Home Away from Home

I didn’t necessarily rush to the hospital this morning.  At noon Ashtyn and I walked into the hospital, took the elevators straight up to the 4th floor, washed our hands at the entrance of the immunocompromised unit, and was greeted at the door by our nurse.  Ashtyn was quietly upset she was assigned to a different room than where she was previously.  We walked into our empty, new room and saw the words “Welcome Back!” written on the white board.

Ashtyn And Suz Back In The Hospital
Ashtyn And Suz Back In The Hospital

As soon as I had the chance, I quickly transformed the hospital room into Ashtyn’s room.  A picture of a beach with two palm trees and a hammock with the word “relax” was taped to the wall.  Two other beach pictures were hung, one with the word “dream” and the other with the word “breathe.”  To finish the wall decorations three different pictures of Christ with children were put up.  I then placed a few stuffed animals on the light fixtures, put together her new electric blue chair, replaced the hospital blanket on her bed with three of her favorite blankets, and put her pillows in pillowcases from home.  On one end of the windowsill her DVD’s were stacked next to a few activities she may want to do.  On the other side of the windowsill her Powerade, Capri Sun, and grape soda were placed by the candy and chips she picked out.  Lastly, my bed was made with blankets from home.  Ashtyn might have been disappointed to not get the room she originally wanted, however her new room is bigger and more able to fit her needs.

Ashtyn’s day was busy.  She had an EKG to check for a normal heart rhythm.  A heart  ultrasound was done to make sure her heart had not been affected by the previous chemo.  I am grateful her heart looked normal.  Afterwards, IV fluid and chemotherapy were started.  The doctor apologized for telling us yesterday that she would only be in the hospital four days, when in fact she will be in the hospital “until her white blood cell count recovers.”  I informed the doctor to not worry about telling us the wrong information.  Ashtyn and I were never planning on being in the hospital for only four days.  We had a hunch it would be longer.  I was surprised though to hear that they wouldn’t let her go home until her white blood cells recover.  I shared my opinion that her WBC’s aren’t going to recover for a while and, as long as she is stable, it would be nice if she can occasionally go home for a few days.  On Sunday she was allowed to go home without any WBC recovery.  I am grateful that Ashtyn received the tender mercy of going home for four days.  It was a much needed mental and emotional break for her.  Immediately upon arriving at the hospital today she is again not allowed to leave the floor and walk outside, even with a mask.  The doctors don’t even want her to leave her room.  And to think that hours previously she was able to experience some freedom.  I am grateful that even though Ashtyn has not had the ability to fight illnesses for a few months, she has never had an infection.  What a miracle to be able to focus on fighting cancer without worrying about other illnesses.  No words can express how I feel other than complete awe at the tender mercies and seeing God’s hand in our daily life.

Depression does try to seep into my heart.  I have been able to quickly push out feelings of despair by relying on support from new friends I’ve met, old friends who I know are standing beside me, and the love of family.  When I found out that Ashtyn had not responded to the previous chemotherapy treatment and needed to go back to the hospital I contacted a new friend, heard from old friends, and had family immediately there for me.  It was remarkable.  There are those who wonder how I can stay positive and optimistic.  How can I not when I have so many people rallying around us?  How can I not be positive and optimistic when I know God is right in the middle of this trial and is in charge.  I trust Him completely.  I trust my support group.  What more can I ask for?  There is no room for negativity when I am full of faith in God and full of love from friends and family.  I have not lost one ounce of faith.  Your fasting and prayers have not gone unheard by God.  He heard those prayers, blessed Ashtyn, and I know He will continue to do so.

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7 responses to “Home Away from Home”

  1. You are seriously so amazing! God is aware of you and your family! I was awake all night thinking of you and the special times you are having with Ashtyn and the faith building experiences you are having. Your documentation of it all will be so priceless in years to come. I love you for having such a bright positive attitude. moments of depression are normal and human and make you REAL and relate-able. Keep up the good work and know that so many are praying for you!

  2. What an amazing story you have! My heart and prayers go out to you Ashtyn. I was diagnosed with Lymphoma when I was 23 years old. I had 3 very small little girls at the time and I was so scared. I can only imagine how you must be feeling right now at your tender age. I can tell you that I prayed every day, I read my scriptures, and talked to my savior just like I would an old friend. He never left my side! I found comfort in family and close friends. I trusted my doctors and nurses. I am so glad to tell you that after many chemotherapy treatments and much radiation therapy, I have been in remission from my cancer for 3 years now. What an amazing feeling it is to say that! I don’t know you personally but from what I have read, I can tell that you are strong! If you weren’t, then god wouldn’t have given you this trial. You were given this trial in your earthly life because you proved to be one of the STRONGEST spirits in the pre-existance. I know that our Lord and Savior is by your side and will help you fight until you prevail. Keep your spirits up sweetheart. I know it is easy to get down, when the chemo makes you feel plain awful. But I will be praying for you! Let me know when you reach your remission. That will be a day you never forget. Take care of yourself!

    Much love and support,
    Sara Nord

  3. Hi Ashtyn, my name is Sarah. I am a very old friend of your Aunt Trisha and Uncle Ryan. Trisha and I go way back to junior high school. I have been following your story since I heard you were diagnosed from Trisha. I just want you to know that you are an amazing and brave little girl and you are in my thoughts and prayers. I am proud to be a part of Ashtyn’s Army. I was happy to see you got to spend a few days at home. It was especially neat for me to see the pictures, because if you can believe it, I grew up in the house your family is living in now. What a small world. Keep on fighting your battle. I am so proud of you. I am also a nurse at Primary Children’s and I think about you every time I am there, wondering how you are doing. Good luck and I will continue to pray for you and your family.

  4. You two girls are so brave!!!!! Keep fighting!!! I’m praying for you Ashtyn! I miss u tons and am in awe that you are keeping a positive attitude. It is truly amazing. I am looking forward to that day where I can c u! Keep fighting girl!!!! ❤❤

  5. I am sorry to see you going back to the hospital. But the one thing that makes it all work out fine, is you. You have such a great attitude and positive outlook in your situation. I hope you are getting better and feeling better! You guys are such inspiring people, thank you for such great lessons on positivity in life once again. Love, Abigail