No Evidence of Metastatic Disease

Good evening, and a VERY happy Thursday to you. Life is most definitely full of ups and downs; joys and sorrows; happy and sad moments. However, it is this very notion that makes life worth living. We would not have it any other way because we could not grow; we could not learn from mistakes; and we could not share our own emotional experiences to help our fellow person in their time of need. Take what you learn from every moment in your life and grow with it, learn from it, and appreciate what the situation is trying to show you. It won’t always be easy, I know, but it can be done with time and the desire to pick up the pieces and move forward despite the insurmountable odds against you. You must always fight for your life. You must always fight for your fellow person’s life. Never give up.

It is amazing what has been accomplished in my own life over the past year or two. At times, I still cannot believe this is what has become of my journey. While I was sitting the the prep room awaiting to be called for my CT scan, I just stared out the window into the deep, dark sky. I just kept thinking and reminiscing about my life; about the many wonderful and amazing people I have met; about the incredible things I have been able to see; and about this disease that has taken so much and yet shown me so much more than I could have ever imagined. Yet, it still seems surreal. Who would have thought graduating high school just 13 years ago that the beginning of my 30s would be consumed by the world of cancer? Certainly not me. It’s the invincibility factor we are all accustomed to growing up. I still have it a little bit. I still find it very hard to accept that I could die in a very short time from an aggressive cancer. It’s hard to believe I have been through 19 rounds of chemo and 2 lung surgeries. It’s extremely hard to comprehend that somehow I am, for the moment, disease free. I thank God every day for the moments of both sorrow and joy to remind me that it is far from over, but together we can show the world through each other, anything is possible. Whether I have two days, two years, or two decades left, it is important to just live. Ad live I shall.

I look back at this past year, and I re-read all of your cards, emails, and messages from time to time. It is important to me because I love and respect how they have progressed into such delicate and intimate stories of YOUR lives. We have become so close through all of this, something neither you or I had ever expected, and, yet, it feels as if we are family. You have trusted and respected my journey so well that you now feel comfortable in sharing your lives with such detail that it often overwhelms me with joy and pride. It is an honor to be so close. It is such a pleasure on so many levels to know each and every one of you as well as I do. For me, I pray this continues for as long as I am alive. I share my life because I love to. I love for people to know me on a personal level in the hopes we can somehow learn from each other, and, more importantly, to show you how much I trust, respect, and love you to let you in on such a delicate and emotional roller-coaster. Your support means so much to me, and I truly hope you know that by now.

As for my follow-up scans, it was a very good day for all of us; not just for me. When you say you are happy for me, please be happy for you. We are in this together and in no way do I take credit for our success against this disease. We are doing this together. We always have been and we always will be. This disease is not curable, but I personally feel it can be a life long battle; one in which I am more than happy to face as long as you continue to pray and support us along the way.

The visit with Dr. Ravi was very short today because he was running about 3 hours behind. Some patients would be irritated and upset at this fact, but not me because I know this doctor far too well and greatly appreciate why he is running behind. Regardless of his schedule, he takes time for each and every patient no matter how long it takes. I remember my first visit with him where he spent close to 2 hours with us going into grave detail about the intricacies of this disease. Imagine where we would be if this doctor was more dedicated to keeping a schedule than the quality of care for his patients. This is why I will continue to have Dr. Ravi as my team leader for as long as I am alive.

Within our visit, we were told the radiologist was very pleased with my scans. Fortunately, Dr. Ravi agreed whole heartedly. As of now, there is no sign of metastatic disease within my thorax, abdomen, or pelvis. Furthermore, he explained (and I’m glad he did now rather than before the scan itself) how very important and critical this scan was for my case. For those who remember, there was a discrepancy within my pleural tissue (lining of the lung) on the pathology. He is very concerned about disease in this area. However, the critical nature of this scan is that the disease should have surfaced by now, but it hasn’t! Pleural disease is poorly quantified on a CT scan (in other words, it doesn’t show up very well). On the other hand, pleural effusions (excess fluid in the pleural cavity) is very much detectable on the CT scan, and they are a sure sign that something is not right and a strong indicator of the possible presence of this disease. As far as my scans go, there were no areas of concern within the pleural cavity except for expected post-operative irregularities due to my pneumonectomy. This news is almost as good, if not better, than just hearing no evidence of disease. It was a very good, but exhausting day. It is definitely a day to rejoice and be extremely happy with how far we have come.

The plan is to continue with the current chemotherapy regimen of paclitaxel for 8 more rounds. This will bring us to 28 rounds of chemo by my next follow-up scan and consultation. I very much look forward to continuing to fight and continuing to live my life with my beautiful family and our amazing family and friends.

Thank you for loving me so much. Thank you for taking care of my family while I am gone. Thank you for cloaking us with thoughts, love and prayers. And thank you for believing in me, in my fight, and in my life. I love you, and I cherish our times together. Have an amazing and wonderful Memorial weekend.

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13 Responses to No Evidence of Metastatic Disease

  1. Ann Tibbe says:

    Congratulations Ryan! Always thinking if you and your family.

    Ann

  2. Nancy Klaus says:

    Ryan, I am so elated for you! I have been praying for good results. When I graduated from nursing school, we as a class, were given a copy of a poem called “Live Each Day To The Fullest.” I don’t remember who wrote it but it started like this: ” Live each day to the fullest. Get as much from each day, each hour, each age of your life…then you can look forward with anticiplation and backward without regrets. Be yourself but be your best self, dare to be different and to follow your own star.” God’s blessings to you & your great family. Hopefully, God Willing, Kim will have as wonderful a report!

  3. Robin Barrn says:

    Shedding tears of happiness at The Great News! {hugs}

  4. Leann says:

    Praise the Lord! We like this good news!
    Let’s just cherish this time!
    Enjoy that family of yours!
    Celebrate.
    Make memories.
    Love,
    Leann

  5. Liz says:

    Congratulations Ryan! Praise The Lord!
    I really enjoy reading your letters, they are very informative and interesting, God has given you a great talent for writing.
    God Bless You
    Liz

  6. Matt willerick says:

    Beautiful news!!! You are in my prayers every day and this is absolutely wonderful wonderful news! Can’t wait to come by in August when we are home!

  7. Kathy Welch says:

    Ryan,

    I am in awe of such a wonderful attitude from such a young man! You are way beyond your years in maturity. How wonderful for your family. I was diagnosed with this insidious cancer last September and I am finishing my chemo at Mass General next week. I am 63 and I have had a wonderful life and the opportunity to see my babies grow into wonderful adults. I also have one of the best support teams. They are in awe of my positive attitude, which I must say is nothing in comparison to yours. Your gift for writing is wonderful and I will continue to follow your blog as it gives me more hope and encouragement. My support and prayers are always with you and your family. You too should have the opportunity to see your boys grow older.

    Congratulations on your good news. Kathy

  8. The Briones Family says:

    Praise the Lord for the excellent news!! You’re very strong Ryan and God is always taking care of you!! <3

  9. Rachel Peters says:

    PRAISE GOD!!.. Our prayers are being answered and God is performing a miracle right before all of our eyes.. I am so happy for you and your family and for the fact that even with all the chemo you’re taking, your side effects aren’t too much to bear and you are indeed LIVING your life.. AMEN!!.. and I will also keep Kathy Welch (from the above posting) in my prayers as well… Have a great weekend!!

    Love you guys!

  10. Barb says:

    God is great! So happy to hear this good news. Enjoy the long weekend with your family! xxoo

  11. Jonathon Widener says:

    Congrats Ryan. That’s awesome news. We must have had our scans the same day. But my results should the brain cancer didnt shrink from the radiation. But I look at it as, “well at least it didn’t grow either”. Thanks for all the posts. When I get a little blue, I usually read them so I don’t feel so alone in all this. Having tons of friends has been helpful but you are the only acquaintance I have that has cancer. Even though they are different cancers its good feeling someone else knows what we go through. I am so darn happy its looking good for you. Yay!!!! 😀

  12. Vici McLean says:

    Fantastic news Ryan! Your strength, determination, faith, and love shows through in all you do and in all you write. I was not able to go to the event at Athens, but feel I know you through this site and through Allyson. God bless you and your family. You are truly an inspiration.

  13. Kathy Stepek says:

    Uncle Mark and I are so happy to hear this news. You are in our thoughts and prayers . We will see you this weeking…looking forward to it! Love, Aunt Kathy

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