Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ready to be home...

We had such a great time being home last weekend. My radiation team was able to schedule my appointment really early on Friday and really late on Monday so I could have the longest weekend home as possible. It was wonderful!

When we pulled up to our house, our landscaping was done!!! OH MY GOODNESS!! I was so excited!!! It is beautiful. I will take a picture when we get back home. Angie and Ronnie Osbon, Sonja and Tom Riggs, Jen and Kenneth Barnes, Zach and Kyle Osbon, and Bradley and David Barnes--you guys are amazing!!!! We have been meaning on doing our landscaping for a long time, but just simply have not had the time, money, or energy to get it done. So, to come home to that being done not only gives us one less thing to do, but it was just so welcoming. We love these people that helped on our house. The boys that helped, we adore. Josh coached them in basketball and we just miss being around them. Josh misses coaching basketball, but most of all, we just miss being around the guys. We love the Osbon and Barnes boys:)

We were thankful to spend time with our families and our friends this past weekend. My family even had a little birthday celebration for me on Saturday night. It was just great to feel somewhat normal and have a weekend at home. It was so nice to be at our house too, but bittersweet because we are still living out of suitcases. My mom organized some of the things at our house while I was gone, so that was a major blessing to come home to, just still so much to do. I know it will be done eventually. So thankful to have such a beautiful home. I know soon we will actually be living in it! Hallelujah!

My mom came to Houston with me this week, and that was great to get to spend some time with her. Since my appointment was so late on Monday, Huma let my mom come back and see the radiation machine, so that was neat for her to see and kind of get a picture of what radiation is like for me. We had a great time shopping and saw the movie Brave, which was really cute. We also spent a lot of time with Ms. Tammy, which is always fun. It was definitely great having my mom here for a few days this week.

My skin is much more red this week. My underarm is getting very irritated and is peeling and my chest in certain spots is very red. Please pray that it gets less red and remains healthy. Even though it isn't looking the greatest, I just keep praying it remains healthy. It may not look great, but I know it can still be healthy even though it looks rough:) So, that is what I am praying. It still is much better than others I have seen, so I am grateful and still believing for great, healthy skin.

I will only have 4 radiation treatments this week because of the 4th of July. So, a day break may end up being good for my skin. The last week of radiation, they will do what is called a "boost" where they focus simply on the breast itself. They have been focusing all the way up to my collar bone and down to my belly button, but on the last week they focus in on the biopsy spot and breast itself. My '"last week" starts on Friday! Only 8 treatments left!! There is a bell to ring once you finish radiation, so I will be ringing yet another bell. Thank you Jesus!

I really have been feeling great. I haven't noticed any notable fatigue. The only way I would know that anything is happening to me is by the skin reaction. Other than that, I have been feeling great. I know other people experience harsh side effects from radiation, and I am just amazed once again how God is protecting me.

As many of you know, ever since I was diagnosed, I changed my diet pretty dramatically. It was a decision I made for myself, and I am just so thankful and happy that I did. I truly believe that my diet has played a huge part in God's healing and me feeling so well through all of my treatment. The speed of my hair growth, my skin being so clear, no weight gain throughout chemo...I believe my diet and nutrition contributed to all of this. Just as God can use his supernatural healing, he can use doctors, diet, exercise, chemo, radiation to accomplish his purposes. When I felt compelled to change my diet, I thought I would just maintain this extremely healthy diet during treatment; however, now, it is a lifestyle change for me. I am thankful that God has brought so much to my attention in regards to what I put in my body. It has been a struggle for me and I am still learning, but this whole cancer/healing process has brought so much to my attention. It is SO much more expensive to eat out and buy groceries, but it is one of the best investments that we can make- our health. Josh has come on board with me too, and he has changed his diet much as well. So thankful to have him supporting me... but it is a constant day-to-day struggle for me.

Ms. Renea has helped me from the beginning by researching different foods and helping me prepare and buy my foods. Wow, am I so thankful for that. I was so scared to eat anything at first. The first week I was diagnosed, I don't think I ate anything. For one, I didn't have an appetite, but I also was scared that anything I put in my body was making the cancer grow. It is a pretty unnerving feeling, but having her help and taking control of what I put in my body brought me much peace and comfort. I am so thankful that God used her to help me in such a big way.

I am writing about my nutrition and diet because it is something I haven't really wrote much about, and it has been one of the biggest changes that has occurred in my life since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I obviously have let you guys in to my life and this is a big part that has changed that I really haven't filled you all in on! My eyes have just been opened to the natural foods that God gives us to keep us healthy and strong. I hate it took cancer for my eyes to be opened, but they have been opened, and I am thankful. As you know, I love food, so it still is a struggle for me to find foods I like that taste as good as ice cream, cookies, cakes, etc... I would appreciate any recipes or any healthy food/dessert ideas:) Please pray that God continues to guide me on this lifestyle change and that he will provide us with the means necessary as we continue investing in our health.

Along with my radiation this week, I have had physical therapy each day. It is going really well and I am so happy and thankful that I have started physical therapy. Susan and her PTA Tracy have worked with me this week, and they are already seeing much improvement in regards to my arm mobility. Tracy about killed me on Wednesday. She is a little "meaner" than Susan, but I know it will have to hurt before it gets better. They said that I have these "chords" built up in my arm which is basically scar tissue that has developed all down my arm into my fore arm. She let me feel it and it feels like really tight strands of spaghetti. Well, she was pulling on my arm and I felt like my arm was about to rip. She said, "You might feel these chords tear, but that is what is supposed to happen." I said, "Are you kidding me????" And she of course said "No." I did not feel any tears, but if that tells you how intense it has been, it has been crazy. But like I said, I know they have to be mean to get me back to where I need to be.

God gave me a little wake up call this past weekend in regards to lymphedema. The back of my hands continue to be sore... I guess just from surgery and the lymph system. Well on Saturday night, I noticed some swelling in my left hand. I immediately got my lymphedema glove and put it on while I slept. I woke up in the middle of the night with my fingers asleep, so I took it off. My swelling went down and continued to go down, and it has been fine since. I was a little discouraged when this happened, and had Josh immediately pray for me, but the more I have thought about it, I feel like God was just telling me to slow down some. Yes, I get very frustrated with Josh when he won't let me pick up a plate (yes, a little overexaggeration), but having that little scare has made me be so very careful. It just isn't worth having painful, swollen, hands and arms. Please pray that I continue to have no signs of lymphedema. I am stubborn and just having Josh be the lymphedema nazi wasn't making me be as cautious as I needed to be, so God intervened, and it has worked:)

This is our last weekend to be in Houston! Next weekend, we will be in Lake Charles spending time with my dear friend Kelly, and her husband Kase in Lake Charles, so this is our last weekend here! It is really exciting to think about. So, we will be doing some more exploring of the Houston area since we know we won't be here much longer! We will miss the Stanfills when we leave, but last weekend was just a tease, because we are ready to be home. I really love West Monroe and I love being home. I always hear people complain of how there is nothing to do and they can't wait to get out of West Monroe, but I really have never felt that way. Yes, there is much more to do in Houston and other big cities, but I love where we live. I could pick up and move anywhere, but I love West Monroe. Our families and our church play the biggest part in that. I love my life. I love my little family- me, Josh and Bella. My favorite nights are just cuddled up on the couch with them both and I just lay there and thank God for all of my blessings. That's one of the best things to do in West Monroe, in my opinion:)

I will update next week, and that will be my last update before the end of my treatment!! Ahh!! How exciting is that?! Less than 2 weeks and I will be heading home! Thank you for praying for my skin and no lymphedema. My physical therapist said that sometimes radiation can bring about lymphedema and the radiation can also cause more stiffness in my chest and arm muscles. I am believing and praying that won't be me. I love you all. Here are some pictures below of my radiation machine. Also, I am campaigning for a Whole Foods in West Monroe! I just discovered that they make fresh juice daily. On the days I don't have time to juice, or just don't feel like it, I have gone by there and got my juice. One of my friends, Ana, suggested the old Albertsons. How awesome would that be?!

The fresh juice section at Whole Foods. amazing.

This is what I lay on during radiation. The machine behind me is what comes over me and gives the radiation.

This is Huma showing how the lasers come down from the machine.

Close up on the machine

This is what I lay on that holds my arm up. It is molded especially for my body and is very hard. 


Anonymous said...

So glad Aly that this part of your journey is almost over. Remember when you ring that bell, you get a little polish on those wings we already knew you had.

Love, Angela Norman

Anonymous said...

Can you give any resources for your diet/nutrition modifications? I'm so happy to see you mention this aspect of your healing. I pray for you and your journey inspires me.

A+ Teacher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jana Davis said...

I was inspired by this website: to entirely change our way of eating. We are now only eating whole food, food that contains no additives, preservatives, no refinded sugar or flour and has not been highly processed. I've also started a website called that shares our story and recipes that follow the guidelines of this lifestyle. Not sure if this is the same type of eating lifestyle you're following, but it might be something you're interested in! I still think about and pray for you often. You are a miracle!
Love, Jana

Aly Taylor said...

Jana, that sounds awesome. Totally on board with what we are doing. Thank you for the resources. I will check them out tonight. Don't forget that you are a miracle too:) love u and thank you.

Aly Taylor said...

Yes, I would love to! Shoot me your email address and I would be happy to send you my diet. Thank you for your sweet words!

Aly Taylor said...

You have been so great, Ms. Angela. Thank you for praying for and supporting us throughout. Can't wait to ring the bell:) love you