I am amazed as I look back on the past week. Saturday and Sunday I asked for anyone who could to fast and pray. We wanted Ashtyn’s rash to go away, her throat to feel better, and her white blood cell count to go up. When I woke up Monday morning why was I disappointed that her rash wasn’t gone, her throat wasn’t healed, and her white blood cells weren’t where I wanted them? That’s silly. Why would I not think that even with God’s help, her body still needed time to recover? Of course her body should take its natural course to heal and the healing process absolutely started Monday.
I am so grateful it did take time for the healing process to take place. On Monday Ashtyn wasn’t ready physically or emotionally to go home. From Monday through Friday night, Ashtyn’s rash did heal to where she is now comfortable in her skin. The rash is no longer itchy and “ugly.” Her skin has returned back to its normal color, other than her lower legs which have almost cleared up. From Monday through Friday, Ashtyn’s throat went from not being able to swallow a pill to eating burritos, corn flakes, cake, and pickles. On Monday all her nutrition and medications were being given through her IV. By Friday night she was ready to be completely off anything IV. From Monday through Friday, she went from having such a difficult time even walking to the bathroom to not needing assistance when walking in the halls. Monday through Friday, Ashtyn went from not wanting phone calls with her siblings or visitors at her bedside to enjoying socializing. Monday through Friday, she went from being solemn to laughing, joking, and smiling. I have not seen Ashtyn be her true self since she got admitted to the hospital. However the happy Ashtyn is back. She is sassy, makes jokes, and laughs at herself. That’s my Ashtyn. A girl who will walk out the hospital doors and embrace the few weeks she has at home. And when the time comes, she will be ready to return to the hospital and kick butt again.
Your prayers, fasting, support, and positive vibes during the past week have brought an incredible change in Ashtyn’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Blog posts from the past week included lessons we learned about faith and patience. I wrote about her emotional and social progress. Ashtyn also wrote a post sharing personal feelings about her experience this month and her testimony of God. It really was a week of miracles. A week I know will give us lasting strength and perspective.
Looking back during our stay at the hospital, I am so grateful for how her first course of chemo went. That sounds odd. How can I be grateful that she had the worst side effects from chemo, the worst case of mucositis, the worst effects from medications, the worst body rash, an ICU visit, more platelet and red blood cell transfusions than I kept up with, and the slowest recovery? Well, next time we will all be better prepared for the challenges that will come. In 37 days Ashtyn faced severe physical pain from all her body went through, emotional pain accepting the reality of cancer, and spiritual pain feeling angry at God and learning He will never abandon her. She truly is so much stronger today than when she first walked into the hospital. After this month, I have no doubt she can get through anything the future holds for her.
Her white blood cells have not improved to where Ashtyn can go home yet. We are just holding onto what we have learned so far. Stay faithful, optimistic, and patient having hope and trust that God has a merciful plan.