Yesterday Ashtyn really wanted Chandler, Morgan, and Ethan to come and visit her. She hadn’t seen them in 12 days and missed them terribly. I think Ashtyn also needed to see them to help recognize her strength and ability to be apart from them for now. My other kids needed to see Ashtyn healthy, happy, confident, strong, and optimistic so that they can feel the same.
The doctors and nurse were completely supportive when I asked if Ashtyn could have her siblings visit her. They said Ashtyn could go just outside the unit and spend as much time as she needed with her family as long as she kept her mask on. There is a conference room adjacent to the lobby where she would be allowed to sit. I asked the doctors if she could use the conference room which would protect her from all the people walking in and out of the unit. They had no problem with me using the room.
At 5:30 pm Jason brought Chandler, Morgan, and Ethan up to the 4th floor. We got security to unlock the large conference room. Ashtyn did her hair for the first time since being in the hospital, got her shoes on, put the mask on her face, and walked with her IV pole out of the unit into the conference room. Their greeting was quiet. We hugged, talked, and ate pizza. Being in the conference room was such a blessing and changed everything. We had privacy to be ourselves. Since there wasn’t anyone else in the room besides us, I was fine with Ashtyn taking her mask off. In the medical field my decision was completely against logic. She has no ability to fight illnesses. I wouldn’t want her to fight a cold or flu for several months just because she got sick from someone else. However, with my motherly feelings, Ashtyn needed to have that mask off and be herself for the moment. My kids needed to see her without the mask as well. They needed to see Ashtyn for who she really is: A strong, confident girl.
After 2 hours Ashtyn was ready to go back to her room. She cried with the reality that she couldn’t go home with them. After hugging them she said, “Let just do this.” She put her mask on, said goodbye, and walked back to her room. Ashtyn felt empty. She felt sick and nearly threw up. It didn’t take her long to regain composer. I have an previous neighbor who gave Ashtyn many small little presents that she is allowed to open daily when she feels she needs to. She started opening one gift after another. After opening over 10 gifts she said, “this will be my last one.” The gifts filled some of the void.
Ashtyn had the strength within to enjoy the rest of the evening relaxing in bed watching Good Luck Charlie and eating Cup of Noodle soup and Cheetos. She is determined to do what it takes to fight her cancer so she can go home. She knows that every day in the hospital is another day closer to going home. Today Ashtyn ate 1600 calories, had the energy to go the entire day without a nap, and was able to comfort her brothers and sister. Right before bed Ashtyn told me she was glad her siblings came so she could show them that she is doing well. She’s my hero.
Thank you to Casey for using his photography skills to document our evening.
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