As good as it gets in the hospital

I’m sitting with Ashtyn watching Ratatouille and am feeling such joy.  Yes you heard me, joy.  Joy because of the day Ashtyn had.  Joy for the support that surrounds us.  Joy because of peace.  Joy because of hope.

Today was the best day yet. What made today so good?  Nothing went wrong.  On top of that, the day had a peaceful, fun vibe and Ashtyn accomplished much in her preparation and empowerment.

Last night right before going to bed we talked about the possibility of getting an NG tube today because she hadn’t been able to eat enough calories on her own.  She was adamant about not getting a tube.  Ashtyn had already had an NG tube placed when she got contrast for her CT scan and hated it so badly she didn’t want to do it again.  She had a cup of Top Ramen by her bedside.  With determination in her eyes and disgust in her face she forced a few bites of the noodles.  In a matter of minutes she threw it all back up. “Ashtyn, don’t worry.  We’ll try again tomorrow.”

She woke up this morning at 10 a.m. feeling good.  First thing on the agenda was to eat.  For breakfast I ordered some applesauce and toast.  She ate the apple sauce without a problem and forced down a piece of toast.  An hour later I sat with her entire healthcare team while they were on rounds outside her door. They discussed her progress and plan.  I asked if they would give her one more day to prove she could eat enough calories on her own.  They agreed though they didn’t think she could do it.  I was skeptical as well.  After talking with the doctors and dietitian I went back into the room.  I’m not proud to admit that I tried talking Ashtyn into an NG tube.  “I don’t want you to be stressed all the time trying to eat enough.  The placement of an NG tube isn’t that bad if you relax.  Once it is in you won’t have to stress about eating all the time.  You can eat as much as you want and whatever calories you are short, they will infuse into your stomach over night.”  She would have nothing of it so we figured out something fattening that would likely be tolerated to start building up her calories.  Cheesecake.  I hopped on to facebook and asked for everyone to pray that Ashtyn’s stomach would be able to handle 1800 calories.  She then began to eat her cheesecake with cherry sauce.  Ashtyn ended up eating the entire piece. After she was done with the cheesecake, she had an hour before her Dad brought a pinto bean burrito with rice, cheese, and sour cream from Cafe Rio.  I was amazed to see her eat ⅓ of it.  Those are big burritos!  Later for dinner she had 300 calories of Dibs ice cream bits.  My friend Rain brought her another Cafe Rio burrito for dinner.  (Apparently because I left her other burrito out in room temperature for more than an hour, I had to throw it away.  That’s good to know.)  Unfortunately after her Dibs, she wasn’t hungry for the burrito so I put it in the fridge for tomorrow.  For Ashtyn’s late night snack she had 3 popsicles mashed into a slushy.  (I took three red popsicles and separately put them in the microwave for 20 seconds.  I then mashed the wrappers a bit and poured the thick slush into a cup and threw away the sticks.)  That was a 210 calorie snack.  By the end of the day I estimated that Ashtyn consumed nearly 1500 calories.  Success!   Yesterday’s prayers were answered that gave her the desire to shower and eat.  Today, prayers were answered that calmed her stomach.

Yesterday I mentioned that right now is the time for Ashtyn to prepare for battle.  I sense that it’s my time to prepare as well.  I have come to rely on the support of Facebook messages, blog comments, texts, phone calls, visits, and the prayers of others.  I would panic if I didn’t feel rallied around.  I am strong for Ashtyn because everyone has been strong for me.  Today I had a couple moments where I got a glimpse of what it would feel like if I was doing this without Ashtyn’s Army.  The lonely feeling caused sudden panic.  I could not do this without the support I am getting.  I feel lifted by every single communication from each of you.

There is so much more I want to share with you.  I want to tell you about her inner strength that she is beginning to recognize.  I want to share with you the growth I have seen in her in only one week.  There are exciting coping skills she is learning.  I’ve noticed independence and emotional stability that I want to relay. There is clear proof that our prayers are being answered, but I am having such a difficult time writing, thinking, and feeling…. I’m tired.

I’ll end with this for now:

A few hours ago I asked, “Ashtyn, you had a good day today, right?”  She said matter of factually  “As good as it gets in the hospital.”  I started “lecturing” as I commonly do, “Well I want you to remember today.  Today was a really good day.  You will have lots of good days like these.  When you are having a really bad day, please remember today, and know that no matter what, you’ll have good days again.”

It doesn’t matter what religion you are.  A prayer is a prayer, and they are all being answered.

Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • Julie LeCheminant Atkinson says:

    Great job Ashtyn!

  • Rachel Eckman says:

    Hi Suzanne! I just want you to know that you and your whole family are in our thoughts and prayers. My kids are remembering Ashtyn in their prayers too! I would love to make a basket full of her favorite things to keep her entertained while in the hospital…could you please tell me some of her favorite things? I know food is not the best thing so I want to get her stuff to take her mind off of everything. If there is anything we can do, Troy and I would be more than happy to help in any way! Give Ashtyn our love…she’s quite the little fighter!

  • Candy Dolan says:

    Love you Suzanne! We are here for Ashtyn, Jason, Chan, Morgan, and Ethan. Your strength as a Mom, is inspiring!

    • Gary Poulsen says:

      Amen Sis; I have a greater apreciation, of our Heavenly Father and, Savior. I am proud to be a part of Ashtyn’s Army. Love Gary

  • Sarah Affleck says:

    My daughter, Amber, is in Ashtyn’s class at school. We just wanted to let you know we are praying daily for Ashtyn and your family. We have dealt with quite a few family members and friends that have had cancer and know somewhat of what you are enduring. Though we are strangers, we send our love and prayers to all of you.

    Please tell Ashtyn that Amber says hello, if you think she’d want to hear it. I don’t know how close they were at school, but Amber wanted me to express her concern and friendship for Ashtyn, so that you might be able to pass it along to her. We’re cheering for Ashtyn and will continue to pray for all of you!

  • Lisa says:

    That is a wonderful post suzanne! Specific prayers really work! That’s the wonderful thing about Internet and social networking in our day – you can spread the word for Ashtyn’s needs so fast. I am so grateful you are sharing your days with us through this blog. Thank you!

  • Marta Stott says:

    Suzanne,
    I just want to say thank you for keeping us up to date with the latest on Ashtyn, I start my day by reading your blog. Sage is friends with Morgan and it makes her feel more in tune with helping Morgan get through this. Until your requests I have not been one who prays much, my girls and I now pray for your family and Ashtyn daily and you are constantly in our thoughts. We are PROUD to be a part of ASHTYN’S ARMY! Let’s kick this cancer’s hiney.

  • Megan Dolan says:

    Love you Suzanne! And love that sweet little girl of yours! I’m trying to do as much as I can up here in Logan to rally for Ash. You are both so inspiring and your strength is unbelievable. You are such a strong mom and she’s lucky to have you. Stay strong! Love you and can’t wait to see you both!

  • Kathleen Grinsell says:

    Suzanne,
    Thank-you for updating us on Ashtyn’s progress. You are blessed to have such an amazing family, Team Grinsell is praying for the Poulsen Clan and for Ashtyns good appetite to continue!

    Kathleen, Matt, Quinn and Peter.Grinsell

  • Rebecca Derouin says:

    I am here for you…

  • Carol Bee says:

    Way to go our Poulsen warrior women (Ashtyn and Suzanne)!!! So thankful prayers were answered and she was able to eat. See what strong, determined women you both are! We always been able to see how remarkable both of you are. Please tell Ashtyn that I have felt she is a very special young lady. And remember The Lord doesn’t give us more than we can bear, but He let his apostles struugle on the boat in the choppy seas until almost the last minute before he calmed the sea and rescued them. If He didn’t let us be tested, we would never know or develop our inner strengths. The Lord loves you and His light shines from your faces. Have another great day, as good as it gets, in the hospital. Much love to you.

  • Claire Kasteler says:

    Hey Suzanne and Ashtyn. I’m Claire… Rain’s sister in law. We’ve only met a few times but I just want you to know that people who you don’t even know “that well” are praying and pulling for you! We are thinking of you and sending all our love. My Kennady is a year younger than Ashtyn. She is reading your blog with me and wants Ashtyn to know how inspired she is by her strength and example of bravery. We took some blankets we made to Primarys at Christmastime and Kennady was hoping Ashtyn got one of them. (I explained she probably did, but maybe not ours) and Kennady asked if she could make a specific one just for Ashtyn. Let me know if she can show her support that way and she could send it. Anyways, hope you get lots more good days with popsicles, movies and Cafe Rio burritos… All our Love…. the Kasteler family… Claire, Dan, Kennady, Easton & Alyssa.

  • Heidi Livoyochi says:

    You don’t know me, but I am in Candy Dolan’s ward. I am truely amazed by you faith and outlook on everything. I used to work at PCMC on another unit on the 4th floor. I couldn’t stop thinking about Ashtyn yesterday and the possibility of her having to have an NG placed. I have placed many NG tubes in my career, and no on ever “likes it”! I am glad she hasn’t had to have another one placed. Just so you know, I believe ICS has a “slurpee machine”. If they don’t, I know there is one on the 3rd floor. Just ask your nurse and I am sure they can tell you. I am keeping you in my prayers. Keep eating the cheesecake! (They also have smoothies you can order from the cafeteria that I hear are pretty good!)
    Heidi Livoyochi

  • Cassie Jackson says:

    YAY! Love good days and holding on to them through those that may be more of a challenge. We continue to pray for Ashtyn throughout our day and look for your updates. Isabelle just asked me this morning at breakfast if Ashtyn was able to eat as that and strength has been our specific prayers for her. Our prayers and love continue to be with you.

  • Presley says:

    Dear Ashtyn,
    Im one of Morgans friends.Ihave fasted for u and prayed about u.Morgan is very lucky to hav u as a sister.I hope u feel much love from the school.
    PRESLEY

  • Cindy Grange says:

    Ashtyn,
    We are the Granges and my son Jackson is in fourth grade with Morgan. We are all thinking about you and wishing you wellness and peace.

  • Jocine Thompson says:

    Dear Suzanne & Ashtyn, Please know of my love and concern and support for you throughout this trial of all trials. Your updates are inspiring, and your faith and strength have touched my heart and soul. My thoughts and prayers are continually with you all, and I am proud to be a member of Ashtyn’s Army. Please let me know if I can be of any help at any time.
    Lovingly,
    Jocine

  • Jocine Thompson says:

    Dear Suzanne & Ashtyn, please know of my love and concern and support for you throughout of this trial of all trials. Your updates are inspiring, and your faith and strength have touched my heart and soul. My thoughts and prayers are continually with you all, and I am proud to be a member of Ashtyn’s Army. Please let me know if I can be of any help at any time.
    Lovingly,
    Jocine

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