This is an update for everyone about how Ashlie is doing. I wanted to make Ashlie feel pretty for this session, so my friend Jessica did Ashlie’s makeup for this session. I know Ashlie’s beauty shines from within, but it was fun to play for a day. I am so grateful every day to be able to be a part of her story, the story she will one day share with her daughter…about how she beat cancer.
Ashlie, I love you and am so very inspired by your faith, your grace and your strength~
The End . . . . Or Just the Beginning?
I was THRILLED to finish chemo, and I went for my last infusion the day before Thanksgiving. I was expecting to feel AWESOME. Much to my surprise, I didn’t feel that way at all. I was very overwhelmed and emotional, and thinking “now what?” It is a strange feeling to have been consumed by this cancer and treating it for 8 months, and then, suddenly, be thrust back into “normal” life. I immediately felt a lot of pressure to get back to business as usual – get back into the gym, get back on top of things at work, get back to being the best wife/mom/daughter/sister/friend I can be.
I think I hoped for a magic moment when someone would say, “OK, all done – you are cancer free!” Instead, there are lots of appointments, blood work, exams, and the next phase of treatment. My cancer was fed by estrogen, so we have now begun treating that aspect to reduce my chances of the cancer coming back. I was thrown for a loop when the treatment plan changed due to a new study that shows my best option is to take an oral medication for 10 years while also getting monthly shots to suppress my ovarian function. This will basically put my body into menopause (lots of fun side effects!). After 2 years of this regimen, we will need to make a decision about whether or not to have another child. That will not be an easy choice to make, as we don’t know how high the risk is of the cancer coming back if I stop the hormonal therapy. If we do decide to try for another baby, it is likely that my ovaries will not “wake up.”
Coming to terms with this phase of my treatment has not been easy. While many battles have already been fought, there is another one just beginning. I am glad to have so much behind me, like surgery and chemotherapy, but I am sometimes fearful of the future. I am thankful that I have a healthy child already. I am also heartbroken at the thought of never having a baby again, and of my daughter not having the gift of a sibling. But, I am ALIVE. I am STRONGER. I will KEEP MOVING. I will REJOICE.
I continue to be filled with gratitude for my incredible support system, especially my husband and daughter, who are the reason my feet hit the floor each morning. Most of all, I am thankful for the God we serve, and I choose faith over fear.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen