Monday, December 23, 2013

It's a wonderful life

It's A Wonderful Life

One of my favorite movies is It's a Wonderful Life. Our church gave out devotionals to our families and we watched It's a Wonderful Life this past week. There are so many lessons to be learned in this movie, but there were a few that stuck out to me this time.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thanks and Giving

Are You Thankful? Then give!

What are the holidays made of? As I have pondered this question, I have come up with two words- Thanks and giving. We are to be thankful and we are to be giving. It is actually out of my thankfulness that I am drawn to give. I think the two go hand in hand. If I am truly thankful, my heart will want to give.

Here we are on Thanksgiving Day. Our first "Black Thursday/Friday" shopping experience.

I Hate to Give! (Not Really...)

Are you a giver? Well, I have a confession. I am not one. Not at all, actually. I truly believe the classic question to see if you are a giver or not is to ask yourself what you would do if you won the lottery. My first thought is always to tithe, go on an amazing vacation, to set up college funds for our kids, and to save enough money to have a wonderful retirement. What is left over, we could give to a charity and/or to our families. The giving comes after taking care of myself. My husband is the true definition of a giver. He always says, if I win the lottery, I want to give however many million dollars to our church or to CCS, to a charity, etc... Let's just say that isn't my first thought...ha ha:) I LOVE his heart.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Cancer Patient and Her Dog

A Toddler and His Dog

A few weeks ago, a picture of a little boy and a dog went viral, as the dog would take naps with this toddler. People all over the world "oohed and ahhed" over these precious pictures. I, too, have some precious pictures of my dog that leave me breathless.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why Auburn's upset of #1 Alabama gives me hope of my own upset.

This post is by Josh. Aly's husband. Bella's dad.

Below you will find a post that I wrote for You can either click HERE and read the original post with a really cool picture or you can scroll down and read the post right here.

As a sports guy I get so much joy from seeing the upset. Saturday night was no exception.

Saturday night the University of Auburn played the University of Alabama in a matchup of the #1 and #4 ranked teams in the nation. More importantly than that was at stake the 78th Iron Bowl.
The state of Alabama was at war over football. We are talking about the tree poisoning kind of war that can only take place over football.
In what is sure to be one of the greatest endings to happen since the band came on the field with :01 second left Auburn had a chance at the unbelievable. You see, Alabama and Nick Saban had rushed out to a 21-7 lead in the 2nd quarter. With just seconds left in the game Auburn had tied the score at 28-28. Alabama had the ball and chose to kick a field goal to win the game.
Auburn was staring in the face of their impossible, their upset. Once chance left and little did they know that :01 second was plenty of time for the impossible. Alabama kicked the field goal and it came up short but you see Auburn had a guy waiting just in case that happened. Chris Davis #11 caught the ball at the back of his end zone and proceeded to go 108 yards all the way down the field with no time left to pull off the impossible and beat the #1 Crimson Tide.
Last year Auburn was a dumpster fire and fired their head coach. Just 12 months ago this was their impossible. Today they wake up having accomplished their upset.
As I watched the replays what hit me is this, what is my impossible? What is my upset?
I can define that for you. My upset would be staying the course. My  upset would be staring in the face of all the desires I battle to creep back into the worldly desires to follow money and achievement. My impossible is to keep God as my quest.
The question is, will I be like Gus Malzahn and make my plan. See, going into last night Auburn wasn’t supposed to beat Alabama. The odds were strongly against them. Gus Malzahn, the coach of Auburn had told his team leading into the game to just make it a 4 quarter game. Which means let’s give ourselves a shot to win in the 4th quarter.
Give themselves a shot is what they did and what happened? Their upset happened.
I love sports and I love the underdog. What is even more exciting is that spiritually my impossible in this world places me as the underdog! Can you imagine what the celebration will be when I accomplish my upset?
If you think the Auburn fans had a party can you imagine what awaits spiritual winners?
For the brave: Share below what is your spiritual upset? Not just to follow God, but what will be your obstacles. I look forward to the discussion.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Podcast Episode : 02. Thanksgiving? Not quite so easy.

Here is our second podcast episode.

We hope you enjoy.

All you need to do is press play below.


We hope you enjoy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Secret no longer. The world now knows.

Who loves secrets? I know I do. At least when I am the one keeping them. I am not too fond of them when someone else has them.

Well my secret I told you about Wednesday is now known. It felt a lot safer when only I knew about it. Thursday morning I met with a group of guys to tell them about an event and program that I think is going to be pretty special.

March 20-22 I am going to have a men's retreat in Mena, Ark. I know you're thinking what in the world is in Mena? It seems like not a lot which is good because this is going to be a guy getaway. We will spend 3 days riding UTV's / ATV's. All in the mountains. I know, pretty awesome. Sorry ladies.

In March I came across a mentoring system for men. It is called Radical Mentoring. You can see their website here. In June I invited 10 guys to participate in a mentoring group. 5 brave souls accepted and in July we started what I consider to be one of the greatest spiritual opportunities for these guys and myself.

The system is simple, monthly meetings with a retreat at the beginning and the end of the mentoring season which usually last 8-12 months. Each month the group reads an assigned book which forms the basis of the next meeting. Each member gives a net out of the book. This details what the book taught them or spoke to them about their life. Not a book report. This is about a catalyst for change.

Other men are desperate for real relationship. We have just never seen that celebrated in our culture. We've been looking at the wrong culture is the problem.

Last week I had a guy that is 35 call me out of the blue and express his desire to find real friendship. Christian friendship that will help him be a better husband and dad. I am convinced guys want to be Godly men. We just have to be willing to throw them a bone.

This is not an accountability group. At the very first meeting the mentor gives his faith story, the good, the bad and all the ugly. In July when I gave my faith story it took about 30 minutes for me to tell my story. For the next 2 1/2 hours those guys asked every question you could think of about my story.

At the second meeting each member tells his faith story. This is the cornerstone of why this system is so amazing. Imagine, a group of 6-8 guys knowing the utmost, dirtiest, worst parts of each others lives and why they feel they ended up there. Most men never experience true relationship like that. That is it. Never again do you sit and discuss sins.

Once you go to that level with guys you realize a few things:

      1) I am not the only one who feels like I may drown
      2) So there are other guys who feel like they can't seem to get it right spiritually
      3) That guy I thought was "perfect" is as flawed as me?
      4) Worldly Life is so superficial

At that point the cat is out of the bag. I finally realized that some of the guys I thought had pristine faith stories were fighting just as hard as me. Though I would never wish this on them it was so empowering because for so long I thought it was just me. I thought I was the only guy in the room that being what God called me to be seemed difficult.

Through this process I made what should be one of the biggest turns for me spiritually. I cannot avoid sin. I must chase after God and by default sin will not be in my eyes. When my heart is turned toward God my heart cannot be turned toward sin.

Expose light to darkness and there will be a reaction. Fact.

So, to sum this little secret exposing post up let me say this. We only have 21 spots available for this little adventure, this time. For the guys interested in this there is an application process which involves two things:

1. Write the Obituary Announcement that you would like to see in the paper the day after your death…(of old age and by natural causes). Write it in the third person, like a reporter. Include the following:

 ·      Significant professional accomplishments – what would you like for the paper to say that you    accomplished in your professional life.
 ·      Community accomplishments
 ·      Church accomplishments
 ·      Family accomplishments
 ·      A quote from your wife
 ·      A quote from each of your children (present and/or future “dreamed” of children)
 ·      A quote from your best friend
 ·      Finish this paragraph and include it somewhere in your obit…“In (insert timeframe), he participated in a Radical Mentoring Group. It was a significant deal because...”

2. What are your expectations from the Radical Mentoring Group? – In another 250 words or less, tell me why you want to do this. What do you expect to happen as a result of being involved in this group? Why would you commit to doing all this reading, memorizing scripture, opening yourself up to a bunch of guys? What do you want to learn? How do you want to change? What's your REAL motivation?

The goal of the retreat will be to leave with 3 new mentor groups. 

I know, when I read this the first time I thought what in the world. We are now 5 months into this group and I realize more than ever that having to put into words what you want said at your funeral makes you really think about your life, not what you've done but how you have lived and loved. If you haven't done those things then your obituary is hard to stomach.

If you are interested or if you would like more information then email me at 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Found in the middle of God's will. What to do.

Ever found yourself in the dead center of what you believe to be God's will? Having prayed, fasted, believed, waited, prayed, fasted, believed, waited?

I can honestly say I have very few times found myself in that position. God's will seems hard to grasp, too slow to wait on and not near as dreamy as I think his will should be.

I mean come on. This is God's will and God's will is earth creating, light producing, mountain making kind of stuff so surely his will for my life will include such immense things. Too bad most of the time it doesn't.

Too bad that most of the time God's will is quiet, slow, unremarkable in the eyes of the world. On the flip side when you follow God's will when it isn't fun he comes through in some remarkable ways. I want to learn to love his will when it isn't fun so that when I experience the fun times of his will in my life it resonates at the level it should.

Yesterday we had what will be Aly's last procedure. Yes. Re-read that sentence. Here, I'll help.

Yesterday, we had what WILL be Aly's last procedure. Two years, one month and two days from diagnosis we had Aly's last procedure. I didn't know this day existed back then but today as Aly naps on the couch I am in awe of life. Not the life I've made for us.

The life that God gave us. See Josh's version of life wasn't like this. Josh's version was flashy, special and the eyes of the world.

The life God has given us is quiet, powerful and will change other peoples lives. That's the God kind of life. I am starting to kind of dig the life with less significance to the bank but utterly ridiculous significance in the Kingdom.

And let me be clear, we aren't living in a hut, riding bikes and begging. We are at a point of reaping that  breaks my heart as I type this. This level can only be done by God. I could not have created this.

Tomorrow morning I share with a group of guys about a dream, a dream I know changed my life and I think can change theirs. I'll let you know about it later, it's a secret for now.

I've got to let the dog out, this home office has it's down sides...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Relax and say "Jesus"

My Brain MRI

A few weeks ago when I had my brain MRI, I was scared. Not as panicked as I have gotten in the past, but of course scared. My head pain was excruciating and pain and fear are not a good combination. I thought I would share with you a short moment of my brain MRI experience.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What does that mean for you? LIFE APPLICATION

This week Aly and I are at the Platform Conference in Dallas, Texas.

For those of you that do not know, I felt I was supposed to begin laying down all my entrepreneurial ventures, and that I was supposed to be with Aly during this unexpected and tough time in our lives. Over the last two years, I have not done this perfectly, but have for the most part laid those things down. I will blog about that more at some point, but God has truly changed my heart in so many ways.

As God has continued to reveal his plan for our lives, it has become clear to me that I am in need of and only interested in relationships that are deep and legitimate. Men have become accustomed to relationships that are superficial and shallow to say the least. This has setup boys to become men that do not understand being vulnerable to one another which translates into not knowing how to be vulnerable before and to God.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My heart will choose to say

Blessed be the name of the Lord

These last couple of weeks have been a mix of highs and lows to the absolute extreme. I always try to bless the Lord, whether in victory or in trial and these last few weeks have definitely tested that. One thing is always true: God is good and is always to be praised. Even when I don't understand. Even when his presence is so true and so real, and even when it's hard to know if He's even here. Blessed be His name.

"Blessed be the name of the LORD now and forever." Psalm 113:2

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit's prompting

2 years ago today, I had my biopsy of the lump I found in my breast. I remember waking up and everyone telling me, "It's fine! Benign!" Everything looked great.

I had such relief. Little did I know that 3 days later, I would get the devastating news that everything was not fine and I was about to undergo the fight of my life.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The best day I've had in YEARS!

Saturday October 5, 2013

Have you ever had one of those days that is just a "stand-alone" kind of day?! A day that you just think, "Wow, today was a great day!!!" Yeah, well I haven't had one of those in a long, long, long time. Situations may have predicted a good day, or my emotions my have been in a good place one day, but never both at the same time in the last few years. 

Well, I had one of those days this Saturday. Yes, one of those "stand-alone" days.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Keeping my eye on the prize

Race for the Cure 2013...then and now

I am SO disappointed that I will miss race for the cure this weekend. I ran in it a few weeks before my diagnosis in 2011, and then ran in it last year, so to miss it is a HUGE bummer for me. But I have something WAY more important this weekend: my amazing friend, Kelly's baby shower. I am a hostess and will be in Baton Rouge celebrating her and her upcoming arrival. I can't wait to have my 4 best friends (Kelly, Katie, Ainsley, and Margot) all together. The truest of true friends!!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


What's your story? Seems like an easy question, right? But so many of us, including myself feel like we wouldn't know what to say, or that no one would want to hear  our story, or that our story isn't good enough...well, this week has been huge for me in realizing my story.

Our Amazing Week in Vail, Co.

We were in Vail, CO this week, as we attended a conference on maximizing business. We were attending mainly for Josh to learn more entrepreneurship and business, etc..., but we have been overwhelmed by the amount of information that applies to ME. To my story! I have learned so much on how God has given me a platform, an audience, a people to share my story!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Post-cancer thoughts...check your SPAM!


1. I forget I don't have my breasts any more. The other day someone was talking about having to wear a really supportive sports bra. Before I knew it, I was agreeing and telling her which kind I wore. Then, I quickly realized, that isn't true anymore!!! Crazy how I can forget these things. I go to buy a shirt or a bra and realize I have to look for a different size/fit, since my breasts are so different. 

2. I still scratch my head like I have a wig on. Ever seen people with a weave or wig and how they kinda put their finger on top of their head to try and scratch it, but they really can't? Yeah, I still do that from the 6 months I wore Raquel.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I know RELIEF!

As Josh's aunt has said, "Our famous God does it again!" I'm sure most of you have heard my good news by now, but my scans were clear- PRAISE GOD!!! It was a crazy, relaxing, anxiety-filled, wonderful trip to Houston, with the best ending possible. God's love and care for me overwhelms me at levels I didn't even know were there!

We got to Houston on Thursday for my reconstructive procedure. It was about a 2 1/2 hour surgery, but they used local anesthesia so I was awake the whole time. It was crazy. They also allowed Josh to stay back there while they did the surgery, so it was really cool for him to watch. Music was playing and Josh, Dr. Villa, Alisha and I just chatted the entire time. That was surreal to just be having normal conversations and to know they were cutting on me--ahh!!! I only looked one time, but it made my stomach churn. If anyone has ever questioned what the human body can do and how amazingly intricate God created us, just watch a surgery- Incredible!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

In Sickness and Health...IT'S AUGUST!!!

Hope you guys enjoyed our first podcast. We will definitely be doing it again... I pray some of the things we shared encouraged you and you enjoyed learning a bit more about us.

I truly cannot believe it's been 7 years. I would have never guessed 7 years ago that the vows we made to each other would be shook to the core. As we know, many people do not take the commitment of marriage seriously. Although we did and still do take our vows seriously, we still had very little idea of what those promises meant. The phrase "in sickness and health" is a phrase that is somewhat breezed over, as most couples envision spending time together in their 80's or 90's as they may have to help somewhat with their spouse's health. That's most people's view of "sickness." This is actually more of the exception to the rule, as a spouse becomes ill way before the "ideal" age, or one struggles with a sickness at an unexpected age. When couples recite those vows to each other, they never really think it will happen to them. I am thankful for so many things that have occured throughout my journey, but words cannot describe how grateful I am that my husband and I meant what we said in our wedding vows. Ironically, for our 5 year wedding anniversary (our anniversary a few months before my diagnosis) I gave Josh a frame to go over our bed, with our wedding vows printed inside. Just a reminder of what we promised to each other over 7 years ago.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Aly's Fight Podcast Episode 01. 7 things we learned in our first 7 years of marriage.

We are excited to be posting our first podcast episode.

All you need to do is click the word "Play" below.


 If you would like to download the podcast app for your iPhone follow these steps:

1) Go to APP Store
2) Search for Podcast App
3) Download FREE Podcast App
4) Once downloaded, search for "Aly's Fight"
5) Subscribe to the Podcast
 6) You will receive our Podcast automatically.

 This will not affect your emails from our blog. This podcast is just a new medium to talk with you.

Have a great DAY!

NOTE: We had to re-post this post due to a few issues with the RSS Feed. There were two comments already so we copy and pasted them over. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

I'll just keep holding on.


As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I see clients all the time that struggle with depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, addiction, relationship problems etc... It has at times been hard for me to identify with clients who struggle greatly, as I have seemed to be able to overcome depression, anxiety, relationship issues in the past fairly quickly. Well, since my cancer/ healing journey, I can identify on an entirely different level. Many of my friends and clients who knew what I was going through were slower to open up to me because they thought that their problems were nothing compared to what I was going through. It was also very hard for me to open up to others, because many just did not know what to say or do. For the first time in my life, I knew what true heartache was. Loss. Anger. Relentless anxiety. Fear. Depression- Real depression. Even thoughts of suicide.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Great News! We will have a podcast coming soon!

To hear our setup podcast you can "click" Play below. PLAY All you have to do is press play when you receive the email and instead of reading you will receive an audio update from Aly or I. We will continue to blog normally but this provides a new way for you to participate.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The upside of surgeries

So, I am at home recovering from surgery. Outiside of the the soreness and dizziness, I really feel pretty good. I wasn't nauseous when I woke up from surgery, and they got the IV in on the first try. How awesome is that?!  I just took all of my bandages off Sunday, and I think everything looks good. It's hard to tell when the skin is bruised and the incisions are not healed, but Dr. Villa was very pleased with how everything went. I have 4 new scars on my rib cage where my drain scars were and a new scar under my right arm pit where some skin was removed. Now, I am just trying to rest, which is hard for me. I know the Lord loves when I rest my body, and even more importantly rest in His presence.

Exodus 33:14 "And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.""

Here is how I have spent most of my time the last few days.
 On the couch with my attractive "surgical vest"

We had a long day on Thursday (the day before my surgery), as we waited a while for my pre-op appointment, a research study appointment, and my anesthesia appointment. We had a fun day though with lunch at Ruggles green, homegoods, high fashion home, and IKEA. We didn't have enough time with the Stanfill's, but they once again opened up their amazing home to us. Their generosity to us continues to be the biggest blessing...

My surgery check-in was at 5:30 on Friday morning and they got my IV in on the first try and it really didn't hurt. Josh and I rigged up our little "vein exposer" before I got my IV, so maybe that helped :) Either way, I was so very thankful. I remember so much about being taken to the surgery room, where as with my other surgeries I hadn't remembered much. I remember moving to another bed and talking with the surgery team. Then, the next thing I remember was the sweetest nurse (Yvette) talking to me and telling me to open my eyes. My eyes felt like hundreds of pounds. Josh was there videoing me, asking me funny questions, which we will post later:) But I just remember the nurse kept telling me to take deep breaths and to open my eyes. It was so hard! They finally discharged me and I napped the entire afternoon. It was so great to have Josh, my mom, and Josh's parents with us at my surgery. Even though this was the most minor of the surgeries I've had, it was still scary and good to have family with me. Houston has truly become our second home, with people we love and places we like a whole lot!!! I was so thankful to feel well enough to go eat with my family that night. When they have come in for surgeries, I feel like I really haven't to spend much time with them because I am always knocked out, so I was thankful we were able to at least spend some time together that night. I never felt nauseous, which has never happened before. God was making himself known down to the little details. We then headed home on Saturday and I am trying to get my sleeping schedule back, as my nights and days have been a little confused:) It was a very easy surgery, compared to my others.

Here is a pic before I got my IV. Josh and I rigged up a way to help a vein expose. Didn't work, but they were able to get through my hand!

This was my 6th surgery in Houston in the past 2 years. At this point, we know the routine and what to expect which it comes to breast surgeries. After all of the surgeries I've had, I've experienced anesthesia, pain, nausea, lack of movement, lack of appetite, soreness, etc... I still experience pains and discomfort daily from surgeries that I had over a year ago. For several weeks and even months after surgey, pains and worries can be chalked up to as side effects from the surgery. Someone might think that is terrible, but for me, I can pay attention to "symptoms" so much that it can overtake my life if I'm not careful. So what have surgeries done for me? They have in a backwards way helped me mentally and emotionally. Surgeries have helped my "symptoms" be made sense of. God has helped me make huge strides in trusting Him when a symptom comes up, but I have learned that there is a definite upside of surgeries. I truly believe God picked the date of this last surgery, so that my anxiety would lessen and get me to August 18th (when I have all of my scans.) Anxiety can really rise up when it has been a while since a surgery and I am having scary symptoms. So, needless to say, the timing of this surgery couldn't have been better. I was really wishing it would have been sooner. I am learning to trust in His perfect timing, not timing that I perceive to be perfect.

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

We always hear "trust in God's timing," but I really think few of us really do, myself included. We hear that, then try to get a date moved, or a vacation planned, or have a baby at a perfect time... I don't think any of these things are wrong necessarily, but I do know that from my cancer/healing experience, I have been much less pushy with dates and planning. I am a planner by nature, so if there is a way I can move a date up or back, or organize something perfectly, I do; however, I think many times I could have changed everything so much that it may not have looked like the way God would have had it turn out. I remember in November of 2011, I was supposed to receive chemotherapy after Thanksgiving. We got to MDA and my white count was too low for 2 days in a row. I was devastated. A basketcase. Inconsolable. Our doctor was out of town and no one could order my chemo. I pushed and pushed to get a shot to raise my white count, and I did.  I was at the hospital at the break of dawn the next day to get someone to take my blood. I was one determined girl! The end of the story is that with all my trying and determination, my white count was still too low. I remember Josh and I having a conversation that basically ended with us agreeing that we have to trust God and not force situations to happen. I'm not saying I just sit back and not use the brain God blessed me with, but I am saying that I often times get in the way of God. The anxiety, worry, and fear that rose up in me as I was trying to do it all myself was not from God, but from the enemy. He had all the fuel he needed to pull me off course. Here is the blog post from that day in November of 2011. I often times get complimented on my determined nature, and yes I am very determined. But, it is not until and unless I pair my determination with God's sovereignty that my determination is worth anything.

Proverbs 16:9 "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."

I go back to Houston next week and have my post op appointment on the 11th. The 11th will be exactly one year from my last radiation treatment- my last cancer treatment- ever!!! So, we will be celebrating...thank you for your prayers as I am still recovering! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

God is sovereign,


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Surgery in AM/ Invisibility & Specificity

Tomorrow Aly will undergo another surgery but this one is to go back and address a few of the issues created through other surgeries. We met today with Dr.Villa and went over what all will happen tomorrow.

We have decided to only do a few of the proposed options and here they are;

Dr Villa is going to address one spot on each side of Aly's ribs where the drains were inserted. These spots will be taken out and made into smaller, less noticeable spots.

The other item will be addressing the non radiated side and attempt to even up both of Aly's breasts. In essence a lift on her right side.

I continue to be taught by my wife. Last week when we were here we went to our final Dr. visit and after the visit we get to our car and are headed to Whole Foods when Aly tells me she forgot her phone. We both immediately knew where it was and had seen the phone on the exam table. We went back to the hospital which took us about 30 minutes. When we got back to the hospital the phone was gone.

The lady that cleaned the room said she didn't see it. We filed a report and to this point the phone is gone. Last week the idea of leaving the hospital without searching, physical searching every lady on that floor was unbelievable to me. All the pictures and video that we can't recover. No, we didn't have icloud on Aly's phone. My fault.

I looked at Aly after about an hour of talking to the people and said how far do you want me to go to get this phone? She says well we've done everything we can. I'm thinking oh no, there are about 10 things we can do and none of them were legal or kind. Oh well. So we left and Aly has just gone on with life.

Even having gone through what we have I still can lose perspective and in this case Aly brings back the reality of losing a phone for us is so insignificant in the big picture. It is painful but obviously for us just a drop in the pan.

So as we get ready for another surgery I again am in awe at my wife's ability to stay grounded and know what matters.

A few thoughts on the new tab about Cancer Care taking, which you can see here.

One of the points of the list is to serve the affected family by doing specific things for the family. Don't ask can you do anything but think about your day and as you go about your day know that each of those things are going on in that persons life. That is a great starting point for you to serve.

For example, if a guy I know is affected all I have to do is look at my day to see 10 or more great ways I can serve him.

Take trash out.
Water/ fertilize/ mow yard.
Get oil changed in cars.
Update expiration stickers.
Organize garage.
Car detailed.
Prepping hunting lease, corn, lane clearing, stand maintenance.
Honey do list- ex. Frame chalkboard, install ironing board, stain coffee table.
Stain fence
Check sprinkler system.

These are things I could do for someone because chances are every guy has a couple things on this list he needs done. These are all things I either still need to do or have had done for me by people. I wouldn't think to tell them unless they specifically say can I do ______for you?

Being Invisible?

Learn to be invisible when you're around people in crisis.

Challenge yourself to be servant first, friend/ advisor second. Can you be in a conversation and not participate?  Remember though this feels like a break from normal life, for the people you are with you are in their new everyday life.

A couple like Aly and I have people in our everyday life situations where we use to have only Aly and I. Imagine all the things that you struggle with your spouse about in daily life and add someone else to the mix. Needless to say that doesn't calm situations but only exaggerates whatever friction is normal.

There is a reason a marriage is between two people instead of 3. Be careful to be a fall back support instead of the main beam. In the infamous trust fall the people catching the person who falls don't assist in the fall. They are there when or if they are needed, they don't assist in the fall.

If you are in crisis of some kind and are struggling with someone know that they are there because they love you. Kindness is required on your part no matter the boundaries that are violated.

Once again, we are so thankful for your support and we believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is continuing to heal Aly.

Go check out the cancer care taking page here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"You are well"

"You are well." These are the words that Dr. Strom (my radiation oncologist) kept repeating to me at my appointment on Wednesday. I am well. I am well, in Jesus' name. God showed out big these last few days, as they were two of my best visits yet. I prayed very specifically for these appointments and God answered my prayers, even to the details. I am so thankful.

I prayed for my blood to be taken easily and it was. They got several nurses to come back to try to find a vein, but one did and she got it on the first try. I literally cannot remember another time that has happened. She stacked my purse with hand warmers to use before my surgery this week. Hopefully that will help them find a vein. The last couple of my surgeries, they have waited until I was put under to put an IV in because they have so much trouble.

Next, I had my X-ray. I got taken back very quickly and the lady was super nice. We then had a break in our schedule and were able to visit with some friends who had a family member undergoing a mastectomy. Josh also got to see one of our close friend's dad who is at MDA. Then, we headed straight to Dr Strom's office and got called back so quickly! Seriously, God was good to us, even in wait times on this trip! A man came in before Dr. Strom and he reviewed my bloodwork and X-ray, which both looked perfect:) Thank you Father!!! He was very nice...we just laugh at this point, because I am a very modest person, yet so many men at that hospital have seen me half naked! Just random doctors that sit in on the doctor's visit... I just tell myself: "I am helping them"... "I am helping them"... "I am helping them." Makes it a little less awkward:)

Then Dr. Strom came in and he is just so kind. He discussed the "scarring" that is left from radiation. What I would call really tough skin and where the skin is "stuck" to the muscle, he calls "scarring." He hates that so much scarring is left, but he is hopeful it will release some as time goes on. We discussed my upcoming surgery and he somewhat discouraged a few things that we discussed doing in our surgery next Friday. He discouraged fat grafting to the concave area of radiation scarring, as well as the pec skin release where my pec muscle is so tight. Sooo, it was good information, but we are now questioning and praying about what all we will do in surgery. We know we are having a lift on the right side, drain scars flattened, and some excess skin removed from my lat flap surgery. The fat grafting and pec release are now up for debate. Please pray that we will make the right decision on what to do. Other than that, we just visited and he was just so please that I was "well." Thank you Jesus! So, we are praying for wisdom for this surgery, so I will be kept safe.

Proverbs 28:26 "He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe."

Here is a picture of Dr. Strom and me after my appointment Wednesday

After my visit with Strom, I headed to my ultrasound. I prayed that I would have a tech that I knew and would talk to me. Flavia was my ultrasound tech and she had been mine 2 times before. She is from Argentina and she is extremely sweet. She talked to me the whole time and then left to have the doctor read the ultrasound. She came back in my room to tell me that everything looked good, but she was just getting the official report. I appreciated that so much! What an answer to prayer. I just thanked God after she left. Most of the time you just have to wait and wait and wait, but she came to tell me everything looked good. I have had so many special moments with God in that ultrasound room...where it was just us. Thanking him, crying in devastation, doubting Him, praising Him...and he has proved faithful through it all. Thankful He is faithful even when we are not!

2 Timothy 2:13 "If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is."

Flavia said that when I come next year for my ultrasound, we can do a baby ultrasound at the same time:) She just had a baby and we were discussing how she was able to use the equipment to check up on her baby. I love those who speak life and positive words over me!

Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits."

We met another couple (breast cancer survivor) who is about a year behind me. She looks amazing and we had such a great time with Brandie and Mark. They actually saw us in MDA one day and knew us from our blog and introduced themselves last year. Really a God thing. She is about a year behind me and it was great to see them. No one can ever really understand what you go through when you are diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, but if anyone else can understand, it is another who has gone through it. Our experiences were different, but we can relate on so many things.

Wednesday night, we went to an Astros game! We had a blast. We have been talking about going to a game for so long, so it was great to have a fun night with my man. Here are some pictures from the game.
We almost caught a ball:)

So, on Thursday morning, I had my appointment with my surgical oncologist, Dr. Babiera (who performed my mastectomy surgery). I hadn't seen her in over a year! She basically just looked at me and felt for anything worrisome, and everything looked and felt great. Praise God! She was a little disappointed in the way my scars looked, but was hopeful that they would be less prominent as time goes on. The rest of our visit, we just visited. She loved on me and kept hugging me. It is crazy to see the transformation in doctors as I continue to be well. I assume they have to somewhat protect themselves from getting too close or emotionally connected with patients, but as I have continued to be well, they have been more open to me. It is so good to have that on so many levels!!!! It was so great to see her and she definitely lifted my spirits. I won't see her or Dr. Strom for a year. Wow, God!

A picture of Dr. Babiera and me

So, now we are just waiting until we head to Houston for my surgery this week. We will head down on Wednesday, have my pre-op appointments on Thursday and then surgery on Friday. We won't know the time of my surgery until Thursday night. Josh will update the blog and keep you all updated. It is crazy that I have been nervous about this surgery, considering the other ones I've been through. Please pray for a successful surgery, wisdom for doctors, and that what is supposed to be done in surgery will be done!

**Also**, check out the "cancer caretaking" tab at the top of our blog. Through our own cancer healing experience, we have collected so many things that have been helpful and not so helpful to us during our struggles. We all know someone going through cancer, an illness, or a crisis and our hope is that our suggestions can help you help others. It has just a few things that we have learned through our journey. I love you guys!!!

I am well,


Monday, June 17, 2013

A world with more birthdays...


I remember when I was newly diagnosed and I got something in the mail from relay for life. At the time, their slogan was "Creating a world with more birthdays." I got a towel that even had that phrase on it. I remember sitting on Josh's old bed (we lived with his parents while our house was being built), and it hitting me for the first time- how many more birthdays would I have? This was scary to contemplate and very thought provoking for me. I of course was believing that I would have many, many more, but it was in that moment and time since then that I have contemplated what birthdays truly are. They are not merely a celebration or a party, but they are a marker. A milestone. Another year to live on this earth. To have your life threatened and by doctor's terms possibly not having many more birthdays...pretty overwhelming. So, needless to say, birthdays now have an entirely different meaning to me. Indeed a day where I am reminded of God's me another year to live on this earth. There will be tons of birthdays in my future. How I celebrate my birthday, my husband's birthday, my future children's birthdays will be much different. And, for that I am thankful. Happy birthday to me! Thank you Father God!

Psalm 91:16 "With long life I will satisfy him and so him my salvation."

Yes, I am 26, as of June 9th! I had the best birthday yet, as my husband spoiled me. We also celebrated with friends and family. Last year at this time, we were living in Houston as I was receiving radiation for 6 weeks. My skin was starting to really itch and burn, and my nails and toenails were starting to grow back. I had marker written all over my chest and my hair had really started growing back. We LOVED our time in Houston. We loved spending quality time with our second family and we had so much time together. Outside of the radiation, it was a wonderful 6 weeks. I truly cannot believe it has been a year since then. I look differently; I feel differently; I am different. I pray I continue to grow and change. Closer to Christ as each year of my life passes.

Here is a picture of my nails during treatment and now. I remember them hurting so badly. It is truly the little things...

It's funny because girls my age are already discussing the dislike of getting older. Of course, it's not fun thinking about wrinkles, gray hair, and the inevitability of signs of aging, but my perspective has completely changed after all I've been through. Signs of old age are simply that- signs of old age! I want those signs...proof that I have lived many years!!! I know I may sound radical, but with every wrinkle or sign of old age, I am determined to thank God for allowing me to see those signs. Don't get me wrong, I am human and I will take care of myself, but I am not scared or fret being older. I honestly cannot wait to get there. I wish I was posting that I was 36- that would mean I was almost 12 years from my diagnosis....but I know God wants to walk with me through the "scary" times. I keep reminding myself, this is giving me character, perseverance, HOPE!

 "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hopedoes not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
Romans 5:3-5

So, I am less than 2 weeks away from my reconstructive surgery. I will also head to Houston on Tuesday, as I have my check up appointments on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Please, please, please pray that all of my tests and bloodwork come back perfectly. I will have an X-ray and an ultrasound done, and of course get anxious about these. Please lift me up. I will be meeting with my radiation doctor (Dr. Strom) to look at my skin and X-ray on Wednesday, and then will meet with my surgical oncologist (Dr. Babiera) on Thursday to go over my ultrasound and for her to look how everything is healing. I haven't seen Dr. Babiera in a year. She was the doctor who performed my mastectomy, so she will be reviewing the ultrasound to make sure everything still looks good. I pray and believe it will be in Jesus' name. Needless to say, I will have much relief after my appointments on Thursday once I know that everything is clear once again!

We have been enjoying our summer and I have been working on my dissertation. I am making progress and it looks like I will be able to propose my dissertation very soon. I am so thankful and excited to get a huge first step of the dissertation process done with! The earliest I can graduate is next May and I am determined to do just that. This depends on me finishing my dissertation requirements by then, so that is why I am working so hard. The end is in sight:)

Thank you all for continuing to pray for my back/hips. It is much better and I am so thankful. Dr. Steffins at Healthsource Chiropractic, Glenn Guilbeau and Monroe Physical Therapy, and Troy Shows at Shows Therapy has helped me immensely. It is so easy when you are in pain to get stuck in a dark tunnel, where it seems like things will never get better. Because of these men and their giftedness, God has shown me relief. Thank you Lord! I still have my bad days, but to have relief has been a huge answered prayer. Thank you for being faithful in praying for me. Please continue to pray for my pain. Thankful to share my burdens...

Galatians 6:2 "Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ."

I will make sure and update before my surgery next Friday and once I get my good test results this week. Thank you for continuing to be involved in my life and remembering me when things seem "calm." I have days where I feel normal, and then days where I feel like it is hard to breathe. Days that I remember what I've been through. Days I'm in pain. Days where I get so scared I can't move. I relate with David, a man after God's own heart. Here is what David normally did when he was desperate for God, and these are steps that I try to follow:

1.) Pray 2.) Cry aloud 3.) Pour out complaint 4.) Rehearse trust in God 5.) Long for God's presence 6.) Confess desperate need for Him.

Like David, I strive to pour out my heart to God, but through it all, I continue to confirm my trust in Him and depend on Him for every breath I take.

Thankful to be growing older,


Friday, May 31, 2013

My Foundation.

When we were building our house in September 2011 ( before my diagnosis), one of the very first things the builders did, was build our foundation. This included a lot of concrete, sweat, and measurements. I asking Josh when they were going to pour the concrete, because I wanted to write a scripture on our back porch. The date kept being iffy and finally Josh called me one morning and told me they were pouring the foundation. I remember that morning going up to our lot and asking the workers (all who spoke in Spanish, which was a funny conversation in itself) of when it would be ready for me to write on the concrete. I think they were all confused of what I was asking about, but one man understood, and he kept saying, "Come back in an hour." Well, I did this about 10 times and the concrete was too wet each time. I finally was able to write the scripture, as I wrote it in frustration as all the workers were laughing at me. I remember it being a frustrating day, but by golly, I got my verse written on our porch!!! We went back that night to see if the foundation had hardened and to check out my verse. Apparently, the crew that day (that was laughing at me) apparently decided to add some art-work to my verse and made little squiggilies around my verse. I remember crying as I saw what they had done. To Josh, he didn't understand why I was so upset, but it was because I had been by the house at least 10 times that day, with frustration and heat, all to get to the house and see their "artwork" around my verse. I remember later that night feeling silly for getting so upset and God giving me peace just to laugh about it and know it would be a fun story. He reminded me that it was the symbol of that verse and what it said that was important- not the nice "artwork" that the foundation crew added to our family's verse. Here is a picture of our verse on our back porch.

Matthew 7:24-25 says,"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."

I am thankful that HE is my foundation. I see client after client whose world crumbles into pieces when tragedy or crisis strikes. We talk a lot about building a foundation that will hold when the rains and winds come. The ONLY firm foundation is Jesus Christ. I would not be standing physically, mentally, spiritually, if He was not my foundation...

When I think of foundations, I of course think of Jesus, my husband, my family, but I want to tell you a little about my friends. When I say that I have the best friends on the face of the earth, that is the biggest understatement. My friends have been the truest of friends throughout my battle. I had the privilege of going to New York City with 2 of my incredible friends, Ainsley and Margot this past week. Margot was my best friend in elementary (in Lafayette) and Ainsley was my best friend in high school (in Monroe) and now they are best friends and live together in Baton Rouge( a really cool God story of how he has knit us all together), but I was able to have the trip of a lifetime with these girls this past week. Here are a few pictures from our amazing trip.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

 Excited to get on our first subway of the trip!

In Front of the Plaza Hotel

 Having fun on the Big Piano at FAO Swartz

At Brooklyn's famous Clinton Street Bakery

I had a blast with 2 of my best friends. When this trip idea came up, my typical response is to say no because of time, money, or guilt. I feel so differently now having gone through everything I've been through. I treasure spending quality time with my friends and family and we made sure this trip could happen. My wonderful husband made sure we saved enough for me to go--often times throughout my treatments and thereafter, I wondered if I would be able to have fun on a trip, if guilt or fear would overtake me, if I could feel normal for a while, so to be able to go on a trip like this, far away from my husband, my doctors, my security blankets, is a true miracle. I am so thankful that the Lord allowed me to go on this trip with 2 girls that have helped build my foundation. I am striving to seize the moments that I discussed in the last post, instead of finding reasons to say no. I pray this trip is a catalyst for me to continue to enjoy the life God has given me.

Ecclesiastes 5:18 "Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life."

When I was first diagnosed, Ains and Marg drove up pretty immediately to be with me. They came to church that Sunday morning with me and were at a prayer gathering right before I left for MDA. When we came to Baton Rouge shortly after my diagnosis to meet with a doctor there, they asked if Josh and I would come to their home because they wanted to talk with us and give me something. This led to several hours at their house where they compiled a book of scriptures for me. They read every scripture out loud, speaking those words over me, and prayed for me and committed to praying me through this journey. I still read these scriptures daily...These 2 girls are 2 of MANY that continue to make my foundation firmer each day. So thankful for those that sharpen me and draw me closer to Christ.

Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."

I am going to add the scripture references that these girls compiled for me, along with others that I received and held to under the "healing scriptures" tab at the top of our blog. One of the questions I get asked often is about how I had so much faith, and it was through believing and speaking these scriptures. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by HEARING the word, and I took that literally. I read these scriptures outloud daily which increased my faith exponentially. I pray that you will share these healing scriptures with others. God's word is my foundation- for life, for healing, for comfort, for peace...for EVERYTHING.

A little update on me:

Not much has been happening (which is good). My back pain has improved some, which has been encouraging. Still struggling with some back/hip pain, and physical therapy has helped some which is a HUGE answered prayer. It still is a struggle to keep my mind from getting scared, but I truly felt like I have come a long way. I have to remind myself of this...

We have decided to go through with my last reconstructive surgery. This surgery will be the 28th of June and they will do a breast lift on my right breast, remove some skin from my lat flap surgery, a possible release of my left pec muscle, and a possible fat injection to my left breast, where the top of my chest caves in slightly, and try to flatten my drain scars. As I get more details, I will pass on to you, but we have gotten peace over this surgery, which is an answered prayer as well. God is so good to me. We will also head to Houston on the 19th to have a check up with my radiation doctor and surgical oncologist. An Xray and ultrasounds will be done at this time, which can make me nervous, so please be praying for perfect results from these... I love you guys.

***Also, please be listening for me on Monday on 88.7 f.m. radio, as I will be a guest on the "It's a Mom Thing" radio show with Jenny Remsberg and Chrys Howard. If you live out of town or want to listen at work, you can "listen live" on, and click on "listen live" and you can listen to a bit of my story from 9:00-10:00 on June 3rd, Monday morning.***

Thankful for my rock solid foundation, Jesus Christ,


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Please Update Your EMAIL Now


This is not our normal blog post. This post is an update of sorts that is long overdue for our blog audience. Most of you at this point read our blogs when you receive an email. This is hugely convenient and we have more than 700 subscribers at this point. 

However, if you want to continue getting these updates we need you to update your email. Go to or click here.

This blog is assuming that most of you are reading this as an email so here are some things we need for you to know about and then do so that you can continue to see these updates.

1) We updated the layout of our blog to make it more user-friendly. You can see it here.

2) There are over 700 people that receive our blog updates through email. If you want this to continue we need you take a minute and update your email. Click here and you will be taken to the blog where you can update your email. 

3) We now have a facebook page for Aly's Fight. You can see it here

4) We now have a website for Aly's Fight also, you can see it here.

5) Aly and I both are back on Twitter. You can follow Aly at @alytaylorla and then mine is @joshtaylorla.

We thank you so much for all the kind words that we continue to receive from you guys. We understand that we are blessed even in the middle of our ongoing fight. 

Thank you,


Saturday, May 4, 2013



Our life is full of moments. Moments we treasure. Moments we despise. There are even moments we re-live. There are some days that a certain smell will hit me and it will take me back into a moment as if I were experiencing it right then and there. Common moments may be your wedding day, or hearing the news of a lost loved one, a baby being born, or maybe even just affirming words from someone. Well, needless to say, this last year and a half has been full of moments for me. Moments I'll never forget. Some moments I wish I could forget- others I wish I could bask in: Hearing I had breast cancer, our "send off blessing night" that our church had for us as we headed to MDA, waiting during my unnerving ultrasounds, hearing my fertility chances were low, seeing my husband struggle to function, my last chemo, the night before my mastectomy, Dr. Litton giving me my clear pathology, the list goes on and on. The ironic thing is that many of my "moments" haven't been these huge milestones listed above. It would be too complicated and too long to explain, but many of the moments I have experienced along this journey were moments ordained by God that maybe didn't look so huge to others on the outside.

John 15:16
"You didn't choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name."

I had another moment just a couple days ago. We were in Houston for my oncology check-up and my plastic surgery check-up. As I've described before, I feel such a connection with my plastic surgery team. At this point, they have done 4 major surgeries on me and I know I've had to have had over 30 appointments with them through my expansions and check-ups. I sent Dr. Villa a picture collage after my last surgery that was entitled "Thank you for putting me back together." It had several pictures of me and I showed my progression to where he has helped me get. I hadn't talked to him since I sent him this. I also sent my PA some flowers for V-day. These people are so special to me...

Well, when Dr. Villa came in my room on Tuesday, he loved on me and said he cried when he got my package. He of course asked me all of the doctor questions and then took tons of pictures of me- from every angle. There I am standing with my shirt off and he just says "You look beautiful." I know this may sound so simple, but to have a man, that isn't my husband say that is pretty indescribable. It isn't creepy or weird. It it like a dad looking at his daughter, with all her imperfections and being in awe. He is very "father-like" and super kind and compassionate...remind me some of my dad, so I I'm sure that plays into feeling so validated by him. After he took my pictures, I put my shirt on so he could see how I looked in a shirt. He just kept hugging me. I started to cry and once again told them thank you for all they have done for me. There we were all crying in that hospital room, like we have many times before. Then we all walk out of the room with red noses and wet faces as if I received bad news. But no, it's because we love each other and have an unspeakable bond that comes from vulnerability and trust. I don't think I can adequately express this moment. A moment that is forever ingrained in my mind and heart. The power of a moment...

I literally cried for over an hour after my appointment. Josh had left to go on a trip after my oncology appointment, which gave me some good alone time with God. As I was still in MDA, at Whole foods, at homegoods, driving in my car-- I was crying so hard and just soaking in the moment I had with Dr. Villa and Alisha--thanking God for putting these people it my life. It is still hard to put into words or explain...So I just cry.

 This is me waiting for my plastic appointment. We get some fancy robes:)

Another moment came on Monday when we met with Dr. Litton and she said that all of my symptoms don't concern her. This is what I was praying for. She was pleased with how I was doing and the next time I see her will be August 19th. She scheduled all of my scans on the 18th (these are the scans she wants to run before trying for baby) and then I will see her the following day. God answered my prayers by allowing us to schedule these scans and having her unconcerned with everything. She encouraged many things for my back pain, so we will look into those options as well. Another moment--hugging my hubby in the room after Litton leaves, as we do after each visit and thanking God for continuing to show his faithfulness in my body---

 Psalm 89:1
 "I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations."

After my perfect oncology check-up

During my plastic surgery appointment Tuesday, we talked about what else needed to be done to complete my reconstruction. There are still a few nips and tucks that are needed non-surgically and we discussed those. We also discussed the possibility of another surgery. Because one breast has been radiated and one has not, the radiated one does not drop like a normal breast does, so Dr. Villa suggested possibly doing a lift on my non-radiated side to make it a bit more symmetrical before we do the finishing touches. This possible surgery could also flatten some of my drain scars and take out some skin that bothers me under my armpits (where my lat flap muscle is pulled under). So we are praying about what to do, but I feel peace either way. Please pray for us on this.

So obviously a huge moment for us was when we received my clear pathology last year that the doctors  were doubtful would come to pass. That was on April 30, 2012. That was a HUGE moment. Praise God that my healing has been made evident for 1 whole year! I will never forget Dr. Litton saying that my pathology was perfect...seeing her giddy face...Josh breaking down... and her not really having much else to say. She explained that she normally could go over different things, but because it was clear, she didn't have much else to say. What an incredible day... an incredible moment. It has been one whole year!!! My first doctor, Dr. Morrow (the one who moved in the middle of my treatment to California) posted this comment on my blog after learning of my clear pathology:

"I talked to Dr. Litton today and cried on hearing the wonderful news! God is so good! I thank God with all of my heart for the wonderful results and for putting you and Josh in my life and blessing with me with the opportunity to be your doctor. With great love, PK Morrow" Another incredible moment...

So, my next appointments (not considering if I have another surgery) are scheduled for June 19th, which are check ups with my radiation doctor and surgical oncologist. I will have X-rays and ultrasounds done at these appointments so please already start praying for perfect results from these. Please continue praying for my back pain. I had a back MRI last week and it showed a bulging disk on my L5-S1, so I'm relieved to know what is causing the pain, but it is still tough. Also, now that we have a date for all my scans, be praying for August 18...clear in Jesus' name. I will update soon.

Enjoy the video below that we made right after I received my pathology results, 1 year ago, a week after my mastectomy surgery.

I got to stop by Shreveport on my way home and was able to love on my sweet nephew, Liam

Encouraging you to treasure and notice the moments,


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mastectomy April 23,2012. One year ago today.

 So apparently Josh and I were posting on the blog at the same time today and didn't know it, so we just combined our two posts into one.


As I sit here today thinking about what we were doing this time last year I am in some sort of awe at time passing.

I just went and read the first blog post from this day last year and it is surreal to mentally go back there. I described the room we went in and then Dr. Babiera coming in and talking to us after her part of the surgery. 

This morning I woke up next to my beautiful wife's alarm going off. She left for work and school and I did the same. Even being the ones that went through it doesn't make it any less crazy. 12 months ago how different life looked. It was easy to concentrate on what mattered because it was in front of my face. 

Today at Chick-fil-A where I ate lunch all is normal. I sat there thinking if this is what is going through my brain right now I wonder what is going through some of these other people's brains. 

We are beyond blessed to be where we are in this moment but to think what has happened in the last 12 months since the Mastectomy is a bit overwhelming. Including the mastectomy Aly has had 4 Major surgeries that have drastically influenced our life and her well being. 

Today Aly wore a blue and white-ish dress and looked amazing. Needless to say as she left the house this morning I could not stop thinking how blessed we are that instead of being in a hospital bed this evening she will will come home and we will be in our bed in West Monroe, LA. 

We have a front row seat to God working on our behalf in Aly's body. 

Just for reminders- this is Aly right after her mastectomy. We could not cool her down. They wouldn't give her water and she was not feeling good. No fun this day.

This is one of my favorite pictures. She was sleeping so hard the glasses just stayed almost where they were. For weeks she had to sleep sitting up. 

Very quickly the smiling Aly was back, drains and all.

Today I also know there is a man in Houston, TX that is in the exact same spot I was last year. His wife or daughter is in surgery and he is just waiting. I don't know if I believed life would go on. Today though at about 6:30am Aly woke up and began what most people would consider a normal day. Life has gone on. We don't look, act, think or feel the same but daily we are trusting that God will fulfill his promise to us.

I continue to realize I am incredibly blessed to have Aly as my wife. I would sign up 100 times over with full knowledge of what we have been through. Aly's dogged determination which shows up in a daily walk with Christ that continues to push me to get closer to Christ has been much of the push that has enabled this version of the Taylor's to be where we are today.


I remember a particular beach trip when I was probably in about 7th grade and I thought my sister was gorgeous ( and I still do). I remember seeing her in her swimsuit and how she filled out the top perfectly. Me, on the other hand was as skinny as a rail and flat as a board. I remember praying, literally praying to God that I would have a chest like my sister. I remember my friend, Erin and I, getting training bras from Limited Too around this same time. I had NO business getting a training bra, but all my friends needed them and I wanted to feel older too. To me, it was a huge part of what made a woman beautiful, at that time.

It took me longer to develop than most girls my age. I always thought I was flat chested and saw myself as that. It was as if one day when I was in the 10th grade, I immediately had breasts! I didn't feel like the skinny, flat chested girl, but was starting to feel like a woman. I finally filled out bras, swimsuits, and shirts looked better on me. My body began to change and I definitely was not that 7th grade girl anymore. I remember my family asking me if I had taken Bloussant (remember those advertisements for breast enhancement?! ha ha) because it was as if I developed overnight. It definitely boosted my confidence- not only that I had breasts, but overall didn't feel like a little girl anymore. I knew even then that God saw me as a beautiful woman even before I "developed" but I definitely felt more beautiful with my new body.

So, fast forward to October 17th, 2011. I had been married for 5 years to Josh and we learn I have breast cancer. On October 18th, our doctor in town says that he would recommend a double mastectomy as quickly as possible. Those breasts that I had prayed for could be taken away. What I saw as beautiful when I was a little girl could be stripped away from me. I desired to me a wife that is talked about in Proverbs 5:18-20, and I felt that I could no longer be that.

Proverbs 5:18-20 
"May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love."

What transpired in the next several months was nothing short of God, my father, carrying me and reminding me how beautiful and precious I was. I remember sitting at MD Anderson and Josh and I talking about the possibility of having a mastectomy. Josh did not waver once about me having it done. I remember us both crying and him telling me, "I think I will be even more attracted to you. Every time we look at you, it will just be a reminder of what the devil tried to do and how God healed you." This was the beginning of me seeing beauty in a different light.

I spoke to the West Ridge Middle School FCS this past week, and I spoke a little on beauty and how God has shown me what true beauty is. It is not what I saw in my sister when I was in 7th grade, although she was and is beautiful. It is a pure and clean heart, with a gentle and quiet spirit. Sadly, it wasn't until I was forced to not have hair and the breasts that might "define" my womanhood ripped away that I learned what true beauty was.

 "Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." 1 Peter 3:3-4

I have so many scars on my body. My 15 drain scars, my big lat flap scars on my back , my port scar, and many scars on my chest. I am reminded every day when I look in the mirror of where my true beauty comes from. I see where God sewed me back together and used what Satan tried to harm me with and turned it for His and my good. Not many people can look in the mirror every morning and tangibly see how God has saved them from death. For that, I am grateful. I am grateful that my heavenly Father finds me beautiful. I am grateful that my husband finds me beautiful. I am grateful that I can look at my scarred, broken, and imperfect self and know I am more beautiful than I ever was.

1 Sam 16:7 "But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Today, I remember how God supernaturally protected me from fear before and during my mastectomy surgery. I remember Josh and I not sleeping the night before. I was nervous, but not scared. I remember the plethora of texts, emails, blog comments, pictures I received the day of my surgery. I remember my family members and amazing friends that came to Houston for my surgery. I remember waking up feeling on fire and Josh putting ice rags all over me. I remember my mouth being so dry and Ainsley putting chap stick on me. I remember seeing a group of my friends and family once I was moved to my own room. I was so nauseous and wanted to thank everyone for coming, but just felt horrible. Needing help to do anything--drinking water, walking to the bathroom, getting my toilet paper, emptying my drains... It is a humbling experience to not be able to do anything for yourself.

I then remember coming home the next day--WOW God!!! I remember feeling a little better slowly. I remember really weird things, like my tank tops kept falling off my shoulders, because nothing was there to hold them up- weird stuff like that that I didn't even expect to happen. But most of all, I remember being thankful to have had no complications, and I knew we would soon get amazing results from the tissue taken from my surgery. I so longed for the day to deemed "cancer-free."

So, I will always remember April 23, 2012, as it was a day that I was face to face with what defines beauty. One year later, I am thankful for this terrible surgery. I am healed and it took this surgery for doctors and everyone else to have evidence of it...Another milestone reached, another day remembered, another challenge to take on. I am altogether beautiful.

"You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you." Song of Solomon 4:7

Some pictures from my mastectomy surgery, 1 year ago, below...

About to have my mastectomy surgery

Getting set up for the mastectomy

When I was finally brought back to my room. So nauseous...

This was the first time I looked in the mirror. My straps kept falling down. 
I also had to wear the tights on my legs to prevent clotting.