Today makes one year since Aly was diagnosed. As we came to this day I can honestly say there is more shock about it already being a year than anything else. We are still in the midst of this, but to go back through those first days is a bit overwhelming.
One thing I have told people is that we were protected by lack of knowledge. I had no idea what to expect. All we had to overcome were large amounts of fear, really large amounts. We were thrown into a fist fight which most fist fights are won by large amounts of fighting and some pain tolerance. We were just fighting to survive.
A little re-cap of October 17th, 2011
Oct 17, 4:30pm We were in the process of building our house and I had decided we would prep the sheetrock for paint. I don't advise this to anyone but me and Aly of course. We knew that Monday we would find out the results of Aly's spot she had removed. We were at our new house and had just walked in to our guest room to begin sanding when Aly's phone rang. She proceeded to walk away and sit in the corner and I knew what was being said on the other end of that phone.
I wish I could tell you I had many ideas of what to say or do but I didn't. When Aly got off the phone let's just say the details were foggy. I called the Dr. back to clarify what he had told her. I remember a few things from that day but not much else. I remember Aly's reaction, I remember calling my dad and then I remember seeing Lee and Rachel. I had never envisioned us having to tell our parents that Aly had cancer. I thought it would have been the other way around.
Oct 17, 7pm You just found out that you have cancer and you still have to let the dog out, eat supper which I am not sure either of us ate for at least a few days, and work toward going to sleep.
Aly's mom came over, and my parents were out of town.
Oct 18, ????am You were told you have cancer and you still woke up the next day. Not sure what Aly says about this but in my mind I didn't know what it meant. Would Aly look different the next day? Would she start to look like someone with cancer? What do we do? We knew we were going to the Dr. office around 2:30 so it is hard to do anything useful with your day with that hanging out there.
Oct 18, 2:30pm. We meet with the Dr. who suggests we go to MD Anderson ASAP due to it's aggression.
Oct 18 3:00pm. MD Anderson starts getting calls from us. You tell people they have cancer and then they find out they cant see a Dr. for two weeks. RIGHT.
Oct 18 4:00pm. We didn't know what else to do so we went to the new house and started working. Not sure we got anything done but it beat sitting around being scared I guess. My brother and Brandon Brown came over to help.
Oct 21- We went to Baton Rouge to meet with a Dr. who had treated one of Aly's family friends. He said for us to get a test run that he couldn't get us in that day. I then called Dr. Borders and asked if he could get us in to the one in Monroe and he gave me what to this day I consider to be one of the best pieces of info for me at that moment in that situation. He said "Josh, medicine does not work like this." I was trying to solve this like I solve a price that is too high on a building material-wrong game. He didn't say just that, but that was what I needed to hear and it settled me. As I look back, that was the first "be still" moment. We had an appointment at the best place in the world.
---One of the biggest points I will say about people dealing with cancer. It is your battle; it will look different than ours. Outside of confirming for you if Aly was given the same drugs, you don't need to know anything else. Information on the internet or from your friend's friend whose cousin knew somebody in our experience is far more a vehicle of fear than it is useful information.
You will not catch us telling people what to do or expect- it's not fair and most likely will not be the experience for them. Love them, pray and encourage them, and maybe they will not have any side effects. Telling someone else Aly's horror story doesn't help them deal with their situation.
Oct 23 6:00pm. Some of our friends put together a "party" for us to do what we weren't sure. That night turned out to be what I would consider to be one of the biggest parts of those early weeks. People spoke life to us. It was unreal. That night Ron and Amy Harris sang to us. Fast forward to today Oct 17, 2012 and Ron Harris came up to me and said, "Josh, I know you may think people see you guys and forget that you're still fighting now more than ever, but I promise Amy and I don't, and we love and are praying for you guys." This carries weight from anyone, but it especially carries weight from a man who lost a newborn child in 2001. I have thought about that all day today. I thought we were dying a thousand little deaths this year with every little blow that happened, but that puts perspective on our suffering.
Oct 24th We left early for Baton Rouge and then headed to Houston.
Oct 26th On Wednesday morning Aly had a mammogram and ultrasound. Our journey took a huge change, even though we didn't quite realize it, when they found disease in the lymph nodes during the ultra sound. This takes you from Stage 1 to Stage 3 and the only difference between terminal cancer and stage 3 is finding it in one more place. We didn't know this at the time- thank you Jesus.
Oct 26th 7pm We went to Lakewood church in Houston. Beck Payne sent a video of the kids at Family Church praying for us.
Oct 27th Early am? We arrived at MD Anderson for what would be a marathon day.
At 10am we met with Dr. Morrow who put a hurry on everything. In that meeting we went from cancer treatment to preserving fertility. We then went and had another meeting, and then came back to talk about fertility. When Dr. Morrow put the information out there, she said you need to start Chemo now which means you are giving up the idea of guaranteed egg preservation. I asked her to leave the room while we talked, and this even as I type it is unreal to think about, but we sat in a room in Houston, Texas and prayed and believed that God would let us have kids but what was most important right now was to get Aly treated. Mind you, the reason Aly found the lump was because she was told when you're pregnant your breast are sore, and we were open to having a baby. So in the span of 10 days we went from attempting pregnancy to knowingly endangering the possibility.
Oct 27th 3pm Aly got a Bone scan. At this point, all we had was bad news so to receive some good news we were happy. The scan came back negative.
Oct 28th Aly has her first round of chemo. I don't know what else to say except I was in utter shock. At this point we're almost two weeks into this process and the train seems to still be gaining speed.
Oct 28th 7pm We met at the Galleria to eat at a placed called Kona. Our friends, the Shows, were in town to hear a preacher at Lakewood, and we met them to eat. Something to stop us from talking about the fact that Aly had cancer and had just had chemo was welcomed.
Well, thats enough timeline for now. I'll pick up on the 28th at some point. It is 11:29pm- I'm crying, Aly is practicing her speech for tomorrow at Delta Community College about breast cancer, and Bella is snoring-we are quite the collection.