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

September 20, 2009

What is a good day?

Lately, I have had a lot of people ask me what CHEMO is like, and to be truthful, it is different for everyone and very hard to describe. So I would like to share this e mail with you that describes how bad CHEMO can be and what the difference is between a good and a bad day.


After my first chemo, I waited and waited for the good days that everybody promised me. I finally realized that I would have to change the definition of a good day. So one day I wrote a new definition in my journal. When I changed the definition, I started having good days. I wanted to share it with you.

Tracy's new definition of a good day:

It's a good day when:

-You can sit in the recliner and watch the robins play in the tree.
-The sun shines through the window and you have the energy to get out of the chair to lay in the sun.
-You're awake when your kids get home and you get to hear about their day.
-You can sit in the recliner and be near your family.
-Someone calls to see how you're doing and you actually have the energy to to talk.
-Your husband walks through the door and smiles and your heart flutters.
-You can stay awake through a movie and you forget for a moment that you have cancer.
-You can focus enough to read something uplifting.
-You can laugh.
-You can do your daughter's hair.
-You can do your own hair. (I wrote this before I lost my hair)
-You can make your bed.
-You can make yourself something to eat.
-You can pray on your knees instead of on your back.
-Basically, a good day is every day that's not really horrible.

I look at this definition with a grateful heart. I am so grateful that I have finally been able to learn how to enjoy the simple things in life. I've learned that it's okay to eat oreos in the living room. There are worse things than mud on the carpet. If your visitors see dead flies under your window, they'll still be your friend. Most of the things I worried about really don't matter now.
One of the things that will get me through tomorrow is knowing that good days are coming. I love my good days. I cherish my good days. I hope you are cherishing yours.

Love, Tracy

I want to thank Tracy for this e-mail that's helped me to understand what a good day is, and also to be able to share with others what CHEMO is like. Each good day is such a wonderful blessing and gives me the hope and faith to fight this cancer. It reminds me of what I am fighting for. Thanks for your love and support.



Here's a "good day" in pictures:

Being able to show off your anti-nausea patch

Feeling well enough to watch your kids play

Reading e-mails from your daughter

Being able to laugh when your son knocks over a fan and gets embarrassed

Reading about:

Being able to sit up and shave


...and holding it down

Being strong enough for a walk

...and even getting in a half mile!


Such a blessing for good days



Tornado Alley said...

Wow! This really makes us realize how much we have to appreciate. We're so glad you're doing a little better and pray that your good days may continue to be more frequent. I love the poem and the pictures to it! We're rooting for you guys and will continue to pray/fast for all of your strength, good health and speedy recovery.
With love,
The Varela family

Heather n Ryan said...

It is true that your definition of a good day changes based on your circumstances. We are glad you are able to enjoy a few good days, and we hope for many more to come!

ps. any day you get to enjoy PF Changs lettuce wraps is a good day in my book. Next time, you have to get the Mongolian Beef to go with it! Yum!

Mindy Burns said...

Stay Strong Ryan! You area great friend and we miss hanging out with you outside the hospital!!! Get better so we can eat out more and have lots more game nights.....
Brian and Mindy

Us Willis' said...

I appreciate your list of good days. Your experiences show me how much I need to be a better person/mother/wife :) Hope more good days are in the near future!

The Collard Clan said...

If only we could all realize what a "Good Day" truely is....My husband always tells me, it's all about attitude, that's what can make or break a day. Keep smiling, keep fighting, look for good in every situation and you will always find sun shine in your day, even when it's pouring.
Hang in there - youre almost there.

Miranda said...

I was so glad to hear yesterday that you have "cooled down" a bit. Then, last night I got on a kick thinking about all the puns that I could say such as: "You're so cool, You've finally chilled out, now your nurses don't have to tell you to cool it." Man, I could go for a while with this. But, I will spare you. Just try not to let things "heat up" in that hospital room for a while.

Sabrina Smith said...

You are so right about the good days. My family is realizing what the good days are too. And thankful for each and everyone of them. Keep having the good days. Because they are only going to start getting even better soon. Your in my prayers and your family too. Love from the South FL family.

Jennifer said...

Isn't it amazing how you can feel so thankful for such little things? loved the pics, and those wraps are delicious! See you tomorrow! Yea!

Seth and Julie said...

How cute is Max hiding under the chair???? Poor thing!

I think it is so cool that you are documenting all of this in pictures. I would not let someone in my hospital room with a camera. Too vain, I guess. I love that Ryan is such a good sport about it and that even in his worsts moments all I see is an amazingly BEAUTIFUL person.

LISA said...

As I read your blogging, I must say that your positive attitude even on a bad day is good! Just think your good days will be more frequent. Margie and you are doing a great job on the webpage. I do have a "silly" question: why is it you only loose your hair on your head and not your eyebrows/face???
Just wondered! PF Changs is one of my fav places..lemon chicken is good and walnut prawns...yum yum. Thank you for letting us all in to see your world!!! Can't wait for you to come to CA!!! Love Aunt L

SmustysGirl said...

Good job Ryan! When my (aleesha's) grandma was suffering with breast cancer I went with her to stay at the treatment center in Idaho Falls. It was awful to see what it did to her. I don't know how a person can go through it and not let it completely wipe you out physically, mentally, spiritually, etc. She was tough though, and we know you are! It sounds as if you have a good grasp on life and it's meaning and what's important and what isn't. Good job keeping a positive attitude and appreciating little bits of joy. I know from my grandma that sometimes it's hard to keep those little bits of joy in mind. Hang in there! We are all praying for you and for your sweet wife and babies... Dusty and Aleesha

Sara said...

Thank you for helping us all to remember how important the little things are!

You do have such amazing strength and faith! Thank you for your example!

Keep fighting! Go Team Ryan!