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.