You know there are times in your life that you feel that getting on your knees and praising our wonderful God (in my closet that is) is not only needed but very appropriate.  Today we are celebrating a milestone in my fight to beat this cancer.  I finished chemo only with God's help.  God is good and has carried me through the last 6 months of chemo and certainly through some of the hardest times in my life.  Again, I'm going to be completely honest when I talk about this.  The first four rounds not only challenged me physically and emotionally, but it tested my faith severely.  I questioned God at times, and I was downright mad at him.  After the first chemo and four day hospitalization, I didn't start off on the right foot with this chemo crap.  I hated every minute of the first two months of chemo.  The fourth round of the adriamyacin (red devil) and cytoxan took me down for the count.  It was sooooo hard.  I have never felt that miserable in my life.  There were several times during those two weeks after that I sat in my bathroom at home by myself and pleaded with God for mercy.  I thought several times that I would rather be in heaven than to feel as bad as I felt.  I never want to feel that way again.  I read in my devotional book today that trust comes natural to us during times in our life that things go smoothly, but it is in hard times that we have a hard time trusting God fully.  I understand that firsthand.  I felt like I pleaded so many times for just an inkling of relief to give me the strength to continue.  I felt like I didn't get that when I wanted.  In these moments, we are forced to decide whether we want to draw closer to him or continue down the road going further from him.  These are the moments that define us as Christians when we choose to allow God to work out HIS plan (not ours) in HIS timing.  I understand more now and realize that God used these moments in my life to break down some of my walls and to make me realize how much I need him every moment.  He is faithful always and always wants what is best for us if we will just live for him.  I have decided fully that I will trust God even in the storms because he ultimately has a bigger plan for my life than to just live like I had been living.  He has turned my eyes to him through this journey, and I praise him for this so much.  I will always be thankful for cancer.  I know this sounds crazy, but without it I don't know where I would be.  I wouldn't know God like I do now.  I've also learned that if I focus on thanking him as often as possible for anything and everything, I focus way less on complaining about things.  Remember your bad situations could always be worse, so thank God often.  Remember to pray often too.  I don't sleep as well as I used to, so I find my mind wondering at night about many things.  I stop and try to remember not to worry about things, so I just start praying instead.  I'm so not in control so why worry about things anyway.  God has this and always will.  Well, I'm on to radiation now.  I meet with Dr. Stafford, my radiological oncologist, on Friday to get the plan.  I hope to start radiation next week.  I want to again thank each of you for all the support, e-mails, texts, cards, meals, calls, and words of encouragement you have given me.  It has not only helped me take another step in this battle when I felt like I couldn't go on, but it makes me realize again how truly blessed I am.  Today my sweet, sweet friends, family, and co-workers from all over the hospital came by at the end of my chemo for a surprise party.  It was awesome.  My hosptial room was jam packed, and I loved every minute.  It brought a smile to my face and warmed my spirits.  They brought me cake, a fruit basket, several gifts, cards, party hats, noise makers, balloons, and lots of cheer.  I couldn't ask for more.  I want to say a special thank you to my good friend Carey, the chemo nurse, that took amazing care of me during the last six months.  She is an awesome nurse, and I will truly miss seeing her smiling face and talking and laughing with her.  I thank God for her and all the nurses and doctors who God allowed to enter my life during these hard times.  They are such a blessing.  Well, I better hit the hay now after a great day.  I hope I can go to bed after so much excitement today.  Love y'all and please pray for my upcoming radiation that it will go smoothly and quickly and be effective in never allowing the cancer to come back.  Let's kick cancer's butt! 

My prayer tonight:
Thank you God for loving me and still wanting to be my father at times when I didn't deserve it.  Thank you for forgiveness when I haven't trusted you fully, complained too much, or acted like a Christian should.  For this I am truly sorry, but I'm thankful for the promise of forgiveness of these sins.  Also, thank you for renewed hope and faith that you've given me that reminds me that you've already won this battle for me and that you are taking care of every need that I have.  You've helped me through so much already with the chemo, and I pray for continued strength and guidance as I begin the radiation treatments soon.  God you are AWESOME! Amen.  Shayla
Susan Kendall
4/11/2012 20:06:53

Shay--You are a blessing and an inspiration. Your honesty is refreshing, and your spirit of courage and faith is so admirable. The light I see in you when you are sharing about your journey can only be from God. Whether in tears from frustration or tears from laughing (much needed and appreciated at times!), you radiate with a love that shows God's great love to others. I am so blessed to call you friend. I am so thankful the chemo journey is OVER. I am so honored to continue to pray for you and your sweet family.

Cheryl Weatherly
4/11/2012 20:07:36

Congratulations! This part is done. So proud of you. Keep your chin up. Love you.

Sharon Grant
4/11/2012 20:21:06

Shayla, I am so glad that this part of your journey is over for you. You are an amazing young woman who found love with a wonderful young man and his family. How fortunate you are. You may not know who I am from church but I will introduce myself the next time you are in Muleshoe.
I have had Fibromyalgia for 31 years(very minor compared to cancer). I always prayed when I couldn't sleep and sometimes I would fall asleep while praying. I hope that has worked for you. I told God I was sorry that I didn't finish my prayer the night before. One day I was visiting an older friend whose husband had recently passed away and I told her about this. Her repy was "what better way then to fall asleep then while you are talking to God". So keep talking to God and just give it over to him. Some nights when I would go to bed I would be too tired to pray and I simply told God that he knew what I needed. He always provided and gave me much needed rest from my pain. I pray the worst is over for you. May you and your family have God's richest blessings. In Christ, Sharon Grant Ps I got really angry with God too but it is ok. He knew you would. S

4/12/2012 09:52:56

I am so proud of you. I am thankful for you everyday. Your such a blessing to so many, especially to me and Bren. I love you more than I can say and I am extremely grateful that God has allowed me to spend my life with you. No matter what happens next we are in good hands. Besides, I think I heard radiation talking with chemo and I am pretty sure it's scared of you.

Katie Read
4/12/2012 13:23:25

I just want you to know how much you inspire me each and every time I read your blog. I want you to know Paul and I are in full support of you!!! I know what a strong Christian lady you are and I saw that even in you when you came to the wedding!! Through your smile you show everyone God!! At the wedding, you were such a beautiful woman

Jenny Mills
4/13/2012 08:27:12

Another HUGE step down! A friend once told me that "one day you will look back on this as just a memory!" You are getting so close! It is hard for me to type this and not cry in celebration for you because it wasn't that long ago for me! What a relief! Thank you God for pushing you through this very difficult time. We are all stronger for it! I, too, am greatful for cancer. I am greatful for the perspective it has brought me, the doors it has opened to many new friends like you, but most of all how much closer I have become to God. Shayla, you continue to inspire me and everyone else who knows you! You ROCK! Kick radiation! You are such a fighter!!

4/24/2012 08:13:29

CONGRATULATIONS for getting through with the chemo crud!!!!!! Bring on the radiation and get this over with! You have truly touched my life. Thank you for taking the time to share your journey. Will continue to keep you and your sweet family in my prayers.

4/24/2012 12:40:52

Shayla, you are such an inspiration beyond words. Congratulations on getting through your chemo. Battle on! You are a CONQUEROR!!

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