2015 was a year of celebration and sorrow and hope. We married our friend. We got to spend time with friends and family. We found out we were expecting. We lost the baby but we had hope for our future family. It took time but we looked past the loss and looked towards the future. 

2016 was a big year for us in so many ways.

In June We got a new puppy. His name is Oliver Pendragon. He earned his middle name after we brought him home, just like his sister Freya Lucifer. I was binge-watching Merlin on TV during the summer while I worked on various projects around the house. I noticed him watching the TV when it was on. I started watching him more closely and realized he was very intently watching TV when the show was on. He apparently loves the show Merlin! So, he got the middle name Pendragon. 

In August I was diagnosed with breast cancer and found out I was pregnant on the same day. Unfortunately, we lost the baby very early on. It had nothing to do with the cancer or treatment. The thing is, that Matt and I know God has a plan for us. We both love kids way too much for Him not to bless us with a family. The best part of this was I had a clear answer to my prayers. I knew now for sure that I would not carry another baby. We didn't have to stress out waiting to see if we were expecting and then the fear of losing another little one. We began to pray about the family God wants for us. We are not sure how that will happen but we don't have to know. We just have to be willing and have open hearts, and we do! 

I had a bi-lateral lumpectomy in September and began chemo therapy in October. In the beginning it was easier than I expected. I was only missing Fridays for infusion and was able to return to work on Monday. I lost my hair. My best girlfriends from childhood and my sisters sent me funky wigs and I wore them to school. The kids loved it and I had a lot of fun too! Honestly I own the experience most days and don't wear wigs too often, they are hot and itchy! The second round of chemo was a LOT harder. I got a drug called Cisplatin every third week and it was so hard on me i couldn't eat and could barely drink anything. I started fainting and got very weak. It has been the hardest physical challenge i have ever gone through. I didn't realize how active I am. Matt has been my guide to help me limit my activity. He makes me stop trying to do things and rest. He runs all over the house to make sure I have everything I need and I'm not trying to get it myself. He gives me guidelines for activity, "sit for an hour and relax then, do something small and sit for another hour and relax." He's been so helpful. When you are used to going non-stop for years, it's hard to go against your nature and then, it's too late and you are sweating, and out of breath. 

On December 21, we closed on our first home together. We prayed so hard about a house. We decided God would give us the right house at the right time. We saw so many houses! We made SO many offers. The market here is crazy! Houses were going for thousands (like 40,000) over asking. We were frustrated but we had faith. I just wanted a home for Christmas since my family was all coming to us for Christmas this year. On Thanksgiving day, I was watching Miracle on 34th Street, the part where Susan asks Santa for a home for Christmas, when we got the call from our realtor that the owner of Holy Cross had accepted our offer. I bawled like a baby! We moved on 12/23 and my family started arriving on 12/24. We had a great time painting and unpacking andcelebrating all the blessings of 2016. 

On March 3, I finished chemo. It was the greatest day! I have been feeling better every day. My strength and energy are returning and I am starting to be able to pace myself without Matt's help. I'm still not able to work. That has been the hardest part. I love what I do. I love my students. I love teaching science. I miss being there so much. Lying in bed is not something I enjoy. for some people it's a dream come true. For me, it has been the worst. I have a biopsy on my nodes to make sure the cancer didn't move beyond the original lumps. and then, on March 27, I will have a double mastectomy and they will begin the reconstruction process. Because of the nature of this cancer, genetic BRCA1, I will also have my ovaries removed likely during the summer.

Truly, a few weeks after the surgery, I think we will start seriously doing research on the best way for us to grow our family. The future is so bright. We are so glad we are almost through with the cancer treatment and we can look forward to the rest of our lives together.