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Prayers

Are We Really Strangers?

By | Home Life, Prayers, Triumphs, Uncategorized | 12 Comments

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.

Patience will Pay Off

By | Daily Life, Prayers, Trials, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Saturday and Sunday many people prayed and fasted for Ashtyn.  We prayed for her specific needs that her rash would go away, her throat would feel better, and her total white blood cell count (WBC) and absolute neutraphil count (ANC) would go up.

Sunday night Ashtyn wanted me to sleep in her bed with her.  “It makes me know you are by me and makes me less scared.  I’ve just had too much of this and I’m anxious to get home.”  Because our schedule is backwards right now, we finally fell asleep at 5:30 a.m.  By 8 am the hospital woke up, medical staff started coming into her room to do what they needed to do, and her IV pumps seemed to alarm regularly.  In addition, Ashtyn wanted me to rub her back and arms constantly to help with the itchy rash so she could sleep better.  By 10 am I was exhausted and frustrated.  With irritation I wondered, “after all the prayers and fasting, Ashtyn’s WBC count is still 200?  Her ANC is still zero?  She had a couple of nose bleeds and needs another platelet transfusion?  Her rash still looks awful and it’s now itchy? Her throat still hurts and ‘swallowing a pill feels like swallowing a big piece of steak without chewing it’?  Her legs are weaker when she walks?  There is still no sign of going home?”

How easy it was to have negativity seep in.  After 32 days I was ready for Ashtyn to feel better.  She had been faithful and deserved to go home.  With how tired I was and the situation that was before me, I could see how easy it could be to become bitter at God and lose faith.  Then a scripture came to my mind.

3 Nephi 14:9-11  “What man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

I love Ashtyn but God loves her more.  I want Ashtyn happy, but God’s desire for her to be happy is more.  I knew I was exhausted so with that thought I went back to sleep and slept off and on until 3 pm.

When I woke up Monday afternoon I felt much better.  All negative or bitter feelings were gone.  The word that came to my mind was “patience.”  I’ve never realized how much patience is connected to faith.  Be patient.  I can do that.  However Ashtyn was still struggling.  She was more tearful throughout the day than she ever has been.  Tearful for fear of the hospital.  Tearful because of her frustration with her body.  Tearful feeling that it wasn’t fair.  She was so sick of being in the hospital.

Again Monday night we didn’t fall asleep until around 3 am.  Our sleep is never solid but today I woke up for good at 2 pm.  Ashtyn woke up at 4 pm.  I know!!!  Our schedule is so messed up!  But we had a great positive day.  Nothing has changed.  Her WBC’s are still low.  Her ANC is still zero.  Her rash still doesn’t look good.   Her throat and mouth still hurt.  However we feel good.  She told me she is feeling more patient today.  I am not kidding!  Isn’t that amazing?  Yesterday we were both tempted to get angry that our prayers and fasting weren’t answered immediately.  We both were tempted to get bitter at God wondering why He would want her to suffer another day.  We both could have lost faith and given up.  But we didn’t.  Instead we allowed ourselves to be a bit disappointed yesterday but with faith knew God would answer everyone’s fasting and prayers and provide miracles when the time is right.

“Patience is tied very closely to faith in our Heavenly Father.  Actually, when we are unduly impatient, we are suggesting that we know what is best—better than does God. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than His.  We can grow in faith only if we are willing to wait patiently for God’s purposes and patterns to unfold in our lives, on His timetable.” Neal A. Maxwell

“Patience is not indifference. Actually, it means caring very much but being willing, nevertheless, to submit to the Lord and to what the scriptures call the “process of time.” Neal A. Maxwell

A few weeks ago Ashtyn’s health was declining and she was almost admitted to the PICU a second time.  We asked for everyone to pray and fast that her health would improve.  After the prayers and fasting, I saw an immediate improvement.  Within a day she went from not talking to talking.  Not opening her eyes to opening her eyes, as I explained in the post, “This Kind Can Come Forth by Nothing, But by Prayer and Fasting.”  This past Sunday, after fasting and prayers, and even with your continual prayers thereafter, Ashtyn has not noticeably improved.  At first frustration was felt.  However, now I am so grateful for the lesson that Ashtyn and I are learning about patience.  I know she will need to use the skill of patience during this entire cancer process.  The first petition for fasting and prayers a few weeks ago brought an immediate miracle.  This second petition I have no doubt will bring another miracle in the timing that is right for Ashtyn.  I am excited that we get to watch as God’s plan unfolds and recognize with awe how merciful He really is in blessing us in His timing, not ours.

“Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe, rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance. Put another way, too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising.” Neal A. Maxwell

Ashtyn’s Army, during this cancer battle I know your prayers are heard and will always be answered.  Sometimes the answer will be “yes.”  Sometimes the answer will be “no.”  Other times the answer will be “yes, but not right now.”  Whether the prayers are answered quickly or slowly, it matters not to me.  I know prayers will be answered according to what is best for Ashtyn.

Ashtyn and I are excited for her white blood cells to go up.  We are anxious to get home.  We will continue on with patience, being grateful for the blessings we do have.  I am grateful to be able to spend time with Ashtyn.  I am grateful I get to hold her in my arms.  I am grateful for her returned hugs.  I am grateful to be able to feel the Spirit in her room daily.  She is truly a delight to be with.

Ashtyn:  “I’m grateful that I am a little bit more sleepy and might be able to sleep better tonight.  I am grateful that you don’t have to work and can be here with me.  I am grateful for hats.  I am grateful that Chandler is my bone marrow transplant donor.  I am grateful for my siblings, dad, and extended family.  I am grateful for the time I get to be home.  I am grateful for everyone that is supporting me.  I am grateful for God because he can help me be more positive.”

Patience makes faith stronger.  We now have a new word to add to the way we are going to face this cancer trial.  We will face it with faith, trust, hope, optimism, and now patience.

24 Hour Focus

By | Looking Up, Prayers, Spiritual, Uncategorized | 12 Comments

I couldn’t say it better than Shelley.  “I can’t wait to dedicate our family’s fast for Ashtyn this Sunday so that her white blood cell count will go up and that she can go and spend time with her family, and that her rash and sores in her mouth heal quickly. I have never been so excited to look forward to a day of fasting.  Ashtyn’s Army, here is our chance to fast. I think it would be nice if we all close our fast at the same time and try to get everyone to kneel down (on Sunday) at 5:00 pm and say a prayer. There is power in numbers. Then, let’s sit back and watch as miracles happen!”

Ashtyn is in need of your prayers and fasting.  We are asking anyone who can to fast and pray Saturday into Sunday.  She is in need of three specific blessings.  1. For her rash to go away.  2. For her throat to feel better.  3. For her total white blood cell count to go up and her ANC to rise to 1000.

Please pray that her full body rash will disappear so that she is no longer itchy and uncomfortable.  Pray that her throat will heal and stop hurting so she can eat and drink without pain or difficulty.  Also, Ashtyn really needs to produce enough white blood cells to go home soon, recover further at home, and be able to go to Disneyland in a couple weeks before having to return to the hospital.  The doctors agreed that if Ashtyn’s absolute neutrophil count (ANC, the number of white blood cells that fight infection) increases to 1000, she can go to Disneyland.  Ashtyn has a ways to go.  Currently her ANC is zero.  Our hope and prayer is that Ashtyn will be able to recover from this round of chemo enough to have an ANC of at least 1000.  We would love for her to enjoy a week at home followed by four days in Disneyland before heading back to the hospital for another month of chemo.  As Shelley said, there is power in numbers.  With your faith, fasting, prayers, and positive thoughts, I expect to sit back and watch as miracles happen.

The ODells’ commented,  “Ashtyn and all the family, we are offering our prayers at daily mass (and during the day and night) for a speedy recovery and alleviation of the pain and discomfort. We keep in touch through your daily postings and marvel at the outpouring of love from “your Army.”  We love you all and look forward to the posting of you walking out that door and saying “Disneyland, here I come!”

That’s our goal.  “Disneyland, here we come!”

“There is power in unity and there is power in numbers.” – Martin Luther King

Ashtyn’s daily gratitude journal: “Today I am grateful for socks, the ability to be able to walk, comfy pajamas, nice nurses, and my mom.”

Ashtyn’s Army

By | Daily Life, Looking Up, Prayers, Triumphs, Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Ms. Fricker, one of Ashtyn’s teachers at Canyonview Elementary school, commented “Know the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child?’  Well, it takes an army to kick cancer’s butt out of that village.  Help show Ashtyn she has an amazing army behind her. She is a tough little girl and is fighting one heck of a battle.”  She is completely right.  Ashtyn is fighting one heck of a battle.  More importantly, it is going to take an army for Ashtyn to triumph.  I have never been more sure of anything.

I sometimes fear the spark in the Army will die down.  I panic to think what we would do without you.  I am certain of Ashtyn’s outcome if the Army loses faith or ceases praying for her.  But the moment the fear comes it is replaced with faith in the Army.  I know we won’t be abandoned.  Ashtyn won’t be forgotten.  We have soldiers on the front line fighting.  We have soldiers standing back with prayers in their hearts waiting for the call to attack.  And when the most fierce attacks are needed, I have no doubt that the entire Army will stand together united in strength and faith to pray, serve, and send all their positive energy with determination to not quit until that battle is won.  The Army will then stand on guard for the next battle.  And so it will go until all battles have been won, the war is complete, and Ashtyn stands triumphant with complete health.  But health is not all she will have gained.  She will look around at the thousands of members of her Army.  She will see thousands who have hearts like God and love like her Savior.  She will see thousands with faith that will change the world.  Thousands with hope that will change lives.  Thousands with goodness that seeps into countries and states.  Thousands with tenderness that improves communities.  Thousands with perspective that strengthens families.  Thousands with purety that softens homes.  And then she will know that because of her strength and faith and the strength and faith of her Army, lives were changed for good.  Her life will be changed for good.  And then she will take her health and all that she learned from you, and will press forward to the next war she’ll have to fight.  She will continue on with life triumphing over all that is in store for her.  There will be no stopping her.  And there will be no stopping you.  Together this world will be forever better and forever changed.  That is what Ashtyn’s Army will do.

Who is a part of Ashtyn’s Army?  You.

Ashtyn’s Army includes family members, friends, and strangers.  However we are all “family” bonded together, united in a common cause.  The Army comes from all cultures, religions, and walks of life.  We couldn’t have it any other way.  We need religious and non religious.  We need spiritual and non spiritual.  We need young and old, male and female, rich and poor.  That’s what makes the Army powerful.  Power comes from the unique gifts and talents each individual has to offer.  Power comes from each individual heart and mind.

One thing the Army has in common is each member has a good heart.  Hearts that are sensitive and tender to the suffering of others.  Hearts that rise up to do good.  Hearts that rely on faith in all it’s unique forms.  Hearts that care about others instead of only thinking of themselves.  Hearts that have hope for a better world.  Hearts that know this world is not as dark as some might wish us to think.  Hearts that know the power of prayer.  Hearts that know the power of optimism and positive thinking.  Hearts that are confident and strong, willing to do what it takes to make a difference.  Hearts that know even the smallest act of kindness or the shortest prayer or the slightest bit of hope is power enough to cure a child of cancer.

Thank you for being a part of Ashtyn’s Army.  Ashtyn has recieved letters, messages, cards, balloons, blankets, necklaces, fun activities, books, stuffed animals, and gifts of all varieties.  I have family and friends waiting for word to come to the hospital to entertain, uplift, and support Ashtyn.  There are others actively bringing me meals and taking care of my needs.  Many people work behind the scenes, giving of themselves and sharing their gifts and talents.  Ashtyn’s elementary school has rallied around my family.  Chandler’s school staff are supporting him. There is a photographer documenting milestones and an IT computer expert building and managing her website.  We have amazing friends and neighbors who bring dinner to my children every night.  Each Monday my house gets cleaned by two dear women.  My family tutors, entertains, and carpools my kids to their various activities.  There is a friend who moved into my house to be the at-home caretaker.  Others invite my kids on fun outings, give hugs, and provide them with needed attention.

There are church congregations around the world remembering Ashtyn.  Her name has been added to prayer chains in different religions and is on the prayer lists at L.D.S. temples in many locations.  She has been enrolled under the special patronage of Our Lady of Lourdes in France and Illinois.  There are many families who pray for her morning and night.  Children include Ashtyn in their prayers daily.  Fasting and prayers have been dedicated to her with her specific needs in mind.  Hundreds think of Ashtyn and hope the best for her.

Ashtyn has heard from people all across Utah and the Salt Lake Valley.  Support has also spread around the country and across the world.  She has heard from people in California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, Washington DC, upstate New York, Quebec Canada, Ghana West Africa, Botswana South Africa, Japan, Argentina, and Venezuela.

I am in awe at the strength of Ashtyn’s Army and how it has changed her life already.  Every member is valued. Every member is needed.  Indeed it does take a village to raise a child just as surely as it will take an army to kick her cancer’s butt out of that village. Thank you for being apart of Ashtyn’s Army.

“Cancer may have started the fight, but we will finish it.”

This Kind Can Come Forth By Nothing, But By Prayer and Fasting

By | Daily Life, Miracle, Prayers, Trials, Triumphs, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

My last post was written two nights ago.  Ashtyn’s health had been getting progressively worse with each day.  By Tuesday night she was on the verge of having high risk surgery to remove her appendix.  Diarrhea and vomiting seemed to be occurring every couple of hours.  She had lower lobe pneumonia with an increased respiratory rate and oxygen needs.  The color of her extremities didn’t look good.  Even though she was only getting a small amount of pain medication, she seemed more out of it than she should have been.  Ashtyn wasn’t able to talk well, open her eyes well, sleep well, or walk well.  She had even fallen one time because she got out of bed before I could get to her.  I was very nervous and wasn’t alone with my concerns.  The healthcare team watched her like a hawk.  She kept me and her nurse running constantly.  By 7:30 pm I was so concerned about her declining health.  I told the doctors I thought she needed to be move to the pediatric ICU.  PICU?  That’s the last place I normally would want her to go.  It’s a germ nightmare for a neutropenic patient with no ability to fight infection.  It’s also extremely uncomfortable sleeping in a chair when I have been spoiled by my couch-bed.  But I didn’t know what else to do as I observed the direction she was going.  The doctors considered PICU briefly but held on the idea.  I knew if she went downhill any further she would be moved and monitored in the PICU.  It then hit me what I had to do, call upon Ashtyn’s Army for prayers.  Enough was enough.  We needed to get her better.  I texted my family who suggested we fast.  Who would be willing to fast on a Wednesday and Thursday?  I had no choice but to ask because I knew Ashtyn couldn’t wait until Sunday.  She needed to start getting better right away.  I sent a Facebook message that read: “Because of how sick Ashtyn is I am asking anyone who is interested to fast for Ashtyn starting this afternoon or evening and ending Thursday.  She has pneumonia in her lower left lung that we don’t want to get worse.  She has appendicitis that we don’t want to get further inflamed.  We don’t want her to get an infection.  Mostly we want her to make white blood cells so her body can recover fully and then she will feel better.”

There was an immediate response.  Some started their fast right away.  Others’ prayers became more specific and fervent.

Tuesday night I laid beside her until 6:30 am.  She didn’t want me to leave her side. I described the night in my “Relying on What I Know” post: “She sleeps, goes to the restroom, suctions her mouth, sleeps, throws up, suctions her mouth, sleeps, coughs up mucus, throws up, sleeps, goes to the restroom, and on it goes.

After over a week of her getting worse she began to stabilize Wednesday.  I am not saying she got better.  I am saying she stopped getting worse.  With the start of fasting and prayers it seemed as if her decline had halted.  She did become more alert throughout Wednesday and for the first time in over a week she didn’t scare me one time all day.  She simply hovered in calm stability.  24 hours after asking for prayers and fasting, Ashtyn moved from being “stable” to slowly improving.  Wednesday night was restful.  She didn’t throw up all night.  Her trips to the restroom were minimal.  She was completely alert.  I had 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  On Thursday morning the first thing she did was get on her phone and with a great amount of effort and concentration she posted to Facebook  “Please fast and pray for me tomorrow.  I have so much mucus in my mouth that it hurts to eat or drink and I am SO thirsty. Thank you so much.” (I don’t think she realized it was already Thursday morning because she went right back to sleep after the Facebook status was posted.)  She clearly has faith.  She clearly has hope in her Army.

It is now early Friday morning.  All the 24 hour fasts, from those who did so, are over.  There have been 48 hours of prayers petitioning for God’s help with her immediate and specific need to get better.  I will tell you, your prayers and fasting have changed her course.  All concerns have dissipated.  She went from heading to the pediatric ICU to sitting up in bed alert and talking during the day.  At night instead of throwing up and getting up and down, she now sleeps restfully.  Ashtyn was heading downhill and now she is on the road to recovering from this round of chemo.

For 10 days Ashtyn’s temperatures have remained above 101 F after taking Tylenol and climbed to over 103 F before the next Tylenol dose was due.  Today? Her high temperatures were near 101 and decreased to 99.5 with Tylenol!  Amazing!

Ashtyn has not had the TV on for over a week.  Today the TV was on all day.  She started the day watching Soul Surfer.  Then she watched The Incredibles, Lion King, Princess and the Frog, and the Disney Channel.  Ashtyn fell asleep during each movie but it doesn’t matter, she had the desire to watch TV rather than lay in bed in silence.

She was awake a lot more today and talked quite a bit.  Her throat and mouth are still very painful when she talks or swallows.  However when she does talk her words are clear and lucid.  Today I didn’t have to keep the lights off and remind everyone to be quiet.  She was fine with noise and the stimulation’s of the day.  Her legs are steady when she walks and she is less shaky as time progresses.  (I do continue to stay behind her with my arms around her back as she walks to the restroom just to be safe.)  Today I was so excited when she asked to open a few presents.  She hasn’t had it in her to open any presents or cards since Valentine’s Day, which even then she was only able to open a few.  After I showered and got ready for the day she said, “Mom I like your shirt.”  That’s my girl!  Since becoming a preteen she is my fashion consultant because I am horrible at knowing what looks good and she has a really good eye for it.

For the past week I haven’t had very many visitors come because she has been so sick and time consuming.  Today I felt perfectly happy and comfortable having visitors.  Ashtyn had a nasal scope today to test for a sinus fungal infection.  She was completely calm and didn’t move at all when they stuck the camera down her nose.  (The test came back negative.)  Another miracle is she didn’t throw up or have diarrhea one time today.  Prior to today she had occurrences at least every two hours.  After many restless nights of sleep, Ashtyn is sleeping peacefully and didn’t need me to sleep near her.

I know it was because of fasting and prayer that Ashtyn triumphed over this most recent hurdle. That I am sure of.  Mark 9:29 “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”  Thank you so much for all your thoughts, prayers, fasting, and positive energy.  I have been told by different people of different religions that they are praying and sending good vibes for Ashtyn.  Whether it is a prayer from a Mormon, Jew, Catholic, Protestant, or positive energy from a Buddhist, it matters not to me or the God in whom I believe.  He answers prayers and listens to all of his children.

Relying On What I Know

By | Daily Life, Prayers, Trials, Uncategorized | 12 Comments
Ashtyn Getting A Second CAT Scan

Ashtyn Getting A Second CT Scan

Ashtyn is sick.  Very sick.  She can hardly talk.  Can hardly open her eyes.  Can hardly walk.  Can hardly sleep comfortably.  She can’t eat.  Can’t drink. Can’t laugh. Can’t cry.

She listens.  She understands.  She does what she is asked.  She communicates as best she can.  She is kind.  She says “please” and “thank you.” She feels peace.  She feels hope.  She feels prayers.  She feels God and angels near.  She is faithful.  She is strong.  She is patient.  She is calm.  She wants to go home.  She will do what it takes to get there.

At home my kids and I try to follow three rules individually that collectively help keep peace in our home.  1. Read our scriptures every night and pray morning and night. 2. Give 10% of their time in helping me around the house. 3. Be positive.  I asked Ashtyn today if she was staying positive. When she speaks it is as if you are listening to a pure angel, “I try to stay positive by not dwelling on it and think about when it’s over.”

Today we did all we could to try and ease what she is going through.  Occupational therapy and physical therapy worked on her strength to do daily cares.  Her aunt Wendy spent a couple hours doing guided imagery while listening to yoga music as she imagined herself away from her physical body.  She was then able to imagine herself doing whatever it is she wants to do.  We also used massage therapy, music therapy, touch, and silence.

Ashtyn has had a temperature for over six days which is concerning the doctors.  Each lab work that has been done continues to show no signs of infection.  At noon she had a CT scan to discover whether or not a fungal infection is causing her high temperatures.  The CT scan showed no signs of fungus.  It did show left lower lung pnuemonia and appendicitis.

At 7:30 pm a surgeon came to Ashtyn’s bedside and talked to me about the possibility of having her go to surgery to get her appendix out.  The risks of surgery were high due to her low platlet count, her lack of white blood cells, and her overall post chemotherapy condition.  The risks of not taking her appendix out were infection and decline in her health.  I was told that the health care team would come to a consensus and let me know.  I got very nervous.  My hands shook.  My heart raced.  I cried.  I texted family.  I let Ashtyn’s Army know of her need for prayers.  1 ½ hours later the decision was made to not go forward with surgery.  I understood their reasoning.  Her mucositis is so severe that her appendix may be simply inflamed just like everything else.  Even though she is extremely sick the oncologists think she is still reacting within the spectrum of chemo patients, just on the very severe end of the bell curve.  The thinking was if they went forward with surgery and took out her appendix it wouldn’t help in her recovery from chemo.  The doctors also felt that the risk of rupture wasn’t as high as a normal child because Ashtyn doesn’t have the white blood cells that normally help with inflaming the appendix to the point of rupture.  Interesting.  I asked family and facebook friends to pray that the doctors would do what needed to be done.  I am grateful for the immediate response.

At the beginning of the day I felt peace, and then I didn’t, and then I did, and then I didn’t.  During the night I have felt peace.  It is 6:30 am.  Yoga music from Pandora played all night.  She asked me tonight to lay with her because she sleeps better that way.  She sleeps, goes to the restroom, suctions her mouth, sleeps, throws up, suctions her mouth, sleeps, coughs up mucus, throws up, sleeps, goes to the restroom, and on it goes.  When she did fall asleep in my arms or next to me, I couldn’t help but get tears in my eyes laying next to this perfect earthly angel.  I have always, from the time she was a baby, called her my Angel Ashtyn.  Her soul has always been angelic to me with her tender kind heart, her desire to make people feel loved and included, and her testimony of God and her Savior. I am so proud of her as I know you all are.  She truly is handling this trial with the most admirable character. Through the night I have reminded her how loved she is and what a remarkable example she is to us all.

February 3rd I wrote a post called “The Road to Diagnosis “  It was the day she was diagnosed with undifferentiated Leukemia.  The doctors thought that a possible course to try with Ashtyn was to get her home and treat her for a month using the acute lymphoblastic leukemia (A.L.L) protocol and see how she responded.  In my post I wrote:  I was blunt (with the oncologist doctor) about my motherly instinct feelings. “I know nothing about cancer but I don’t believe she will respond to the A.L.L treatment. I don’t know what she will respond to.  My guess is that she is going to give you a run for your money and eventually get a bone marrow transplant.”

Today the doctors informed me that she has the worst case of mucositis, the worst side effects from medications, and the worst complications from chemo.  If other chemo kids reacted the way Ashtyn has, they would decrease the dose of which they give.  She has the rarest form of Leukemia and has indeed been giving them a run for their money.  I believe she will continue to do so.  I believe she will go through her cancer course the way God wants and according to His plan.  There is a purpose in her struggles.  There is purpose in her taking the most difficult road.  Good and bad days will come.  I feel our faith will be tested and stretched to the max during her journey.  There will be times when we will be tempted to lose our faith and let doubt come into our hearts.  But I believe with everything in me that she will triumph.  And when she does we will have no question how she got there and why she is alive.  It will not be by chance and it will not be by coincidence.  It will clearly and poignantly be because of God’s mercy and miracles brought about by the faith, prayers, and fasting from you.  My prayers alone will not be enough.  I know that to be true.

“Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light you seek.  He does love you, and He knows your fears.  He hears your prayers.  He is your Heavenly Father, and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed.”  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

*** Because of how sick Ashtyn is I am asking anyone who is interested to fast for Ashtyn starting this afternoon or evening and ending Thursday.  Her heart rate is high.  Her respiratory rate is high.  Her temperature is high.  She has pnemonia in her lower left lung that we don’t want to get worse. She has appendicitis that we don’t want to get further inflamed.  We don’t want her to get an infection.  Mostly we want her to make white blood cells so her body can recover fully and then she will feel better.***

Stay Positive

By | Inspirational, Prayers, Trials, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Saturday night… I mean Sunday morning I went to bed at 6 am, after a busy night helping Ashtyn.  At 7:00 am I woke up to about 10 different medical staff surrounding Ashtyn’s bed moving very quickly.  I could sense there was worry in the air.  As I watched the organized commotion, I gathered that her blood pressure was low and they were doing all they could to get it to stabilize. 60 ml after 60 ml of fluid was pushed into her Broviac central line.  A total of 1080 ml was given to her in a matter of 10-15 minutes.  Her original blood pressure was 103/20.  The lower number (diastolic) of 20 was very concerning.  A normal diastolic pressure is around 65.  At 20, Ashtyn was unable to perfuse oxygen to her brain.  I could feel panic surfacing.  Is Ashtyn going to be OK?   Is she going to make it?  I quickly felt calm remembering what I know to be true.  God is in charge, He is watching out for her, He has a plan, and with everyone’s faith and prayers she will be OK.

By 7:30 am we placed a mask over Ashtyn’s mouth and wheeled her bed to the Pediatric ICU and placed it in a room with closed doors and no windows.  She was given norepinephrine to keep her blood pressure normal.  “Mom, I want to go back to the other room.”  Me too.  I asked the doctors what their best case scenario was of getting her back to her room.  They wanted to observe her for at least 24 hours.  Like Ashtyn, I had an immediate appreciation for her hospital room with my comfy couch bed, instead of a chair,  and all of Ashtyn’s Army decorations.  I sent a Facebook message to Ashtyn’s Army “Ashtyn’s blood pressure dropped this morning.  She was moved to the pediatric ICU for monitoring.  Please pray that the medical staff will figure out the cause.  Pray that she can recover quickly so we can return to her home away from home hospital room.”

The doctors’ and the nurse practitioner approach was that she had an infection until proven otherwise.  My approach was that she had too much morphine in her body until proven otherwise.  As I sat beside her I was so grateful for God’s hand in Ashtyn’s daily life.  At the time her low blood pressure was detected, she was getting her second unit of red blood cells transfused.  During the beginning of a transfusion blood pressure is taken every 15 minutes.  Other than a blood transfusion nurses generally take her blood pressure every 4 hours.  The PICU took blood tests and decided she didn’t need that second unit of blood.  I am grateful that her blood pressure dropped at a time that she was being monitored very closely.  Because of that blessing, I know her blood pressure wasn’t low for long and her brain was not compromised.

As the hours of monitoring went on it became apparent that she was overdosed with sedatives and pain meds. Not overdosed because of the medical staff, but overdosed because her body was unusually sensitive to what normally is given.  By 4 pm Ashtyn was stable enough to go back to her room.  Another miracle because of the prayers of Ashtyn’s Army.

Ashtyn’s day continued to be a struggle.  Since she was overdosed with medication, the staff  did not give her any medicine for nausea or pain for 12 hours to help her not be so out of it.  Because of that, she became very nauseated and threw up often, though there was nothing to throw up.  The antibiotics were also affecting her to where so had to go to the restroom a lot.  She was uncomfortable, restless, and unable to sleep well.

Her hair was a matted mess.  I asked Ashtyn if I could brush her hair.  She wanted to do it herself.  As she brushed her hair my heart sank in despair and anger for what she is going through.  Why is it that I can watch her sick and in pain, but when I see clumps of hair coming off her head, it hurts me deeply?  It makes me sick to my stomach.  She has lost so much hair, I suspect it won’t be but a few more days before it will all be gone.  I wanted to validate any feelings she may have about her hair loss.  “Ashtyn, do you know what makes me mad?  That you have to lose your hair.  It’s very sad.  Does it make you mad?”  She nodded her head, but then shook it, “I can’t think like that.”  Her comment pierced me.  She was telling me what I have been teaching her for years.  Be positive.  There is no point in ever stewing over something you have no control over.  It is so much more productive if we push out the negative and focus on the good.

Tonight Ashtyn asked me how long she gets to be home when she leaves the hospital.  I haven’t had the chance to tell her that when she goes home it won’t be for good.  She figured it out.  The girl definitely listens to conversations around her bed.  I told her she would be home for about 1 ½ weeks and in that time we can do whatever she wants to do.  “Do you want to go home or go to Disneyland.”  She thought about it, “Disneyland.”  I asked, “How long do you want to be there?”  Her reply, “As long as possible.”  I gave her the idea of going to Disneyland for 5 days and home for 5 days.  She thought that was the perfect idea.  “Do you want to go to Disneyland first or home first?”  After careful consideration she said, “I want to go to Disneyland first so that there is no way they’ll make me come back to the hospital.”  I understood.  She would have a fear the first couple of days of being home that the doctors would make her go back to the hospital early for one reason or another.  Ashtyn has always been very intuitive of knowing how to cope emotionally.

Ashtyn has been handling her hardship with such dignity and grace.  She remains nice to me and the staff even in her toughest moments.  Her determination never seems to fail.  I told her tonight, “Ashtyn, tomorrow will be a better day.”  “Mom, you told me that yesterday.”  “Well Ash, I think it will be.  Do you?”  She nodded her head.

Ashtyn Going To PICU

There is No Such Thing as a Bad Day

By | Daily Life, Looking Up, Prayers, Trials, Uncategorized | 12 Comments

At the hospital there doesn’t seem to be a big difference between the day and night.  Ashtyn is constantly being woken up every few hours, there are meds to be given at all hours of the day and night, and she has to go to the restroom every 3 hours no matter what time it is.  This morning at 8 am, she woke up and couldn’t talk.  Her throat and mouth were so raw and sore that  it was too painful to speak.  Even when she tried to speak a few words, her voice was weak and high pitched.  With such faith and humility she asked, “Did you tell everyone (her Army) to pray for me? My mouth and throat are really sore. I can’t take pills or eat or drink.  Please pray that my throat will be better and my mouth will be better.”

Much of the day she slept, but it wasn’t a restful sleep.  It was an off and on sleep to escape the pain.  In between sleep she would rarely talk but instead would write a few things on a dry erase board if needed.  Her temperature rose throughout the day and reached 102.6.  Her heart rate reached 130 beats per minute.  She had several nosebleeds and eventually got another transfusion of platelets.  Because of her temperature, they took blood from her Broviac central line to test for infection and started her on two additional types of antibiotics, Vancomycin and Cefepime.  With all of this, she stayed calm and persevered.   By 4 pm the medical team started giving her morphine continuously on a pump.  They also gave her a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump of morphine.   This allows her to not only be given a small amount of morphine constantly but also she can push a button as often as every 10 minutes to get extra morphine when she feels she needs it.  While Ashtyn sleeps she needs an oxygen mask near her face.  With morphine she doesn’t breathe as deep as she otherwise would.  At 6 pm she woke up and asked if she could watch TV.  After so many hours her pain had finally decreased enough to watch TV.  Ashtyn stayed awake for about an hour slowly eating a slushie and then fell back asleep.  She woke up again around 10:30 pm and said, “Mom, I’ve been sleeping most of today.”  Ashtyn checked Facebook and her texts.  She ate some more slushie.  Her pain was tolerable, her temperature was down to 100.4 degrees, and her heart rate dropped to 104.  She fell back asleep by midnight.

From the beginning we always knew there would be good days, followed by bad days, with good days that would come again.  Isn’t that how life is?  Some days, weeks, and months are good and others aren’t so good.  But good and bad days depend on how you look at them.  Today could be looked at as a bad day for Ashtyn, and it was.  But it was a good day for her too.  She was blessed with more loving comments and support, a visit that lifted her spiritually, and another visit that took her mind off her pain.  Her doctors and nurses did some remarkable things to help ease her pain, decrease her temperature, and help her not bleed uncontrollably.  Sure it was difficult but she coped well.  At the end of the day she is feeling better than when she woke up.  Her pain is not as severe as it was and she has the medications needed to keep her pain under control.  Her temperature is being treated and her blood is being tested to see if she has an infection.  Her strength from within is showing.  She is coping well with being in the hospital away from everything she loves.  She is handling the pain and she is emotionally and spiritually stable.  For today, what more could I ask for?

“There is no such thing as a bad day; just bad moments that we choose to take with us all day long.”
— Anonymous

We All Have A Part To Play

By | Daily Life, Miracle, Prayers, Spiritual, Uncategorized | 28 Comments

ANC is an important medical term in cancer: Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) is a measure of the number of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that fights against infection. A normal ANC is above 1,500 cells per microliter. An ANC less than 500 cells/µL is defined as neutropenia and significantly increases the risk of infection. The bone marrow is where all white blood cells are produced.

Looking back in time I am absolutely amazed at Ashtyn’s circumstances prior to being hospitalized. A few weeks before getting admitted to the hospital, Ashtyn did feel sick. Mostly she was just tired. Very tired. But she tried to go about her normal activities. Though she missed over a week of school, she continued going to church on Sundays, piano on Mondays, youth group on Tuesdays, and family parties. On January 19th, 1 ½ weeks before diagnosis, she felt awful but insisted on me taking her to the L.D.S Draper temple with Chandler to do baptisms for the dead. The day before going to the hospital she went to the humanitarian center with her youth group. Ashtyn also attended school the day she went to the hospital and had plans to clean a neighbor’s house the following day. She had the strength within to push through extreme fatigue to accomplish the things she wanted.

Why is this so remarkable? Several reasons. The day she went to the hospital Ashtyn’s ANC was 200. Two Hundred!!!!!! Cancer patients aren’t allowed to leave their room without a mask with an ANC that low. They aren’t allowed home until their ANC is at least 500 because of the likelihood of infection, and even then they aren’t allowed to go to school or church for fear of exposure to illness. Ashtyn came to the hospital with an extremely low white blood cell count but wasn’t sick with any “normal” illness. I have no doubt it was a complete miracle that she didn’t come in with pneumonia, the flu, or some life-threatening illness from public exposure. Her entire school was riddled with illness. Morgan was even home sick with a severe sore throat. What a blessing it was to be able to come into the hospital and be able to tackle the diagnosis of leukemia without the complications of having to battle a difficult infection. When Ashtyn was admitted to Primary Children’s they immediately put her on the immunocompromised floor to protect her from infection. She was also given 2 units of red blood cells because her hematocrit was so low.

How was she functioning at home with such low white and red blood cells? And how on earth was she not sick with an additional illness? Total Miracle.

Ashtyn has been on chemotherapy now for 9 days. Chemotherapy kills cancer cells as well as fast growing cells. This means that chemo harms cells in the bone marrow, digestive tract, and hair follicles.

It isn’t a coincidence that the day after Ashtyn visited her siblings she started feeling the effects of chemo. Chandler, Morgan, and Ethan needed the image of Ashtyn being healthy and comfortable so they could envision that through the difficult times. Today Ashtyn began showing signs of the effects the chemo is having on her body. Her ANC is 0. She has no ability to fight infection. Throughout the day I worried that she might be coming down with an infection. Her temperature was slowly rising and it just didn’t feel right. By 8 pm she was 100.5. The doctors treat for infection when her temperature reaches 101. She also had a nosebleed today due to her low platelets and had a platelet transfusion. Her mouth has become extremely sore over the last 16 hours with the start of mucositis which is also affecting the lining of her throat. It is difficult for her to swallow and is painful to eat. She drank a Slurpee and threw the entire thing back up. With all the things she is dealing with, she stayed strong today and tried so hard to stay positive. In the evening, though she wasn’t feeling very well, she addressed all her valentines for her 6th grade class. Ashtyn decorated her own Valentines Day box for school earlier this week. She worried that her classmates would forget to give her Valentines cards since she won’t be there. Ashtyn asked me to email her teacher and make sure they don’t forget her. Though I knew she wouldn’t be forgotten, I sent her teacher an email anyway.

Ashtyn Making Valentines Day Cards For Her Class

Ashtyn Making Valentines Day Cards For Her Class

Ashtyn hasn’t been losing much hair yet. She did stand in front of the mirror today and while holding her hair back, picturing herself bald, she cried. “I don’t want to lose my hair. I will be so ugly.” “Ashtyn, when you are bald you will be stunning. Everyone will be amazed at your glow and beauty. When you are told how beautiful you are, people won’t be saying it just to be nice, they will mean it. But you won’t see it. Over time I hope that you do.”

Ashtyn is currently on quite a few medications. She takes medicine at least every 2 hours throughout the day and night. She is coming to the end of taking her three different chemotherapy drugs (doxorubicin, cytarabine, and etoposide). Other drugs include “Voriconazole” a prophylactic antifungal medication, “Septra” a prophylactic antibiotic, Colace to keep her bowels moving, mouthwash to help with mucositis in the mouth, eye drops to prevent infection in the eyes. Zofran, Benadryl, Phenergan, and Ativan for nausea. Oxycodone and morphine for mouth and throat pain. I am so grateful for all the medications that play a part in helping her get better.

At 8 pm Ashtyn’s Bishop and Stake President came to visit. Before leaving they asked Ashtyn if she wanted a priesthood blessing. She accepted. They put their hands on her head and the Stake President gave her a blessing. The blessing started out sounding generic to what she was in need of. He blessed her that the doctors would be inspired to treat her properly and that she would have peace. Soon though the blessing didn’t seem generic to me anymore. His voice changed and with power he said, “I command these infections and illnesses to leave your body.” He proceeded to bless her with the ability to tolerate everything in her future. She will feel pain and discomfort, but blessed her that she will never have more than she can bear. Afterwards I asked him what he thought when he commanded her illness to leave. He didn’t remember what he had said so didn’t know what it meant. But I knew exactly what he meant. Of course she still has cancer. That wasn’t what he commanded to leave. I believe she did have an infection of some sort, and whatever infection she had was healed using the power of God. By midnight her temperature had stopped climbing and instead had come down from 100.5 to 99.5.

I believe everyone has a part to play in helping Ashtyn, and each individual’s role, whatever that may be, cannot be filled by someone else. It truly is an orchestra with all “instruments” needed. As her church leaders left I asked them if they would please keep her in mind. If they ever feel to come and visit her, to do so right away. If ever an impression comes to mind concerning Ashtyn, to please act upon it. I am asking the same from Ashtyn’s Army. If you ever feel to say a prayer, or share her story, or write a note, or send an encouraging letter, email, thought, or quote, please do so. If you are inspired to write a song, or poem, or help my family and Ashtyn in any way, I ask you to not ignore your intuitions.

Before going to bed Ashtyn had tears in her eyes and with the most sincere and tender voice she said, “Thank you mom for staying in the hospital with me. I know you’d rather be home.” “Ashtyn, there is nowhere I’d rather be than with you.” Surprised, she asked, “Really?” “Really.”
And that is the truth.

Ashtyn woke up at 2:30 am in quite a bit of pain in her mouth and throat. The only thing she could manage to say was, “Mom, can you get on facebook and tell everyone to pray for my mouth so I can eat tomorrow?” She has faith in God and in her Army. So do I.

After Another Days End

After Another Days End

I Need Thee Every Hour

By | Inspirational, Prayers, Spiritual, Uncategorized | 26 Comments

Why is it that most Sunday mornings I have the same thought come to mind?  “I am so tired.  I don’t want to go to church today.”  But every Sunday I push through that thought, hop out of bed, get my dress on, and head to church.  Whether the three hours at church is remarkable or uneventful, when I get home I never regret having gone.

This Sunday was no exception.  Throughout the morning I kept waking up every hour or so, would look at my clock, and feel too tired to wake up.  By 10:15 am the thought came to me as it always does on Sundays, “I’m too tired for church.”  That thought came to me even in the hospital?  When church is only 30 minutes rather than 3 hours?  Where I can wear whatever I want and I don’t have any kids to get ready?  And all I have to do is walk 1 minute directly downstairs to the assembly room?  Pitiful!!!  But just like all the other Sundays for the past 19 years of my adult life, I got up to go to church.  I quickly put a pair of jeans on and a shirt, (I’ve never worn pants to church before however in the hospital any attire goes), brushed my teeth and hair, ordered Ashtyn some Top Ramen for breakfast, and by 10:30 a.m. I raced out of the room telling Ashtyn I would be back in 30 minutes.

I walked downstairs into the assembly room where church was being held.  There were close to 100 other people attending.  We sang an opening hymn, a prayer was given, and we were welcomed to the service.  We then sung the sacrament hymn and took the sacrament.  When the sacrament was completed the church leader who is in charge of the hospital L.D.S meeting announced the special musical number.  It was a song sung by Vocal Point, the Brigham Young University’s 9-man a capella ensemble.  As I sat and listened to the most powerful rendition of “I need thee every hour” the thought kept repeating in my mind, “Ashtyn has got to hear this.”  After the musical number, a 10 minute talk, closing song, and prayer, the church meeting was over.  I walked a few steps to where the a capella group was sitting and with tears in my eyes I asked, “Would you come to my daughter’s room and sing that song?”  They answered, “We would love to.”  I told them that I really wanted them all to be there so Ashtyn could get the entire effect of the song but didn’t know if the nurses would allow it.  There is a fairly strict policy that only 2 people can be at the bedside.  I tend to stretch the rule at times by having 3 people at the bedside, however I knew 10+ people would be pushing it.  The church leaders wife, Cheri, listened as I told of my desire for them to sing to Ashtyn.  When I was 12 years old I lived in Cheri’s neighborhood and went to the same church as she did.  Cheri suggested that the group go to Ashtyn’s room right away and she would go up with them.   I headed to Ashtyn’s room to ask her nurse permission.  Soon the group of nine, and some of their wives stood outside Ashtyn’s door.  Hardly able to maintain composure, I told them a little about Ashtyn.  “A few weeks ago Ashtyn was what seemed to be an extremely healthy, normal 12 year old girl.  She never had to go to the doctor’s for anything.  A week ago she was diagnosed with a very rare type of leukemia.  I believe God is giving her this week to build emotional and spiritual strength by giving her experiences like this.  She is being prepared and fortified so that she will have the faith, courage, hope, trust, confidence, and determination to fight with everything she’s got.”  I shared a few more of my thoughts pertaining to Ashtyn’s future.  I then opened her door and invited them to go in.  They greeted her with such love and then sung this song to her.

Can you imagine the spirit that filled the room?  They sung with such emotion and such power.

I then asked Ashtyn if she had a favorite primary song she wanted them to sing.  Immediately she said, “Yes.  A Child’s Prayer.”  So they sung her favorite song.

There are no words that can explain the spirit those men brought to Ashtyn’s room.  There is no way I can explain the power that was there.  I believe Vocal Point came to the hospital today for Ashtyn.   They might have lifted other children and families as well, but they were sent for Ashtyn.  I am so grateful I pushed through the thought of “I’m too tired to go to church” and went.  It was a blessing that I knew Cheri and that she encouraged them to go to Ashtyn’s room at the time they did.  I’m grateful that no medical staff stopped 12+ people as they walked through the locked doors and past several nurse’s stations to Ashtyn’s room.  I feel watched over that Ashtyn had a nurse who was compassionate enough to recognize the benefits outweighed the risk of having so many at her bedside.

Once Vocal Point left Ashtyn’s room, the charge nurse and other staff were not pleased with what had happened.  Ashtyn’s nurse got in trouble and I will likely get a lecture tomorrow about remembering to abide by the bedside rules.  I am grateful that God is in charge, orchestrating everything.  I know He will continue to look out for Ashtyn and give her the blessings she will stand in need of.  I am grateful that Ashtyn felt completely healthy today.  She was able to fully enjoy and absorb the spirit of the song.  I hope when our faith is stretched thin, we will remember our testimony of prayer.  “Pray, he is there.  Speak, he is listening.  You are his child.  His love now surrounds you.  He hears your prayers.  He loves the children.  Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heaven.”   I pray when our hope is shaken we will remember and constantly plead to God, “I need thee every hour, in joy or pain.  Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.”

Later in the evening Ashtyn answered her Uncle Ryan’s question, “Would you rather have had Justine Bieber or Vocal Point sing for you?”  She said, “Well it’s Sunday so I’d rather have Vocal Point.”  Me too.  Our worldly enjoyments seem to be lessening in their significance as the heavenly enjoyments move to the forefront.

The moment Vocal Point left the room, Ashtyn asked if she could see her siblings for the first time since being in the hospital.  Tears filled her eyes as she longed to see them.  To hug them.  To have them near.  The medical staff did not feel comfortable with letting her see them today.  Tomorrow will be another day for another miracle.  My hope and prayer is that Chandler, Morgan, and Ethan can see Ashtyn before she loses her hair and doesn’t feel well.  I pray that Ashtyn will be able to see them while she is feeling well enough to enjoy it.  This boost would be a great help to her and her siblings as they continue to prepare for the side effects from chemo that are in Ashtyn’s near future.

At 12:30 a.m. I layed with Ashtyn in her bed, cuddling and tickling her arms.  As she fell asleep in my arms, my heart and every fiber of my body was filled with love for this young tender daughter of God.  It’s a feeling of warm, intense love that makes my heart literally feel full.  I believe so many of you have that same feeling for her.  I just received a text from Ashtyn’s phone from a neighbor we lived next to for 10 months in 2012.  I believe the feelings she expressed is how so many of you feel for Ashtyn:

“Dear Ashtyn,
Just can’t sleep!  You are on my mind.  I want you to know Conner, Parker, Taylor, Jim, and I pray for you day and night.  We pray for you to be strong.  We pray for your tummy to feel better, so you can eat.  We pray you will have the courage of heroes like Nephi, the strippling warriors, and our Savior.  Courage to be brave.  Courage to face this trial.  Courage to listen to your doctors.  Courage to fight and overcome this cancer!  You can do this, and now you have friends, family…and people who don’t know you but have heard your story…who all love you and will be by you through this.  There are those fighting for you to overcome this trial, who know and love you, on the other side of the veil.  We are all part of your army! Hang in there sweetheart.  Since we can’t be with you every day, we pray you will feel the power of all the prayers being said for you.  Through the power of the Holy Ghost, may you, your mom, and family be comforted.  Rest well, be strong, be happy, and you will be well at home soon.  We love you. Tracee”

Thank you for reading Ashtyn’s blog.  Thank you for encouraging and supporting her.  Thank you so very much for your prayers.  I have seen your prayers being answered.  When she is in need of a specific prayer, I feel in my heart to include Ashtyn’s Army.  I don’t believe they will be answered any other way.  Each prayer matters.  Each prayer makes a difference.  Each prayer brings power.  Ashtyn ate 2180 calories today without a problem.  That is a miracle.  That is the power of prayer.