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Editor's Note: Ashley made this video chronicling her mind-blowing journey from thinking she was going to die, to beating stage 4 cancer. Full story below.
Ashley Hallford, 35, always dreamed of a fairy tale life.
She pictured meeting the man of her dreams and starting a big family, making memories to last forever.
Early on, that seemed to be the path her life was taking.
Ashley, who was raised in Douglasville, Georgia, met her husband, David, in kindergarten.
Years later, they reconnected at Kennesaw State University in Georgia and got married while still in college.
In 2005, Ashley graduated and went on to work at an attorney’s office, while David got hired by the fire department.
Life was evolving - but simple.
“We were really just trying to find our way,” she says. “We were establishing our careers, we got a house.”
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PHOTOS: Mom beats stage 4 cancer
Shortly thereafter, they decided to start trying for a baby – and it happened immediately. Although shocked, they were over the moon.
About a month into her pregnancy, Ashley noticed a knot on the back of her head had become hard and painful.
“I actually discovered (the knot) right before I got pregnant,” she explains. “But I wrote it off to be a lymph node because it didn’t really hurt.”
As the pain continued to worsen, Ashley visited an ear, nose and throat specialist, who thought it was an infection in the salivary gland. She took some medication, and the lump shrunk. Ashley repeated this cycle of "medication and recovery" until she was about 32 weeks pregnant.
Then, something was wrong.