Faith!

Hello,
I know you are probably desiring more information and an update on my week. It’s can’t believe it’s only been a week since I received that phone call – I feel like it was forever ago. Probably the longest week of my life. It was a whole lot of hurry up and wait. I had a lot of doctors appointments and know I have many more in my future.
  1. I decided on a plastic surgeon today – his name is Dr. Mackay (‘kay’ pronounced like ‘kite’: Dr. Mac-ki). This means that I can now get my surgery scheduled. I should hear tomorrow the date that Dr. Mackay and Dr. Steinhaus have available. PRAISE the decision for which doctor and direction in treatment has been very easy and clear!
  2. I went to the genetic counselor on Monday to have my genetic testing done. I will have these results back in two weeks. PRAY that it comes back negative.
  3. I have my MRI appointment tomorrow (Thursday) morning. PRAISE I was able to get this moved up a day and am now hopeful to get the results back before the weekend. PRAY I can get the results back and that they are clear.
  4. I should have the factor results back from my biopsy by Friday. PRAY that what they find is not ‘angry’ and slow growing.
I posted on the Team AJ FaceBook page (link here) that I wish I could just ask God for the cheat sheet to all these answers, but that would be like spoiling a good book when you are just getting started. I appreciate you being along in this adventure of my story.
Some of you may or may not know that we have had our house on the market since September. We have a contingent contract on a house that we want to move into. A couple weeks ago we had a precious family put a contingent contract on our house. So all we needed was their house to sell and then the dominoes would all fall into place. (More on the reason for our move at a later time). When we left Dr. Steinhaus’s office on Friday Mark and I looked at each other and said we need their house to sell this weekend if we are going to be able to pack and move before the surgery. We get home on Friday and I’m talking to a friend on the phone and tell her please pray their house sells this weekend so the move can work out. Mark walks in and shows me his phone and it’s a text from our Realtor – they showed their home that morning and negotiated an offer and are under contract. Closing set for 3/18! I was shocked. My friend started laughing, “I didn’t even get a chance to pray about it yet.” So currently we are packing our house to close on the new house by 3/18. I will find out tomorrow, but the surgeon’s scheduler said I wouldn’t be scheduled until after that date anyway. AMAZING!
Some of you may be asking two questions after reading this:
  1. Why in the world would they be moving during a time like this – are they crazy?
  2. Why in the world would they wait 4-5 weeks before having surgery to remove the tumor?
Question 1 Answer:
As soon as we got the diagnosis last week we received some amazing council from my dear mentor’s husband, Bill Williams. For the last 10 years of my life I have had the honor and privilege of being mentored by Regina. (Check out her website here). Regina battled breast cancer for the last 20 years and this past September she finally won that battle and got to meet her best friend Jesus face-to-face. I think one of the hardest phone calls for me to make with my diagnosis was to Bill, but he was so gracious and so encouraging. I am pleased Mark has him as a resource through this adventure. So when Mark called Bill he asked him what he thought we should do about the house. Do we take it off the market? Do we get out of all the contracts? Bill asked Mark some very important questions:
  • Is the house moving closer or further from support? (answer: slightly farther from Mark’s family, but much closer to our friends and the boys’ schools where carpools will be easier)
  • Is the house bigger or smaller? Does it have space to have someone stay overnight with you easily to provide help? (answer: it’s slightly smaller, but does still have a guest room)
  • Is Ashley excited and looking forward to it? Could it provide a great distraction for her during this time? (answer: YES! and YES!)
Then he said probably the wisest and most helpful thing I’ve heard over the last week: Whatever God lead you to in faith yesterday, God will still lead you to in faith tomorrow, no matter what cancer tells you today. Don’t put your life on hold for cancer – keep living! And so…we are! We are choosing to live which means we are choosing to move.
Question 2 Answer:
The doctor has told us that it is completely normal to think and stress over the thought “i just want it out of my body”. But realistically it takes some time to get the necessary ducks in a row to make that happen. (Usually 4-6 weeks after diagnosis). Right now they believe that it is low grade (less angry) and there is not a need for pre-surgery treatment (i.e.: chemo, radiation, etc.). I am OK with having a ‘delay’ in the surgery and giving me some time to process and accept this new reality. And through the whole process back starting with Dr. Howard finding the lump during my annual exam I have chosen not to borrow the worry from tomorrow. I am not thinking about the possibilities or going to the ‘dark places’ or the what-ifs. I have to live today for today – it’s the only way to live through this.
Another prayer update is we have sat Hamilton (our almost 9 year-old son) down and told him that I am sick. We did not use the c-word and we did not tell him where it is. We did tell him that there was a bump in my body that needed to come out and that it was serious. We told him that I was going to have to go to a lot of doctor appointments to have tests run and eventually surgery. And that he may be staying with friends and grandparents a lot over the next few months. He asked a lot of good questions. He asked if it was contagious. He asked if I could die (which we said yes if we didn’t have the surgery which is why we need to take these steps). He asked “Are you sure you have the bump – like did the doctors do multiple tests to make sure?” Just like him to start advising us in what is best to do! Overall, he handled it like a champ. I know he will ask more questions along the way, and we pray God will give us wisdom how best to answer them truthfully and gently.
I told Mark today we have a lot of great people in our life. From having the whole week in meals provided to having childcare covered for all of my appointments. Receiving sweet cards in the mail and encouraging texts and emails daily. And of course all of the prayers being offered at the throne of our Savior daily (probably hourly with the type of warriors you are!). We have been humbled and blown away by the GoFundMe page (link here). Thank you for your love and generosity.
As soon as I know more I will keep you informed.
Choosing to live in faith,
Ashley

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