May 18th, 2016. One of the very hardest days I’ve conquered so far. The night before surgery, I was emotionally exhausted but un able to sleep. The nerves and fear I carried in my heart overpowered my exhaustion. I broke down and ended up taking something to help me sleep, then fell into my husbands arms, the most comfortable, loving, and safe place I’ve ever known. I slept for what felt like 5 minutes then the alarm went off for me to shower and prepare to head to the hospital. I lay there for a few minutes tight in my husbands arms, silent tears running down my cheeks and onto his arms. I wiped my eyes with shaking hands, took a deep breath and then began to check items off of my to do list prior to leaving. It was somewhat helpful to have so many things to do, to keep my mind and heart occupied with the tasks at hand and not let my mind wander. Dropping the boys off was an emotional experience I somewhat touched on in my last post, but it was one of the bigger moments of that day for us. The minute the boys woke, they knew it was momma’s big surgery day. I was greeted with such sweet words that came from each of them. “Morning my sweet sweet momma. You look beautiful!” was my greeting from Tate. “Morning momma, I dreamed about you last night. Today its big surgery day and the cancer we hate will be all gone. I know it’s going to hurt, but you are so tough.” my morning inspiration from Lane. We pull up to my person’s house and we all slowly and quietly walk in trying not to wake the whole house. When the time comes for me to hold my boys and kiss them ‘see you later’ I cannot possibly hold back my emotion. Something so strong pulled from my heart, and my insides. I squeezed them a little harder, and kissed them a little longer than usual. You don’t try to, but your mind seems to go to those ‘what if’ places. I wanted extra long kisses even if that meant letting my tears fall off my face onto theirs. After laying my head on my persons shoulder, wrapping our arms around each other, then making brief eye contact we left. In the seconds I had eye contact with my person so many things were silently said. I love you, everything will be okay, I believe in you, thank you, I’m terrified, stay strong, thank you for caring for my boys while I’m at the hospital, thank you for being my best friend, and I’ll see you soon. So many things from a quick glance. My husband and I make our drive to the hospital, which consisted of him holding my hand tight, and uplifting powerful, loving, encouragement from my husband which continued all the way up until I cannot remember anything else from that day. After checking in we waited until it was time for me to go back. In that time, my grandparents arrived armed with hugs, kisses, and smiles, my momma prayed with me, and I found my courage and bravery while looking into my husbands eyes. Right before I left, I gave my wedding ring to my husband to hold and take care of while I was in surgery. This was an emotional moment for me. I don’t ever take my ring off, my reminder of the incredible vows my husband and I have promised each other for life. To take my ring off, and give to him for safe keeping was hard. After kissing him one more time, I walked down the hall and everything started moving really fast. Urine samples, IV’s being started, attempting to put on a paper surgical gown, pulling on sexy neon yellow surgical socks, arm bands, and finally a shot in my arm that burned like a giant bee sting. Then finally after what seemed like an eternity my husband came back with me. I mentioned this previously, but he just brings such strength, bravery, confidence, and calm to me. After a few moments it was a very fast moving in and out of the anesthesiologist, general surgeon, plastic surgeon, several nurses, and all of my family. My general surgeon, who is an absolutely phenominal woman came in to discuss everything, and also let us know that the MRI I had 2 days prior showed that after chemo the size of my tumor in my breast was smaller than a pea!!! What amazing news! All of the hell we went through with chemo was worth it!! My plastic surgeon discussed our plan, then asked me to stand up and take off my gown so that he could draw on my chest what he needed. Just another uncomfortable moment in this journey. Yes he’s a doctor, yes the nurse is a professional as well, but it just is not comfortable standing there naked and vulnerable in your new body. The new body you have developed from your journey so far. The scars, the weight gain, your scars from the chemo toxicity on your arms, and your bald head. You take a deep breath, put a smile on your face, drop your gown, and confidently make eye contact. After he drew what he needed and I re dressed it was time for my “good byes”. All the way to this point I was very silently hurting with a fast beating heart, sweaty palms, wandering mind, and a sick stomach. Now, I begin to cry. For so many reasons. Fear, nerves, excitement, grief, anxiety, anger, sadness, and joy. When we got to the operating room, my amazing, and I mean amazing team awaited me. As I cried, they soothed me with words of kindness, gentle touch, and my general surgeon held my hand, wiped my tear from my cheek as tears fell down her cheek and across her smile. My next memory is briefly being awake enough in recovery to see my husbands smile, and hear his voice. I made it through the surgery, I did it, and now it’s onto forever in his arms, making memories with our family for the rest of what will be a long life. The absolutely stunning, beautiful, beyond talented Maribeth accompanied me and my family on this pivotal day to once again document for us with photos. These photo’s pull at my heart and bring many tears to my eyes and I am forever grateful to her for being able to document this for me and my family.