How am I doing?

That is the question of the day, isn’t it?
Thank you for reaching out and checking in on me. I thought I could maybe answer everyone by posting on here.
Wednesday evening I had some shortness of breath and labored breathing. Thursday afternoon I went to get my Neulasta shot. This helps my bone marrow produce more white blood cells to help fight off infection as well as produce more of my good cells as the cancer is fighting and killing off the bad (& good) cells. Potentially, it could cause some discomfort and bone pain. I’m taking what they have told me can help keep this discomfort low. You can pray for no bone pain. I had heard that this shot would be injected via my stomach, but it ended up being in the top pat of my left arm. It doesn’t go into your muscle – just fatty skin so that is good.
I slept much better last night which was a nice reprieve. I have had some nausea, but have been able able to keep it mostly at bay with the anti-nausea meds they have prescribed me. Currently, I’m feeling pretty tired. Just feeling sorta fatigued and blah, but my spirits are high and good.
We did find out that I will be seeing a radio-oncologist next Wednesday afternoon at 1:00p. She sat on he panel that Dr. Zelnak presented my case to. She will be the one who sits us down to explain her opinion on whether I will need radiation after chemo. Honestly, I would love not to go through radiation after chemo. Mostly, because it will prolong my reconstructive surgery another 6+ months (which takes me into next year = a new deductible year). But really, because I like the idea of being done by the holidays. Of course, if she tells me I need it we would do it, but just sharing my desire. So join me in praying that I won’t need radiation.
Lastly, I wanted to share with you what Mark is specifically praying over me so you can join him in these bold, faith-filled prayers.
  1. Pray that I have the least amount of side-effects from the chemo and meds that we would wonder if it is even working.
  2. Pray that my hair doesn’t even fall out. That it be the main witness-tool we can share. “Nope, this isn’t a wig, God just answered our prayer for my hair not to fall out.” Yes, it’s true that 99% of patients receiving my drugs hair falls out, but why not kneel at his throne and ask?
And even if he doesn’t answer those prayers, how much he is glorfied by us boldly coming into his presence! Can I get an amen?
My sweet prayer warriors put together this necklace campaign without me knowing and can I just say I’m not a huge jewelry girl as you most know, but I just love this sweet sterling silver necklace hand stamped with my verse: Psalm 55:22. And if you haven’t memorized it yet it says: “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (NIV) or in the (NLT) , “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” And just for fun the (MSG), “Pile your troubles on GOD’s shoulders – he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out. He’ll never let good people topple into ruin.”
If you didn’t get a chance to see the necklace or order one take a look at the pic I attached below with all the details. May it not just be a daily reminder for you to pray for me, but may it be a reminder to you to give your cares, your burdens, your troubles to Him. Even if they seem small (they probably aren’t all ‘cancer’ big) it can be a sleepy newborn child, a cranky toddler, an argument you had with your spouse or friend, or maybe just some stress or decision you just don’t know how to handle. Give it to him my sweet reader – he’s waiting to help and sustain you, take care of you, and carry the load.
Love,
AJ

This Man Of Mine

I posted this to my FB page but wanted to share here because I know many of you are not on FB.
“This man of mine – what would I do without him?  He makes this time so much better & peaceful. He has been my rock. Constantly reminding me that he’s with me and that we can do this together. He tells me I’m beautiful daily and prays over me nightly. He truly is the best of the best. And I know that being the caretaker can be just as hard (maybe harder in a way) then being the patient. Don’t forget to check on and reach out to the caretakers. They need love and support too. I love you babe – you truly do complete me. No one else I’d want to walk this road with. YAMQ!! 😘
If I can share a small God moment with this picture. We were there yesterday for 7.5 hours and I had thought multiple times to take a picture with Mark but it kept getting interrupted with lunch, vein issues, etc. So we left and realized I didn’t get a pic. I got emotional thinking he’s not coming back with me for future treatments and I wouldn’t have my hair blah blah. Anyway emotions were heavy. Mark felt bad but we had to get to another appointment before 6. Mark rushed back to the hospital and we got there about 6:30 (we had left around 4:45 – they close at 5:00). We got on the elevator to floor 4, doors opened, and the 3 nurses that helped me were standing there waiting to get on. There are 3 elevators. They could’ve gotten on another one to go down. Been 1 min earlier. But nope they were there. I immediately started crying and they were worried something was actually wrong. They let us back in and I got the picture I so desired. Each day has a victory within its 24 hours – however small it may be – don’t miss it!!”

Needle Free!

From Ashley:
“Officially needle free. Feel fine and normal. Only pain is from original IV spot where vein popped (swollen and sore). Praise God it happened when she was flushing it with saline and not when chemo was going in because that would have been way worse. Thanks for your prayers today – they were felt and appreciated. πŸ’—πŸ’—
On to date night with my main squeeze.”
Thanks for praying today! -RW

Update From Ashley

Here’s an update from Ashley:
“Started second chemo so about 2 hours left.  Had a bit of a hiccup when my first IV slipped out when flushing it out between meds & first chemo. Hurt pretty bad so got a new IV but it survived the second flush and onto last chemo.
Feeling good. Reading For The Love by Jen Hatmaker. (Thanks Kristin for the laughs in the chemo chair πŸ’ƒ).
I have felt your prayers. Love reading your comments and getting your texts and emails as I sit here. 😘”

Chemo Treatment #1

Good afternoon:
Today is Ashley’s first chemo treatment. She arrived at 9:15 this morning. But had a few speed bumps. She posted this on the Team AJ Facebook page
“Thank you so much for the encouraging words and prayers. Keep them coming – they are so nice to read as I’m sitting here. We got a bit of a later start. Got here and had blood drawn, consult with doctor, and IV put in. I lost about 5 pounds so they had to have Dr. Zelnak sign off on a new dosage which then meant they had wait on a new order of meds. So all that to say we started at about 11:00 and it will be 5 hours from then until I am done. (around 4:00 pm est). Lots of love! Feeling good.
They are about to start the first chemo right now. Prayers appreciated. A little nervous.”
If you have a moment you can comment on this update to encourage her using words, prayers, verses, etc.
Thanks so much,
Rachael

This Happened Today…

If you are on FaceBook then you already saw this but for those that are not…
So this happened today. πŸ’‡πŸΌπŸ’‡πŸΌ. I was pretty anxious this week but woke up with a complete peace. If my savior willingly gave up his spirit for me I can willingly cut my hair off. What joy!  Now when it falls out it won’t be so drastic & messy. And the transition will be easier for me and my boys.  Thank you Hanna Power (my amazing stylist for the last 10? years) – couldn’t have done it without you and wouldn’t have wanted to!!  Thank you Rachael for coming with me – meant the world to have you there.
Looking forward to to an awesome weekend with my precious family. Feeling good and enjoying my life.
Love
AJ
PS. I heard from Turning Point Physical Therapy. I got an appointment on Monday at 1:00!!! So thrilled. Thanks for your continued prayers and lifting up my specific requests as well!!

Results

First, I should tell you that I got my appointment moved up and I had my last drain removed this past Thursday. Yippee! I have been cleared to drive so watch out world I’m back on the roads! I am also able to take a shower by myself now and I wore a shirt that I put over my head for the first time today. It’s the little victories you have to hold onto and celebrate and so those are mine today.
Second, this means no more doctor appointments until I go to chemo training on 4/25 and my first chemo treatment on 4/27. Mark is coming with me to this first one.
Third, we got the onco test results back (you can click on this link to read about the onco test – it’s the same link I put before for those that wanted to read what it was). Low is anything from under 19. Intermediate is 19-29. High is anything 30+. This was the last test we were waiting on to set in stone the short (4 treatments) or long (20 treatments) schedule of chemo. She said as long as I was under 30 we would do 4. It came back at 25!! YIPPEE!! The other thing we were waiting to hear back from the oncologist was whether I would need radiation after the chemo. I had mentioned she was going to take my case in front of a panel. The panel was split. And so her recommendation was for me to wait until after I was done with chemo and then I could have a radial oncologist look at my case and see what he/she thought. Her personal view is that I won’t need it. Pray I won’t need radiation and come July I can concentrate on just getting better and preparing for my final reconstructive surgery.
I am looking forward to a pretty normal week this before chemo craziness begins. I am still unable to pick G-man up until early May. He is hanging out at my in-laws for awhile this week and then Mimi will come and stay with us the rest of the week. My parents are staying for the week of my first chemo. We are so thankful and appreciative for such wonderful parents; willing to help and live with us. Couldn’t do it without them!!
I have had many people ask how they can help and if I have a meal calendar they can sign up on. Yes! At the top of this email it says: ‘Ashley has posted an update to: The Jansen Family’. ‘The Jansen Family’ is linked to the actual website. Click on that link. At the top of the website you will see a calendar icon. Click on that and you can sign up for a meal, groceries, etc.
The last thing I want to mention that you could pray specifically for is physical therapy. There is an amazing PT place here in the area called Turning Point. It is solely for breast cancer patients. When I got my last drain out the nurse was able to see that I have developed what they call ‘cording’ in my right arm. It is pretty uncomfortable and causes me limited use with my arm. (To read what cording is click here). The only way to remove it is to have physical therapy. Currently the first available appointment isn’t until 5/25!! They have me on the cancellation list – pray that something opens up quickly.
This really was more of an update. Nothing on my heart necessarily to share tonight. I’m thankful and so appreciative for your continued prayers. They keep me (and my family) going! Remember that if you want to comment and/or respond you can reply directly to this email. It comes straight to me.
Remember – don’t steal tomorrow’s worries for today. Cast your cares on Him – He is who can provide relief. Don’t keep carrying them yourself – He never created us to.
Love,
AJ
P.S. I had to include a better picture since the last one was TERRIBLE. We celebrated Hamilton turning NINE last week. (And if you know me you know it drives me crazy that the 9 is turned backwards in this picture. AAAKK!)

Update

Hi there,
I wanted to send out an update to everyone. I love getting your cards in the mail (isn’t snail-mail the best?!?), sweet gifts, emails, & text messages. It has been such a blessing to have the dinners brought to us these last weeks. Then Friday I had my house cleaned and groceries delivered without lifting a finger or paying a penny. It’s just so amazing – I can’t explain the love and support we are surrounded with and how each of you are displaying Christ to us. I’ve mentioned CBS in some of my previous posts and how we are studying Matthew. Matthew 25 speaks of caring for others is caring for Jesus. Verse 45 is Jesus’ response when they asked, “When did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you? Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Well sweet friends and family of mine you are serving our Lord by caring for me and my family. And we thank you!
My sister and brother-in-law are in town currently. Katie was my chauffeur around town today. We were able to take the boys to school, get some bulk shopping done and go to the plastic surgeon to get one of my drains out (Yipee!) and have my first saline injection in my spacer. I was anticipating both being worse than they were. My next appointment is next Wednesday, 4/20 at 2:15 to get my last drain out and more saline. Praying that I will be able to start driving and gradually lift Garrett to have a ‘back-to-normal’ week before my first chemo treatment. (And just to give you a little insight into my relationship with my sister: the picture she captured pretty much says it all – this was not staged and this was while we were in the waiting room).
So I was able to get my first chemo treatment moved up to Wednesday, April 27. They should be every three weeks which tentatively the schedule would be: 4/27, 5/18, 6/8, & 6/29. I have not heard results from the Onco test yet. That should be this Thursday.
I get asked the question, “How are you doing?” a lot. And I am fine. And people say I’m being strong. But it’s not really me. It’s your prayers and God sustaining me. Upholding me. Protecting me from discouraging thoughts. But I don’t want to give the impression that I’m not human either. I’m still a girl with a flood of emotions that I have to process through. I have a whole other journal in a word document I’ve been keeping. And there are many entries that I would never post here because they are my personal conversations with God. I ask why?. I tell him I wish he would’ve chosen someone else. I cried Friday night to Mark, “I don’t want to shave my head and well I just don’t want to do any of this.” But that doesn’t mean I still don’t have the same outlook I’ve expressed in earlier updates. Back to studying Matthew even our sweet savior prayed (while sweating out blood with his face to the ground) in verse 39 of chapter 26, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup <of suffering> be taken from me. Yet not as I will <want, desire>, but as you will.” I love this was included in the Word of God. How precious and encouraging an example this has been to me these last two months. Even my savior had a moment of pleading and praying that he didn’t want to go through with drinking his cup of suffering, BUT I will do as you will. So I know He cares for me and I want to be in his will. Remember my cancer mantra, “Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail).” Psalm 55:22 (AMP version). Jesus was doing just that – casting his burden on the Lord. Allowing God the Father to sustain God the Son. Knowing full well that God would not let him fall or fail. What beauty it is to identify with Jesus.
Have a wonderful week!
Ashley
P.S. I’ve been asked how people can comment on my posts. If you are on the website reading this there is a comment button at the bottom. If you are reading this in your email (which is why we chose this site because it’s easy to read my updates in your email) you can just reply directly to the email and it comes directly to me.