Ashlie~ Round 1

ashlie surgery

*If you have not read the first post of Ashlie’s story, go here.

Surgery day was here and if I had not slept well and had a pit in my stomach, I knew that Ashlie must be feeling that and more. I know that Ashlie was feeling so much love and support in the days leading up to surgery and that was helping her apprehension, but reality must just slap you in the face. Part of her was getting ready to be taken away…

As I drove to the hospital, I was listening to this song and told Ashlie it should be her theme song. I was trying to get my praying and  crying out of the way then so I could be strong for her when I arrived. Here are some of the words, but follow the link and listen to the whole song when you have a chance. When  I asked her to share some of her thoughts about this day, she called it Round 1…so appropriate!

Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

Everybody’s been down
Hit the bottom, hit the ground
Oh, you’re not alone
Just take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to His promises
He wants You to know

The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling You

When we got to the hospital, I was able to meet her Mom and Step Dad (who are awesome by the way) and then we chatted while Ashlie opened some gifts. We all were emotional, and trying to be positive…but you could tell we were all on the verge of tears.

Then they were called back and watching her say goodbye to her Mom was tough. Very tough. Not as tough as what Ashlie was facing for sure…but tough to see them hug and cry together in the middle of the waiting room. Her Mom said she would take it from her if she could.

I had to wait a bit to go up and I worried that when I finally did it would be uncomfortable, but since I know Ashlie and Andrew, it really wasn’t. I was struck while looking back through the photos how much we laughed over the next hour or so. Ashlie said it was helping to joke around and as Andrew said, “Laughter is the best medicine.”

I was so impressed with all of the doctors, nurses and staff at UVA, I now know why Ashlie feels well take care of.

As the moments neared for them to take her back, all three of us lost it.  Watching Ashlie kiss her husband goodbye and watching him watch her be wheeled down the hallway will always stay with me. Andrew broke down as anyone would as he has been trying hard to be strong for her. I think we forget about the spouses and the burden they carry. I have no doubt that they will be a stronger couple for this and that Andrew will take care of his girl:)

I haven’t posted yet because I wanted Ashlie to share some thoughts about the day.

Three days post surgery and I am doing well. What an emotional morning Tuesday was, and the days that have followed have been exhausting as well. I have surprised myself though – I was expecting the first time I saw my “new” chest to be very difficult, but instead I find that I feel happy that the tumor is gone. A few lessons learned: this pain is no joke. Not being able to cuddle my baby girl is even worse. Laughter is the best medicine. My husband and family are truly angels walking around on earth. I feel very supported and blessed. This morning I read a devotional that described God’s great peace as giving you joy when it doesn’t make sense for you to be happy. I think I’ve got it! Onward . . .

She also just texted me about the findings from her tumor and said that I could share it here.

The verdict is stage 2 infiltrating ductile carcinoma, no lymph node involvement, 4.5 cm tumor, all removed. This means chemo, but no radiation (thank goodness!).

Stage 2 is middle of the road, so not most aggressive but not least aggressive

Here are the photos that made me cry all over again, maybe that is why I didn’t want to post them yet.

Thank you Ashlie and Andrew for allowing me to follow this journey, God will be given the glory in the end I just know it! And we will have the biggest pink party when Ashlie beats this thing!

Round 2…chemo….BRING IT! Cancer, you don’t know who you have chosen to mess with!






Virginia Portrait Photographer, serving the Louisa, Charlottesville and Richmond area. Specializing in studio photography.


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