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:)


Jacque Davis said...

I am in awe of our Father. Aly, thank-you so much for sharing your life with us.
Love you, Jacque

Rob and Sharon said...

Yes, you are healed and whole and we will continue to pray for your specific requests. God has heard our prayers and answered our prayers. I am amazed at His love for His people. Thank you Aly and Josh for allowing us to be a part of this journey in your life. I pray that your incisions will continue to heal beautifully with no complications and you will continue to feel stronger every day. We are with you in this and will never stop storming heaven's gates for your requests.

Mackenzie said...

Aly, you don't know me, but a girl from Sunday School(Emily Jones) has asked us to pray for you and I came across your blog.

I wanted to tell you how much of an inspiration you are to me. A year ago I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Endometriosis, which is NOTHING compared to cancer. Nonetheless, I took it very hard. All the thoughts of "how can it get any worse", "why is this happening to me", etc. came into play, and I sank into a deep depression. You have made me realize that there are people out there that deal with a lot worse, and still stay positive!! I have committed to being more positive in my life, and seeing your blog really helps me!! I have been praying for you every night and I am SO happy that your results came back so good!! Thank you SO much for sharing your story with everyone, and again, you are SUCH an inspiration!!


Renea Taylor said...

Josh and Aly, I continue to be amazed at how God is using this journey to prove Himself strong and unfailing to those who believe and trust in Him.
Never, ever take for granted or question the words and feelings and thoughts you write on this blog. They are stones that are being built into an altar of remembrance that others can look at and have their hope and faith renewed. And, they are just more proof that Jesus is indeed, right now, interceding on our behalf.
None of us ever dreamed this would be a part of our family's "story" and yet ... beautiful is the fabric of this tapestry He is weaving together for His glory and His honor. I am in complete awe of His unfailing love and faithfulness.
I love you both with all my heart!

cacree@skyjacker.com said...

Austin and I are wearing out pink Aly shirts thanking God, but also believing for continued healing, fertility. Thank you for sharing your story, and letting us all be a part of this miracle. Love you both beautiful Aly!

Elizabeth Giger said...

I am so very glad. Live your life strong, live beautifully, live crazy in love with God, live to glorify Him.

Anonymous said...

Aly you are simply amazing...always smiling...there is probably a smile hidden under the wet cloth in the picture above! I'm so excited to read/hear about your good news...God is good...all the time! Thank you for your faithfulness and for never doubting HIS word!

Love~Laurie Payne

Mands said...

WOOHOO!!! God is so faithful. I don't even know you personally but reading your response to the news made tears come to my eyes. And if I passed you on the street and recognized you I would totally grab you and give you a hug..gently....haha. Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your story so openly.
Prayed for your continued peace and that one day soon you will be posting pics of a positive pregnancy test and your growing baby bump. :)

Ginny Evans said...

I just don't know that there are words to describe what an amazing God we serve or how much He loves each of us!!! Aly, thank you for being so transparent and sharing your story with us! You and Josh are precious and so loved by all of us who know you. I am thrilled over your news and giving God all the Glory!! Great things He has done! I have seen Him do many miracles in my years on this earth and each one just continues to overwhelm me the same way the last one did!! Oh, how I love Him! And how grateful I am to Him for what He has done for you!!! Our prayer team will continue to lift you and Josh up and I am believing with you that one day when you are ready, you will be posting that you all are expecting your first child!!!! What a day of rejoicing that will be! Every day is a gift from God! Love you! Ms. Ginny

Jimmy and Gayle Kent said...

Three Words, A MA ZING !!! GOD is amazing, but so are the two of you. We love you and continue to pray with thanksgiving.

rhelda nolan said...

God is Great!!!! your on your way to heal. the way you express yourself is so beautiful. congrats and thankyou for sharing your feelings and experiences so well. they help us all. love and hugs rhelda

Anonymous said...

Aly and Josh, This is Shelley Brown. I am Mark Mancill's sister. My family and I have been following your journey. We are so moved and happy with your results! You are two amazing people! My husband, 2 sons and I have our Aly's Fight Tshirts and wear them often!!! Please tell me how to reach one or both of you on Facebook. Or please friend me. Shelley Mancill Brown in Mesquite, Texas!!! Again we are so happy for both of you! Much love to you both!!

Jeremy and Tiffany Ritchie said...

AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME!!! I don't know where to start. God is incredible. You two are inspirational to say the least. We are so excited to see all of this unfold. Jeremy and Tiffany

Aly Taylor said...

Me too, Ms. Jacque..love you.

Aly Taylor said...

Thank you Ms. Sharon. Y'all are so wonderful. Thank you for praying for me specifically. I love you and please keep praying for complete, life-long, healing. God is so good!!