Home Sweet Home

I’m home! Surgery went quicker than anticipated and I am recovering very well. Thank you so much to everyone who has been praying for me today. I’m doing very well and I’m very grateful to have been home and settled for the last few of hours. I am in more pain than I was coming home from the mastectomy but I have only taken two Tylenol at this point. I am hoping to avoid narcotics altogether this time. 

One of the toughest decisions I made along the way was to have a small implant placed in my left breast during this procedure in order to achieve symmetry and maintain some level of balance across my chest. Because of this, it will make my healing and recovery more challenging as I will have limited usage of both arms this time around. I am quickly realizing that it will require me to be more dependent on other’s help but that is probably a good thing at the end of the day. 

I will try to post another update in a few days but for now I wanted to say thank you again to those of you who have been praying and who have reached out to me today. Your prayers truly make a difference and your messages and gifts have continued to fuel and motivate me throughout this step in the journey. I’ll be in touch soon friends. Bless you all!  


Surgery Round 2

Here we go again! Tomorrow morning I am scheduled for a final reconstructive surgery at 10:45am. While I’m eager to have this milestone behind me, it’s been a bumpy couple of weeks trying to get this crew to summer break and me to another surgery day. I don’t feel nearly as prepared mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically or in our schedule for this one. But, thankfully this procedure is not nearly as invasive as the first and will not require the same level of recovery time.

The surgery itself will be around 3 hours long. I should only have a few days of “intense” recovery time and then I should begin feeling daily improvement. The most difficult part of this recovery will be feeling good so quickly but having to abide by the same type of physical restrictions for 6-8 weeks. I’m not sure I’ve gotten any better at being still and patient but I’m trying to grow in both.

I just want to say thank you again to everyone who has continued to pray and help me and our family. There is no way we would have made it through the past two and a half months without everyone’s love and support. And, there is no way we would have made it through this journey without a love God who has continued to be faithful and sustain us. I have learned what it means to come to the end of myself and watch his perfect strength take over on my behalf. When I am tired and overwhelmed he has restored me day after day. I rejoice because he renews and strengthens me. The nights that I drop in bed with exhaustion, I wake up to find his mercy new and his grace freshly pouring over my soul.

I wish I could take more time to share some of the things running through my head but there is much to do tonight and my body is fighting something off. We will post an update either tomorrow evening or Wednesday sometime. In the meantime, we covet your thoughts and prayers. Bless you all!


The Pits & Peaks of Recovery

At some point within the first year of having a baby, you look at your partner and wonder what life was like before. What did you do with all of that time and energy? How did you spend your free time? What could possibly have occupied your thoughts all day and night? That is life after cancer. It’s hard to remember right now just what it was like before all of the doctor appointments and research and decisions and recovery and so on.  It has been 9 weeks since my mastectomy and 15 weeks since I was diagnosed. I have been riding a roller coaster for just over 100 days now. Some of those days were great and some were filled with struggle. Most days I was full of energy, strength, gratitude and joy. But some days, were hard and exhausting. I failed to stay positive and be grateful for anything. It’s gone fast and slow all at the same time.

I haven’t updated this blog as much as I envisioned going into this journey. To be honest, it’s been hard to actually be honest on the hard days. And, its hard to stop and make the time on the good days. I’m so deeply grateful to so many of you for standing by me and supporting my family along the way. I want to include you in my journey and I hope to do better at using this space to do just that.

To give an update, my physical recovery continues to go unbelievably well. Several weeks ago, my second surgery was moved up nearly a month and half due to how quickly my body was healing. To God be the glory! He continues to heal me and pour his love over me day after day. My reconstructive surgery will take place in just over a week on Tuesday, June 13th. I am eager to have it behind me to say the least. There is much to be done before then and much to prepare for another successful post-surgery recovery. Please check out this page for an update list of prayer requests.

I’ve already learned a great deal throughout this journey about myself, about friendship, faith, hope, joy, fear, courage and countless other things. On the eve of my 39th birthday, I’m laying in bed reflecting on this past year of my life. Much of which I spent in recovery, either from a back injury or breast cancer. What I have learned through all of this? How has it made me better? I’m sure there are a million things that I could write about but these are the pits and peaks that come to mind.

  1. Recovery is a roller coaster  –  As easy as mine was, recovery is hard. It is full of unexplainable highs and unpredictable lows. I had to learn that I could be hit with a hard day at any point but that didn’t mean that I had failed in some way. I realized that I was constantly measuring everything by my forward momentum and I quickly became discouraged at the thought of taking a step backwards. I’m the same way in several other areas of my life. Even driving a car, I will go nuts if I have to backtrack to get to my destination. I’m learning that backwards isn’t always bad and often times it isn’t backwards at all. Sometimes what feels like a movement backwards is actually like winding up to throw a baseball. When I allowed myself to fall back a little, I was actually listening to my body. Those side steps often forced me to rest or re-evaluate something and ultimately propelled me forward again at a faster pace. I’m working at getting better at recognizing these moments as they happen instead of in hindsight.
  2. I’m good at receiving help, but I suck at asking for it – 12 years ago, I would have said that I wasn’t very good at receiving help. That just isn’t the case anymore. At some point in life, you realize that you simply can’t get through by doing everything on your own. We need people, we need community and we need help. It’s one of those life lessons I thought I understood well enough. It’s true, I have no problem receiving help from others. This journey however was a whole other level of self learning for me. I now realize there is a big difference from receiving help from others and being vulnerable enough to ask for it. It’s hard to ask other people for help. I know what a sacrifice it is to prepare an extra meal or rearrange your schedule to fit in driving a friend to an appt. Life is full and demanding for all of us. Pulling a friend away from their own family or life is really hard for me to do. I’m working on putting myself out there and trusting people at their word. People want to help and take a detour just for me and that makes me feel incredibly loved.
  3. There are some things you have to do on your own  –  As much as I knew I wasn’t alone in this battle, I realized early on there were some things I just had to go through by myself. I couldn’t have an entourage at every appointment or pep rally every time I needed to swallow disgusting supplements. I couldn’t call a friend every time I needed to take a do laundry or beg Lance to come home from work because I needed help taking a shower. I knew people were there for me but I needed to know I could accomplish some things for myself along the way. That sometimes made it lonely but it also made me rely on Jesus for strength when I felt I had none. He never left me hanging. Some days I got through and knew it was only because of him. Other days I’m not sure I really made it through but I felt his presence with me as sat and cried it out. I’m learning that it’s okay to be alone in the hardest of moments because the reality is that I’m truly never alone. He never leaves me, nor forsakes me. That is a beautiful truth I know for myself at a depth I couldn’t have before.
  4. Cancer is brutal and life doesn’t stop when you get a sucky diagnosis  –  Cancer flat out sucks. Every form, every stage just sucks! It is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t care about your status, season of life or personal agenda. It shows up and you have to deal with it. The rest of life however, just keeps on going. I had to be okay with stepping out of certain roles, leaving projects undone, watching piles build up around my house, and putting down dreams and goals for a season. I had to let it take over my life for short stretch but once we had a plan in place, I knew I had to be brutal right back. This junk may be a big part of my life for a few months, but I’m not about to sit back and let it control everything. It’s made me more disciplined in some areas, more selfish in a good way and more selective about what I take on my plate.
  5.  It’s the pebble in your shoe that cripples you  –  I’ve shared a life analogy with several of my basketball teams over the years that I heard from an avid runner. It is said that in a marathon, it’s not the rocks and boulders in your path that trip you up but the pebble in your shoe that cripples you. It’s amazing how the little things in life trip us up. This journey was no different. I am amazed at how I received a cancer diagnosis and when faced with one of my greatest fears, I found peace and confidence. Then at some point along the way, I would get tripped up on feeling like a failure over something as small as not being able to lift the frying pan after surgery or feel guilty for not responding to a text or email message. Some of the smallest things often created huge negative emotions for me to work through. I am learning how to position myself under God’s grace like never before.
  6. Fear will sneak up on you  –  In recovery and in life, fear will sneak up on you. In an instant, I would find myself going to a dark place and I had to take control over my thoughts. It’s human nature to be afraid, to imagine worst case scenarios. Thank God that he exchanges our fear for faith when we ask him to. He declares that the spirit he placed in us is full of power, of love and a sound mind.
  7. People will surprise you  –  I learned what it looks like to show up for a person going through a difficult circumstance. I know better what to say and what to do because of the people that rallied by me. I was amazed at the way some people reached out or showed up to help. I also experienced the other side of feeling hurt when people didn’t engage in the way I anticipated and people you thought you could count on simply didn’t show up. I know that sounds awful to say but you learn so much about your relationships when you go through hard times. I learned more than anything that I want to live a life with white space. I want my life to have margins so that when people I care about face challenges, I can be there for them. I can show up.
  8. Ultimately, life is not within our control. We only control our response to it  –  When I was diagnosed with cancer, a lot of questions ran through my mind and the minds of those who know me well. I have so few risk factors for this disease. I eat healthy. I live an active lifestyle. I nursed my babies. There is no history of cancer in my family. I could go on and on. You can do all the right things and still get cancer. You can do everything you know how to do and still lose a loved one or find yourself divorced from the love of your life. I guess I could have looked at everything I did “right” and succumb to living a life of fear because I still ended up with a life threatening disease. What kind of life is that though? To me, there is no peace or joy or beauty in living that way. I figure we have to do the best we can with what we know to do while always seeking out ways to grow and gain insight. We can’t control what happens to us at the end of the day but we can embrace it and extract all that we can from life’s challenges and triumphs.
  9. It’s okay to do nothing, absolutely nothing  –  It took me several days before I was ready to do anything. Aside from enjoying visitors and my family, I really did nothing. No music. No movies. No reading. No working. I literally just passed the time by staring at the walls. It was good for my soul to just be still. I didn’t feel in a hurry to do much of anything but engage in family life with Lance and the kids. It’s funny though that about a week doing nothing, I was quick to jump into as many of our daily routines as I was physically able. From that point on, I kind of hit the ground running. I struggle at times because I can tell that my physical, mental and emotional capacity our not the same. I still get fatigued and hit a wall much sooner than I’m used to. My brain is foggy most of the time. I’m working on adopting some built in times of doing nothing and being still. It came naturally those early days but now I find it a struggle to fit in or justify. I’m working on changing that.
  10. Words are powerful  –  What we think and what we say determine so much of our successes in life. I saw that to be true yet again over this stretch. My doctor’s would tell me things about how my recovery would go and I would respectfully listen to their opinion and statistics before offering my own hopes about what my recovery would look like. I kept my mind focused on what I wanted and it motivated me every day to do the right things to get me there. I saw many doctors and naturopaths along the way and followed all of their recommendations. More than anything, I knew that God was ultimately my source of healing and I meditated his promises along the way.  I wholeheartedly believe that a positive mentality promotes healing.
  11. You can survive on gratitude and a good laugh  –  Whenever I got off track, there were two sure fire ways to bounce back. Whenever I felt overcome with sadness or needed to fight off darkness, I could quickly find my way back by being grateful or simply laughing out loud. I have so much to be grateful for, especially throughout this journey. We all have so much to be grateful for. I was reminded that perspective is a choice. Seeing everything through a lens of gratitude will change your life. Even when facing the hardest of situations, perspective enables us to find God’s blessings in the midst of the storm. When I was able to laugh, I could literally feel the weight of my situation falling off of me. I’m so thankful for my husband because he worked to keep a spirit of joy and fun in our house these past months and it kept me going on several hard days.
  12. Life is beautiful, messy and beautiful  –  Life isn’t lived from mountain top to mountain top. There are bound to be valleys. It’s an ongoing struggle to learn how to appreciate both the pits and the peaks. The mountain tops are beautiful. The view is breathtaking but the reality is that it’s never easy to climb up to a great view. The path up is often brutal and there are moments along the way that you question if the view will even be worth it. In the past, I would have wished we could  just jump from mountain top to mountain top and skip all the crap in between. No struggles up, no being slowed up on the way down and no pain through the valleys. It’s just not how life goes. I’m beginning to realize that I wouldn’t know the beauty of community if it weren’t for the valley and the climb. I wouldn’t know the strength of my marriage or friendships. I wouldn’t have seen the solid faith of my children. I wouldn’t understand what it means to live peacefully in the midst of the storm. I wouldn’t know how brave I was. I wouldn’t know the deep love of my Creator who has shown relentless pursuit in his grace towards me. I simply wouldn’t know how to appreciate this life I’ve been given without the mess.



A Very Belated Surgery Update

Has it really been 12 days!? I’m nearly two weeks post surgery and in many ways it feels like it’s been two months. I had hoped to write this post within the first days following surgery but just couldn’t make it happen. It’s happening now so I’m rolling with it and not letting myself get caught up in what should have been.

For those of you who may not have checked social media for an update, the short version is that surgery went perfectly, my recovery and healing have gone very smoothly. We received the final pathology report a week after surgery and I am thrilled to say it too was perfect! Lance & I were joking the other night that we’ve honestly only received one piece of bad news in this whole thing. Aside from the original diagnosis, we have gotten good report after good report! I’ll just conclude the short version for those of you ready to wrap up this read by saying “THANK YOU”!! Thank you for even caring about me and my family. Thank you for praying. Thank you for checking in and being patient for a reply as I am still catching up on email. Thank you for all the ways you have extended care and love to us. With that said, feel free to close this page and continue on your way or keep reading for the longer version.

Let me rewind to March 30th. I was up late and didn’t sleep much the night before surgery. Not because I was nervous, but mostly just trying to cram in every last thing I could think of. I was able to see all three of the kids before we took off out the door that morning which was an unexpected blessing. Let me tell you, it was a really tough goodbye. Once we were on our way, I was amazed at how I was able to let go of everything else and focus on what was ahead of me. I was full of so much peace. I felt calm and relaxed right up to the moment they wheeled me into the operating room. I had my playlist, a note full of scripture to meditate on a list of surgery affirmations. I was armed and ready for battle.

When we first arrived at the hospital, we were settled into a pre-op room where they began all of the necessary preparations for surgery. At 9AM, I was wheeled off to nuclear medicine for a procedure that would place a “tracker” in my breast that could be picked up in the sentinel node biopsy portion of my surgery. This procedure and getting an IV placed were the two things I had been most dreading. Kind of silly considering the other things I would be facing but I guess that sums me up in a nutshell. I’m kind of good with the big scary stuff and tend to freak out over the small and random. The procedure went much smoother than I anticipated and I was able to distract myself by talking the radiologist’s ear off the whole time. Lance was able to be with me and I know that helped me feel another level of calm.

We were led back to my pre-op room until it was time to wheel me into the OR. I had my music playing next to me all the way down the hall. I introduced myself to everyone in the room and asked a few questions about all of the equipment around me until they moved me onto the operating table and told me it was time to get under way. The anesthesiologist explained he would place a mask over my face to help me relax and he would have me countdown until the next thing I would remember would be waking up in recovery.  Well, it didn’t take much for this lightweight. I remember them moving the mask toward my face and before they could get it all the way on, I was out. I woke up in recovery and felt so great that I was sending Lance pictures and texting him my status.

It wasn’t long before I was in my room and reunited with Lance. I was able to get fluids down and food pretty quickly and enjoy a few visitors. The best moment though was seeing my kids. From the time I woke up that morning, I had a picture in my head of being reunited as a family of five as soon after surgery as possible. It fueled me all day and when it arrived I just felt a sense of relief. That moment was my own personal benchmark for success. I had done it. One of the hardest steps in this journey was now behind me and I felt like I crushed it.

The night continued to go smoothly. My high school friend, Sarah, stayed with me and proved to be the best nurse in the hospital. I saw my surgeon at 5AM the next morning and was released to go home whenever I was ready. We slept a little longer until my dear friend, Tina, came back to relieve Sarah. Tina got me dressed after breakfast and then we were off. I was settled in my own home just 24 hours after surgery. My body felt so much stronger that I anticipated and I experienced very little pain throughout the process. God is good!




Surgery Day

Ready or not, it’s here! It’s nearly midnight and I am just seven short hours away from checking into the hospital. I know I need to get in bed but I wanted to jot a few thoughts down before I do. I have had so many people checking in this week, encouraging me and reminding me that there is an army praying over me. I just want to hug all of you and thank you a million times over for each text and call. It means the world to me to know people are alongside me in this journey.

Mostly, everyone wants to know how I am really doing. The truthful answer is I’m doing great 90% of the time. 90% of the time I feel strong, confident and full of peace. I know I have made the best decisions for me and God has led us every step of the way. I continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude for the situation I am in. I know full well not every woman facing a cancer diagnosis is in my shoes. Deeply grateful is all I can say.

5% of the time I feel overwhelmed with the lists, the appointments, the laundry, the calls and the logistics that need to be worked out in order for life to go on smoothly in my recovery. The other 5% of the time I struggle with feeling anxious or fearful to be honest. If I allowed my thoughts to wonder uncontrolled, they would spiral quickly and land in some pretty dark places. I begin to worry about the silliest of things. I get scared of going into surgery. I freak out that the recovery will be too hard, too painful, simply too much. I’m human and a Momma…it’s in my nature to worry. If I didn’t grab all those thoughts by the reigns that 10% would creep up and grow into 20 and then 30 and then 40 and I would be swallowed up before I even realized what was happening.

Time and time again when I begin to feel anxious or overwhelmed I have been able to anchor myself in the many ways I’ve seen God go before me. It just takes a second to reflect and I find myself bursting with thankfulness as I can declare “look at what the Lord has done!” Every single time I do that, my fears feel so small. I’m able to prioritize in the moment and the tasks and to do’s seem manageable once again. I just tell myself that God has truly gone before me and he isn’t about stop now. He is not only with me but he has given me no reason to doubt that no matter what happens, he will continue to direct me and protect me.

So, here I sit at midnight. Taking a few deep breaths. Breathing in peace, breathing out fear. I feel calm. I feel thankful. I feel strong. I feel ready. See you all in a few short hours!!

XO, Sash



Love & Character

Why Love & Character? The phrase love and character became a regular quote for me about 8 years ago when I was pregnant with my second child. I was constantly getting in over my head on projects around the house or for birthday parties, baby showers and nurseries. I would have a fabulous vision in my head or maybe a picture from online (this was before Pinterest and all it’s glory came along). I’d find myself knee deep in a project and realize it wasn’t going to be quite like what I had imagined it would be. It seemed like the same person  was always around every time I was working on something headed for disaster. Daesha began to tease and encourage me not to feel discouraged because I was simply adding a little “character” to the task. My initial and defensive response was that I was putting a lot of love into it and I’d find a way to fix the flaws somehow. The projects always had a way of turning out in the end and it was often those little mishaps and mistakes along the way that took them to the next level. I began to get even more excited about each project. I would pour love into each one and embrace the flaws as character. Character that actually made it more unique, more beautiful.

Here I am almost a decade later and that phrase continues to mold my life. I am constantly learning to embrace the flaws, the unexpected, the less than perfect. It isn’t always easy and sure isn’t fun, but I’ve seen how God has used the difficult, the mistakes, and the flaws to create something in my life far better than I could have imagined. He truly does exchange beauty for ashes. I am confident this next chapter and battle against breast cancer will be no different. Hop over to My Story to learn about how this was discovered.

Fired Up, Ready To Go! 


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