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beautiful Ashtyn

By | Daily Life, Uncategorized | One Comment

My good friend, Lisa Harbertson Photography, took these photos of Ashtyn soon after we were released from the hospital following her bone marrow transplant. We knew Ashtyn’s hair would grow back and we wanted to capture her as she was at that moment. I am so grateful for these photos of my brave girl.

If you like these photos of my sweet girl, go to Lisa Harbertson Photography’s FB page and give her more LIKES, she is an amazing photographer…
You can also find her website at www.lisaharbertson.com
Below are her words and photos about Ashtyn…

“This is Ashtyn and I am blessed and lucky to call her my friend. I have known her since she was born. My husband and I met her parents when we moved next door into our first apartment as newlyweds. 14 years ago! We became bosom friends. When Ashtyn and her 2 siblings were babies and toddlers they filled up a big hole in our hearts caused by infertility. We loved them like our own children. Years have passed and life is busy, distance in miles has come between us, we have had 4 children of our own (hole in heart is gone thank you to the heavens!) – but we will ALWAys have a special place in our heart for these children. When Ashtyn was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia this past February, our hearts were broken and humbled in prayer for this sweet girl. The things Ashtyn at 12 years old has endured will be more than many of us endure and overcome in a lifetime. Her current health and continued life has only come about with modern medicine and lots and lots and lots of prayers and faith. If you want to be inspired and strengthened, read her story in her own and her mother’s heartfelt words at Ashtyn’s Army.

Ashtyn was recovering from her chemo and bone marrow transplant and was barely home from the hospital when she asked me to capture her in photographs. I really have never felt more honored as a photographer. Not honored that I was asked, but honored that I had the privilege of spending time with her and photographing her at this significant moment in her life. She had beat cancer. Overcome the odds. Was living proof of miracles. When I was alone with her in the room I really felt like I was with an angel. I know that’s what an angel would be like. I asked her to write a few things on paper. She couldn’t write so I wrote for her. After all the pain, grief, and trial she’s endured, she told me to write, “God is Good.” What an example. She walked into my studio as feeble as a 95 year old lady. She had her throw up bag next to her the whole time. We took lots of breaks for rest. In the picture by the tree we were cheering and screaming “you beat cancer!!” – it took her all the energy she could muster to lift her arms up high. It was the middle of Summer and she was shivering with cold and needed a blanket. Yet! Yet here is this 12 year old girl, with a smile on her face and a true sparkle in her eyes. Angel Sparkle!! Like I said, lucky to know her, lucky to spend the evening with her.

I love you Ashtyn. You have made more of an impact on my life than you could ever know. Now you go girl and travel many more roads and watch many more sunsets! You Are Strong.”











Ashtyn’s Siblings Come To Visit

By | Daily Life, Looking Up, Triumphs, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Yesterday Ashtyn really wanted Chandler, Morgan, and Ethan to come and visit her.  She hadn’t seen them in 12 days and missed them terribly.  I think Ashtyn also needed to see them to help recognize her strength and ability to be apart from them for now.  My other kids needed to see Ashtyn healthy, happy, confident, strong, and optimistic so that they can feel the same.

The doctors and nurse were completely supportive when I asked if Ashtyn could have her siblings visit her. They said Ashtyn could go just outside the unit and spend as much time as she needed with her family as long as she kept her mask on.  There is a conference room adjacent to the lobby where she would be allowed to sit.  I asked the doctors if she could use the conference room which would protect her from all the people walking in and out of the unit.  They had no problem with me using the room.

At 5:30 pm Jason brought Chandler, Morgan, and Ethan up to the 4th floor.  We got security to unlock the large conference room.  Ashtyn did her hair for the first time since being in the hospital, got her shoes on, put the mask on her face, and walked with her IV pole out of the unit into the conference room.  Their greeting was quiet.  We hugged, talked, and ate pizza.  Being in the conference room was such a blessing and changed everything.  We had privacy to be ourselves.  Since there wasn’t anyone else in the room besides us, I was fine with Ashtyn taking her mask off.  In the medical field my decision was completely against logic.  She has no ability to fight illnesses.  I wouldn’t want her to fight a cold or flu for several months just because she got sick from someone else.  However, with my motherly feelings, Ashtyn needed to have that mask off and be herself for the moment. My kids needed to see her without the mask as well.  They needed to see Ashtyn for who she really is:  A strong, confident girl.

After 2 hours Ashtyn was ready to go back to her room.  She cried with the reality that she couldn’t go home with them.  After hugging them she said, “Let just do this.”  She put her mask on, said goodbye, and walked back to her room.  Ashtyn felt empty.  She felt sick and nearly threw up.  It didn’t take her long to regain composer.  I have an previous neighbor who gave Ashtyn many small little presents that she is allowed to open daily when she feels she needs to.  She started opening one gift after another.  After opening over 10 gifts she said, “this will be my last one.”  The gifts filled some of the void.

Ashtyn had the strength within to enjoy the rest of the evening relaxing in bed watching Good Luck Charlie and eating Cup of Noodle soup and Cheetos.  She is determined to do what it takes to fight her cancer so she can go home.  She knows that every day in the hospital is another day closer to going home.  Today Ashtyn ate 1600 calories, had the energy to go the entire day without a nap, and was able to comfort her brothers and sister.  Right before bed Ashtyn told me she was glad her siblings came so she could show them that she is doing well. She’s my hero.

Thank you to Casey for using his photography skills to document our evening.

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