Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We are preparing today for tomorrow's big feast, Ryan's not allowed any naps because he'll want a long one tomorrow :) We are thankful for all our family and friends who have been praying for us and caring about us through Ryan's cancer. We are thankful that we have a beautiful daughter who is healthy. We are thankful that Ryan's cancer continues to be in remission. We are thankful that we have a God who answers prayers.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New News

We traveled to OSU James Cancer Center almost 2 weeks ago. We went on a rainy Wednesday, not a good day to drive or hear bad news, which we didn't expect to hear. When the doctor came in to greet us, he almost immediately began talking about a transplant, based on the .3% leukemia cells that had shown up in September when Dr. Marinella did the last biopsy. We were certainly taken aback, we had not expected to hear what we did from him. The doctor suggested that we do another bone marrow biopsy and have Ryan get typed for bone marrow in case a transplant was necessary. We also talked with a financial counselor so we would know what to expect if the transplant was needed.

We left Columbus feeling very dismal. I spent a while trying to think of good things that would come from a transplant. It would cut the chances of a relapse in half, it would also mean that Ryan wouldn't have to be on chemo pills for 2 years and we could have children sooner than that. We waited a long week before OSU called us back with results. The bone marrow biopsy they did there came back clean, no leukemia present. We are still waiting on a genetics test they did, but the doctor does not think anything will show up on it because of the clean biopsy. As long as the genetic test comes back looking like the doctor expects, then he will not be suggesting a transplant at this time, we would just follow the 2 year chemo regimen that he's currently on.

Meanwhile, we're enjoying the nice weather and our new porch!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Little Scare

The doctor called the other day to tell Ryan that the results of his biopsy were back and they saw some leukemia cells at .3%. I was a bit nervous when Ryan told me this, but the doctor has called him again to tell him that this doesn't mean that he's no longer in remission. It could just be cells showing up that have always been there and they just happened to be able to be seen in this sample. He thinks it is residual, not a new, growing cell. We are in the process of scheduling an appointment with a transplant doctor at Ohio State. Ryan's doctor has talked with a transplant doctor at IU and he feels that the plan we're already on - 2 years of maintenance pills and bloodwork every so often is the plan to take. Ryan's doctor suggested we get 1 more opinion, just so everyone feels at ease. We will be going over to Columbus one day soon, but we don't expect to hear any different news. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Not Much to Share

We are to the point now that there's not much going on with Ryan. We had the Wulber Doo this past weekend and it turned out to be a very good evening for it. Aubrey had a lot of fun trying to eat an apple for the first time ever, she knew exactly what to do and took a bite out of my mom's. She also tried to hunt for corn cobs in the straw pile. She didn't find anything but she had fun. I left my camera at home so I can't upload any photos, although my mom and some other friends were taking pictures. I'll probably have some soon.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Normal is Good

I think that our normal has returned. We have settled into a routine around our house and Aubrey really enjoys the times that Daddy takes her outside for a gator ride or we talk a walk - she enjoys both the stroller and her new bike. She hates coming inside though. Daddy is back to giving baths most nights, which Mommy enjoys because she gets a few minutes of down time.

We've got an old lawn mower that Ryan's supposed to be working on fixing. Aubrey decided she'd try to take it for a ride a few weekends ago.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So Far, So Good

Ryan has been on his chemo pills for 2 days now. He takes them at night, right before bed. So far, he hasn't felt sick or anything and he hopes to continue that way. He had a field trip to the Farm Science Review today, he much enjoyed it. He has been working on his car the last couple evenings after coming home from school, so he must not be too tired :) He still falls asleep around 9, but that's ok.

Enjoying the week and hope you all are too


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another Week In

Ryan has survived another week at school. He had a late meeting on Wednesday, so that wore him out a little bit. Otherwise, the week went well. He had a doctor's appointment last night - he got a lumbar puncture, a bone marrow biopsy, and a push of another chemo drug. He seemed to do well, he is still sleeping this morning. He did not get sick, that's always a good thing. He thought he would feel ok today, was a little tired last night.

Aubrey continues to do well, she's toddling around pretty quickly these days. She loves going to the baby-sitter's and playing with the other kids, but is always happy to see me when I come to pick her up. I'm glad we have a great baby-sitter, it makes it easier for me to go to work everyday, which has been busy lately.

Here's a picture of Aubrey after eating 2 of my grandma's tomatoes - right from the vine.

We appreciate all of you who still keep us in your prayers.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Week Complete

Ryan made it through the first week of school. He was a bit tired when he got home yesterday, but made it through most of the evening, supper, a walk and bathtime, before crashing on the floor. Aubrey slept well last night - no coughing or crying - I think she's got allergies and it cutting teeth so she was miserable a few nights this week - and so we all slept well.

When Ryan went to get blood drawn on Wednesday and the lady who took the blood said the tests were to check levels of something and possibly for a virus. We haven't heard anything from the doctor and Ryan has been feeling fine, so we're assuming that everything is good.

Ryan goes back for his next checkup next Friday.

Aubrey flew a kite for the first time this week, at the baby-sitters. She even took a walk riding on her new tricycle the other night. This picture is from her birthday, but you can see how much she already likes it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to School

Ryan headed back to school today. He was up bright and early this morning - ready to go. He said he had a good day and is happy to be back to work. I figured he might be so worn out that he would need a nap when he came home, but he helped Aubrey ride her tricycle outside on the porch while I mowed our yard and then he played with her until I had supper ready. He went to bed around 8:30, but says that he's ready for tomorrow. Please pray that his strength will continue all week.

Please also pray that the tests the doctor called and ordered today are routine. He had bloodwork drawn yesterday and the doctor's office called and left a message today for two more tests. I'm not sure what they are, Ryan tried to call back this afternoon, but no one returned his call. So we'll find out tomorrow and he'll have to get some blood drawn after school. I always go into worry mode when something is out of the ordinary.

Thanks for all your prayers

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Getting Back to "Normal"

The last couple weeks have been busy and I have not posted, but I have some pictures to share of Aubrey's birthday and the upstairs rooms that are finished! Although we had to postpone Aubrey's birthday until last weekend, it was a very enjoyable day and she loved it - cake and all.

Ryan is feeling much better. He is going back to school on Tuesday. He will see the doctor again in two weeks. At about that time, he's going to start taking two different chemotherapy pills and he'll most likely be on those for 2 years. His doctor seems to act like he is happy with how Ryan is doing. Ryan is going to work on his combine a little tomorrow and then is ready to get back to school for his students. He took Aubrey and I on a gator ride the other day to look at the crops, they're looking good he says :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Feeling Better

Ryan felt a little better yesterday and seems to be feeling a lot better today, he's aggravating me anyways :)

He went to the tractor pulls last night and enjoyed that and we're heading to the fair in a few hours to watch his dad race horses. The strength is slowly returning.

No news yet from the doctor on his tests from Monday.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Sick Again

Ryan just can't seem to kick the being sick bug. He got sick after breakfast this morning and so called the doctor and went to see him. The doctor told him that his getting sick is most likely from the coughing. He also thought that maybe the cough sounded like whooping cough. Ryan had to get a chest x-ray and also get swabbed for whooping cough and the flu. So, we're waiting to see if any of those tests come back positive. He is on an antibiotic and a cough suppressant so hopefully he'll start to feel a little better tomorrow.

He's been kind of mopey and tired today.

Please pray that he will begin to get his strength and health back.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Whole Week

Sorry, it seems like it has been a while since I've written, looking at the last date, a week ago. Ryan seems to be getting a little stronger every day. He told me today he thought he might be strong enough to go back to school, I had to laugh as he limped into the house. He is getting there, but not there yet. Probably a couple more weeks, Dr. Marinella thought that would be a good idea. We are enjoying Ryan being home, but I personally am lamenting the fact that I will have to return to work very shortly - well, actually, I worked today. . .

One prayer request - Ryan has gotten sick a couple times in the past couple of days. It has been right after eating and he doesn't feel sick before or after, he just gets sick. He's going to call and check on it with the doctor tomorrow. Pray that it isn't anything major and he continues getting better each day.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Healing Begins

Ryan is very glad to be home and Aubrey and I are very happy that he is here. It is now time for him to begin getting his strength back and letting his body get back to normal.

We have an appointment on Monday with his doctor to talk about what his plans for the future are. Right now we are just enjoying being home.

Aubrey is sleeping in her crib in her own room tonight! She was a little scared at first, but after I stayed with her a few minutes she was fine and fell to sleep.

Praying that she sleeps through the night and good rest for Ryan as well.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We're All 3 Home

nuff said :)


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Getting Closer and Closer

to coming home that is! Ryan's surgery to remove his port is scheduled for tomorrow morning. Dr. Marinella told him that as long as his cultures from Sunday didn't grow anything and he didn't have any fevers that he could probably go home tomorrow. He didn't say that for sure, but I think that if he doesn't let him out tomorrow that he might have a big discussion with him. Ryan is definitely ready to come home, we're ready to have him back.

He is still quite weak and it will probably take a while until he gets all his strength back, but getting him back home will be a great first step.

Please pray that Ryan's strength begins to come back and that when he gets ready to go back to school, that he'll have enough energy for it.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Prayers Answered

Ryan's nurse today said that she thinks Ryan's body must have just needed a full day of rest yesterday and it was going to get it in some way.

Ryan is much better today. He ate macaroni and cheese and meatloaf for lunch and mashed potatoes, turkey, and yogurt for supper. He kept everything down today, no fevers either. They took his catheter out this afternoon, and they are scheduling surgery to hopefully take his port from his chest tomorrow. He should come home Wednesday, depending on when they can schedule surgery.

His doctor said he looked much better than he expected him to look today, especially after the call he got last night.

There will not be an 8th round of chemo. At this time, we don't know for sure everything that will happen, we will probably consult with a transplanter and Ryan may have to take maintenance chemo drugs (pills), but this is hopefully the last hospital stay.

He is still a bit swollen in his stomach, but all the other swelling has pretty much gone. Our God is a great God. There were a couple rough days when it was hard for me to stay positive because I couldn't understand why things would be going so well and then slam to a stop. It isn't always for us to understand God's plan, just accept them and go forward. We have, we will continue to do so.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Prayers Needed

There were some very good things about today and then some not so good things.

First of all, I heard a couple people say that the dance last night was packed and so we'd like to thank everyone who went and contributed. We are so very blessed by the friends and family that we have. Unfortunately, Ryan was in the hospital and we weren't able to attend.

Ryan's swelling has dropped tremendously, even a ton since yesterday. I thank God for that. Aubrey was coughing a lot last night, so while laying awake listening to her, I was constantly praying for Ryan. God surely doesn't let me forget to pray :)

I was happy that he had improved so much, but a little dismayed that he slept all day. He got sick a little around lunch time, but he said he had orange juice for breakfast and so I figured it was maybe a little too acidic. Then he got sick again around 6:30 and he temp went up to 100.5. So, he is downgraded again to only clear liquids and back on 2 more antibiotics until they know what's going on.

The plan is to remove his catheter tomorrow and they also talked about removing his central line, they might do that soon as well in case some infection could be coming from there. We pray that they will determine the cause and treat it quickly so that he can still get home this week.

It had sounded like he might come home Wednesday, but now I don't believe it will be that soon, hopefully by the end of the week though.

Please continue to pray for strength and positive spirits for all of us.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Making the Best of It

Aubrey and I did some shopping yesterday morning and picked up her pictures at Sears and then came to the hospital to visit Ryan. Aubrey can only last about an hour, but she really enjoyed yesterday's visit. The nurses brought her a cake and a little purse and puppy dog. She also got a crown, mirror, and bracelet. I would post some pictures, but can't do that from the hospital. After our visit with Ryan, we went to Chuck E Cheese's and had lunch with Aubrey's cousins, Kaitlyn and Camryn. Aubrey then went home with Grandma and the girls and they went swimming. She was still going strong when I got home at 8:30 last night.

The swelling in Ryan's legs has gone down a lot, his stomach is still swollen, but isn't as tight as it has been. He was on full liquids, then got moved back to clear liquids, and now he's back to full liquids. Dr. Marinella seemed to think that things were progressing well and that he will probably get to come home next week, by himself, without most of the swelling, without his port, and without his catheter.

Dr. Marinella would like Ryan to start getting off his pain meds, but he is so swollen in some places that it is painful and they gave him tylenol, but that isn't helping. Please pray that the swelling will go down so that the pain goes away.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Better Day

Well, there are a few improvements in Ryan today. His stomach is not as tight as it has been. Although it didn't look like the swelling had gone down much, there was definitely a difference when you touched it. His legs were a little less swollen today and when he worked with the physical therapist, he wasn't as tired as he had been the last few days.

His diet has been upped to a full liquid diet and he had potato soup for supper. He was glad to be off chicken broth. If he tolerates that for a couple days, he'll be moved to soft diet.

He lost 5 lbs from yesterday to today and they gave him another shot of lasiks this afternoon, hoping that will continue to help him get rid of the extra fluids he is holding.

He is off the heart monitor and doesn't have to be hooked up to his IV except when he's getting his antibiotics. So, lots of changes today, we pray tomorrow continues the upward trend.

Please continue to pray that things get better. Aubrey and I are missing Ryan at home.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another Day

Not much difference in Ryan today. I think that every day we're in the hospital, the more we want to be home. The nurses really noticed that Ryan wasn't that talkative today. I wasn't either . . .

Swelling hasn't changed much, they did another abdomen scan around lunch time today. The nurse and I looked at it and we concluded that it looked different from the last one, but that's all we could figure. The doctor wasn't back in today, so we'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what it shows.

I wish there was another way to take care of some of the swelling, I've missed the doctor the last couple days, hope to talk with him tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another Update

Ryan worked with the physical therapist a little more this afternoon again. He didn't do much more walking today, but he said he walked into his bathroom by himself tonight. He had chicken broth and jello for supper tonight. He is still getting TPN which is his nutrition and so he doesn't have much of an appetite. They said once he starts eating a little more, they will start taking him off the TPN.

He is running a slight temp, around 99. Were not sure why, the nurses don't seem too worried, but they're watching it.

Please continue to pray that both of us keep our spirits up and that Ryan's appetite returns and that the swelling goes away.

Thanks for the continued prayers.


Good News

Well, Ryan isn't home yet, but he's getting closer each and every day. Yesterday they took his ng tube out of his nose and they also took him off his oxygen. His swelling has gone down slightly, but not very noticably. He is hoping that it will start to go down a little faster. Yesterday he was allowed to have sips of water, today he got a tray of clear liquids - juice, jello, etc. He has to be able to eat those without getting nauseus before they will move him up to anything with more substance and he has to be able to eat solid foods before he will be allowed to go home. He is also hoping that his swelling will go down before he gets to come home because he isn't sure that he'll be able to get his pants on with his legs so big!

The physical therapist came and worked with him for just about 5 minutes yesterday. After he took a shower, mostly sitting in the chair, but standing a little, we walked up and down the hallway 3 times. He was pretty tired after doing all that, but he is sitting in the chair working on the computer right now. He said he wants to walk more this afternoon so hopefully the walking will help a little with the swelling as well.

Ryan is getting a little down that he probably won't be home for Friday, which is Aubrey's birthday. Please pray that he keeps his spirits up. I'm disappointed too, but it will all be ok in time, I'm just ready to have him home. I think Aubrey is ready for him to be home too, she's tired of going from house to house while I'm at the hospital. Also continue to pray for the swelling and the eating.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Holding Steady

Ryan is holding steady, ready for the swelling to decrease so that he can get up and move around like normal again. He is also ready to get the tube out of his nose, but the surgeon said a couple more days for that. I'm also ready for things to begin improving because I really want him to be home for Aubrey's birthday, which is Friday. The nurses are pulling for him, but saying it might be a week before he's ready to head home.

They weighed Ryan yesterday and he weight 193 lbs. That is 40 lbs over what he weighed when he came in. They gave him some lasik last night which makes him pee a lot, he weighed 10 less pounds today, but you can't really notice a difference. Although Ryan is generally more positive than I am, I know that he's also getting a bit frustrated that things are moving a little faster. We continue to pray that the swelling will go away and that his stomach becomes less hard so that they can take the tube out of his nose.

Please continue all your prayers for us, we appreciate them.


Friday, July 31, 2009

More Ups Than Downs

Well, there is finally some good news! Sorry that I haven't written since Tuesday - I took Aubrey to the aquarium and King's Island and haven't been around a computer. On Wednesday Ryan's legs started to swell up greatly. Aubrey and I visisted Wednesday morning and he was pretty much the same as he had been Tuesday. During the day Wednesday, his legs began to swell more. When I came to see him last night, he was really swelled up. Although the swelling in his legs hasn't gone down much, I believe the swelling in his stomach has. He is able to pass some gas and had a small bowel movement today. Dr. Marinella was happy with his abdomen scans today, said they looked much better than the last few have looked. The surgeon was in and didn't stay long, but told him to keep doing whatever he was doing because it was working!

It will still be several days in here before everything is back to normal, but I truly think we are now on the up side of things. Keep praying that Ryan will make improvements each and every day.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Rough One

Today has been a rough day, more for me than for Ryan. His pain has pretty much gone away, he is still taking some pain medicine, about every 6 or 7 hours. He is coughing up some flim which is helpful for his lungs. Last evening they did some scans and found that from the inflammation that his colon had swelled shut in one spot. Most likely, all the swelling in his belly is caused because nothing can get out. They put an ng (?, not sure if that's the real term) tube in his nose to pump the bile out of his stomach. They are hoping that this process will help relieve the pressure in his stomach. They are watching his stomach closely and if things don't get better within the next 24-36 hours they may have to do surgery to remove part of his colon and maybe more. We don't really want to go down that road and we are praying that God will use all the procedures that the doctors and nurses have decided upon to relieve the swelling in Ryan's stomach.

Ryan's been on 2 or 3 liters of oxygen since he's been here last Friday. They had him off oxygen for a little while this morning while they were doing some tests and he did ok, but they thought that it might be best to keep him on one liter because when he's sleeping sometimes his oxygen drops. His blood pressure has been high and they were worried about his urine output this morning. His blood pressure has stayed high all day, but Dr. Marinella doesn't seem especially worried about that. They had to put a catheter in for the urine and he has made more urine since then, good news for the day. It is also not nearly ask dark as it had been the last few days.

I have had a rough day and in addition to praying that the swelling will begin to go down so that surgery is NOT necessary, I ask that you pray for me. I'm getting frustrated and I want Ryan back home to help me prepare for Aubrey's birthday. I know he wants to be there too, circumstances are causing frustrations right now.


Monday, July 27, 2009


Ryan has been sleeping a lot today. He said he didn't get a lot of sleep last night because he's on so many antibiotics that they beep finished almost constantly. His stomach and legs have swollen up quite a bit. The doctor's say that that is a side effect of his bowel being messed up. When Dr. Marinella was in today he was a little worried that Ryan was on oxygen. They will be doing some chest and abdomen scans later this afternoon to check on his stomach. It looks like it might be a few days here in the hospital before they get him off some of the antibiotics and his stomach starts to look better.

Please continue to pray that all the infection is gone and that the pneumonia begins to get better. It could be several more days here in the hospital before he is even feeling like he could come home.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Little Recovery

Ryan is feeling a bit better today and he is now getting to have a clear liquid diet, so he was excited that he was able to have a popsicle today. His white count is up to 1.8 today and the doctors and nurses feel that once his white count recovers a little more that the inflammation around his colon will go down and he will begin to feel a whole lot better.

He didn't get a lot of sleep last night because they were in and out checking on him and he said he was awake about every hour. He is resting now, waking up and talking a while and then falling asleep again. Towards evening yesterday when he would stand or sit up his oxygen level would go way down and his heart rate would go way up. The nurse called the in-house emergency doctor to check on him and they did another chest x-ray and an EKG, but they thought everything looked fine. They believe that once he starts getting a little more than fluids in him and when he starts feeling a little better that those issues will resolve themselves. Please pray that that is the case.

He also has a bit of pneumonia and so they have treated that with antibiotics and he has a "pickle" (a green breathing apparatus) that he breathes into when he can to help break up the infiltrates in his lungs.

He is feeling better, but he still has a little ways to go before he will get to come home. Please pray that the doctors and nurses continue to be conscious of him and watching his numbers. Please pray that each and every day he will continue to get better and gain strength back. Please pray especially for Dr. Marinella as he works to decide what the best course of action to take after Ryan is recovered.

Thanks to everyone who is on our side. We appreciate you all.


Friday, July 24, 2009

One Week Too Early

Well, Ryan has landed back in the hospital. He is at Miami Valley with pain in his abdomen. We went to Wayne Hospital this morning and he had a slight fever, but then started complaining about pain in his abdomen. Dr. Marinella talked to Ryan on the phone and decided it would be best that we head down to the Valley. They transported Ryan by ambulance, I drove down. When we arrived, his temperature had gone up a little, Dr. Marinella was waiting on him. He examined and told us what is possibly could be. He ordered him pain meds and at CT scan. When the results of the CT scan came back they found that his colon is enlarged. This is caused by a combination of things - the drugs from chemo, having low counts for such a long time (this whole week), a bacteria, being dehydrated. So, he is on antibiotics and heavy pain medicine.

Unless something goes bad, this problem will solve itself when his white counts return to "normal" levels. So, it will take a couple of days for his counts to recover. He is in pain. Please pray that the pain meds will do their job and allow him to sleep. He was very heavily sedated when I left tonight.

This also means that Dr. Marinella has to make some decisions about his last round of chemo because the drugs he will be getting the last round can cause this exact problem again and he doesn't want that. Pray that he will decide wisely what should be done.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Bit Tired

Ryan is feeling tired today. After his blood draw yesterday the doctor's office called and set up plans for him to get blood tomorrow. His hemoglobin was getting low yesterday, but not low enough to give blood yesterday. I think he probably needed it today because he has taken 2 naps and not felt much like eating this evening. He is actually already in bed and he has a slight fever, which I'm praying will go down with some rest and liquids which I'm making him drink. It is not to the critical point yet that he has to go to the hospital and I hope it doesn't get that far this round.

I am quite ready to be finished with this and I know that Ryan is too!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Only 2 lumbar punctures left!

I have to say that although we had to go to Good Sam North and Miami Valley today, this was the best doctor's visit that we've had. Although things took all day, we didn't have to wait around when we got to either place and things went smoothly. Ryan got his shot of vincristine and then his lumbar puncture all today. Dr. Marinella decided last round that he can do that all in one day, so we spend the whole day driving around, but we only have to do it once instead of twice like we were.

Ryan is a little tired, especially after he helped Russell sand the upstairs floor on Saturday, but he's feeling pretty good. Our upstairs is coming along nicely. If we keep moving at the pace we're moving then I think we truly will be finished by Aubrey's birthday. We're almost ready to start cleaning up all the dust and dirt and putting the crib together and decorating. I'm getting excited!!

Please continue to pray that Ryan's counts go up like they're supposed to and that this platelets and red blood cells keep in normal levels.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is the suspense killing you?

Sorry that I haven't written in a couple of days. Ryan did come home on Tuesday night and when we got here, my parents were here working upstairs. We quickly had some supper and I did some homework and then we went to bed. Ryan is feeling really well. Yesterday he took some wheat to the elevator, drove himself to the hospital to get his blood drawn, he unpacked all his clothes, and did a few other things as well. He even helped our friend Dave do some work upstairs last night.

He was tired by bed time, but he's up already this morning, playing with Aubrey as I type this. We plan to walk at Relay for Life on Friday night - he's looking forward to it.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Getting Ready for Day 4

Day 4 will begin for Ryan at about 11:30 tonight. He is already on his final bag of chemo. This is a 22 hour bag and he should be finished with his chemo around 2:00 tomorrow, so he'll get to come home tomorrow evening. I have suggested that he get a lot of rest this evening and tomorrow because when he comes home we're going to have a marathon house working session :) We are getting closer and closer to being done, I can see the end and we are going to manage to get it done. Thanks to everyone who has helped us with the process thus far!

Ryan had a lumbar puncture today, only 3 more to go. It went smoothly and he's been relaxing flat on his back for a little while. He's going to take it easy the rest of this evening and rest up tomorrow until I come to get him.

Please pray that all goes well for the next 24 hours, I know Ryan is ready to get back home. Please also pray that his blood levels stay up so that he doesn't require so many transfusions while he's home between rounds.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another Day Halfway Done

Ryan has now had 3 of his 6 small bags of chemo. He talked with the nurse last night and found that he should be finished with everything for this round on Tuesday around lunch time. He's got the papers that tell him that right close to his bedside so that no one forgets :). He has been a little sleepy today, but he feels pretty well. He didn't take any nap yesterday and it is Sunday, so I can't really begrudge him for sleeping, especially since I napped while we were watching a movie yesterday.

Please continue to pray that this round continues to go as smooth as it has been. We appreciate your prayers each and every day.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 1 1/2

Ryan has finished 2 of the 6 of his small bags of chemo. He is feeling pretty good and he actually ate Taco Bell for lunch today. The doctor said the he obviously wasn't feeling any nausea if he was eating Taco Bell. We went on a walk around the hospital today for about 20 minutes. He is eating supper right now and he has had a good day today. If all continues to go well, he will come home on Tuesday.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Back to the Hospital

We are at Miami Valley waiting to begin round 7. The doctor is here writing Ryan's chemo orders and then they'll get him started on things as soon as it comes from the pharmacy.

Ryan was feeling well at the doctor's office and they gave him the choice of waiting until Monday or coming today and we chose to go ahead and come and get things started. We are about three days ahead of schedule starting today, so hopefully that means we get finished a couple days earlier in August.

After the doctor's office, Ryan and I went out for supper at O'Charley's before heading to the hospital. We enjoyed our supper together and Ryan was happy that he didn't have to eat hospital food.

Please pray that this round goes smoothly and Ryan gets out as soon as he possibly can.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Couple More Days

Ryan should get to have a couple more days at home before he heads back to the hospital. Yesterday he finished up the combine and got it ready for his dad to use. He totally misses working out in the fields. I'm trying to get him to work on our house, but he keeps going out to the barn instead, I can't keep him in!

He is feeling pretty good, still gets tired very easily, but he's not having joint pain as he has in the past. Thank God!

He has a doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon and then he'll probably be in the hospital over the weekend and through early next week. Please pray that this round goes quick and well and then only 1 more to go!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Finally Home

Well, after a few go around about which doctor was able to discharge Ryan, he finally got home from the hospital around 2:30 yesterday. He was getting tired by then so he took a nap before Aubrey and I got home around 3:30. He then played with Aubrey and worked on getting things lined up for upstairs. I'm putting him to work today! It is our goal to have Aubrey in her room by her birthday. We're getting closer. Ryan is still a bit tired but feels pretty good. His counts are looking good and Dr. Marinella told him to pack his bags for his doctor's appointment Friday afternoon because he'll probably head back to the hospital after that.

I'm complaining about two weekends in a row and also happy because that's about 4 days ahead of schedule and so that means he'll get done a little sooner in August!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Getting More Blood

Ryan is feeling lots better today, better than yesterday even. Although he couldn't convince the doctor to let him come home today, he was told that Dr. Marinella would come visit him in the morning and discharge him then. Aubrey and I are looking forward to having him home. His platelets were low again today, so they gave him platelets this morning. They also decided to give him two units of blood so he'd be ready to head home tomorrow. His white count is coming up already.

Thanks for all the prayers, we continue to appreciate them all!


Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Better Day

Although we would have rather not spent our 4th of July in the hospital, Ryan feels a lot better today. His fever has stayed below 100, fluctuating between 97 and 99.6 at different times during the day. He has eaten more food today than he has any day since Wednesday. He is, of course, ready to come home. As of earlier today, there was nothing growing on his blood cultures, but they wait 48 hours before they can tell for sure. That will be sometime tomorrow afternoon. He is hoping that they will allow him to come home tomorrow, I would enjoy that too, but we'll pray for the best situation.

Please continue to lift us up in your prayers that we get him back home soon for a week or so before his next round of chemotherapy.


Friday, July 3, 2009

A Small Bump

(We hope its small, anyway). Yesterday, Ryan spent a few hours at Wayne Hospital getting red blood and platelets so that he wouldn't have to be there over the holiday weekend, so much for that idea! When we left last night, he was running a low grade fever. The nurse said just to watch it. Ryan took 1 tylenol and it was down to 98 by a couple hours later.

When he checked it this morning, it was up too 100.3. So we got ready and went on into Greenville to get his blood drawn for labs. While there, his temperature went up a little higher and they called Dr. Marinella. He wanted labs drawn to test for cultures and also wanted him admitted. Dr. Marinella gave us a choice where to be admitted and so we chose to just stay at Wayne since they could get antibiotics started right away and its closer too home.

They got him to a room and his temperature spiked up to 103 point something. They brought in a machine to cool him down and his temp came down some, but he got really cold lying on the blanket used to cool him. They turned the machine off.

Right before I was ready to leave they checked his temp again - 105.2 - way too high. They turned the machine back on and I called just a few minutes ago. His temp has fallen to 102.7 (I think she said, 102. something) and he was resting and not shivering like he was before. The first time they had it one, he couldn't sleep. It is a good sign that he's sleeping now.

Please pray that his temp drops to normal and that when they turn the machine off that it doesn't spike again. We're believing that he doesn't have an infection and that his body is just so low on white blood cells that is the reason that he's spiking the temp. That would be he could probably come back home on Sunday, otherwise, we might be heading to Miami Valley earlier that we had planned.

Please also pray for me. The last few weeks have really been getting to me. July is here and there were things we had planned to do this summer that we're not getting to do and I'm ready for our house to be finished and it isn't moving as quickly as I would like. Nothing majorly horrible, I'm just ready for this to be over so we can do normal things for a while.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fortunately, Unfortunately

Fortunately, Ryan's mom was able to drive him to the doctor's today; unfortunately, he had to stay there about 5 hours because his potassium and magnesium were low and he needed fluids.

Fortunately, I had class today and didn't go to the doctor's; I would have been chomping at the bit because we probably wouldn't have planned for Aubrey to be at a baby-sitter's for so long; unfortunately, I didn't know what was going on because Ryan's mouth is so sore he can hardly talk.

Fortunately, the doctor gave him a prescription; unfortunately, he can't get it until tomorrow because the Walgreens in Kettering didn't have it.

Fortunately, Ryan came home and went to bed; unfortunately, April had homework do to and isn't in bed yet.

Fortunately, I'm almost finished with all my duties; unfortunately it is 10:45.

Fortunately, we have friends that will pray for us; unfortunately, it is difficult to describe everything we need prayers for.

Fortunately, God knows.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Back to His Old Self

Ryan is feeling much better these past couple of days. I made him get up and do some things on Saturday and Sunday and he seems to be feeling a little better.

He had a doctor's appointment today, he was a little low on potassium and so had to get yet another prescription, but otherwise, things are going well.

He is supposed to have another lumbar puncture on Wednesday, please keep him in your prayers.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nice to Be Home

Ryan so much prefers being home to being in the hospital, even with such great nurses! After about half a day at home, his spirits were headed back to the right direction. I think because he has the freedom to go tinker with something and then lay down for a while before finding something else to do makes him feel a little like normal.

My dad finished our shelving in the bathroom upstairs today, one step closer to completion. Ryan tinkered with his old festiva today - he's ready to sell it!

Thanks for the continued prayers, we continue to appreciate them.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Home Once Again

Ryan is home, he will have a lumbar puncture sometime next week, but otherwise done with round 6. Two more to go.

Please pray for us - I think Ryan is getting a bit down about this whole situation. He is truly ready for this to be over and gets a little irritable on his last day at the hospital. I think he would have been extremely upset with Dr. Marinella if he didn't let him out today, his methetrexate level was still a little high this morning.

I don't know what to do to help Ryan because I truly don't know how he feels. I just continue to pray and ask that you all do too.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Time to Sleep

Ryan has been very tired today, he slept most of the day, and actually much of the time that I've been here. He hasn't felt much like eating since breakfast. He did want to go on a walk when I got here, and we took a pretty long one, but once we got back he was ready to lay down and sleep again. His nurse said he hadn't been up all day until I got here. He is getting his second unit of blood for the day. His hemoglobin wasn't overly low, but since he was so tired his doctor decided to go ahead and give him the blood.

Ryan should get to come home tomorrow, as long as the level of methetrexate in his blood drops like it is supposed to. He will get his last dose of chemo for this round at around 8:00 tomorrow morning and it lasts about two hours. After that they just wait for his levels and when they are low enough, the doctor said he gets to head home.

Please pray that the blood he's getting is helpful in taking care of his tiredness. He said his knees are feeling better, but he obviously hasn't been doing nearly as much in the hospital as he does at home.

Thanks for all the positive thoughts and prayers.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 2

Ryan seems to be doing well today. He has eaten a good amount of food today, waiting on his supper to come tonight. He luckily never got sick last night, what a blessing. Please continue to pray that he doesn't get sick. He had a lumbar puncture today, he said it went very smoothly. He's been laying on his back for close to 2 hours and now is ready for his supper. Aubrey enjoyed seeing Daddy, but her houri is up and she's getting grumpy. Better head home!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 1 is Here

Ryan has started his sixth round of chemo. He went to get blood drawn at about 7:15 this morning and then to the doctor's office at 8. Doctor said things looked good and he was ready so they sent him on down here to Miami Valley. He napped and watched TV this afternoon and got started with the first bag of chemo a little after 6. He is eating his supper right now. I think he has a psychological reaction to starting chemo. He got his supper right after she hung the bag and took the lid off and then didn't feel like eating. He took some nausea medicine and then felt well enough to eat. He is eating a BLT sandwich, fries, and yogurt. It smells good.

He said his knees felt a little better today, but they are still sore. Please continue to pray that that pain will go away so that he can sleep well.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Getting Ready for Another Round

Well, we successfully celebrated Ryan's first father's day! With a dinner at the Texas Roadhouse last night and lunch with my parents and supper with Ryan's family this evening. We have been busy this weekend and Ryan is tired.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped at the benefit - thank you especially to Dena Wuebker for organizing it. It was so great to stand in the drive through line and say hi and thank you to everyone who drove through to get meals. And the food was wonderful!!!

Ryan has to get blood drawn early tomorrow morning and then has a doctor's appointment at 8:00. He will most likely be headed from there down to Miami Valley for the beginning of round 6. His knees are still really bothering him so please continue to pray for that.

Aubrey and I are praying that all goes well with this round and we have daddy back home before the end of the week.

Thank you everyone so much for your continued support and prayers for our family, we truly cannot say how blessed we are - not only to have families and friends like we do, but to serve a LORD who is a wonderful father to us all.

Now, I've got to go start the first load of dishes in my new dishwasher!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Good Numbers

Ryan had to get blood drawn yesterday. His white count has already come up, not high enough to go back to the hospital now, but looking really good for Monday. His hemoglobin and platelets are looking good too, hopefully he won't need any blood or platelets this round. Things are looking better than they did at this time last round.

Ryan's joints are really bothering him. The shot of neupogen that he gets each night to help his marrow produce white cells affects his joints. It is rough to see him not be able to walk very well, but he is hoping that by tomorrow or Saturday they will feel better since he doesn't need the neupogen any more this round. Please pray for this.

Ryan worked upstairs a little today, he set the toilet in our bathroom and he fixed the drain pipe for the sink that was about 2 inches in the wrong spot. He and his brother are working on putting my dishwasher in right now, we'll actually they're on break because one of the parts they got was missing a piece that they need. I hope they find something that will work so we can finish this project up tonight, but we'll see what happens :)

Hope to see many of you at the benefit tomorrow!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

They Wanted to Keep Her!

HA Ha :) We went to the Columbus Zoo yesterday for a couple of hours, we pretty much wore Ryan out, but we had a great time. I had to attend a meeting in Columbus today so we took a little overnight vacation and visited the zoo yesterday and stayed overnight in a hotel and I went to my meeting today.

Ryan was pretty much worn out by the time we got home today because he kept Aubrey in the hotel this morning and then on the lawn outside the building where I had my meeting after lunch this afternoon. Aubrey thought the air coming from this thing was great!

Ryan is feeling pretty well. All his numbers were looking good on Monday morning when he was at the doctor. He goes again tomorrow to have numbers checked again. We're hoping that he doesn't have to get any extra blood this round. So far, things are going well.

We thank everyone who purchased tickets for the dinner or raffle, there has been an overwhelming response. Hope to see you out on Friday picking up your meals!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 10

Today is day 10 and the day for Ryan's lumbar puncture. He had an appointment at 8:20 this morning in Kettering, it was an early morning! When we got there, we were informed that the machine that read the blood for levels was broken. Dr. Marinella told the ladies in the lab that they better come up with some way to get the levels checked because we drove an hour and a half and he couldn't get the lumbar puncture unless he knew that Ryan's platelets were high enough. So, they ended up taking Ryan's blood down the road to a CompuNet Lab so they could get the results. Blood levels looked good and the finally did the lumbar puncture, two hours after his appointment time.

Ryan was supposed to get his flush of chemo tomorrow afternoon, but since we had to wait so long this morning, Dr. Marinella had them give the chemo today as well, so he doesn't have any appointments tomorrow!

Ryan has slept most of the afternoon and he has also gotten sick a couple of times. Please keep him in your prayers today and tomorrow, he could use a really good night's sleep and a restful day tomorrow.

He wants to walk around at Poultry Days, so we're hoping that he feels much better tomorrow evening.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Home Again

Well, as of late last night, Ryan is home from his 5th trip to the hospital! He had to finish a 22 hour bag of chemo that started Friday night around 10:00. Around 6 yesterday he was sure that it would be finished around 8 and that he should get to go home. He finally convinced his nurse to call the doctor and see what he said. The doctor on call decided that as long as his vitals were ok, he could go home. The nurse didn't think he'd be done until 9 though.

Finally, at 10:15 we were all finished and ready to go home! It was a very late night and so this morning seemed to come early as well. He has been hit with a little nausea this time, more than usual I think. He is also very tired, but hasn't even been finished with chemo for 24 hours yet.

Please pray that in a day or so he will begin to not feel so tired. He is scheduled for a lumbar puncture on Wednesday and will have to get one 2 hour bag of outpatient chemo probably Thursday or Friday.

Last Sunday was baby day at church, luckily Ryan was able to be home and we could have Aubrey there together.


Friday, June 5, 2009

A Walk and A Nap

Ryan slept a lot today. The blood he got yesterday helped him out, his hemoglobin was up very well today. He is finished with his first chemo drug of this round, he will get two other drugs tonight around 9:00. One is a 2 hour drip and the other is a 22 hour drip. He will be finished around 7 tomorrow, but he probably won't get to come home until sometime Sunday.

We took a walk this afternoon and Ryan has taken a couple of naps since I've been here - I took a little nap too.

Ryan was a little nauseated for a while this afternoon. Please pray that he won't feel that anymore. He went to order lunch and then felt sick. He never got sick, but lost his appetite for lunch. Hopefully, he'll want to eat supper in a little while.

Thank you everyone for your continued good thoughts and prayers.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Low Hemoglobin

So far so good - things are going well for this round so far. Ryan's right knee is a little swollen so he had some x-rays done of it last night, the doctor said everything looks fine. A physical therapist is supposed to come and show him some exercises to do to help the swelling go down.

Today, Ryan had the first lumbar puncture for this round, it went well - he is counting down the number of those that he has left to get until he's finished. We also got the results from the bone marrow biopsy back today, they can't see anything in any of the tests that they did. Praise the LORD!! They are going to continue all 8 rounds as a preventative measure in hopes that the cancer won't return. Ryan's hemoglobin was a little low today, 7.5, so he is getting two units of blood. He is a little sleepy today, but has been awake since I've gotten here at 5:00.

I want to say how much we appreciate everyone who reads this blog and cares for and prays for us. I truly am thankful to God that there are so many wonderful people who care about us. Just a little while ago, one of the PCTs came into Ryan's room, wondering about directions for getting to Versailles to come eat at the benefit. We are truly blessed by wonderful family and friends and I know that God is continually holding us up in his hands because otherwise we wouldn't be standing so well.

Please pray for Aubrey and I - we both have pink eye. Aubrey's eyes are looking much better, but she absolutely hates the eye drops because they burn. My eyes don't seem to be looking much better than they did two days ago and they're quite itchy. This has been a growing experience for all of us so far and we keep seeing great examples of God's love for us.

* Benefit Note - The final day to purchase tickets for the benefit is June 14.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thus Begins Another Round

Ryan had to get up early, early today to be into Wayne Hospital at 7:00 to have blood drawn. The doctor's office needed to see his platelet count to be sure that it was high enough for him to have surgery. At 9:20, they hadn't yet called to tell us whether to head to the hospital or not, but we had to take Aubrey to my mom and so we set off . . . finally when we were in Greenville, we got a call that the surgery was on so we headed on to Dayton.

They were actually running ahead of schedule in the surgery department and although Ryan's surgery was scheduled to begin at 1:00, they took him by 12:30. The doctor came out to talk with me by 1:20. Everything went fine and they have his new port in. He is a little sore around the site, but nothing major.

He came back to his room around 3:30 and slept until supper time, ate, and then fell back asleep. When I called him about 8:00, I woke him up. He told me that after I left they had gotten his blood results back from after the surgery and his white count had gone down, so they had to wait for another test before they could be sure it was safe to start chemo. He finally called around 9:45 and they had gotten all figured out. The chemo is started. He'll be done with the drugs sometime Saturday morning, probably get to come home on Sunday.

We got some results of his bone marrow biopsy back today. In the part that they just look at things in the microscope, they couldn't see any leukemia cells. The doctor ordered some other, more sophisticated tests and those results should be back tomorrow.

Pray for Ryan to make it through this round well.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

June 19th Update

The FFA Alumni has added a raffle to the festivities of June 19th. They have a 300 lb live weight hog to be raffled off with butchering to the winner's preference. The hog was donated by Mike Oliver and the butchering by Carl Hunt butchering of Greenville. Tickets are $1 for 1, $5 for 6 and $10 for 12. I have tickets as well as FFA Alumni members.

Ryan is doing well. We are planning to go to some graduation parties for his seniors today and tomorrow. He also wants to go to his final Wright State class on Monday night. He is scheduled to have surgery to replace his port on Tuesday at 1:00 and then he will be admitted for his 5th round of chemo. I'm going to try to get him roped into helping me put down mulch here in a few minutes, so I better get one that!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another Answered Prayer

Ryan went to get his red blood cells today. His hemoglobin count was actually up a little from yesterday, but still low enough that it would be beneficial to get the blood. His white count was up to 5.7 today and his platelets were up to 22, so he won't need a platelet transfusion. One less day he has to spend sitting in the hospital. We thank the LORD for that!

Getting the blood went fairly well today, better than last week when he had to get it.

He, his brother and his dad are keeping Aubrey tomorrow morning, I can imagine that they might be an ornery bunch!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Answered Prayer

We truly do serve an amazingly good God. Ryan's white count was finally up today, from .1 on Monday to 1.7 today. The doctor expects that to continue to rise quickly in the next couple of days and has him scheduled to return to the hospital on Tuesday. They will hopefully (they don't have it scheduled yet) put his port in sometime Tuesday and then start chemo either Tuesday night or Wednesday.

Ryan had his bone marrow biopsy today. They won't have the results of that until next Tuesday or Wednesday as well.

Ryan's platelets and hemoglobin are not recovering as quickly as they have in the past and he has to go to Wayne Hospital tomorrow and get 2 more units of red blood. If his platelets don't come up before Friday, he may have to get some platelets on Friday.

Hopefully he'll be set for the weekend then, we've got several graduation parties for his students to attend!

Pray for rest for us all and that Ryan isn't in too much pain from the procedure today.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Low Counts

Ryan's white count is struggling to come up this time. He's been about 4 days with .1 white blood cells. We are hoping that today's count will show a little growth. His platelets were down to 7 yesterday so he had to get an infusion of platelets after lunch yesterday afternoon. It didn't take nearly as long as the red blood cells did the other day. We were only in the hospital for about 3 1/2 hours.

Ryan rested a lot yesterday and feels pretty good today. He had to go get blood drawn again this morning and we're waiting to hear what his counts are. Hopefully we'll see some change for the good today.

We're still trying to decide whether we should stay home today or go find something to do.

Happy Memorial Day

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Too Busy!

I think I've successfully worn him out.

Thursday we went to graduation and he announced all his graduating seniors names and they all hugged him as they went across the stage. He really enjoyed having the chance to be there and watch the students of his first "full-term" class finish their high school graduation. It was a late night when we got home, but he stayed awake for me on the drive home because I wasn't feeling too well and was pretty wiped out.

Friday was a very busy day. He had to get blood drawn and pick up some beans and we had a trip to Lowe's and Wal-Mart planned. We also had dinner with some good friends planned and by the time we finished with all that, I still had food to put together for today. Ryan was such a good sport, staying up and helping me brown hamburger and even folding some of the laundry I was trying to get done.

Today we had another work day at our house. THANK YOU to everyone who came to help. We are very close to being ready to put Aubrey's crib together and decorate her room. There are still several little things that need to be done, but Ryan keeps telling me everything takes time. I'm ready for those rooms to be finished, but I guess I just have to practice my patience a little more :)

Ryan's platelets are pretty low today and they may have to infuse some tomorrow. Please pray that he has a restful night's sleep and that his body makes some white cells before his blood draw tomorrow. He should be about ready to start working back up. He is in bed now, tired from a long day, although he did take a little nap today. I'm about ready to give up and crawl in beside him. I'm tired too. I ask for prayers for myself as well. I've been feeling a little down this week and not being as patient with Ryan as I should.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Long Afternoon

Whew, it has been a long afternoon and unfortunately it isn't over yet. Ryan had a scheduled lumbar puncture today. Although the doctor was running about an hour late, everything went fine with that. When the doctor got Ryan's counts back, he felt that he needed to get some red blood cells because his hemoglobin was low, so he sent him to Wayne Hospital from his office.

We arrived at Wayne around 5:15. They got him into a room around 5:30 and then had to draw blood to type him for the transfusion. That came back pretty quick, but it is 9:15 and they still haven't started the blood transfusion yet. He is supposed to come home directly after the infusion, but it will take at least 4 hours once they get started, he won't be done until early tomorrow morning!

Ryan is planning on attending graduation tomorrow night. I pray that all goes well with the transfusion of 2 units and that he feels well enough tomorrow to attend.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ornery As Ever

Ryan had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning, just to check in and make sure all was still going well. While the doctor was checking him out, he jokingly asked if it would be ok to help out with baling hay. Dr. Marinella thought he was quite serious and gave him a talk about why it was not healthy to be around the hay or in the barn with hay. I know Ryan is going crazy because he can't even drive wagons from one farm to the other, keep him in your prayers.

Ryan goes tomorrow for his second lumbar puncture of this round and then he'll be halfway done. We are excited about the prospect of being on the downside of the hill.

Pray that tomorrow's lumbar puncture goes well and that Ryan doesn't get a headache or feel sick after this one. He did really well after the last two. He really wants to go to graduation Thursday evening and wouldn't feel up to it if he develops a headache.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Date Correction

I made a mistake on the date when I last posted information about the benefit dinner. It is to be held on Friday, June 19th at the Versailles High School parking lot. Not on the 16th as I said.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Home Again

Ryan was doing so well in the hospital, or being such a pest :), that they let him come home yesterday instead of today as they originally planned. I was excited to get his phone call a little before lunch yesterday. The doctor had just been in and told him everything looked good and that he could go home if he wanted. Of course he wanted, he called me and he got to leave around 1:30.

Today we ran some errands and then he worked a little on Aubrey's room upstairs. Then we got to have supper with an aunt and uncle of ours at our favorite Mexican place. We enjoyed the visit and Aubrey enjoyed the few bites of refried beans that she had.

Ryan says he feels really good after this round, better than he's felt after any of the others. He has a doctor's appointment on Monday and the doctor is going to set up another bone marrow biopsy to check and see what his marrow and cells are looking like. The doctor shared that he expects to get good results from the tests.

We are truly enjoying having Ryan home again. Please continue to pray that he keeps feeling good and the side effects are little or none.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cancer Walk

If you are interested in walking in the June 6 cancer walk in honor of Ryan, please let me know so I can get you a registration and pledge form. The walk begins with registration at 9:30 and actually starts at 10:00. It is held at the Greenville Park. The cancer survivor's lap will be at 11:00, Ryan will hopefully walk in that (as long as he's not in the hospital). They have box lunches that you can purchase and all that information is on the registration sheet that I can get to anyone interested.

Ryan has finished his first drug for this round and is halfway through the doses of the second drug. As long as his methotrexate levels drop to the desired level, he will get to come home Saturday.

He is supposed to be getting a lumbar puncture today. He was a little sleepy this morning after a visit from his Wright State professor. She must have been working his brain pretty hard! :)

I've been thinking about developing a comedy sitcom, I think that the writer wouldn't have to do much, except film our lives. I thought last night before dropping into bed that I should set the alarm on my cell phone because it was pretty windy and the power could go out. I didn't set it. I woke up at 4, the whole house was dark! By 5:30, still no power so I had to call on Ryan's parents to use their bathroom to get ready this morning. Aubrey had a rude awakening at 5:45 and then a trip outside in the wind and pouring rain. She was sleepy again by 7:00 when we left for the baby-sitter's.

The power is back on and the day has gone much better, I'm really sorry that Ryan had to miss that excitement at our house this morning :)

Thanks for the continued support, thoughts, and prayers. God is certainly Good.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 1

Ryan has finally started his fourth round of chemo. He had surgery today to take out his port, his doctor felt it was better to be safe by removing it before the chemo started so as not to chance it possibly causing more infection after his chemo got started. He went to surgery around 11 today and was back in his room around 2:30, everything went fine. They started his chemo around 5:30 tonight. The first drug he gets this round is a 24 hour drug and then on days 2 and 3 he gets a different drug. This is the round that he also gets a rescue drug to get the methotrexate out of his system. He will get to come home when that level is down - Friday or Saturday.

More info on June 16 - pork loin dinners, including green beans, au gratin potatoes, and peach or apple crisp will be served from 3-8 and the tickets are 6.50. I have tickets. The dinners are for carry-out only and can be picked up in the south parking lot of Versailles High School on that day. There will also be a mobile blood unit there for donating blood from 12-4.

Things seem to be going well, Ryan didn't get to eat any breakfast and had a late lunch so he's just now getting some supper, but he feels good and is ready to eat.

We ask that you continue to pray for things to go well and that Ryan can continue to sleep well at night. We appreciate everything good thought and prayer that is coming our way. Thanks to our LORD for sustaining us through this and to all you who are holding us up.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Bump in this Road

Well, they haven't started Ryan's chemo yet. It may be tomorrow or not until Wednesday. The doctor believes that the infection might be coming from Ryan's port and so they have scheduled surgery to take it out. They are going to begin chemo in an IV in his arm, but we aren't sure if they will start that before they take the port out or not. Ryan will have to get another port put in, but they probably will not do that until he comes for round 5.

On a positive note, Ryan feels really good, although he is stuck here in the hospital. He is keeping up well with his Wright State classes.

Pray that the chemo will get started as soon as it is safe to begin. Pray that our spirits stay up with this minor setback and that we get back on track with things real soon.

On another note, I received tickets for the benefit for Ryan, sponsored by the Versailles FFA Alumni. The tickets are $6.50, I forget what you get to eat . . . my mind is going elsewhere. They are also having a mobile blood drive that day. This will all take place in the Versailles High School parking lot.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Blood Results

When the doctor was in today, he had the results of the cultures that they tried to grow from Friday. Both cultures are growing bacteria which means that Ryan has/had some sort of infection. He hasn't had a fever since yesterday afternoon, so they are pretty sure that the infection is gone. The plan is to begin his chemo tomorrow morning.

They are going to draw more blood later this evening to test for bacteria again to determine if the infection is gone. Ryan has had a good day, we went on a walk around the hospital this afternoon.

On the whole, not much happening today.

For anyone interested, please don't feel obligated because many of you have donated time and money already, but there are two events coming up in June for Ryan.

1 - The Versailles FFA Alumni is sponsoring a benefit for Ryan on June 19. They will be selling tickets for pork chop dinners, that's about all I know, but when I get more information I will pass it on. Let me know if you're interested.

2 - On June 6, the Cancer Association of Darke County is sponsoring a Cancer Survivor's run/walk. As long as Ryan is home, he will walk in the survivor's lap. There is an opportunity to walk/run (I'll have to walk) 3 miles and Aubrey and I will probably walk that, along with some other family members as well. They sent a paper to solicit pledges. If you would like to pledge any money, contact me. The money stays in Darke County for help from the Cancer Association, from which we get reimbursement for mileage and medical supplies.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Waiting Game

Today, Ryan got some fluids and antibiotics, but we don't really know anything more than we did yesterday. They have to wait until at least tomorrow, maybe Monday to see the cultures from the blood from yesterday and then they should be able to start chemo one of those days.

Ryan has been awake the whole time I've been here this afternoon. We watched a movie and lots of TV. He ordered supper and didn't even very much of it. He said that his stomach is still hurting a little and he wasn't that hungry. Pray that he keeps his appetite up so that he can keep his energy up.

Otherwise, things are going pretty well today. I pray for a good night's sleep for Ryan and a restful day tomorrow before they get his chemo started.


Friday, May 8, 2009

A Bump in the Road, But No Flat Tire

Ryan's doctor's appointment started out really well today, but went a little down hill from there. When the doctor got there, a few minutes late because he had to get rerouted off of 75 on his way to the office. When he came in, he told Ryan that his blood counts looked good and he was ready to go back in for round 4. Dr. Marinella told us to stay in the room while he wrote the chemo orders and then we could head to Miami Valley.

Not two minutes after the doctor left the room, Ryan started shaking. He said he was shivering, so I gave it a few minutes. He didn't stop so I went for a blanket and then finally got the nurse. She came in with another blanket and then left to talk to the doctor. She came back to take his temperature and it had gone up 2.3 degrees since they took it when we first arrived. They are assuming that he has an infection of some sort and so they drew blood to check for that. We won't have results to know what it is for sure for a couple of days, but they started him on an antibiotic right away so that they could get his temperature down and get at the infection right way. His chemo will probably be delayed until Monday or Tuesday, so he will be in the hospital a little longer than we had planned. It is a good thing that this showed up now though because if they had started chemo already and his white cell count was down, he wouldn't be able to fight off the infection.

He is back in the bone marrow unit in room 5517. When I talked to him around 6:00, his temperature had dropped to 99.2 and his blood pressure had gone done. He was just getting settled into his room. I'm not sure what else they're doing tonight, but I'll update again tomorrow.

We celebrated Mother's Day last night after Aubrey's 9 month pictures. We ate supper at Red Lobster, my favorite place and Ryan got me a . . . dishwasher!!! He said that he hasn't been able to help out a lot lately and he wanted something that would make my days go smoother and create a little less work for me.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I think today shall be a normal day, until I get almost to work. I was driving down 127, about 1 mile from where I work, I heard this hissing noise. It took a few seconds for me to figure out what it was, but as soon as I realized it was my tire, I pulled over. I called Ryan, he had to come to Greenville to get blood drawn, so he said he would come take care of it when he got the chance. I called my office and asked for someone to please come pick me up.

We are truly a blessed family. Dave and Carl (the guys that work in the curriculum department at the ESC) came in their dress clothes and pulled the spare tire from underneath my van, jacked the van up and would have had the spare tire on the van, except for the fact that the wheel was stuck to the brake. We then had to call my dad to bring a hammer to loosen everything up. Finally I got to work, all this excitement and it was only 8:45!

When Ryan came to town, I got to each lunch with him and then he took my van to have the tires rotated (that needed done anyway) and the flat fixed. What a day.

His counts looked good today and so it seems very likely that he will return to Miami Valley Friday.

His back pain has subsided and he had a good day today, except for the fact that he had to run around fixing my van.

We are celebrating Mother's Day tomorrow after work. I pray for a restful day for Ryan.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Getting Blood

Ryan was so wiped out on Sunday because his hemoglobin was low. When he went for blood and to his doctor's appointment yesterday, his white count was down from Friday (I think someone made a mistake in telling us to stop the shot that helps him make white blood cells). He had to begin that shot again and he also spent the rest of the day at Wayne Hospital getting 2 units of blood. He seemed to feel a lot better this morning when I left, although his back his giving him some trouble and he tossed
and turned a lot last night. Hopefully he will sleep a little better today.

While he was at Wayne Hospital yesterday, he had a cat scan of his stomach and one of his lumbar region because he'd been having some stomach pain and developed back pain. Everything looks fine on the scans.

Please pray for Ryan that his back pain will go away. Please pray for me because I'm a little disappointed - Ryan is scheduled to go back to Miami Valley on Friday for round 4 which means he won't be home for my first mother's day. I know I'm being a little selfish, but I was really hoping he would be home.

As for the weeds in my flower bed - does the other hardware store in Greenville have a suggestion for me? I'll be in if you tell me something that will work!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Full Weekend

We had a wonderful weekend, but it sure wore Ryan out. We left Friday afternoon to head to Columbus to see some of his students receive awards at the State FFA Convention. Ryan attended the session Friday night to see one of his students receive 2nd place in his area. All three of us attended Saturday morning to see his state winning Outdoor Power Equipment team receive their first place award.

Once we got home Saturday morning, we had a wonderful group of family come to help us on our upstairs project and the outside of our house. Thanks to all who helped! I didn't take any pictures outside, but if you've been to our house in the last year, you have noticed piles of bricks and rubbish from the beginning of our remodeling project, the piles are gone and we can see the yard now! Also, I'm not very good about keeping up on weeds, but the weeds are gone from the beds around our back door, maybe I'll be able to keep them away this summer (if I get some weed spray at Lowe's!)

Here's Aubrey's (almost finished) nursery.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Free Day

Ryan didn't have to have any blood work done or attend any appointments today. He slept in a little and then worked on some farm stuff today. After his nap this afternoon, he endured a trip to the grocery with me and Aubrey. When we got home he made supper while I fed Aubrey. After we ate, he was pretty much done for the night. Left me to clean up all the dishes! I guess I can handle that. I think we're all going to bed early tonight.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Much Better Day

Today was by far, much better than yesterday. Ryan slept much better last night than he did the night before and felt better when he woke up this morning. We had a class to attend about chemotherapy before his treatment and then he had about 45 minutes in the treatment room at Good Sam North. Things went well. We were able to stop at school and pick up a few things before heading home.

Ryan seems to be in better spirits today than he was yesterday. He felt so bad yesterday that it was hard to smile, but he pulled through, being such a strong believer.

Thank you all for the prayers, we continue to appreciate them.


Monday, April 27, 2009

A Long Day

Today has been a long day. Ryan had a doctor's appointment in Greenville this morning at 8:00, that went well and we got out of there in about 20 minutes. We then had to head to Miami Valley so he could get his lumbar puncture and his chemo. This was supposed to be an in/out procedure, maybe being there around 2 1/2 hours. It was scheduled for 9:30. We arrived and checked in and got sent to the outpatient care area, and then the confusion set in. Ryan's nurse called radiology (the department doing his chemo), but they didn't have him on the schedule. Because of a scheduling mistake, it took about 3 hours before he actually got the procedure done. Then we waited another 2 hours while he had to lay flat on his back before he could come home.

He was pretty tired when we got here and rested for a little while, but I needed help with Aubrey too, so he tried to play with her a little while.

Supper didn't go over too well with him and he's gotten sick a few times tonight. I ask that you pray for a good night's rest for everyone. Neither one of us slept very well last night, and we both could use a full night's sleep. Aubrey is doing well. Her mysterious rash has gone away, still not sure what it was or if it might return, but for now, she's well.

Ryan has another outpatient chemo tomorrow, this is just a push of an IV bag into his line so hopefully we'll be home sooner tomorrow than we were today.

Pray for strength.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

What a Beautiful Day

This was a great Saturday. We got to sleep in a little this morning, Aubrey actually slept longer than 6:00 for the only day this week! The poor child developed a rash again yesterday, not sure what it is this time. It doesn't seem to bother her though, she went on like nothing was wrong both yesterday and today.

Oh, and about Ryan. He is doing well. His counts are below 1000, but you wouldn't know it to see him. He put in a full day today. He went to help his brother with a tractor this morning and then we went to town for some parts. After a short nap, he helped me pick up sticks in the yard and then back down to this shop to work on the planter with his friend Curtis. I finally got him inside just a little while ago.

We look forward to another nice day tomorrow.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Ryan is home again. I brought him home last evening and after we had supper he slept for the rest of the evening. He had been sick in the hospital a couple of times, but he has felt pretty good since he has been home. He had to go to Greenville and get his blood drawn this morning. He told me he was going home to take a nap.

I told him he needs to pick up things in the yard, but he'll probably be too tired for that. He did say he took out the trash! He didn't even have to be asked to do that :)


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Good Day for Sleeping

Ryan is about 5 hours away from finishing his 24 hour drip of chemo. Dr. Davis, his Wright State professor came and visited him this morning to get him started on this week's work, he couldn't get a video that he needed to watch to play on his computer, so her husband graciously came back this evening to bring another computer to watch the video on. Thanks so much to both of them for wanting to help Ryan finish his coursework.

As long as things continue to go well through the night, he will get to come home tomorrow afternoon. He will have another lumbar puncture and a shot of chemo over the next couple weeks, but those are both outpatient procedures so hopefully he'll be home for another two weeks.

Aubrey is having a much better day today than she's had recently, so I believe that she is on the mend as well.

Pray that Ryan's energy begins to come back, he's slept a lot this evening, and that when he comes home that he doesn't have any complications that will send him back to the hospital.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Almost Day 4

Tonight around 9:00 will begin day 4 and the last day of Ryan's chemo for this round. He will get a 24 drip and also a push of a chemo drug (on Tuesday sometime). Doctor was in this afternoon for a lumbar puncture and to give him the results of his cat scan, the minor alarming thing is that they found nothing when they looked at the brain scan, ha ha :) The doctor said everything looked fine on that and his chest x-ray. He'll get to come home sometime on Wednesday as long as he continues to do well as he has been.

Ryan was very tired yesterday, but his hemoglobin was down and the nurses said that can make you tired. He got 2 units of blood, but was awake the whole time I was there yesterday afternoon.

We would ask that you continue to remember Ryan in your prayers, but remember Aubrey as well. She had a high fever over the weekend and has developed a rash, doctor says roseola . . . on top of that, the doctor gave her some antibiotic when the fever first spiked and we think she's also had an allergic reaction to the medicine. She has not been the happiest baby since Thursday, but she seems to be doing better today. We continue to appreciate prayers and cards.

Thank you everyone!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day One and a Half

They started Ryan's first bag of chemo drugs last night around 11, so he has now had 2 of the 6 doses of that drug that he will get. After those 6 doses are over he will get one drug that is a 24 hour drip and he will get another drug that is pushed in. He will also get lumbar punctures on days 4 and 11.

So far, everything is looking good. We watched the movie, The Bucket List, this evening - so sad! It was a good movie though, so if you haven't seen it, it is worth renting.

We ask that you continue to pray that all will go well with this round of drugs and that Ryan will be back home soon.

Until tomorrow

Friday, April 17, 2009

Starting Over Again

We are back at the hospital this evening. Ryan came down this morning with his mom and was admitted and in his room around 11. We waited until about 6:30 for the doctor to come in and they started Ryan on fluids and then will start the chemo as soon as he is well-hydrated. The doctor said that could be tonight or early in the morning. This round is about 5 days so he'll probably be here until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

We begin to pray again that Ryan responds well to the 4 drugs that he will be getting this time, that he doesn't get too sick or have any other major side effects and that when he is finished he is well enough to come home and stay home for another 2 weeks.

Ryan had a couple of headaches last week after they did the lumbar puncture with chemo on Wednesday and so the doctor is ordering a cat scan to make sure all is ok. He said headaches are a side effect of the drug that he had last time.

We learn a little more about things every time we meet with the doctor, process things, and then ask more questions. The doctor is happy with how well Ryan's bone marrow regrows white blood cells between rounds.

Aubrey, who has loved having her daddy home, is getting her first tooth as I write this. She has not been the most pleasant baby the last couple of days, but she'll sure look cute when the tooth comes in!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Numbers Look Good

Ryan went for blood work again this morning. His platelets were up to a much better number than they were on Monday. He did not have to get any blood or platelets today. When he heard back from the doctor about that decision, the doctor also said he is on track to be ready to return to the hospital for round 3 of chemotherapy on Friday. He is scheduled to be at Wayne Hospital for blood work at 7:00 AM on Friday and if the numbers are where the doctor believes they will be, he will then go on to Miami Valley to be admitted for the next round. It should again be about 5 days in the hospital and then back home, we hope!

Ryan had to get up early today because my van had a flat tire . . . he couldn't find the air hose that is supposed to be at our house, so we had to drive the van to the shop at his parents' to fill the tire with air so I could drive to work. With a little help from his Dad, we got the tire fixed while Ryan was in Greenville for blood work and I was in a meeting at work.

I thank God for a wonderful husband and loving and helpful families, without whom we would not get through this ordeal so well.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Waiting on the Numbers

Ryan had a doctor's appointment this morning. Apparently he was supposed to have gotten platelets over the weekend, but no one told us. The doctor seemed to think we should have gotten a phone call on Friday, but the office never called us. So, we thought he would probably have to get some platelets after he got his bloodwork done today. We waited at the hospital for about 2 hours while they did the bloodwork and waited for the doctor to call back, but he decided not to give any platelets today. Talk about confusing!

Ryan feels pretty good and we're just waiting for his numbers to come up to somewhat normal levels before they will zap him again.

We had a great Easter yesterday, Ryan was strong enough that we could celebrate with both families, but he was worn out by the end of the day.

We continue to appreciate your prayers.


Friday, April 10, 2009

The Good and The Bad

We are still enjoying Ryan being home and are so happy that we get to keep him here. We have been to the doctor or to have blood drawn every other day this week. The doctor continues to say that Ryan looks good.

At Wednesday's appointment, Ryan had to get a lumbar puncture and another shot of chemotherapy into his spinal fluid. Ryan was sick afterwards and woke up with a sore throat and headache on Thursday. His throat is feeling a little better but he continues to battle the headache. He hasn't had any fever though, which we are very thankful for. He has slept much of the last two days. Aubrey and I wish that he felt a little better, but we are glad that at least he is here in the house with us.

For those of you reading and wanting specific prayers requests, I ask that you pray for his headache and that he begins to build energy up over the next few days.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Still Going Strong

Ryan is feeling better each day. Although he still gets tired quickly and is weaker than he normally is, Ryan is feeling pretty good. He has been enjoying trips to TSC and Apple's with his dad the past couple of days.

Tonight he enjoyed . . . er endured a trip to Wal-Mart with Aubrey and me for groceries.

Everything sounded good from the doctor on Monday. Ryan has another doctor's appointment tomorrow in Dayton, while there he will get a shot of chemo through a lumbar puncture. A nurse came today to change the dressing around his port and his blood pressure and temperature were good.

I praise the Lord that he is handling this round of chemo well and that we get to continue to keep him home through next week. Aubrey and I are really enjoying Daddy here at home with us.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Nice Weekend

Well, the weekend isn't quite over, but it has been a good one. Ryan has felt pretty good, a little tired and still quite weak, but he doesn't feel bad.

Yesterday he put together one of Aubrey's Christmas presents because she is deciding that she might like to try walking out. He also drove himself to Apple's (a tractor dealership not far from here) when I left him at home to go to Wal-Mart. I guess I might need a baby-sitter for him after all :)

After his driving expedition, Ryan needed a nap and took a long one yesterday afternoon.

We had a few visitors last night, Aubrey enjoyed Lucas Bohman the best!

We went to church together this morning. Ryan made it through the first half before he was tired of sitting and needed to go lay down.

After church, my dad brought him home and Aubrey and Camryn (one of our nieces) went to dye Easter eggs.

Ryan has been down at the shop all afternoon, "supervising" my dad and Russell (Ryan's brother) working on a tractor.

We have a doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon and hopefully we'll know more about what the next two weeks will bring after that.

Thanks for all the prayers, we continue to appreciate each and every one.

Saturday is Gone!

Sorry no post last night. I put Aubrey to bed and then went to bed myself, forgetting that I should blog and tell everyone about our good day. I thought I better post a little this morning because I know many of you check this daily and didn't want anyone to think that something might be wrong.

We had a good day and I have some pictures to post, but we're heading to church in a little while, so I'll post more this afternoon!


Friday, April 3, 2009

Another Room Change

BUT, I didn't have to redecorate this time, its already decorated! We're home again.

I talked to Ryan about 7:45 this morning and his methatrexate level was 3.4, it had to be down to 1 before he could come home. So, we figured tomorrow, maybe not till Sunday, but we were hoping . . . he called me at 9:30 and his level was down to .15. I said, so are you coming home? The doctor hadn't been in yet, so he didn't know for sure.

Around 10:30 he called again and the doctor had been in and said he could leave after 4 today. So, I headed down around lunchtime and got prescriptions, a little less hassle this week, but still had to look for one of the meds. We got home a little after 6. I had to learn how to give shots because Ryan has to get a shot to help his marrow begin to make white blood cells again and since the nurses won't be there to give it to him, I had to learn. I could probably still use a little practice, so if anyone wants to volunteer their arm tomorrow afternoon, let me know.

The babies (well Aubrey and Ryan) are sleeping in the living room right now and I'm unpacking our million bags.

We have a doctor's appointment Monday afternoon when we should know a little more about exactly how long he gets to stay home. As long as he doesn't get a fever, he'll be home for a while though.

Praise the Lord that he gets to rest in his own bed tonight.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Room Change

About a half hour after I arrived at the hospital today, the nurses came in to tell us that we had to move rooms. They suspect that there is some type of fungi in the bone marrow unit and they cleared it out until Tuesday so that they could take care of the problem. Ryan has been moved to the 6th floor, room 6657. He is in the bariatric unit and the nurses feel that he looks pretty good for just having had surgery.

Ryan has gotten through this round of chemo pretty well. He is fairly tired, which he was with the last round, but hasn't been sick or really seen any other side effects. He hasn't had any fever this week either.

The first drug he got this week was methatrexate (I'm really not sure of that spelling) and before he can come home, the levels of that drug in this blood has to be almost completely gone. So, they will test his levels every day and when it is low enough he will get to come home. They originally thought it might be Saturday, and it still might, but it could also be Sunday before that happens, depends on how quickly his body gets rid of it. They give him some medicine (can't remember the name right now) to help his body get rid of it, so we just have to wait until it can work.

I'm still hopeful for Saturday!

Also, I've taken a new job as an interior decorator since we've now had to decorate Ryan's hospital room 3 different times. Anybody needs any advice, just let me know :)

Praying that the medicines do the job they are intended to do and we get Ryan back home as soon as we can!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools Day

Well, Ryan is a pretty good prankster, but he had trouble thinking of something to do to the nurses that would get them good. He got the doctor this morning when he came in. Ryan mentioned that he thought his tie looked a little loose and the doctor reached up to fix it.

Ryan seemed a little more tired today than the past couple of days, but he was able to work on his Wright State classwork throughout the day.

He had his first lumbar puncture for this round this morning, he said all went fine. He will have another one of those next week, but it is an outpatient procedure at Miami Valley. He said it sounded like the doctor would allow him to come home Saturday as long as he doesn't get any fever between now and then.

My prayers this week are still that his doesn't have any major side effects and that this doesn't cause his body fever so that we can get him back home again for a few more days.

We continue to appreciate your prayers and cards. God is so good to bless us with wonderful families and friends.