Monday, April 25, 2011

Update from Cancer Treatment Centers

It is hard to believe that a few weeks ago we did not have any words like chemotherapy, cholangiocarcinoma, or oncologist in our everyday vocabulary. Nevertheless, this is the reality of where we are at and we are learning more every day.

We met with my medical oncology team and other people today. They conveyed the same feeling of positivity and encouragement that we felt initially last week. All signs point to poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma consistent with cholangiocarcinoma. What this means is that the cells of the carcinoma are still cholangio, however they look very different from regular cholangiocarcinoma. This has made it very very difficult to diagnose the cancer. It also could be why things have progressed so quickly even though this is normally a very slow-moving cancer.

I also have ulcerative colitis which which carries a risk of colorectal cancer. There is a completely remote chance that the cancer could be colon cancer that has metastisized to the liver. Colon cancer and cholangio cells look very similar. There is nothing to point us to this conclusion, no medical signs or symptoms. However if it were colon cancer, it would be A LOT BETTER for our prognosis. The treatment would be different and it would be less serious. We are not expecting it to come back colon cancer. The chances are almost impossible. However please pray diligently between now and tomorrow that it would be colon cancer. I will have a colonoscopy tomorrow to rule this in or out.

At this point we have a big day scheduled for tomorrow. I have a colonoscopy tomorrow morning, then a chemo port will be implanted tomorrow afternoon. Both of these are surgical procedures. The pathology from the colonoscopy should be back by Wednesday. If it comes back negative for colon cancer, we will move forward with treating it as cholangiocarcinoma. We will combine chemotherapy with diet, vitamins, minerals, and supplements to aid the chemo, and heal the liver. Chemo will start on Wednesday afternoon right now.

We are optimistic about the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drugs. In the words of the oncologist today, "these drugs are damn good drugs". Also fast-moving cancer responds better to chemo (confirmed, Brian, thank you). We will know in about six weeks if it is responding.

I have been thinking about this whole situation as I go about my days. Sometimes it is easy to watch a sports game or go through a mall and look at all the people going through the motions and feel so different from them. Then you start thinking, "why me God?. I've tried to keep your commandments my whole life. I work in ministry. My goals are noble. I'm a great guy who it seems like You have big plans for, why me?". I've really been convicted however to start thinking, "why not me?" You see I've not kept all the commandments just like the rich young ruler, there are things I've struggled with. I'm a sinner, and this is a fallen world. Sickness and disease are a part of this. However God also promises to not give us more than we can bear. I can bear this. Maybe other people aren't ready or could not bear this at this time. Sometimes I feel like telling God, "No Mas". However I know He is using this in so many powerful ways. As I said to a friend the other day. I wish everybody could go through this, with out having to go through it. The glory of God is so close I can taste it. The hymns and worship songs I sing are so literal and real. The words are no longer distant hyperbole that I can't relate to. It is well with my soul.


Anonymous said...

Our prayers are with you all right now! what a day full of answers and more questions. Praying for grace and peace, and miracles! love you guys lots, Eric and Ann

Pam said...

Thank-you Ryan for the up-date and for sharing your heart! You all are close to our hearts! So grateful for His strong Love!

jmpetzold2 said...

Ryan, you are so strong and such an inspiration. It breaks my heart to read your words, yet I draw strength from them. GOD really is using you...and in this, I am happy for you.
Thank you so much for your updates. Your friends are gaining blessings through them.
Odd(in an earthly way) how all this happening to you comes together and works for the Glory of GOD!!!!
I am so thankful for you and to be able to call you friend.
Love to you all,
Melissa Petzold

Sarah said...

Just remember Ryan, I know of no one who did great things for the Lord who didn't suffer much. Out of that suffering is a faith that only the Holy Spirit can plant, cultivate, and grow. We're praying that God will get you through this and restore you completely! Don't ever lose hope.

Matthew 19:26- Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Derik and Sarah Van Baale

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ryan for the updates it sure is an inspiration for all of your friends and those reading this your concearns go for everyone why me God I ask that alot but when I think of those who are going through difficult times and have a strong faith makes me think about my own faith. In a possitive way this could just be an eye opener for you God does work in mysterious ways. I'll keep praying for you.
Your friend Jackie Redder

Anonymous said...

Ryan and Kendra, I continually am amazed at your faith and your willingness to walk this journey so openly. I know that it is not easy to put yourself out there for all to see and yet, you have been prepared "for such a time as this." My prayers will continue to flow as much as my love continues to flow for you. You are both very amazing individuals and your journey has touched many. I love you both beyond the depths of my heart and pray that as you travel through this journey your marriage will strengthen, your faith be unbreakable and your testimony be remarkable leading many to rethink their relationship with God. Love you Lots, Antie M!

Anonymous said...

God bless you Ryan. It is great to see that you have a positive outlook on the whole situation. God is good and I know he will use this time in your life in amazing ways.

GM said...

You're unbelievable strength is so encouraging to many reading these blogs! Ryan & Kendra, our prayers are with you during this time. When you said "I wish everyone could go through this, without having to go through it" really struck home with us. We feel like we've been through this, without having to go through this. Because when Ariana was going through all the biopsies, surgeries, positive PET scans to deal with the masses growing between her pancreas and liver at the Mayo Clinic we were ready to deal with whatever we were facing. And those were some very difficult conversations, especially when someone is so young. But, when everything came back benign in the end we felt we'd been one of the the few that get those lucky endings after positive PET scans. So, we feel very fortunate to be one of those that have been through it, without dealing with it. But, not a day goes by that we don't think that something will grow back and become cancerous. So, thank you for your positive outlook and blog. It's inspiring and uplifting! We praise God for your daily strength. ~ Psalm 119:28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

Ted, Gina & Ariana Ferwerda

Anonymous said...

""why not me?" You see I've not kept all the commandments just like the rich young ruler, there are things I've struggled with. I'm a sinner, and this is a fallen world."

When I read this the flood waters came. You are such an inspiration to me. I have never met you and don't know much about you except from reading your blog. It was forwarded to me from a friend. Yours have been in my prayers and will continue to be. God bless you and your family richly.


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