Milestones

Tomorrow, April 27 will mark the one year anniversary of the day my life first changed forever. It was on this day one year ago I went into the hospital for a Cardiac Stress Test which turned into discovering a nearly completely blocked artery, followed by a stent placement. Tomorrow also marks the three month anniversary of the day my life changed forever for a second time. It was on this day three months ago I went into the hospital for surgery to remove the tumor in my brain.

Since its been a while since I’ve posted, in terms of updates, I am doing very well. I have completed the 6.5 weeks of radiation and 6 courses of chemotherapy. My last chemo injection was on April 6 and last radiation treatment was April 13. I think I experienced every side effect that these two treatments had to offer; I had nausea, fatigue, have neuropathy (numbness and tingling sensation) in my hands, battled with radiation induced tissue damage in my throat which caused pain during eating, lost my hair and lost my sense of taste. I made it through it alright and things are getting better now that the treatments are over. I go back to the doctor on May 5th to discuss a potential next round of chemo treatments. Despite all of this and all that I have lost, I have also gained so much in this same amount of time. I have gained an appreciation for normal routine, gained a closeness and appreciation for my wife, admired her strength through this, and gained an appreciation for all she has done for me and for our girls when I have not been able to. I’ve gained respect and appreciation for the people I work with and for, for being so supportive to me as I sort through what life looks like now. I’ve gained appreciation for what we have and who we have in our lives, we truly have a great support system.

Needless to say, tomorrow is worthy of celebration, and needless to say, tomorrow is a milestone for our family. Much has changed in our lives in the past year, we find ourselves today hyperfocused on our health, we have renewed appreciation for the things in life that matter, and we are still enjoying and sometimes struggling (most of the time struggling for me) through the journey, excitement, exhaustion and happiness of raising two young daughters.

When I first started this new journey three months ago I wanted to start this blog so that, truthfully in part, in a selfish way, my daughters could one day read this and see how strong their daddy was when he was in the fight for his life, and read how he fought for his daughters and stayed strong for them. Truth is now though, that is not what I hope they have learned or hope they have seen or hope that they one day read about. What I now hope the true lesson of this journey is is not the strength of their daddy. You see, I do what I need to do to get through this, there’s not much of a choice that I have in the matter. My choice was made long before this diagnosis, my choice was made the day my wife and I said our vows and the days my daughters were born, I made the choice then to be strong for them and to do what needed to be done to be there for them. The true lesson is in the strength of everyone else. The ways the community has supported us, the ways our work families have lifted us up, the way our friends have gone out of their way again and again to check on us, provide for us, and be there for us. The way that complete strangers are praying for us and the way that people have come together to pitch in to help take care of us, these are the real lessons to be learned. I hope they learn about the strength of our families, of our brothers and sisters, of our parents being always available and willing to help at a moments notice, opening up their homes and their hearts to help our family recover. Most of all I hope they know the strength their mother has shown. I can honestly say that despite however difficult chemo/radiation is for the person going through it, it doesn’t hold a candle to the strength needed to be the person standing by the one going through the chemo/radiation. The one raising the family when daddy doesn’t have the energy to, the one making dinner and driving to day care when daddy can’t. One way of putting it is this: True strength isn’t only about how much you can handle before you break, it’s also about how much you can handle after you’ve broken. Heather has shown remarkable strength through this journey, that is the lesson the girls should know. She is the true hero of this story. So tomorrow as we celebrate these milestones, we also celebrate the strength of love of those surrounding us and lifting us up.

As always, thank you all so much for your continued support, prayers, guidance, wisdom, laughs, and love. The fights not over yet, and tomorrow is a new day. Thank you all for everything, it means the world to our little family.

Love to you all,

– Ryan