Hey guys! It is Aly again and we are on our way home- praise God! So thankful Josh has kept you all updated so that you can be praying specifically each day. I will fill you in on some more details, or I will try. We just got so much information, and it can be very overwhelming.
Oh by the way, I am writing to you all and Josh has been writing on our new IPad 2. It has been an absolute gift from God. Someone anonymously donated it to us, and to say it has been a blessing to us is an absolute understatement. We have gotten Internet everywhere which has helped us with directions, Josh being able to post to the blog, email, Facebook, etc... The most helpful thing has been being able to use it for my mymdanderson.com This is a website that each patient gets that has their schedule on it, along with messages and reminders. To be able to pull up this information on the iPad in a quick way has made a very hard and overwhelming thing become quite easy. To whoever did this, thank you. God has used you to help us feel connected and have a tool that makes this process easier and even fun at times. We are blown away at how God gives us exactly what we need when we need it.
When we got to MD Anderson, all we knew was that we were having a few tests run Wednesday and we would meet with the surgeon Thursday. We had absolutely no idea that we would be doing test after test, literally from 8 in the morning till 7 at night, and definitely did not think we would be doing chemo before we headed home. So, to say the least, it has been completely different than we expected it to be, but we know God goes before us and he determines our steps.
Thank you to all who prayed for my mammogram...little to no pain at all!!!!!!! God is so good and he heard the prayers of his people- thank you to all who prayed for that specifically. After my mammogram, I had an ultrasound and figured it would just be a routine ultrasound, only to find out they saw inflamed lymph nodes, and literally did a needle biopsy within 15 minutes. It was a blessing to have it all done so quickly, but just caught me so off guard and that was very emotional for me, and as you know already, that biopsy came back positive for cancer. Of course, this was not good news but so thankful to have it, because this is just the information the doctors needed to know how to treat me in the most effective way.
We met with a physician's assistant (Pier Tansey) and our surgeon (Dr. Babiera) the following day. All along, we thought I would first have surgery and then chemo, but because of finding out that cancer was in my lymph nodes, the wanted to go straight to chemo to kill as many cells as possible and see how I react to chemo. They got us in to a fertility specialist since there is a chance that chemo can affect fertility and wanted to start chemo right after creating embryos. After chemo would come surgery (bilateral mastectomy), then possible radiation, then reconstruction. So, needless to say, a lot of information in one sitting! For the time it would take to do all of the fertility stuff, it looked like I would start chemo around November 17. We obviously were overwhelmed, but felt like a plan was in place. The surgeon scheduled an appointment with the medical oncologist that very same day to go over what would be involved in chemo.
So, we meet with the medical oncologist who is an absolute God-send. Dr. Morrow is amazing with such a gentle and kind spirit, and she is the one who diagnosed me at stage 3 breast cancer because of the spreading to my lymph nodes. Also, by looking under the microscope, it scared her because by running a test, with 100% being the highest on the scale for the propensity of the cancer to grow, mine showed a 98% and this scared her. Because of this, she felt like chemtherapy needed to be done right away; however, we had just set up appointments with the fertility specialist. We were faced with the question of do we wait for the chemo to have our fertility taken care of, or do we take the doctor's advice to start immediately? Um, yes, the hardest and most difficult decision thus far. Josh and I cannot wait to have children and this was breaking our hearts. We prayed, cried, prayed, and cried some more and finally decided to start chemo immediately. We are trusting God with our future and our ability to have children. He tells us not to worry about tomorrow, but pray about everything and this exactly what we did and are doing. His promised always prove true. Psalm 128.
So, we started chemo yesterday with many, many other tests. I felt great as it was being administered and am still feeling great. God is proving himself to be who He says He is time and time again. Aside from a headache, I am feeling wonderful!!!
I hope this gives you all some more detail. I pray that every time I cross your mind, you pray for us and my complete healing. It is odd for me to post things like this for the whole world to read, but if I know that every person that reads this is praying for me, I will post anything:) Thank you for the specificity in your prayers and truly being the body of Christ to me- hurting when I hurt, crying when I cry, rejoicing when I rejoice, and crying out to the Father on my behalf.
3 of my best friends in the entire world have been with me this entire week (Kel, Ainsley, and Margot), and they have been the biggest blessing I could imagine. Of course, my mom and Josh's parents have been here too, and all they are doing for me and continue to do are amazing.
Once again, thank you for every message, call, and text. I could never express how much it means to me. Also, many funny things happened I will share at some point to have some posts that wil make us all smile. God gave us laughter and joy among the craziness. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! We will keep you updated!
Yesterday Aly had a bone scan performed where they put radioactive material in her and try and see if there is any cancer in her bones, today it cam e back negative, GREAT.
Today at 3:30 we started the first step of the physical war with cancer.
Aly has had her blood pressure measured at least twice in the last two days that I remember specifically. Each of those times it was 128 and 134. As we were preparing to have the first round of chemo administered we were told that Taxol commonly causes a spike in blood pressure. The administering nurse, April, warned us of this, so needless to say our expectation was that Aly's would spike also.
After all the rush and hurry and Worldly fear that should have only helped the Taxol spike Aly's blood pressure,the nurse took her first blood pressure after 7 minutes of Taxol and she saying don't worry when it reads higher. She then took her blood pressure and it came to 108- that is lower than it was pre-chemo. She then measured it again 20 minutes later and it came back 105.
At this point April, our nurse just looked at Aly and said no one does this, you're good. Aly is good, but that was God.
All your prayers are working-at times in this fight there will be wins and setbacks.
I'll take my 3 letter word GOD over their words, cancer, pain, blood pressure, heart rate.
Cancer: today my wife begins physical war with you, this is not a lady you want any part of-fierce, determined, steadfast, persevering. I look forward to watching her beat you.
We will stay in Houston again tonight and come home tomorrow. Right now Aly feels good, but we understand the next few days could have some interesting moments. We believe God to heal her and also help limit the unfunny nights and days along the way.
We will return to Houston on Thursday for an MRI and then round two of chemo on Friday.
We look forward to being home with our friends and family.
Our request this morning is that you pray that the biopsy they perform on Aly's right breast comes back negative. They saw a few calcium deposits on the mammogram and want to verify what they are.
Also please pray that the chemo goes well. We were unable to get the permanent port installed before this first injection so it will be through an I V. At this point Aly has had more than 15 attempts to get blood, needless to say the arms are hurting.
Pray for Aly to have strength and peace today as she gets to take her first true opportunity to fight against the cancer physically.
Thank you for all the support, please keep it coming.
Today was an action day, so far. We have seen two doctors, two PA's and been stuck with a needle already.
Yesterday Aly had an ultrasound that revealed there were five abnormal lymph nodes. They performed a needle biopsy and the result came back cancerous.
We met with the surgical oncologist this morning and the results of that meeting was that we were going to an oncologist. We met with Dr. Morrow who gave us quite a bit of info, first of which is that at this point with a lump with cancer and lymph nodes that Aly would currently be listed as a stage 3 cancer.
Dr. morrow made it clear that she felt time was of the essence due to the aggression and Potential growth rate of Aly's cancer. The cell cycle can be rated 1-100, Aly's is currently a 98 which means that it's propensity to spread and grow is high.
After meeting with Dr. Morrow our thoughts about how much time we had till we needed to start Aly's chemotherapy treatment were drastically changed. Due to time and the need to treat Aly's cancer quickly and aggressively we will do what we can about fertility and preserving eggs but as of now it looks as though that will not be able to happen.
We believe God when he says is Psalm 128:
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table. (Psalm 128:3 NLT)
Today we have dealt with the issue of bi-lateral mastectomy and reconstruction and then also with the possibility that chemotherapy could affect ability to have children.
Lord Jesus I believe in your promises but my heart is broken for my wife, please work on our behalf. Please restore our fortunes, Jeremiah 29:11.
The God that put us here will deliver us, Lord please make me the man that you called me to be for you but also my wife.
Tomorrow chemotherapy begins.
The doctors here are already calling her an angel, didn't take Aly long to win these people over either.
Well, Josh and I decided it would be good for me to contribute to the blog, but I'm not quite sure of where to start. I know I want to start with thank you. The love, support, and prayers have been completely overwhelming and amazing. Outside of God, that is what has sustained us thus far. The texts, calls, emails, Facebook messages, blog messages, etc...have been appreciated from the absolute bottom of our hearts. I am trying to respond as much as possible, but if I don't respond, please know that it is only because of lack of time and the craziness that is right now.
I will write more on the blog as time allows, but as far as an update is concerned, we are waiting to go back for a mammogram, and then after that we will have an ultrasound done. Please pray that the mammogram is as painless as possible as I am nervous because of the surgery that was a week and a half ago.
We will see the doctor tomorrow and I am very anxious and excited about that to have a plan in motion. My doctor's name is Dr. Barbiera so that many of you can be praying for her. She is a surgical oncologist, as we have learned that some type of surgery is our next step.
Josh and I can feel the Holy Spirit's presence with us and He has not given us a spirit of fear...He is so good. This is the beginning of a journey that will change us forever. We are believing and expecting great things, and we know so many are believing, praying, and standing with us.
"Lord have mercy on me. See how my enemies torment me. Snatch me back from the jaws of death. Save me so I can praise you publicly at Jerusalem's gates, so I can rejoice that you have rescued me." Psalm 9:13-14
I can't wait until I can rejoice when He rescues me! More posts to come...I cannot say thank you enough. Oh, and of course, this goes without saying, isn't my husband amazing?!?!!!
After a crazy day of trying to get out of town we made it to jackson and then headed to baton rouge. After a round of bang bang shrimp, garlic mashed potatoes I am ready to sleep.
Aly has to drink one of the two 16oz cans of who knows what before bed tonight and will then drink another tomorrow morning to prep for cat scan. When that is done Aly will have some blood taken and then we will head to Houston.
This process is not for the faint of heart and that is why my wife is especially equipped to excel in this type situation.
She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future when she speaks her words are wise and she gives instructions with kindness.
I am incredibly blessed to fight for and then also be informed as to how I can serve Aly. I cannot imagine going at this with anyone else.
As a Pastors son my whole life in the same church for 25 years I have probably become a bit jaded to some degree as to the passion and ferocity of Gods people. Since Monday October 17 at 4pm we have been prayed for and supported at a level that has removed all doubt as to why someone would connect to a church body.
What Aly and I were given today at church and then tonight in a far more concentrated version in a gathering with family and friends truly moved me in a way I can honestly say I have never been moved by anyone or anything other than God.
I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that life was spoken into Aly by people that have a passion to see God move on her behalf.
Can't say thank you enough to Julie Brown and the Richardsons for making tonight happen.
Tomorrow we see Dr. Barr (Aly's surgeon who removed lump) to have general follow up after surgery. We will then head to Jackson, MS to purchase the floors for our house and then continue on to Baton Rouge tomorrow night.
We will have CAT scans Tuesday am in BR and also have the BRCA test which is a blood test. By noon or so we should be headed to Houston.
A big thank you personally to my mom and dad for taking over the completion of our new house. Cousins Darren and Candace and sister Rachel helping paint siding. Jason, Shad for helping also. My great friend Brandon Brown and Lee helped cover cabinets in plastic. Thank you so much for helping us get the house ready so that Aly has her home to return to as this process begins.
If you need any electric work call either Twin City Electric (commercial), Fox Family Electric (Residential), or you can call the best builder there is Jonathan Hill, you can see his houses at www.jhillconstruction.com.
yep, that was a plug for these three men because they are truly allowing me to forget my house and concentrate on Aly.
Through a family friend we were able to get a visit with Dr. Cataldo in Baton Rouge. A few new pieces of information came from the meeting but most of all we were able to get a educated version of what we will most likely expect in the future.
There are a few items that will be determined through more tests and then also re-working the slides of the lump that was removed. At this time it is still up in the air as to whether or not the sample of tissue that was removed contained all the cancer cells. This will be determined and if the cancer was contained in the sample and it has enough "margin" (unaffected, healthy tissue) around the area that was determined to be cancerous then there has been a prospective course of possible action laid out.
With Aly's family history of breast cancer Dr. Cataldo felt it was very necessary to run a BRCA test to determine if Aly is genetically predisposed to breast cancer. The outcome of this test can determine whether we will be looking at a possible mastectomy or lumpectomy.
Today was an informative day. We are more educated with what is attempting to attack my wife. This is not good news for the cancer. The more we know about it the closer it gets to getting a swift, unwashed boot to the face.
My wife is unreal, again today I saw her poked and prodded and hearing about her body being under attack and she is the same constant kind, loving, beautiful, persistent, persevering ANGEL of a WOMAN that I am lucky enough to call my wife.
On Tuesday we will be heading to Baton Rouge to have a CT Scan, BRCA test, then we head to Houston to MD Anderson.
You cannot understand how much it means to have the support from people reading and responding to our blog and emailing and texting.
We have plenty of room on the Taylor butt kicking campaign train, we are so thankful to have your support!
Today was a good day. After frustration for two days with no scheduled appointment we heard from MD Anderson and on October 26th MD Anderson hospital will meet the most incredible lady on earth.
Let me backtrack quickly, I am Josh Taylor and I married Aly Page in 2006. We have now been married for 5 years and 2 days shy of 3 months. On October 17th we found out through a pathology report that cancer had made a bad decision. breast cancer made a bit of a mistake in choice this time and picked my wife Alyssa Page Taylor, referred to in future posts as HERO, BEST, DREAM WIFE, GODLY WOMAN, satans worst enemy, FRIEND, FUN....you get the picture.
Quickly, Aly graduated 2009 with her bachelors degree, she then obtained her MASTERS degree in marriage and family therapy and is in the 3rd month of her first semester of the Doctorial Program at ULM in Marriage and Family Therapy. Aly's dad passed away in a car wreck when she was 10. That is the beginning of shaping the most consistent, calm, level headed, hard working woman God has created. Aly has had multiple serious issues in her family that have shaped her into the amazing woman I married, thank you JESUS!
This is the first post in our journey toward kicking cancer in the face. To all the people who will follow this and support us...THANK YOU!
LET THE BUTT KICKING BEGIN, cancer, I HATE YOU, love Josh.