The doctors came to Ashtyn’s room this morning, as they always do, to discuss the plan of the day. What are the concerns? How is her status? What changes need to be made? Everyone was pleased with how well she is doing and noticed her huge improvement. No changes were made. Stay the course.
For eleven days the oncologists have cultured all possible blood, urine, stool, nasal, throat, and anything else they could test to determine why she got so sick. The infectious disease department was involved to make sure she was being covered by every antibiotic, anti viral, and anti fungal medication possible. Surgery attendings were involved monitoring her appendix. ENT was included to rule out fungus in her sinuses. Integrated medicine was there to provide pressure point and massage therapy. She had physical and occupational therapy working on strength. Dermatology took a look at her scalp for a questionable mole and will be looking at the rash she has all over her torso tomorrow. I wish I could write a list of all the viral, bacterial, or fungal infections they have tested for. I don’t have the list and most of them are words I’m not familiar with anyway. Every single test has come back negative for any sign of infection. Remarkable. But not surprising.
February 13th I posted “Nowhere I’d Rather Be.” It was the night before the doctors started doing blood work to test for infections. In the post I wrote: The Stake President gave her a blessing. The blessing started out sounding generic to what she was in need of… Soon though the blessing didn’t seem generic to me anymore. His voice changed and with power he said, “I command these infections and illnesses to leave your body.”…Of course she still has cancer. That wasn’t what he commanded to leave. I believe she did have an infection of some sort, and whatever infection she had was healed using the power of God.”
That blessing has come to be a tremendous help for Ashtyn. Her body has had such a severe reaction to the chemo. Even her healthcare team commented that her body was hit abnormally hard. What a blessing it has been to be infection free, so her body could conserve energy to handle the effects of chemo without having to fight and deal with a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. “In a priesthood blessing a servant of the Lord exercises the priesthood, as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, to call upon the powers of heaven for the benefit of the person being blessed.” Dallin H. Oaks
Today was a great day, by my standards. Ashtyn is on the road to getting back to “normal.” For over a week all she did was lay in a quiet, dark room and keep everyone busy with all that she was going through. Today she was awake and alert for a few hours at a time. Her naps were calm and restful. By the end of the day her temperatures ranged from 98.7 to 100.5. Her nausea was gone which meant there was no throwing up. We played two games of UNO with occupational therapy while we listened to music. She was able to talk a lot more and I was able to understand what she was saying. When walking to the restroom and back she no longer was shaky and unsteady on her feet. Ashtyn had energy to be a little irritated. She doesn’t like that her mouth and throat hurt. All she wants to do is be able to swallow her spit and a cup of cold water without excruciating pain. Ashtyn voiced her opinions today when things weren’t where she thought they should be or when she wanted something. When told to do things she didn’t want to do, she resisted more. Her irritation is a good sign to me. The outward fight is in her. Today she didn’t do anything abnormal. She did make me scared one time. When getting a red blood cell transfusion, her heart rate went down to around 70. A normal heart rate is generally 60-100 for a child her age. Her heart rate had been high for days so when it dropped to normal I got nervous. Her heart rate dropping to 70 just meant that her heart wasn’t having to work as hard as previously. One thing has remained the same. Ashtyn wants to go home. She is on the road to getting there and I am so proud of her.
It’s very inspiring watching Ashtyn overcome hurdles. I know she will be faced with one after another. Rest will always follow, whether for a short moment or an extended period of time. We will then be faced with another hurdle to learn from. One thing we will always keep in mind, “Truly, things always work out! Despite how difficult circumstances may look at the moment, those who have faith and move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.” Gordon B. Hinckley