Monday, April 30, 2012

Mastectomies and lymph nodes pathology- results!!

Wow...well today will be another day we will never forget. We just got done meeting with Dr. Litton and as if God needed to prove himself again, He did just that in a huge way. We were waiting for my appointment today, and Dr. Litton and another doctor walked in. She asked us if we had heard our results yet, and we said no. She said ,"Good, I always like to have another doctor with me when I give good results." and I said, "So, it's good?" She said, "No, it's perfect!!!!" All breast tissue and lymph nodes came back completely clear - no evidence of disease- anywhere. She was so shocked and excited, because she rarely gets to give this news. Josh and I are still in awe, although we expected my full healing. Our God is so faithful!! Please praise Him with me today. For all who prayed, fasted, and sought the Lord on my behalf...there are no words!!! At some point, I will have full-body scans to be deemed "cancer-free", but I already know what the scans will show:) I am just one thankful girl. Psalm 30:2 "O lord my God, I cried out to you, and you healed me!" Thank you for crying out with me!!! Our God is just amazing. I will write more today or tomorrow of details, but wanted to share this amazing news!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

First Checkup- Pathology Report

We are now 5 days removed from Aly's surgery and she is getting better. I think it is safe to say that we may have understood what they would be doing in function but now so much as a whole what exactly this surgery took to make happen.

As Aly has recovered we have come to realize that whatever they go in and do must be quite a little task because Aly has not been able to beat the soreness and pain. That could be a combination of the actual surgery but is also going to be an ongoing pain where the drains exit her body.

For those that do not know what these drains look like I will try and describe on some level what they are. Take a drinking straw and make it about 2-3 feet long, attach a hand size plastic balloon on one end and put the other end where you want the fluid to drain from. They literally make a 2-3 inch cut in her side halfway between hip and armpit, insert the drain tubes and sew them in place. There are 5 of these drains that are always draining fluid from inside of Aly and are kind of pulling her skin. Sounds painful, looks painful so needless to say we are ready for them to go.

We will leave tomorrow after church and head to Houston for appointments on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday morning we will meet with Dr. Litton who is Aly's medical oncologist. We hope to get the pathology report on the breast tissue that was removed and also the results of the lymph nodes. We have been told that when you have a lymph node di-section and run pathology on them even after chemo you have a 20-40% chance of being cancer free in those lymph nodes. That means by medical definition there is a 60-80% chance of there being residual disease in those lymph nodes. We believe God has put Aly in the percent of patients that have no residual disease whatsoever. We ask that you pray with us that this is the case.

On Tuesday we will meet with Aly's surgical oncologist and also her plastic surgeon. In those meetings we will hear how Aly is actually healing after the surgery. According to how the drains are acting there is a chance that Aly could get some of them removed if not all of them. Needless to say we are praying and believing also that Aly be able to get some of the drains removed if not all of them.

Thank you all for believing with us that God has healed Aly and that on Monday or Tuesday we get further confirmation of that.

Here is Aly in the spot she has occupied for the last few days. The note you see is from Anna Cate Miller.

Lord, give me faith like a child. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Genetic Test Results- Judge Norris- I'm not a Doctor

Well we got home last night about 11:45 and Aly was able to get in bed and sleep a good bit. Good rest is easily disrupted by 5:00am alarm clocks but the good thing about that was it meant a hydrocodone was on it's way so the pain was about to get better.

We got a great piece of news today, Aly's BART test came back negative. This is another genetic test they wanted to run. We will now have another Genetic test run which is called the P53.

Aly still had a good bit of pain today but she was able to move around a little more than yesterday. I assume that was a combination of feeling a bit better and being at home. When I did go to sleep last night I was absolutely terrified that I was going to have some crazy dream and reach over and accidentally hurt Aly's drains or chest.

If anyone comes into our house and enters our bathroom they will think we are trying to avoid the hospitals and have setup our own little care center. There have been some funny moments.

The cycle for us is:

1) Strip the drains, yes it is literally what it says. It is a small tube that drains the fluid from inside Aly's surgery sight. It collects in small plastic cylinders and we then empty them and measure the amount of each. My understanding is when each drain collects less than 30ml two days in a row Aly will be able to have it removed. So there is a goal. (2 times per day) There are 5 total drains.

2) Undress and clean actual surgery sight which is done with saline wash and then applying a healing cream, no this isn't the Bible in a bottle, this is a man made "healing" cream. (this is also done twice a day)

3) Pain, nausea and antibiotic pills every 4-6 hours.

Mrs. Robin Hutson brought us lunch today, chicken and rice. I was able to eat this. She also brought coconut bread, cake, both  of which were made with more healthy items than my body can tolerate at this time so Aly ate some but I had to abstain for health reasons.

Here is my funny moment of the day, or at least the funniest moment of the day.

This morning I had to go to WM city court to complete an eviction of a tenant. The court room was packed, and I am not kidding, packed. Mr. Ron Barfield who for any kid in WM that played sports knows very well runs the court room. When I came in he found me a seat, a nice cushioned one and we waited for the judge. He came in and got started and my case was the 4th one up. He called our name and I went to the stand and take a wild guess at what his first question was????

How's your wife? Yes, Judge Norris asked me how my wife was, in front of a full court room, I had prepared to defend an eviction but for him to know about Aly also, come on people. For 21 years I was Lee's brother, now I'm Mr. Aly. Great. Obviously this actually meant a lot as I look to the right of the judge and the clerks are all red eyed, they knew, I don't know how but as Aly's husband I get a front row seat to watch Aly affect people she doesn't know. By the way, Jerry Howell is a city Marshall also- I'm assuming he may be responsible for this leak, he is also a neighbor to us.

Last story, tonight after church I was headed to honor Aly by getting Orange Leaf, (she will find out about Orange Leaf when she reads this in the morning) which she loves but can't have, while on my way to Wal-Mart. I got a call from Mr. Larry Cooper, if you know Larry Cooper you know to say he is a wealth of information is a vast understatement. From the moment we found out about Aly I have talked with Mr. Larry almost every other day and sometimes more. Tonight was a funny one. He was asking me how Aly was doing, and yes it is more an asking of "are you taking care of her or do I need to come over there" kind of, how is Aly doing. He then says, straight up with out change of tone, "I think they let people out of the hospital too early, if something happens you better call and get help because you may have talents but medicine is not one of them". To that I reply, Yes Sir.

Ok, another one. Aly had her surgery Monday so her last shower was Monday morning at 4:15am. No matter how much love you have, people need showers each day and sometimes twice a day. Tonight Aly was able to get in the bath and her nurse helped bathe what could be bathed and not affect the drains and or surgery sight. That poor nurse, such a sacrifice.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Surprise surprise......

Well this will come as no surprise whatsoever but we are coming home today. I had left the room at about 12 to go eat lunch and waste some time when I get a call from Aly and she says that they are discharging her today.

She asked what I thought about that like there was any chance I would try and convince her otherwise. What a bunch of docs and nurses can't do I for sure am not going to even toy with. I do think Aly's pain is better and the nausea is not bad now.

Aly and I are sitting here waiting on the wheelchair and discharge papers and when that comes we will head out.

Jeremiah 29:14 I will restore your fortunes.

Joel 2:25 The lord says, " I will give you back what you lost to the swarming
Locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the Lord your God, who does miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced.

looking forward to home.

Monday, April 23, 2012

7 hours removed from surgery.

It has now been 7 hours since the surgery was completed. When Aly initially came in the post op room they brought her off the medicine. Don't think I would call what Aly had a reaction but as she was laying there her temperature went crazy. She was very very hot and therefor uncomfortable.

After about an hour of cold rags and ice she cooled down enough to sleep some. When you come out of surgery they want to make sure you are not nauseous and that the pain is not too severe. Each time Aly got close to being released to her own room she would feel nauseous which delayed her being moved. Needless to say once she realized that being nauseous was affecting her movement to colder more comfortable quarters you can rest assured that the next time they asked how she felt she said great. So around 6 we were able to get Aly to her own room which is great.

It is 60 degrees in here and Aly is asking for iced down rags. I got a weird feeling my pleather bed is going to be a cold place tonight.

They are trying to get some pain medicine in right now. They cant seem to take the edge off. If Aly is saying she is in pain, which she describes as ranging from 4-7 on a 1-10 scale then I would describe that as a Mack truck sitting on me.

Struggling right now with nausea and pain, please pray that this goes away so Aly can eat and drink and of course get some good rest tonight.

Bi-lateral Mastectomy- temporary Expanders

Aly is still back in surgery but will hopefully be out soon.

We got here this morning at 5:15 and were taken back like a herd to the pre-surgery room. This was the size of a small gym with about 25 different curtain divided "rooms" that they prep you for surgery in and then also wake you up after surgery. They took blood first thing, they then tried to start an iv, unsuccessfully 6 times. At that point the lady just said she would use the port to get medicine started and once they were in surgery they would get iv, since they were taking the port out.

The PA for Dr Babiera came in and administered more "dye" to help them locate the sentinel node on Aly's right side.

I was kicked out at this point and they took Aly back to surgery.

Dr. Babiera came out about 11:00 and said the surgery went well. Dr Babiera said that she tolerated the surgery really well and that Dr Villa was now doing his part. We will have information on the pathology next week. She felt positive about the right side and only took two lymph nodes. Dr. Babiera did not know how many lymph nodes were taken from right side but we should know that next week and also pathology for actual tissue that was removed.

All of the text and Facebook messages have been unreal. You will never know what life is given through a one sentence text. We love you guys and though you may not get a response that gives an accurate picture please know that it means the world to us. Aly will wake up with a phone that is full of texts and Facebook messages.

I will update at some point tonight to let you know how she is feeling.

Thank you again.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Change in plan for surgery..

Hey guys,

Just wanted to update you all on some changes for my upcoming surgery. After conferring with both my reconstructive surgeon and my regular surgeon, we all agreed to go ahead and have a bi-lateral mastectomy. It is no longer referred to as a double-mastectomy, but a bi-lateral mastectomy, with one side being prophylactic (preventative). We were planning on doing the other mastectomy this summer, but after discussing the risks/benefits, we agreed to go ahead and have them both removed at once.

There is a risk taking both breasts at once. If there was infection on either breast, radiation would be delayed, and this was initially the reason for doing the mastectomies one at a time. The risk of infection is very low and with my age and good health, they anticipate the risk to be low. If we waited on the right breast, we would have an additional surgery, which would be a risk as well. So, either way, there are risks, and we made the final decision to go ahead and have the bi-lateral, instead of the uni-lateral. So, a little change in plans, but I know that God knew this would be the case the whole time.

Also, this morning, I had a lymphnosentography (sp?) on my right breast. Back in October when I had my original mammogram, they saw some calcifications on my right breast that they wanted to monitor, but didn't find them highly suspicious. Now that we are doing the right mastectomy on Monday, Dr. Babiera wanted to make sure those calcifications are benign, so I was injected with a dye today in the area of the calcification. Then, I had a scan under my arm where the doctors can see the lymph nodes that the calcification is draining to. Dr. Babiera will take these lymph nodes out on the right as well to send off to pathology with the rest of my breast tissue and all my lymph nodes on the left. I know--that was a mouth full!

My surgery should take between 5 and 6 hours and I will check in for surgery around 5:15 on Monday morning. So, I should be out hopefully around 1:30.

Please pray for my doctors and the wisdom and skill they will need to perform the surgery successfully- to remove everything that needs to be removed and not remove the things that need to stay. Pray for my recovery and for all cancer or trace of cancer to be removed- and to NEVER return.

I am trusting the Lord wholeheartedly. I know He is worthy to be trusted and He constantly reminds me that He has this under control, but yes, fear creeps up. I am thankful to have a big part of this process behind me with having surgery. I just want to be deemed cancer free and know it will never come back. All of my hope is in Jesus. I know He has hand-picked these doctors for me to accomplish the full-realm of His healing.

Angie Richardson, a friend of mine and cancer survivor, has been encouraging others to fast and pray for me during my surgery on Monday. She is incredible. Many have agreed to join her and I am fasting and praying before my surgery. Please pray about this and if you feel led to do so as well, please do. I feel stupid asking or suggesting others to do this, but I can't be ashamed to ask for fervent prayer and fasting. I love the body of Christ!

Psalm 9:10 "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you."

I know the Lord and His name, which makes me trust Him. He will not abandon me as I search for Him, and He won't abandon you as you search Him on my behalf.

I love you all so very much. We will update on how surgery went... I will come out a few pounds lighter:) Glory to God for getting me this far in the process and for total healing!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Can we go back to the beach now, please?!

Josh and I had such a wonderful time at the beach. Our only complaint was that it wasn't long enough. The weather was perfect and the company was even better. Josh and I had a wonderful time, just the two of us. The West's were down at the beach at one point and so were the Worley's, so we also got to spend a little time with them too. It was so laid back and just wonderful.

I got more stares at the beach than ever before, and something tells me it wasn't my beauty! This shaved head turns more heads than I have ever seen! A couple of teenagers were making fun of me and I heard some kids talking about me, but it really doesn't bother me. They just probably don't realize my situation, and if they did, I'm sure they would feel, such is life. It was nice not having to worry about Racquel or a hat. To just walk out the door and just be me! That was great. Today, I also didn't wear Racquel to church this morning.  I was nervous about it, but it turned out to be ok. I was just me- no Racquel, no hat, just me:) I'm glad the first time of being in public with a shaved head is over and it should be much easier from here on out. Just bear with me as I go through some "boy cut" stages!

We left from the beach and headed to Houston and had my mammogram on Wednesday with my ultrasound and a bunch of tests on Thursday. A mammogram generally takes a day to get any kind of results back, so no immediate feedback on that. So, I had my ultrasound the next morning. The lady who did my ultrasound was the same lady who did my initial ultrasound, back in October, and she is really sweet. She remembered me and my long hair, so that was comforting to have a familiar face doing the ultrasound. She told me that the radiologist would be in shortly to do another ultrasound and go over the results. (the results are good for those that are anxious:))

Well, a radiologist-in-training walks in and introduces himself to me and I can tell he is very nervous. I had my hand over a towel that was on my chest, and I thought my heart was literally going to beat out of my chest. He explained who he was and then said, "Well it looks like the lymph node is a little smaller." and I can finally breathe. Everything about his body language and the way he was talking showed "bad news." I later assumed that he was a student and was probably just nervous to come in my room and practice being a "radiologist." But his nervous energy definitely transferred over to me. He said that his "boss" the main radiologist, would be in in a minute. After he left, I cried and thanked the Lord and prayed that the radiologist would be a personable person that would be kind and explain to me what she sees on the ultrasound- God answered my prayer with a big, "yes."

The radiologist that came in gave me a full explanation of what she saw in the ultrasound and showed me what she is looking for. No other radiologist went over things like she did with me, so that was very helpful. She was very positive and kind. All of the other radiologists that I have dealt with have not been this way. I have come to assume that they must be trained to show no emotion- whether positive or negative, since they are dealing with such serious diseases as cancer. I can imagine if they gave a patient any hint of positive or negative feedback it could have negative repercussions if it conflicted with other tests or other information that their oncologist might know. But it does not make it fun for a "cancer patient" when all you are wanting is that radiologist to come in with a huge smile on their face and say, "everything looks great!", but I don't know if they would even say that if everything looked perfect.

The radiologist basically confirmed what the student said in that my lymph node looks and measures smaller than before and looks more normal as well. It still is not completely normal looking on the ultrasound, but more normal than ever before. She showed me what is supposed to look like and what it did look like and answered many of my questions, so it was very helpful. I was just so thankful I was still responding to the chemotherapy. I have trusted that God was healing me and the chemotherapy was doing its job, but I hadn't had a "check up" by a test since February, so I was definitely relieved.

After the ultrasound, I headed to an appointment with a genetic counselor. Because of my age and the aggressive nature of the cancer, many would say that genetics must be involved. As many of you probably remember, I was tested for the main genetic test, which is called BRCA and tested negative for the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene, which is amazing news. Had I tested positive, I would have an increased chance of recurrence and an increased chance of developing ovarian cancer, but my test came back negative back in November, so I am SO thankful for that. During my meeting with my genetic counselor, she recommended 2 more genetic tests. One is called the P-53 test and the BART test. The P-53 test checks for a particular gene that has been proven to cause all different types of cancer. When one tests positive for this gene, it is basically just knowledge and doing things preventatively to help prevent a cancer from occurring. The BART test is a part of the BRCA test, but it is not included in the regular BRCA test. The normal BRCA test looks for sequences in the gene, while the BART test looks for chapters. (confusing, I know!) But, basically she recommended these 2 tests to just see if there was anything else that could have genetically played a part in me developing breast cancer. By looking at my family history, she did not see any patterns or anything that would make her think there was something genetically involved, but with my age, a genetic link is common.

I truly believe these tests will come back negative. As I've said before, I believe that God allowed me to have cancer to accomplish His purposes. I do not believe a "gene" played a part. I don't think I will have to worry about passing this down to my children or other implications of having a genetic condition. I just don't believe it. But, I was tested for the BART gene and should have the results to that in the next couple of weeks. Please pray for it to be NEGATIVE! I believe that it will...please, please believe and pray with me. We are waiting to take the P-53 test until the results of the BART come back.

After we met with the genetic counselor, Dr. Litton met with us for just a few minutes to basically echo the genetic counselor in getting tested for these genes. She is the head researcher of many genetic conditions, so she is very knowledgable about all of these tests. She also officially okayed the port to be removed during surgery:)

Then, we met with Dr. Babiera, my surgeon, and we had a lot of questions for her. She examined me and agreed to take the port out during surgery. We asked a lot of questions about what exactly she would be doing during surgery and what she would be looking for. The plan is to take all of my left breast tissue out, as well as my lymph nodes. She will also be looking at other lymph nodes closer to my collar bone and if they look suspicious, she will take those out as well. I am praying and believing that she will not have to take anything more out than required. Ultimately, I am praying that everything looks completely normal during surgery. Please pray this with me.

About a week after surgery, we should have the results back from the pathology of the breast tissue and lymph nodes. Apparently in the breast cancer world, this is referred to as the "burden." 20-40% of cases come back completely clean of cancer after chemotherapy, and the other 60-80% of cases have some sort of burden left (the cancer that is left). A burden is ok, as long as it is low. It is when it is a high burden in which other treatment needs to be done in case the cancer may not be contained in the area in which is was removed. So, it is ok to have a little burden left, but I am praying that no cancer will be found in the tissue and lymph nodes removed. I want to have unwavering faith in this. I know God will heal me either way, but I am praying that the cancer will be completely gone before surgery.

After my meeting with Babiera, I headed to participate in a research study that will eventually help those that plan on having reconstructive surgery. They will take 3-D pictures of me before, during, and after reconstruction to give future patients an idea of what they will look like after reconstruction. I was happy to participate in this study, because it would be something that would have helped me a ton. Even though it has no direct benefit to me, I was happy to do it and to know it will help others.

After that, I went to have my blood taken for the BART test and some other viles of blood taken for another research study. Josh's parents came to Houston for my appointments and it was great to spend some time with them, even though I had a pretty packed day on Thursday. We headed home and got in late on Thursday.

So, tomorrow will be a week from my surgery. Wow- that's crazy. It will be here so soon. I will have all my pre-op appointments this Thursday, which include blood work, an EKG, chest and lat X-rays, doc appt with my reconstructive surgeon, oncological surgeon, and anesthesiologist. It will be a packed day, but not a super interesting day- just doing protocol type stuff before my surgery on Monday, the 23rd.

So, our plan is to leave on Wednesday for my appointments on Thursday. We think we are going to stay until my surgery on Monday. We really want to come home before surgery, but it just doesn't make much sense to drive back to just head back on Sunday. We love our home so much. I just wish we could actually live in our home! We don't feel settled yet, as there is much more to do around the house and we just want to live here. But, soon enough, we will:) I am hoping to come home the Tuesday after my surgery on Monday. I just have to stay in the hospital overnight on Monday and then I am free. Dr. Babiera suggested staying until Wednesday, but once again, I am ready to be home. So, we will see how I feel and hopefully I can just come home on Tuesday.

Thank you to all of you that continue to message, text, and call us. As time goes on, we know others' lives go on. As ours stood still, others lives keep on moving, and we understand that. So, for those who continue to encourage us, THANK YOU. My journey is far from over and those who realize that, thank you. There are still many days when we struggle. God is our stronghold- our rock and fortress. I will rest in his sanctuary forever- safe under the shelter of His wings- where the enemy cannot come close to me. I imagine myself scared and running from the enemy, crying to the Lord for help. Then I see my Savior and run to his arms and I am safe. I crawl under the Lord's wings, and I am completely safe and sheltered. All fear is gone. He is my protection and comfort- the ultimate healer. I am so thankful. Our joy is coming...soon, very soon:)

Psalm 61:2-4

"From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemy cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary beneath the shelter of your wings!"

This week, the Lord spoke to me through a verse in Exodus. It is when the Lord has told Moses to take  the Israelites to the promised land and Moses is questioning how he is going to be able to do all of this.
And the Lord says in verse chapter 33 verse 14, "I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest--everything will be fine for you."

As I read this, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, "Aly, everything will be fine for you." I cried during my quiet time and praised the Lord for him speaking to me. Just as he personally went with Moses, He personally goes with me and tells me everything will be fine.

Love you..remember to pray that BART test comes back negative and that cancer is gone before surgery. Thank you for being faithful to me!! Enjoy some pictures below of the great time we had at the beach.

This was at dinner one night

Our last day on the beach:(

We got to spend time with the Worley's/ Hinton's. The next are some pictures of some of our best friends', Jason and Alicia's babies--I LOVE Jackson!

Can't forget my sweet girl, Brookelyn. This girl is so much fun and I LOVE her so stinking much!

Ready to go back already!

Monday, April 9, 2012

He is Risen!

Happy Easter, everyone. As I think about all that Christ did for me, on the day He died, and then the day He rose again, I am overwhelmed. On the day He died, He bore the unfathomable death so that I might live. He bore my sins, my sickness, my transgressions (law violations), my iniquities (immorality), and my CANCER!

Matthew 8:17 says, "He himself took our infirmities and our sicknesses." There is no need for me to bear it. I must give it to Him. After all, he has borne it already. It is up to me to walk in faith.

God has redeemed us from the curse.

Galatians 3:13, 14 "Chist has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus."

Just as God passed over the homes of the Israelites that placed the blood on the entrance to their homes, He passes over me. I deserve death, but because I am covered in Christ's precious blood, I am passed over. Praise the Lord! It really is overwhelming to think about. And when Jesus rose, he fulfilled every prophesy about Him rising again and renewed people's faith. As if He needed to prove anything, He did just that. He lived up to everything He said He was and all that God would do through Him. Jesus' resurrection is the cornerstone of the Gospel!

As our Pastor has been saying, Christ's death was a sacrifice for us- for our very lives- here on earth and in heaven. The way we live is our sacrifice to God. Sacrifices are hard- they aren't easy. However, we can rejoice in our struggles of sacrifice because we know we are honoring God.

James 1: 2-4 "Dear brothers and sister, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."

What sacrifices are you making for God? If I'm not currently struggling with something in regards to living for Christ, I need to check myself. It should be a sacrifice and I should be struggling. I want my life to be an offering for Him!

Hope you all have a wonderful Easter. I pray you don't just go through the motions today but examine your heart and what Easter means for all of us. Below I have posted the video that Josh made me on the day of my last chemo treatment. Enjoy:) Also, prayer warriors, please pray so very hard for me this week as I have my ultrasound and mammogram on Wednesday and Thursday. Cancer-free tests in Jesus' name. Please be consistent and persistent in your prayers.

Love you all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Well, I had my last chemo treatment on Friday! YAYYYY!!!! Praise the Lord! It was a day I will never forget. Even though it was my last chemo treatment, I still have about 3 weeks until the chemo is mostly out of my system, so I am looking forward to having a poison-free body:)... Even though I know Jesus was healing me with that chemo...just one of the avenues He used and is using.

Josh, my mom, and Ms. Renea and I headed down to Houston and had a great time at the Stanfill's on Thursday night, and then we were off early on Friday morning! It was great to have my mom and mom-in-law with me on this special day. They are the best:) I woke up super early Friday morning to a video that my husband made for throughout my journey, scriptures, and words from him. It was so special. When I figure out how to post it on here, I will. I am still debating whether to share it, because it was such a sweet, sacred thing, but I think I will in a few days. I have the best husband in the world- seriously, I do. No question or debate about it! I DO!!!

On Friday, I had blood work and a really fast visit with Dr. Litton. My blood work looked great and we had a good, short visit with Dr. Litton. She examined me again and still really couldn't feel the lymph node under my arm!!:) I am ready for my ultrasound on April 12th to show just how normal and cancer-free that lymph node looks. I am learning more and more that just so much can be seen through tests. It is not until actual surgery that the doctors can truly know what is in my body, or what was at one time in my body. My surgery date is still scheduled for Monday, April 23rd.

We found out a potentially exciting bit of information that we weren't expecting. There is a chance that my port will be removed during my surgery on the 23rd. We asked Dr. Litton when it would be removed and she said that Dr. Babiera could "pop" that out during surgery. I'm not too sure about the "pop" part, but it was exciting to know it could be taken out. It really doesn't bother me any more, but it will be great to have another foreign thing taken out of my body. We do not have the final word on that, but I am assuming that once we talk to Dr. Babiera, we will know when the port will officially be taken out, but I thought it would be in much longer, so that was a great potential surprise. She once again brought up babies in the future and stressed the importance that I undergo many different tests over the next year or so before we start a family. Regardless, to have a doctor on board with us and our future family continues to be encouraging.

We waited a VERY long time to get chemo, but finally went back shortly after noon. I stayed awake as long as I could, but passed out after the "A" part of my FAC chemo. I woke up to Josh saying my name and saw my best friends standing over my bed. Bring on the waterworks!!!Yes, they drove to Houston to just see me ring my bell and love on me. These 3 girls (Kelly, Ainsley and Margot) have been LIFE to me. They have prayed and prayed over me, read scripture with and over me, preached to me:), loved me, and have believed nothing less than God's healing over my entire body. I can't explain it, but these girls are literally medicine to me. They were with me for my first chemo and there with me for my last. You cannot (it seriously is impossible) have better friends than these. Josh knows that when I need a pick-me-up or encouragement, all I need to do is talk to one of them. There a few things better than faithful, encouraging, Spirit-filled, funny, Godly friends! They are like Elisha was to Elijah--

"And Elijah said to Elisha, "Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, "As the Lord Lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. "2 Kings 2:2

They will not leave me. They stand by me and stand on nothing less than the flawless word of God.

Proverbs 27:17
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."

So, after chemo, I RANG THE BELL!!:) Josh,  my 3 best friends, my mom and Ms. Renea gathered around while I rang the bell! It is still surreal that chemo is done forever. We walked out into the lobby after ringing the bell and everyone was clapping for me. It was amazing. I was of course kind of out of it because I just had chemo, but what I can remember was really special. I got to visit with my favorite girls for just a while, then we headed home.

Chemo being done is wonderful, but it is bittersweet because chemo has been somewhat of a comfort to me since October. I routinely have my body infused with it, and I no longer will, which is great, but it is an adjustment in my mind as well. Something I have been taking that has been aiding in killing my cancer--I will no longer be taking. I have complete faith and belief God is healing me- chemo or no more chemo, but it is a weird feeling. God has given me much peace about this, but it is a definite adjustment. I got used to doing things a certain way and now things are changing--but bring on the change- I am ready. Just wanted to be a little transparent...

Josh and I are SO excited because dear friends of ours from our church offered up their beach condo for us to stay during my school spring break. The timing could not be any more perfect. We are so looking forward to some quality time spent together and some sun:) With my surgery coming up on the 23rd, it is a great vacation to take before I take the next big step in my healing journey. I am so thankful for this trip and a little break from school and work. We will head back mid-week though because of my appointments in Houston. I will have a mammogram, ultrasound, meeting with genetic counselor, and an appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Babiera, next Thursday. Please be praying for GREAT results from my tests. We will also get some more questions answered regarding what to expect in surgery etc...

Here are some pictures from my last chemo and make sure to scroll to the bottom to see the video of me ringing the bell! The Lord is so good to me. He is faithful.

                                              This is of me and my doctor, Dr. Litton.

This is a picture of my and my first nurse, Amiee... LOVE her!

                                     My WONDERFUL best friends!!!! Margot, Ainsley, and Kelly

                                                     Getting ready to ring the bell!!

With Josh, my mom, and Ms. Renea after #16!

Thumbs up! I'm done!!

Here's the video.