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Archive for the 'Ashtyn’s Fight' Category

Prayers for Ashtyn

Monday, July 13th, 2009

These are the types of posts I hate to write.

In mid-June, my dear friend, Kalyn, came to me with heartbreaking news.  An almost golf-sized bump had appeared - and was causing pain - on her 8 year-old niece's left leg.  It was a Saturday, so - wasting no time - they brought her to the emergency room.

Hopeful, but not optimistic, the doctors informed them all that they did not like what they saw.  Further tests were ordered and before any of them knew it, Ashtyn, her father, Bennett, and her paternal grandmother were making a late night trip up to St. Jude Children's Hospital for an early morning check-in on June 24th.

However, it was not until July 1st, after more tests, scans, and eventually a biopsy, that the doctor's confirmed everyone's worst fears.  Ashtyn had a bone cancer known as osteosarcoma; a, sadly, common cancer in children.

Thought I had met her a few times before, the first time I actually got to spend some time with Ashtyn was for a couple of hours at my old job.  Kalyn, who was on maternity leave at the time, had stopped by the office so that everyone could see her new baby, Ryder.  Ashtyn was tagging along with her favorite aunt that day and only moments after meeting me, already I was her friend.  This must have been so, as she soon gifted me with the very serious charge of watching her "baby" - a little, infant doll that appeared to be about the same age as Ryder and that she told me she was "babysitting" for a friend - while she "took care of some things".

"I'll be right back," she informed me.  "I have already fed her but if you need to feed her again, just don't forget to burp her."

I promised her I would guard the little "baby" with my life, as she hurried off to run her "errands"; which consisted, mainly, of visiting a couple of nearby and empty cubicles - which magically became stores - and visiting with Mrs. Edna, a co-worker who was the "mother hen" of all of us young women that worked back in that area.  After taking care of her to-do list, Ashtyn returned and I handed her "baby" back to her.  She queried me as to if the infant has behaved and whether or not I had had to feed her.  Business now taken care of, she sat down to visit with me as if we were two women chatting over tea; all the while she held on to the doll who was - she told me - sleeping.

Besides that absolutely beautiful and wonderous imagination, I learned in short order that Ms. Ashtyn was not only whip-smart, but sweet, playful, charming, and strong-willed.  There was no hint of shyness or timidity in the young girl who marched right up to me - a veritable stranger though she knew me as her aunt's friend - and asked me to watch her baby doll for her.  There was certainly no un-surety or lack of self-confidence in this chipper child who I sat and had a conversation with as if she were much older than her years.  I remember smiling inwardly, too, at the edge of no-nonsense practicality and ability to lead that I saw in her and that all eldest children possess; myself included.  No doubt she was a fierce protector of her younger brother, Ethan; as much as his ally as she was his boss when she felt the need to set him straight.

She absolutely charmed me; only spending a couple of hours with this child will show you not only how warm-hearted and intelligent she is, but how very strong.  No doubt born with a headstrong will already coursing through her veins (I've met her aunt and can attest it is there in spades), this little girl has also had to learn how to be strong in the face of adversity; the kind no child should ever have to experience and all at the hands of a mother that is, the only kind way I can put it, unmentionable.

Yet perhaps the hardships that woman has put her children through; the pain that Ashtyn has, for a few years now, been old enough to experience and be truly affected by, was a somewhat twisted blessing in disguise.  For it is that very strength she has garnered from her broken, little heart - combined with the iron will and take-no-crap fighting spirit she was born with - that will see her through this nightmare she has found herself in.

Ashtyn is a born fighter; I believe this with all of my heart.  She has - if anyone does - the spirit, the tenacity, the wits, and courage to see herself through this dark time in her life; a life - I fully and wholeheartedly believe - will be long and rich.  This cancer is a bump in the road - maybe even a large pothole - and it is one she will have to go over or through to get past as it cannot be walked around; it is not, however, the end of the road for her.  Not by any means.

I know this little girl can win this fight; I know she can survive this battle with cancer and be all the stronger for her victory over it.  That does not mean she does not need your thoughts and your prayers, though.  As able a fighter as she is, no one should go into battle alone or without armor and weapons at the ready.  We can help pad her armor and sharpen her weapons with our prayers; our constant thoughts of her assure that she is not alone and we can ask for powerful angels to fight at her side.  I ask that you add Ashtyn to your nightly prayers and daily meditations, that you include her name on your church or religious community's prayer lists and ask others to do the same.  I pray that you, along with me, send your Love and Strength and Hope to this beautiful, sweet, young girl - send her Light to illuminate her way on the dark journey her soul is now traveling and and Peace to comfort her throughout the epic battle her body is now waging with itself.

Stay strong, sweet Ashtyn.  You are not alone and we know you will persevere!

Check back here periodically for updates on Ashtyn, filed under the category "Ashtyn's Fight".