Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart

12/08/2007

Stepping Lightly but Smiling BRIGHTLY!

After 12 weeks, 3 long months of illness, our sweet Ashley Kate has finally managed to bring her output under the "magic" goal. Now I realize that I must step lightly because things change so quickly with Ash, but I can't help but smile. She looks AMAZING! She is happy and playful, silly and ornery, beautiful and delicious!(I so badly want to show you how good she looks, but my camera is broken and the weather won't allow me to run to Target to get another one yet.) I am beginning to feel encouraged and it makes my heart happy. If Ash can continue on this trend then we might actually make it home.

Blake and Allie are so happy about her poop success this weekend. They know that all decisions for the future of our family center around the amount of poop that comes from Ashley Kate's stoma. I know it sounds funny and perhaps a little disgusting, but that is the reality of our life and each and every phone conversation we have begins with the question, "How much did she poop today." If you have never seen the photos of Ashley Kate's first few weeks back in Omaha then you may be confused about our constant postings and talk of stool output, stomas, and replacement fluids(the "sock" video shows what her stoma looks like). I am going to try and explain what we mean.

After her transplant Ashley Kate came out with a stoma and an ileostomy. There is an actual loop of her small intestine that comes out of the opening(the stoma) that was created on the right side of her abdomen. This is where her GI doctor enters her bowel in order to take biopsys. There are two openings in the loop. You can actually place your fingers inside of them if need be. She stools or poops out of the proximal(the top) opening. The distal opening(or the bottom opening) is the section of bowel that leads to her colon. At this time her colon is not functional because of the openings that allow all of the stool to come out of the proximal end. The colon is the large intestine and it is responsible for absorbing the water or fluid from her stool. Since it does not function yet(it will once her take down operation is performed which will be sometime in the far future because of her episode of rejection), her stool output is liquid and is emptied from the ostomy bag into a cup. Her diapers only contain urine. We measure and calculate the amount of stool that is caught and collected in the ostomy bag that encases the stoma daily. The number we end up with tells us a lot about the grafted organ. A high stool output indicates that something is not right. It could be a lack of absorption, a viral infection, or rejection. It is this figure, the amount of poop that she puts out, that decides when we return home. I never imagined our lives would one day be determined by the amount of poop our youngest child would make. This is why we find ourselves stepping lightly.


I share all of that so you might understand why we talk so much about ostomy output in this journal. Basically it all revolves around poop, and although I know it may not be proper conversation for most families it seems to always be our topic of the day. The kids are so used to it they don't even giggle anymore. They ask the question, "How much did she stool today?" without even breaking a smile. They are so used to ostomy care they could be trusted to change the appliance on their own by this point.

Today we are smiling brightly about the lower output, but still stepping lightly so we don't naively "slip" into believing all is well. Nevertheless we are encouraged and we are thankful. I realize this post was literally "full of it", but still I thought it important to let you know how prayers are being answered in this area for our sweet Ashley Kate. Have a great evening. Trish

25 Comments:

At 5:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOOOOHOOO LESS POO !!! HEE HEE!!! PRAISE THE LORD!! That is great news!! So happy to that you are smiling today. Can't wait to see Ashley's smile again!! :o)

Still Praying,
Lisa

 
At 5:43 PM , Anonymous Michelle said...

WOO HOO!!! What great news! I can see your smile all the way to Tulsa!! God bless you all and here's to a great day! GO GOD!!

 
At 6:13 PM , Blogger Keri Ann said...

This is GREAT news! I'm smiling here in Kentucky right along with you! I've never been bothered in the least by talk of poop or other bodily functions (much to the dismay of my more reserved mother!), so none of the explanation grossed me out. On the contrary, it's very interesting to me, and helps me to even better understand the importance of Ashley's stool output, and how it all happens.

Take care tonight, Trish. And until you get a new camera, I'll just picture that sweet, pink little pickle wearing the biggest bow I can imagine.... :-)

 
At 6:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't have explained it better myself :o) Who would have thought an entire journal entry about poop could be so enlightening. We DO love poop here in Omaha, but as you say, less is usually better. Happy to hear you are dealing with a more "normal" amount these days. Actually doing a little bit of giggling about the whole concept myself right now, but praying the trend continues and you can go home soon. Try and stay warm--it's COLD out there! (I've actually made myself some potato soup and am about to curl up on the couch with some hot chocolate and a book.) Have a good night. ~Amanda

 
At 6:40 PM , Anonymous dee buchanan said...

Yippeee!! Praying for continued success in the "poo" department! Praying you home by Christmas?!?!?!!?!?!?!?

 
At 7:52 PM , Anonymous Lori said...

Wonderful news!!! I know you all are smiling. Thanks for sharing the good news with us. Praying for all of you.
God bless,
Lori

 
At 7:57 PM , Anonymous Courtney said...

What a great reason to smile:) I am so happy for you and the positive week you have had! Still praying you home for Christmas!

 
At 8:28 PM , Blogger Gretchen said...

Praise God!!!!! I'm so glad that Ashley is pooping less. :) Praising Him and praying you home, Trish. xxxooogretchen

 
At 8:30 PM , Anonymous April said...

Who knew that we could all be so happy about poop! lol.

This is terrific news, Trish...like a little Christmas miracle of sorts. Praying that this is just a sign of wonders to come...

 
At 8:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so happy to hear Ashley is doing better.
Your family is beautiful, in many ways. Praying for you all.
Krista

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

I am so thankful that Ashley's output is down which means less is more, less is great, less is what we are all praying for, less means getting to come back home sooner rather than later. YES, LORD.
We understand that she may not be "out of the woods" yet but she's certainly headed in the right direction.

So sorry about your camera, Trish.
We do miss the great pictures of Ashley when you cannot post them but we surely don't want you to take any chances with that nasty weather so we will wait. Just show us a lot of them when you do get a chance to take more.

Even though your family is separated right now I hope you all are having a really good weekend.
Love and prayers~~~Janiece

 
At 9:21 PM , Blogger Krista said...

Wonderful News--I hope you get that Christmas Wish or should I say Answered PRAYER!!!!

 
At 10:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha ha ha. This post was hilarious. Good to know your feeling giddy enough to share poop stories in funny fashion. That says a lot about how much things must be looking up and I'm ecstatic. I am so happy for Ashley. (Ooh, something improper just popped into my head but I couldn't help it - about her having less c*ap to put up with now. Sorry, it just came to me.) Anyway, I really really really really hope ya'll make it home for Christmas. The kids and I spent extensive time in prayer about it tonight. - Nikki

The SIL one. Blogger doesn't let me sign the same anymore?

 
At 10:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAY!!! Go Go Go little Ashley!! Oops or maybe not too much right? ;o)!!!
This is wonderful news Trish! I know you and Dave and the kids are just ecstatic! Well prayers are still going up in abundance from this little home in Oklahoma! Praying Ashley continues on her path to Texas! Praying that you all may stay uplifted! Such awesome news FINALLY! I am so excited! Prayers, Prayers & MORE Prayers...... Thank you Jesus for this blessing, for this miracle!
~Okla

 
At 11:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such great news...treading lightly with it. Praying heavily for that Christmas miracle.

Kristi in Texas

 
At 12:07 AM , Blogger Sunny Day Tag Girl said...

Oh so GLAD!!!! Christmas is the time for miracles!

 
At 8:36 AM , Blogger Sun said...

WOW this sounds great! Still praying! Sunshine

 
At 9:02 AM , Blogger Sarah's In the Midst of It said...

Hooray for less poop! With two little boys of my own, poop is never far from the conversation. Even little Addie laughs when one of them burps. I'm determined to make her a lady, but her brothers have other thoughts!

I'm so glad to read of Ashley's improvement--I'm praying with you for a trip home soon, for good! :)

 
At 10:20 AM , Blogger julie said...

What fabulous news, Trish. Praying you get home for Christmas.

Blessings,
Julie

 
At 11:08 AM , Blogger Laurie said...

LESS POOP IS EXCELLENT!!! Hey, any mommy knows how they watch it for signs of change in their babies. This is great news and I know it is an answer to the prayers of so many. God understands POOP and He knows Ashley's needs to slow down and show the doctors she is healing. Praying for her intestines to heal beautifully in these days. Smiling and ornery, you have to love this little girl to pieces. I am so thankful for this answer to prayer. Keep your HOPES high for going home Trish, let all of us out here PRAY YOU HOME FOR CHRISTMAS AND FOR GOOD!!!:) Keep your eyes on Jesus, He has His eyes on you all.

Love you and ((HUGS))
Laurie in Ca.

 
At 2:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't mind the "poop talk" at all! It's great news. Praying for for further good news soon.
Heidi in CT

 
At 3:29 PM , Blogger Elizabeth said...

That's awesome news! I understand you not wanting to get too ecstatic but I bet you really want to jump for joy!
We are still praying you home for Christmas!
God Bless,
Elizabeth

 
At 3:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

we will take any good news you want to share with us! We are rejoicing and continuing to pray ...in central Il
anxious for pictures whenever you get them! :0)

 
At 9:28 PM , Blogger Amy T said...

Yay! That's great news! Praying for even less and even better news soon!

 
At 10:18 PM , Blogger cindy/barron said...

way to go Ashley with the less poopie thing keep up the good work.Hear you both r a little under the weather praying for you both. Ashley i am finishing up with something that i have been making for you , i will get it in the mail this week if i can get your and mom address again i hope you like it.

 

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