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Ashley’s Story: not defined by a brain tumor…

July 7, 2023

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From Struggle to Empowerment

Hello! I’m Ashley!
I am currently a mom of 3 and a hard working wife! But there is a story that comes with who I am today.
In 2013 I joined the United States Coast Guard. My plan was to save people and be a flight medic. God had other plans 2 weeks prior to graduation I passed out, they pumped me full of fluids and sent me back out, I passed out again. At this point it was concerning and they sent me off base to have more tests ran. I came back to base to news that they found a spot on my brain and they had already reached out to my parents to come get me. If at 19 being states away from your family wasn’t scary enough, add to it that they won’t put you on a plane because they aren’t sure what they found and that they contacted your parents before you even knew what was going on.

Scan of Ashley's Brain Tumor

My parents got me and we came home to MS. I get sent to doctor after doctor. I was told they weren’t sure what it was but they absolutely didn’t want to biopsy (they would take more than is actually there) I was then diagnosed with a brain tumor. I was not allowed to drive or live alone. I struggled finding any independence, and when my on and off again boyfriend asked me to marry him only months after the diagnosis I said yes a quick wedding because planning caused me to have seizures. Immediately started trying for a family, knowing that I need to leave some part of me behind if I don’t make it out of this. Welcomed to the world a beautiful baby girl. During this time and this marriage my seizures worsened MRIs every 6 months due to the continuing seizures. My marriage was in a very bad place and ended in divorce shortly after the birth of our child. The stress kicked my seizures into over drive for a short period. Then the stressed eased I got a good job met an amazing man and the seizures slowed. I had a follow up scan (2016) and the results were amazing the spot had shrank and later labeled as scar tissue from previous seizures. Next scan 1 year! In that year I married the love of my life! Next scan, no change seems to be the same, first year no seizures! Next scan 2 years, I welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world rough pregnancy some spells but not full seizures. Next scan 2019 determined no change things are steady. Life was going great then covid. I was automatically high risk we didn’t know what covid would do, then we got pregnant again. A pandemic baby. The pregnancy was rough but we pushed through. Very little spells most stuff related more towards a troublesome pregnancy and not my tumor thankfully! In 2020 I welcomed my third and final child a beautiful baby girl. My scan got pushed back due to covid. In March of 2023 I got the most amazing news my tumor/spot has had no change in the last 5-6 scans so i graduated to scans every 5 years! This is huge for me, I turn 30 next year. I have been fighting a battle for 10 years full of unknowns so to be able to start the next chapter of my life with confidence and without fear I am ready.

When Justin and Rachel told me I had won I burst into tears. I felt like I had overcame so much with nothing to show for it. This gives me the pride & confidence to be proud of what I went through. My story isn’t over it is just a new chapter:)

Walking into that studio took my breath away. They took the time to listen to me and hear my story and allow me to tell it. The empowerment I felt from the courage this shoot gave me is beyond anything I could have imagined. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was blown away. The detail shots the black n whites all of them completely boosted my confidence to a level I could only dream off. I went from a scared young lady 10 years ago afraid of what the next day held to a fierce confident woman ready to take on the next chapter
Thank you Rachel and Justin for giving me that.

Yeah do the shoot!

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