Are We Really Strangers?

Since Ashtyn was diagnosed with cancer at the end of January, we have received many messages on the website and Facebook  Many times we have heard phrases such as, “I don’t know you.” “We have never met.” “I just came across your blog.” “You don’t remember me Ashtyn, but I knew you when you were young.” “Although I haven’t seen you in years Suzanne, I want you to know I am thinking and praying for you and your family.” “I can’t stop thinking about you and Ashtyn.”

“Ashtyn, we haven’t met, but I found your Facebook page by chance. I have read about you and your family, and shared your story with my family.” Angela

“Ashtyn, you don’t know me, but a few days ago I came upon your story. I read some of the entries, cried, read some more and cried more. Ever since then I haven’t been able to get you off my mind.” Stormy

“After seeing your daughter’s name I had to read her story. (I have an Ashtyn too.) Add us to the list of your growing army. Sending more love and prayers your way.” Brooke

“You don’t know me, but I love and care deeply for you and your family. God Bless you, angel girl.” Gigi

“Even though I haven’t met her and don’t anticipate that I ever will, I have felt such love and compassion and sincere prayer for her. It’s been a blessing for me. I have experienced deeper spiritual joy and awareness. Hang in there, Ashtyn! You are amazing!” Brenda

“I have been reading your story everyday for the past month. I think it is about time I wrote a comment. We have never met and I don’t think we ever will. But I’m praying for you! Get well soon Ashtyn!” J.J.

“So many of your brothers and sisters that you’ve not yet met on this earth are rooting for you.” Swann

“Ashtyn, though we are strangers, I want you to know how happy I am for you! You keep being YOU! You are strong. You can do this! Enjoy your time at home sweet girl.” Tara

But are we really strangers? No one in Ashtyn’s Army knows all the members, but I just don’t believe any of us are strangers. At least to me it doesn’t feel like we are. We all have similar feelings of love for this young girl. We all have been inspired and uplifted in some way. We all feel heavy in our hearts when she struggles and overjoyed in her triumphs. We all want the best for her. If you have read all the blog posts from the time Ashtyn was diagnosed with cancer, you know as much as I know. You don’t know any less than I do and are walking beside us every step of the way. Many people feel they know Ashtyn though they have never met her. We too feel a connection to you. When I receive a message from a “stranger” I don’t feel it is from a stranger at all. I feel it is from a friend who cares for and loves my daughter. How can I not love you back?

I have wondered on several occasions why Ashtyn has touched so many hearts. I don’t know for sure but one thing I do know, it’s not me. I can write a blog all day but no one will care unless their hearts are touched. I believe the Spirit is touching hearts because of Ashtyn’s spirit. She needs you and maybe you can benefit from her as well. It really is remarkable and such an amazing feeling to have a literal connection to hundreds of people. You are not strangers to me.

So you know what we should do? Once Ashtyn has triumphed over cancer and the war is over, we need to have a party. We need to gather together, meet face to face, and celebrate what Ashtyn has accomplished through the help and prayers of her Army. It will only be fitting to celebrate a war that has been won with the Army that got us there. We will gather as non-strangers and Ashtyn will be able to see with her own eyes the hundreds of people that rallied around her. She will be able to see those that lifted her up for months and gave her the strength and power to accomplish what she wouldn’t have been able to do alone. A victorious party is what we will look forward to.

Now for the update: Ashtyn and I continue to not be able to sleep at night and are exhausted during the day. It is unfortunate because we are not awake when everyone else is. I was tired during the day and hardly effective around my house. Ashtyn slept the entire time her siblings were at school, however she was awake the rest of the evening. Even though it would be ideal to be on the same day schedule as everyone else, Ashtyn and I do enjoy the peacefulness of the night. I am sure that is the reason we got into this predicament in the first place. The hospital is very quiet and peaceful at night. Ashtyn preferred sleeping through the chaos of the day and enjoyed the nights when she would not be bombarded by people. Tomorrow we have to wake up and go to the hospital for a bone marrow aspirate and biopsy at noon, so hopefully we will start our transition to being on a day schedule.

Ashtyn seems to have a lot of cravings for different kinds of food. She always craves pickles and salt and vinegar chips. Other cravings that are on the list include a grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwich with a pickle from Melty Way. She has asked for a Nutella crape cupcake from The Sweet Toothfairy. Before going back to the hospital she really wants to go to Olive Garden and Bonsai Japanese steak house, where they cook all the food in front of you. Tomorrow she is already looking forward to having a vegetarian subway sandwich with a bag of salt and vinegar chips. I am so grateful she has an appetite and cravings. She is too. Getting a lot of nutrition will help her during the next round of chemo.

FROM ASHTYN: “Today I was thinking about Disneyland and had a feeling I will be able to go. I thought about eating the big pickles and hard scooped ice cream you get on Main Street. I thought about going on rides like Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and Matterhorn. I pictured going to the Golden Horseshoe comedy show with the chili bread bowl. We will go to Cars Land and get another pickle that they sell at the entrance. I won’t be able to go on the Grizzly River Run because it would get my broviac line wet or Screamin because the seatbelt will hurt where the line is. That’s OK  I pictured walking early morning to Disneyland and going through the entrance. It would be so cool. I really need to have an absolute neutrophil count of 1000 to go to Disneyland. Yesterday I was still at zero. All I really want right now is to go before I return to the hospital. That is my main goal. Please pray that I will be able to get my white blood cells up. I really hope it will go up within a week and a half. I am worried because I think I will have to go back to the hospital in about 2 1/2 weeks.

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Candy Dolan says:

    Love you Ashtyn! This is a line in Mackenzie’s email from yesterday ……
    Please tell Ashtyn that I am happy that she has been able to go home for awhile. That is great news.

    Love,
    Aunt Candy

  • Stefanie says:

    Hi Ashtyn! I am another “friend” from the Army. You are such a doll and a great inspiration. We have been fasting with the Army and praying like crazy for you. I really wish for you to make it to Disneyland!! You are amazingly resilient and will kick this cancer to the curb! Love, Stefanie

  • Richard & Carolyn ODell says:

    We are so happy to read that you are home even for a little while! God is listening and will
    answer all our prayers, for a full recovery. We are looking ahead to the day when we see
    your car with all the family, pull into the driveway! We love all of you so very much!

    ODell family

  • Brittany says:

    Welcome Home Cute Girl!!!!
    I am one of hundreds of FANS & ‘Friends’ that you have!! I have been reading your blog and you are such a beautiful Daughter of God and I draw strength from your AMAZING strength that you have. So happy that you can be at home with all of your family!!! I will continue to pray for you and send healing thoughts your way!!! You CAN kick this!!!! XoXoXo
    Love,
    Britany
    Your New Friend in Tooele 🙂

  • Dear Ashtyn and family, You probably don’t know me but I am good friends with Sean and Candy. I was also very good friends with your Grandma Gayle and Ted Poulson. We lived in Princeton ward for many years and Gayle was my relief society president. We lived just behind them and down the alley on the west side of Barr and Karen Christensen at 945 Princeton Ave. We so loved your Grandma and Grandpa and Sean and Candy as well. In fact Sean’s birthday is the same as my hubands and my birthday is the same and Candy’s birthday, weird huh? I found your posts through Candy’s facebook page and have been so touched by your family and your faith and strength in such difficult circumstances. Our family is praying for you to get well soon. I have a grand daughter that is 9 and you remind me so much of her. Hang in there honey you have tons of people praying for you everyday. Thank goodness for the gospel and its eternal principles that give us hope and strength. Besides having many people here praying for you you have amazing ancestors in heaven watching over you. Gayle and Ted were the kind of people that loved their family fiercely and I know they are there with you. We love you!!! Thanks you for sharing your amazing spirit with us. Lori Dahlquist SLC

  • Don’t worry!! You will be able to go to Disneyland and have the time of your life!!!! You are really loved my me and my family!!!! Love you!!!!!!!!

  • Todd, Deone, & Tyanne Loosle says:

    We’ve been reading your posts and our prayers are in your behalf. We are happy that you have been able to come home for awhile! Your courage and strength are a good example to everyone. Press onward and good luck with the next battle!

  • We’ve been reading you posts and are impressed with your courage and strength! We are glad you were able to go home for a couple of days. Our prayer are always in your behalf. Good luck on the next battle!

  • Janelle Baird says:

    This post reminds me of my Grandpa who lived his life by one of his favorite quotes, “There are no strangers in this world, only friends you haven’t met yet.” So happy you are home with your family, Ashtyn & Suzanne!

  • Janet Winslow Ortgiesen says:

    Dear Ashytn,

    I’m another of those “you don’t know me but…. People”, I too found your Facebook page through a friend who I think works at your school, Roberta Smith. Anyway, I want you to know that I think you are the most amazing girl I don’t know! Ha ha. You have inspired me clear through my sole, if only I could have half your courage in the way you have handled this difficult time. I have kept you on my prayers, and I think about you when I start to feel sorry for myself over difficult trials. I realize I have it pretty darn good. I love your testimony and Faith, and reading about your journey has made my faith stronger. Thank you

    Sincerely,

    Janet O
    From Riverdale, Utah

  • Wendy Stout says:

    Hello! I am a “stranger,” but I just wanted to let you know how brave and strong you both are. I had above marrow transplant in November, so I know all about blood counts, transfusions, IV poles, central lines, bald heads, etc. I have been wanting to post a comment for a while now, but after seeing you (Suzanne) at the hockey rink tonight, I knew I had to. (You may have seen me, too, I had the big ole mask on my face and a scarf on my head. Kinda hard to miss). My daughter played on the other team. When I saw you I thought you looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. It hit me on the way home. I wish I would have figured it out sooner, I would have liked to talked to you, and tell you how much I admire both of you. Your faith and trust in our Heavenly Father’s plan is inspiring. Ashtyn, you are my hero! If you ever need to talk to someone about having a bone marrow transplant, feel free to contact me. You can also check out my experience on my blog: wendystout.blogspot.com. Have fun in Disneyland!!

    • Suzanne says:

      Wendy! I wish we would have talked. I did notice you after the game. I have a completely different perspective when I see someone wearing a mask now. I understand why they are wearing one and know that under that mask is one amazingly strong individual. I look forward to reading about your experience!
      Thank you for your comment. I hope we run into each other again!
      Love, Suzanne

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