Friday, December 21, 2012

Striving to make my heaven IN heaven!

After 5 long months of pain and symptoms, I got the most amazing news. Everything looked great on my CT scan. There looks to be a possible cyst on my left ovary, but nothing in my area of pain. I finally feel like myself again. I know in my heart and I stand on my confession of faith that I am healed, but when you consistently have pain in a scary area, it is hard to act as if everything is fine, because it's not.  Even though I still don't know what is causing the pain, I know what is is NOT! The burden that has been lifted is unexplainable.

When I heard the news from my CT scan, I was home alone sitting on my couch about to eat lunch. After I found out the good news, I was so overcome with emotion. I dramatically put my lunch on the coffee table and sprawled out on my living room floor in the most violent cry you have probably ever heard:) My mascara was ALL over my face and I was inconsolable. I'm sure I was a sight to see, but it was a precious moment with my Savior. I just kept yelling thanks to the Lord over and over, followed by apologizing to him over and over for ever doubting Him in the slightest. I tried calling Josh and couldn't reach him. He tried calling me back and I missed his call. When he came home, we hadn't talked yet. Let's just say I had to quickly tell him the news was good, because by looking at me or hearing me, he probably thought something was majorly wrong:) Oh, the joys of living with me!!!

After hearing the news, I have been so giddy. Little girl giddy. Like skipping around the house, wanting to do cartwheels in the front yard giddy. No exaggeration. I'm excited to go to the grocery store, clean my house, play with my dog--just doing anything I have such joy that I haven't had in a very long time. I always try to choose joy and choose happiness regardless of my situation, but to actually feel it bubbling up inside is an indescribable feeling. So, I am enjoying this joy with overwhelming thankfulness to my God.

1 Corinthians 15:57 "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

As far as the pain is concerned, we are not too sure what the next step is. I am meeting with my G.I. doctor on the 27th to see what the next step is. Please pray that we can know what to do to stop my pain in the most natural way possible. I am trying a lot of diet changes to see if that helps. I am already eating very healthy, but will be experimenting with taking some foods out of my diet to see if that helps.

I am reminded through all of my pain, fears, and hardship to make my heaven IN heaven. If I had a "perfect" life, or if things went just as I have planned, why would I want heaven? My heaven might be here on this earth. That is scary. I know I've shared it before, but I am looking forward to heaven more than ever before. I long for it--- for Jesus to come back. I think we often hear about storing our treasures in heaven, but I don't know if I have ever truly understood what that meant. Not that I understand fully now, but I know that these experiences have helped me realize that I often long for my heaven to be on earth. Do I believe I will have blessings on this earth? Yes. Do I believe God has favor on my life and wants to give me the desires of my heart? Yes. But, I want to desire heaven---not heaven on earth. As blessings come my way, I am praying I am reminded to not make earth my heaven. I will strive to be in awe of my blessings and always keep a heaven- focus. I can rejoice and thank God for trials, as it causes me to long for a kingdom that will stand forever.

Romans 8: 18-19 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed."

So, the next time I head to Houston will be the second week of January. Please continue to pray for my oncology check up and my ultrasound check up--that everything will look perfectly. That check up will  be about 8 months since my mastectomy. That is so hard to believe, but I am so overjoyed. Josh laughs at me, because I can turn a light comment to a serious one in a heartbeat. I don't mean to, but it is just where my mind is. He will say something like, "I can't believe Christmas is coming," or "Your surgery will be here so soon," and I will comment back and say, "I'm so thankful I'm alive" or "I just thank Jesus for getting me to this point." So yes, the mood can change pretty quickly in the Taylor household, but it is just constantly on my mind. Big events or milestones can send me into a tailspin, as I become overwhelmed with thankfulness for God choosing to keep me here on this earth. I can be so extremely sensitive at times, and I am thankful for those who have endured my tears, fears, anger, joy, and ever-changing moods. I've always been very even-keeled, so God is teaching me much with all of these different emotions!

Josh and I are slowly but surely sending gifts and thank you's to so many of you who have gone above and beyond for us. We pray you are beyond blessed this Christmas season. Through my own struggles this Christmas season, I have experienced sorrow and struggles in a joyful season. It makes me ache for those who are struggling during this time of year. To seemingly have no joy in a season that is supposed to be full of joy can be overwhelming. God has made me more sympathetic and empathetic towards those suffering as I have suffered myself. Once again, God uses my struggles for His glory.

Praying you all have a very Merry Christmas. Join me in being in awe of Christ, as he was born on earth to save me and have relationship with ME. OVERWHELMING! I am copying lyrics and the youtube video to my favorite Christmas song below. There have been many car rides as I have belted it out and cried. It doesn't even feel like a Christmas song to me, and I wish it was played all year long. I remember listening to it last year around this time, and I felt it took my thoughts and they were put into a song. Enjoy. May Christ continue to be born in me!

Be born in me
By Francesca Battistelli

Everything inside me cries for order
Everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow an angel or a warrior?
If God is pleased with me, why am I so terrified?
Someone tell me I am only dreaming
Somehow help me see with Heaven's eyes
And before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees
Holy is He. Blessed am I.

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I'll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

All this time we've waited for the promise
All this time You've waited for my arms
Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected
So we might know that Love would go that far?

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I'll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

I am not brave
I'll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I'm just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours

Be born in me, be born in me
I'll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Good results and CT abdomen scan scheduled

Well, God makes himself famous again... My tests went really well yesterday. My doctor said that he took some biopsies (which is standard) and it looks like I might have gastritis. I am still trying to research what exactly it is and how I can help it. He sent something off to test for the gastritis that he thinks may be a bacteria that an antibiotic might clear up. I do not like taking medicine and would like to do things as natural as possible, so pray that I can help heal my body in the most natural way possible. Outside of that, he said everything looked good.

I asked about my gallbladder, liver, and kidneys and he said that he is unable to view those organs in the tests. I thought that all of that could be looked at during these tests, but I was wrong. The doctor is has ordered me a CT scan of my abdomen and pelvis to make sure everything is ok. It is scheduled for this upcoming Monday, the 17th.  So, I am extremely thankful and definitely relieved that these tests went well, but of course, I have the waiting for the return of the biopsies and abdomen CT scan coming up. I am trying to just rejoice in the moment, and trust God to take care of tomorrow- I will rejoice in today. So, I should hear from the doctor soon to get the biopsy results, and now I wait until my CT scan on Monday.

I am thankful a CT scan is scheduled because it is a very in depth scan, and one I wanted to have for a long time, but have waited for and trusted doctor's timings on all of these tests. I am doing ok emotionally...trusting God with all my heart. I am human and get very scared... I once again beg you all to pray for a clear CT scan. Trusting that this test will be clear and I will have even more peace of mind.  Once this test is clear, cancer is ruled out for affecting the pain in my abdomen. God knows that this test needed to happen for my peace of mind. Trusting Him...

I am reminded of people who were counted righteous by their faith in the Bible. The one that sticks out to me is Abraham. It is funny how many people I have been able to identify with in the Bible through my suffering- Jesus, Mary, Abraham, Paul, David, Job...I have literally felt a bond with these people! I know my suffering pails in comparison, but there still is more of a bond.

As you know, I have also felt many bonds with other breast cancer survivors, and my friend, Erin is one of them. God healed her supernaturally from stage 4 breast cancer. I found her blog last spring and she has been a constant encouragement to me, and our treatment has been similar and around the same time frame. I hope to meet her one day. Check out her awesome blog:

When I was about to get my bone scan in October, I wept at Erin's words as she commented on my blog. I happened to read it in a weak moment in my bathroom. She said, "This is not cancer, you're just under attack because of all the awesome things you do for the kingdom. God answered your prayers for TOTAL healing already. You claim that healing and don't stop, no matter what you hear or fear. This is a great chance for you to live out your faith--believing in what cannot be seen. There are no what-ifs or action plans for worst-case scenario, because that would be like not believing God healed you entirely. Remember, Abraham's faith was credited as righteousness when he spoke things about his future that seemed unbelievable. This is your Abraham moment, and I know you are a righteous woman!

Father, please help me have the faith of Abraham- faith for my healing, faith for my future, faith for living a long life, faith that you are taking care of me. I want to go where you say go, even if that means not knowing where I am going. I want to believe in you for children of my own, like Abraham did, when circumstances would say differently. I pray I am righteous in your eyes father. I believe Lord; help my unbelief.

Hebrews 11:8 "It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going."

Romans 4:3 "For the Scriptures tell us, "Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith."

Oh, and God gave me awesome news today as I am trying to stay focused on him and not on these scary tests. My surgery scheduler called and my breast implant surgery is scheduled for February 1st! I am so excited and thankful. I trust that God is holding my hand and giving me bits of hope to carry me through these tests. He is such a good God. If there is one thing that is true, it is that God is good.

PLEASE PRAY FOR ME AND MY CT SCAN ON MONDAY!!! You've prayed me through before and through my last test... I NEED it again. I am one needy person. Just being honest of where I'm at... 

The joy that will come when the CT results are good....cannot explain!!! Pray, fast, join me with expectation of these good test results....

Below are some pictures from our blessing cruise. I am going to call it our "hope" cruise, because it was there God gave me hope I desperately needed. To those who helped make this trip possible, we pray God blesses you more than you can imagine. May you reap the blessings of what you have sown into me!!!

2 Corin. 9:6-8 "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."
At a show one night

Having fun dancing the last night!

 The girls at dinner

In San Juan, Puerto Rico

In St. Thomas

One of our formal nights

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reminder to pray for me Tueday, Dec. 11th

I just wanted to write a short post to remind you all to pray for me tomorrow. I check in for my tests at 2:30 and they should begin at 3:00. I am having both an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. We should find out results from these tests as soon as they are over, so that is definitely a relief. It should just last an hour or so, then I will wake up and go over results.

God has given me an amazing peace of mind. My symptoms have remained, but my spirit is at rest. I just continue saying a verse that I say often.." I am holding fast to my confession of faith without wavering, for He who has promised is faithful." I am continuing to believe that my confession of faith is complete healing and that it will be revealed in every test done.

I am asking you to pray right now as you read this and any other time I cross your mind. We have seen what happens when we come together and pray. Let us not stop doing this because the storm as seemingly settled, but may we be encouraged to press on harder than ever because of what we've seen God do when we do what we are supposed to do! I've said it before, but many of His promises are conditional and I (we) must continue doing our part of those promises.

I am begging you to pray with me tomorrow for clear results. Looking forward to posting the good news... Love you all...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Breast Reconstruction Surgery coming soon!

So, my mom and I headed to Houston last week and had a great visit. She has taken me these last 2 times and she is always willing to take me! I have a great mom! We got to visit some with the Stanfill's on Wednesday night and then headed to my appointment in the morning. I received my final expansion! They were not able to expand my left side to match the right because of the radiation done on that side and just simply couldn't stretch much more. So, during surgery they will make the right side smaller to match the left, since the left cannot be expanded further. This means that I will be slightly smaller chested than I was before my mastectomy, and I am at peace with that. When I had my lat-flap surgeries, we thought there was a chance I wouldn't be able to expand at all, so I am thankful to have breasts of any size:)
1 Thessalonians 5:18  "In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

The soreness from the expansion is going away now and a surgery date is in the process of being set! During my lat-flap surgeries, I thought I wouldn't have surgery intil April or May, but that has changed. Dr. Villa expressed that he would feel comfortable doing my final surgery in January or February! His staff is supposed to call me in the next week or so to nail down an official date, but it will definitely be in January or February. Crazy to think I won't see them until the day before my surgery. To go from seeing them every week or every 2 weeks to a month or 2...surreal, but of course a good thing. I will see Dr. Villa for a pre-op appointment the day before surgery and have surgery the next day. I may have to stay overnight in the hospital, but if I don't I will at least need to stay in the Houston area. I may or may not have drains...a lot of these decisions will be decided in the operating room. But regardless, at the most, it should be a 4-5 day Houston stay and then we can head home! It really is exciting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I can't believe it is December 5th. It is interesting to talk to Josh and read his writings of what he remembers from all of last year's events. It is crazy to be going through something alongside someone and have so many different experiences and perspectives. Things he remembers I don't remember at all. Things he thought about, I didn't think about at all. Things that were significant to me, weren't to him and vice versa. You all know I am long-winded at this point, but one day, we will write all of what we went through down. My version may not fit, blog-style:) I do know that when December 1st hit this weekend, I remembered how much I was awaiting December 1st last year, as it was my 1st ultrasound check-up after I started chemo. It was our first tangible, physical sign that my cancer was going away...Praise the Lord for December 1st. A new month, a new hope, a new sign of what God was doing in me.

"Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." Lam. 3:23

I shouldn't have to go back to MD Anderson until the beginning of January. I will have my 3 month appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Litton, as well as have my follow up ultrasound with Dr. Strom. To remind you...2 months ago, I had a breast ultrasound that showed 2 lymph nodes that had not previously showed up on ultrasounds. This concerned Dr. Strom, but he thought there was a good chance that the new ultrasound equipment was just allowing them to see lymph nodes that were always there, but had not been detected by previous equipment. These lymph nodes looked completely benign, but he wanted me to come back in 3 months to do a follow up- which is what this appointment in January will be- so please, please pray for this too.

I wanted to update you all on the surgery and thank you for continuing to pray for me. My symptoms have seemed a little better this week, so I can't thank you enough for your prayers. God is giving me more peace about these tests coming up on Tuesday. I can't eat anything on Monday or Tuesday, so it will make me fast and pray and believe God for a good report. Please consider joining me. I will remind you all as Tuesday gets closer to pray. Once again, I need you to fight with me. Please put on the WHOLE armor of God...for you and for me. I love you guys.

Eph. 6:10-17  "A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Posted below are some pictures from Thanksgiving and from a Tacky Christmas Party we had on Friday night. I also ran in a 5K this weekend to raise money for Leukemia research. My great friend, Angie helps put this race on, and she is a leukemia survivor. She has held my hand through my journey. (that is an understatement) Thanking God for new beginnings, fun, and the ability to run!

Bowling with the Taylors after thanksgiving lunch

Our Tacky Christmas party with our wonderful friends!

After the Scrooge 5K