"The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my ROCK, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety."
Radiation has gone really well. I really love the team that is working on me. Huma, Andrew, and Sally are really great. Each day they lay me on a table and line me up to the radiation lasers. They mark me up with markers that help with lining me up each day. I really haven't felt anything while I'm being radiated. I have to hold my breath for long periods of time, which is hard, but other than that, it is pretty easy. Every other day, they put this stuff on my skin that apparently acts as another layer of skin, which helps the radiation to be stronger. The people working with me come in and out and move my body in certain positions, as well as put different extensions on the machine. They are so, so nice. Music plays while I lay there holding my breath, so they make it as enjoyable as possible. They asked me if I was as swimmer because I could hold my breath so long! I was not, but I could always hold my breath under water a long time:)
This summer is the summer of scarves, because my markers cannot be covered by clothing, unless I wear a turtleneck, which is not happening in this Houston summmer! So, I wear scarves with everything! I have to thank Stephanie Noland and all of those that prayed my hair would grow fast- God has answered with a big "yes!" Everyone at MDA is so impressed with my hair growth. I thought it was growing slowly, but I sit with ladies who finished chemo in January and their hair is a lot shorter than mine! So that is definitely exciting. I still do not feel like myself with this short hair, but I am trying to embrace it while it's like this.
At the beginning, when we got down here, I felt lonely at times, but God is teaching me so many lessons, and I am doing much better now. We went to church Saturday night, and the sermon topic was on loneliness...I just laughed and smiled to myself. The pastor spoke about Paul and the loneliness he experienced in prison and what is required to not feel lonely. It really spoke to me and one of the things was of course companionship. Even though we are far from home, we have each other, the Stanfill's, and others that we can choose to spend time with. One of my friends from high school, Pam Inman, and her mom, Ms. Inman ate lunch with us on Monday in Houston. We had such a wonderful time, and it was great to visit with them. We also ate with Ms. Roseann and Mr. Clint Summers today for lunch, who was a couple that opened their home to us when I couldn't get chemo because of my low white count in December. It was so wonderful to see them and visit with them at lunch today. I love to be alone, but I also know we are made to be around others too. I am learning that balance. I am so thankful for great friends like the Inmans and the Summers. When I am home, I am somewhat "forced" to be around others (job and school) and then "forced" at times to be alone, but it isn't until you have that downtime when you can truly choose how to spend your time. Time is so precious! Spend your time wisely... I know that this whole process has definitely made me re-evaluate how I spend my time.
I haven't been feeling tired, and I have no visible skin reaction thus far. A few weeks ago, I had a consult with a doctor nutritionist that recommended I do a 2 day detox. I finished that yesterday, and I am so glad that's over! Josh did the first day with me, and he felt so terrible, he couldn't do the second day... I'm glad that I did it, but I felt terrible yesterday...just part of it! We are staying with the Stanfills, and as their brother-in-law called their house, "Stanfill Suites." It has been great staying with them and spending time with them. Josh has been wonderful and so helpful to me. He has helped me with juicing, as we have done so much of that since I have finished chemo. If you remember, I was told to not juice during chemo because the antioxidants in the juice could actually counteract the chemo. But I was encouraged to do it after I finished chemo, so I have been drinking tons of juice! Ms. Renea had been juicing for me, which was a major blessing, and now we are taking it on. She would bring me juice each morning, and I was so very spoiled!! With as much as I am juicing, it can be quite the task to get done, and I am so thankful for Ms. Renea and Josh who have juiced so much for me! Josh also drives me to radiation each day which is such a blessing. The traffic can get crazy, and he likes to drive in it! So he drives me each morning and helps me with everything-- literally everything. On our way down to Houston, my car got a flat tire and he changed that for me- literally, he does everything! We went to Lafayette last weekend for a special family friends' graduation, and he drove the whole way there too. We enjoyed getting to see some of our friends that I had not seen in a very long time...some since we moved from Lafayette 13 years ago. So that was great. Now, I will enjoy not traveling for a little while.
My birthday is Saturday!!! I can't believe I will be 25. I am so grateful for another year! I never thought I would be praying and hoping I would be alive at this point in my life, but many prayers of that nature have been prayed! I know the Lord will satisfy me with long life and this birthday is just the start of many, many more birthdays. Not sure what we will do on Saturday, but we will definitely be celebrating! Josh and I are realizing how quickly these next 5 weeks will go by. By the time I get done with radiation and we get something for lunch and get back to the Stanfill's, it is at least 1 o'clock. Then if I work out or work on my dissertation, it is 5 o clock so fast! So, God is definitely having the time go by fast, but we want to make sure we take advantage of this time by spending time with Him and just being still and resting in the Lord's presence.
And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
I got my last expansion today on my right side! 75 more cc's. I am hurting in my chest and back, but it is much better than it has been before. Most of all, I was so happy at Dr. Villa and Alisha's response to the way I looked! They both said I looked awesome! He was super pleased of how my skin was looking on my left side too. So, so thankful for that. Please pray that my skin continues to look good and be healthy. If this happens, they can start expanding on the left 2 weeks after radiation. I am praying and believing that will happen.
Oh, and I got the results for my last genetic test, the P 53 test, NEGATIVE!!! I was absolutely thrilled at this news. The genetic counselor is so sweet. Every time she calls she asks how I am and catches up with me- so sweet, but I'm thinking,"just tell me the results!" So after some small talk, she said she had some good news. She told me the P 53 was negative and told me what I have known- there is no genetic link for why I got breast cancer at 24. She said my sister and mom don't have a need to get tested genetically, outside of close monitoring and mammograms. Also, my daughters would need to get really early mammograms, but there is no known genetic link! When I was first diagnosed, I remember thinking that it would be good if I found out I was positive for the genetic mutation, then I would know why I got cancer- I am so thankful God knew better than me! Having that mutation would possibly having many negative implications, and this just furthers my belief that God simply supernaturally allowed me to go through this for the furtherance of His kingdom!! A big weight is off of me! But, honestly, I really haven't worried about it. I have just known it would be negative. We have waited over 7 months to knock out all genetic links and now we know!
"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed.They will put their trust in the Lord. Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud, or in those who worship idols."
We miss our family and friends very much, but are so thankful to our God that this is the last course of treatment for me! We have so much to be happy about! Please feel free to call or email me, as I have some free time. My Skype username is alyptaylor if any of you want to Skype. Thank you for continuing to pray for continual healing, wonderful radiation outcome, and healthy skin! Here are some pics from the last week.
Enjoying a night of downtime at the Stanfill Suites:)
So thankful for my hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows! They are all coming in fast!! Thank you Lord!
This is just a little picture of some of my markers. They start at my collar bone and go all the way down to my belly button.
This was my handy man changing out my tire!
Love you all!