Mind Over Matter

I had a short lecture with Ashtyn in the hospital when she woke up Monday. “When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling and sculpted David, he had a vision of what he wanted it to look like. He knew what it was going to look like before he even started. Ashtyn, you need to have a dream of what you want and then you can make it a reality. Without a vision of where you want to go, you aren’t going to go anywhere.” The short conversation ended. An hour later the doctor came into the room as he had done each afternoon over the weekend. “Ashtyn, what are your plans today?” he asked. “I don’t know. Just rest I guess.” I turned to her, “Seriously Ashtyn, what are your plans today? What are you going to do?” She thought about it for a few seconds and asked the doctor, “Can I go home?” Pleased and with a smile on his face he said, “Yes.”

The day before, as Ashtyn was curled up in her bed, sleeping deeply in the middle of the day with the blanket partially over her head, I asked the doctor, “What needs to happen for her to go home?” Pointing at the inanimate girl, he frankly said, “She just can’t be like this.” The following day, her simple question, “Can I go home?” was enough for him to observe that, “Ashtyn, you’re much more here today than you were yesterday. I see no reason why you need to stay in the hospital.”

straight to the pool from the hospital

straight to the pool from the hospital

Three hours later, she left the hospital and was taken directly to the pool. It was Memorial Day which is a day we love to spend at the swimming pool. Ashtyn wanted to go home but I insisted she spend some time outside. She spent 30 minutes sitting by the pool, not particularly happy, sad she couldn’t swim, and sick to her stomach. Shortly after getting home her Uncle Casey and Aunt Alisa came to visit. Alisa jumped on the trampoline with her daughters while Casey had Ashtyn sit on a camping chair next to him. Watching her adorable cousins would have normally brought much joy to Ashtyn, but she continued to not feel well. Casey and Alisa brought cookie dough and made cookies while Ashtyn slept on the couch. Their efforts for Ashtyn were perfect, but she was in a funk that was proving to be difficult to get her out of.

Ashtyn had an IV pole that hung a bag of formula with a tube that fed into a pump and then hooked to her NG tube. The goal was to have the formula infuse at a rate of 75 milliliters every hour, 24 hours a day, to give her the calories and nutrients needed. She couldn’t handle any more than 25 ml’s an hour, which was a problem in the hospital as well. At 5 a.m. she asked that I put the pump on hold so her stomach could calm down. Shortly after waking up Tuesday morning we talked about the importance of getting to the point where her stomach would handle 75 ml an hour. It had been 2 weeks since she first got sick from gallbladder stones and she hadn’t eaten well since. It was imperative that she got off the starvation path. I left the room and shortly came back as she was throwing up in a bag. Before we knew it, she had thrown up her NG tube. The tube went in her nose and out her mouth. My head raised to heaven as I shook my head asking God, “Why? After two weeks, why is she still throwing up? After two weeks, why does her stomach still not handle food? She needs food desperately. Losing more weight would be detrimental. Why? What is the purpose? So far, after each stumbling block, I have seen a purpose and blessing in all things. I honestly see no purpose in this.” She attempted to put the tube back down her throat and into her stomach. “Mom, if I eat all the calories I need, can I not have the tube? I learned my lesson about avoiding food. I will eat.” I took the tape off her face and pulled out the tube.

With the tube out, I immediately saw Ashtyn come to life. Her smile was back, her sense of humor was back, her energy was back. My question was answered. The purpose? It was time and Ashtyn was ready for the tube to come out. She had thrown up many times before with the tube in her nose. Why did she throw up the tube this time? It clearly was the right day for her to throw up the tube to get rid of it. I shouldn’t have doubted God. Before going to bed she shared this insight, “Before, I tried so hard to avoid the NG tube. When they told me I had to get one placed I thought, ‘well this means I’m not strong anymore.’ That one thought added to more and more thoughts, ‘I can’t do this’ and ‘I am not strong enough.’”

The tube pushed her over the edge and played a part in her losing her fight within. With the tube gone, she ate as much as she could during the day and didn’t throw up once. She ate more calories than she was getting with the NG tube. Much of the day she felt very full. Tonight before laying down, she sat on the bed with her legs crossed and head in her hands. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Hold on. Mind over matter.” Several minutes later she explained, “I was visualizing my stomach stretching out and my body absorbing all the stuff I ate today. When I do this, it’s weird. My stomach doesn’t feel as full. I can also see little baby cells maturing into bigger and better ones. This was one of the best days I have had in a long time.”

The tests of life are tailored for our own best interests, and all will face the burdens best suited to their own mortal experience. In the end we will realize that God is merciful as well as just and that all the rules are fair. We can be reassured that our challenges will be the ones we needed, and conquering them will bring blessings we could have received in no other way.” ~ Jeffrey R. Holland

Saturday: Feeling worn out and spent. Saturday: Feeling worn out and spent.

Sunday: Siblings trying to cheer Ashtyn up. Sunday: Siblings trying to cheer Ashtyn up.

Monday: Casey trying to cheer her up but continues to feel down. Monday: Casey trying to cheer her up but continues to feel down.

Tuesday:  Tubes out and feeling good. Tuesday: Tubes out and feeling good.

Tuesday night: Going to bed happy with positive thoughts and ready to fight. Tuesday night: Going to bed happy with positive thoughts and ready to fight.

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Lisa Parent says:

    Such a beautiful smile, Ashtyn! It was great to see you and your mom on KSL on Monday, too!

  • Nikki says:

    Ashtyn looks so beautiful and happy! Glad she is feeling better now!:)

  • McCaye says:

    hey i am doing a person of the year for Canyon View Elementary and i chose Ashtyn Poulson and i was wondering what she though and what made her tell herself to fight through it can you give me any information about her and email me a photo we have to write a 5 or more paragraph essay and draw a photo of them after that so i need a picture to look off of

  • Linda long says:

    Ashtyn you are a remarkable young lady.

  • Beverly Harbertson says:

    Love that beautiful smile❤
    You are such an inspiration and I
    know Heavenly Father is watching
    over you daily as you handle with grace
    every obstacle.

  • Tara says:

    Yay Ashton!!! This post brought tears to my eyes. You are a fighter and its so good to see you smiling and moving forward! Keeping fighting pretty girl! I think of you and pray for you often.

  • Josie Peterson says:

    Ashtyn! In that bottom picture from Tuesday night you can see the light in your eyes. You look gorgeous, luv. It really is mind over matter. The hard thing is, the mind is a very very powerful tool. My mom has run over 60 marathons after being hit by a car while running. She tells me, even with all the scars, bumps, and problems her body still has…the hardest part about running the marathon is convincing her brain she can do it. Silly brain. Thinking of you always.

  • Bonnie hansell says:

    Well, Miss Ashtyn,
    I am so thrilled to see these pictures of you smiling and at home!!! My heart swells with gratitude for your ability to make the rest of us so thankful to know YOU!!!!!! Keep digging deep for the strength to bulldoze through this difficult experience!!!! This message is to your incredible mom as well!! She amazes me everyday, just like you!

  • Amber and family says:

    Yay Ashtyn!!! That is awesome that you don’t need those tubes anymore!!

  • Lexi N. says:

    Hurray!!!! You don’t need that crappy NG tube anymore! I’m very proud of you for trying to eat some food! I’m glad your happy and feeling well! Oh, by the way, I saw the story about you on channel 5 news! it was very heartwarming and sad! I’m glad the words are getting out though. Also, you will never ever let your Army down! Your an amazing and strong person! Glad your feeling well! Stay strong!

  • Lily Sheehan says:

    Beautiful girl, beautiful smile, beautiful personality, beautiful heart

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