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 12, 2009

Still here...

Yes... Ryan is STILL in the hospital.

Ryan's ANC (absolute neutrophil count) is too low to come home. Each day it has come up a little bit and the doctors want his ANC to be at LEAST 500. Currently, Ryan's ANC is at 460. (Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell, they are the MAIN ones for fighting infection.)

Ryan continues to improve each day and is feeling really good. He is occasionally nauseas, but mostly tired. His WBC, platelets and hemoglobin (red blood cells) are all on the rise. Ryan's liver and spleen have shrunk a CONSIDERABLE amount and Ryan's transplant doctor is VERY pleased with all his progress.
Now that he is feeling good, he is trying to stay busy and prepare to go home.

Since he was unhooked from his IV he needed to start taking these again:


Ryan has not been able to leave this unit for 5 weeks, so not having his IV was his one bit of FREEDOM. After his first day and night of being unhooked, he woke up to find himself reattached to his "ball and chain." He was low in potassium and magnesium and needed a little boost via IV:

He couldn't WAIT for the magnesium and potassium to be finished. Once complete and unhooked, he walked OVER a mile with a HUGE smile on his face. (He was always quite envious of other patients who walked around without a pole... he was NOW one of them) Each day he tries to avoid getting more IV meds, so he has been eating a lot of bananas to help with the potassium, but he has needed more magnesium EACH DAY. The highlight of each day is when he is finally unhooked.

Once free, he enjoys being able to get up and help make his bed:


He has really enjoyed his walks without his IV pole. During his walk yesterday, he got nauseas and needed to take a break for some meds. We went back to his room where he went and laid down. I asked him why he had his shoes on IN BED? He refused to take off his shoes because he wanted to make sure that he got up again after the meds to continue his walk.

He sure is determined to get his mile in each day...GO RYAN GO!


After walking a mile, Ryan was a little tired, so he took a break and caught up on this:


I just had to take some pictures of him feeling so well. What a difference a week makes:


Then today we got some EXCITING news...

Ryan is ready to COME HOME tomorrow!

So he stayed busy helping with this:

It was bittersweet taking everything down, but how weird it was to spend the rest of the day looking at the bare walls.

I tried to be funny as I modeled my new SensiCare "shoes"


Much of the day is spent talking about this whole experience. Ryan does not remember a lot of what has happened and he enjoys hearing about it. He is so excited and grateful to be where he is at today. Saying he is excited and ready to come home is definately an understatement.

Through it all though, he just keeps on smiling...


Q: What is a normal WBC? **What is a normal ANC?
A: A normal WBC for a healthy person is anywhere from 4 to 10. **A normal ANC for a healthy person is anywhere from 1,500 to 8,000

Q:What happens now that Ryan is home?

A: Ryan will go to the cancer center on a daily basis. At the cancer center, they will do lab work to check his levels. If needed, he will receive blood and/or platelets and they will change his immunosuppressant dosage if he is too high or low. Once his counts start to stabilize he will then be able to go in every other day, then every few days, then to once a week. It will be a couple more months of frequent office visits.

On day +28 (which is next Weds), Ryan will have another (DREADED) bone marrow biopsy. This will show how much of Mitchell's stem cells are engrafting into the marrow and how much or how little Lymphoma there is still in the marrow.

Q: What should Ryan expect over the next few months?

A: Dr. Yeager said the healing process after transplant will take months until he is feeling strong again. It is normal to still be nauseas, weak and tired. For the next few months, Ryan will NOT be able to be around people who have had live virus shots (like the H1N1) or around people that have ANY type of cold/infection. He should avoid large groups/crowded areas and should wear a mask ANY time he is in public. He shouldn't be around construction sites or outside when it is dusty and/or windy. I could go on and on...

But YAY for tomorrow... Ryan is COMING HOME!


The Jones Fam said...

What great news! I'm thrilled for you guys. Your attitude and insight through this whole ordeal has been truly inspiring. Keep it up. We're praying for you.


Anonymous said...

Yeah oh yeah! Soon - Home sweet Home. Our Father in Heaven sure loves you! Heal on!

Thanks for your example and Margie for your sharing and keeping us all in the know.

Melissa H.

melissa said...

Hooray for going home! I'm soooo stoked for you guys!! Love the new shoes too Margie...or should I say Kevin? ;)

LISA said...

Wonderful news!!! Ryan oh Ryan what a jouney this has been. What a beautiful smile you must be wearing!!! Margie I still say your profession should be a blogger for other fams! We are so happy in CA!
Aunt Lisa

Katelin said...

Oh, that will be so great to be home! I'm sure that will just help the healing process so much to be home. Yay! Love you guys! I'm going to spread the word about the Aspire Benefit in IF to all my fam there--it sounds awesome!

Us Willis' said...

So Excited for you all. I bet the kids are stoked!!! You'll have to have a big slumber party as a family in the living room :) We like doing that. Hope everything continues to improve.

I appreciate Ryan being willing to share this intimate experience with everyone on the blog. It has helped me so much to understand more of what happens during the whole cancer process and I have even more sympathy than I did before. You usually just hear "bone marrow transplant....etc" not the aftermath of mucus, nausea, etc.

Thank you for sharing and so glad to see you going home Ryan! We love you guys and maybe we'll see you if Ben can rotate out there :)

Emily said...

Oh I am so excited for your family! Congratulations!!

Seth and Julie said...

Home! I can't wait to see pictures of that. Love you guys!

Mindy Burns said...

So so so so wonderful! I wish we could be there to roll out a red carpet in your driveway! Go Ryan! And I love your box shoes we need to watch the office together again soon! We'll come say hi next week! Yay yay yay!

Gary said...

Hi Ryan and Margie,
We are sending our love and gratitude to you from WY. Love for your examples of endurance, faith and trust in Heavenly Father, your love for each other and love for all of us! Gratitude for how you have handled all of this, gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His loving care, and gratitude for you, our brave, beautiful, genuine son and daughter in law. I know Dad and I have said this over and over, DON'T let ANYONE in the house! Maybe you can talk to them while they stand OUTSIDE, 20 feet away!
Hugs and kisses,
Mom and Dad

Peter and Brittany Merrill said...

That is such great news. You are going ot get real good at long distance hugs and handshakes. Keep it up and enjoy your own bed at home I bet that is going to be great. I can't imagine how your kids and Margie are going ot enjoy having you home. Be careful and keep up the determination.

The Dunn's said...

Congrats!! We are so excited for you to be home. We hope you can continue to feel better & better each day.What an amazing family you are!!We have to be careful with Paisley being around sick people as well so we have a little sign on our door that says, if your sick and come to visit remember to leave yourself at home! With a comic of a character sneezing into a tisue.Know that you are thought of daily.

Miranda said...

I am soooo happy and excited for Ryan to be home. What a relief for everyone to not have to split time between home, family, hospital etc. I wish we could have a big party with cake and dancing and celebrate this! We'll just have to get an I owe you on that!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe it! Ryan you look so great. What a change from when I was there. I am so glad that you will be home soon. I cant believe how strong you and Margie are. Hug Hallie and Max for me when you get home.
Love ya,

Jennifer said...

Hey Ryan. It is so crazy to me that you don't remember much of the last few weeks, but I guess that is a blessing too! I am so excited that you get to go home. I love you tons. I second what mom said about talking from a distance! BE CAREFUL! Max and Hallie will be soooo excited to have you home. Take care. Don't over do it when you get home. I sent you an email awhile ago, i don't know if you got it or not, don't know if the email was right. let me know.

i love you. you are awesome!


Kim Harris Thacker said...

YES!!!!!!!! We are so happy for you! How does it feel to be home? Take care and keep healing!!!

Heather said...

Congrats on your return home!!! Must be the best day ever!=) And I loved that Office episode. "I made this line bigger so you could see it." Ha!

Tanya said...

This is such exciting news! Way to go Ryan! We are so amazed at your tremendous strength. Keep up the fight! We are soooooo happy for you! Love you guys!

Margie, big hugs for you! Your amazing! I have so much compassion for you, more now, then ever. After watching my sister go through this same trial, and observing her strength, and positive attitude through the whole thing, after talking with you and listening to you, and seeing that you have this same attitude I decided that the Lord picks amazing individuals to go through such a trial. What a special spirit you two women have. Your both amazing, and full of great strength. Both spiritually, and physically. I know this battle is not yet over, but thank you so much for inspiring me once again! I sure do love you a lot, and wish I could have done more for you. The hardest part of these trials, is watching people you love so much hurt so bad, yet it's so neat to watch you grow soooo much. Just know that we think, and pray for your family often. Love ya!