Monday night Ashtyn fell asleep submerged in depression. I worried about how she would feel when she woke up in the morning.
Around 1:30 pm I realized there were three things that needed to be worked on today: 1. Ashtyn needed a shower and hadn’t had it in her to take one. 2. She hasn’t eaten well since being in the hospital and I knew it was important for her to eat. 3. Mucositis will always be a concern and I wanted to get a head start keeping it under control. When my concerns became apparent to me, my heart burned knowing I couldn’t help her on my own. I needed to call upon Ashtyn’s Army to join me in petitioning her needs to God. So I posted her specific needs right away on facebook and the website to get the word out. Though she has to be woken up every 2 hours to go to the restroom, she quickly would fall back asleep. Soon after the posts were up, Ashtyn woke from her night’s sleep at 2 pm.
My brother in law, Wendy’s husband Dave, walked unexpectedly through the doors right as Ashtyn was waking up. Dave hadn’t been able to visit Ashtyn yet and he “just so happened” to come right then. After greeting Dave I turned to Ashtyn and doubting she’d have an answer asked “What do you want for lunch?” It didn’t take her long to say, “A big chocolate muffin.” I asked, “Are those on the menu?” She said, “No they only have blueberry. 7-11 has them. And I’d like a Slurpie too.” Dave was quick to volunteer his services. An hour later Dave came back with a blueberry muffin, 2 chocolate donuts, a burrito-just in case, and a Slurpie. He also had a greek gyro lunch for me. And yes, he did have a chocolate muffin that he found at another store since 7-11 did not have them. Ashtyn had the desire to eat and she tried, she really did. ¼ of the donut was all she could do.
Dave is part of the orchestra. Today he was there to make Ashtyn smile. He also came at the right time to get food for Ashtyn and me. I hadn’t eaten yet and wonder if I would have made my first trip down to the cafeteria to pick myself up some lunch. Probably not.
Side note: I have gotten messages from family and friends concerned about me and my health. Because of the concern and reminders, I am trying to eat enough and take vitamins. I want to be healthy and strong for Ashtyn.
After Dave left I talked to Ashtyn about taking a shower. It was 3:30 p.m. She wanted to relax and take it at 5 p.m. However by 4:30 p.m. she was exhausted and fell asleep. The nurse woke her up at 6:30 p.m. and when approached to take a shower she made no fuss. Without argument she calmly allowed for a shower and used a shower chair to rest. Success!
Once Ashtyn was clean, lotioned, and comfortable in bed, there were medications to be given. With effort Ashtyn drank a small cup of Jamba Juice for dinner. She worked at drinking down her pills. She did her part, her stomach did not. She threw up everything in the blue plastic bag she keeps near her. My brother Jared and his wife Nanette had just arrived to see Ashtyn in her struggle. Like so many of you, Jared has spent hours thinking, praying, and researching ways to help Ashtyn. He came to visit Ashtyn with a purpose and had a mission for her to do: “Ashtyn, you need some fire. You need to be mad and tell your body that you are in control. Tell your body what to do. You don’t let people push you around so don’t let your body push you around either. You need to be mad and happy. How? Be mad at your body and be happy that you have the choice of how you are going to react. Ash, it’s probably going to get worse. Like a roller-coaster Its going to get worse, and then better, and then worse, and you have to fight through it and remember that it will get better. Promise me, Ashtyn, that you will get mad and fight this. We’ll be mad together and we’ll be happy together. Be mad, keep praying to ask for help, fight, and be happy. And then you’ll get home and be normal. I bet it will be 6 months. That seems like a long time but Nanette’s been pregnant for 8 months and it will go by fast.”
He then played this song for her.
When I said that God’s hand will be shown daily in Ashtyn’s life, I meant it. Yesterday was a day of grieving and depression. Today was a day to start preparing. Without knowing it, Ashtyn is preparing spiritually and emotionally for the rough times ahead. She is inwardly stronger and braver today. God is helping build her inner strength. He is helping her prepare for the next battle. There will be many battles to win. Some will be easier than others. I don’t know when the next huge battle will come but I do know she will be prepared and she will triumph.
This experience has been so tender. So special. So touching. As I listened to calm music while rubbing Ashtyn’s feet as she went to bed, I felt so honored and blessed to be by her side. I believe Ashtyn chose before coming to earth the plan that was in store for her. I believe she agreed to come to earth with the assignment to conquer cancer with courage, strength, and faith. I believe she willingly accepted the call to have cancer, knowing it was a sacrifice she was making in order to help others. She will be able to teach patience, faith, trust, compassion, optimism, service, love, and charity. She will be able to inspire people to care about family and strangers alike. She will be able to help others recognize their talents, purposes, and strengths. She will soften hearts and bring families together, bond friendships, and rally communities. She will help others recognize that individuals can change lives and by so doing can change the world. She will be an inspiration for all to come unto Christ. And because of her sacrifice and a job well done, she will be blessed.
“I know you are getting many many messages but I just want you to know how much you and your beautiful daughter have changed my life. I worked at Brighton Camp this summer and was so grateful I could know your daughter. I volunteer at Primary’s and hopefully will be stopping by soon. I have gotten to know many children who are fighting with this horrible disease and I understand it is not an easy road. Through hearing about the heartache sweet Ashtyn and your family are going through I have had an answer to my prayers on what I want to do with my life and how I want to help children with cancer. Mainly I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts and your faith with this army of people. I have my mission call but it wasn’t until reading your blog that my faith has increased enough to feel confident in my decision to serve a mission. I know you have many people to help out but if you need someone to organize medical supplies or just clean your house, I would love to help. I have been praying and fasting my heart out as I know many of the other Brighton staff members are doing the same. With all my love! Karen”