OK Ashtyn’s Army, we are all fortifying our battlefields and preparing for war! I can feel it! Ashtyn’s Army is increasing in number, strengthening in faith, and rallying in service. Comments are being heard, prayers are being offered, hearts are being touched, love is being poured out, visits are adding strength, efforts are gathering, children are being taught, adults are growing, friends and family are uniting, and together we are going to kick this cancer’s butt!
Ashtyn’s Army is doing all they can to strengthen her by utilizing their own strengths. All efforts are empowering and uplifting.
Ashtyn will continue to have visitors come daily to help strengthen her. One visitor will help guide Ashtyn to her happy place to find peace and hope. Another will provide music therapy to sing out anger and joy. Others will come for girl talk. She will have those who will massage her and provide essential oils. Pictures will be taken of milestones, dark times, and triumphs. There will be times for the calm spirited visitors to sit beside her, providing comfort and not requiring anything from her. Other times she will have visitors that bring laughter. Words of encouragement and purpose will come. There are those who will bring in food that she can tolerate. Already there has been tranquil music, inspiring talks, funny stories, letters written, and uplifting gifts brought. She’ll continue to read comments and see support on Facebook and her website. Purpose has been given to Ashtyn knowing that this trial is not a waste of time. She will know that her pain, struggles, and sacrifice will not be in vain because of the stories being shared of lives already being changed.
Ashtyn is doing her part in preparing and fortifying too. She is putting on her armor of strength, determination, independence, confidence, perspective, acceptance, and is starting to take charge. She is being raised up by your prayers and is getting ready to rock this thing.
HER DETERMINATION: For 12 hours today she forced herself to eat. Every bite was a bite she didn’t want to take, but she did it. No way was she going to let some stupid NG tube win. Every day she will tolerate different food. A great deal of effort was made to provide her with food she could handle. After much trial and error, this is what she ate today: cheesecake for breakfast, a cup of homemade creamy potato soup from my friend Angie, a few bites of Ice Cream, one Trader Joe’s yogurt, 32 ounces of rootbeer, a bowl of Top Ramen, one entire cup of noodle soup, a small Red Mango, and ½ can of Sprite. She did not throw up once! I am guessing close to 1500 calories again. Way to go Ashtyn!!!!
HER INDEPENDENCE: She doesn’t get nervous when I leave the room. When an aide came to weigh her today she made sure to remind me that she needed to wear the mask to go in the hall. Ashtyn informed me when she needed to brush her teeth. (The appearance of her tongue is changing however no mucositis yet. Keep praying that she won’t have to deal with the pain that mucositis causes.) Though there was no desire for a shower tonight, Ashtyn pushed through her fatigue and showered because she knew that showering every other night is important. She makes sure that the food she eats is correctly written on the dry erase board. She does her own eye drops and walks with her awkward IV pole on her own to the restroom.
HER CONFIDENCE: Ashtyn is now able to talk about the future of when she loses her hair without crying. She is going to pray and ask, since she’ll suffer the loss of her hair, if He would bless her that her hair will grow back straight instead of curly. Ashtyn has accepted as best she can that she does have cancer. She now can hear the words “cancer” and “chemotherapy” without falling into a depression.
HER PERSPECTIVE: Contemplating cancer and the support she has received she said “At the end of this, I will know how many people care. If I hear that someone else has cancer, I’ll know how they feel and can help them. I don’t want to work here because I don’t want to see kids in pain, but I’ll volunteer.”
HER ACCEPTANCE: Last night she asked, “Am I going to be here for a month?” I paused and admitted, “Yes you will be.” The tears came, but only for a brief moment as I explained why she has to stay. “The doctors are trying to get you home for good as soon as possible. They figured out the best way to accomplish that goal is to put you on different chemotherapy drugs that I can’t give you at home. You’ll get the chemo for 10 days. After 10 days you will be done with the chemo but will have to stay in the hospital 20 more days just to make sure you don’t get sick. You won’t have any ability to fight infection so you’ll need to stay in your clean hospital room to stay safe.” Miraculously she was quite calm and accepted it. I remember only a few days ago how distressed she was at the thought of staying for more than a few days.
After only eight days of being in the hospital, Ashtyn has become noticeably stronger mentally and emotionally, preparing for when she becomes physically weaker. She has done remarkably well during her first four days of chemotherapy, giving her time to build determination and confidence in herself that she can fight this. Only because of your prayers and support could she have done so well. Thank you.