Friday, June 22, 2012

Less than 3 weeks left!

I am more than half way though my radiation! 17 down and 13 to really has sped by. At this point, Josh and I are realizing all of the things we have left to do that we were planning on doing while we were here. We have really enjoyed our time thus far and are amazed at how God has made it go by so quickly.

We had a wonderful time last weekend with the Summers in Galveston. Their daughter, her husband, and their kids were so much fun to be with. It was laid back, and we had a great time relaxing and visiting. We went out on the beach for a little while, but spent most of our time watching the U.S. Open. Josh has followed John Peterson and his story since he has been at LSU, and the Summers are actually good friends with the Petersons, so it was fun to watch knowing someone! Josh LOVES golf, so he could watch regardless of knowing anyone, but give me someone we know or a Christian golfer and I can get into it:)

The Summers make us want to be better people, better Christians. They are always reaching out and they are the type of people that offer things and really mean it. Sometimes I can say, "I'm praying for you," or "Let's get together," and not truly mean it or follow through. The Summers are the exact opposite. They are wonderful at outreach, and when they offered us to spend time with them at the beach, it was not just a nice gesture or offer- they truly meant it! We want to be like this. We are called to be like this, and we are striving to change in this area.

On our way back from Galveston, we stopped in Kemah. My radiation team had mentioned it to me, and it was really neat. It is a board walk that has many shops and restaurants, as well as an upscale fair-like feel with different rides, games and ferris wheels. We ate lunch there after church on Sunday and walked around looking at the shops, boats and games. It was a fun, relaxing weekend. We were very thankful to be able to have another great weekend.

This week has been low-key, which I guess is a good thing! Radiation in the mornings, followed by lunch, then rest/school work, go to church to work out and then it is supper time. Josh has been meeting me up at the church gym after my workouts, and we have been having daily ping-pong tournaments. Because Josh is good at all sports, it is rare to never that I can compete with him; however, I can rally with some ping pong:) So, we play until we are too tired to continue or until I win:) Many times we get tired before I win, but that has been fun!

My skin is doing well, although it has gotten more red this week. It is hard to tell what is the marker and what is my skin. When I met with Dr. Strom this week, he said that 50% of the redness I see is actually marker smear, which is good. He was very happy with the way my skin was responding. Apparently around the 3rd week he can tell if a patient can get through the entire radiation regimen without breaks, and he said I should definitely get through without any breaks. Thank you Lord! He gave me some cream to put on my skin, as well as some mepilex, which is an adhesive that helps in many ways and helps with some of the itching. I am experiencing some itching, but very little. He said that he would expect it to get a little more red, but not too much more crazy, so that is good. I am still believing that my skin will remain healthy and not get any more red..please continue praying for this.

Josh shared a thought/Bible story with me this week that comes out of Matthew 9. Jesus healed a paralytic when he saw his FRIENDS' faith. It wasn't because of the man's faith, or his prayers, or his belief (which I of course still believe are huge), but because of his friends' faith. I was reminded of all of the faithful friends who have prayed for me with great faith. I can never think or believe that I was healed just because of the way I have responded to cancer-- I have had people, some of the most God-fearing people I know, on their knees on my behalf with HUGE faith. I don't think we can ever underestimate the power of our prayers for others and our faith for things to happen in others' lives. Look what happened to me! It has just spoke to me in asking me who I am currently praying for, and who am I asking to pray for me? For those that don't know Christ-- praying in great faith... for those who need healing--praying in great faith...for those who need provision--praying in great faith...this list could go on and on! I am just encouraged of what can happen when we fervently pray with great faith.  Even if the person going through something doesn't have faith or know God, our faith and prayers can change everything. And sharing with friends our prayer needs. Thank you for being my Matthew 9 friends.

We had a long day yesterday because I met with my physical therapist, had a follow up appointment with Dr. Babiera, and radiation. It was my first appointment to see my physical therapist and it went really well. Susan is my physical therapist, and she did a bunch of measuring to kind of get a baseline of where I am and where we want to get to. I currently have no signs of lymphedema- Praise God! She measured my arms, hands, wrists, etc... and everything was normal. I still have a bit of limited range of motion in my right arm, and of course a more limited range of motion in my left arm. We did a bunch of stretching and I was given different arm sleeves to wear when I can start doing arm exercises after radiation. She did reiterate the importance of not lifting heavy things, but she did give me hope that one day I could lift more as we monitor signs of lymphedema. Josh and I both really liked her, and of course she is really nice. Once again, it was so nice to be in the same hospital and see another professional that has dealt so much with post-mastectomy patients and physical therapy. Every exercise and stretch was pulling on the exact muscle that remains super tight. So, since our time is limited, I will have physical therapy every day for the rest of my radiation. Thankful for that! 

We also met with my surgeon, Dr. Babiera, which was simply for a surgery follow-up appointment. It went well, and she basically looked at me for 5 minutes and said I looked great. She, once again, is so sweet and she said that I would see her again in one year! Yes, one year! I, of course, will continue to see my oncologist every 3 months, but it will be a year until I see her again. Josh and I were both shocked, but of course excited. She went over some ways to check for knots over my tissue expanders and eventual implants which was helpful, but we basically waited for over 2 hours to have her look at me for 5 minutes and tell me I was good to go! I by no means mean that as a complaint, but just to show how backed up it was yesterday and how short our visit was. A short visit is a good visit:) 

As I wait in the waiting room in the main breast center area, I see those with thinning hair, wigs, drains, scarves, hats, and new port surgery sites. I overhear patients discussing their breast cancer stage, chemo regimen, chemo side effects, and see people on their first day confused of how to get everywhere. I am SO thankful that is not me, but of course my heart hurts for them. So much unknown and fear, of that I am sure. I am reminded of the shield God had around me-- I had little to no fear and complete peace. It is really crazy to even try to remember and think about. I, of course have had my bad days, but God supernaturally protected me in a way that is hard to describe. I pray those women in those waiting rooms will experience the healing that I have and give God the glory for yet another one of his benefits- healing. So thankful that the Lord has healed me and saved me.

Jeremiah 17:14 "Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

We are so thankful to be coming home this weekend- to be in our house, our bed, see our family and friends- sounds like an amazing weekend to me! I was talking to one of my sweet friends, Christi, a few days ago. She has been an absolute prayer warrior for me throughout this whole process. She has been in China for the majority of the time and I would get email after email from her with such specific prayers. She is amazing! We were discussing how we can sometimes feel sorry for ourselves for things going on in our lives. For me it can be the obvious of cancer, chemo, surgery, radiation, reconstruction, etc..., but sometimes the little things can get me- the things that cancer has prevented me from having or experiencing, and then God speaks in His still small voice- "You are here." And then I realize that I am alive. I am breathing air and am living yet another day. I must take one day at a time. When Josh and I are discussing different things that we wished were happening or things we wish we could do that we can't because of cancer, we remember that God has a huge calling on our lives and we must trust Him to do what only He can do. How could we ever worry or choose not to trust Him when He has shown himself so huge in our lives? Christi and I were laughing at how we can get to those places and then God reveals all He has done and you feel guilty for ever questioning. God sees the whole picture. He gives us now- today. I will live for today and leave the future up to Him- isn't that a big burden off? God is so good!

Looking forward to seeing many of you this weekend. Others, please keep praying and I encourage you to ask others to pray for you-very specific requests- and seek out others to ask how you can pray for them. Let others be Matthew 9 prayer warriors for you too. They can't know how to pray or what to pray for if you don't tell them. 

Matthew 21:22 "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Love you all. Here are some pictures from this last week. One of the pictures is Josh with a celebrity! He met Jackie Burke, who is a professional golfer. He won several PGA tournaments including the Masters and the PGA Championship several years ago. He was very popular in the 1950's. He created and manages the Champions Golf Club, which is very close to the Stanfill's house. It has been the site of many PGA tour events and we ate lunch there this week with the Mr. Lance Stanfill's dad. Josh was so honored to meet Mr. Burke and get a picture with him (thank you Ms. Tammy and Erin!:)) that's one of the pictures below!

After dinner one night with the Summers' Family in Galveston

Josh with professional golfer, Jackie Burke

Waiting to see Dr. Strom after my 14th radiation treatment


Rob and Sharon said...

Josh and Aly,
It was GREAT seeing you both Sunday...and yes Josh....I loved seeing you as much as I did Aly...almost!! HA! Rob and I love you so much and continue to be in awe of our God that has healed your body and is continuing to be with you every step of this journey. Please know we are praying for you and even though you are not in West Monroe, you are not forgotten. We love you and will be with you as we all give God the glory!

Renea Taylor said...

I love you Josh and Aly Taylor and I am so very blessed to call you mine! You continue to inspire me, challenge me, provoke me to greater faith, and reveal to me the power of God's presence right here, right now.
And, thanks for coming home this weekend ... boy, did I need a Josh and Aly fix!
I continue to be your proud "momma."

dixiehall6 said...

Thank you for fighting the good fight for all of us to be encourage to seek the Lord regardless of which "little red wagon of troubles" we might have. You are such a wonderful blessing. God bless and keep you and make his face to shine on you!!!!! Still on my heart and praying.

dixie taylor hall

The Lewis' said...

Hey Aly,
I have to agree with Renea, you challenge and inspire me too. When you said "I will live for today and leave the future up to God" that spoke to my heart tremendously. I needed to hear that. I saw you sunday but you were busy talking with someone. You are beautiful inside and out. Take care and we love you!!

Anonymous said...

aly, your posts are so beautiful and warm. thankyou. our prayer group meets tomorrow and you are always included. so glad that your tissue is doing well. hugs to you rhelda

Aly Taylor said...

Thank you so much for continuing to pray for me in your prayer group. You are such an encouragement. Hugs back:)

Aly Taylor said...

Aww thank you so much. Ready to be back so I can have time to catch up with everyone. So thankful that God has me taken care of and worrying about the future accomplishes nothing. Phil.4:6. We love you too!!

Aly Taylor said...

Thank you so much Ms. Dixie. You have been a great encouragement to me! Thank you so much for continuing to pray for me throughout all of this

Aly Taylor said...

Thank you for loving us! You do the same for us and we are so blessed to have you. Thank you for all youre doing for us. We love you very much. Can't wait to be back home for good!! We love you!

Aly Taylor said...

It was so great seeing you guys. You both have to be two of the best encourages we know. We love you guys so much. Thank you for remembering us. Thank you for all u do and have done!!