Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart

2/22/2007

Coping

I knew this new part of Ashley's story, the part that includes the cancer, would be difficult. The fear of the unknown, the stigma of the disease itself, the treatment(chemotherapy), the battle against the invading cells, the knowledge that once it was discovered in her body she will face it for her lifetime, and the wondering if she will be stronger than it is, are all difficult for Dave and I as parents. As difficult as all of this is on us it pales in comparison to the difficulties it brings to our Ashley. We are in the 3rd day of the first cycle and it is tough. Our Ashley is struggling. She aches, she hurts, she sweats, she can't sleep, she is confused. The high level of steroid is making her miserable. For the first 5 days of all 6 cycles she will be given this incredibly high dose. Ash is trying to cope with how she feels. She is crying constantly and screaming if I am not holding her. She will not allow anyone else to touch her or hold her. She is digging her thumbs into her eyes and pulling out her hair. She is tearing off her ostomy bag and pulling off her leads. She just doesn't understand why she feels so bad.

My coping mechanism at this point is: Diet Coke(yes, after being 6 weeks free from my drug of choice it has reared its ugly head back into my life, and I really don't care.) and Chocolate.

I cry with Ash while she cries. I cry for Ash while she drifts off to sleep. I cry for Ash as I dream of better days where she feels like playing with the baby in the mirror again. I cry and hope and pray that we will learn to cope with all that is going to happen to her in the next 18 weeks. When I think of how long this cycle of chemotherapy is it makes me cry even more. 126 days. We have to make it 126 days. She has to deal with all of this for 126 days. She has to stay free from infection and illness for 126 days. She has to beat this cancer for 126 days and then we will move on.

How I wish that cancer and transplant related issues where all that we were battling right now. Our list of "must deal withs" is long and seems to be getting longer and longer everyday. In the midst of all that goes on in Ashley's story real life continues for our family back home and as you all know real life is just that. It isn't always easy. It doesn't always go the way you had hoped or planned. The underlying reason that we are able to continue is this: We believe that He has a plan for our Ashley, for our Blake, for our Allie, for our family. Even though we may be caught off gaurd or caught by surprise I believe that He is not. We will learn to cope with all the changes, the tough days, and the time we are forced to spend apart. Thank you for lifting our family up in prayer. It means so very much.

11 Comments:

At 5:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So beautifully put...I think of you so often and yet you do not know me. I think and pray for Ashley so often. I pray she will start to feel better very soon.

 
At 5:03 PM , Anonymous Grandma said...

We are and will continue to pray constantly and we WILL get through all this with the help of God. He's on our side! Praying so hard for little Ash to feel better and to be able to cope during this tough time. Our Lord is merciful and He will carry her through this just like He has all along. I know it would be so much easier if we could just understand more, but it's good to know that He does and He's in control. Praying that your day is blessed in spite of it all. Allie is having a great birthday! She's all smiles! Love you, Grandma

 
At 6:10 PM , Blogger Robyn said...

I CANNOT imagine how incredibly hard this must be, but He can and I am praying that He carries you all through the 126 days.

 
At 7:24 PM , Anonymous Nikki said...

No words this time. Only continued prayers. And "I'm sorry." Even with a purpose, I am sorry it has to be so hard.

 
At 7:27 PM , Anonymous Morgan said...

Ashley,

I am sorry you feel so yucky. I pray for you and sometimes my class does too, when the teacher has time (for prayer requests.) I hope you feel better. I hope you can hold a stuffed animal or something. (I think she is refering to germs on the soft things - she remembers this from a long time back.) I love you.

 
At 8:31 PM , Blogger Erna said...

My heart really goes out to little Ashley tonight. Words cannot express how I felt as I read your post. We will continue to pray.

 
At 8:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You, Ashley, and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. You are such an example for the rest of us as you go through this relying on nothing but faith and prayer and hope. That takes courage and it is a courage that some of us don't muster even in the face of much smaller things. I am praying that God will be with your family and will show you the way, as He does for all who truely seek to know Him. God's ways are not man's ways and we cannot always know what He has planned for us, nor can we know how He seeks to accomplish his objectives. One thing we do know is that nothing is too big for God and we have seen this so many times through Ashely's Story. To God, 126 days is the blink of an eye. You can make it with God's help. May the all-knowing, always present God be with you and your family tonight...

 
At 8:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am praying always & sharing your Ashley with others. I pray tonight that rest will come even though it shouldn't. Jesus said to bring the little children to Him! Oh, Jesus we do tonight, please bring peace to baby girl. Please heal her God and spare her from further pain and discomfort and if not, please hold her in Your hand close to your heart. Bring your mercy and peace to this situation.

 
At 8:42 PM , Blogger jtcosby said...

I pray for you a sleepful night of sweet dreams of peace. And know you are not alone in your tears...I know it's not the same, but you are not alone.

 
At 8:54 PM , Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

Continuing to pray for Ashley and your family!

 
At 9:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trish:
How I wish I could be there to bring you an ice cold diet coke.
Annette has mono again and we are in our own little isolation at home. I'm afraid to come near you for fear of bringing something to you and Ashley and can't afford to bring anything back from hosptial home either.
Maybe this weekend when things look better, I can have Paul at home with the kids and I can atleast bring you up a fresh drink of pop and maybe a meal. I'll give you a call Saturday.
We are praying for your little family and hoping that those miracle chemo drugs are doing their jobs fighting the bad guys.
Keep the faith. Spring is coming and Ashley will soon be moving to your little apartment and you'll be able to hear the birds chirp.
Jill from Omaha.

 

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