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For the Girls With or Without Their Mommas

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Pink tulips for mother's day

It’s that time of the year that I have not been a fan of for a really, really long time – Mother’s Day.  As I was growing up and watching all my friends with their wonderful moms, making them gifts, going shopping for the most special present and spending the whole weekend with their families it was bittersweet for me.  I was happy, jealous, sad, heart broken, you name it I probably felt it.  I love all of my friend’s moms, they did more for me then I probably deserved.  They raised me like their own and I could not say thank you enough!

However, Mother’s Day is just a day to me that brings back the fact I don’t have my mom.  Don’t get me wrong, I feel these emotions every day but this day just rubs it in a little more.  I’m the girl without a mom, I’m the girl who everyone makes sure to check on and was invited over because they felt bad for me.  I’m the girl no one ever knows what to say to on this day. I never want sympathy, I just want to be normal and celebrate with my own mom and since that is not an option I would rather be by myself, watch lifetime movies, eat pizza, ice cream and cry most of the time.  Thankfully, I now somewhat look forward to this day as I am a new mom.  I am so happy God made me this little sweetheart’s momma.  She literally is the best and she is my world.  My favorite part is when I get those sweet handmade gifts she makes (with help of course), it just melts my heart.  Don’t we all love those cute little Mother’s Day crafts?  Most people have plans way in advance to celebrate this day but my ideal/perfect day would be a mommy daughter day of us just relaxing and playing at home.

To the girls with out momma’s – hang in there!! Try to stay positive and try not to be upset all day long but it is okay to be sad.  It is an emotional day!  It is only natural to have those feelings when someone so precious is taken away from you.  You really are not “fine” and you probably feel like no one could possibly understand how you feel.  Please know that you are not alone, unfortunately there are many of us who can relate to you.

Regardless if it is Mother’s day, prom, homecoming, graduation, picture day, holidays, your birthday, bridal shower, wedding, baby shower, birth of your child, or any and every other day of the week, it will always be hard not having her there.  Stay strong and always know she is always with you!  After you get the tears and sadness out of your system, go and start your day. Even if you are like me and would rather stay at home that is perfectly okay to do!

Regardless of your plans on this day:
1. Remember her gorgeous face and that infectious smile she had.
2. Make yourself feel good on this day.  Freshen up after the tears fall, do your make up, fix your hair, put on your dress clothes depending on your day (cute comfy dress clothes for church then change into your favorite sweatpants you can find right after like I would).
3. Take a little walk outside sometime on this day and smile up at her through the clouds/sunshine because she is looking down right at you smiling back.

Isn’t it such a relief knowing she is not in pain anymore and she is finally where she belongs in heaven?  She is in the most beautiful place but she is also with you every step of the way.  Talk to her daily and be sure to tell her all about your ups and downs, your heartbreaks, your friendships, school, your struggles, your job and everything else that happens because she is there for you.

To the girls with their momma’s 
1.  Go give your momma a hug and tell her how much you love her.
2.  If she is not in close reach, call her and tell her you love her.
This will definitely put a smile on her face!!
You have your best friend right there and you need to appreciate and cherish each day with her.  This goes for the guys too!  When she tells you to listen to her, listen.  When she gives you a shoulder to cry on, accept it.  When she wants a girls weekend shopping trip, drop what you had planned and go.  When she dances funny or sings off key, join her.  When she is feeling down, cheer her up.  When she is out for the day, leave her a little letter for her to see when she gets back.  When she is miles away, send her flowers and a card.  When she is weak, be strong for her.  When she is cheering for you on the sidelines, know she is your biggest fan.  When she cries, wipe her tears.  When you first see her for the day, give her a hug.  Don’t just do these things on Mother’s day but you should be doing this everyday.

You never know when it may be your last chance so make it count before it is too late!!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you wonderful mommas!  I pray you have a blessed day with your family and know that being a mom is the best thing in the entire world you could be.  Love your babies and they will love you back.  xoxo Ashley


Happy Mother’s Day to you mom!
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The big decision: Double Mastectomy

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I will be having surgery as a preventative measure because within my life time the probability of me obtaining breast cancer is very high risk.  The idea of not having to worry about breast cancer is an absolute relief.   As I think of the bigger picture of not having to go through what my momma went through with her breast cancer and being there for my daughter makes me want to have surgery tomorrow.  However, I can not get too ahead of myself as there are many risks and options with having a prophylactic double mastectomy.  My aunt (my mom’s sister) also was diagnosed with breast cancer.  After going through chemotherapy she is in remission and a survivor!  Have I mentioned how excited I am about this double mastectomy?

I would have not gained the knowledge and confidence in my decisions without talking to others who have had this surgery.  So to all of you who have shared their story on here or any type of media like the Cosmo I read years ago – Thank you!!!!  You truly have helped me so much and I think that is all of our goals right?  I only hope to inspire others out there as well.

What is prophylactic mastectomy?  Prophylactic mastectomy is surgery to remove one or both breasts to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.  According to the National Cancer Institute, prophylactic mastectomy in high-risk women may be able to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by 90%.  The statement above is from http://www.breastcancer.org.

There are many different risk factors that play a part in determining your chance of getting breast cancer.  If you are curious in finding these risks as I was, please talk to your doctor as not all numbers are the same for every individual.


After research, talking with my insurance and speaking with my doctors, I knew my decision was final on getting this surgery.  I also already had in mind where I was going to go to have this surgery.  I made a quick call and a packet arrived a few days later with loads of information on my upcoming appointment.  That was very overwhelming as it was finally starting to sink in.  As I drove to the same hospital my mom spent the worst of her days, it was tough.  I remembered the overpass bridge, the fountain in the lobby, the cafeteria and the elevators which soon after the tears began to fall.  Did I mention I do not like to show emotions that portray me as weak?  I only let a few tears fall and I was fine.  I met with my doctor who will be performing the removal of my breast tissue.  She was so comforting and knowledgable, I couldn’t have felt better about our appointment.  After we discussed all of the details, numbers, the procedure and risks, a massive weight had been lifted off of me.  When she said, “your risk after this procedure would be under 1% of obtaining breast cancer”, I bawled like a baby.  I could not stop crying as these were tears of joy and relief.

How could I not get this surgery with that low of a risk?  My life will be forever changed as I will not live in fear anymore.  When I was younger, I knew I would get breast cancer and was expecting it to happen any day.  Well in 36 days that fear will be gone as I am having my prophylactic double mastectomy on June 3rd!!

The surgery I am having is a bilateral nipple sparing double mastectomy with same day reconstruction.  Basically one doctor will be removing all of my breast tissue, and my plastic surgeon will come in right after and replace with an implant.  I will have a scar at the bottom of my foobs (fake boobs).

If you have boobs, or if you had to get them removed, you are still a beautiful woman inside and out – never forget that!

  A lot of women struggle with “losing a part of themselves” (real boobs) as this is a risk factor in this procedure.  I can’t say anything yet, as I still have my real ones but as of now I do not have an attachment to them.  First off, all I can think about when it comes to my boobs is that one day these things are going to give me cancer.  I tend to always expect the worst, so regardless of the outcome, I am still ready to get this surgery done.  Honestly, boobs are just boobs and after you have a baby, let’s just say they are not what they used to be, so I will be just fine!  Regardless, this is a big concern for everyone who has this surgery, so be sure to talk this through with your doctor.

Recovery will be extremely rough, as I will not be able to lift my arms higher than my waist, open a door, lift more than 5 lbs or really do anything but lay down for the first few weeks.  I can only sleep on my back, which is pretty much impossible for me to do.  The little things like not being able to put my hair in a pony will drive me nuts.  I pray that things go as smoothly as possible with no infection after surgery.  Please send prayers for my husband, family and friends as well who will be helping me out during this time.  The worst part about this whole process is not being able to pick up my daughter.  I will be out for roughly about a month.  I will have tubes in my sides for a few weeks to drain the extra fluid from surgery.  I will have major bruising but that will clear with time.  I will have to go back to have a few outpatient procedures but in a few months it will all be over.  =)

Could I die tomorrow in a tragic accident or become diagnosed with a different kind of cancer?  Yes, and I assure you I will be strong and fight it through, but it would not be breast cancer that I feared so much.  I know you are thinking that cancer is cancer no matter what kind it is but to me it is different.  Not many people understand my reasoning , but I do not expect anyone to and that is perfectly okay.  Everyone has a story, struggle or fear and I will not judge you on yours as I could not ever put myself in your shoes.  Do what you feel is right for you, make yourself happy and just be you.  xoxo, Ashley

Hello world!!!

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Well this is all new to me but I am loving meeting so many people already that I can relate to! Hey y’all! I am so thankful for the inspiration you have given me as I have decided to share my personal journey.  My story is no more of an importance than yours, I just know how I have been impacted by reading other people’s stories and had to share mine as well.

Here is a little fun for those that do not know me, my name is Ashley, I am a strong-willed, independent, protective 27-year-old daughter, friend, wife and most importantly a mother.  My ideal job would be to have an unlimited amount of money to just use to pay it forward for any and everyone.  I love gymnastics and I wish I could still be the 17 year old gymnast I once was.  My favorite sport is baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals are obviously the best.  I love, love, love me some country music and I wish I lived somewhere like Nashville or Texas, so I could have that southern voice while I wear my cowboy boots everyday.  Back to the music part —-> Garth Brooks.  Oh my goodness, every time I see him in concert I leave with mascara down my face, sore legs from dancing the whole night, no voice from screaming and so incredibly amazed of the show he puts on.

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I love life, my family and my friends.  My husband is my best friend and an amazing father to our little girl.  Let’s just say, I am the lucky one.  Most people say it is good to have a “few” close friends, well I am proud to say that I have many close friends and I am blessed to call them my family.   I am very open about my opinions, my story, and I tend to be too honest at times.

I am a picture fanatic and if you take anything away from this blog, please take lots of pictures with your family.  Then save multiple copies of all of your pictures in different places just in case you lose your hard drive.

A little bit of why I am who I am To be strong is all I know, therefore I do not accept help or sympathy very well at all.  (Silly to most of you yes, but hey that is just who I am and I can assure you I will ask if I need help, otherwise I’m good).  But even when I know I could use the help, I can do it all on my own.  Annoying right?  I know, I agree with you 100%, and I will struggle with this more than I ever have before in the next few months.  I have learned that time is precious, and I cherish every second I have with my little princess.  One of my many struggles is that I have a hard time sharing her with others (even my husband) because I have learned that time with her can be taken away from me very quickly.  Do I think this way about most of everything in life?  Unfortunately, yes I do.  I live in fear everyday.  What if this?  What if that?  I have always been the realist, but after having my first child the fear grew stronger than ever before.  As I look to the Lord, I know it is all in Gods hands (yet I still worry).

Ever since I was a little girl, I had to be independent.  I did not have any other choice as my only parent became my angel in heaven.  My memory has faded a lot and I barely remember any of my childhood.  I believe my lapse in memory is an “escape” of reality at the time.  When I was around 7 years old, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She was 32 years old at the age of diagnosis.  She was the most beautiful person and I was the luckiest daughter (along with my amazing sister).  I was so young that I did not understand any of it or I made myself not believe it.   I wish I could go back so I could cherish each moment more and be there more for her.  The hair loss, weight loss, sickness, hot flashes, surgeries, treatments, etc. was a normal day of a beautiful person for four years before she passed at the age of 36.

My new beginning  Which brings you to the reason of this whole journey.  Let’s face it, we all have been affected by cancer in one way or another.  This “C” word is the scariest word in the dictionary to me.  About 7 years ago, I was reading Cosmo and came across a story of a mother and daughter who was affected by breast cancer.  The article went on to inform that the mother was a breast cancer survivor and her daughter chose to be proactive by getting genetic testing done.  This test is a simple saliva test that determines if you carry a positive gene for breast cancer or ovarian cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2).  The daughter found out that she tested positive for BRCA1 and is high risk for breast cancer.  She decided to have a prophylactic double mastectomy.  I wish I would have torn that article out to keep so that I could personally tell those ladies “Thank You” as they brought hope to me.  I was inspired to do my own research to take preventative measures as well.

Just a few years ago, I began doing daily self breast exams, getting mammograms and researching every preventative measure to lower my risk.  In my research, one disagreement I have with most of the doctor’s recommendations is to wait until your 40’s to get mammograms (unless you have a strong history).  Let me remind you, my mother was 32 at the age of diagnosis.  Every time I scheduled a mammogram, I would constantly be questioned and almost denied an appointment because I was a young lady who wasn’t 40.  That was frustrating.  My doctor informed me that I should have started being proactive 10 years prior to the age my mother was diagnosed.  I am very happy that I started this in my middle 20’s.


Please continue reading and go to my next post which will go into details of my surgery.  I look forward to sharing more with you all.  Remember to just be you and you can make a difference!  xoxo, Ashley