“Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst….a spark that creates extraordinary results.”
This saying was on a card given to me by the students at Riverside Elementary last week. Is there anything else that needs to be said???? I think not! When I read the card, I cried……its become my favorite quote and after the day that I experienced today, couldn’t be more true in every aspect of life!
As today was drawing near, I couldn’t quite get a feeling of which way things were going to go for me. Sure, I put on the smile and say it’s going to be good…but I was just telling Chad yesterday that I didn’t have the warm fuzzy feeling inside that everything was going to go good like I did the previous scan in March. I think I had just done way too much reading online about horror stories and was preparing for the worst.
As my eyes opened this morning I laid in bed wondering what today would bring to me and my family. I tried to shut out the uneasy feelings, but they just wouldn’t go away. I got up and got ready and before I walked out the door I asked Chad to lead us in a family prayer. My boys and I gathered at the foot of our bed and we all knelt in prayer. Nobody was rolling on the floor, no one was laughing, nobody was pinching each other or playing with toys, and nobody was passing any gas. It was silent as Chad began and my little Kash reached over to grab my hand.
I want you to know that I listen whole heartedly when Chad prays. He is so inspired and in tune. I think I’ve listened even more intently since this journey began. In the beginning, I received A LOT of priesthood blessing from him and others. I would sit silently as the priesthood holders would place their hands on my head during the most difficult times. I hoped, in part, that they knew what I wanted them to say. It was so strong in my heart and I guess somehow I thought the message would just go from me to them. Most of the time, the words that I so wanted to hear in my blessings……were never said. I remember in January Chad and I praying together the night before we were to find out what the heck it was that I was dealing with. He paused for the longest time during that prayer. I sat there holding his hand and I just wanted to say out loud to him……Say It, say it, just please say the words! He didn’t. I looked at Chad in the eyes afterwards with tears in my eyes and said, “Why didn’t you just say it?” Without even mentioning what “it” was, he knew what I was talking about and simply said, “Because they weren’t supposed to be said Ash. As much as I want to say, “The test will be negative, you will be okay, you will live a long and happy life……the prompting wasn’t there.” We just need to have the faith that the Lord knows the desires of our hearts and they will be fulfilled somehow.
A part of me believes now that even though those words didn’t come out in our prayers, I know they were said by many if not hundreds of other loved ones in their own prayers. Our Father In Heaven has heard from a lot of you (including myself) more lately than he ever has before. I know he is enjoying listening to each of you and has heard the cries and pleas. I believe after months of hearing from all of you he has said……”Okay, already…..I’ll leave my daughter alone awhile longer. I can see her family and friends need her and she needs to raise her family. She needs to organize her closets better, get all affairs in order, get those dental implants before her front teeth fallout, and I’ll bet she can take this trial and turn it into something positive and help others who are struggling with their own trials. Yes, this is what I believe…..
Chad’s prayer was different this morning. It was uplifting and even if I didn’t get the exact words spelled right out, he said the desires of both our hearts and that was good enough for me. I left out the door in my bright yellow shirt and the same ole’ scarf that can accommodate such a bright color and headed to the hospital.
After checking into radiology, I had to get my port access by the gals in the infusion department (chemotherapy room). They checked my blood pressure, which was higher than any other visit thus far. The silly uneducated CNA says to me…..”Do you know why your blood pressure would be so high today? Ummmm, where should I start LADY!!! Hello…. My port was access by the nurse, but for some reason they couldn’t get any blood withdraw back from my port. Without blood return, you can’t use the port, which radiology needed to inject the radioactive sugar for the PET scan. They worked on it for nearly 40 minutes to no avail…..I swear I was doing more monkey activity trying to get them blood than I have done in the last four month!! Raising my arms up and down like a chicken wanting to fly, rolling from side to side, standing up and sitting down, moving my head from side to side and coughing. I think those elderly people thought they were watching a really bad version of Jane Fonda’s Get In Shape video! haha All I could think of was, I hope this is not a sign of how the rest of my day was going to go. Just as the nurse was going to call radiology, they received blood and I was told I could go….now 45 minutes late for the scan.
I was whisked away right as I arrived into a dark quiet room, given the goods through the port and then was offered an awful version of what I pretended to be, Crystal Light, to drink. They want you calm for the scan and so they leave you for an hour to just sit, relax or sleep if you can. I played on the phone instead, which is a no no, but I didn’t open up Words with Friends…..I knew for sure that was going to cause way too much brain stimulation trying to find a word that would outwit my mother! The hour flew by and before I knew it, it was time.
This sweet gal is who has done the previous two scans. She is so nice and cheery every time I see her. She had the same words for me today, “Look how cute you look in that color, it’s no cheery and bright!” I said, “That’s the results we are looking for today.”
My children wanted to see the machine that does the scan, so we took these pics. I’m put in a papoose-type thingie to keep my body completely still and then covered with warm blankets because the room is kept at a brisk 50 degrees to keep the machine cooled off. Now, I want to know why it is that the minute you can’t scratch something, everything seems to itch? Seriously, I thought I was going to die today. I swear everything part of my face had something that needed to be itched. That’s when the mind over matter tries to come into play I guess……No Ashley, you really don’t have a tiny piece of lint from the blanket going in and out of your nostril! lol Don’t be alarmed at the numbers at the top of machine. They DO NOT represent my weight.
Usually the scan takes an hour to complete. They came in and turned on the lights and pulled me out almost exactly 30 minutes after beginning. My response was, we’re done? And she said yup, you’re all done. I commented on how quickly it was completely and hoped that meant there was nothing to see! I asked can you give me a thumbs up or down and she just simply smiled and said, I think you did great! Okay, then whatever that means. I left, walked out the door not feeling really good, but not feeling bad either. As I approached my car, I stopped dead in my tracks as I looked at what was parked right next to me……..
I smiled, looked up in the sky, and knew everything was going to be okay. But not before I took some pictures of the bug and then jumped into my car! Shear coincidence……I think not! Too bad their license plate didn’t have some message for me to decode.
I hurried home, but not before having to make a pit stop at Harmon’s to relieve myself of the awesome pretend Crystal Light juice that caused some unwanted activity in my stomach! I needed to hurry home quickly as we were celebrating Kashton’s birthday today with friends (really his birthday was in March, but I’ve been a little busy what can I say). I bet I was only home 10 minutes when my phone rang. Dr. R’s name came up and I took a deep breath. I answered the phone by saying, Dr. R….I hope you are calling to have a telephone conversation with me and not to schedule an appointment for me and my husband to come and see you. He laughed and said, “Ashley, I have NEVER had a PET scan come back to me so quickly (we usually have to wait several hours if not at least a day). I am happy to report that your scan was completely NEGATIVE. I sat there for a moment and said, “Wait….negative? Yes, negative. There is no tumor showing in my neck? Nope. My colon is clear? Yes, Ashley…..the entire scan was completely normal. All tumors are gone. This is the best a scan can get for somebody!” I thanked him for calling me so quickly and we agreed to see each other after my surgery. I hung up the phone and tried to keep the tears in my eyes under control because my fake eyelashes would fall off in the cupcake mix! Kaige saw me from across the room and came running over to me. “Mom, what’s wrong….is everything okay? I hugged him and said yes. “Then why are you crying, he asked?” I replied, “Because my tumors are gone bud.” All of a sudden, this body, which was Kaeson, shoots up off the couch quicker than I’ve ever seen a 12-year-old move and comes running over to me. “The tumors are gone, really?” Both of my boys hugged me and then I bawled. Chad came in the door, saw my tears, and I think immediately thought the worst as he asked what was wrong. I said, Dr. R called and his face turned to a very concerned look……….the tumors are gone babe, they’re gone! We had one of those moments in our kitchen that I will never forget as we embraced each other and our children. It felt a little like a scene from the Little House on the Prairie.
I want all who are reading this to know that today’s news wasn’t because of me alone. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I believe in the power of prayer. I am living proof of what fasting and prayer and a little bit of a good attitude can do for someone. The spirit that is in our home is felt by many who come to visit. I don’t ever want that spirit to leave. I know I have been being watched over by many loved ones who have gone before me. I can feel their presence daily. I am one lucky girl….not because I have cancer by any means, but because I have learned just how much I am loved by people. It’s overwhelming to see the love and acts of charity that we have received and I can only hope that I can return the favor someday. Some asked, so does this mean you are cancer-free? Not by a long shot, but we are headed in the right direction to achieve that goal hopefully by the end of the year. The scans only pick up the tumors that were growing and any major organs affected. It doesn’t pick up cancer cells that are present, which we know I have a lot of. It takes only one cancer cell being left behind to kick start this battle all over again. With surgery coming up on the 5th of June, we will remove the dead cancer cells in my breasts and lymphnodes on the left side. We have to leave the lymphnodes in my neck on the right, as well as those behind the chest wall cavity, as surgery is way too risky. Hitting those areas with radiation and the doses of Herceptin, however, should seal the deal. And when that happens, well Chadwick……you had better have a pretty darn good vacation for you and I to take to celebrate. I may be hairless and a little lop-sided, but I know you will take me however I am, just as long as you can take me. But I don’t want a picture and a pretend airplane with a promise note. I have a collection of those already…..I want the actual ticket in hand. Thank you in advance babe! If anyone wants to offer their help, I’m sure he’ll take it!
1. I have had to resort to the fake eyelashes on the top of both eyes, but I still have three origional eye lashes on the bottom left eye present and six on the right. Yahoo!! However, my friend Kim told me how ridiculous I was for trying to put mascara on those three and six lashes and suggested I just leave them alone. Maybe I’ll give that a try this week just to satisfy her.
2. I still continue to have visible eyebrows.
3. Although my fingernails have all lifted halfway up my nail bed, I still have them and can lightly scratch an itch.
4. I wore the “Sunday Wig” for three days in a row and did okay, getting used to it I guess. I’m taking people’s word that it looks okay and honoring the requests from my children to have hair in public once in awhile.
5. The chickens have found a new home. So happy about this smooth transition to the chicken coop on Bramble Way.
6. We are down to 5 frogs…….don’t know where the others are. I’ll update you if I smell something fowl in the days ahead coming from the basement other than the four boys who reside there.
7. Kashton finally got his birthday party he’s been waiting for since March. Such a relief to get that crossed off my to-do list.
8. I got a new bedspread to stare at after surgery. I can’t tell you how old ones bedroom can get when you spend a lot of hours laying around.
9. I got another round of Thank You’s sent out….if you haven’t gotten one yet, don’t get your panties all up in a twirl……I haven’t forgotten about you!
10. School’s Out!
11. We have tomatoes visible….don’t know if they will make it long enough to turn red, but we shall see.
12. Finally, I have the best friends and the wizard is good!
Trackback from your site.