We are in this Together / Chemo Update

Good evening everyone!  I hope your Monday was atypical, and you were able to share wonderful stories and make new memories with the ones you decide to surround your lives with.  It is truly relaxing to take the day slow and soak the world in.  We go through life so very fast and miss everything that is right in front of us.  Unfortunately, it takes something life altering to change your way of thinking.

I will not over-embellish, but I am tolerating the new chemo well so far.  We are very use to me packing for a 5 day hospital stay, and this regimen is much different in that regard.  I get to go home after 3 hours from an outpatient facility!  It’s almost like going to a doctor appointment for a checkup, except my checkup includes getting infused with toxic, cell-killing liquids.  I go in again next Monday for about the same amount of time.  However, I get infused with other toxic liquids for the next appointment.  It is after next Monday’s appointment some side effects might get worse.  I am scared this won’t work of course, but I have my faith and prayer, your faith and prayer, and so many people supporting us no matter what happens.  We will prevail.

With that said, I do not wish this upon any one.  I pray this never happens to a single person we know, and extend on to everyone they know.  I would rather you heed my advice as we are going through this, and reflect upon it once in awhile.  I can only speak from experience, but it comes from my heart.

Unfortunately, life happens.  Not to be too morbid, but the statistics are against us if we all live long enough.  This point leads to my next topic.  Please take care of yourselves.  Please take notice what you are putting in your stomach and doing to your body.  I considered myself in very good health.  I exercised often, ate healthy, and do not drink, smoke, etc.  However, this disease still manifested in my body.  It still has taken over our lives momentarily.  Fortunately, I bounce back (so far) from any treatments rather quickly.  I am not side effect free by any means, but I am able to cope and push through.  I was discharged from the hospital during my old regimen taking about 13 medications a day.  By the end of each round, I was down to one pill.

I am in no way putting myself on a pedestal or proud of myself.  I simply want to share my life and what I have learned.  You must take care of yourself by eating right and exercising.  Many things can go wrong with your body, and we need to be in top physical condition to assist our body in recovery.  If we start out strong, there is a possibility we can end strong and beat the odds.  This holds true for ANY disease, especially those which require surgery and multiple treatments.  Why would we not want to take care of the very entity that makes and allows us to experience life itself?  Think about that for a second.  We all feel the invincibility factor, especially those of us that are young.  I was guilty of it too.  It can happen to any of us.  It’s scary, but rare so don’t be afraid.  Live your life.  This doesn’t mean start your own farm and make your own food.  Just have an idea of what you are putting in your body, and help keep your heart, lung, brain, and entire body healthy by exercising.

One of those most common and well received comments given to us in our situation is “I cannot imagine what you are going through.”  I have reflected many hours on this statement.  What do you say to someone whose life is in limbo, whose future is uncertain, who is experiencing the very best and worst life has to offer and whose enduring unspeakable emotional roller coasters?

My answer is exactly what you are doing.  You all seem to find the correct things to say.  You all know how to filter and speak wise words and encouraging phrases.  You share stories that somehow allow me to laugh and smile in the darkest of times.  You remind me of childhood memories we shared.  You tell me stories of your family.  You share family vacations.  And you share how my life is helping you.  You say I am doing a lot for your lives, but trust me when I say, your selfless acts are contagious, remarkable, and inspiring.

I never want to hear “I know what you are going through.”  The only way for anybody to ever comprehend what this is doing is to go through it.  We are not special or unique.  It’s just a situation where, unfortunately, you have to experience first hand to even get a glimpse of this.  I don’t want that to happen.  I don’t want to ever watch someone go through this.  Honestly, I don’t know how you all can follow such a story.  You are all brave, kind, and inspiring to me.

Since it has happened to us, I want you to learn from us, share with us, and grow in knowledge with us as we go along.  Not just about cancer, but about life.  I want you to know the joys I now cherish, the things I find irrelevant, and the love I share for those I surround myself with.  I want you to take what we all gather in experience and grow together, and never have to worry about going through it yourself.

Its tough.  Some days are worse than others.  Each bout of bad news knocks me down, but I get back up.  I will not give up.  I have a family.  I have a life.  I have friends and family who care about me.  I owe it to myself and many others to fight for it all.  We are doing a lot of research, changing eating habits, and I’m exercising to try and stay ahead of the curve.  My body needs all the help it can get, and I am trying my heart out!

Life is a journey in and of itself.  I know it is impossible for us to be happy all the time.  I am optimistic, but always a realist.  We will all go through tough times, but always remember the good.  It can get you through anything, I promise.  No life is worthless, and nobody is without support.  If you think you are, you need to call me.  I will be here for you no matter what just as you all continue to be here for us.

You all give this world hope.  You give us hope.  And most importantly, you give me strength, hope and the courage to fight.  Thank you.  I hope and pray for all of you as well.  We all need each other.  We all learn from each other.

Have a great evening everyone.  You are in our thoughts and prayers as much as we are in yours.  Here is too many more years and many more blog postings!  We love you all.  Make it a great tomorrow, and every day!  🙂

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3 Responses to We are in this Together / Chemo Update

  1. carol burnham says:

    Hi Ryan: I am a first cousin of your grandma shirley. We are pulling for you!

  2. Rachel Peters says:

    Ryan you are truly an inspiration and one day you will be blogging about how you beat the odds. Praise God and stay strong! We all love you and can’t wait to have a huge celebration of your remission!!

  3. Jeff Stepek says:

    Hi Ryan,
    You are an incredibly inspirational person and I admire you for many reasons. Although we haven’t met you are in my thoughts daily. Stay strong, brave & positive.
    Best to you & your family Ryan.
    Jeff Stepek

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