Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Ryan is very dedicated to his work. He finished up his extended days today and his mom drove him down to school because Aubrey and I went to the zoo today. We had a great time. Ryan also got a lot done at work and was very happy about finishing up his committed days.

He is feeling well, he's actually still awake and reading on the couch. He will go to Wayne Hospital tomorrow to get his blood drawn. We pray that his counts are recovering on their own and he won't need any infusions.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Birthday

As far as birthdays go, this wasn't the best one Ryan's ever had, but I guess the alternative is much worse and I would have to say it was better than mine being stuck in a snow storm with Aubrey at home while Ryan was in the hospital. The nurse practitioners bought him a frosty from Wendy's while we were in Columbus as his appointment. He shared with me, it was good :)

Ryan had to get a bag of platelets today because the count was down to 10, but his hemoglobin was up just a little to 9.4, so no blood today. He now has to get his counts checked at Wayne Hospital in Greenville every other day for 2 weeks. In two weeks he will return to Columbus for a lumbar puncture and his first infusion of chemo for the next round. They plan to do that as an outpatient, so he'll get to come home between the three doses. About 3 weeks after the round of chemo, they are going to try to give Ryan some more of Russell's cells. This would be only immune cells, to help Ryan's body fight the cancer. This is also an outpatient procedure.

Ryan worked today while we were in the car - making phone calls and working on a tool order for school. I think he has about 1/2 day to finish tomorrow down at school.

Pray that his strength continues and that his platelets and hemoglobin begin building on their own so he doesn't have to have any infusions at Wayne Hospital during the next 2 weeks.


Monday, June 28, 2010

To Work We Go

So, everyone had to get up early this morning so we could all head out the door in the van to go to work with Daddy. There are lots of awful things to go through while dealing with cancer, but I have to say, it was a bit comical this morning as I packed things in the van for Aubrey and I to do while Ryan was doing his industry visits. Aubrey actually ended up at Grandma's house and she was probably much happier there than in the van, but I spent the afternoon sitting in the van reading while Ryan worked.

He went pretty strong all day until around 9:00 tonight. He is now asleep on the couch, but it has been a long day, and he deserves to rest.

We head to Columbus tomorrow. I would like to believe that it won't be a long day, but I'm thinking he will most likely need to get a platelet infusion and potentially a blood infusion. His hemoglobin was 9.3 when we left the hospital, they usually infuse if it is lower than 8, so we'll see. There is a possibility that his platelets and hemoglobin will recover on their own a bit as well.

We pray for a restful night's sleep and safe travels tomorrow.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Back Home

We are back home tonight - all 3 of us! We were able to leave Columbus a little before 10:00 this morning which put us at my parents' house right after they got home from church, right in time for lunch. They had Aubrey anyways, so we had to stop there. After lunch, Ryan took a nap while Aubrey, Grandma, and I swam. That didn't last too long because once we were all in it began thundering and then raining, so we had to get out. PaPaw then got out the gator and Aubrey and I went with him on a gator ride. When we returned, Ryan was up and so he went with PaPaw and Aubrey on a gator ride. We then headed home. Ryan looked at something on the combine and then rested a little while Aubrey napped.

We went down to his parents' this evening and had supper and then headed home. I gave Aubrey a bath while he slept upstairs in the rocking chair and now he's sleeping on the couch. He has 2 more days to complete for work, so I'm going to drive him around tomorrow to do some visits.

Please pray that he has enough strength to make it through - he really wants to fulfill his days. We head back to Columbus for a check-up on Tuesday.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Taking Walks

Ryan got his last dose of chemotherapy for this hospital stay today. He also got platelets. His platelet count was 7 this morning and so they infused platelets around 10:00. His platelet count this afternoon was 22. We pray that it will come up on its own a little tomorrow, his hemoglobin as well. The doctors are planning to allow Ryan to come home tomorrow as long as everything looks fine in the morning.

We had quite a few nurses in the room this evening because when they came to check vitals his blood pressure was 75 over 64. The PCA was checking that and she went to get the nurse and they paged the doctor, she came back in and checked it twice more, once Dustin (a friend of ours) and I got scolded for talking because she couldn't hear. Dustin and Alicia were here for a visit and Ryan slept through most of the time Alicia was in here, but they came to do vitals about the same time Dustin came in, so he got to be in on all the excitement. They are now giving Ryan some extra fluids to be sure that his blood pressure is ok tomorrow when he really wants to get out of here.

Ryan's white count was down to 1.8 today and I expect that it will drop a little more tomorrow since he got chemo today. Although the chemo makes him tired, he did much better today than Thursday. We went on a walk around lunchtime today where they unhooked him from his IV pole and turned the heart monitor off, we ate lunch in the cafeteria before he had to be back in the room for his pre-meds for chemo. Then around supper time, he got them talked into unhooking him again and we walked outside for a little bit over to another food place for supper. Ryan was wanting spaghetti and you can't get that in the room or the cafeteria. He slept about 3 hours while he was getting his chemo and afterwards and fell asleep around 7:30. He walked to the waiting room to say hi to Dustin and Alicia's kids, but then came back and laid down. We tried to call Aubrey to tell her goodnight, but PaPaw, Grandma, and she must be having too much fun because they didn't even answer the phone. Ryan might not be telling her goodnight tonight because he's asleep before her :)

I pray that Ryan's platelets and hemoglobin counts will begin to recover a bit so that when he's home he doesn't have to spend days in the hospital getting blood and platelets and he can at least be at home with us.

We are thankful that God is carrying us through this again and also for the friends and family we have surrounding us with prayer.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Looking Up

Ryan was much more awake and alert today. I talked to him around 8:30 this morning and he was getting his breakfast ordered, so he was awake already. The doctor had already been in at that time. Dr. Devine said that they will most likely allow Ryan to come home on Sunday, but he has tomorrow's chemotherapy and then they need to see how he does tomorrow afternoon and how his labs look afterwards. If he would come home on Sunday, he would have a follow-up appointment here in Columbus on Monday and then blood draws every other day. They are trying to get things worked out so that he can have those draws done in Greenville and sent to them in Columbus. He will then return in 21 days, from the start of this chemo, to have another round of what they're giving him now. Sometime between there, they will do a lumbar puncture.

I have been concerned that they haven't done a lumbar puncture because he's been so tired and fatigued, but I talked with the doctor this afternoon and she (a fellow, not Dr. Devine) explained that Ryan has blasts in his blood right now and they are afraid of introducing something to the spinal fluid if they do a lumbar puncture too soon. It is better to wait another week or so.

Ryan's white blood count went down to 2.8 today. His platelets are down to 12, but they decided to wait until tomorrow to see if they'd come up any on their own before transfusing. His hemoglobin went down a little today, it was 10.3.

Ryan was much more awake today. I feel much better today than I did last night after visiting him.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We're not sure where this plan of action will take us. Ryan has two more days of work to finish by June 30 (Wednesday) and he really wants to finish his extended days for the year, but we'll see how that goes. He was also very prepared for starting to visit the incoming juniors for next year and now things are all up in the air. We are forced to move day by day, and those of you who know me know that I am a planner and like to know how things are going to go. I'm still struggling.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

6/24/10 #2

Ryan's fever is still down; I think they finally got that issue taken care of. Thank God for that piece of positive news. The nurse wanted Ryan to get up and walk tonight, so I prodded him along and we walked about 8 laps around the unit up here. They allowed him off his oxygen to walk and checked it after every lap. He kept his level above 90, so they have him off of the oxygen as of right now. If the levels fall later, they will put him back on for another day. His platelet count was at 20 today; the nurse said yesterday that a fever burns off platelets, so that's why he wasn't keeping them even when they were transfusing them. He hasn't had a fever for about 24 hours, so hopefully his platelets will go back to building up instead of dropping down.

His potassium and magnesium levels look fine today and his heart rate seems to be down - probably due to no fever as well.

Another piece of good news is that Ryan didn't have any pain today and thus no pain medicine. He is also down to only 1 antibiotic as the cultures haven't grown anything infection wise. They also checked for CMV virus; I haven't heard anything else about this, Ryan thinks they said he doesn't have it. I'll have to get clarification on that one from the nurse or doctor.

I am still concerned that he is very sleepy. I was feeling good that he talked to me on the phone this morning and sounded awake, but he has probably been sleeping for 3 of the 3 1/2 hours I've been here. Dr. Devine said originally that if the fatigue didn't get any better that they'd do a spinal tap to check for leukemia in the spinal fluid. I'm worried that they may have to do that.

I'm receiving more peace each day, but I'm still struggling with disappointment that we have had to cancel our summer vacation plans and I still hate leaving little Aubrey, even though I know she's in good hands with my parents and that she loves to swim and play with her cousins as she gets to do there. My mom didn't know what she was in for when she told me that she'd watch Aubrey some this summer . . .

The continued prayers are surely felt and appreciated as we do our best to seek God's will in all this.


More Alert

Well, Ryan called me at 8:00 this morning. I took that as a good sign, because he hasn't really been up and awake at 8:00 any other morning. He also doesn't usually call me, so I figured he must be feeling a bit better.

His fever has stayed down to normal or below normal since last night. I'm sure they'll be checking here again soon, but when I talked to him around 9:30, it was still looking good.

His white count was down to 8 (8,000) today from 29 yesterday. I think it sounded like he thought the doctor was happy with the progress, so we'll see what the rest of today brings - chemo again from about 1:30-3:30.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Better Day

I think today has been a better day than yesterday. Ryan says that he feels a little better and when I talked to him, except for first thing this morning, he seemed more alert and he knew what had been going on. This morning his fever was down and then it came up again this afternoon. They gave Ryan a dose of steroids, hoping that would help to control the fever a little better. When I talked to him a little before 9, he said his fever was almost back to normal. I pray confidently tonight that it will stay down and tomorrow he will be fever free.

I think it does me good to get away for a day. Although I always freak out when I'm not in the room to hear what the doctors and nurses are saying and I worry that I am missing something. Ryan had the same nurse today as he had yesterday, so I was able to talk with her on the phone a few times today so I knew pretty much everything that was going on.

Ryan is on oxygen, his levels were going down to around 88 and they like them to stay above 90, so they put him on a little oxygen. I believe that they feel that once his fever is gone that he'll be able to come off the oxygen.

Aubrey and I went to the doctor's this morning - she has been coughing like she's got something in her throat, so I thought that while I was home, I better get her checked out. She's just got lots and lots of thick drainage in there, so they put her on an antibiotic to try to get things broken up - she is otherwise very ornery and missing her Daddy at home. We went to church today for our Summer in the Son program and then went to my parents' house to swim. We got a short swim in before the girls were ready to get out for snack - ice cream today, one of Aubrey's favorites! Aubrey and I stayed for supper there and then headed home for a bath and bed time for Aubrey and packing and preparing for the rest of the week for me.

Thank you all for the encouraging comments and prayers. I feel them giving me more peace about all this each and every day.

I thank God for the family we have - both blood relatives and our extended family and friends.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Chemotherapy started today. It was a 2 hour dose. It began at 1:30 and was over a little after 3:30. Ryan will have a second dose of this same drug on Thursday. This morning his white count was 51.3, up a little from yesterday, but not a huge growth, so that was good news. His platelets were 16, they were 10 before a transfusion yesterday and 38 after the transfusion, but down to 16 this morning. After Ryan took a shower, the area where his picc line went in was bleeding and so the dressing had to be changed a second time. They gave him platelets again. I'm not sure what the count was after the platelets.

The chemotherapy that Ryan is getting can cause some of the chemistries in his blood to get out of whack, so they check those levels every 6 hours with this chemo. At 6:00 tonight, everything looked normal (with the chemistries). When I left, Ryan's fever had dropped to around normal - 98.9. When I called him around 8:30 tonight, his fever was back up - to 104.2. I spoke to the nurse and they had given him tylenol and put ice packs on him to cool him down. Right now they are watching his fever. They are also watching his heart rate. At some point tonight it was up over 200 and so they did an EKG. The EKG results were normal, PTL. They will continue to watch the fever and heart rate through the night.

Ryan was more alert today than he has been since Saturday. He had some pain in his left side a couple different times today, but pain medicine took care of that. The doctor is aware of that pain and will monitor it, but they didn't see too concerned with it as this point.

I am a bit concerned about the fever, but I know he's had fevers for a few days before and they have finally fallen. He is on 2 antibiotics, although the cultures they took in the ER Sunday night haven't grown anything yet.

I will be away from Ryan until Thursday evening, so please pray for all of us as Aubrey and I aren't with him to watch over him.


Monday, June 21, 2010

The Update

They have decided that the blood results they got last night and this morning are a clear enough that we need to treat this as a relapse of the leukemia. Ryan will begin chemotherapy tomorrow morning. He will be getting a drug that they've pronounced several times today, but I still don't know what it is. It is a drug that is normally used in children, as many of the drugs they have to treat ALL since it is a childhood disease. They were going to do a bone marrow biopsy, but decided to spare Ryan the pain of the procedure because the bloodwork showed them enough that the marrow would only show them what they already know. That doesn't rule out that there's some sort of infection as well; Ryan's temperature has bounced around today from normal to 102 degrees.

Ryan seems to feel a little better today, although he is still very tired. The doctor said that with a relapse within 3-4 months after transplant that the prognosis isn't good, but Ryan is a determined person, so he has told the doctor that he's going to beat this. I'm pretty determined most of the time, but in these situations, I'm the worrier. I ask for your prayers because I often worry about losing Ryan and how that would affect our precious Aubrey. I worry about Ryan not being able to go back to work and what that means for us financially. I worry about leaving Aubrey to be with Ryan; I worry about leaving Ryan to be with Aubrey. God has proven himself two times already - he has covered all our needs since this whole ordeal began and in my heart I know that he is still holding us and will show his miracles to us each step of the way. I just have to get past the other things clouding my thoughts.

Ryan's uric acid was high when we came in last night. It is supposed to be between 4.7 and 7.7 - it was 12 last night and 8 at noon today. The nurse drew blood about an hour ago to check it again and they expect it to be back down to normal level - that would be positive news. When a person's white count gets high and the cells begin to break up or die, they release uric acid. When there's too many white blood cells, there's too much uric acid and that can harm the kidneys. Ryan's kidney function levels are also high, which means that his kidneys are working exactly as they're supposed to, but they expect that those levels will drop with more fluids and as Ryan feels better and begins drinking and urinating more regularly.

The other issue that the doctor is concerned most about is Ryan's fatigue. He is still very tired, although he says he feels better today than he has. Dr. Devine said that after a day or so of the chemo that if he isn't feeling better that they would do a spinal tap to check for leukemia in the spinal fluid.

I hope what I have written makes sense. I tried to sleep at the hospital last night in the recliner - it wasn't comfortable and they apparently don't want their patients to sleep because I think they were in the room every hour.


Back in Columbus

Ryan just wasn't feeling any better last evening, so I decided he needed to be seen. We came over to Columbus to the ER and got here around 10:15 last night. They drew blood, took x-rays, etc. and came back about 15 minutes later and told us that Ryan's white blood count was elevated to 50,000. On Tuesday it was 7,000 (in the normal range). The two options were infection and relapse of the leukemia. Dr. Devine is attending on the floor and he was in this morning. He said by looking the the lab results and a few of the differential counts that they look at that it is most likely a relapse of the leukemia. His platelets were also low, so they placed a picc line in his arm this morning and have now started some platelets running. It sounds like they will be starting some new chemotherapy tomorrow, but I think they are also planning on doing a bone marrow biopsy sometime today as well.

Right now there are lots of unknowns and I am feeling a bit depressed about having to go through this again. Ryan had been back to work since June 2, but it now looks like that might have to be put on hold. I'm just not sure what will happen at this point. We ask for prayers that God will continue to sustain us and that Aubrey will be comforted as well. I don't like to leave her, especially since I just started a bit of a summer break. I know God will continue to be in control, but my mind races with so many things to worry about - insurance, bills, spending time with Aubrey, work, and it goes on and on . . .


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Still a bit bumpy

Last night Ryan was running a fever of 99.5. They don't really want to know about fever unless it is 100.5 or above, so we watched it. He slept a long time last night and when he finally got up, he took nausea medicine to eat breakfast. He took both kinds of medicine that he has and now he's sleeping again. I think his fever has dropped a little, but is still not back to a normal temperature. He has called the hospital again, mostly because I made him, and they said don't take both kinds of nausea medicine at the same time, duh - he knew that anyway. They also said don't worry much about the fever unless it gets over 100.5; hopefully it keeps dropping and doesn't head back up.


Friday, June 18, 2010

A Bumpy Day

Ryan went to a meeting this morning and then down to school to work. When I talked to him on his way home, he told me that when he was heading out to get lunch, he got sick from breakfast and decided not to eat lunch. He drank water and tea and kept both of those down, but after eating supper, he was sick again.

He has called the James and talked to his doctor - both he and the nurse said that most likely it is a little Graft versus host disease since they have started dropping his medicine. He is supposed to take a little nausea medicine and see how tomorrow goes. If he starts getting sick more or can't keep breakfast and lunch down, we might have to go to Columbus.

Please pray that the nausea meds will help him keep food down; he otherwise feels a little tired tonight because he worked all week, but he has no other symptoms of anything.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Keep on Trucking

Ryan just keeps on going. He is doing well and we haven't heard anything from the doctor's office about his chest x-ray. They said they would only call if something didn't look right. It has been 2 days and no phone call, so we think that all is well. Ryan continues to feel good and work out in his shop in the barn. Aubrey played in her new sprinkler today, she didn't last very long, but got wet. She had fun.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trip to Columbus

I didn't go to Columbus with Ryan today, first time since we've been going to the doctor there. I had a workshop going on, so he took a friend and went without me. His counts looked good today and he's still coughing a bit, so he had a chest x-ray done. They also backed down his immuno-suppressant drug a little bit today. Next time we go, we'll be over the 100 day mark. It will be his birthday and day +105. We were planning on doing something fun in Columbus that day, but it sounds like we'll be at the hospital all day. He will have to have a lumbar puncture and a lung test in addition to his doctor's visit. Things are continuing to look good, so we ask that you continue to pray that things keep going well.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Family Time

Ryan worked half a day on Friday and I came home a little early so we could head to Lima to pick up some parts for our doors and go to Kohl's. Ryan finally got a new ring to replace his first wedding ring which he lost last fall raking and playing in the leaves with Aubrey. He was also wanting some sunglasses, so he found himself 2 pairs of those. We ate at the Texas Roadhouse, one of our favorite places, in the midst of tornado warnings!

Saturday we went to the parade at Poultry Days. We also took Aubrey to the petting zoo and then let her ride a pony. She was a little nervous about it at first, but when it started moving, she let go of me and put both hands on the saddle. We went home for lunch and then Ryan and Aubrey took naps and then we went to a graduation party and took Aubrey to my parents' house. Ryan and I went back to poultry days, planning to eat chicken for supper, but they were sold out by the time we got there. We walked around for a little while, then it appeared that it was going to start raining so we decided we would start heading the way of the car. We got to a tent before the rain started and then ended up there for about 40 minutes while it poured rain. When it finally let up, we headed for the car to find out that we were parked in. Luckily some other people came to their car less than 5 minutes later and I was able to turn around enough to get out through their spot.

This morning we went to church and then to my parents' house and we had to stop at Poultry Days on the way home to get chicken for supper. Aubrey got to swing when we got home and we took a walk, now it is time for a bath and Ryan will then fall asleep on the couch :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Good Day

Today was another good day. Ryan worked a full day again, that's two this week and he plans to work a full day tomorrow. Things are all looking well. He and Aubrey were outside swinging, but by the sounds of her, he must have decided it was time to come in. I'm going to try to get him to take a walk with me.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Things Went Well

Ryan's doctor's appointment went quickly today. He has been coughing some, so they swabbed his nose to check for viral things, but otherwise, the doctor was happy with everything else. He has to go back next week and then the doctor thought we could space out to two weeks. We were ready for his procedure by 12:00, but they weren't ready for him until a little after 1. We got done about 2:30 though, so things went a lot quicker than I thought.

Keep praying that things progress as they should.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Working Again

Ryan went to work today, left before I did, got home a little before I did. Now he's outside doing more work. Please pray that he doesn't over do it. He feels good and is looking forward to getting his line out tomorrow. I don't think he's completely ready to get stuck for blood draws, but I guess that all goes together.

Aubrey has a rash all over her body, but the doctor says it is something viral and should go away. Besides being a little clingy, she's doing great!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Life is a Blessing

We are certainly getting back to normal routines, which causes us to be busy and away from home and then I don't have the time to blog. We left Friday night for southern Ohio where we planned a visit to the flea market at the Scioto county fair grounds. We took my parents, and one of my nieces along and met Ryan's parents down there for supper. We got to swim at the hotel and the girls really enjoyed that. Saturday was very hot and muggy, but we walked the whole flea market and didn't get rained on :) We got a sprinkler for Aubrey and she got a new pair of sunglasses, and Ryan found some tools and odds and ends for himself and the farm.

When we returned last night we had a graduation party to attend and then two to attend today.

I don't often read the headlines when msn comes up, but I noticed a headline about a tornado in a small Ohio town and I had to read. Turns out it was last night in a town south of Toledo and it seems to have devastated the town and killed a few people. This saddens me, I think more now than it ever would have before. Life is truly a blessing and we don't know when our last day will be.

Following God's path will lead to enjoyment while here on this earth and that's what we're striving to do each and every day.

Ryan will be getting his central line taken out Tuesday while we're in Columbus. That will be a long day, please pray for us. Aubrey had a fever Friday night and all day Saturday, as well as a rash that started yesterday afternoon. I had decided a trip to the doctor tomorrow was necessary. Her rash now seems to be subsiding and lots of drool coming from her mouth. I think she might just be getting a tooth. Please keep her in your prayers.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Little Tired

Ryan was a little tired from working all day yesterday. He only worked a half day today and then came home for a nap. He did do a little work in his shop outside tonight. He is planning to work another half day tomorrow.

Darke County Relay for Life will be held July 16 & 17 in Versailles. Ryan will be walking, but we aren't going to have a team this year. The Relay for Life committee is selling Grocery Grab for a Cure raffle tickets. The tickets are $5.00 each or 3 for $10.00. The $500 winner gets 5 minutes to grab groceries at Eikenberry's in Greenville and the $200 winner gets 2 minutes to grab groceries at Sutton's in Arcanum. I have tickets if you are interested in purchasing them.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Back to Work

Ryan went back to work today. He seems to have done great. He is ready to head back for tomorrow, but says that he might only work a half a day on Friday. We'll see how it goes when he comes home tomorrow.

He is feeling great and all reports from the doctor are still good.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Doctor's Visit

Ryan's doctor's appointment went very smoothly today. I think we spent more time in the waiting room than we did seeing the nurse and nurse practitioner. Oh well, that's how things go :) Ryan's numbers all looked good today, just about the same as last week. We asked when we might get to drop to visits every other week and the nurse practitioner said that probably after we see Dr. Devine next Tuesday that that might be a possibility. They also might be taking Ryan's central line out in the next couple of weeks, that would mean no more nightly flushes and weekly dressing changes for me!

Things are looking good; he goes back to work tomorrow to finish up 9 extended days before the end of June.