Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Radiation begins tomorrow!

So, the simulation went great! It really didn't hurt very badly, and I was able to get my arm in the position they needed me to get in for the simulation. My left arm is bent and goes behind my head into a mold that they made for me. My entire left side of my chest, ribs, and collar bone is marked up with different color sharpies that helps guide the radiation. You have to be very careful to not wash  off the markers, and I was given strict orders to try my best to keep it all on. This is very difficult! I got marked up on Thursday and the next time I will get marked again is on Wednesday. This means no baths and when I take showers, I have to make sure I don't turn forward very much- crazy huh? They will re-mark me every day, so the toughest time to not wash off is on the weekends, and in my case, it just happens to be extra long because of the memorial weekend holiday.

Thank you all for praying that the simulation would go well and that it actually happened! Like I said, Dr. Strom was not thrilled with my movement and did not give me completely confidence that we would be able to go through with the simulation, but we did and everything went great. I stretched out my arm a ton before the simulation, and that seemed to help too. So, I start radiation tomorrow at 5:45p.m. We will leave tomorrow morning and will be in Houston until July 11th. Josh will come home a few times and I will probably come home a weekend or two, but no schedule on that..just kind of playing it by ear.

Still, no sign of lymphedema.. praise the Lord. Please keep praying I don't develop that. We also have a whole new list of prayer concerns with radiation starting tomorrow. It is pretty scary as they go through everything that "could" and some things that "probably will" happen during radiation. They are radiating my left side and of course, my heart is close by my chest on that side as well as my lung. There is always a chance that these can be radiated, along with my esophagus. So, there are risks there...please pray the laser beam touches only the places that it needs to touch! When they radiate a certain part close to my heart, I have to hold my breath for a certain time period that literally gets my heart out of the way of the radiation beam. It is amazing all that they can do, but kind of freaky too. Just for my simulation, there were like 10 people in there setting me up. At one point, the robe fell off of my right side and revealed my right breast and a technician said, "oh, we're going to try and keep you modest"...haha... that's hilarious....at this point, I feel like everyone and their momma has seen me!! I just laughed to myself, but of course he was just trying to make me feel better.

The radiation itself should only last between 10-20 minutes, but the entire set up start to finish, should last between 30-45 minutes. Once a week, I will meet with my doctor, and he will look at my skin and assess what all has been done. Dr. Strom is so nice... it is almost hard to take him seriously, because he is just so nice. He definitely makes you feel very taken care of, and he is very confident in what he does. We also have some friends that have used Dr. Strom, and they have been very pleased with his work.

So, other than the beam hitting parts of my body that we don't want it to, there are 2 main side effects from the radiation- fatigue and skin reactions. I praying that I will have little to no fatigue and no skin damage. Dr. Strom has said that he wants to see a skin reaction to show that the radiation is indeed killing cells, but I am praying so very hard that my skin does not become damaged irreversibly. To remind you all, this will all play a part in my final reconstruction. If my skin reacts well (which they are anticipation it won't, because it typically doesn't) they will just exchange my tissue expanders for permanent implants. This surgery and recovery is said to not be very bad, because you have already gone through the painful part with the expansion; however, if my skin reacts as they think it will, my skin will not be healthy enough to hold an implant; therefore, they will do what is called a "lat flap" in which they rotate my back muscle forward to get healthy tissue to hold the implant. I've heard some horror stories about this, and I believe it is a minimum 5 day hospital stay. I want whatever is supposed to happen, but I also know that I can pray about anything, so I am praying!!! Please pray with me about this. Obviously, this is strictly cosmetic and has nothing to do with "cancer" per se, so in the realm of things, it is small, but it will be another big surgery if it has to happen. As we have all seen, nothing is impossible for God! Please remember I was told that during chemo I would feel deathly ill, gain weight, and have acne. I was also told that theultrasounds still showed abnormal, cancerous looking lymph nodes and that it would be rare that my pathology would come back clean....BUT I rarely felt sick, no weight gain, no acne, and cancer-free pathology!!! I am continually in awe of my father.

I am by no means comparing myself to Mary or Elizabeth, but over these last almost 8 months, I have found myself relating with them. With Elizabeth because she was told she could not have children, and with Mary, as a young girl who had to trust God completely when she was so scared. 

Luke 1: 36- 38 "What's more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she's already in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true." And then the angel left."
 Nothing is impossible with God. ---It's one thing to say it and believe it-- a complete other thing to have it happen in you and in your body. God is so worthy to be praised and his miracles are everywhere and available to us. We must believe.

Josh took out my final drain on Saturday..it didn't hurt at all, and he did a great job. I feel free!!! The timing worked out so well. They are all out right before radiation, which is what needed to happen. God is so good to me. I've heard of people who had drains taken out too early and then had fluid and swelling in their arms. With having my drains in so long, I know that the chance of extra fluid build up in low. So thankful to have a conservative plastic surgeon in Dr. Villa.

I only have one more expansion on my right breast, and then I am done expanding on that side. I have had pain in my back and chest this week from the expansion last week, so I am going to wait until next week to get my final expansion. With me being at MDA every day, I can pretty much pick and choose when to get expanded since I am there, so that is great:) Please continue to pray that the pain in my chest and back will cease.

I will be at MDA each morning for 6 weeks to get my radiation. 5 days a week for 6 weeks. We are so blessed to be staying at the Stanfills for 6 weeks. They literally have become our second family and home. This process would be so much different if we were staying at a hotel or an apartment for 6 weeks. So thankful.

So it is Tuesday around lunch, and I have so much more to do today: get dissertation stuff together, PACK, finish washing clothes, tidy up house, pick up GA check, pay ULM parking fee, return things to target, pick up water, pay bills, send off cards, get stamps, clean out garage, learn how to juice, return some things to just like you, drop off Josh to pick up vehicle, clean out car, call some clients...and much more! :)Thankfully, I have a bunch of energy today!! Ready for today and thankful to be able to get all of these things done before I leave. Below are some pics of what radiation will look like and my last drain taken out!

This is what I am laying on and will go through for the radiation. The blue looking pillow was the thing I laid on and the air was taken out of it to create a mold for me to lay on.

This was after my last drain was taken out! Thank you Jesus! 
I will continue to update at least weekly and post some pictures of us here in Houston. I'm starting the last phase of my cancer treatment, forever! Thank you Jesus- my healer, my provider, my comforter!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Radiation is 1 week away!!!

Hey guys,

It feels like a while since I have updated you all, although it has only been a week. Last Tuesday, my mom drove me down to Houston to get expanded and to possibly get some drains out. Well, I still had the last 2 drains in until this morning, and I got expanded a 100 cc's last week. We met with Dr. Villa, and his P.A. Alisha, who I like so much. I got one of my drains out today though! I still have one left that should come out this weekend. Josh will actually be able to take it out. He watched the P.A. today, and she showed him how to do it! It will be so wonderful when these drains are out. It will be nice not having 2 large balloons on my stomach:)

The expansions last week- oh my goodness- it hurt so badly! At the time I got expanded, my chest just felt really tight, but as we left, the pain really set in. The pain was so tight in my chest. The expander is placed behind my chest muscle so, when it gets filled up, my muscle is being moved. So, my chest hurts really badly, but my back is the main thing that has just throbbed and throbbed. We got in the car to head home last week and I started to feel so nauseous. I ended up throwing up and was just in a lot of pain. I felt much better after I threw up.. I think it was just the extreme pain in my back with the combination of the car ride...ooo, it was terrible. My mom gave me a good back massage, which made me feel much better. It wasn't until about Friday of last week that my back and chest really started to feel better. I got a professional massage on Saturday and that was amazing. My chest is just still so sore and tight.

Today marks a month since my surgery. That is hard to believe. I, of course feel much better than I did a month ago, but I continue to be amazed at how much further I have to go to feel normal. The littlest thing like a sneeze or cough can bring me to tears as my chest expands. I am just trying to take it day by day and I know in a year's time, all of this will seem like a memory from long ago:)

Josh and I headed to Houston yesterday for appointments that I had today and will have tomorrow. I had an appointment with my plastic surgeon this morning, where they expanded my right breast and deflated my left, since they need a flat surface for radiation. After that, we walked outside, grabbed some lunch, then headed over to meet with my radiation doctor, Dr. Strom. In that meeting, we discussed what all will happen in radiation and he answered any questions we had. Tomorrow, I have an appointment that is a simulation. They will mark me with special paint to guide the radiation beams, as well as make a "custom-made bean bag" that my arm and neck with rest on as I will be in somewhat of an odd position during radiation. I have to have my arm up so they can radiate under my armpit, and it is oh so hard to hold it up. According to how well I do in the simulation tomorrow, we will schedule my radiation( hopefully to begin next week). Dr. Strom didn't seem very pleased about my range of motion, but he also didn't sound like it was too terrible...so hopefully we will be able to do simulation tomorrow and start radiation next week. Above all, we want to do the radiation when it is best for my body and life-long health.
Many people have asked me why I am having radiation when my pathology came back clear. Well, it is strictly to make sure that every cancer cell is killed so that my chances of reoccurrence are as low as possible. There is always a chance that a single cancer cell is still hanging out in my chest area, and even though that chance is small with my awesome pathology results, the radiation is just there for being extra careful. Taking my age and stage of cancer initially into consideration, the doctors recommend doing the full course of treatment to make sure I live a very, very long time....yes, please!
"The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who know my name. When they call on me, I will answer them. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life, and give them salvation." Psalm 91: 14-16
So, if things go well tomorrow, I should start radiation next week. I am ready for this next adventure. 6 weeks seems like a long time, but I really feel like it will go by quickly. Please if you come to the Houston area this summer, contact me!!! I would love to grab lunch or hang out with any of you! So thankful and excited to be staying at the Stanfills. They are the absolute best and the biggest blessing to Josh and me.

My emotions have been pretty crazy over this last week. When my back is hurting or my chest is hurting, fears can creep up. Then the next day, God reminds me of my complete healing, and then I feel bad for ever doubting. My poor husband probably feels like he lives with someone with multiple personalities! I am reminded that when my head doubts or worries, my heart stays the same. God's voice is way louder than the devil's who tries to kill and destroy me at every chance. But God has chosen to give me life- abundant life. That is the voice that is louder above all others. I am healed, I am whole!!! Affliction will not rise up a second time. I believe, claim and confess this over and over.

As of right now, my back is still feeling much better. After being deflated on my left side today, I have felt much relief. So one more weekend in West Monroe, as we head back after my hopeful simulation tomorrow. So grateful to start the last step of my treatment...what God has started in me, He will complete. So thankful for all of you who have taught me to trust in God's word. Many of us do not know God's will...I of course do not. But this is what I do know..His word is His will, so I can rest assured that what He says, He wills to do. So, I do not question His word, wondering if it is God's will "for me." I know His word is His will, and I do not have to wonder about that. Thank you Jesus! Many of His promises are conditional, and I must do my part for them to come to pass. What a challenge...but here I am, taking it head on, today and every day! Love you!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Expansions and Drains, Expansions and Drains!!

Yes, my life is revolving around expansions and drains! We will head to Houston this afternoon for an appointment tomorrow morning. I should get expanded again, and possibly some drains out, although from my measurements, it may be a while more on these drains. The good news is that I got out 2 drains last week! One of my drains stopped working and another was draining the required amount, so I got out 2! I now just have 2 drains left- One on the right and one on the left. Although, I have gotten more used to them now, I am ready for them to be out! They pull and aggravate my skin, and of course concealing them under clothing is near to impossible. But, I assume they will be out by next week! That is what I am praying and hoping for.

Last Thursday, I also got expanded another 75 cc's. This time really hurt after I got expanded...it literally feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. My back hurt extremely bad after the expansion, although it is much, much better. Please pray for my chest and back to be as free from pain as possible! Tomorrow, I will get expanded again and am praying that my back and chest do not hurt as bad as last week. Thank goodness for prayer, heating pads, and advil!:)

My mom is taking me down to Houston today and took me down last week, so that Josh could stay and get some work done. Please pray that God will continue to provide for us and help us as we transition back into "normal" life. We have tried our best to keep our lives as normal as possible, but it is an adjustment to try to go back to "normal", even though life will never be quite "normal" again. We are seeking God for guidance in our work and school and that he would give us the strength and endurance we need to do what he would have us do. We know He has great plans for us. We want to be good stewards of all He has done for us.

We had a great mother's day yesterday with our moms. We have both been blessed with wonderful mothers and God was so good to me yesterday. He gave me reminders all day long that I will one day be a mother. I truly have no doubt. I will share of these amazing reminders he showed me down the road...it is truly amazing what He is doing in me. I am in awe...

This is a verse that Josh has held on to and I have believed as well:

Psalm 128:3 "Your wife will be like a fruitful vine, flourishing within your home. And look at all those children! There they sit around your table as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees."

2 weeks from this Wednesday, I will be starting my 6 weeks of radiation! Until then, I need to get fully expanded and be able to lift my left arm over my head. It is still very tight and not quite there, so please pray that I can get fully expanded by then and that my arm can move over my head. Also, please pray that I will never get lymphedema. Lymphedema is something that happens to women who have had a lymph node dissection (like I did), which means that all of your lymph nodes were removed under one or both of your arms. Your lymph nodes contain fluid, and once those lymph nodes are taken out, many times women will develop lymphedema, in which the fluid has no where to go, so it collects in their arms. They can become very swollen and painful. There is no medical "cure" for lymphedema, other than managing the pain and swelling. I have had no sign of lymphedema, and I believe that I never will, but it of course is a concern. Many people develop it by picking up heavy things, so needless to say, my husband (aka Sergeant Josh) has been picking up everything for me that is over about 2 pounds and scolding me when he sees me trying to pick up and clean:). I am trying to see the good side of this, in that I am not having to do much work, but it has been hard feeling like I can't help as much around the house or pick up things or kids like I used to. I know there is a healthy balance of picking things up and I will educate myself on all of this, but this is just another specific thing we can all pray for.

Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful."

Also, I just want to thank the people from my church that brought me food after my surgery. Our church is amazing. As I have shared on here, I am eating very healthy, so to have fresh, healthy food brought to my house for 2 weeks- simply amazing. I didn't have to think about it and got to see so many sweet faces and eat some great, healthy food... I love you all so much.

Oh, and we are still waiting on the P-53 genetic test results, so please continue praying that these results will be negative. I am so sure that they will be. I will let you know as soon as we get those back.

Some pictures are posted below..please don't look if you have a weak stomach. Josh took a picture of some of my drains. I wasn't so sure about posting some of these, but Josh thought it would be helpful to give you all an idea of the drains and how they work. Hopefully this will help you all get a better picture of what I have been carrying ...

This is when I had 4 drains. This is one less than what I started with.

Modeling my four drains...so attractive

Here you can see where the drains go in. Yes, this is a picture of my stomach that I am putting for the world to see..ugh, but wanted to give you an idea of where the drains were on the sides of my stomach. This was just last week...only 2 drains left- one on the left side and one on the right. The drains go in on the upper sides of my stomach.

Here is the one that is still in on the right side of my ribs. You can see next to it where the other drain used to be. On my right side, I had 3 of these. Crazy, right?!

Here's to expansions, more drains taken out, and less pain! Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

On the road again...

Hey guys! So, we are on the road again...we were hoping to get my expansions and drains taken out in West Monroe, but we have decided to just continue with getting all of my medical needs done at MD Anderson. They are the ones familiar with my treatment, and that is where we feel comfortable:) So, we will just have a few more trips to Houston. I counted it up the other day. We have traveled to and from Houston over 25 times in 7 months time. Isn't that crazy? I got my oil changed about 3 weeks ago and Josh got my oil changed a few days ago. I felt sure he forgot I already had it changed, but no, it was time for a change!! So crazy...I don't say that to complain, but I've just begun to realize how much traveling we have done. So thankful we are able to travel though. I have heard of others that want to get treated at MD Anderson, but live too far away, or don't have proper transportation, so we are blessed!

 Tomorrow will be a pretty simple day in that I am just getting expanded and hopefully getting a drain or 2 out. I was able to get one drain removed last week, but I still have 4 in. I am so ready to get these drains out, but I know they must come out at the right time. My sleeping has gotten pretty rough, as I can't get comfortable because of the tightness in my chest and the drains...so please pray for better sleep. In the scheme of things, this is a small issue, but you just feel better when you sleep better! And poor Josh has about an inch of the bed to sleep on because I take up most of the bed with all my pillows. So, needless to say, sleep has been pretty tough for the both of us. Outside of the sleep and pain, I am doing better day by day. I am having back pain..probably because the way I have been sleeping, but please, please pray that this will go away. Satan tries to lie to me about different symptoms, but I rebuke him and put him in is place. If you only knew the spiritual warfare that goes on in this little girl's mind! God always wins. Vctory is won. Praise the Lord!!

 I talked to my nurse today on the phone, and she said it could take up to a year to get to feeling like myself again. Typically, patients begin to feel better 4 to 6 months after surgery. Great, right? She explained to me that my body has just basically been through the ringer..to have chemo flowing through it for 6 months and then a radical surgery...so that made me feel better in knowing I feel as I should feel. I just wish the time table was just shorter. Everythng is relative now that I'm cancer-free. And oh yeah, I can officially use that term now. I asked my nurse when I would be deemed cancer-free by tests and such, and she said that my pathology is what deemed me cancer free. She explained that I wouldn't have any body scans unless I was having any persistent symptoms that occurred. At that point, would have scans(which will never happen, in Jesus' name..the persistent symptoms part). She explained that I will not have any full- body scans until closer to the time of trying to have a baby. So, I'm cancer free. Yep, that's me.

 We also have a date for the potential start of radiation- May 30th! Pending that all of my expansions are done by that date, as well as proper arm movement, I will start radiation on the 30th. So, until then, I will get expanded on both sides, and deflated on the left before the start of radiation. I will also be moving there for 6 weeks. I'm really looking forward to being in Houston. I will hopefully get some good alone time with God, as well as working on my dissertation. I'm so thankful to the ULM MFT department working with me on making my classes work... I will be attending a dissertation seminar class via video feed. So thankful and relieved for that. I am DONE with my 1st year of PhD school!!! What a year it has been! I turned in my final paper and presentation today and am so relieved to have all of my school stuff done. I am looking forward to the week next week where I can fully focus on recovery without the thought of papers needing to be done. I am SO happy to be done....for a while:)

 So, we will continue to make trips to Houston weekly until May 30th, which by the way is only 3 weeks away!! Craziness ! God is so faithful. I had a client ask me today if I was nervous aout radiation, and that was truly the first time I really thought about it. I told her that I am slightly nervous, but I'm mostly excited. It brings an end to my cancer/ healing journey. It is the final step in the cancer treatment process. Although I still have a long road of reconstruction, that is cosmetic and not related to treatment itself. So, I am kind of looking forward to it. A time to reflect on what all God has done for me and all He will continue to do. I love Jesus so much.

 One more thing...I walked in the relay for life walk this past Friday and that was a neat experience. I got to meet Tabbby Soignier, who is a girl in our area that just fought cancer and won, and that was wonderful to get to visit with her. She is about my age and we walked the survivor lap together. I think because my news was still so fresh, it hadnt really hit me that I was a "survivor", but it is pretty amazing. I have survived death. All glory to my God. I also got to visit with Donna Tarver, who is also a recent breast cancer survivor that has helped me so much. It was a great event, and Josh and I want to get more involved next year. It was fun for kids too. We look forward to the day we can take our kids to an event like that and get to tell and re-tell God's story of saving me. Josh and I love you all so much. I know there is a way to reply to the blog comments, and I will be figuring that out soon. We can't say thank you enough for the words of encouragement you all give to us. I remember when Josh first started the blog, and I wasn't so sure about sharing my life with anyone that chose to read, and now I am so thankful.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I am healed.. I am whole!

Wow...so much can happen in one week! Last week at this time, I was still in much pain from surgery, and now I am feeling SO much better. It has been one crazy, painful, amazing week.

I am so indebted to those who have spent time on their knees on my behalf. I literally could burst into tears at any moment when I think of someone praying for me. It is just so humbling. I had my closest friends and family come to my surgery, which I know was such a sacrifice...Josh, my mom, Mr. Joey, Jessica, Mr. Terry, Ms. Renea, Kelly, Ainsley, Margot, Thomas, Jonathan, Arvil, Cheryl, Ms. Tammy... I love you all so very much and I am the most blessed woman on the face of the earth. Seriously. I am..don't even try arguing with me!

Surgery was much tougher than I expected, but realizing what all I had done makes more sense to how I have been feeling. I had all my breast tissue removed in both breasts, 2 lymph nodes removed on my right side, 17 lymph nodes removed on my left, 5 drains put in under my breasts and armpits, and 2 tissue expanders put behind my chest muscles. So, I am realizing that it is ok for me to be feeling not-so-great:) I know Josh already explained what I struggled with, but the heat was intense!!! I was so hot and nauseous after surgery.. I hate to feel like a bad patient, but that is what I was. I couldn't get comfortable and nothing would make me feel better. Josh was so patient with me, as he iced down rags and put them all over my body. That was the only way I got relief! But, that is much better now, thank the Lord. I still have a lot of tightness in my chest and limited range of motion in both arms, but that is getting better too...this was just a crazy-involved surgery!

Josh has been the best nurse ever. Emptying my drains, bathing me, cleaning my incisions...He is amazing. I couldn't do all of this...he will definitely be the diaper-changer in this family:) I can't take grossness! He sets his alarm to give me my medicine and sets all my pillows up at night just perfectly. I am SO taken care of. Just had to give him a little shout out:) Of course, I think he's good at everything, but he would have been an excellent nurse!

So, on to the amazing, miraculous, exciting, unbelievable, incredible, there-arent-enough-awesome-words-to-describe- news!! No evidence of disease!!!!! We did not know whether we would find out the results on Monday or Tuesday, because we didn't know if the pathology would be back or not yet. When Dr. Litton and the other doctor walked in that room with the biggest smiles on their faces, we were in awe. When she said the news was perfect, Josh and I immediately burst into tears. She explained that she typically would go through the results and talk about possible clinical trials or things we needed to do, but since nothing came back, there was nothing to talk about. She explained that because I'm "triple negative", if anything had come back, she would have had more of a concern about reoccurrence. Because it was clear, she of course is still concerned, but not nearly as concerned as she would have been. Josh and I bawled and she continued talking and as our new friend, Brandi, said, it was like Charlie Brown"wa wa wa"... I don't remember much, but it boiled down to her saying, "You are now one of my follow ups!" Dr. Litton is so great and she oozes confidence. Her eyes welled up and just gave me the biggest hug. She literally was giddy. The entire moment (which was only about 10 minutes) was literally one of the best of my life. Obviously, because of the good news, but the atmosphere in that room involved 4 truly ecstatic people. It was fun to see 2 doctors so excited. The other doctor that she brought in was the doctor that initially wrote my scripts, so it was special for him as well. Oh, and Dr. Litton asked if she could call Dr. Morrow to tell her the news, and of course said yes!! I wish I could give her the biggest hug. I know she is thrilled for me. I keep pinching myself---this really did just happen!!! I expected my healing, but to have it happen---indescribable.

Oh, and Dr. Litton said that I wouldn't see her again for 3 months! Yes, 3 months! Craziness, right?! I am excited about this, but it is kind of like someone taking your security blanket away. I haven't gone longer than 3 weeks without seeing an oncologist, and now you're telling me I won't see you for 3 months?! Great, but kind of scary/crazy...I have no reason to fear, but it is kind of like ending chemo...bittersweet, when almost 7 months of your life have been seeing a doctor almost weekly. By one pathology report, everything changes..wow,wow, wow! I will cast down all imaginations, fears, and thoughts that do not line up with the word of God.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down all imaginations, every high things that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corin. 10:4-5

Josh felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off of him yesterday. I don't think it has really hit me yet. This morning I had a joy that I don't know if I have ever felt in my life, so in that way I feel different, but it is just surreal. God has literally surrounded me as a shield. I am so grateful..and humbled..and honored.

So, today, we met with Dr. Babiera and Dr. Villa. We all have really gotten to know each other better, and I feel so close with all of my doctors. It is amazing the bond that can form so quickly. I am typically one that takes a while to feel close to someone..my love language is time, and it is a quite odd feeling to feel so close to people so quickly. I guess when your life is in the balance and these people are playing a part in your healing, time goes out the window:) Anyways, Dr. Babiera was so thrilled at my news. She said I was healing wonderfully. We asked her if there was anything else she could tell us, since Dr. Litton told us so little (because everything was clear) and she said, "No, there's no way it could be better. This is the best we could hope for." She gave me the biggest hug and you could just feel the love in the room! I know I probably sound so goofy and sappy, but Josh will back me up!!!:) A mixture of God's presence and just love! It was wonderful. She said that she would see me again in 6 weeks. Once again, craziness to not think about seeing her for 6 weeks! I am so blessed with the best doctor team.
 She told us last time how sad she was to remove my breasts and how much she enjoys talking with us. She hugged me so tight this visit and asked me to bring her a picture of us together that she wanted. So grateful for that. Can't believe I won't see her for 6 weeks... It is literally like once you get a good report like mine, there is no need to see them. They treat sick people- not heathy people, like me:) THANK YOU JESUS!

 Then we headed to see Dr. Villa to see if any drains could be taken out and possibly get expanded. None of my drains could be taken out, although several of them are very close to coming out. I am glad that Dr. Villa is very conservative though, because I would hate to have them taken out too early and then have swollen, hurting arms, so I am willing to let them drain as long as they need to. I am healed!!! I'll have drains for the rest of my life if I have to!!!! :) I did get to get expanded though. The process is crazy and amazing at the same time. They inject the saline in the same way they accessed my port, although you can't see the port in the tissue expander. They find the port by a magnetic device, because the port is magnetic. It is pretty cool. Then they access it and inject the saline, and I grow by the second! It was crazy! He injected 75 cc's and it was a weird feeling. The tissue expander is placed behind my chest muscle, so not only is my skin being stretched, but my muscle is moving too! I should get expanded weekly or bi- weekly, just according to how my skin looks and how well I can tolerate the pain from expanding. Oh, and by the way, we love Dr. Villa. He is so great and so is his P.A., Alicia. He has gone over the top in reiterating that I will look very close to my old self when all this is said and done. Before my surgery, he came and marked me and assured me that he would take the absolute best care of me. I really have the best team of doctors. So many people prayed for this, and it is amazing to be living it and seeing the whole "team" and how they fit together.

 So..what's next? Drains out, expansions, and radiation! We found out that I can be expanded and get my drains out here in West Monroe and my doctor felt completely fine with me doing that. There are some things that MDA is stickler on doing there, but this is not one of those things, so, tomorrow, I will work on making those appointments. I have an appointment set up for next Thursday with my radiation doctor, but that may be moved. We are still thinking that radiation will start around the last week of May, but will keep you updated.

 I praise God for my healing and will continue to pray for life-long health. I am believing Nahum 1:9 in that my sickness has left and will not come back again. Affliction will not rise up a second time!

"Whatever they plot against the Lord, He will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time."

Please pray and believe this with me. I won't pay much attention to reoccurrence rates, but I know they are high. It can be easy to think that every little thing in my body is the cancer coming back, so please pray that it never touches my body ever again, but also that God will give me supernatural peace and guard my mind. I want to be desperate for God and for my healing and others-- not just at times of famine, but in feast as well. I want God to know I am just as desperate for Him when things are going well, as when they are not. Please don't let your prayers stop now that I am healed. I know the Father has just basked in His conversations with all of us. Let us praise Him and talk to him even more. Please be desperate for your own sake, for my sake, and most of all to just simply give God glory, honor, and praise.  Also, now that chemo is continually leaving my body, please continue to pray for my fertility... That my body would return to normal and show signs of fertility:) thank you in advance for these prayers.

I have posted several pictures below from surgery and happy pictures with my doctors. I figured you might like seeing pictures of my doctors and just my experience. Sometimes I feel like I post too much on here, but I want the people who have prayed me through to be as involved as possible. I love you all so very much...

Before surgery...not exactly realizing what I was getting in to!!

This was one of the terrible heat episodes! Josh put ice rags everywhere:)

 After hearing my pathology results- with Dr. Litton and the other doctor!!

With Dr. Babiera..so happy after my appointment today:)