Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The shifting sands of change.

Last night I had a dream.

I had a dream that we were sitting in one of the little oncologist's offices at CTCA.  We were about to receive news from our oncologist about Ryan's scans.  I don't remember exactly what the results were, because I was jarred awake by our son screaming around 5 am today.  He's not in love with his pack n play.  I'm not in love with him not sleeping through the night.

What I do remember about the dream is that I was frightened out of my wits.  THAT is really close to reality.  As many times as we've been through this, it does not get any easier to sit in that little room and get the news.  It's so nerve-wracking, and I feel like my heart is going to pound out of my chest.  Without exception, I jump every time Dr. Sheelvanth knocks on the door.

So now to the news that you've been waiting for.  Today's results were a little mixed.  Most of the problem areas (small tumors, 2 enlarged lymph nodes) are stable since November's scans.  That is great news.  However, the tumor that has been the largest the whole time - around 1" in diameter - has grown to about 1.5".  That is not great news.  Our oncologist could not speculate about whether it was because we have not had the most consistency since November in keeping to his schedule, or whether perhaps the tumors are becoming resistant to the chemo drug that he is on.

So what we've decided to do is to switch drugs.  Ryan's cycles will go from being four weeks, to two weeks long.  He will get an infusion every two weeks (once in Chicago, once in Muskegon), and he will be on an oral chemotherapy for seven days at the beginning of each cycle.

Side effects should continue to exist, but we've been assured up and down that they should be pretty manageable.  Ryan's hair might thin a little bit - I am not pleased about this, but Ryan doesn't mind too much.  I must just be a girl or something.  To be honest with you, I'm not crazy about change.  It's hard, and it's scary.  I was just starting to feel like I had a grip on everything, and now the rug has been slightly taken out from under me again.  I am not crazy about this feeling.

Overall, we are grateful that things are not spinning out of control.  Our doctor rated this at about a "seven" on a 10 point scale, with 10 being the best news possible.  Ryan's liver enzymes are at a totally normal level, which they haven't been for a few months - wonderful!

We will do scans four weeks from now.  There is a possibility out on the horizon that Ryan might do a radio frequency ablation, which is targeted radiation to a particular tumor (likely this one that is growing). If this were to happen, it would be like a minor surgery with a few days' recovery period.

We are grateful especially for your prayer support.  Please continue to pray, and pray often for us.  We continue to remain confident in our God's ability to heal, without doubt.

And in Ryan's own words: "Good news doesn't mean I'm healed, and bad news doesn't mean I'm dead."

So true. :)

Psalm 91

 1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, 
   my God, in whom I trust.”


Kate said...

Praying for you guys - thanks for updating and letting us know how to pray! Love!

- Kate Riedberger

Gabriele Holler said...

Will keep you in my prayers, and thank you for keeping us up to date.

Anonymous said...

Will continue to pray!

Jess said...

Thinking of you guys Senior Seminar class knows your names and is praying for you...a few of my students are battling cancer in their families as well...your blog is a breath of fresh air and a source of strength. Thank you!

Barbara Lockwood {Mimi] said...

Love you guys---continuing to pray daily!

Barbara Lockwood said...

I have been wearing my blue 'Pray for Ryan' wristband since that terrific day last August at Grace Adventures that we all got to spend with the two of you. It has reminded me so many times of the wonderful young man I met through my granddaughters when they spent weeks at Horse Camp. It reminds me of the knowledge of
Gods ways he placed in their hearts through his demonstrations with his horse at Paradise Ranch. It reminds me to stop what I'm doing, and pray for that kind and gentle young man who has so much to share with the young people of the world.
"Dear Father,
Be with Ryan today and every day;
Give him strength and
Heal him....."
I pray in Jesus name. Amen
I have no doubt - only Hope.....because I have been told:
God hears and answers prayers
Because He listens-
And He Cares......

Anonymous said...

You guys are great! I will pray and keep you guys in my thoughts! You guys are so good at looking at the best of all this! Keep it up!