Follow along and read about how Ryan spent his final days surrounded by those he loved the most... his FAMILY.

You can follow my blog at: Our life in Letters to Ryan

June 28, 2009

STILL in the hospital...

Ryan finished his chemo and "recovery" meds a week and a half ago and was scheduled to have surgery a few days later to have the Ommaya Reservoir( a brain catheter) placed.

Then last week, after another transfusion, he started running a fever. They weren't sure if it was a reaction to the transfusion or his body trying to fight off some type of infection. His Dr came in the next morning and said that because his white blood count was dropping so quickly they would put off the surgery for the Ommaya catheter- he thought that the risk of Ryan getting an infection after surgery was too great and waiting a few weeks would be the better option. The Dr also said, that because Ryan was running a fever, he would need to stay admitted. (Ryan will not be able to come home until he can go 48 hours without a fever. He has been running a fever for a week and a half now... Unfortunately, he was still running one this morning.)

Ryan was really bummed last week about not being able to go home, but was quickly in better spirits when his older sister and her husband, surprised him with his very own PlayStation.


He is still VERY tired and groggy from all the anti-nausea medicine he receives. Often times you will be talking to him and mid-sentence he will fall asleep. He falls asleep and starts dreaming IMMEDIATELY and begins talking in his sleep, here are a just SOME of the funny things he has said:

"That looks kinda blurry. I'm not sure if that's from when they spilled chemo on me."
(I laughed so hard when he said this because 1- RANDOM and 2- the chemo he receives is VERY toxic, so toxic that it would burn your skin if it came in contact with it. Isn't that CRAZY though, the stuff would burn your skin, yet they put that in his body!)

"This lady is dyslexic on Wheel of Fortune when I watch it."

I am constantly laughing at the things he says in his's a good stress relief for me.


When he is awake, he does enjoy hearing about what is going on, as well as going for walks. I have marked points on his floor in terms of running distances. If we go to the nurses sub-station we did a 3k, when we walk to the opposite wing he has done a full marathon- he sure gets a kick out of it ;)

Ryan has really enjoyed all the visitors and calls from family and friends. He had a special visit over this weekend. On Saturday, Mike and James, some of his BEST BUDS from childhood came to visit. This visit meant a LOT to Ryan, especially because they drove over 14 hours to visit and then left the next day to head back to work.

Good Ole' Wyoming boys:



Ryan also looks forward to visits from the kids. He enjoys seeing their happiness as they play with the rubber gloves, try to eat all his "YUMMY" hospital food and press all the FUN buttons on his bed and IV machine. Hallie is always doing crafts and has decorated the room with paintings and love notes.

Ryan just LOVES it ALL!


He is getting a little bit of his appetite back each day. We do find it funny that now that Ryan can eat ANYTHING his little heart desires, he has NO desire. I try very hard to entice him with something yummy and fattening, but it never works :(

Ryan has been anticipating his hair falling out and we have YET to see it happening. That is... until a few nights ago. As I washed his hair, it was evident that Ryan is on his way to becoming a bald man- he is planning on having the kids just shave his to follow.


Well on to GOOD news...

Over the past 3 days, Ryan's white blood count has been rising and this morning it JUMPED. YAY! We are hoping to bring him home SOON.

Lets hope we can spend the 4th of July weekend at HOME!

We both don't want to see these:

for at LEAST a few weeks!


June 27, 2009


My name is Margie Hess, my husband Ryan was diagnosed on June 12, 2009 with a rare and aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Since this is an aggressive form of T-Cell Lymphoma, his doctor has put him on an aggressive chemo regimen that will result in him being unable to work for the next 4-6 months and possibly longer. At the time of diagnosis he was finishing up his 1st year as a Podiatry Resident at the V.A. in Tucson, AZ. Ryan is a devoted husband and father of two children, Hallie (5) and Max (2). By the end of this month (June 2009), Ryan will use up the last of his vacation and sick leave and will have to go on unpaid leave. Ryan is the sole provider for our family; I stay at home with both the kids. Without him working we have no income. I need to stay home to help care for him, so I cannot get a job right now, either. As difficult as it is for our family to have to ask for help, we have realized that we must do so at this time.
We were told that any federal employee (ie: military, Border Patrol, DEA, FBI, Dept of Justice, EPA etc. EXCEPT Post Office employees) can donate vacation time to be used as sick leave for another Federal employee.
We would be so thankful for any number of extra paid days we can accumulate.
Thank you so much.

How can you help if you ARE a Federal Employee?

Go to your HR department and request to donate leave to Ryan Hess who works for the VA. (Your HR person will know the form that needs to be filled out- each Federal agency has their own form to donate leave)

Once filled out and signed, the HR person will then need to fax or e-mail the form to:

OLIVIA McCLURE - Benefits Specialist (TUCSON V.A.)
Phone #: (520) 792-1450 x 6076
Fax # : (520) 629-1849 attn: Olivia McClure

E-Mail :

ALSO, for those who are federal employees, please print out this message and post it in break/lunch rooms to help get the word out as well as emailing it to co-workers!

How to help if you are NOT a Federal Employee:

PASS this along to ANYONE and EVERYONE that you know and then ask them to pass the message along. Post it on blogs, Facebook...whatever you can think of.
Thanks again everyone- this will help SO much!

(E-mail to send a message!)