Health Update

I know it has been awhile since I have written and I have plans to change that – writing on my blog on a more consistent basis.  But for now I felt it was important to request prayer from my Team AJ peeps. I’ll give you some background and then an update, but as I said to my boys when we updated them, “Repeat after me: Mommy is NOT sick again”.  I want to make that part very clear first!

Back in May I had my annual mammogram.  Every year this causes a small bout of PTSD for me not to mention it is extremely painful (more than the usual boob-smooshing) due to the surgeries I have had.  I had the mammogram and was told to wait.  About 90 minutes later I was told to come back for a sonogram.  I could tell the sonographer kept reviewing the same spot over and over and as much as I tried to block it out – I knew – they had found something.  I went back to the room and another 90 minutes passed until a nurse came in and said that they were still looking over all of the data and that they were going to send Mark back to sit with me.  (Until now we had just been texting back and forth from the waiting room and the exam room). I really was not having a good feeling about all of this.  Another hour went by and the PA came in saying that the doctor would be in soon. Another hour goes by and Dr. Steinhaus came in and told me what I had assumed.  They found something on my left side and it was large and concerning enough that they were ordering a biopsy.  Unfortunately, they did not have a biopsy appointment available for two weeks. So after a 9am appointment lasting until 3pm we left with no more answers and a 14 day waiting period before I might even be able to get answers.

Fast forward two weeks – amazing things happened over these two weeks – I will for sure share about this coming up soon.  I go in for the biopsy – there was an issue with the patient before me so I got to wait another 2 hours.  Then what should have been 3 samples turned into 8 samples which proceeded with me getting light-headed and faintish.  This was the Wednesday after Memorial Day and I was told that the lab was backed up due to the holiday long weekend and that I shouldn’t expect any results until Monday. But due to a small miracle I got a phone call Friday that it came back benign, but that she did want me to make an appointment to talk to her about further options.

This was the Friday before we left for our LightHouse Family Retreat.  It was not lost on me that I was supposed to get a call on Monday whether my cancer had returned when I was serving a family currently battling childhood cancer.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about regarding LightHouse Family Retreat read back on a few previous posts and you will learn what I am referring to.)

I met with Dr. Steinhaus and she let me know that the size of the spot was large enough to recommend surgery; a mastectomy.  It would be up to me – my call – she let me know the risks either way.  I made an appointment with the plastic surgeon, Dr. Mackay and he let me know that he agreed with Dr. Steinhaus.  So Mark and I discussed it, prayed about it, and decided that I would proceed with the mastectomy.

Next Monday, September 9 at 1:30 I will have a left side mastectomy.  December 9, I will have my follow-up reconstruction surgery.  This obviously should be a much easier recovery than 3 years ago.  I shouldn’t have to have lymph nodes removed and I wont be starting chemotherapy 4 weeks later.

I am taking a medical leave of absence from work (yes I’m working full-time again at our church – another update for another time).  My MIL will stay with us the week of the surgery.  Mom and Dad will come in town the week after that.  I’m hoping to be back to work the first week of October and only be out of commission the month of September.

So that’s the health update. You might be asking how I’m doing and/or feeling?  I’m okay – I’ve done this before so I know what to expect.  I’ve had some regret that I didn’t do both sides to begin with, but I can’t change that and I’m making the choice now so I don’t ever have to have a mammogram again – no more short-term PTSD – no more scans.  That part I’m thrilled about.  Emotionally, I am good.  My family and friends and church family are all surrounding me and supporting me so well.  I am blessed.

Please follow along my Team AJ facebook page and I will make sure updates are posted. Thank you for your continued prayers. As always – I serve a God who is never surprised – and with that I am comforted.


I just wanted to keep everyone updated and would really appreciate your prayers over the next week. Upcoming appointments:

Today, Thursday, 2/8, 11:00 am est = CT Scan

Friday, 2/9, 1:00 pm est = removal of stitches and glue from surgery

Monday, 2/12, 10:15 am est = mtg. w/ oncologist for CT results

Results from Monday I am declaring will be clear because there is a magic formula in cancer world that when you get a third clean scan you can be “really” cancer free. This would move the frequency of my appointments to every 6 months from every 3 months.

But seriously? Magic formula? “Really” cancer free? There is no magic, or formulas, or 3rd times the charm with my God. He’s my great physician and with him comes nothing but #FREEDOM!! Like for realz legit freedom!

Thank you #teamaj

I’ll be posting updates here as well as the TeamAJ page on Facebook.

Make sure you are following:

Home and Resting

Thank y’all for all your prayers today. Everything went very well and he didn’t have to put drains in which is HUGE!! I got home around 2:00 this afternoon and have been resting. Pain meds are working nicely.

I do have one thing I could use some prayers. They have to put a tube down my throat during surgery and upon removal they scratched my throat way down at the base of my neck. It hurts to talk or eat. The only thing I’ve been able to get down is pudding and frozen yogurt (which are not Whole30 compliant and is a big bummer). Please pray this heals quickly so that I can start eating better foods soon.

Otherwise all is going better than expected. I so appreciate my prayer warriors. Your support has been felt today!

Heading in…

Heading to the hospital. Reading over these verses continually this morning. Mark or Rachael will be updating the Facebook page. Thanks for the prayers.

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. [Ps. 55:22.]”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“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). [I Pet. 5:7.]”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭55:22‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Ebenezer Stone

One of my favorite worship songs came out a few months before I got diagnosed.  I had sang the chorus, but after February 10th the words took on a whole new meaning and this song became sorta an Ebenezer Stone** for me for this time of my life.  We sang it at church a couple weeks ago and I felt like I should share it with all of you.  Take some time to listen to it and Enjoy!

**”The prophet Samuel set up a stone after the LORD routed the Philistines and Israel won a great victory. This was not without repentance and seeking the LORD on Israel’s part. They had to put away their false gods and pray. The stone, named Ebenezer, commemorated that victory, for “Thus far the LORD has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). Whenever the Israelites would pass by the stone, they would remember what they were capable of, and how the LORD acted on their behalf.

So when people today refer to setting up an Ebenezer, they are using something physical to remind them of spiritual truth, especially God’s faithfulness and goodness.”


No Longer Slaves

One of the first songs that was sent to me (thanks KR) was a link to a YouTube video in a text.  It was right before I was about to walk into the hospital for one of my many biopsies.  (I think it was of the lymph nodes – the biopsy that was going to determine chemo or no chemo.)  Every time I hear it I think back to that moment and how through this song God gave me a peace and a confidence and ultimately hope.  I would remember this chorus many times over the last year and it would bring those same feelings back, “I’m no longer a slave to fear.  I am a child of God.”  I chose this version of the video because it gives you the lyrics.  I hope you will take the time to listen to it.


So one of the most common questions I’ve received over the last almost 18 months of my life has been, “How did you do it?  How did you stay so strong and faithful?”.  My answer would vary, but ultimately it came down to one word: Surrender.  My pastor gave an AMAZING sermon this past Sunday that described this thought of surrendering beautifully.  I would love for you to take the time to watch (or listen) to it.  Make sure to keep watching for the closing song.  (This will also give you a taste of the church we call home).

I would love to hear your thoughts, questions, and/or comments if you listen/watch it.  Comment below, reply to this email, or email me at: