretreament drugs.  They gave me steroids, anti-nausea medication and anti-anxiety medication.  While they gave me that, they brought in a bunch of literature for me to read about the types of chemo that had been chosen and possible or probable side effects.  When all that was done, they hooked me up to the first chemo medication.  All in all, it was pretty uneventful.  I had the pleasure of watching the Tide put a beat-down on the Bulldogs during the SEC Championship while I laid in the bed.  I have to say the win meant alot to me.  I was proud of my team!  I will admit I had a little bit of a meltdown before they hung the chemo medications.  This is all very overwhelming and I'm scared of how I'm going to feel for the next 16 weeks.  I don't want to get an infection when my cell counts are down.  It's all a little scary and I've been bombarded by so many possible complications that my mind feels like it's going to explode.  I have to say that the nurses were so attentive and compassionate!  The constant barrage of encouraging messages I've received over the last few days have meant more to me that I can possibly describe!!!!!  The prayers can literally be felt deep in my soul!  I feel surrounded by love and support and that is going to make all the difference in this fight!
Day 2:  I woke up around midnight and felt a little nausea, but I called the nurse and she gave me some medicine and I went right back to sleep.  I woke up feeling pretty fine. I don't feel awful.  I just feel like you feel the day after you have a really bad sickness, you know, a stomach flu or something.  I just feel drained.  I can get up and do some stuff, but I get tired and lightheaded really fast after I do really simple things.  The doctor came in and asked how I felt and gave me the go-ahead to GO HOME!!!!  I can't say how good it feels to be home.  I just feel less sick somehow to be at my house with my stuff and my family all together.  It has been really hard for me and David to be separated from Ashlyn all this time.  We are so grateful that my mother-in-law stepped in to care for her all this time, but we've missed her so much!!!  David's brother and his wife and one of Ashlyn's cousins came to visit us and brought lunch.  One of my sweet, very good friends brought us dinner.  It is so nice to not have to worry about going to the grocery store and getting up to cook right now! :) Tomorrow I have a busy day!  I have to go to the outpatient cancer center to get a Neulasta shot.  Because the of the dose dense therapy, they will automatically give the shot a couple days after my treatments.  I'm praying really hard that the side-effects of it won't be super pronounced.  I've heard pretty yucky stories about it, but it's necessary to help prevent me from getting infections while my cell counts are down.  I will also be going to get a hairpiece.  Some people can sport a bald head with pride, but I don't think I'm one of those people so I'm going to try to find something that looks natural.  I am also planning to talk with work about what I can do that will work for them.  They have been so incredibly supportive!!  I am so blessed!!!
From the very beginning, when I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know what it was...THIS SONG started playing over and over again in my head.  I have taken it a reminder for what the Lord requires of us.  It's easy to praise Him when everything is going great and easy, but He commands us to Praise Him in the Storm!  I have felt His presence so clearly through all of this!  We have been able to pinpoint things that He's done to position me to be in the right place at the right time in the right state of mind with the right people, so I can't even imagine what we just can't see that He's orchestrated behind the scenes.  I know He has a plan and a purpose for this hardship.  Thank you all again, from the bottom of my heart for the love, prayers and support.  I genuinely appreciate it!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The bad news...

I want to thank each and every person who offered prayers on mine and my family's behalf over the last couple days.  It has been a REALLY long couple days.  Monday I went to the doctor because my breast was swollen and painful.  I had an ultrasound done to see if I needed a cyst aspirated, but there wasn't anything to aspirate.  He sent me home with some pain medicine, an antibiotic and instructions to call him if it wasn't better by Wednesday morning.  Wednesday morning I had seen no change so I called the office back and he referred me to a general surgeon for a consult.  Thankfully they squeezed me in to the general surgeon's office to be seen on Wednesday at 2.  After the surgeon looked at the inflammation, he really thought it was a severe case of Mastitis (which is what the original doctor and radiologist all thought the problem was also).  In case you don't know, Mastitis is a breast infection that a lot of women can get mostly when they are breastfeeding.  It is very painful and is usually accompanied by a high fever.  I'm not breastfeeding anymore and I hadn't had any kind of fever, but was in a lot of pain.  He admitted me to St. Vincent's in Birmingham for IV antibiotics.  During the evening, I had a reaction to the vancomycin.  They call it "Red Man Syndrome".  I got very itchy and my skin turned the color of a coke can.  The nurse stopped the vancomycin and continued with the other antibiotic that had been prescribed.  Thursday morning the surgeon came into my room and the swelling had actually gotten worse.  He stood at the foot of my bed and just shook his head and said I had him stumped, but he wasn't going to give up.  He really thought it was an infection so we kept going with the antibiotics.  He sent me to Ultrasound again to have them attempt to find a pocket of fluid to drain to reduce some of the swelling.  Unfortunately, they didn't find any pockets to drain.  The surgeon came to my room kind of late that evening.  He was disappointed that they couldn't drain anything and said he really didn't want to have to do exploratory surgery.  He left to go back to read the ultrasound reports again and see if he could figure out what to do for the next step.  Friday morning he came into my room and said he was sending me to Ultrasound...again...this time to take several biopsies to try to determine exactly what kind of infection this was.  He also wanted to rule out some other conditions.  Very shortly after I returned to my room, the surgeon came in and sat down on the bed.  (Never a good sign when they sit on the bed.)  He broke the news that I tested positive for Inflammatory Breast Cancer.  My heart immediately began to race.  I started crying because that wasn't anything near the kind of news I as expecting to hear.  I know that God is in control of the situation at hand.  It was a surprise to us, but it's not a surprise to Him.  He has a plan and a purpose and I pray that this situation is going to be used to Glorify His Name.  I want to be strong for this.  I know there will be times, there already have been some, that I will be weak and scared and confused, but I know that I'm not alone.  The outpouring of love and support already shown to us has been overwhelming.  I have the most amazing husband who is my rock and has been so incredibly supportive.  He is unshakable and I am so blessed that God put him in my life.  Today I had a MUGA test that confirmed that my heart is strong enough for treatments and a CAT scan that confirmed that the cancer hasn't spread to any other of my organs.  Tomorrow I will have an MRI to finish confirming that the cancer has not spread anywhere else in my body.  Please pray with me specifically that the cancer has not spread and is localized to my breast only.  I will start Chemotherapy tomorrow.  I hate typing those words.  I know this isn't going to be easy, but God has a plan or He wouldn't be allowing this to happen to me.  I feel His love and presence and I am resting in the security that He promises to never leave me or forsake me.  I will try to keep my blog updated for anyone who is interested in my progress.  I don't plan to update on Facebook, but I know I won't have time and energy to be talking on the phone a lot.  I'm hoping to be released from the hospital Monday.  Please pray for me, David and Ashlyn as we embark on a journey that we never knew we would have to take together.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Working


Ashlyn's earning her keep now!!!  Labor laws....what labor laws...2 years old is plenty old enough to pitch in at the restaurant!  Just kidding, but she seriously loves to feel like she's helping!  We've officially been open for a little over a month now!  We're so grateful to all of our friends and family for coming out and supporting the newest Southern Dining Resources venture!  We've heard such great feedback.  I can brag on how good the food is because I don't cook it!!!...and let me tell you...it IS GOOD!!!  Hopefully the permanent sign for the building isn't too far from completion.  I'm so incredibly proud of my husband.  He worked so hard for this!!!


Alabama V. Texas A&M

We didn't win this game...but I don't remember ever being fired up at a game like this before!  Loved our seats!!!  I kinda got used to winning though...it was a little rough remembering how not to be a sore loser...
Roll Tide!!!


My girlie girl


When I had Ashlyn, I was convinced that I needed to do all things pink and enjoy girliefying my little one while I could.  I don't know why, but I just knew she would be a tomboy and not want to do anything girlie once she had the choice.  BOY, WAS I WRONG!   I have such a girlie girl!!!!!  I love it!!!  She let me french braid her hair the other morning. :)  She will argue with you if you don't put a bow in her hair every day.  She LOVES pink and princesses!
She LOVES jewelry!  I standing at my jewelry box putting my jewelry on and Ashlyn was asking (you know over and over and over and over again!) for earrings.  We haven't had her ears pierced yet, but I found some that had a swivel back and put those on her.  She was shaking her head and prissing around in her earrings.  She felt so pretty!  I stopped at Claire's when we were at the mall the other day and got her a card of clip ons for the mornings she just won't let the request for earrings go now.  She is growing up so fast!  I've got a 2 year old going on 13!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Disney on Ice

We recently went to see the "Disney on Ice" production at the BJCC!  Ashlyn was a huge fan!!!  David and I were huge fans of watching her reactions!  She was SO extremely excited when she saw Mickey and Minnie come skating out.  The video on this post was a secondary reaction after I pulled my camera out and we told her to say 'Hey' to Mickey again!  We had hot dogs and popcorn and soda!  Wintertime family activities are so fun!


video

Monday, November 12, 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween this year was quite festive!!!  Ashlyn's first Halloween, she was too little to take out.  Last year the poor thing had been sick so we stayed in and answered the door to give candy to trick or treaters.  This year we got to make the most of it!

We were invited to a friend's Halloween party, so David and I decided to dress up like Phil and Ms. Kay from Duck Dynasty.  It was actually a pretty inexpensive thing to dress up as since David already had full camo thanks to his renewed obsession with hunting! :)


This year Ashlyn was a bumble bee.  She sure was a cute bumble bee though!  We stopped at T-town Cafe to eat dinner and what a fun surprise, David's brother and his family stopped in!  We always love getting to see them!  Ashlyn was a little reluctant about the antennae I made to go with her outfit...until she saw Ella the ladybug wearing hers!  Wasn't a problem at all then!  Ashlyn loves seeing all her cousins!!! We just love hanging out with Kenzie, Caden, Colton and Ella!!!!  I wish I had gotten a picture of all of them together.



My little bumble bee!
Daddy was so tired, but that didn't even begin to stop him from taking his little girl for some trick or treating!
Please excuse the mound of clothes on the couch waiting to be folded.  I'm not sure I'll ever have all the clothes wash, dried and folded for more than one day....never ending task!!!  Anyway, this was when we were getting ready Halloween night!!!

We got to go door to door trick or treating with Richard and the family!  Totally made the experience a million times more memorable! :)

Ashlyn's very first trick or treat house...EVER!





Weighing in on the candy success!!!

Kentuck

This year has just flown by!  Kentuck Weekend seems like it just snuck up on us!  David has been working so hard and Kentuck Weekend was no exception.  Ashlyn and I had a wedding to go to on Saturday, so Sunday after church we headed out to the park to visit Daddy while he was working.  Much to our surprise, David's brother Richard was there with his wife and their youngest, cousin Ella.  David mom and step dad were there with his step dad's family and then I got a text that my Dad and step-mom were headed our way.  What a fun Sunday it turned out to be!!!


My dad and step-mom came back to our house to visit for a while before heading home.  Ashlyn was so excited that Papaw agreed to take her on a "bike ride"!  She sure does love Mimi and Papaw!

Ella's First Birthday!

I can't believe Cousin Ella is ONE YEAR OLD already!  Time is flying by!





Hayden's Game

Ashlyn gets up at 6:30...everyday....even on the weekends.  One pro of her early bird tendencies is that we were awake in plenty of time to drive down to Pinson to see my nephew Hayden play on his football team!  I loved getting to see my sister and her husband and all three kiddos!!!  We had lunch together after at McDonald's so all the kids could play together in the Indoor Playplace.  Such a fun day!