If you have been following Ashlie’s battle with breast cancer, this is hopefully the last post in the series!  She told me yesterday that today would be a year since her diagnosis, so I realized it was the perfect day for an update.

What a year! Originally, Ashlie agreed to allow me to follow her journey through my photos and her words. All with the final product being a book we could make for her daughter Carsen. What began as a simple, but meaningful project has become more than that though. Not only has this blog been a place for others to encourage Ashlie, but it has also been a spot for Ashlie’s story to encourage and uplift others facing a similar diagnosis. So for both of us, we truly believe that God has and will answer many prayers because of Ashlie’s testimony and her willingness to share her fight.

So thank you Ashlie, for allowing me to be a part of the bigger story, for trusting me…for sharing your heart…but most importantly for being a true friend. One who has encouraged me and been a listening ear when you were going through something so much worse. That is what I love about you:) That and your strong faith over the last year. May your story forever be about a strong wife, mommy, daughter, sister and friend who kicked cancer’s butt…big time!

If you would like to get caught up on Ashlie’s journey, here are the links to the other posts.

Preparing for battle~

Round 1~

Here goes round 2~

Round 3~

Round 4~

What now?~

This post is celebratory!  Thankfully Ashlie is in remission, and I was thrilled to be able to attend a “Remission Retreat” girl’s beach weekend last month.  I have shared some photos from that weekend below, along with Ashlie’s words. I am sure that Ashlie and her family would still appreciate your continued prayers. Thank you to everyone who has been reading along and has made a positive impact on Ashlie!


April 15, 2015
Sometimes it’s hard to remember what life was like before all this happened. I know I was happy. I would tell Andrew all the time – “I love my life!” Things were just perfect – my sweet little family. I’m still happy. But lately, a lot when I’m alone, I feel so sad, and so scared. And then I feel guilty because that’s not being strong in my faith.I feel lonely. I feel heartbroken for my daddy, and for myself. He told me yesterday – you’ve got to play the cards you’ve been dealt.” He’s right. But it really sucks sometimes.

I wrote that in January of this year, which was the last time I attempted to sit down and do some writing for a blog update. As the saying goes, “if you want to hear God laugh, just tell him your plans.”
When I wrote the note above, I was in a pretty low place, dwelling on how my plans had been forced to change. I had recently gotten surprising news about a change in my treatment plan, had gone for a second opinion, and was formally told “it would not be medically advisable for you to have any more children.” I was very, very sad. I was, and am, so thankful for the beautiful, amazing gift I’ve been given in my sweet daughter. And it’s almost like I grieved a loss, not only for myself (I had spent a lot of time daydreaming about and planning for completing our family with another baby), but for her – she will never know the gift of having a sibling. There won’t be any need for all of the baby gear we carefully stowed away, waiting for #2. No more second chances for the things I wish I had known the first time around. No opportunity to just sit and hold your tiny infant for hours, because you know they grow so quickly and you already regret ever putting your little girl down. Change of plans!
I was having a hard time handling the decline of my father’s health and his quality of life.
I plugged along and tried to get past all that. I focused on my upcoming reconstructive surgery, which was to be February 12th. I was very much looking forward to getting rid of the very uncomfortable tissue expanders. That week, my father was admitted to the ER and diagnosed with pneumonia. He had long been battling a rare motor neuron disease. He got a little better, and then he didn’t. The morning of my surgery, I got a call that he had taken a downturn in the night and had been moved to ICU. Early that afternoon, my daddy passed. We were all there, and it was peaceful, and I tear up everytime I think about how he is no longer stuck in that body, that life. I miss him terribly. Change of plans.
Fast forward to today. I am 6 days out from a successful reconstructive surgery. I am loving every second of my sweet girl, who recently turned two, and the feel of spring in the air! In March I was lucky enough to enjoy a wonderful “Remission Retreat” in the Outer Banks with my INCREDIBLE friends. I am getting ready to celebrate my five year wedding anniversary with the man who I only love more and more as time passes.Today would have been my father’s 63rd birthday. I know my daddy is watching over all of us, and I hope we are making him proud. I am continuing to build a relationship with Christ, and learning to glorify Him in all things, and to keep choosing faith over fear. I want to trust in His plans, and not my own!

For everything there is a season . . . a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance . . . .
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

ashlie retreat storyboard 1

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


email- denisefeagans@gmail.com

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