The Latest, A Cancer Update

Ashley and Ryan

 

I’ve been procrastinating on writing another cancer update, not because it’s “bad”, but because it just flat out wears me out… It’s long overdue, however, and I figured if I didn’t give out some new information my inbox might explode. So I’m here it is. It’s 9:16 on Wednesday night, just about 11 hours and counting from our next chemo treatment. I’m clad in my favorite sweatshirt and hunkered away in our tiny home office while Ryan is busy tying up loose ends around the house. He just brought me a cup of coffee (and a kiss) so I can keep my promise to you all and write an official update… But he knows all I really want is a giant glass of wine and a fluffy pillow. 

Truth be told, the day before chemo is always a cruel mental test. Like the day before a long trip, it’s a mix of nervous energy and never-ending to-do lists…  Except, you know, less fun.

This will be our 6th chemo treatment and by now I think we finally have a decent handle on the whole thing. I know what to expect, which snacks he likes during treatment, what smells he can’t tolerate (e.g. fabric softener), and the joke that always cheers him up when the chemicals start really working their horrible magic. It’s a dance, one we’ve been practicing for months now.

Even though each treatment brings a new terrifying side effect and a longer recovery time, each one also comes with the promise of further healing and a clearer view of the finish line. I know I’ve said this a million times, but Ryan has been nothing but positive, gracious, and thankful through this entire process. I thought I loved this man before cancer, but I don’t think it’s possible to love him any more than I do right now. Watching the grace he’s had as he’s walked this season has been one of the greatest honors of my life.  I know many would say cancer is “unlucky”, but from where I’m sitting I feel pretty damn lucky.

Over the past few months we have been shown real love. The I’minconvenienced-but-I-don’t-care kind of love. The love that stops everything and just shows up. It has been more than I think most people experience in a lifetime. The way our family, friends, and neighbors have taken care of us has humbled us to our absolute cores. I will be forever grateful that we got to be on the receiving end of their selflessness. It’s safe to say that we’re both forever changed because of it. 

Tonight, our church’s community group (small group/bible study group) Face-timed us and prayed for us, knowing we are, as always, unsettled the night before chemo. Ryan’s white blood cell count (WBC and ANC) dropped dangerously low after his 1st treatment.  We’ve been under a house arrest of sorts since then, meaning no church, no crowds, and little fun. Every once in a while, when we start to lose our minds, we get a little “risky” and head out to a local coffee shop or a matinee movie. If you live around here and see a crazy blonde lady Lysol-ing chairs and Clorox wiping tables… It’s just me, don’t worry. We’ve taken to Early Bird Specials and game nights at our house where everyone wears masks. It has been a process and actually kind of a fun(ish) adventure. 

Ryan and I are a team. I thought we were before this, but now we are on an Olympic level and I feel really proud of that. I can’t get enough of him and if I have to be locked inside 4 walls for months on end, putting together puzzles, then I want it to be with him. Like I said before, it’s horrible, but also pretty wonderful. 

As for an official update, we didn’t get the exact news we wanted 3 weeks ago, but we still got great news. We were hoping after his last PET scan to move on to radiation, but after our follow up it was clear that the chemo was destroying the cancer (praise!!) though not enough to move straight to radiation.  We would, in fact, need another 4 rounds of chemo. We were both oddly at peace about the news even as our hopes were deflated… We took that Friday and subsequent weekend off to rest and gear up for more fight. 

Now, as we go into our 6th treatment, we are excited to get another one under our belt and antsy to get it over with. We cherish the friendships we’ve made in the chemo room. I have never, ever, seen a cheerleading squad so bright, so positive, or filled with more tenacity than in that room full of men and women fighting for their lives and each other. There’s never a dull moment and the bond that holds us all together is hope. 

After this treatment we will have two more.  Our last chemo is slated for October 18th. From there we will move onto radiation every day for 4-6 weeks.  After that, we will be done. DONE. I still can’t believe I get to type those words. The greatest gift we will ever receive. 

I have sooo much more to tell you, but I’ll wrap it up for now. Dolly’s please-play-with-me puppy eyes have reached a whole new level of sad. Before I go, I/we just want to thank you. Thank you so much for your prayers. They are, in fact, working. 

P.S. I know what you are thinking and, yes, we are thinking it too… WHY DOES HE STILL HAVE HAIR?! It’s a mystery to us all, really. Truth be told, it’s falling out like crazy and it’s definitely thinning… but for some reason, he still has quite a bit! The doctor told us it should have been long gone by now, but we’ll take whatever miracles we can get. 😉 

 

Photo Credit: Kirk Robert

 

 

SHARE:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

26 Comments

  1. September 20, 2018 / 7:27 am

    I mean, that hair. Also, obviously, LOVE YOU BOTH. xo

  2. Debbie
    September 20, 2018 / 7:58 am

    Thank you for sharing your journey, and for seeing the good in all things. You two are inspirational and I hold you in my prayers.

  3. Amanda Troutman
    September 20, 2018 / 8:47 am

    A beautiful journey that will give you both a beautiful testimony to God’s provision. Praying for you both now for super charged treatments and the comfort of Jesus.

    And yes girl- that chemo room- whew it’s a surreal place I wish no one, and yet everyone, could experience.

  4. Brianna Rooney
    September 20, 2018 / 9:18 am

    these updates are so eloquently written and cannot imagine they are easy. thanks for opening up with this online community.

    Sending you and Ryan love, patience, good puzzles and strong cocktails when you need them.

    XO

  5. Patricia Haddad
    September 20, 2018 / 9:46 am

    I was thinking of you and your hubby in my prayers last night. I wasn’t sure where you were in the treatments but I prayed for good news. When I saw the date of the last chemo therapy I took that as a sign of luck. My grand-niece will be celebrating her 1st birthday! Now if that wasn’t God sending a message! I will keep you both in my prayers.

  6. September 20, 2018 / 9:48 am

    It’s nice to see how positive both of you are during this tough time. You both are always in my prayers! God be with you! ❤

    xoxo,
    Jessica | whattostyle.blogspot.com |
    Instagram @ what_to_style

  7. angie
    September 20, 2018 / 10:39 am

    God is listening to our prayers!! we love you!

  8. September 20, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    Ok. Officially crying over here by all the positivity and love. You two are an inspiration and thank you for sharing such a vulnerable part of your lives. Praying and cheering you both on!

  9. Wanda
    September 20, 2018 / 1:11 pm

    Love that attitude. Keep fighting!

  10. September 20, 2018 / 1:18 pm

    I have always thought that we are “given what we can handle” God knew, when He chose this path for you, you would not only be a testament to Him but you would use your beautiful gift of writing and words to share your story and inspire others with the bond and love you and Ryan share. Continued prayers. xo

  11. Geysanni Robbins
    September 20, 2018 / 1:44 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. You guys are such an example. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Don’t loose faith, God is working his miraxle!

  12. Carol Mizell
    September 20, 2018 / 2:40 pm

    Ashley such a beautiful post. It is a journey y’all will never forget & one that is life changing, I am twenty year breast cancer survivor & the sweet memories definitely outweigh the bad!
    Never give up Hope. Continuing prayers for you both, In Jesus Name

  13. Denise DiBelardino
    September 20, 2018 / 5:02 pm

    I am praying for you both from VA 🙂

  14. September 20, 2018 / 5:09 pm

    Prayers from Atlanta. It is a hard journey, but I can agree that God allows you to experience some wonderful things along the way as well. With my husband’s surgery come October, we hope to finish our journey and say goodbye to cancer as well.

  15. Sally Shaw
    September 20, 2018 / 5:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your heart. It helps to know how to pray more specifically. I am reminded of a verse God showed me this week that reminds us God is in the midst of our trials 1Peter 5:10 says “After your season of suffering, God in all His Grace will Restore, Confirm, Strengthen and Establish you”. Prayers are surrounding Ryan, you and your extended family members as well as all the doctors and nurses who are caring for him.

  16. September 20, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing your struggle and your positivity. You are a beacon of hope for many. My thoughts and prayers are with you two.

  17. September 20, 2018 / 8:52 pm

    What an amazing testimony you both have ❤️ God is good and he will continue giving you the strength that you both need
    Thank you for sharing!!! Prayers with you two!!! ❤️

  18. Melissa
    September 20, 2018 / 9:51 pm

    Thank you for the update Ashley. Praying for you and Ryan like crazy.
    It is an honor to know both of you even though we have never met in person!! ❤️

    xoxo,
    Melissa

  19. P Ingersoll
    September 21, 2018 / 10:31 am

    Ashley & Ryan,

    Continued prayers for you both. We love you and appreciate you sharing updates on this journey. Tears are flowing as I take in the strength that both of you share.
    May God watch over you and continue to bless you with his love & strength. Please keep sharing with us as we want to support you in anyway we can. ❤️. Love, Aunt Pam & Uncle Jim

  20. Jane H.
    September 21, 2018 / 4:50 pm

    Didn’t realize until today that you too live in Orlando. Although we’re strangers I feel compelled to offer help if you find there would be anything you needed done that your support group can’t get to. I walked this road three years ago so I know a little about the stress. But it is wonderful to hear about your support group and wonderful to pick up on your positive attitude. Keeping you both in prayer.

  21. September 23, 2018 / 11:41 pm

    You’re an angel for being able to see the positives in all of this. Praying for you guys as always!

    Hope // Miss Hope Elizabeth

  22. Africa James
    September 24, 2018 / 12:31 am

    Thank you! for the update ,daily keeping you all in my prayers

  23. Dee Brasington
    September 24, 2018 / 8:49 am

    Supporting you and Ryan and your families daily in prayer. “In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly!” Psalm 5:3. Our love to the Chambers family! Longtime friends from South Florida, the Brasingtons

  24. Amy Beyer
    September 28, 2018 / 2:25 am

    Your love and devotion is simply inspiring ❤️ Praying God fills your hearts with sweet peace and strength and even joy as you continue to fight for health and love ❤️Sweet hugs from California!

  25. Kiyomi
    September 29, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us! I love your updates. As a cancer survivor (when I was a teen), I can tell you that those friendships from the chemo room are ones that will last forever. Always sending you and Ryan love and prayers!

powered by chloédigital