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.