Oh my. Oh my. Oh MY!!!! I am so stinkin excited to tell you all about what exactly has been going on lately in the house of Taylor. Things are crazy right now but life is good, so let me get started on the happenings!
1. As some of you may know, or may have heard by now, my brother Jarrod has been battling Crohn’s for quite some time and it reach a critical point a few months ago. It has been very bizarre the past year watching my brother go down some of the same roads I was on for over ten years, and it broke my heart to see him feeling any of the same pains i endured. I’ve always been the patient so having to watch someone I love so dearly living in pain and not be able to do anything about it… it’s definitely been a new perspective into what Bryan, my parents, my friends and family, and maybe what many of you endure as you watch me. And i can tell you this, I don’t like it! However, the awesome news is that it is all over for Jarrod! This past Thursday, Jarrod had his colon removed at University Hospital and as of yesterday, he is home and doing great! Praise you, Jesus. His surgery went as well as it could have, he is recovering smoothly, and he has experienced zero complications. Go figure! You can actually have a surgery without any life threatening complications? I had no idea. Haha! That is unfortunately a foreign concept to me but I am so thankful for Jarrod’s doctors, nurses, and everyone helped to give him his life back. He has a temporary ileostomy bag, a lot like mine, but he will only have it for 8-12 weeks before they will reverse it. At that point, he will simply live disease free with a fairly normal life. I am so happy for my brother and I praise God for His faithfulness to see Jarrod through to the other side of health.
2. Ok so now I have to apologize big time!!! My last post was all about Bryan taking his last exam and then I totally left you hanging! So here goes…. HE PASSED!!! As if I ever had any doubts 🙂 God was faithful, Bryan studied his butt off, and he is now a fully licensed pharmacist, he has worked his first shift alone, he has opened and closed by himself, and he is thriving in his new work environment. I have to say again, I am SO proud of him and his dedication to be the best provider for our family that he can be And I thank the Lord again for delivering us from pharmacy school and bringing us into a sweet, sweet season of life. Life. IS. Good.
3. So part of what has made life so good lately is some BIG, BIG news that we received just yesterday… You all know that my health life has been pretty difficult for many years now and actually, simply staying alive has been somewhat of a struggle as of late. But what you may not know is that after every particularly difficult health battle, as soon as i am able, I get back to working out and trying to keep my body as strong as it can to beat cancer. I used to just run when I could, go to a gym every now and then, and basically try to eat as healthy as I knew how. Until, in 2013, I discovered the wonderful community of Tone It Up! TIU is a nutrition program that helps guide you through a healthy meal plan designed for women, and it gives you daily workouts and fitness motivation. And I am obsessed!! I keep up with the workouts as best as I can and I stick to my meal plan as closely as life allows without going overboard, and it totally pays off. The more I move, the more I feel like moving. The better I eat, the better I feel, and the better my morale. And on, and on, and on! So where am I going with this? Just wait, cause this is incredible!
Every year, 8 weeks before the first day of summer, the Tone It Up community has the 8 Week Bikini Series. Now, contrary to my father’s initial impression, it is NOT a bikini contest. Haha. It is simply a program that is more strenuous and regimented that the rest of the year to help you look your best before summer and bathing suit season. I have participated for three years now but this year was my first year to have the time, energy, and health to fully commit in every way and WOW, the results were amazing. I started the 8 weeks having just come off of not being able to even walk because of all of the issues I had this past winter with my lymph fluid. So, I was happy to be able to achieve any results at all! But I dug in, pushed myself to the max, worked out even when I felt like crap. And it all paid off big time. So still, where exactly am I going with this? Ok, ok, I’ll tell you!
At the end of every Bikini Series, every member of the nutrition plan can submit a before and after photo and write a small excerpt about “how the Bikini Series and the Tone it Up community has changed your life.” You are then entered into a contest to with the grand prize, second place prize, or third place prize. So this year’s series ended a few weeks ago and just yesterday the winners were announced… Can you see where I am going with this now?… YES!!!! I, along with two other girls, won the GRAND prize of the 2015 Bikini Series!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awvnouewboweimfweijf!!!!! Obviously i am still freaking out and I can barely believe it, but dang it, it’s true! I actually won and my prize is that Bryan and I get to go on an all expenses paid trip to Playa del Carmen in Mexico, and I will also be receiving a couple thousand dollars worth of prizes. Waaaaaaaaaaa!!!! I still cannot believe it!
If you want to see me on their website, go to toneitup.com, click on their blog, latest posts, and click “2015 Bikini Series Winners Announced.” There you can check out a little more of what the TIU community is about and see some of my written entry. They did have to cut some of it out for it would fit so, below is the full submission that helped me to win the grand prize!!
“Tone It Up and the Bikini Series changed my life this year by helping to give me back a life worth living. I battled Crohn’s disease for over a decade and it severely depleted my quality of life. I was a few months away from having my colon removed and being disease free when in 2012, at age 22, I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Needless to say, my fitness life was drastically altered.
That diagnosis happened three years ago. Since then I’ve been through chemo twice, radiation twice, and had countless surgeries. Some days all I want to do is stay in bed, and admittedly, some days I do! But one day I discovered TIU and the Bikini Series.
After all my treatments, I was very weak. And at the beginning of this series, I could barely walk. Some of my lymph nodes were greatly damaged from radiation and my leg was swollen with 15 pounds of lymph fluid. Still, I was able to adapt TIU exercises to my level of fitness and build strength from there. I started slowly but it wasn’t long before I started to see progress. Between seeing results, loving the lifestyle of the nutrition plan, and discovering the power of my sisters in the TIU community, I was EXTREMELY motivated to press on!
This series I lost 15 lbs of lymph fluid, 10 lbs of fat, and 2.5 inches off my waist. I increased my flexibility, and I ultimately gained my life back. I can now run when I could barely walk, lift when I could hardly stand, and I am living when I thought my life as I knew it was over. Thank you, Karena and Katrina for giving me my life back!
In His Grip,
So there you have it. I have never won anything like this EVER and I never even dreamed something like this was possible. But I thank the Lord first and foremost for His goodness and not only because “He allowed me to win,” but because He was there every step of the way. He gave me the energy and the will to press on, He helped my treatments to work, He is my ultimate hope and reason for getting out of bed every day, and because the only reason I am able to gasp my next breath during my workouts is because He sees fit to give it to me. Without my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I wouldn’t even be here to accept this prize so ALL of the glory is His.
Nonetheless, this is all pretty stinkin’ awesome and I still cannot believe it’s true! I will be pinching myself for days so if you see me and I’m covered with tiny bruises, don’t be alarmed :).
4. Speaking of bruises, I actually do have several on my arms because I had two scans last week to check and see how I’m doing with the oral chemo. Overall, they went great! The cancerous spots in my spine have actually sclerosed and turned back into bone so that is awesome! The spots everywhere else have either disappeared or shrunken significantly. The tumor markers are still trending downward and that is a great indicator for how well I’m doing. So the only bit of “meh” news is my liver. If you’ll remember, I had some tiny spots there on my last scan that my doctor wasn’t concerned about. And those two spots have actually gone down from 4 cm to 2 cm so that is awesome! But, there seems to be a new spot on my liver that is large enough and in just the right location that my doctor wants to have it removed. So, tomorrow I am going in to meet with the IR team (Interventional Radiology), and they will tell me everything I need to know about the procedure and will let me know when it will be. I do know that it will be minimally invasive and outpatient so that is always good. They will go in through an artery in my leg and then basically cauterize (burn) around the spot. This method will basically embolise the area or cut off all blood flow to it so it will die. But the good news is that the liver does regenerate itself so the spot will eventually grow back and I should be good as new! That’s the plan for now anyway but there could be some changes after tomorrow.
My appointment is at 10:00 tomorrow morning so be praying for good news and an easy procedure! I will update you either tomorrow afternoon or the next day as to when the procedure will be but for now, be praying the Lord will prepare my body to make this procedure as simple as possible, please pray for Jarrod’s continued, smooth recovery, and pray I don’t pass out from being over-the-moon excited about winning the 2015 TIU Bikini Series Grand Prize!!!!!! I still cannot believe it.
Bryan and I love and appreciate you all SO much, we pray you are enjoying these warm summer days if you’re having the same weather we are, and no matter how long we have had each of you standing with us, we never take for granted the incredible support system we have in you. I promise you, we do not say that lightly. We know what is it like to have people say “I pray for you every day” when we know they are being insincere, and that is really a bum emotion to experience. So when I tell you that we get on our knees and thank our God every night for all of the emotional, spiritual, physical, financial, and mental support we receive from you all, I speak those words with my whole heart. We know how blessed we are to be the furthest thing from alone and I hope you know how much you mean to us. (This week especially, we would like to thank all of our family at Rector’s Flat Baptist Church where my Pae-pa and Mae-ma pastor. You all know who you are and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support. Also we cannot wait to come and see you soon!)
Again, have a great rest of the day and I’ll be updating you soon on my appointment tomorrow! God bless you Team KCT!!