Sunday, October 14, 2012

October is here!

Hey to my faithful readers:) Everything went well this week in Houston, and I cannot thank you for praying enough. We have had such a wonderful weekend. It has been a long time since we haven't done much over the weekend and relaxed. It was so, so great. We also spent more than a day in Houston, which isn't convenient for school and work purposes, but for exhaustion purposes, it was much more relaxed, which was wonderful.

Josh and I got back Wednesday afternoon after all my appointments. I had my ultrasound on Tuesday morning, as well as an expansion. I could go forever without an ultrasound and I would be oh so happy. Well, I will happily welcome a baby ultrasound when my time comes:), but breast ultrasounds- no thank you. They are the most nerve-wracking things ever, and I was reminded of that this time. This was my first ultrasound since before my mastectomy, so everything looked completely different on the ultrasounds, mainly because I normally would see lymph nodes, and all of my lymph nodes under my arm were removed. She basically looked at seromas (which are fluid collections) from my recent surgery, but also looked at 2 lymph nodes toward the inside of my chest. The radiologist came in and said that these lymph nodes looked completely benign, which was a relief, but once again, they are never the nicest, most upbeat people, and always come in with a quiet voice that makes you think bad news is getting delivered.

We met with Dr. Strom on Wednesday to go over the ultrasound and he expressed some concern over my ultrasound. The 2 lymph nodes that we found on the ultrasound were lymph nodes that had never been seen on an ultrasound before. It basically boiled down to him thinking that their new ultrasound technology is just simply allowing them to see more. He is thinking and hoping that these lymph nodes were already there. He said that he had been running around the morning of my appointment trying to look up old tests of mine  to compare because he was concerned. He was happy to have found an old MRI that showed the appearance of 2 small looking lymph nodes in the place where they saw the lymph nodes on Tuesday. To make a long story short, he wants me to have another ultrasound in 3 months, but he is confident that these lymph nodes have always been there. It is not normal for new lymph nodes to develop, so he wants to be sure this is not the case in my case. It wasn't bad news, but it felt like it. To see him kind of shaken, since he had been running around that morning, definitely shook us up. We are trusting and believing that the ultrasound was perfect, just like we all prayed for.  I have trusted him from my childhood, and will continue to trust him even now. He has proved himself over and over and over.

"For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence. "Psalm 71: 5

Once again, I am reminded of all God has brought me through. When I see how concerned doctors can get with me, it is scary. Dr. Strom said, "We will always struggle when it comes to you. Questioning if we should do a whole cat-scan work up, or no tests at all." I am thankful for these concerned doctors, but I just wish they would see that I am healed and stop being concerned. I know that thought for a doctor is "irrational" and they must do their job in monitoring me, but it is not the best thing for my mind to continue to have doctors so concerned. I am praying and believing that I will be a patient that they slowly but surely stop worrying so much about as they see me being restored to full and total health. I will just keep on trusting...

"[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is." Jeremiah 17:7

I had to keep reminding myself that it was a good visit!!! It just felt bad, but all of the information was good- no bad information. Praise God! I also got expanded a good bit, and my P.A., Alisha, was confident that we would be able to get me back to my breast size pre-mastectomy. Thank you for your prayers. I love when God answers our specific prayers so obviously. Up until my last visit, they continued to be discouraging about being able to be fully expanded, so I was so thankful for the change in thought.  I should only have to get expanded 2 more times, then we will wait 4-6 months to have the implant exchange surgery. So ready for that surgery- By then, Lord willing, I will be an aunt times 2, be almost done with my PhD course work, and I will be that much closer to the 2 year mark. Come on March and April:)!

I definitely have the "iron bra" syndrome that I've heard mastectomy patients talk about. It's name is exactly what it feels like. I feel like I have an iron bra on 24/7. I've heard that this is much better once you have the implant exchange surgery, as implants are much softer. I am ready for that...just to be comfortable. There were so many things I used to take for granted. I am still so blessed, but who would have thought I would ever feel bad for never thanking God for soft breasts? ha... Thankful for his grace and Him knowing my heart.

So, we will go back to Houston on October 25th (Josh's 28th bday) to get expanded, and then will go back 2 weeks after that, and we will be done with expansions:) Thank you Jesus. October will pass before we know it. There are so many memories in October and so many milestones that I am about to be able to celebrate. I am SO thankful. In fact today, October 14th, was the day of my surgical biopsy of my lump. I remember waking up to Josh and my mom and them telling me that my lump was benign and that it looked great...such relief, only to have the pathology come back 3 days later with my news of breast cancer on October 17th. Such mixed emotions...a second opinion doctor's appointment on October 21st, a cat scan on Josh's bday, the 25th, doctors appointments at MD Anderson on the 26th and 27th, and my first day of chemo on the 28th. From the time of diagnosis to my first chemo wasn't even 2 weeks. And October is breast cancer awareness month, so I am of course reminded of my cancer all month. It is beyond exciting to have these milestones upon me... I am so thankful. I can't wait to find ways to celebrate all God has done and to use these dates to continually share with my future children all that God has brought mommy through.

I know most of us have heard Deuteronomy 6 over and over, but I love it.

“These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you. You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the LORD your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. “Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. “The LORD your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the LORD, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. You must fear the LORD your God and serve him. When you take an oath, you must use only his name. “You must not worship any of the gods of neighboring nations, for the LORD your God, who lives among you, is a jealous God. His anger will flare up against you, and he will wipe you from the face of the earth. You must not test the LORD your God as you did when you complained at Massah.You must diligently obey the commands of the LORD your God—all the laws and decrees he has given you. Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so all will go well with you. Then you will enter and occupy the good land that the LORD swore to give your ancestors. You will drive out all the enemies living in the land, just as the LORD said you would. “In the future your children will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of these laws, decrees, and regulations that the LORD our God has commanded us to obey?’ “Then you must tell them, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand. The LORD did miraculous signs and wonders before our eyes, dealing terrifying blows against Egypt and Pharaoh and all his people. He brought us out of Egypt so he could give us this land he had sworn to give our ancestors. And the LORD our God commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear him so he can continue to bless us and preserve our lives, as he has done to this day. For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands the LORD our God has given us.’ Deuteronomy 6

I am speaking at 2 events this week: Claiborne Christian School's chapel service, and Delta Community College's breast cancer awareness presentation. I am by no means a speaker, so please pray that the Lord will get his message across and that I will get out of the way- that his story would be shared and that people would be touched, encouraged, and drawn near to him. God's story in me is something I want to share until I am an old, old, lady, and I will do just that. I proclaimed Psalm 118:17- that I would live and proclaim the works of the Lord and that is exactly what I will do.

Please continue to pray for my requests from the last post. My back pain is MUCH better, I believe that my ultrasound WAS perfect, and my expansions were successful!!! I'm still having the aching on my right side and need continued prayers for health. wholeness, peace, a wonderful follow-up ultrasound in January. Pray that Josh and I find ways to honor God in the month of October and the following months that have so many dates that will forever be ingrained in our minds.  Join me in PRAISING the Lord during this celebratory month of October.

"Sing to the LORD! Praise the LORD! For though I was poor and needy, he rescued me from my oppressors." Jeremiah 20:13


ReneeClary said...

You are the strongest woman I know. I am happy for your good news. I continue to pray for you always.

Aly Taylor said...

Thank you Renee. Actually im extremely weak, which makes His strength perfect!