Pathology

Good evening everyone! It has been a very long, stressful and exhausting couple of weeks for us all. However, even in the darkest of times, we were able to smile and enjoy each other. It is all relative, and you can always make the best of any situation. I hope and pray you live your days the way they are meant to be lived – with passion, excitement, forgiveness and love. I hope you cherish what God has given you, and spread your cheer and zest for all that is good to everyone you surround yourself with. Bad news will come. It’s a part of life, but you can pull through it. You can grow beyond anything negative and live your life in any way you want using whatever time you have left. I choose to live that precious time smiling, watching my family grow, meeting new people, and enjoying every blessing that God has granted me, and there are many.

As for us, we are doing very well physically. I am recovering as well as I can with very little pain. I have an amazing wife who does her very best to help take care of me. She deserves the world, and yet, she still gives her world to others. I could not do this without her by my side. She has endured a tremendous amount, but she is the strongest person I know. We could all learn a lot about life and what really matters from her.

My incision is healing very nicely. My O2 level is doing very well at 99-100% saturation on a daily basis (I have a pulse oximeter). My heart rate is stable around 90 BPM at rest, and my blood pressure is consistently around 120/60. As far as the surgery, I would say I am doing very well. However, this blog is not about my week in Houston. I am still waiting for some additional information to post, in length, my experience before and after surgery, along with everything I have learned. This blog is about the pathology of the resected tissue and tumor.

I will keep this short as we are still absorbing what we have learned today. We received a phone call from my oncologist, Dr. Ravi, around 430pm today (Saturday). For the record, it is never a good thing when your doctor calls on a Saturday. Unfortunately, it was a necessary phone call and one I was waiting for regardless of the information provided. I am not a wait around sort of patient. I will bug my doctors until I get the results. Sometimes it’s good news, but with this journey, most of the time it’s bad or indifferent.

We are in this together, thick or thin. With that said, it does not appear as if the surgeon was able to obtain clear margins. From what they can tell, the mediastinal margin (margins are the ultimate edge of the resected tissue – in this particular case, we are referring to the middle of the chest) is testing positive for disease. To make matters worse, and which took us completely by surprise, is the pleura tested positive for disease. These findings are not very good at all. The pleura is the double layered lining of your lung (one lines the lung itself while the other lines your chest well – it is filled with fluid in between). If any part of the pleura tests positive, it is assumed it is throughout the whole tissue.

What now? We do not know. Unfortunately, I have to heal first before we can do any treatment.

What does this mean? We also do not know, but what we do know is it does not change what we were going to do as far as treatment. We knew the risks; we knew the odds were highly against me. I still believe we made the right decision.

After surgery, we were always planning on continuing with chemo and radiation. It was never a question of if, but when we would start. However, I was strongly hoping and praying that all my tissue/margins would test negative, and any additional treatment would just be chasing after unknown enemies yet to be seen. I was praying I would not be faced with the disease so soon after surgery. To say I am devastated right now is an understatement.

Fortunately, setbacks and horrible news is no stranger to us. I say fortunately because we can handle it. We will cry tonight, and probably tomorrow. I am crying right now. However, we will pick ourselves up, and move forward. What other choice to we have? I am not dead yet, and I still have the strength to live my life. Am I scared? Absolutely. There is no question about that.

I have no idea what this does for my future. I have no idea what to prepare for as far as curative, palliative, or maintenance care and treatments. Do I start preparing myself? Do I start preparing my family? All I know is that the disease is still in me, and we need to keep fighting; we must keep fighting. We all know it’s a very long and difficult road, and I am fighting against enormous odds. It is not unfamiliar territory for any of us, but it still hurts. It still angers and mystifies me from the very moment I heard such horrible news. Why me, again?

I am doing everything I possibly can to stay alive for my family; to have my boys know their father; to have my wife hold my hand when we are old, wrinkly, and gray. You have no idea how hard it is to face my wife and sons every day, every morning, and every night thinking how my life as a human has failed them and let them down. It is painstakingly horrifying knowing the horrors my young wife and very young sons might be forced to go through and to have them endure such pain in the loss of someone at such a young age. They do not deserve this. They deserve to live in the comfort and love of a home where we can all believe we will be a family for a very long time, but this is real life. It is true that nothing is guaranteed, but I hope you do not think about death on a daily basis as I do. I hope and pray you do not have the daily struggle to push forward and live! We all have so much going for us, no matter the situation.

You cannot prepare someone for this. We will trust in God’s decisions, and search for his reasoning behind it all. He got us this far. He will get us much farther.

Please continue to keep my family in your prayers. We need it now as we always have needed it. We could not do this without you. I am so sorry for the very bad news. As you were doing, I was also praying for nothing but good news. We will move forward. Our prayers are answered in God’s time. I am satisfied and content knowing that we have done everything humanly possible, and we are using all of God’s tools to get to where we are today.

This is just one step in our road to a long life. We were always told growing up that life isn’t easy or fair. This is most certainly true, but what you do with adversity truly allows you to express who you are and how you live your life. Do you falter? Or do you look to God and find a way out, or at least a way to smile through it? I choose the latter. My family deserves that much from me, but I will give them much more as long as I am able.

I love you all, which will never change. Please keep my family close to your hearts and in your prayers. We need you now more than ever. We love you.

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36 Responses to Pathology

  1. Kathy Wolowiec says:

    Wow. That is crappy news. I, like all of your followers, was praying for way better news. Guess we had better pray harder. One thing in your blog bothered me…never, ever think that you are letting your family down. You are amazing. Your wife is amazing. You are right this fight is far from over, but your boys will forever know how much their dad loves them and fights to be with them. Never doubt that. Even though I have never met you, I consider you a much loved friend. I will step up the prayers. Maybe I just assumed all would be well this time because I wanted to believe it. God will take care of you. Take your few days and have a melt down, then put your big girl panties back on (LOL) and fight like you have been! You can do this! I am so sorry the news wasn’t better.

  2. Marelguij Briones says:

    I am so sorry to hear this terrible news. Don’t give up Ryan, you are very wise saying you should look to God for a way out. A person with such a big heart as you could never be alone; your family supports you, your friends support you, and your God is with you always. He knows where you’ll be 5 minutes from now, 5 months from now, and 5 years from now. He has a plan for you, of that I am positive. We love you, praying for you always.

  3. Renee Levasseur says:

    So sorry the news is not as good as we all wanted. Ryan, you are fighting a good fight for your family and children. God’s plans are not our plans….just live day to day and see what God has in store for you and your family. Keep a VERY strong faith in God. Keeping all of you in my prayers.
    Love and God’s Peace and Blessings

  4. Candace says:

    Ryan we are so sorry about the bad news. I am speechless, but don’t ever think you are letting your family down. Your sons have 2 (you and andrea) of the strongest people I know in their lives. Stay strong. We will continue to think about you guys.

  5. Judy Winter says:

    It broke my heart for you to say you are sorry for letting your family down. The disease let them (and you) down, not you! I am devastated to read this news today. Even though I don’t know you, you and your family have become part of my daily life – and I feel like I know you. I don’t know how you and your wife have so much strength – dealing with this with such dignity, strength, and hope. I admire you so much and I will pray even harder/stronger for you! Keep fighting!

    Judy (Lauren & David Henderson’s Aunt

  6. The Briones Family says:

    Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. — Psalm 143:8
    In nearly everyone’s life, there comes a time of loneliness and doubt. It seems as if our prayer requests just bounce off the ceiling and fall in broken pieces at our feet. God seems distant, hiding, asleep, or unsympathetic to our cries for mercy and help. Thankfully God gives us the Psalms. In the Psalms we can find words for almost all of life’s ups and downs. It is nice when we are down to know that others have been there before us and have recovered their faith and vitality. But, there are just some moments in life when we need to have God’s reminders of his love and guidance. This psalm, and these words are made for such a time. Dear Ryan, you’re always in our prayers <3

  7. Beth Bedaine says:

    God is with you every step of the way in this journey. He is also with your family and will continue to take care of you all. Keep the faith, keep fighting and know you have made a positive impact and touched more lives because of this fight. Be proud of that! You are a role model to all especially your kids. No matter how this fight ends you have made us all better and stronger followers of God. How many people can say that after living even 100 years. Our prayers are with you and your family. Don’t give up! Lean on God and us we are here for you and will lift you up! Xoxo

  8. Kathy says:

    I am very sorry to hear all of this. Keep fighting! Enjoy your beautiful family.

  9. janae says:

    Ryan,
    I just recently began to follow your story. My story is different…I was the wife with 2 young kids watching my husband go through chemo and radiation at the same time. You are doing a great thing by blogging…it will benefit you ..your wife and sons in the future. you are very positive as your wife…through your blogging u are releasing anything negative and not holding it inside…you are also an inspiration to so many others…the good thing for u in surgery was possible. my story with angiosarcoma began in 4/04…and ended 8/3/04…but surgery was not possible…you are a survivor…u will beat this cancer

  10. Donna Burnham-Gauthier says:

    Loving prayers from Ontario cousin and family. YOU and your lovely wife have given so much to so many, people you’ve never met even.
    You must not for one minute feel that you’ve let your family down, the strength in their life vision will continue no matter which direction our Lord decides, and after all it is his decision “Thy will be done” . In your short life Ryan you have put a mark that most can never possibly even dream of achieving even with decades more of life. You and your family will ; I know live and love every day to the fullest; you are not done yet.
    We are saddened by news of the pathology-but God’s plan for you is not over-love like never before, so many of us follow your lead, your strength, your humanity. So many of us have learned so much from you. thankyou Ryan for all the lessons you live and pass on to us. Your words reach out and touch so many. You are a man that the world is proud of.

  11. Kara says:

    Ryan, even though we have never met, my heart hurts for you and your family. You are such a strong person. God will keep giving you the strength as long as you keep asking Him for it. It’s hard to understand why we get the hand that is dealt to us but the only way to push through the good and bad is by leaning on the Lord and trusting in Him. I will be praying for you and your family. Keep on fighting.
    “Fear not beloved, you are safe; take courage and be strong.” Dan. 10:19

  12. Gaye says:

    Ryan…I am sorry to hear the pathology report did not have a more positive outcome. Please do not feel that you are letting your family down. You are doing everything possible to fight this. You can and will push thru the hiccups. You can and will jump over the bumps in the road. You can and will knock down those brick walls. You can and will continue to fight. You are SUPER RYAN. Andrea, Landon and Logan are so blessed to have you in their lives. Ryan, you are so blessed to have Andrea, Landon and Logan in your life. Each day Andrea gets stronger. She is such a sweetheart; we all love her here at the office. Each day the boys get stronger. We look forward to seeing them stop by the office and raid our candy dishes. Ryan, each day you will get stronger to endure anything and everything that comes your way. I know, God makes us stronger to withstand the negative experiences that occur in our lives so they can be turned into a positive experience.

  13. Lisa Goich-Andreadis says:

    :-( I’m so sorry to hear your news, Ryan. But the one thing you CAN’T do right now is burden your body with guilt. This line struck a chord:

    “You have no idea how hard it is to face my wife and sons every day, every morning, and every night thinking how my life as a human has failed them and let them down.”

    You have let NO ONE DOWN, Ryan. And I’m sure your wife will attest to that. LIFE has let you all down. Stupid cancer has let you all down. But you – with your infinite supply of love and nurturing, even during your own adversity – could never be a let down to anyone.

    Keep fighting. And we’ll all keep praying for you.

  14. Alli says:

    Oh my Ryan- I so very much want this to be over for you all. I know you are surrounded by strength and love- I too am sending my heartfelt prayers and hopes that things turn for the better! Remain strong- you are amazing and your boys will most certainly learn those things from you and your bravery! Sending my love as always!

  15. Howard says:

    So sorry to read this Ryan. You’ve been the best husband/father a family could ask for. Quality overrules quantity, and from what I’ve read, you are a man of extraordinary quality.

  16. Wammy says:

    Hi Ryan,
    I’m one of the prayer worriers that came to know you through a friend of your cousins. I just want to clarify something. Letting your family down would be, not being the Christian leader of your home,. being a jerk physically or emotionally to them, not providing for them. If God decides that its your time how can that be letting your family down? Maybe if you quit praying or quit trying that would be letting them down but you havent yet. You are a strong Christian who has used this ugly illness as a witnessing tool, so how on earth do you think your letting anybody down? YOUR NOT!!!
    Judy Wamser

  17. Deb Manning says:

    I know you will continue to fight like no one else would or could – you are so strong and remain an inspiration to so many of us. Donna Burnham-Gauthier’s comment says exactly what many of us are thinking and feeling. Thank you Ryan, Andrea, and all your followers. You have entered my heart and I am a better person for it.

  18. Bob Jones says:

    We will continue to walk by faith and not by sight.

  19. Bonnie Schulert says:

    I was diagnosed with cancer 15 years ago and given 2 years to live. God’s plans are above man’s plans – don’t lose hope. You are an amazing example of faith and courage.

  20. David Scholes says:

    Dear Ryan:
    As a fellow suffer with AS, I hope you realize that your struggles with this foul cancer are shared by all your friends and family We are all with you in this fight. We will help in any way we can because we empathize with you and your family. We all offer you our best wishes and best hopes for a brighter tomorrow We all care about you and we want you to know that you are not alone.

  21. Nancy Klaus says:

    Oh Ryan, I was so sorry to hear the test results and pray for better news in the future. My daughter in law is Kim Klaus. As a nurse for 45 years I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about this horrible disease. In fact, this weekend I am having a scrapbook fund raiser for AS Awareness and hope to be able to donate some money to research of this disease. I will put you and your family on our prayer chain at church and keep you all in my prayers. God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I firmly believe he is guiding you through this difficult time. How else could we cope with things in life. God’s Blessings to you and your lovely family!

  22. Shana says:

    Dear Ryan,
    My name is Shana. My husband was a patient of Dr. Ravi’s. I say was because my husband lost his battle to cardiac angiosarcoma on March 20, 2010. You are in great hands with Dr. Ravi. I just wanted to touch base with you because after seeing your last blog, you remind me so much of my husband’s attitude through all of this. He never had something negative to say even when we got bad news. He always used to say that 95% of the fight is mental. I, also think your wife is amazing too. It takes a special person to be able to be by your side and be selfless in the meantime! I know what she is going through all too well. I want you to know that I have sent my special guardian angel, William McCaffrey, Jr. a prayer on your behalf. My prayers are with you and your family! May God Bless you!

  23. Donna Holmes says:

    Ryan:

    I read this early Sunday morning. I am so sorry. I know this is NOT the news that you and Andrea wanted to hear. But, I also know just how strong you are. Do not let this weaken you mentally. That mental strength is what will carry you along with your friends and family.

  24. Rachel Peters says:

    Ryan,
    Yes this is not the news that everyone was hoping for but like you said, you are still here to fight for your beautiful family and it is not over yet, we will all keep praying and start praying harder. Please don’t ever say you are letting your family down. Anyone else that I know would have let this cancer destroy their spirit a long time ago. Even through all this you manage to keep a smile on everyone’s face, inspire all of us, show your boys the example of what a real father should be, and you are an awesome and loving husband to your wife. You are the epitomy of what a father and husband should be and you should be very proud of yourself. Your life, although difficult right now, is touching many, many, people through your blogs. Honestly, you should write a motivational book because you have excellent writing skills, have an awesome outlook on life, you do not waste not one second being negative, and the world could learn a lot from you and your attitude. We all love you Ryan and you will beat this eventually, just hang in there keep fighting until it’s gone…

  25. Kasra zarbinian says:

    Dear Ryan,

    This was indeed a bad news; do not give up as you are a good and strong fighter. You will pass this bad time and with treatment and God’s help you overcome it, I keep you and your family in my prayers everyday and ask others that I know and/or meet to do the same. I believe strongly the power of prayers; help my very sick daughter 22 years ago when she only was a week old. God bless you and please keep fighting. Love, Kasra

  26. Uncle Mark says:

    Ryan. I am so sorry to hear this news. I was real exited after the reports from the surgery were positive. Keep the positve attitude and the strong determination to fight. That is what has got you this far. We will keep praying for you.

  27. Barb says:

    Like everyone else, I am devastated by this news. But, please, Ryan, don’t think you are letting ANYONE down. You are your own best patient advocate doing all your research, looking for options, going through treatment, writing about it all to educate the rest of us, and being a FANTASTIC husband, father, son, relative, friend … all the time! You not only talk the talk, you walk the walk. It is a privilege to know you. Please keep the faith and know that everyone’s prayers have tripled, quadrupled, and any are being sent up by whatever other extraordinary amount is necessary. There is power in prayer and I believe in it. Love you!! xxoo BL

  28. Ryan , I’m so sorry to hear of your recent setback with regards to the operation . I can’t find the words or express how deeply sorry I’m that you and your family must indure , but never feel you have let anyone down . your strength and courage have given me a new perspective on life and you are my hero . never give up ! God bless ………Philip

  29. Terry Caulfield says:

    Ryan,

    I’ve been following your story, through Krissy, for a long time. You know I can’t tell you how sorry I am to hear such terrible news. I will tell you this, however. All any of us have, really, is today – the right here and now. None of us know what is around the corner. To be able to revel in the morning son and delight in the sunset, to think about how much you truly love – and to think about what true love means, to live each day and be so very thankful for it – well that is really living. Most people never get to “really” live, so no matter what else your future brings, you probably have lived more and more intently than most people ever do. You probably know more about living than any of us ever will. Your wife and your family sound more than wonderful. Be sure to let them know we send them our love. Never give up! You are loved!

  30. KATHY STEHLIN says:

    RYAN AND ANDREA we also were praying for better news. you are both so amazing along with your amazing family.Ryan FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT I know first hand that MIRacles do happen . I know your family will pull through { we are } GOD is GOOD!!!! your friends at SAME DAY SURGERY Harper Hospital will continue to storm heaven with our prayers. Although this journey seems unbearable you are doing a great job.MUCH LOVE sent your way

  31. Bobby Grow says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I just came across your story as a result of the fundraiser event that Rory and friends are putting on for you. I love Jesus, like you. I have a young (although my kids are older 12 and 9) family, like you. And like you I was diagnosed with a rare cancer; although mine was the same type as Rory’s, not yours. One verse that I always turned to was this:

    17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17

    I just wanted to encourage you to continue to trust in the One you already are; He will never leave you or forsake you (or your family)! Nothing is too hard for the LORD! I have been cancer free (from Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor sarcoma) since my resection surgery which happened on May 6th 2010 (and some post-chemo treatment following). The Lord can still touch your body as He did mine!

    I will pray for your everyday now, Ryan.

  32. Adinah says:

    I get woken up quite often by our Father in Heaven! Just before dawn today I was shown a man Ryan in a dark place and I felt his pain. Father Yah asked me to pray for him and petition for his healing. Then a brother in Messiah showed me this link. Ryan you are loved by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. HE is ready to use you as a living testimony to the power of His mighty hand. We speak healing into your life, Amein and Halleluyah.

  33. Bob Wheeler says:

    Ryan,
    I am Rory Wheeler’s dad and I just wanted you to know that you and your family are in my wife and my prayers. You are not alone, trust in the Lord, through Him all things are possible. God bless you All.

  34. Cheryl Azzato Eisman says:

    Hello Ryan,

    I am Rory’s Wheeler’s Aunt, please know that you are not alone, listen to your body when it speaks to you. Your family are in my constant prayers, believe in The Lord for he is all knowing & powerful. So wish that I could attend the fundraiser, but as I said before will be there in spirit.

    God bless & will check in from time to time.

  35. Rosi says:

    Hello Ryan,

    I have been reading your updates and I am so sorry to hear that the cancer is back. Please know that you are in my family’s prayer continually. A while ago we came across this video on the internet about a man who had stage 4 prostrate cancer and the chemotherapy was having no effect on him anymore and was told he only had a few months to live. He researched natural remedies and found that baking soda when drunk in a certain solution will kill the cancerous cells because it allows more oxygen into the body, in which the cells cannot live. He says that doctors have not researched this enough due to its low cost vs. more expensive treatments. I encourage you to take a look at it and if you so feel lead, maybe even give it a try. Here is the link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl8Y8I_TsjI

    Many blessings to you, thanks for sharing your story with us :)
    -Rosi

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