Cancer Update & A Love Note

Where Do I Start…

I can’t believe we are finally here, we officially did it, we crossed the finish line. 

In June, 2018 Ryan was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma (catch up here) and over the past 7 months we’ve done 3 major surgeries, 1 over night hospital stay, 8 rounds of chemotherapy, 10 straight days of radiation, 3 PET scans 1 CT, and countless doctor appointments. And on Wednesday Ryan rang his second, and final bell.

Sure, I could go on, and on, and ON about how hard these past months have been, because quite frankly they’ve been incredibly difficult. But instead, I want to tell you about the good stuff. I want to tell you about the doctors and nurses who took care of us, loved on us, let me ask pages of questions, gave me their cell phone numbers to call after hours when I was scared, and let me cry on their shoulders. I want to tell you about the sweet strangers in waiting rooms who held our hands, gave us advice, brought us donuts, encouraged us, and shed tears alongside us. I want to tell you about our friends who brought us countless dinners, prayed for us daily, cleaned our house, encouraged us hourly, and never left us alone. I want to tell you about our families who helped us celebrate every win and held us together when we were falling apart. These people, our people, are the heroes of our story and they should be celebrated. But most of all, the person I really want to tell you about, is Ryan. 

To be honest with you, I don’t even know where to start.  As I sit here reflecting on Ryan’s attitude, perseverance, and love over these past few months I come up wordless. Most would think that I would have taken the lead during this season, and in some ways you may be right, but that really isn’t the whole story. Ryan has lead our family so bravely and fiercely during this season, and it has been and will be the great honor of my life to have had the opportunity to witness it. I’m constantly in awe of his steadfast faith, his perseverance, and strength and I can honestly say I’ve fallen more in love with him than I ever thought possible. He could have very easily (and probably should have!) taken the passenger seat, but instead he did the opposite.  The complete opposite. He stepped up his game. 

Many things in our relationship changed during treatment, because they had to. We weren’t getting dressed up for flirty nights on the town with candle lit dinners. Instead, we swapped the cocktail attire for sweat pants, and the bottles of wine for ginger ale. But what we didn’t swap, was us. Even on some of his toughest days there were post-it notes on my computer, coffee set on the dresser, and there was more than enough vocalizations of “thank you for being by my side” to fill a life time. Even though I was technically the care giver in our equation, I’ve never been more cared for. 

Together, we’ve witnessed more real life than I think most couples get the opportunity to experience.  We’ve cheered on our friends when it was their turn to ring the bell, and we’ve cried with heavy hearts for others while having to say goodbye in this life.  It’s been real, not sugar coated, but nevertheless, sweet. 

As we walk, thankfully, into our next chapter with eyes that are WIDE open I hope we look at every day like we did during treatment, as a gift. 

For a more technical update, Ryan has finished his treatment plan and is officially and unofficially done. Our next step will be a follow up scan in two months. Our prayer is that the scan comes back clean (as the doctors suspect), Ryan will then get his port removed from his chest, and we will close the book on cancer.  In the meantime, we are recovering from radiation… unfortunately getting radiation in your throat is a bit intense, so if you need us, we will be living on chicken noodle soup for the next few weeks! 

Also, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I will be forever grateful for your love and support.

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46 Comments

  1. Suzzanne
    January 25, 2019 / 7:18 am

    Ring that bell!!! So happy for you guys!!! Praying the his scan in two months is clear and this part will be over!

  2. January 25, 2019 / 7:54 am

    You guys amaze me! Continued prayers for healing and recovery.

  3. JLB
    January 25, 2019 / 8:27 am

    Wow–God is good! There is nothing quite like prayer.

    • Debbie
      January 29, 2019 / 3:07 pm

      God bless Ryan and Ashley.

      It’s great to see how Ryan’s suffering has not been wasted. Thank you for sharing your journey online. I do believe God is using your story to encourage other people in their marriages.

      I’m praying for continued love, courage, and a clear report in 2 months.

      Love in Christ,
      Debbie Cruce

  4. Wendy
    January 25, 2019 / 8:31 am

    What a beautiful example of Christ’s love, and how marriage truly should be. It’s beautiful. #goals. 🙂 Continuing to keep you guys in my prayers.

  5. Alisha
    January 25, 2019 / 8:44 am

    I read this update while sitting in my car and had such happy tears in my eyes for you guys. I have loved how you have turned something so hard into a beautiful story. I am so proud of both of you for weathering this storm with grace and keeping everything Christ centered throughout this journey.

  6. Ann
    January 25, 2019 / 8:50 am

    Congratulations….what a ride! My son was diagnosed with lymphoma at 13 and took a similar journey….happy to say he’s cancer free for 13 years and about to start his medical residency in oncology! Prayer for your entire family

  7. January 25, 2019 / 8:56 am

    This was the best and sweetest update! Thank you for sharing your journey- although it was hard it’s amazing how you both found the beauty in life and the situation. Congrats and enjoy your weekend!

    Angela | Cue the Coffee

  8. Patricia Haddad
    January 25, 2019 / 9:39 am

    You made my day and so much more! I’m so proud of all the people that have been there for you….especially complete strangers. God blessed you and Ryan with these people. And I thank God for that too. You are both in my prayers and thoughts. Hugs to you and Ryan (((()))).

  9. January 25, 2019 / 10:04 am

    So happy for Ryan (& you!) Answered prayers for sure!

  10. January 25, 2019 / 10:05 am

    WOW, just WOW my sweet friend! I have goosebumps, happy tears and just a big smile. Yes, a lot from the great news you filled us in on, but also because your strength and love for each other. This little story is just filled with so much more than a cancer update, it is something everyone should learn from. Every day is a gift and we all need to remember this everyday, not just the bad days. I learned this 7 years ago when my beautiful son Austin was killed and taken from me way to early. But, that horrible day and Austin taught me so much about life. It is short and we all need to live everyday to the fullest, it is a gift and to wake up with a smile and an attitude to make everyday a great day.
    So thank you for sharing and hopefully your story will teach others about life, because I truly believe that until you go through something hard, we all just take life for granted. I know I did.
    Much love to you, Ryan and Dolly, xoxo

  11. Gladys
    January 25, 2019 / 10:08 am

    So happy for you both!

  12. angie
    January 25, 2019 / 10:12 am

    I love you guys!!! God bless you!!!!!

  13. Venice
    January 25, 2019 / 10:13 am

    This was beautiful to read.

  14. Maria S
    January 25, 2019 / 10:18 am

    So happy for you both! XOXO Beautiful update!

  15. KW
    January 25, 2019 / 10:19 am

    You and Ryan have the SWEETEST love story! Seriously, it’s like a Nicholas Sparks book in the best way possible. Your words are never so eloquent as when you’re writing about your love for him, and his for you. So happy that you’re at the end of this difficult journey! Sending continued prayers for healing, and nothing but many, many healthy days ahead!

  16. January 25, 2019 / 10:19 am

    God is so faithful! Your strength in choosing to count the joy and blessings in this all is such a testament to the way He is shining in your life! 🙂

  17. January 25, 2019 / 10:34 am

    I am so so so happy for you and Ryan. You have handled this with such grace, while I’m sure it has felt like a bumpy ride of emotions. I can’t wait to read another update when you both finally close the door on this chapter for good!

  18. Shalyn
    January 25, 2019 / 10:51 am

    Praise be to God! I have been so encouraged by your words and both you and Ryan’s steadfast faith through such a hard time. What a story – beauty from ashes!

  19. January 25, 2019 / 10:58 am

    This brought tears to my eyes, Ashley! The positivity and perseverance you both had during this journey is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  20. Janecia
    January 25, 2019 / 10:59 am

    So amazing! You two are just so amazing and I’m so happy for you both. Truly. Also please excuse me for asking but where is your sweater from in this post? SO CUTE.

  21. January 25, 2019 / 11:18 am

    I’m absolutely happy for you and Ryan! Your positivity and strength during this journey is really inspiring! God is good all the time! ❤

  22. Denise Jenkins
    January 25, 2019 / 11:26 am

    God truly has been with you. You are examples of His love and grace. I will continue to pray for you both. Prayers for a clean scan and port removal

  23. Cara
    January 25, 2019 / 12:37 pm

    Praying the scans are clear in two months. Love keeping up with Ryan’s story of perseverance and faith through this. Truly a witness in how God uses all things for His glory. Thank you for sharing. <3

  24. Debbie
    January 25, 2019 / 12:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful and heartfelt message. You and Ryan have brightened my heart in so many ways. God bless you always and again thank you for sharing your steadfast faith❤️

  25. Diane
    January 25, 2019 / 1:25 pm

    A glorious day when Ryan rang the bell!!! Love you both!!!

  26. January 25, 2019 / 2:22 pm

    Answered prayers! Praying that the next two months carry many blessings!

  27. Stephanie Ferrari
    January 25, 2019 / 2:23 pm

    So, so happy for you both!!! Thank you for sharing your journey and inspiring me to live life to the fullest and praise God no matter the circumstances! So thankful for this answer to prayer and we will continue to pray for a completely clean scan! Sending lots of love your way!!

  28. Tammy
    January 25, 2019 / 3:15 pm

    Such a beautiful written post. Your husband sounds very much like mine. Strong, caring, steadfast. Never wanting to much attention on him I ha e felt the same way!! I should be taking care of hime. Like I mentioned to you we are just getting started with treatments soon.
    So thankful this is your story!! Ring that bell! Give thanks and praise.
    Love!!

  29. Robyn
    January 25, 2019 / 4:06 pm

    Congratulations to both of you! Thank you for sharing your story.

  30. Theresa Woodward
    January 25, 2019 / 4:20 pm

    Thank you for your honesty and sincerity sharing Ryan’s (and yours too!) journey. Prayers for you all! ❤️

  31. Katherine
    January 25, 2019 / 6:37 pm

    This is an amazing post. Thank you for sharing your story.

  32. Jenna
    January 25, 2019 / 7:06 pm

    This post has me in tears!!! I am rejoicing with you two while praying earnestly for a good report two months from now. Ryan and your love to each other is so sweet and such an inspiration!

  33. Robin
    January 25, 2019 / 8:42 pm

    I have SO much admiration for you both. My favorite thing about your cancer updates is the way you only use “we” and “us,” rather than “he” and “him.” Even with the littlest things, like saying “WE will be eating chicken noodle soup.” You are a shining example of a devoted, supportive wife! I’m so glad to read your happy update and that you are closing the cancer chapter of your story. ❤

  34. Gaylene
    January 25, 2019 / 9:09 pm

    God is so good. ❤️

  35. January 26, 2019 / 9:08 am

    I have been following along with you, praying for you, cheering for you, and I can’t be happier by this news!!! Thank you so much for sharing your lives with us! All I can say is praise Jesus!!! Continued prayers are headed your way with all my love!!! ~ Stephanie

  36. Melanie
    January 26, 2019 / 1:58 pm

    I have seen too many miracles not to believe there is one for you too. You’ve discovered early on in your marriage that you both have what it takes to stay the course..Many blessings ❤️

  37. Jessie Clark
    January 26, 2019 / 7:43 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful update. CONGRATULATIONS on crossing the treatment finish line, and thank you for sharing your story It’s inspiring!

  38. January 26, 2019 / 9:52 pm

    My father is a 6 year survivor of Hodgkins Lymphoma after years of chemo and two stem cell transplants. This hits so close to home so see someone you love go through something like this. Prayers for Ryan…and you xoxo

  39. Darla
    January 28, 2019 / 3:56 pm

    What a sweet post! Thankful he could ring the bell! God bless you both! You are an amazing and inspiring couple!

  40. Haley Robertson
    January 29, 2019 / 10:42 am

    Thank you for sharing you personal story. My husband was diagnosed with brain cancer at our one year anniversary. And since then it’s been a roller coaster. 18 rounds of chemo, 2 brain surgeries, 6 weeks of radiation, months of not being able to drive, 3 hospital admissions, over 35 MRIS, 5 CT, countless dr appointments, now dealing with depression, anxiety, chronic headaches to just name a few. Not what I expected at 26years old but I wouldn’t change it now. It has molded our marriage and bonded out relationship. It has brought us friendships we never expected. Throughout it all, just like your husband he has nonstop kept that smile on his face. Wish I could give you a big hug. I know what you are going through.

  41. Karin Levy aka Edwards
    January 29, 2019 / 11:52 am

    Ashley and Ryan I am just trilled with you both with this your amazing results from this journey and how Our Father caused you to grow in your faith and love for Him and each other. How the body of Christ came through and we’re there for you both. When you get right down to it the only thing that really matters is Jesu! So Joyful with you both and Jesus, you have my continued prayers. Thank you so much for keeping us informed sister very well done

  42. P Ingersoll
    January 30, 2019 / 8:58 am

    I am so thrilled to hear the good news! Will continue to pray for a positive scan in 2 months.
    Continued prayers for you both , an amazing couple with a strong faith and energy to persevere. Love & blessings to you both! Love, Aunt Pam

  43. February 4, 2019 / 11:18 am

    I read this both with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. I am so happy for this wonderful news (and pray the last scan comes back all clear too). What a sweet tribute to your husband, and what a wonderful gift to have each other to get through this.

    Here’s to the next chapter and a lifetime of good health and happiness together!

    Sending love across the oceans,
    Briony xx

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