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

December 28, 2009

8 years... and many MORE to come

Wow... 8 years!

So much has happened.

I could go ON and ON, but really all that matters is that through these 8 years we have continued to lean on one another as we fall more in love.

I am so grateful for each day that we can share together and for eternity.

Thank you for making me feel like the LUCKIEST girl in the world!


Who'd ever think this country boy and city girl would fall in love


Day we took our Engagement photos

Happy Anniversary Ry


December 22, 2009

on the UP swing...

Ryan had his appointment today and things are looking MUCH better.

WBC is now 2.2 (from 1.5)
Hemoglobin is STABLE and not dropping, so NO blood transfusion needed- Woot, woot!
Platelets are INCREASING- Yeah!
Kidney tests are dropping- WoHoo!
Liver Function- decreasing... (BIG smile!)

So this may not make sense- just know that things are looking MUCH better!

The cold is still LINGERING, probably due to a weakened immune system, but Ry is on the UPSWING!

Remember how I said that it could have been one of the antibiotics Ryan was on that could have caused the decreased WBC? Well, today they decided to give him a different antibiotic via IV infusion that will last a MONTH. So he can do away with THAT pill for the next month :) Yay for LESS pill taking!

THANK you everyone who continues to keep Ryan in your thoughts and prayers.
How blessed we all are to have a LOVING Heavenly Father who hears and answers prayers and who is VERY aware of each of our situations.

What a wonderful time of year to reflect on the things that are MOST important.

"The Savior gave freely to all, and His gifts were of value beyond measure.

With the pure love of Christ, let us walk in His footsteps as we approach the season celebrating His birth. As we do so, let us remember that He still lives and continues to be the Light of the World, who promised, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”-John 8:12

With the Spirit of Christ in our lives, we will have goodwill and love toward all mankind, not only during this season, but throughout the year as well. "- President Thomas S. Monson

*Merry Christmas*

December 18, 2009

Goings ons... the good, the bad and the SAD :(

Here's all the GOOD news:
Well, this past week and half has been filled with getting ready for the Holidays.
I was able to go in to Hallie's classroom last week to help supervise the gingerbread houses. Wow...those houses definitely were not lacking frosting!

...ESPECIALLY Hallie's

I think she used a WHOLE can herself, and that was on top of the canned frosting she used to "glue" the candy on.

It WAS finger LICKIN' good!

The finished products

Then we met our friends for Tucson's annual 4th Avenue Fair.
This fair brings in quite the crowd for the over 400+ arts and crafts vendors, yummy food and entertainment.

Here was just ONE example of the type of vendor you could find there:

In case you haven't noticed from previous posts, I have a thing for hand holding.
I love it!

Then while we ate our delish Gyro, we listened to this high school Bohemian band play a bunch of songs.
One actually made me teary eyed. It was, "Ain't nothing gonna break my stride." I felt like it REALLY holds true to Ryan and our family right now.
Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
 Nobody's gonna slow me down
 Oh no, I've got to keep on moving
 Ain't nothing gonna break my stride 
I'm running and I won't touch ground 
Oh no, I've got to keep on moving
As one friend said, "Cancer CAN take a back seat now."
So true!

Max was fascinated by this hot dog machine

and these 3 cutie pies enjoyed their ring pops

Then last Sunday we went with some friends to WINTERHAVEN to check out the Christmas lights. This was one house that actually had lights AND a water show put to music:
although the picture is NOT GOOD, this was by far the BEST house!

This week started off by making our Christmas goodies. We decided to make the family recipe of caramel popcorn. I lined the table with foil because I KNEW I'd be making a lot.

Just the beginning

You actually finish the process by putting the popcorn and caramel in a clean brown paper bag to caramelize it in the microwave.
Max wanted to get every LAST piece:
Needless to say, he had a bath right after this picture was taken.

Although Ryan is not much of a video gamer, he does take the time to play UP with Max because he LOVES it

Then we came home from some running around to be have more "presents" delivered to our doorstep:
Ryan's supplies.

(He is hoping to have his line in for ONE more month and then hopefully it can come out- he is REALLY looking forward to that day!)
Next month he will also be having his Day 100 tests. He is scheduled for his PET/CAT scan on January 5th to check his liver and spleen- two of the areas where cancer was found. His last PET/CAT scan was PRE-tranpslant, so this test will see how the they are doing post transplant. Then we got some REALLY good news for his bone marrow biopsy.
Ryan was SICK of having his bone marrow biopsy's done in the clinic. He asked if he could have it done in the hospital under conscious sedation and they approved it! So on January 6th he will go to the hospital to have that procedure done... YAY!
So next month will be a HUGE marker to see how he is responding to the transplant
The vote for Ryan's hair:
Darker and Curly

So far it is STILL not growing on the sides of his head, so we continue to shave it. But now that his hair is growing in on his head, he is losing it everywhere else...wierd!

Then we went to Hallie's class to see her with Santa for their class party.
Max LOVES going into her classroom and he LOVED being front and center to see S. Clause:

Hallie acting "shy" telling Santa she wants a camera for Christmas

Then it was Max's turn and he of course wants a "twac-ta" (tractor)
Hallie came home and said, "Mom, I know that wasn't the REAL Santa... I know this because that Santa's eyebrows were gray and Santa doesn't have grey eyebrows!!!!"
What a funny girl!

Hallie showing off her cherry with a shiny rhinestone

this just breaks my heart... she ALWAYS cries whenever we tell her "bye" after volunteering
Well then for the bad/sad news...
Ryan got sick. For the first time since he has had chemo or his transplant he has been blessed to steer clear of ALL colds. Well it finally got to him and we ALL got a little worried. He had a pretty bad cough and major sinus pressure. We were all hoping to get away for the Holiday's to make a surprise visit to family. Well with Ryan getting sick we didn't want to be away and something bad happen. So we got all packed up- suitcases, Christmas presents, EVERYTHING... kept Hallie out of school on Friday and dropped Ry off at this appointment.
We went to Target for part of the time and then I got a text from Ryan.
His counts were NOT good.
In one week his WBC(white blood count) dropped from 3.0 to 1.5!
This definitely puts Ryan at a much higher risk of infection and having this cold was NOT good.
So they immediately made him go and get a chest x-ray and then have more blood and urine tests to check for virus' or other infections.
So far all tests have come back negative and they believe one of the antibiotics he is on could be causing his white count to drop, so they told him to stop taking it.
Tuesday's appointment will hopefully give us more answers... and BETTER numbers!
Because we were planning on being gone for a week and half, we knew that leaving was not an option. They said that if his cold did not go away by Monday he was to come back in. Otherwise he was to come in on Tuesday- so much for weekly appointments :(

So while Ryan was having all these extra tests done, for 2.5 hours I let the kids play in the parking lot while we waited and waited...
Thank goodness for the trees- they were LIVESAVERS

So lately Hallie puts EVERYTHING in quotation marks...
and we all get a good laugh out of it because she doesn't know how to do it correctly.
So once Ryan was finally done, we told the kids that we couldn't go because Dad was too sick. Friday was DEFINITELY a somber day in the Hess household. Later that day, I did take the kids to the hot tub to play with friends and that lifted their spirits.

Although we are sad we won't get to spend the Holidays with family, we are excited to spend it here with all our friends!

We went for a walk this weekend and on our walk Max saw this:

and said...
Ha ha... Ryan and I laughed pretty hard when he said this- that kid definitely makes us laugh!

***Merry Christmas friends and family***

Please keep Ryan in your prayers... it's NOT over yet!

December 8, 2009

Good times- Food, Family and Fun

We had such a fun, laid-back weekend.

Friday night kicked off our Christmas movie marathon. It began as we curled up in blankets, popped some popcorn and laughed our way through this silly movie:
The lights on the Christmas tree look beautiful, and it created a perfect setting to sit and watch the movie. Ryan and I loved seeing the excitement on the kids faces throughout the fun and SO cute!
I have to say, it also made me so happy to look over across the room and see Ryan's happy face. I know it sounds SUPER cheesy, but it's true. Our family has been so separated for the past 6 months and I often thought as I sat in the hospital, in the car driving back and forth, or as I knelt and said my prayers, "when will the moment come when we can JUST be together in a normal setting? No hospital, no doctors appointments, nothing...just US?"
Well, that time is here, and I LOVE each and every second of it. Sitting there, watching the movie, with the Christmas lights illuminating the faces of those I love the MOST was just so beautiful to me. I am so thankful to be where we are today...SO incredibly thankful!
Okay, sorry for side note... back to the movie night. Well, we headed off to bed and woke up early the next morning by two excited kids:
"Can we watch the NEXT Santa movie?"
As much as Ryan and I wanted to stay in our nice, warm bed, we had tithing settlement, so we needed to get up. After our meeting, we came home to a cozy house, I flipped on the Christmas lights, and it was time to watch #2:
After watching the movie, we got ready again and headed out the door to meet our friends for
It was our first time going and we couldn't wait.

Ryan making the first of a few tamale purchases:

Can we say YUM!?!

A fed Hallie is a happy Hallie
(like daughter)

The kids had a blast playing together

Amigitos cute!


Then we had tickets to attend an event @ the MY GYM in Tucson. They were sponsoring the event for the KEN OLSON FOUNDATION.

MY GYM is basically a big play place for kids:

Us "BIG kids" had fun too!
Then we went home and concluded our movie marathon with:
what a GREAT way to end our fun weekend.

Thanks to EVERYONE that made our weekend SO fun!

P.S.- Here is just ONE more reason why sitting together to watch a movie is so great:
Ryan needs to elevate these bad boys.
As you can see, he was NOT wearing his compression hose, just a normal pair of socks......OUCH!

*Remember to VOTE on how you think Ryan's hair will grow back*
Darker/Lighter/Same and Curly/Straight?
It is on the TOP RIGHT hand side of the blog

Will it go back to being lighter and curly like his YOUNGER days?!?!?
Super STINKING cute!