I have always found myself looking ahead and planning for the future. Change has never been a fear of mine. When things don’t end up how they were envisioned, I adapt. Naturally I look at Ashtyn’s health the same way. I don’t know the future, though I can’t help but think about it. It doesn’t matter what I think will happen, however I can’t help but look ahead. What do I see for the future? I’m preparing for Ashtyn to get a bone marrow aspirate in a few weeks that will show she didn’t go into remission with the first round of chemo. She will then have another month of intense chemo for 10 days with 20 days hospital recovery. We will then pray that she goes into near remission and then prepare for a bone marrow transplant in May. I’m preparing myself for a very difficult summer with an extremely tough recovery from the bone marrow transplant. However in August, Ashtyn and I will return home to further recover from the bone marrow transplant over nine months. We will then enjoy a wonderful summer of 2014 and rejoice in her health. We’ll see.
When I first heard that Ashtyn had cancer some thoughts came to my mind. “Suzanne, this isn’t yours. God is the orchestrator. Hand it over to Him.” Gladly. I instantly handed over my daughter to God knowing He was completely aware of her and had a plan. I was not in charge. It was also clear that this was not about me. I was simply a member of the orchestra with a part to play, just like everyone else. I trusted God completely. I had faith in His will. I have since been surrounded by peace and comfort.
No, I am not hiding sorrow, despair, anger, or built up stress. I have always been a “what you see is what you get” person. When I get upset, you’ll know it. Sure, at times I feel irritation, exhaustion, and worry about Ashtyn. Other times I’m bummed that I won’t be able to sleep in my own bed for months or disappointed that I’m not as involved with my other kids as I’d like to be. However, those feelings come and go quickly. Most of the time I just feel peace.
As I observe Ashtyn, there seems to be a peace about her as well. I can see in her countenance that she is being comforted. She is not in bed suffering as you would think she would be. Yes it is difficult, however she is tolerating everything with strength and calmness. She doesn’t want anyone crying for her because she isn’t crying for herself. She doesn’t want anyone to doubt because she doubts nothing.
Today I asked her brother Chandler (13) how he is feeling. He said that he has felt “temperate” during this entire month. He credits the Spirit for that feeling of comfort. Morgan (10) has felt peace as well. Her heart is comforted and is only concerned about Ashtyn. I assured Morgan that Ashtyn truly isn’t suffering as much as one would think.
The word “faith” keeps coming to my mind. Faith is the reason I am optimistic and at peace. Faith is the reason Ashtyn has strength and comfort. Faith is the reason why Chandler feels calm. Faith is the reason Morgan is joyful. Faith is why our burdens seem light and we do not fear. Faith that we know God loves us, is aware, and has a plan. Faith that God listens and answers prayers according to what is best for us. Faith that God is merciful and would never allow us to suffer in vain. Faith that Christ will lighten our burdens. Faith in ourselves that with God we can do anything.
Faith that “All these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good.” D&C 122:7
Faith that “All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our character, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God.” Orson F. Whitney
“Faith in God includes faith in His timing.” Neal A. Maxwell
“Fear is the opposite of faith. Do not be afraid! I do not fear.” Boyd K. Packer
Faith just makes life easier and more joyful.
Ashtyn’s daily gratitude journal: “I am grateful for cars, my house, TV, cell phone chargers, and that I live in a neighborhood close to a good children’s hospital.”