An Open Heart . . .
Sometimes I wonder if I ever want to write again. Sometimes I ask myself why have I not already written those 15 blogs that are bursting out of me? Sometimes I wonder if it is worth all the effort after all the naysayers and differently opinionated minds speak loudly. And, as always, everything realigns after I realize that it is not my job to convince anyone. This isn’t even my job. This blog is only something that was laid on my heart just a year ago. In all reality this only happened because I decided it would be wise to start a blog so our family and friends who weren’t on Facebook could stay updated as it would be a simple way to stay connected with those who cared. Never did I think that the blog would be visited 57,000 times this year. Never once did it cross my mind that the last few blogs I have written would each be read by people from all over the world in over 65 countries and several thousand times. I mean, seriously, all I wanted was to put my thoughts together and share our story for those few who would care to read it. I did it mostly for me. It was my way of organizing my own thoughts and figure out what I actually believed. I guess those simple little plans have become more.
I have struggled with this conversation in my head for the last two months. Why? Because cancer is not fun, it is not easy. In fact, cancer is hard and it is emotional. The tears I have wept for those we have met in this journey that have passed on to the other realm could fill buckets. At the same time, I have rejoiced with many; especially those that after seeing unproductive results turned to alternative ways and now have experienced positive results. I rejoice when I learn of a new story that after choosing to follow a non-conventional approach or a mixed conventional/non-conventional approach the person has gained the highly esteemed “No Evidence of Disease” stamp from their doctors. That brings tears of joy. And that makes it all worth it. Learning of a guy named Mike who became so inspired after following Ryan’s story that he chose to change his lifestyle and diet and lost over 90 pounds in less than 6 months hence restoring his health. That makes it worth it. One story is worth it . . . we are ALL worth it. I will keep keepin on. I will keep writing and simply share our story and share my thoughts. I’ll keep sharing the ever mounting hours of research I continue to do and what seems to be creating positive results for Ryan. We are already an open book. I am not changing now.
Time to Clear the Air . . .
At this juncture we are in new territory. We are in a bit of unknowns (aren’t we always?) and hope to gain much clarity in the next month or so. There are always conflicting opinions in the conventional and non-conventional world of health and medicine. We are also all humans with imperfections and each holds our own set of opinions and beliefs. Because of this fact there will never be a perfectly laid out clear story to completely encompass our Journey with Cancer. All we can do is our best to share our Journey with authenticity hopefully being an inspiration to others and positively impacting their lives.
So, let’s answer some questions that are circulating around.
What is Ryan’s status?
First, let me just recap what has happened since the spring. Here is an excerpt of something I wrote not initially meant for this blog . . .
“After a very tough April with fluid issues going completely out of control, Ryan did choose conventional immunotherapy at our local clinic. At the same time, Ryan and Caroline became very motivated and dove into what it means to completely heal the body. Focusing on a plant based diet high in fruits, supplements that were proven to help his body and what his body’s needs were. Ryan was on a protocol to protect his organs, build his immune system and combat cancer. The PET Scan in mid June did show Ryan had major improvements but also showed cancer was still active in his body. Blood tests confirmed the same. The local oncologist basically stated that the cancer was about 75% to 80% gone. In late June, Ryan and Caroline began a protocol that finally put together everything they had learned the previous 9 months and Ryan’s body started having major improvements; including all fluid issues resolving after the Naturopathic Doctor executed a plan to help Ryan’s liver. They believe the scans in November will likely show he may be cancer free as detectable by those tests.”
What we have learned since is that the immunotherapy did have a positive outcome and the combination of everything else played a large role in Ryan’s ability to go thru those infusions without much side effects. (As a reminder, the oncologist had expressed increased concern for tumor lysis syndrome due to the high tumor burden and was pleasantly surprised on how well Ryan did.) During the August oncologist appointment we were reminded by the doctor that Ryan still had cancer and that the immunotherapy had only provided a partial response. He also confirmed that the one side effect Ryan is experiencing is low white blood cell counts. While not common, it is a side effect. It has been quite the roller coaster with the WBC (literally up to 5.0 then down to 2.0 then up to 3.5 then down to 2.6 then up to 3.9 then down and so on). Our goal is that once his body fully bounces back the WBC will recover permanently. For now, I have him on a boat load of immune boosters and plenty of essential oils.
We have also kept a close watch at Ryan’s labs which include the full CBC panels and lipid panels. Two tests worth noting are the Hgb A1C and the Cardio CRP. The Hgb A1C blood test basically provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 1-2 months. Ryan’s numbers have been stellar staying under 4.8. (and he eats all that fruit, GASP! #FruitForTheWIN) The other noteworthy test, the Cardio CRP, (C-reactive protein) measures general levels of inflammation in your body. High levels of CRP are caused by infections and many long-term diseases. Some oncologists use this test as a loose lymphoma marker. Ryan’s levels were at 20 in June, 16 in August, 14 in September and plummeted to 5.8 in October! Normal is below 1. Progress, it is a sign of progress. It also confirms that Ryan’s anti-inflammatory diet, treatments and supplements are working.
Some final questions and answers . . .
Why is there conflicting information from different sources circulating social media and the web?
Simple Answer: humans. We are humans. If you want to know the full story feel free to read every single blog I have written and every post Ryan has made on Facebook. That will give you the full correct story. Otherwise, accept that we can’t control anyone else’s take on our story nor can we try to encapsulate our entire journey in two to three sentences or in 30 seconds and we don’t care to control or try to fix every person’s verbiage or takeaways. Again, Humans. We are humans. They are human too. What’s important to you may not be important to them. Their takeaways may be completely different than yours. Humans. Let’s be human together. Can I say it one more time? Humans. No one is perfect. And, by the way, you are not perfect either. After all, you are a human too. 🙂 (Side-note: I do believe we are all perfectly imperfect.)
I thought Ryan’s cancer was 80% gone or is it 95% gone?
Let me reiterate: humans. There are conflicting opinions from different medical professionals on what the PET Scan revealed in June. It doesn’t matter to us. It still showed active present cancer. Therefore, we are staying focused and staying on the path until we know that he is in full remission. Once remission is accomplished Ryan will go into a “maintenance mode” protocol. We have chosen to make our lifestyle and dietary changes permanent and will continue to research and learn what is best for Ryan’s body in regards to supplements and long term treatments.
What was Ryan’s protocol this summer?
In addition to a diet HIGH in fruit, Ryan eats veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs and sprouts. I have attached below a picture of Ryan’s protocol. After a handful of blood tests, advice from health professionals on the non-conventional side and zoning in on diet & lifestyle, we chose Ryan’s path. In July, we spent a large portion of the month in Montana where Ryan focused on IVs, diet and supplements. At the end of July we returned home and met with the oncologist and local naturopathic doctor the very first week of August. Since then Ryan made a commitment to stick to a very specific protocol for 90 days. We have made some slight changes, otherwise Ryan has followed the protocol faithfully. We believe this is why his body is on the fast track to optimal health and recovering so well. It is truly amazing watching health be restored back into Ryan’s body. We knew from the beginning of this journey that Ryan wanted to heal, not just treat symptoms. Today, we believe that is exactly what is happening: Healing.
My closing thoughts . . .
I have often wondered what would have happened had we been able to know what we now understand. Could we have bypassed immunotherapy? Absolutely. Would Ryan been able to learn how to eat a plant based diet HIGH in fruit from the beginning? Probably not. Would he already be cancer free? Maybe.
There are problems with wishing we would have known what we now know a year ago and asking these rhetorical questions that negate the present and try to bring an illusionary possibility. Number one is the assumption that a different way would have had a better outcome. This is not always correct. Secondary, the problem with this thinking is that a different path would have bypassed all the negatives yet still brought out all the positives. Maybe we would have not developed the kind of empathy and grace that the bad decisions throughout this journey have taught us. We would not be who we are today had our paths been different or maybe we would be the exact same persons. I don’t know and I really don’t care. It is what it is. So let’s just move on. We can’t change the past. We can only live in the moment. We only know what we know now. We will keep searching. We will continue to learn.
In this moment I choose to revel at the fact that Ryan is doing amazingly well. Everything points to continual movement towards optimal health. It is a healing journey . . . a lifelong journey. A journey I hope to continue to share for many years to come.