When you look at this beautiful girl, would you know that 9 years ago, Ashton was fighting a Battle that no parent EVER wants to see their child go through at the age of 3 1/2?
Ashton had what is called Embryonal Rhabomyosarcoma.
Just wait until you read about her story::
Once Upon a time on May 30th, 2010, My sister Natalie decided to take her daughter, Ashton, to the Pediatrician because Natalie noticed that Asthon's Tummy was feeling harder than usual and that it looked lopsided.
Natalie decided to take Ashton to the Pediatrician and ended up being sent to Evanston Hospital for an Ultra Sound and then a CT scan.
THEY FOUND A TUMOR.
They didn't know what kind or where it originated from, so then they went to Childrens Hospital in Illinois for surgery and to get a biopsy to decide how to take care of the Tumor.
Natalie had one hour to go home, and to pack for a 3 day stay at the hospital. The Doctors wanted to take a piece of the tumor to test it so they could decide what to do next.
They would either take it all out or do Chemo to shrink it down.
During her Surgery, the Doctors called in Ashtons parents, Natalie and Dan, and told them that they ( the doctors ) are going to take the whole thing out.
It was the size of a Cantelope.
Two hours later, Ashton was all sewn up. This all happened on a Wednesday and Dan, Natalie and Ashton stayed at the hospital until Saturday for Ashton to heal. Prayers were said 24/7 for Ashtons healing and recovery. She had a NG-tube, An IV in both arms, an epidural in her spine, a catheter in her bladder. She had tunes and wires coming out every area of her body.
The doctors told Natalie and Dan that they had to cut 5% of her bladder out because the tumor was sitting on it and they didn't want any cells or tissue left behind.
Ashton kept repeating; "I wanna go home!" "I wanna sleep in my Tinker Bell Bed."
Th doctors let them go home once they saw Ashtons bladder working on its own. They ended up going home Saturday afternoon. Can you imagine going into the pediatricians office because you were concerned about your daughters stomach, and almost the next day going into surgery to have a Cantaloupe size tumor removed, and being at the hospital for pretty much a full week. There are so many life situations that come up LAST minute, and you as parents are running on adrenaline. Its what you DO for your kids.
June 1, 2010
The Pathology Results came in. Ashton had what was called; Embryonal Rhabomyosarcoma. (say that ten times fast...because I can't)
Sarcomas are cancers that develop from Connective Tissues in the body, such as muscles, fat, membranes, that line joints or blood vessels. There are many types of Sarcomas.
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a Cancer made up of cells that normally develop in Skeletal muscles. The body contains 3 main types of muscles; Skeletal Muscle, Smooth Muscle, and Cardiac Muscle.
About 7 weeks in to the development of an embryo, Rhabdomyoblasts (cells that will eventually form skeletal muscles) begin to form. These are the Cells that can develop in the Cancer called Rhabdomysarcoma. Because this is a cancer of embryonal cells, it is much more common in children, although it does occur in adults occasionally.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR ASHTON AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE? 3 1/2 years old and diagnosed with Cancer.
(Oh my gosh, My heart just sinks all over again as her Aunt).
She went through some more testing; ie: CT, Bone Scan, and a Bone Marrow Biopsy. After all the testing got done, she underwent surgery to have a Port-A-Cath placed in her (it was a venous blood access point) where they had a portal to do Chemo with out damaging her peripheral veins.
**You can see the port through Ashtons Ballerina Leotard. She was always a positive, and optimistic girl. **
June 3, 2010
The Oncology Team Told Dan and Natalie that Ashton is a Preliminary Stage III and Group I . This means the Cancer was a Very Large tumor, but they got all of it out. Chemo began quickly, and they were told she would lose her hair 7-10 days after starting Chemo.
June 9, 2010
Today was the Start of a Long Road ahead. FIRST TREATMENT WITH CHEMO.
Ashton had to go to Childrens in IL every 3 weeks. She had an At home Health Nurse that came every Thursday to give Asthon her meds and draw blood.
Ashton had COUNTLESS people that supported her by shaving their heads as well as giving her gifts, a puppy, and Make a Wish Sent Asthons Family To Disney World. The love was endless for her, and she deserved every drop of LOVE.
Ashtons Cancer is completely gone. She does yearly check ups, and so far she has been free and CLEAR!!!
Today Ashton is Stronger than every before. She walked down a VERY hard road at such a young age and yet; here she is smiling and motivates many kids to have HOPE and FAITH that no matter what, the Lord is always with you, even if its hard and painful to do.
She has donated her hair at least 3 times for kids that are going through Chemo. She has the most tender, and giving heart, a great smile, contagious laugh, and everyone wants to be her friend.
She has become such a beautiful young woman, and I thank Ashton for letting me take pictures of her so that I could share with the world on how far she has come. Thank you to Dan and Natalie ( my brother in law and sister) for giving me the privilege in sharing her story to everyone.
Ashton found strength through two of her favorite scriptures.
Philippians 4:13 " I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."
Helaman 5:12 "...Remember that it is upon the Rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation.......because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundations, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
Everyone has a story to share. Someone's story can have a strong affect on you in a powerful way, or you can also relate to it; we just need to share OUR STORY. You don't need to share every detail, even if you feel like it is too personal, but sharing SOMETHING, changes people's views and understanding on so many different diseases and struggles that kids, teenagers and adults have gone through or go through in their lifetime.
Change someones life and share your story on how it has changed your life for the Good.