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 7, 2009


A lot has happened the past few days:

Ryan was at his lowest physically and mentally on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. He couldn't eat or drink and as a result, had to start this:
"STEAK" in a bag
TPN- total parenteral nutrition
It is a form of liquid nutrition with all the necessary vitamins, minerals and calories given through his IV catheter.
The mucositis was horrible and he could barely breathe. Ryan's throat was so clogged with mucus, he spent the little time that he was awake, using this:

Because he couldn't swallow, most of his meds were given through his IV. Unfortunately, not all meds come in IV form, so he did have to choke/gag on these liquid forms:

He used these to keep SOME moisture in his mouth:
Monday was his WORST day... he felt 100% YUCK.
He was so weak, and in so much pain, all he could do was barely open his eyes to acknowledge someone was there, and he tried so hard to do a thumbs up or shake his head "No" because he couldn't talk. That day, he needed both a platelet and blood transfusion. He got his platelets first and everything went GREAT. Then during the blood transfusion, the worst possible thing happened, he went into anaphylactic shock (his airway closed off)- Ryan was having an allergic reaction to the blood. It was pure craziness for a few of minutes as they tried to help Ryan. He had two epinephrine injections, a benadryl injection, steroids and two respiratory treatments of albuterol to help.

Kept this on the rest of the day to make sure he was getting enough oxygen

Sadly, he was swollen and scared to death for the rest of the day/night. Later that night, he did manage to tell his dad,
"I thought that was it... I thought I was going to die."

His nurses, doctors, dad and I watched him like a hawk. He recovered that evening and in the morning things started to look up.

Tuesday and today we had


That's RIGHT, his WBC was up to .2 yesterday and up to .3 today.
*** WOOT WOOT***

So what does that mean?

It means that when he woke up on Tuesday (after a HORRIBLE Monday), he felt much better. He ate, drank, walked, showered, talked a little and looked AMAZING.

His doctors said that each day his WBC continues to rise, the mucositis will improve and he will feel better and better. The better he feels, the more he is up and walking. The more he is up and walking the more he eats. The more he eats means NO more "steak" in a bag. As he feels better, they will begin weaning him off the morphine and he will start taking pills again. As all this happens, he will be getting closer and closer to coming home. I cannot tell you how excited we all were to find out his WBC was .2 yesterday. Seeing the HUGE improvement from Monday to Tuesday just made our days and we all felt SO much gratitude for answered prayers.

Yesterday, Ryan's red blood count was still low since they had to stop his last transfusion. He needed to have another transfusion and to help lessen the chance of having a reaction, they made sure the blood was an EXACT type match and they also cleaned the blood cells. They had a crash cart and syringe of epinephrine bedside just in case. Ryan was VERY nervous beforehand because of his experience the day before. Thankfully, the transfusion went GREAT.

His hair was falling out so much, that they shaved the little bit that was left on his head. He was even feeling up to this during the transfusion:

ALL the IV lines and chords he gets tangled in each day:


Then this morning when we woke, the first thing he asked his nurse was,
"What is my WBC?"

When she said .3, he had the BIGGEST smile on his face. Our hearts were so full of gratitude and hope.

Today was an AMAZING day for an AMAZING guy!

He walked a total of 9 laps, ate a good breakfast, lunch and dinner, and did some things he hasn't been able to do for quite a while:

Talked on the phone to his little brother Mitchell, read blog comments and did his mouth care, since he is eating again. He is still really tired, so much of the day is spent healing... he sleeps. His blood pressure is high and he has major fluid retention from the steroids (he gained 14 lbs in two days). They put him on some new meds today to help with both.


He is so grateful for these "good" days. Days like today give him a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. Through it all, he just keeps on fighting and amazing us all.

I think the words of Martina describe Ryan best:

And everyone that sees you, always wants to know you
And everyone that knows you, always has a smile
You're a standing ovation...
Everyone calls you amazing
I just call you, MINE

I look back at the past week and I cannot help but thinking, Ryan is amazing. He has taught me so much. When I told him this, he said,
"It's not me, it's Heavenly Father blessing me."

How grateful we all are for a loving Heavenly Father who is aware of each one of us. He hears and answers our prayers.
Thank you to EVERYONE who is praying for Ryan and for our family.
We have ALL been strengthened.


Go Ryan. Keep fighting. Keep amazing us all


Heather n Ryan said...

Oh man! Dont scare us like that! So glad to hear things are getting better. Keep up the faith and the fight!

Kristen Ann said...

I am so glad you are feeling a bit better and stronger each day. Keep going, keep fighting, live for each new moment. We pray the best for you!

Theresa said...

Oh my goodness, I love this song. It is so appropriate. I always read these blogs and think of how inspiring Ryan is to so many people. Such scary moments this week, so relieved to hear he is doing better. Love you all! Tis

Anonymous said...

I couldn't start my day without first checking to see if our prayers where being answered yet, ... and finally, YES! I keep praying, "Please heal him! Please."

Thanks for your testimony!

Tip: A little travel squirt bottle to squirt moisture into your mouth helps instead of little icky sponges!

Melissa Hartung

Emily said...

Man I am here crying because of the bad day but smiling because he is improving and had a good day.

I have been looking at my days now and saying "This is a good day" because of Ryan. Even though I don't know him he has helped me so much!

Can you do me a favor? When you are in Utah can you please stop by my home so I can give each of you a hug?
Thank you again! And GO TEAM RYAN!!

Tornado Alley said...

I'm so glad things got better than they were on Monday. That was scary just reading it, so we're so happy he's better now. You guys really are awesome and humble! What great examples! Yeah for the wbc counts going up! Finally! We're praying things will continue to get better. GO TEAM RYAN!

With all our love,
The Varela's

Mindy Burns said...

You are BOTH amazing!!! We were all really scared and sad over the weekend and Monday....what a rough week or so (well, months really) but glad things are improving a little bit! GO RYAN! We'll know Ryan feels really good when we get a phone call I guess :) Keep walking, keep eating, keep healing!!!

Jeanette said...

Thanks for the update!! Keep taking those pictures, you will be glad that you did! So glad things are on the up side! *tears & smiles* May God bless you, you are in my thoughs and prayers!

Jeanette Heiner Kirkham

Seth and Julie said...

So I think I've read this post four times now this morning. I still don't know what to say but that I love you guys.

It looks like you have hit bottom and are now on the way up. The first thing I thought of this morning was the verse in Mosiah (24:16) when the Lord tells Alma and his people, after they have been patient and cheerful in their affliction, "Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out on bondage."

I am so grateful that Ryan was faithful and patient and that Heavenly Father pulled him through.

melissa said...

Oh man, I'm going to have to stop reading these when I get to work! I can't believe the difference between the pics at the beginning of the post and the end. What a change in 2 days! Don't scare us like that again! It's got to get worse before it can get better, right? I'm sooo glad to hear the WBC is up and that Ryan is feeling a little better. What an amazing example of the importance of attitude, and faith. You're all in my prayers and I'm rooting for you!

Kim Harris Thacker said...

Amazing, amazing. We are so excited for you that you're on the "up," Ryan! You're so strong. I love the song on the blog today. SO APPROPRIATE!!! Go Ryan!

The Collard Clan said...

Man, I'm glad you are doing better Ryan. Not to rub it in...but wow, you really looked miserable there for a bit. :-) Lets keep having these good days, okay!
And keep giving us those smiles - believe it or not, but your smiles, make us smile!

Jared and Taralie Loveland said...

Wow! I am so happy for you guys. Ryan you are such a fighter. You and Margie have been such an inspiration to so many people. Margie I am so glad I have had the chance to get to know you and your family and Ryan I am really looking forward to meeting you.

AngelinaMagdelina said...

Someday you will be able to meet all the people who are praying for you. Until then, keep feeling those prayers. Keep fighting.

Heather said...

I was getting concerned. Glad to hear things are heading in a better direction!!!

The Thomasons said...

It breaks my heart to imagine what you are going through after feeling only a tiny tiny tiny piece of what you have felt and are going through. We will keep your family and Ryan in our prayers. You both are amazing. I love the song. It brought tears to my eyes...along with your post. Keep fighting team Ryan!

dougandcheryl said...

Ryan is amazing and so are you. We are so glad to hear that things got better and are getting better.

The Delgado's (all 9 of us) said...

Ryan, I'm glad you're on a upward swing! That's awesome. I'm glad you pulled through these past couple of days. You ARE amazing. And Margie, I must say, you are amazing as well. Ryan, you were sure a lucky guy when you snatched her. The Lord knew what he was doing when he brought the two of you together. Thank you, Margie, for being an incredible support and strength to Ryan, for bearing all the stress and struggles you deal with as well and more being a powerful positive force for good in all this. Keep it up, both of you!!! Ryan, tell your parents hello! You all take care!!!

Shalae said...

We are so glad to see those numbers climbing. I cannot imagine how scary it must have been and we are so glad to see you doing better! Hang in there. Thanks for the amazing example you are to all of us. We love you!

Beau, Shalae and Family

Katelin said...

Wow. Love you. Can't wait to see how high the WBC will be next! Go Team Ryan!!!

Missy said...

Hey Ryan! I'm so glad to see things are getting better....My husband Devin is a Chiropractor and has done quite a bit of research on Vitamin D. I want to have him explain a little how it might be able to help you.....

Ryan, I just read through your blog. I am glad to here that your wbc is increasing. Ryan very important. Have you had your Vitamin D3 levels checked? The test is 25-hydroxy vitamin d3. Your vitamin d levels should be between 70-90ng/ml. Greater than 95% of medical doctors will state that 32ng/ml is normal. They are way behind on the research. Please go to to learn more. Why vitamin d? Vitamin d deficiency is widespread. It is a factor in 15 different types of cancer (New England Journal of Medicine) How does vitamin d work in cancer? 3 ways. 1st it strengthens your immune system by killing precancerous cells from becoming cancerous. 2nd, it prevents metastasis of the cancer. 3rd, it prevents angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels.
Vitamin d turns on 100s of genes. Vitamin d strengthens/activates your immune system. I could go on and on. Ryan check out my office website at and click on the page Vitamin D Miracle. This page shows the handout we give during our class I teach at my office. Check out the video links at the end on the page.
Ryan I feel this is very important. My secretary is battling uterine cancer and just had surgery today. She is 25. This is her second battle with it. I did not know her during her first battle. We had her vitamin D levels checked and they were at 12ng/ml, well below where they need to be. I hope your levels are higher. Good luck Ryan. You can email me from my website if you have further questions. Devin

The Dunn's said...

Know that you are in our thoughts & prayers daily. We have seen the power of prayers & the miracles worked by our Heavenly Father. We pray that you & your family will be watched over & blessed.

-Luke & Clover Dunn

Anonymous said...

Ryan, you are amazing! An inspiration to all of us. If we all had half the faith you have, this world would know no evil. We are praying for you and look forward to your full recovery. Keep up the good work.

Rob and Karina Andersen

Cass said...

I agree on the Vitamin D thing!!! VERY VERY IMPORTANT!!!

I don't know you but I am praying for you Ryan! from way over here in Germany!

Big Virtual Hugs!


Jeanette said...

Holy Cow Marg, you're amazing at capturing the facts and thoughts and feelings of this whole experience with your amazing pictures, and descriptions. I LOVE reading this and staying up to date. What a scary week! I am SOOOOOO glad things are looking up. Ryan is such a go Ryan! You both are amazing us all, and reminding us that Heavenly Father is very aware and loves us. Thank you! Thank you for your touching words and thank you for Ryan for pushing himself to walk and eat! I never thought I would be so excited about something like that. Keep up the great work you're doing. Prayers are continuing to come your way!!!

Tanya said...

WE've been out of town and haven't been able to check out your blog for a few days.... Never stopped thinking of you though. We're so glad that thins are looking better for you. The day this entry was made and now, today the 12th of October, what a difference. Way to go Ryan!!!! Press Forward!