She Is Ready For The Transplant

Ashtyn has finished her second day in the hospital finishing up her preparation for her bone morrow transplant that will occur tomorrow. She is experiencing the effects of her eight previous radiation treatments and does not feel well. Nausea comes and goes. Sometimes it’s a mild, lingering feeling. Other times the nausea comes as an intense wave. All in all, she has a generalized “icky icky” feeling. Her will-power is impressive. Most of the time she can breathe through the nausea as I sit behind her with one hand on her forehead and one hand on her stomach. She has only thrown up twice in the last two days. She continues getting nutrition through her NG tube in the form of formula. The longer she can tolerate feedings in her stomach the better.

Supporting her with what she needs

Supporting her with what she needs

Medications she is currently taking include: Prevacid and Reglan to help with digestion. Dexamethasone, Ativan, Benadryl, Phenergan, and Zofran to help with nausea. Flagyl to treat her current C-Diff diagnosis. Acyclovir to keep her cold sore virus from flaring up. Mesna to help prevent damage to her bladder from the chemo that was given. Pentamidine was given to help prevent a certain type of pneumonia seen in immunocompromised patients. She also received a high daily dose of the chemo drug cyclophosphamide for two days. A transfusion of IVIG (intravenous immune globulin) was given which is a collection of antibodies that may help to prevent some viral and bacterial infections. Cyclosporine is a medication she gets to prevent rejection of Chandler’s new immune system. It will be given to Ashtyn for roughly a year and stopped when there is clear evidence that rejection is no longer a threat.

Done with radiation

Done with radiation

Last chemotherapy

Last chemotherapy

In about five days she will start feeling the complete effects of the radiation, chemo, lack of marrow, and absence of white blood cells in her body. The doctors and nurses will spend their time giving supportive care to prevent and treat infections, side effects of treatments, and complications. They will deal with side effects of medications, radiation, chemotherapy, and neutropenia (low white blood cells). They will support her while she is deficient in nutrition, experiences pain from mucositis, deals with high blood pressures from excess fluid, and other possible issues with her lungs related to fluid and/or narcotic effects. They will give red blood cell/platelet transfusions and monitor for reactions. Medications will be given to try to manage bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, nausea, transplant rejection, pain, liver stress, and high blood pressure. They will give care in multiple ways as we all wait for her body to accept Chandler’s stem cells and build a functional marrow producing the healthy blood cells she needs.

I will communicate with hospital staff and try to be in tune with her needs. I will spend my time taking her to the restroom often, helping her with mouth care four times a day, giving her a bed bath and keeping her lotioned once a day, and making sure her room is clean and hands are washed. I will lay with her, tickling her arms, face, stomach, and back.

Ashtyn will watch Disney movies, listen to calming music and the audio book “The Candy Shop War”, and sleep. She will spend her time being patient while she endures the things that lay before her. I sense a powerful inner strength about her. We feel peace that she is ready and has all the tools she needs.

D&C 84:88 “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”

Last night at homeLast night at home
First day in the hospitalFirst day in the hospital

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Lisa Parent says:

    As I read the names of all the medications you are taking, and what they are for (I can’t even pronounce any of them!), I was struck by how blessed we are to live at this time on earth. Someone had to figure out which medications helped which symptoms, through a lot of trial and error. The technology that is helping you probably seems like a curse sometimes, but what a true blessing it is to live now when it is available.
    I am praying for your nausea today!

    • Suzanne says:


      I often think about exactly what you wrote! The trial and error, and research that has gone before is remarkable. It has allowed Ashtyn the blessing to do what she is doing. It is fascinating to think of what has been figured out over the years. It is also humbling to think of the cancer pioneers that have suffered, paving the way for Ashtyn. We are extremely blessed to live in these days.
      Tell your entire family how much we appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your support and for being a part of this. I look forward to hanging out with your family again.
      With much love,

  • JoAnn Frost says:

    Our favorite little lady who has shown us how to ‘keep the faith’. Miss Ashtyn, your name is similar to my now, big girl Ashley. Great name with history of challenges at a very young age,’ Alexander the Great’ is now in good company with more favorite Great fighters. Battlegrounds different but just as life changing. Love your giant heart…we will petition the Lord on your behalf. Blessings gma frost

  • Anonymous says:

    Overwhelmed but calm…….praying with every breath! Please keep us updated! Loves to the Poulsen crew!! WE CAN and WILL DO HARD THINGS!!!!!!

  • Sheri Daniel says:

    Ashtyn is also a cancer pioneer. Because of her unique cancer the doctors are learning from her. It is comforting to know that all she is going through could help another child in the future.

  • Erin Balmanno says:

    Thinking of you all and saying many prayers for you! Hugs!!

  • Carolyn Gulbransen says:

    I know this is about Ashytn, but I was wondering how Chandler is doing through all of this. I am sure he does not have to go through as much as Ashytn has gone through. I just want to let him know how brave he is for doing this for his sister and Good Luck to both of you.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Carolyn,
      Chandler wrote how he felt in the post “The Siblings Side.” He still feels the same. Brave and thrilled to help his sister. Thank you for thinking of them 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    Praying for you today, Ashtyn!!! Be brave. This is just the beginning of good things to come….

  • Gigi B says:

    Precious Ashtyn and Family,
    I remain in awe and humility as you willingly allow us to be part of your journey! Thank you for the opportunity to serve you (many of us from a distance) and to witness your courage, grace, faith, and strength as you fight this rare form of leukemia…truly, you are an angel! Wish that I could have participated in your BBQ, that must have been very special for all who were able to attend.
    Continue to use your great mind and envisioning the good cells building and growing and taking up residence in your body – what a great brother you have for sharing his cells 🙂
    I love you Ashtyn! Many times in my life I have come to love someone I didn’t know simply through the blessing of prayer. As I have prayed for you and yours, I have come to know of your great worth and His overwhelming love for each of you. God bless you today, tomorrow, and always.
    Gigi B.

  • Erin Smith says:

    We love you so much! I cannot imagine what you are feeling right now, and what you are about to embark… WE MUST CHOOSE HOPE OVER FEAR! My prayers are with you as they always have been… there’s so much love.

  • Lisa says:

    Wow! So much to endure and experience. You do it so well Ashtyn. You ARE doing hard things. We are praying for you and thinking of you always.

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