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

October 29, 2009

News you WANT to read!

Ever since Ryan's biopsy, there are a few times each day that he still gets really nauseas. However, since his taste buds are almost ALL back, he does manage to eat decently. His feet and ankles are still very swollen, which is a side effect from a med he is on, but overall, he is doing good.
Went in for the usual appointment.
Blood work
The labs are done to check his counts and his levels of this:
Cyclosporine- the immunosuppressant he will be one for the next 6 months-ish
While we wait for his labs, I was worked on a blog header:
and we BOTH froze:
Thank GOODNESS for the heated blankets!
Then Ryan needed a few stitches on his cath because the two that hold it in place came out.
Time for some Lidocaine:
the sutures are IN... time to tie the knots
The finished product:
and ONE happy Ry!
At this appointment, we were hoping to get his results back from his biopsy but only half were in:
100% of Ryan's blood is Donor Blood.
That means ALL Mitchell's cells are in and doing their job. Ryan now has his new DNA!
Go cells GO... fight, fight, fight!

At home, Ryan has a little helper who LOVES to assist in giving him his meds:
Ryan was to meet with Dr. Yeager on Thursday, and since his counts are steady and he is feeling great, they decided to cancel his Weds appointment and just have him come in on Thursday. Ryan was really excited...maybe they would cancel the Friday appointment too?!?
Ryan was really tired and not feeling the best, so he rested and slept for most of the day. When he was awake, we all hung out and enjoyed EVERY bit of it! Still no call about his biopsy
After being home all day on Tuesday and with no appointments, Ryan was ready to get out. The weather is really cold right now (it is in the 50's) and we wanted to do something we headed to the mall.
He enjoyed not having to wear a mask (as long as it is not a super crowded area) and had a fun time with his little dude
The kiosks were in FULL force.
Ryan couldn't be bothered with any of them, EXCEPT one. Both he and Max could have watched:
(possible Christmas gift... we'll see?!?)
Went into clinic for the usual appointment and then had an appointment with Dr. Yeager. We were VERY eager to see if the biopsy results were in and what they would say. Dr. Yeager came in and was very pleased with Ryan's appearance. He kept commenting on how great Ryan looked and the progress that he has made from just three weeks ago. He then went over Ryan's labs and said that things are looking good. His WBC, hemoglobin, and ALL the other things they check for are looking REALLY good! Then he told us the results of the biopsy that we have been waiting, hoping and praying for...
"The pathology report shows that there are NO TRACES OF
The floodgates opened upon our faces and we had the BIGGEST smiles across our faces. We couldn't help but feel SO much love and gratitude for a Heavenly Father who hears and answers prayers.
Dr. Yeager then did an examination of Ryan's liver and spleen (the other areas where Ryan had cancer) to check the size. He noticed that they both had shrunken from the last time he examined him two weeks ago (ANOTHER good sign that Mitchell's cells are attacking the cancer in those areas). Dr Yeager explained that more testing still needs to be done over the next year to make sure things are still progressing. Ryan will have a CAT/PET scan and another bone marrow biopsy around Day+100 (in about two months). He also thought that since Ryan is doing SO well, he can go to two appointments per week instead of three. Ryan will now go into clinic on Mondays and Thursdays.
As we left the appointment I wanted to YELL because I was so happy. I think people at the Cancer Center probably thought it was weird that we were walking out smiling- but not with just any smile.... it was the BIGGEST you've EVER SEEN!!!!!
The entire drive home was spent on the phone with family. Once home, we sat down and let all the good news sink in.
Then Hallie got home from school and we were greeted by more exciting news:
the snaggle tooth came out!
So my mom snapped a picture of two VERY happy people
We went out to dinner to celebrate the good news

had a good LAUGH when Max said, "LOOK... it's Bambi!!!"

Through it all we continue to feel so blessed
...and in love

Thank you to EVERYONE who has prayed, fasted and given Ryan and our family so much love and support... We THANK YOU!


October 28, 2009

Just a reminder...

This event will take place in IDAHO FALLS, Idaho
Part of the proceeds will go to help out our family and another family battling cancer.
ASPIRE DANCE COMPANY is a professional dance group. Aspire will be performing along with dance groups from other dance companies. The performances will include various types of dance.
Please attend and support the dancers, as well as our family.
Spread the word to all those family and friends of yours that live in the southeastern Idaho, eastern Wyoming and the northern Utah area... you will NOT be disappointed!
Thank You
Special thanks to Karli Love and Aspire Dance Co.
Tomorrow we meet with Dr. Yeager and should find out results from the bone marrow biopsy- GOOD NEWS coming soon!!!!

October 25, 2009

Out and About...

Ryan had his normal appointment Friday and his counts were about the same. It was his shortest appointment yet...
we were DONE in 2 hours!

Then we were off to UMC

Ryan went to drop off Thank You's to some very special staff.
It was a VERY emotional visit for Ryan. He really hesitated going in and upon leaving he still couldn't believe he was there. We saw the Transplant Coordinator and she said that some patients are NEVER able to come back because it is too overwhelming.
Ryan is VERY grateful for the wonderful care he received, but still has a hard time getting past what went on behind these doors:

Ryan was too worn out from the days activities to carve a pumpkin, but he did help supervise and even got in a little nap

Here are Ryan's two FAVORITE girls:
(I exist!)

Ryan had a FULL weekend:

He got out to show support for my Mom
Yay for a BEST presentation win!

Ryan had a blast hanging out with the kids

We even got a family pix
He enjoyed watching this little one...
wiggle her little snaggle tooth that will SOON be gone

and play with this silly boy

He even got out to the park...

to watch these two:

and i do have to give credit to this little one who has taken a few of the photos on some previous blog posts
YAY to feeling good and getting out...
what a BLESSING for good health and life.

October 21, 2009

The DREADED day...

Ryan started out his day with his usual appointment. When we went into the clinic, we were told we could have our own private room.
Ryan was able to watch TV and get on the Internet

(In a way we both missed being in the other area because it is nice to chat with other patients who are going through the same thing)


Then Ryan got his lab results and MORE GOOD NEWS:

Everything is STILL rising.

WBC up, ANC UP, Hemoglobin UP...

Not only are the counts looking good, but so is Ryan. Every time nurses and other people see him, they always comment on how GREAT he looks- especially considering that it was JUST a week ago that he was released. Unfortunately, feeling great today didn't last too long, because it was soon time for the dreaded biopsy.

Ryan got a small dose of morphine and took some Ativan to help him relax

All the meds made him a little bit drowsy, so he needed a ride down to the other clinic.

Then it was time to fill out a few papers and sign the consent form:

It's time:

The goods:

All prepped and ready to go:

Lidocaine to numb the skin

The Nurse Practitioner got to the bone and it started to hurt, so she stopped to get more Lidocaine drawn.

When it is ALL the way in, you see NO needle, just the blue handle.

Overall, Ryan said this 3rd time was MUCH better then his two previous biopsies. He is hoping that maybe... just MAYBE he will be able to get his next one done with conscious sedation because the Morphine, Ativan and Lidocaine didn't really help much. His next biopsy will be in about two months (Merry Christmas to Ryan!)


and STILL smiling!

He is REALLY sore and it usually stays tender for about a week. He still got out and walked about a 1/2 mile tonight. He just continues to AMAZE me!

Then today he got a special surprise

A picture of two of Ryan's favorite things:


A friend in our ward, who is an AMAZING photographer took the picture.

Ryan LOVED it!

It was a special gift to finish of the day.



Keep healing... Keep smiling


October 20, 2009


Ryan went to his appointment on Friday and since his counts are on the rise and he is feeling well, they decided that he could have the weekend off. It MADE his day!
He had a good weekend- he was AT HOME!
Then Monday came and it was back to the clinic. His counts JUMPED.
WBC- 2.5
Hemoglobin- 11.6
(It has not been that high for MONTHS, so he is producing blood!)
At each appointment they examine each and every bump and bruise and look over EVERYTHING. He did need more magnesium, so he got hooked up. While we were waiting he wrote a "Thank You"
Ryan couldn't believe how long it took and how little and neat his handwriting was. He realized that he needed to focus very hard to write the letter. He said that since it had been 5+ weeks since he last wrote something, his hand-muscle coordination needed some work. He couldn't believe how fast you lose simple things that once seemed so easy.

He did not have to go into clinic today because he has been progressing so well. He is now on a M-W-F schedule. He looks forward to trips in the car, so he came along while I did some errands.

When he got back home, he enjoyed watching and helping Hallie and I wash the car:

and he even got a little chilly:

he is LOVING being home and LOVING the 70 degree weather!
Tomorrow he has his Bone Marrow Biopsy at 11.
~Pray for him~
Thank you EVERYONE for your continued love and support.