I am thankful for HOPE and LIFE this thanksgiving. Josh and I were gifted something that I don’t know if I can ever repay. Someone anonymously paid for us to go on a cruise vacation with his parents and 2 of our friends. It was very last minute and we had such a great time. They ability to repay this person is literally impossible, because what I received wasn't just a wonderful vacation---I received hope on this trip.We had fun, laughed, and did a lot of relaxing. My symptoms, as far as the pain in my ribs/stomach ceased dramatically as well as my stomach issues during our vacation. It was on this trip that God gave me a bit of light of hope---of life and of fun. We got back a few weeks ago and we continue be amazed at other's generosity.
I’ve always noticed how one’s current situation can make something wonderful seem not wonderful at all. For instance, a girl who was just broken up with and goes on a trip of a lifetime—even though the trip is amazing, she can’t even allow herself to have a good time because she is heartbroken. That is what it has somewhat been like for me. I haven’t been able to, or I guess, allowed myself to fully enjoy moments because I can retreat to my fear. This trip, with of course the full help of the Holy Spirit allowed me to have rest, hope, and life. We had SUCH a wonderful time. Pictures to come…
Since being home, my symptoms have returned, which makes me wonder if anxiety has something to do with all of this. It’s hard for me to accept that, because I wouldn’t consider myself an anxious person, but I pray that is what it is. The pain is very real though. We went and saw a G.I. doctor on Monday in Monroe and he suggested an endoscopy and colonoscopy. It is scheduled for December 11th. When I think about it too long, I can feel myself start to go into a full-scale panic attack, so please, please pray for me. I pray for relief once I get good news from these tests. I just have to remind myself to be expectant from the Lord. He has shown himself faithful over and over again. I can just get so scared with the what if’s…
"But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats." 1 Peter 3:14
My expansions have continued to go well, and I should have my last expansion on this Thursday, Nov. 29th. My P.A., Alisha, said that there is a good chance that we could schedule my surgery date during my visit this week. That is exciting. They are so ready to be done with me…they normally don’t see someone for so long like they have seen me. I am ready to be done too, but I will definitely miss them.
My husband had a birthday on the 25th of October (he turned 28) and I just have to take a second to share about him. We were in Houston on his birthday, once again seeing doctors for ME, when I want to celebrate HIM. The Stanfils continue to open up their home over and over and made him feel so special (as usual). We woke up to a sign and balloons, as well as balloons on our car. Looking forward to all of his birthdays to come when I am so far from all of this and attention can be given to him.
There are so many words that describe Josh, but the main one that sticks out to me and those closest to him is loyal. His loyalty to me throughout all of this is indescribable. I apologize to him so often for having had cancer, and he of course is not happy with me when I do this. I can handle thinking of my own hopes and dreams not coming true, but knowing that his are affected when he wasn’t even the one who had this disease can make my heart hurt in ways that are indescribable. His response is always the same: “I wouldn’t want to be married to anybody else.” I see other 20-something couples with happy-go-lucky lives, with babies, with exciting futures and I feel such deep pain at times that he doesn’t have that. We, in faith, of course believe that we will have that in Jesus’ name, but of course our situation has been so different than that of the typical, young, married couple. I have to believe that God has called us out and that he has such big plans for us...more than we can imagine. We continue to hold to the promise that he will restore our land, as we seek Him with all of our hearts.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile." Jer. 29:11- 14
Josh has cuddled with me, given me my shots, helped me remove fingernails and toenails (gross!), brushed out my loose hairs, shaved my head, held my hand, made me laugh, cleaned and kissed my mastectomy scars, cried with me, prayed for me, emptied my 13 drains, massaged my sore body from neulasta shots (bone pain), held a bucket for my vomit, fed me, driven me to Houston 40+ times, reassured me over and over and over of Jesus’ healing me, cleaned my back scar incisions, learned all the breast cancer terminology, dealt with my ever-changing emotions, and has made me feel more beautiful than ever before. This was my 10th birthday with him and I realize each day just how blessed I am to be married to my best friend. God has truly made us one.
I will never forget when I got my 2nd round of chemo and we were going to put in a DVD in our laptop to watch a movie and our wedding video happened to be in our laptop. We decided to watch it. By the end of my chemo, all the nurses were in my chemo room watching our wedding video and we were all crying. I remember when we were checking out and making my next chemo appointment and Josh looked at me and said, “I would do it all over again.” We both just held back tears as we thought about our wedding day in 2006, when we had no clue what our lives would look like. I am so thankful that I have a husband who took his promise to God and myself seriously- to be by my side, regardless, in sickness and health. Thank you Lord for giving me Joshua Mark Taylor!
"As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one."" Eph. 5:31
We had a wonderful time in Tennessee with Josh's extended family for Thanksgiving. God also gave me bits of hope in different ways during this trip. His love and care for me overwhelms me at times. Now I am home and just wrapping up with this school semester. I only have one more in-class semester...then a 9 month internship and dissertation and then I'll be done! Thank you Jesus for walking me through all of this. I will make sure and update after my appointment on Thursday as I should get my final surgery date:)
Please, please pray for me and this pain in my abdomen/ribs to stop. Pray for clean results from my tests on the 11th. Pray for me to allow God to be everything He is- He is love, and his love casts out all fear. If I truly allowed His love to cover me, there would be no room for fear. I am learning what it means to accept His freedom and allow Him to fully love me. I can make my own prison at times and lock the door behind me. I know I am not living in the freedom He gives when I do this. Thank you for praying for me. I love you all.
I have posted some pictures below of the Salon 7 fundraiser day and Josh's birthday.
With the Salon 7 girls and my awesome check
What an awesome salon and stylists!
At Josh's 28th birthday dinner
What he woke up to at the Stanfill's on his birthday
The balloons on our car!