A month ago, on March 3rd, I wrote a post titled “Faith.” In it I wrote, “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. I trusted God completely. I had faith in His will.”
Hindsight is 20/20 and I like what I see.
First: Ashtyn went through a very difficult round of chemo in February. From the February 20th post, “Relying on What I Know,” I wrote “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.” After all she had gone through, her cancer cells were not affected at all. Cancer was still in full force. Was all the suffering a waste of time? No it wasn’t Was the entire month of February worthless? Not at all. Ashtyn grew a lot from the experience as she wrote in her post “From Ashtyn.” She is also better prepared for what may come in the future. When she was first diagnosed she cried, “I can’t do this!” My response was, “You can do this. You are strong, you just don’t know it yet.” After what she went through in February, she now knows she is strong. Today she mentioned, “I’m scared to do a bone marrow transplant.” The doctor and I assured her that after what she went through with the first round of chemo, she is completely capable of handling a transplant. She knows it’s true.
Second: At the beginning of March we prayed that Ashtyn would recover from the first round of chemo and be able to go to Disneyland before the next round. After prayers and fasting Ashtyn’s white blood cell count didn’t recover at all and there was no Disneyland trip. As I’ve said before, sometimes the answer will be “yes.” Sometimes the answer will be “no.” Other times the answer will be “yes, but not right now.” What a blessing it was to get a “not right now” answer. Now that I have more clarity, wouldn’t it be better to go to Disneyland cancer free right before the bone marrow transplant? That is now our hope. Hopefully in a few weeks Ashtyn will have a bone marrow aspirate that will show no new cancer growth and have an absolute neutrophil count of 1000. (Neutrophils are the white blood cells that fight infections.) At that point Ashtyn would be allowed to go to Disneyland as the doctors prepare for her bone marrow transplant. She would then return to the hospital rejuvenated physically and emotionally, ready to rock the bone marrow transplant. I ask for that to be our specific prayer for the next several weeks.
I am grateful I handed this cancer trial over to God. His vision is much more remarkable than what I would have come up with. His plan is much more merciful than what I could have provided. I am grateful He is in charge. He knows Ashtyn, my family, and my needs more than I do. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8
In the midst of cancer, what if we would have turned our backs on God and refused His help? What if doubt replaced our complete trust in Him? What if negativity crowded out our peace? What if bitterness replaced our love for Him? What if fear replaced our faith? What if we hardened our hearts toward God preventing His merciful hand to affect our lives? What if we denied our Savior’s goodness not allowing Him to lighten out burdens? What if our hearts left no room for the comforting peace of the Holy Ghost? I shudder to think what life would have been like the last 2 months had we not had Their constant companionship and blessings.
2 Nephi 2:25 “Adam fell that man might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” I now know what that means. In our brightest moments and darkest hours, we can have joy. Our family has experienced that. We have had joy in our darkest hours. How? By simply having faith and trust in God with gratitude in our hearts. To know and be able to say what President Gordon B. Hinckley said. “Things will work out, it isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out, don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.”