After so many years of saying, “lets start a blog” we are finally starting one. And in the usual Luelf way, we are starting out with a big announcement! Many of you have read our recent posts about Ryan’s diagnosis of Lymphoma Cancer posted today, 9/22/15. For the sake of the blog and keeping it all in here, I’m going to recap what has led us to this point and where we are today. We hope this blog serves as a story of inspiration, motivation and seeing what happens to a family faced with what the world seems to fear greatly: Cancer. Ryan and I (Caroline) will both blog from time to time hoping to give you an insight to both sides of the story and our story. Please know this. I do not fear Cancer. In fact, I truly believe that…
“Cancer is just an indicator that something is out of balance in our bodies, whether physical and/or mental. Cancer isn’t something to be feared, but only to be seen as an alarm our bodies send out.”
Ryan has been preliminary diagnosed with what is very likely to be Stage 3 Lymphoma. About 4 months ago Ryan had 2 lymph nodes swell up, we thought it was just due to a virus. About 6 weeks ago additional lymph nodes popped up and thru our PCP Ryan underwent blood tests with CBC and Mono testing in addition to an ultrasound. All tests results were great, mono was negative, ultrasound showing swollen lymph nodes. He was referred to an ENT and an appointment was scheduled for 9/16/15 but later cancelled because of the two week training in OKC. While in OKC on 9/9, Ryan started developing intense headaches which we initially thought were attributed to training and intense studying to pass his mortgage broker license state test (which he passed!). Ryan spoke to a friend who is an eye doctor over the phone and he suggested Ryan buy some computer/reading glasses hoping that was what was attributing to the issue, but the doc let him know he didn’t like the fact that the intense headaches were waking him up at night. The weekend of 9/18-19 Ryan even won a 4.0 Men’s singles tennis tournament and felt great! But, by Wednesday evening 9/16 Ryan’s headaches were very intense with nothing bringing relief. Our friend was very concerned and asked Ryan to come see him at his clinic in OKC and he would check him. He checked his eyes looking for neurological issues and when he saw Ryan’s lymph nodes the Virchow’s node was blatantly obvious. Immediately the doctor spoke to Ryan about his concerns and need to have MRI, biopsy, blood work, etc. Ryan came home that afternoon. When he told me what our friend had told him, I immediately said call our PCP and get those MRIs ordered STAT!
Friday night 9/18 at 7pm Ryan had MRIs of the brain, neck and abdomen with and without contrast. By noon on Saturday our doctor texted us wanting to speak with both Ryan and I about the results. We knew something wasn’t right. Immediately our PCP let us know that he spoke extensively with the radiologist that morning and that the brain was clear with nothing abnormal on the scans. Unfortunately, the MRI showed “a bunch of lymph nodes lighting up all over the place in the neck and abdomen MRIs.” There was only 2 possibilities at this time: Lymphoma or a very rare virus. But, with additional indicators all signs pointed to Cancer.
Today, Tuesday 9/22 we met with the ENT surgeon and after reviewing the films he confirmed the radiologists and PCP’s thoughts. He performed a check on Ryan and every lymph node that he could physically touch is swollen. The doctor was kind and let us ask questions. Ryan has many “B symptoms” and the headaches were determined to be “vascular” as the lymph nodes swelling is causing the tightness on his circular system thus producing headaches.
Thursday, 9/24, Ryan will undergo a biopsy at Oklahoma Surgical Hospital where a full lymph node will be removed so that the cancer can be confirmed, staged and diagnosed. We have set up this blog to chronicle this “adventure” in our life. This is NOT a death sentence. This is simply an indicator to make drastic changes to heal the body.