Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family.  Colton and I are grateful that we are so loved, so prayed for, and so supported through this first Christmas without our dear Ryan.  I have had so many Facebook messages, texts, and cards this year - it never ceases to amaze me how the body of Christ pulls through for us when we need it most!

I am so thankful that the same savior that has given me the grace to persevere through the most difficult year of my life, chose to take on human form and was born 2000 years ago with the loving intention of dying for my sin.  I am also grateful that my husband intimately knew that same savior and as I type this, is celebrating Christ's birth, work, and resurrection in Heaven.  No more pain, no more cancer.  Thank you, Jesus, for the hope and healing that we have in you.

And though our hearts ache for what we lost...

...we continue to focus on what the Lord has graciously given us: each other, a loving circle of family and friends, and His own precious Son.

Photo credit: Christine K Photography, Grandville, Michigan

Merry Christmas from the Prudhomme family!  May the peace of Christ remain in your heart as we begin a new year.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A fitting memorial

Today, Ryan's grave marker was put in place. It took me an exceptional amount of time to think about exactly how to put who Ryan was into a two-foot wide slab of granite. Lots of thanks to Ryan's parents and my friends for being my sounding board and offering suggestions or affirmations. Thanks also to Ryan's cousin David for the beautiful craftsmanship. 

What I ended up loving the most about this stone is the scripture that is on it. "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." (Psalm 20:7, NIV) This scripture so embodies who my Ryan was. Although he loved horses and was often defined by his cowboy lifestyle, he was most defined by his faith in Jesus Christ. The picture also illustrates the way that Ryan led his life fully submitted to his Savior. Oh, I am so proud of you, Ry. 

In case you are interested in visiting this, Ryan was buried at Hersey Village Cemetery, an eighth of a mile west of the main street in Hersey (near his hometown of Reed City) on Three Mile Road. His gravesite is at the extreme east end of the cemetery.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

If His grace is an ocean...

Eating dinner tonight - a gourmet delight consisting of macaroni and cheese and reheated leftovers (hey, a single mom has to cut corners sometimes!), today's date jarred my memory.

Instantly I was transported back to March 26, six months ago today.  A very grave, dejected Dr. Vashi, gently telling Ryan and I the words that we so desperately did not want to hear.

It was time to go home.  No more options.

I had steeled myself for this news for the previous 24 hours.  I could see the whole news unfolding exactly as it did, almost like a premonition or a foreshadowing.  I could see the symptoms increasing.  I knew that Ryan's surgery six days prior had been unsuccessful in its attempt to stop the internal bleeding that had plagued him since late February.

However, my husband had not spent the same amount of time preparing himself for the news. When we had a private moment, my husband, weak and bone-thin after four weeks of fighting for his life with every ounce of strength he had, laid his head on my shoulder and quietly sobbed and we prayed.  Most of it was guttural, but it was almost an entirely non-verbal plea for grace, peace, and mercy.

And there it came, rushing over us yet again, even in one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life.  And even in that excruciating moment where death stared us in the eyes, I knew that God's grace was once again going to sustain and buoy us through the next (short) chapter of our lives.  Because it is sufficient for me.  It was for Ryan.

It is for you, too.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 "Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that [the thorn] should leave me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

The next two weeks will be really tough for me again as the six-month anniversary of Ryan's passing approaches. The combination of the impending anniversary and school starting (Really?  I'm really doing all of this myself?  All the time?  No breaks?) has left me feeling bereft, lonely, and overwhelmed for the past few weeks.

And yet, throughout all of the pain that this month of September has dredged up, I am reminded of that sufficient grace.  As a believer, I have an enormous source of power within me that is a direct result of the Holy Spirit's indwelling of me.  This power has allowed me to choose joy in spite of paralyzing sadness, and has allowed me to live life in abundance in spite of my weakness.

My Savior loves me.  My Father comforts me.  His Spirit sustains me.

And His grace is an ocean in which I am still sinking, six months later.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The silver lining

One week after Ryan's funeral, I found myself lying flat on my face on my bedroom floor, sobbing uncontrollably.

Given that our new house was not completely unpacked yet, I decided that following Saturday to attack my bedroom and get some of the boxes out of the way.  Along the way, there had to be at least fifty emotional landmines.  What was I supposed to do with the items from Ryan's nightstand?  His eyeglasses?  His socks?  Meaningless items, but it was still hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that he did not need these anymore.  All of this was difficult, but it did not compare to the ammunition provided by a stack of handwritten letters, tied with a black ribbon.

When Ryan was 17, he spent a summer in Wyoming "cowboying" on a ranch.  He did not have much internet access, and this was prior to texting.  So we went old-fashioned that summer.  Countless letters and postcards were sent between Hart, Michigan and Cody, Wyoming.  We had been dating for about a year and a half, and we were crazy, crazy in love.  I made the stupid, absolutely insane decision to read the letters that day.

"I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you..."
"I am so looking forward to growing old with you and playing with our grandkids..."
"I could spend eighty years with you and never grow tired of you..."

Suddenly, the fact that all of our dreams for a long life together, horses, children, grandchildren, traveling, and ministry had been cut down and destroyed hit me like a ton of bricks, and I crumpled and hit the floor.

There is no time period of my life that has been more excruciating than the spring of 2013.  And sometimes I have struggled to make any sense of it. Why?  Why this pain?  Why me?  Why Ryan?  Why Colton?  Does this pain have any purpose?!  Is there any silver lining?

It does have purpose.  And there is a silver lining.

Fifteen months ago, I wrote a blog post about suffering.  This post is not going to be a replica of that one, which was about sharing in the sufferings of Christ and why suffering is beneficial for us in the long run.  Today, I'm simply searching for what I have to be thankful for.  I am redeeming the pain that I have suffered.  My God has promised me that His plans are meant for my good, and that He has given me hope and a future.  Today I am looking for what has been for my good.

Because of this pain, I...
  • have become a better parent.  Being the only parent of a grieving child has taught me even more about compassion and patience.  It has forced me to be less self-focused at a time when I could easily be all about myself.  My little boy lost his father and he doesn't fully understand why.  Anything that I'm going through pales in comparison to his situation.
  • have learned to take better care of myself.  I am very in tune with my needs at the moment.  Some days I need alone time to recharge, and I'm making that a priority.  Sometimes I need to be with my friends.  I need to exercise and eat food that makes me energetic.  I need to have fun and laugh and do things that I enjoy, so I'm doing that.
  • have learned to appreciate happiness (even small measures of it) and not take it for granted.  When something comes along that truly makes me grin, I recognize that and I thank God for it.  A beautiful sunset, a wonderful conversation, a walk-off Tigers win, a well-brewed pot of coffee, a good book, a bike ride through creation, or even just a really funny TV show - I am so grateful for these things.
  • have learned (re-learned?) to rely on the Lord for my joy.  All of the things listed above are wonderful, but they do not compare to the deep contentment that comes from knowing Him and trusting Him and being thisclose to Him.
  • will be a better spouse (if God chooses that for me) in the future.  I can easily look back and pick apart all of the faults that I had when I was married to Ryan, but that is futile.  Let's just say that I grew a lot in seven years, and Ryan pushed me to be a better person. (Anyone who knew Ryan well is probably smiling, imagining what I mean by that.) What is most important is that I learned not to take someone for granted because we are not guaranteed (at all) that we will have our spouse into old age.  Each day is a gift.
I never would have chosen the road that I've been on.  The price that I had to pay to learn all these lessons - when I think about that price, it is almost too much to bear.  I still have to pinch myself when I think, I buried my 27-year-old husband.  It is still totally surreal.  But despite the grief, the emotional triggers that appear out of freaking nowhere, I know that I'm moving forward.  I have finally come to the place where I am thankful for what I have, what I had, and I am not mourning all the time but rather I'm celebrating because my God has once again proven Himself to be enough for me.  I have been so blessed.  So blessed.

Are there still hard days?  Absolutely.  Don't ask me about the night before Colton's first day of preschool last week; it's a tear-filled haze.  Am I still in pain?  Yes, and I imagine that I will always feel those sharp twinges of pain throughout the rest of my life.  But I am reminded of Psalm 40:1-3 at this stage in my life:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Because I have been redeemed, my hymn of praise will continue, undaunted.  Christ's sacrificial love for me is the ultimate silver lining.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Prayer request for Colton

Hello friends, I don't have any deep thoughts to share today. I only have a simple request: that you would continue to pray for my precious son. He is really struggling right now to understand why his dad left him and there are a lot of emotions that we are handling. Anger and sadness are definitely the most prominent. It is all normal and a part of the healing process. Kids process grief so differently from adults and Colton didn't have the luxury of understanding for two years what was about to happen. He is just truly beginning to understand what this all means. 

Please pray for me, too. It rips me apart to see Colton so torn about it and when the grief causes anger and misbehavior, sometimes it's hard to discern what is normal toddler behavior and what necessitates further conversation with him. I certainly need wisdom and guidance to weather this particular storm. I am so grateful for your continued bringing us before the throne. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The scab

That, my friends, is a bonafide little boy knee.

Colton and I have been very busy lately. We just got back from a ten day trip to Colorado, where we were able to explore, meet new people, catch up with family and friends, see new things, and relax. It was perfect. It was just what the doctor ordered. 

While Colton was there, he was incredibly active. He ran, jumped, and daredeviled. He has become quite a boy! Of course, in the course of these events, he picked up quite a few battle scars. The picture above is his skinned up knee from many exploits over the last couple of weeks. 

As I looked at his knee last night and prepared to kiss a boo boo acquired at a family Fourth of July party, it occurred to me that Colton's knee and my heart have a lot in common. Like his knee, my heart is healing. Actually, it is healing nicely and better than I thought. I feel like I'm adjusted, functioning, and feeling like myself again (for the most part). My sense of humor has returned, I don't feel lethargic anymore, and it feels like the black cloud isn't constantly hanging over my head.

However, not all days are perfect.

Something new happened to Colton last night. Another boo boo caused the scab on his knee to reopen, and fresh blood trickled out of the wound he acquired while jumping in a pile of rocks at a rodeo last weekend. 

So it feels with the scab on my heart.

Fourth of July parties - shouldn't he be here?

Colorado trip - gosh, I wish he were here with me to ___________ (fill in the blank).

Every time I have one of those moments (hours, days) where I miss him, it feels like the scab reopens and that same familiar grief comes running out. 

And yet, by the grace of God I am healing. I'll always have a little scab that will reopen from time to time. Sometimes the corner of the scab might peel up, and perhaps sometimes the entire scab will be roughly ripped off and I'll have to practically start over again. Maybe, like the skin on Colton's knee, the new flesh will not be the same color and the pink flesh will be telling of the massive scab that used to occupy that space.

But thankfully the God I serve is one that heals both physical and emotional scars. As He has been faithful to me thus far, I know he will continue to do so. By His grace, and with the comforting salve of the prayers of his Body and His saints (here's looking at you, Ry Guy), I know that I will continue to live life abundantly.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Victor, not victim.

Poor Kendra.  Poor Colton.  Poor Ryan.

I have no doubt that those words have crossed many people's minds, and probably many people's lips.  And certainly that is understandable.  Probably most of you that are reading this have been walking this road with me for the better part of two years: the first days when Ryan was first diagnosed, to when we got our first set of great scans, then when we had to try radiation since chemo wasn't working well, then when we got amazing news last summer, to when things started to turn downward, really downward, and then when the bottom truly fell out of our lives.  And know how that chapter of the story ended.

Even now, as I spent some time this week reading over our past blog entries, I can have a tendency to feel really sorry for myself.

I'm 28.  And widowed.

I have a young son who has no siblings and no other immediate family other than me.

My friends are buying minivans for their burgeoning families. I am buying a gravestone for my husband's burial plot.

And yet, this "woe is me" attitude is simply not a place that I can stay for long.

Because... do you know what I'm about?  Do you know whom I serve?  The God that I know and the One that knows me is a God of victory.


For me to break out of "victim mentality", it requires a refocusing of my mind from temporal to eternal: from things of finite importance, to things of eternal value.

I want to post some scripture from Romans 8 with my own emphases added.  I would love to post the whole chapter, but it is really long.  Please do read Romans 8 in its entirety (click here); it's phenomenal.

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. ... 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

... 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

...31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? ...

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wow.  So powerful.  I almost feel like verse 39 should end with an obscene amount of exclamation points. :)  "NOTHING is able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

What is it that makes me a victor?  It is the hope that I have in the resurrection of Christ, nothing else.  It wasn't my marriage, it's not my job, it's not my precious son (although I love him a thousand times more than I love my own life), and it's not my possessions.  Lest I think that it's any of those things, I am reminded in the very first verse that I posted above - what we have here on earth, whether it is blessing or suffering, comfort or discomfort - it's not worth talking about.  It is not worth comparing to the GLORY that will be revealed in us.  Can you imagine what heaven must be like, if everything that we think is so important here on earth, is completely miniscule and trivial compared to that?  Wow.  Now that is some hope.  That is some victory that awaits us.

Maybe you have gone through some trials in your life too.  I know for a fact that some people that are reading this right now are in deep pain.  (I am actually envisioning a friend reading this very sentence, who has suffered unimaginable loss in her own life only three short weeks ago.  Praying so much for you.)  Or maybe it's divorce, job loss, or the pain of loneliness.  My dear friends, hang on.  " all things God works for the good of those who love him".  It doesn't make sense now.  It doesn't.  I want Ryan back with every cell in my body, but I have to somehow trust - you do too - that this season in our lives is meant to purify, strengthen, and solidify our faith.  Please, let's not fall victim to Satan's desire - that suffering would lead to doubt, and doubt to contempt, and contempt to hatred.

Victim Mentality

The Bible is chock full of lessons about victim mentality, although I'm pretty sure that the term was only invented in the 20th century.  Remember the Israelites wandering in the desert?  As Moses and Aaron prepared them and talked to them about moving into Canaan, the Israelites freaked out about the "what ifs".  Instead of preparing mentally for the battle that lay ahead, they spun their proverbial wheels about what could possibly happen, completely disregarding the Lord's promises and His proven faithfulness.  Heck, they even mention in Numbers 14 that they would rather have died in Egypt or the wilderness than to be where they were, on the brink of entering the promised land. 

I will lay it all bare here for you: I have had some days recently when I've felt like an Israelite.  I wouldn't say that I've exactly doubted God or His plans, but we've had words.  Sometimes those words have gotten intense on my part.  I have, for a few moments, felt like a victim.  Why is all of this happening to me and Colton and not to someone else?

However, it's flipping that switch in my mind from dwelling upon my circumstances, to setting my mind upon the One who cares so deeply about our hurt, and is cradling our broken hearts.  He alone will raise me/us to victory.  If God is for us, then who could be against us?  What circumstances are too big or too complicated or too hurtful for Him to handle?  Those of us who are in Christ Jesus are not victims, because of the hope we have in Him, and the comfort we have through the Holy Spirit.

More than conquerors

When I think of a conqueror, I think of someone wearing battle gear.  As most of you know, I'm not really into battle gear, camo, or weapons.  I'm more into great shoes and trendy sweaters.  However, I am a conqueror because of this amazing hope I've been given.  Are you a conqueror?  Are you headed for victory?

At the end of the passage, Paul talks about the many things that could potentially get in the way of our victory: death, demons, the present, the future, etc.  However, because of the army we have behind us, none of these things matter - none of them can separate us from the love of our Lord. 

Unless we allow them to.

What is your mentality, friends?  Are you feeling browbeat and defeated, like a victim?  Or do you hear that battle cry, the steady drum of the Victor, the Conquering Hero who has defeated sin and offers us a future that is not worth comparing to our present circumstances?

I know that for myself, I choose victory.  Choosing the victor mentality over a victim mentality requires work, and it requires me to daily put on my armor.  But I refuse to be "Poor Kendra".  I have been shown too much mercy, and showered with too many blessings to be "Poor Kendra".  I have been rescued, redeemed, and refined by His grace and His love.

I am a victor.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Grief is in the small things.

Hello friends and family,

I know that it's been a long time since I last wrote.  I hardly seem to have words to say to explain what I'm feeling these days.  It's so dichotomous - though my world is rife with pain and grief, yet I am also sustained by that unimaginable peace that comes only through a tight tether with the Holy Spirit.  I have truly been blessed for the last several weeks by His grace and His comfort.

I've been through a few of those "firsts" that are notoriously difficult in the first year after loss.

The first birthday party (for Colton):

First major family event that Ryan had expressed he had really wanted to be at (Corey's graduation):

First Mother's Day (which Ryan had done an excellent job celebrating with me for three years prior):

Mother's Day at Comerica: WIN!

First wedding anniversary without him - May 13.

Somehow, the "firsts" have not been as bad as I worked them up to be.  Maybe the first Christmas is where all of the anxiety and sadness is going to hit me like a freight train, but I've been okay so far through these "firsts".

It's the small things that have been getting me:

  • The silence
  • His handwriting
  • Seeing an article of his clothing
  • Catching a whiff of his brand of cologne somewhere
  • Disconnecting his phone
  • Hearing a song that reminds me of him
  • Checking the "Single" box on a piece of paperwork
  • Seeing his traits in his son
  • Seeing a TV show that we watched together
  • Seeing his horse
  • Seeing any horse
I lived with Ryan 365 days a year.  Only 10-15 of the days in any given year are holidays or special days that we celebrated together.  So the other 340 days of the year is where it feels like we really did true life together.  The laughing, loving, arguing, negotiating, encouraging, bantering, and just living - we did that all together and that's the part that I miss the most.  As I write this, it's Saturday morning and I am waiting for Colton to wake up.  If Ryan were still here, he would be awake and we would be probably a quarter of the way through a pot of coffee and watching SportsCenter, our Saturday morning routine.  I miss having the need to make an entire pot of coffee on a Saturday.  I miss the SportsCenter theme song.

I just miss Ryan.  And all of the sights, sounds, activities, hugs, phone calls, letters, and everything else that accompanied him.

And yet - however wrenching the pain is, my God is greater.  I know, without any doubt, that His grace will be sufficient for today, even without a pot of coffee and SportsCenter - and my best friend.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Oh Lord, please heal my broken heart and help lessen the pain.  I know that somehow Ryan's death was somehow meant for my good and not for my harm.  May I and my family continue to glorify you even through tears.  I trust you implicitly and I love you desperately.

Monday, April 22, 2013

On rocking chairs and twilight.

Tonight I watched the sunset.  I had put Colton to bed, and since it was finally one of the first warm days we have had all spring, I sat out in a rocking chair on my back porch and watched the orange sun wane down below the horizon, and I listened to the matching rocking chair next to me as it swayed gently in the breeze, noticeably and painfully empty.

I sat for a long time and as the sun sank deeper, it began to get harder and harder to see my surroundings.  I strained my eyes to see Colton's swingset, and I could barely make out the outline of our Australian Shepherd as he paced the lawn, still searching for his beloved master even after two weeks have already passed.  Even familiar surroundings were difficult to decipher and navigate in the scant twilight.

Since my best friend died, life has felt like it's literally in a twilight zone - not just because of how strange everything feels, but because twilight is dim and gloomy and it feels like it will be eons until the world is bright again.  So it feels without Ryan.  Was it really just two months ago that we went out for his birthday and traipsed through a furniture store, bouncing on mattresses and drawing the ire of the store clerk?  Were we really laughing, imagining how we would decorate our new home together?  Was it really just two years ago (and some odd days) that we were making plans for when we were going to have our second child and planning the birthday bash for our firstborn's first birthday?  Only two years ago.

How did I get here?

Where am I going?

In this dark, dimly lit period of my life, I have but one hope:

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."
Romans 8:18 - NIV, emphasis added

While I sit rocking on a porch, contemplating the darkness that has suddenly enveloped my life in the short span of two months - okay, well, two years - I pause to think of what my best friend is doing.  What he's seeing.  Who he's talking to.  Imagining his grin as he gets to worship in wild, unadulterated adoration of the Savior that he clung to.  And as much as I hurt, and as much as I ache for the Ryan that I had, I can't help but be happy that he is where he is.  Whole.  Free.  And I feel a twinge of jealousy and longing for the same glory.

Eventually it got completely pitch black as I was outside and I was completely blinded to what was in front of me.  But I do know this: darkness does not last forever.  I know, somewhere down this painful road, that there is joy ahead, in the morning.  And direction.  Guidance.  Purpose.  Meaning.  I do not know what that looks like, and I don't know when it's coming.  All I know to do right now is to sit patiently, rock, and wait upon the One who loves me - and feels every single ache right along with me as I sit in silent darkness.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Memorial service remarks


Sometime this week the video of the memorial service will be uploaded.  It was a long service (somewhere between an hour and a half to two hours), so it's taking some time to digitize and upload.  It should be done sometime after Wednesday.

In the meantime, here is the text of the remarks that I made about Ryan at the memorial service and what it meant to Ryan to live in high definition - and what it means for the rest of us that are left behind.  I have been asked by a few people to upload this.

"Living in High Definition"

Good morning.  It is amazing to me to look out over this crowd of people and be once again reminded of the impact that my husband had on a number of people.  While the pain that I and my families have felt this week has been suffocating, we have been blessed beyond measure of the response that we have had from around the world, hearing of how Ryan has impacted people – not just in the last two years, but for 27 years.  Ryan’s passion for the Lord, his love for his family, and his desire to do things that made a difference for the Kingdom of God are all of the things that we admire about him and what draws us to this place today. Whether he was a family member, a friend, a coworker, a former teammate, a classmate, a counselor, or even just a guy whose blog we read and admired – Ryan has impacted all of us not just because of the smile, his laugh, his sense of humor, or his practical jokes – but because of the brilliant light of hope that he reflected through Jesus Christ.

One of the things that I think we all admired about Ryan was the fact that despite his response to his cancer diagnosis was extraordinary, he was in fact a very ordinary person in real life.  I was married to him for almost seven years and dated him for four and a half years prior to that.  I can readily attest to the fact that Ryan had faults.  As a matter of fact, many of you may not know that Ryan had a criminal record.  Yes.  He was convicted of a misdemeanor three years ago.  After we bought our house in Claybanks Township, we had a devious horse that kept coming up with ways to break our fence and bust herself and our other horse loose, and they always headed towards the freeway that was just a mile from our house.  Deuce and Riata got loose three times in one month, and Ryan frantically kept trying to repair the electric fence that they had broken.  After the third time they got loose, the state police caught the two horses on the entrance ramp to the freeway.  As Ryan zoomed up in his green pickup truck to retrieve the horses, the very unimpressed state police officer gave him a citation for – wait for it - livestock at large.  We did not have any idea that someone could be cited for such a thing!  Ryan tried very hard to fight the citation, but he ended up pleading no contest to a misdemeanor and was fined.  Although Ryan didn’t think it was so funny at the time, we had many good laughs imagining him having to declare his misdemeanor of “livestock at large” on a future employment application.

So despite his criminal record, I had the immense honor and privilege of marrying and being the best friend of this incredible person.  Many people have asked me for the past two years whether or not Ryan really meant what he said on our blog and at his speaking engagements and if he was different at home.  To answer that succinctly, absolutely not.  While Ryan did struggle with the thought of leaving the rest of us behind – especially Colton and I - I never heard him complain about his illness, and he never once complained of how this whole situation was terribly unfair.  Of course he was human, but his faith and his response never wavered throughout 24 months of heavy treatment, rollercoaster scans, and ultimately the blow that we received at the end of his long hospitalization and in his final days as he realized that he was close to death.  Ryan was a person that was truly graced by God with the determination to praise his Savior no matter the circumstances that were thrown his direction.  And he had the confidence and the burning desire to share this praise with the world at large, so that other people might also be impacted by Jesus Christ.

So what makes a young man, with his whole life ahead of him, be able to respond this way?  I want to turn your attention to the passage on the inside of the program, from 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  You see, one of the most remarkable characteristics about my husband was what he chose to fixate upon.  He did not fixate upon cancer.  He chose to fix his eyes on what was unseen, on things of eternal value.  His ultimate hope was not just to be healed of cancer, but rather no matter what happened to him, his hope remained completely rooted in the salvation that he had through Christ Jesus.  And because of that hope, he did not lose heart.  Though outwardly his human body wasted away, each and every day he was renewed by his hope in the Lord.  In that passage, Paul talks about “light and momentary troubles”.  This is said by Paul – the Apostle Paul – the man who was beaten, shipwrecked, and imprisoned.  Ryan also considered his troubles to be light and momentary – the radiation, the countless rounds of chemo, the side effects from medication, the loss of physical strength.  However, both Paul and Ryan considered that their present sufferings were not worth comparing to the glory that would be revealed in them.

And that, my friends, is the very essence of what Living in High Definition is all about.  Eternal perspective.  I would like to share some of Ryan’s very own words from a blog that he wrote in March of 2012.

"Some days this cancer and the future feel overwhelming. I may very well have a lot of pain and suffering in my future. I may have the loss of dreams and goals and hopes. Continuing to work at being obedient and living our faith out is hard, very hard at times. Yes as bad as all this feels - what must Glory be like? If it makes this hell that we are going through seem "light and momentary" - what must eternity be like! Chew a moment on what could possibly make shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonments, poverty, sickness, and more seem "light and momentary". How does that not motivate us to do everything we can to honor God?

That is Living in High Definition. To see every situation and circumstance through an eternal perspective. Fixing our eyes on what is unseen, what is eternal! I can relate to Paul's feeling a death sentence, but I'm also starting to understand the incredible future that is called Heaven. It doesn't just give me peace, it drives me to serve Him more and more."

Ryan chose to see life in high definition.  To trust God.  To obey Him.  To honor his family and to choose not to stress about things that were temporary.  It was not always an easy decision to have eternal perspective or to be obedient.  But time and time again, Ryan and I said aloud to each other – to live in high definition is ultimately a choice.  It’s a choice that sometimes has to be made even several times a day.  But all it is, is a choice.  And when trials come, as they so often do, a person that lives life in high definition is going to be able to stand tall, as Ryan did, and handle trials with grace and dignity, knowing that Scripture promises us in Romans 5 that “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

I know my husband very well.  I know that he would be so touched by the fact that so many of his friends and family and supporters came here today to remember him and to support his wife and his family members.  He would laugh at our jokes, and he would add several of his own, and some of those jokes would probably border on inappropriate.  But he would also ask these questions: What do you believe?  Why do you believe it?  And if you have faith, what are you going to do with it?  Are you going to use your faith to impact the world, or are you going to hide it under a rock?  And when circumstances happen: does your faith define your circumstances or do your circumstances define your faith?  He would want every single person here to know that it is possible to live life in high definition.  It first takes faith in Jesus Christ.  And then it takes total surrender to God’s purposes for your life.  Life will not always be easy – it wasn’t for Ryan.  But Ryan finished his short life well, and I imagine that as he entered heaven and kneeled before the throne, his Heavenly Father touched his beautiful dark hair and looked into his warm brown eyes, and said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  Welcome home.”

I miss him more than I ever could have imagined.  My husband, my best friend, my son’s father, our inspiration, cowboy, comic relief, brother, son, grandson, nephew, friend.  He has truly left a legacy so deep and so wide that the world will remember him for years to come, and even more importantly – Colton will keep learning the rich spiritual lessons that Ryan so bravely taught in the midst of his illness.  Ryan will have left more of a legacy in his short life than many people do in a full life.  Although I ache for the profound loss that my son and I will acutely feel for years, I do rejoice today in knowing that my best friend is safe in the loving arms of Jesus, where he will remain for eternity – and because I have the same hope that he had, I will once again see him before long.

Until we meet again, cowboy.  I love you.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Links to online tributes to Ryan

This week, the outpouring of love and the number of words that has been written about Ryan has been mind-boggling.  Emails, text messages, comments, guestbook entries, Facebook messages, tweets, and other communications have been flooding in.  For me, it has been a blessing to see the difference that Ryan has made in his life, and how his legacy will continue into the future.  It's comforting to know that Colton will be surrounded by thousands of people that will tell him of the unique, profound impact on their own lives because of his daddy.

To that end, a few other bloggers have taken the time this week to write about what Ryan meant to them - and the words are powerful.  Thank you, Bill, Tyler, Abby, and Gramps - these words are a treasure to me and a salve to my heart.

From Bill McKendry - "Do All the Good You Can. While You Can."

From Tyler Nall - "Lessons Learned from an Amazing Client"

From Abby Banfield - "The Guy I Knew: Remembering Ryan"

From Kermit "Gramps Peanut" Hainley - "What is a Poor Man Going to Give His Son"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Living Life in High Definition

Last night I found the link to this video of Ryan from December 2010, four months before he was diagnosed with cancer.  In the video, he recounts a story from the previous day in which I had nearly been in a car accident.  He also begins to define what living in high definition meant to him.

Ryan's message of trusting God, appreciating what really matters, and living a life intentionally for the sake of the kingdom of Christ - that message began when he was small, continued to be refined when he got older, and was burnished when he was diagnosed with cancer.  This video brings me joy because I was reminded that Ryan was not only someone special when he had cancer - he was uniquely formed by God to be a mouthpiece for His glory from the very beginning.  Cancer just gave him a megaphone with which to shout God's praises.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Obituary, letters to Colton, and pictures.

Hello friends, I wanted to let you know that the service times have been posted online, in Ryan's obituary:

The other thing that I wanted to ask of you: I would like to collect letters that are addressed to Colton that tell him about who his daddy was.  Ryan was many things to many people: an inspiration, a blessing, comic relief, maybe even an occasional pain in the neck!  As Colton grows, I would love to be able to share your stories and memories with him.  I am asking that people send these letters to Colton one of three ways:

1.) Email the letter to the email address below.
2.) Send the letter in the mail to: Colton Prudhomme, c/o Grace Adventures, 2100 N Ridge Rd, Mears, MI 49436.
3.) Bring the letter to one of the services.

This will be such a valuable thing for our son to have.  I thank you in advance for helping us.

The last thing I would like to ask for is pictures of Ryan.  If you have any pictures of Ryan from his childhood or adulthood, please email them to the other email address listed below.  It would be best to have these in before Thursday morning, so that we could possibly incorporate them into a slideshow.

Thank you.

I am so grateful for the outpouring of love the last 36 hours from our friends, family, and blog readers.  We as a family are so amazed at the far-reaching impact that Ryan had in his 27 years.  He packed a lot of meaning into his short life, and God graced him with an amazing message to bring to encourage people.  I already miss him so much, but God has already so clearly given us peace and comfort in the midst of our deep sorrow.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ryan Scott Prudhomme, Feb. 21, 1986 - Apr. 8, 2013

At 12:01 a.m. this morning, I had the incredible honor of holding my best friend's hand as he slipped from his earthly home into the waiting arms of Jesus. While this tremendous loss brings our hearts wrenching pain, we also are buoyed by God's grace and His truth, and the assurance that our dear Ryan had of heaven.

It was an immense privilege to walk this journey alongside my husband and my hero. He has taught me so much about courage, faith, perseverance, love, hope, and contentment and I am deeply thankful to God for granting me the years that I had with him. So, so thankful.

I am also grateful for your continuous prayers and still covet them for our family, especially for Ryan's beloved son, Colton. We have a long road ahead of us, but we will walk that road with the unshakable hope and peace of Christ.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

"No guilt in life,
No fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry
To final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny."

As details about services become finalized, we will release details later today or tomorrow.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My promise to my dying husband

Your smile.

Anytime I think of you, the first thing I see in my mind’s eye is your megawatt smile. Your friendliness, your openness, and your sense of humor, all amplified and highlighted by your toothy, crooked grin.

That grin caught my eye over a decade ago, and ultimately captured my heart. From the first days of our relationship when we were just a couple of love-struck high school students, to the moment you saw me walking down the aisle, to the moment I saw you first lay eyes on your son, to the moment now when I enter your hospital room—your smile melts my heart, Ryan. You still dazzle me.

Life with you has been easy because it has been clear from the start that God uniquely wired us to be together. You challenge me, you sharpen me, you inspire me, and you make me a better person. Your unwavering commitment to the Lord makes my own relationship with Him much richer and more intentional because I have you to look to as an example of what it means to live a life sold out for Christ. Even through the last two years, as we have walked the road of your terminal cancer diagnosis together, life has remained colorful and sweet because our God is gracious to me, and you are one of the three biggest gifts I've received from Him. Salvation and our son are the other two.

On May 13, 2006, I saw your huge smile as I made my way down a short aisle to marry you. And on that day, you and I made a lot of promises to each other. "...from this day forward, I will devote myself to you and our family, second only to God / I commit to loving you, as much during difficult times as well as times of happiness / in victories as well as defeats / All these things I promise to you.

When I look back, so much has happened in almost seven years and I have realized that it’s time to restate exactly what I promise to you. Life has happened. And as we stare down this monster with hands clasped together and the Lord firmly entrenched behind us, I want to leave no doubt that you know these things.

Ryan Scott Prudhomme, I promise to you that I will cherish your memory as long as I live. Your character, your integrity, your heart for the Lord, and your unshakable faith in Him are all reasons that I, along with many others, will continue to regard you as a most extraordinary person. I admire you more than you could imagine.

Ryan, I promise to you that your son will know you as he grows. Any creative way that I can devise to ensure that he grows up feeling close to you—I plan to do it. Any person that can tell him about your jokes, your idiosyncrasies, your personality traits—I will ensure those people have an avenue to tell your son about his beloved daddy. Regardless of whether you get to parent him for two or twenty or seventy years, I pledge to you my commitment to raise him to know his dad.

I promise to you I will not despair, I will not be broken, and I will somehow, someday, some way again feel joy and peace. During the last two years, I know your first thoughts are usually of me—not of yourself—and you have been far more worried about me and Colton. Your love for me has never been more evident and has helped gird me through some very difficult times. I could never have done this without your faithful prayer and your encouragement, but I’m entering into a new phase where I won’t have the luxury of your nearness. Despite that, I know deep down that I am a person that can shoulder anything, as long as the Lord stands behind me. And He will. I will, with His grace, stand tall and will endure whatever tomorrow brings.  Don't you worry.

My last promise, Ryan, is not a new one—and it’s not a promise to you. It’s a promise to my Lord and Savior. I promise that my trust in the Lord will not be broken, bent, tarnished, punctured, pushed, nor shaken. I have no idea what He is orchestrating. I may not ever know until I am able to question Him in person someday. But I know the character of the One who alone knows the number of our days, He who knew you from the time before you were born and still, to this day, holds you and I in a tight, secure grip. His goodness and his mercy have been the constancy that we have so sorely needed during the last two rollercoaster years.

My darling, I love you more than I could ever have guessed that I would have loved you when you first flashed that unforgettable smile at me in the crowded hallway of our small high school. You are more than just my husband: you’re my best friend, my closest confidant, my sparring partner, my teacher, and my hero. When I close my eyes and think of you, I will always remember the sweet happiness of being perfectly matched to a person that pushed me to be a greater version of my own self.

And I’ll never forget the beautiful smile on your face.

Which always will bring one to my own.


I wrote this letter to Ryan while he was hospitalized at CTCA in March.  After he read it, he strongly encouraged me to release it on our blog when I felt that it was the appropriate time.  We both pray that it is effective in bringing encouragement to those that read this blog.

Photo Credit: Yeoman Photography, Big Rapids, MI

Thursday, April 4, 2013

...Yet not my will, but Yours be done.

Luke 22:42
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

The prayer of our hearts for two years:  Father, please.  Please.  PLEASE!  Take this cup from us.  Heal Ryan.  Please restore him to health.  Please give us normalcy again.  Please do not let him go from this earth too soon.

But Lord, we do trust you.  We know Your character, and we know Your truth.  We stand on that knowledge, and that knowledge coupled with Your enveloping grace, are the only cards we have to play.  So Lord, we ask that Your will would be done, because we trust that even though it doesn't make sense on this side of eternity, somehow these plans are meant to prosper us (and to further Your kingdom, more importantly) and not to harm us.

I imagine that as Jesus prayed that prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, that he was probably feeling a lot like we are right now.  Dreading what lay ahead.  But yet also peacefully resigned to the will of the Lord.

You see, friends, we have been grappling with our own future this week, much the same way that Jesus grappled with his.  My blog post last Monday was almost triumphant in nature.  That was the tone of the day.  Things were looking up.  We were going to get out of the hospital.  Bleeding had stopped.  Our oncologist was starting to talk about the possibility of doing more treatments in the future.  We were ecstatic.

And then the bleeding started again.  In earnest.

And our doctor, full of compassion and concern, told us last Tuesday the words that we have so dreaded hearing.  We are out of options.  We have done everything that we can do to save Ryan's life.  It was now time to go home and enjoy what time we have left.  And that time is probably better measured in days and weeks than in months.

We have always wanted to keep this community, you, our support network, as up to date as possible, but facing what seems to be approaching has been difficult.  We needed time to process. I do hope you'll understand why we haven't been forthcoming with this news - it has ripped our hearts to shreds and we have struggled with how and when to tell all of you. I know that this post is going to be a tremendous letdown for literally thousands of people, and I so wish that I had better news to bring.

Thank you for the grace, love, and support you have shown our family for now over two years. Please pray with us for courage, comfort and peace right now. We continue to place our hope in the Lord, and we always will.

We love you.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

What the resurrection means to me.

Lamentations 3:21-33

21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
    while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.
31 For no one is cast off
    by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
    so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
    or grief to anyone.

This week, my pastor asked me to share what the resurrection means to me.  He shared this at our church's Sunday morning service.

So, what does the resurrection mean to me?  The resurrection changed everything; there is no going back.    However, I can not think about the resurrection without connecting it to salvation.

The resurrection happened because of God's great love.  It is an all-consuming process. The resurrection completely transformed the world and salvation should completely change your world.  Jesus did not die for a select group of people, he died for everyone.  When we accept the gift of salvation it too must affect every part of our hearts and our person.

The resurrection is what God did for the world. Salvation is our opportunity to partake in the resurrection and enter back into a pure relationship with our Father.  As sinners, part of salvation requires we acknowledge our personal sin.   We have to experience the depth of our depravity before we can fully experience the gift we gave been given through his compassion and his lovingkindness.  Therefore, just as God allowed Jesus to suffer and die, we too must go through this purification fire in order to die to our sinful selves.

Part of the resurrection was that Jesus had to bear alone and in silence the weight of the world.  God promises us no one is cast off by the Lord forever.  Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.

So just as Jesus placed his faith that God would not abandon him forever and willingly surrendered his death, we too must recognize in the middle of our trials that we will not be cast off forever.  Experiencing this regeneration of the soul is how we enter into the most intimate relationship with our Father.

For me, knowing how undeserved of this gift I am - and yet God still bestowed his lovingkindness on me - has transformed everything from the inside out. Now my only aim is to please God with every fiber of my body. I can willingly sacrifice comforts and pleasures, dreams, and my life - knowing that every moment I get that to honor God has eternal value.

I am compelled to share this with any one I get a chance. I am no longer worried about others' impressions or my failure, but rather I am focused on fulfilling my purpose.

The resurrection was the ultimate expression of God's love. If we accept it through salvation, we must love God and those around us as He has modeled for us.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

One bumpy ride

Dear friends and family,

After enduring five hours on a gurney, basically strapped in the bed of a pickup truck, by the grace of God I made it home. As you can imagine, this trip took quite a bit out of me. Kendra and our families plan on taking some time to recharge our batteries and learn about what our new normal looks like. We understand many of you have a strong desire to connect with us, but we would like to get through the next VERY busy few days and then see what next week looks like. Thank you so much for your cards, emails, and encouraging comments. We are blessed.

Monday, March 25, 2013

More positive news!

Hi there everyone,

We are still here at the hospital, but it is starting to sound more and more like we might be getting out of here this week!  Our surgeon met with Ryan this morning and was extremely pleased with how he's doing.  Ryan has had a couple of really positive days and his paracentesis output has slowed down to absolutely NOTHING since yesterday morning. :)  Incision is doing very well, pain controlled, counts stabilizing, and he's getting much more mobile!  The news that we heard today was that Ryan could get discharged tomorrow to be able to go over to the hotel, and then depending on how he does caring for himself, we could go home - YES, I JUST SAID HOME - the best place on earth - on Wednesday or Thursday. :) :) :) :) :) :)

Please pray that direction!

We love you guys!


Edit: I also just remembered that Tigers baseball starts one week from today.  Oh my goodness, today is amazing.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Moving forward

Hello everyone,

Another day in the hospital, and another day closer to going home. We are hoping (please pray with us) that we can bust out of here mid to late next week. Ryan is stable, feeling decent, and taking laps quite often. His doctors are pleased with his physical stamina and his pain tolerance. The immediate goal is to get his GI tract started up again so that he can get the annoying NG tube out of his nose; that is not a lot of fun. However, he has a few hurdles to jump before we break him loose, such as some of his counts normalizing a bit.

We have been blessed by the cards, notes, comments, and gifts that have been sent for us and for Colton. I feel like a broken record, but I just want to reiterate that we are feeling the love. We are so appreciative of all of you, and we feel so girded and supported by our brothers and sisters in Christ. This journey is not easy, but we are glad that we are doing it with you by our side.

We are looking forward to a quiet weekend with lots of March Madness and spring training games. We look at each day to spend together as an absolute gift. Hug your family and enjoy them this weekend and thank God for the blessing of family. Alright? :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

He's out of surgery!

Waiting to see him still, but he is out.

Surgeon said that they were able to suture and coagulate the bleeding that was happening in a tumor just outside of the large intestine.  Praise God that there was no need to resect any of his bowel.  There was no bleeding happening when they closed him up.  We are so grateful for the balance that the surgeon took in being aggressive enough to fix the problem, yet delicate enough to not cause any damage to him.

So now what?  Ryan is being moved to the surgical unit to recover for the next 5 to 7 days (could be longer, depending on how he recovers).  We will be trying to make arrangements to come home as soon as we are able.

Oh Lord, you are so good to us and so faithful.  Thank you for loving us extravagantly and for covering us in your grace today.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

They found a bleed!

A tumor in the back of his liver has a vessel that is bleeding.  They are going to do a small incision to fix the bleed because they cannot fix it with laparoscopy.

This is the best possible news we could have gotten!

Not out of the woods yet, and surgery should be another couple of hours.

Ryan is in surgery now.

I just said "see ya later" to him at 12:10 Central.

He is totally at peace with whatever outcome we have today. I am as well.

We read Psalm 86 while waiting for him to go back. That is my favorite "trench" psalm. Every time I feel pressed down or about to be destroyed, I read that and I remember that my God goes before me (us) and is my (our) Great Defender. We surrender ourselves fully and completely to His will.

And if our God is for us - then who could ever stop us?

And if our God is with us - then what could stand against us?

Procedure pushed back to around 11 Central

Laparoscopy is at 9:30 Central

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Laparoscopy tomorrow

Hello friends,

Well, it's scheduled.

Tomorrow later in the morning, Ryan will go in for a laparoscopy (you should hear how many different ways we have pronounced that today).  They are going in for a diagnostic laparoscopy, and they are going to look for "the leak".  If they do not find a leak or they find a tumor is simply "oozing" blood, then there is not much that they can do and the procedure will be over.  If they find a leak, they will try to cauterize, clamp, or sew the leak (whatever is appropriate).  There is a small risk that there might be a major organ involved in the leak, such as the colon.  There is a possibility of Ryan having to have part of his colon resected, if that is the case.

Yikes, I'm sure that just got your attention.

There are obviously some risks involved in this procedure.  The biggest is general anesthesia.  There are obviously more major risks if the procedure progresses to the point where they need to do an open surgery.  We ask for you to cover Ryan in prayer tomorrow, for his safety and for the wisdom and guidance for the doctors.  We feel at peace.  If this is successful and stops the leak, we are so grateful.  If it doesn't and we have to make some tough decisions, we are at peace with that as well.

Our God is so faithful to us.  As Ryan and I look back over the last seven years of marriage, we see so many instances of where we had needs, and God provided for them.  Every. Single. Time.  He's continuing to do the same for us now...covering us in grace and peace when we so sorely need it.

Psalm 85: 8-9

8 I will listen to what God the Lord says;
    he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
    but let them not turn to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
    that his glory may dwell in our land.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Angiogram results

Procedure could not find the bleeding. Another surgical team will be consulted tomorrow. Right now we are disappointed in these results, but we are choosing to remain positive and hopeful, because we serve a God who offers hope even in the valley.

And he's in.

The procedure has begun. 3 hours or so. Will update soon.

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:25-31 NIV)

Procedure scheduled for 2 pm CDT

Pizza and baseball

Allow me to let down the walls for a minute.

A lot of you know me as a very strong person. I have a gift for mostly being able to compartmentalize my life and to throw my tantrums in private, but I also know that sometimes it's good to let people in to what's on my mind.

It's simple, really.

Pizza and baseball.

Now, before you think that Ryan really has hijacked my mind since being married to him, allow me to explain.

We live in a beautiful section of West Michigan, very close to a local dairy that has a pizza shop. We love the dairy and if you picked through our garbage at any given moment, you'd often find a black and white pizza box there, stained with the grease that serves as a reminder of delicious cheese, fresh veggies, and pepperoni that we enjoyed.

On many Friday nights, I pick up salad ingredients at the grocery store and when Colton and I get home, I make a salad. I call Ryan and ask him to pick up the pizza on his way home from work, and then wait for him to walk through the door with that familiar box.

After noshing on too much of our favorite pizza and probably too little salad, we head over to the couch, a remarkably short distance in our small starter home, and turn on the TV to watch the Tigers (when in season). Lots of cheering and hissing ensues.

I love pizza and baseball.


On March 1st, my son and I were on our way home from a normal Friday. However, Dad wasn't coming home. He was on his way to CTCA with his father to be admitted to the hospital.

Colton asks me from the backseat, "Where my daddy?"

"Daddy is in a car with Papa. A doctor is going to fix his owies, Colton."

"My dad otay?"

"Yes, sweetie, he's ok."

"Mama, I want Daddy to come home. I want to eat pizza with my daddy. I want to watch baseball."

There was nothing that Colton could have said that could have driven the stake in my wounded heart deeper. I had an instant, almost visceral reaction to his words. Tears flooded my eyes and I immediately cried out, ME TOO.

There is nothing I want more than pizza and baseball. To sit at home. Snuggled with my husband. Tigers on the tv, pizza in our bellies. Colton begging us to pitch him his foam balls so that he can whack a "ho'run" like the boys of summer on the big screen. I want to kidnap Ryan from his hospital bed, rip out that drain that constantly reminds me of the uphill battle we are facing, and rush him and Colton home in time for tomorrow's spring training game. And pick up a black and white box along the way.


Oh, how I ache for normalcy.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pray for tomorrow!

Hi friends,

Thanks for praying us through the harrowing Friday afternoon. This weekend has been concerning. Ryan has lost a significant amount of blood. He's getting transfused pretty regularly, but his hemoglobin keeps seesawing. His clotting is back to normal again though, praise God.

A nurse just came in and told me that Ryan's angiogram should be happening tomorrow - unsure of the time. They will check his labs again tomorrow morning to ensure that he is built up enough when heading into the surgery.

All of the bleeding the last three days could be a blessing in disguise; that means that the leak should be visible during the procedure tomorrow. PLEASE PRAY LIKE CRAZY THAT THEY CAN FIX THE LEAK. I don't mean to be melodramatic, but this is absolutely crucial to his progress.

When I find out a time, I'll post a short update so that you can pray in earnest.

Ryan gave us quite a scare tonight. He's been pretty anxious so he took a drug called Ativan that he's taken plenty of times before with no adverse reactions. However, they gave him the IV form of it which is apparently PRETTY potent. He is currently absolutely passed out sleeping. I got pretty freaked out when I could not wake him up so I went to find a nurse and frantically texted my father in law to get here. Sorry for the scare, Steve. :) However, he's stable - just sleeping incredibly hard.

We continue to be so thankful for all of you. I can't tell you how much all of your prayers and notes are encouraging us right now when we need them so much.

The body of Christ is amazing.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Procedure will be Monday. Exploratory Angiogram with the intent to embolize a bleed if they see one.

Ryan's blood cannot clot properly; this is why the procedure can't happen today. Plasma will be coming. Plasma MIGHT take care of the increased bleeding.

Radiation may be happening today as per usual.

Please keep praying. We are all having a slight case of PTSD after this episode the last hour. Seriously. We are all kind of a wreck right now.

Huge, huge prayer request.

Please put this prayer request out.  We need serious prayer right now.

Ryan's bleeding seemed to change last night - I wouldn't say that the production increased sharply, but the blood that was coming out of his bag was much darker than even earlier in the day yesterday.  We were slightly alarmed, but then this morning his hemoglobin had dropped rather significantly.  There is a team of doctors that was contacted (representing gastroenterology, interventional radiology, radiation, and surgery) that is trying to put a plan in place.  The initial plan sounds like he might have this angiogram and they will go in to look for this "fault" and embolize it to try to stop the bleeding.  This is a total 180 from what we had heard last week.

We are extremely confused and will soon be in a consult with the doctors.  We are asking for wisdom, for God's clear direction, and if Ryan has to have a procedure tonight - PLEASE PRAY FOR SAFETY!  We are extremely concerned.  We will, of course, update this blog as soon as we know anything more.  It may be short, but I'll keep my phone on me to be able to send out information as we gather it.

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Two days in a row!

Feeling really well again today. Very positive news on the digestive front today! Please keep praying but lots if good news so far. Treatment around 5 cst today. Thanks or the packages, emails, cards, chores, support, and everything I'm forgetting. We're so blessed.

Please pray for Colton. There is no schedule or rhythm for him which can be hard at times. We miss many of you very much. If we haven't met yet we would like to someday soon.

Lastly keep praying for the blood leak to stop or slow down quickly. This is one of the last pieces to fall back into place.

Until then we will praise God and watch Big Ten basketball all day!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Radiation Time Updates

Today - 3:30 cst
Thursday - 4:50 cst
Friday - 3:00 cst
Monday - 8:30am cst

Sorry for the confusion. We will let you know if anything changes.

Thanks so much for the prayers and support. I feel pretty good today. Have been up for a walk, working both for camp and personal items, and am generally more awake and alert.

The GI issues are still not resolved but things are not regressing and my pain is way more under control.

Hemoglobin went down this morning, to be expected with the blood I'm leaking. My Bilirubin is own almost a full point! That is huge.

I may have another transfusion later.

Everyone is very excited about how I'm looking and doing. We are so thankful for all the prayers. We know the real reason despite medicine changes and adjustments. The king of kings has an army of prayer warriors standing behind us at the ready.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Another short update

Hello everyone, posted below is Ryan's radiation treatment schedule. Please remember that those times are Central. We are grateful for your prayer! Dr. Eden was pleased today to hear of how you all have been lifting him up. The first treatment was uneventful.

Ryan gave me the ok to give a few more details on here about his GI struggles. Since being hospitalized, Ryan has been struggling with constipation. It's pretty severe at this point. Our doctors are working diligently to resolve this, but in the meantime it is the source of much frustration on our part, and lots of pain for Ryan. Please pray for his digestive tract to restart. We are worried.

Other than that, there is not any major news for tonight! Well, wait, there is some HUGE news. Colton has been almost accident-free for a week - daytime AND nighttime. I guess with our child, the opposite logic of most normal potty training is true: completely remove him from his comfort zone, place unending streams of new people in his life, and remove almost all structure. Hmm.

Have a great evening!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Short update

Hello friends!

Just a very quick update tonight. Ryan is feeling better, but the GI symptoms are still unresolved. Radiation is supposed to be tomorrow around 1:00 Central time. He was more alert today and he had a grand time ripping on people - his sense of humor never fails him. :)

Alright. I'm exhausted. Good night!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

On Christ the solid rock I stand.

...all other ground is sinking sand.

All other ground is sinking sand.

Hello.  Here we are on Sunday, March 10.  I'm trying to keep the "clack clack" of the keyboard to a minimum as Ryan sleeps beside me.

The last couple of days have been both wonderful and rough.  Some close family members came into town for the weekend which was AMAZING, and we just said goodbye to the last of them.  We are back down to just immediate family plus one Amy. :)  It was wonderful to see people, but Ryan has been increasingly uncomfortable with some nagging GI symptoms.  Please pray for relief to come from those problems.  I think he'd be a thousand times happier if that were the case.

The bleeding has not stopped; if anything, it has increased slightly.  His hemoglobin is hanging in there, though, and we are grateful for that.  Radiation starts TUESDAY, please make sure that you circle and star that date on your calendar! When I know appointment times, I will make sure to tell you all so that you can specifically pray at the time of day that he has radiation.

Not much else to report medically.  Emotionally I think we are all just very drained and tired.  Monday punched us in the gut, then we got hopeful when there seemed to be some treatment options, and now it is very hard on everyone to see Ryan be uncomfortable.  Spiritually, Ryan continues to be our mouthpiece - or rather, God's mouthpiece, reminding everyone that our hope is in Christ, not here on earth.  I continue to remind myself of Romans 8:18: "I consider that our present sufferings do not compare to the glory that will be revealed in us."  Won't it be sweet, someday, for us all to have forgotten about these earthly troubles and to be in glory?  I'm shivering at the thought of that. How sweet that day will be!

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus' Name.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pray for Dr. Eden!

Hello everyone.

Today has been a pretty calm day.  Ryan hasn't really had any procedures done except for another blood transfusion.  A slight downturn in both hemoglobin (darn) and bilirubin (yay!).  Bili will probably go up again tomorrow as a result of the transfusion but it's trending in the right direction.  It's important for it to go down so that we can do chemo.

Ryan met briefly with Dr. Eden (incredible, Christian radiation oncologist) today to talk about the upcoming IMRT treatments that he will start.  Good news: scans are first thing tomorrow morning and he can probably start radiation Monday, Tuesday or - HOLY COW, that was expedited.  Dr. Eden specifically asked for us to galvanize prayer support on our blog for him and his team.  A LOT hinges on these radiation treatments.  The outcomes that he is hoping for: stop/shrink new tumors and stop the exudative "leaking".  This is an extremely critical piece for Ryan to be able to continue treatment.  Please pray that Dr. Eden's hands will be guided by the Lord - that his team will be able to correctly map the radiation treatments and that the treatments will be effective.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Next steps

Oy.  This has been quite a day for Ryan, talking with lots of nurses and doctors.  As per usual, I am going to be doing bullet points because they help me keep my thoughts straight. :)
  • His bleeding has picked back up again slightly. Although there have been some changes and abnormalities in the last 24 hours. It is very important to keep praying that direction, but it hasn't yet happened completely.
  • He has another bleeding scan today at 1:30 CST to determine whether or not they will see any active bleeding.
  • Doctors are conjecturing that he is having "exudative" bleeding, which would be a tiny leak of bloody fluid seeping from minuscule capillaries.  That type of bleeding would not be picked up on any scan, angiogram, or laparascopic surgery but would still produce a noticeable amount of drainage.  It is not nearly as serious as "active" internal bleeding would be - Ryan's whole system would be shutting down and he would be in a lot worse shape if that were the case.
  • His hemoglobin went down a tiny bit and then stabilized and his bilirubin went up a tiny bit (from yesterday).  Although those are not the correct directions, they're minor changes and no one is alarmed. They're both still generally heading in the correct direction.
  • So, that brings me to the next steps.  His primary oncologist has consulted with radiation, interventional radiology, and surgery.  The best course of action - Ryan is going to have targeted radiation to specific tumors that will last for five days. After that, the hope is that the new growths will be slowed/killed and then he can start chemo asap.  Everyone is in agreement that chemo needs to happen as fast as possible, but radiation could be the first step to gain some momentum against the cancer's growth.
  • Consult for radiation (scans, mapping) should happen tomorrow or Friday.  Please pray for that to happen expeditiously - we are riding them to try to get it done as fast as possible.  He could possibly start radiation in the middle of next week.
  • We are all relieved that there are some courses of action, but some hurdles need to be jumped.  Good thing we're all athletic. ;)  And pushy.  No one with the last name of Prudhomme sits back on their laurels.
  • We know that many people would like to come and visit.  We have a lot going on right now, and Ryan only has so much energy.  Please direct your inquiries about visiting through Kendra - text me if you have my number, or email me through the form above and I'll get back with you shortly. If circumstances worsen and it becomes necessary for friends and family to travel, we will change our stance on this.  For now, though, it seems best to hold off.
Thank you so, so very much for your prayers.  I cannot reiterate enough how much they are sustaining us.  Today I'd ask you to pray for our sweet little boy.  We are doing our darndest to make sure that his needs are met, but obviously he's so little and he can sense something is up, yet he doesn't understand.  He does know that Daddy has "owies" but we are trying very hard to not alarm him and to keep him feeling safe and sheltered and loved.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How to pray for us tonight

Hi there, friends.

I know that a lot of you are getting ready to spend a part of your evening in prayer for us, so we thought we would let you know what we learned today, and how to specifically pray.  There are some IMPORTANT prayer requests here.

  • Ryan's bleeding scan showed no active bleeding.  Whether it's because the bleeding stopped (can you say MIRACLE!) or whether it had just stopped momentarily and will start up again, remains to be seen.  (I say - the sky is the limit; let's ask for the miracle.)
  • We are going to take a "wait and see" approach for the next few days.  Doctors will be monitoring his hemoglobin, blood pressure, and the output of the paracentesis.  The drainage seems to have slowed down considerably, another good sign.  Blood pressure and hemoglobin have been steady today - yeah!
  • If it appears like the bleeding is picking up again, the options are: more bleeding scans, laparascopic surgery to determine where the bleeding is, or the aforementioned angiogram to determine where the bleeding is and try to stop it.
  • Ryan is comfortable, and with Steve, Cathey, Ryan, myself, Corey, and Jeremy - we have enough people for three Euchre teams so the competition is heating up and a lot of trash talk is going on.  Okay, in all seriousness, we are praising God for Ryan being able to be surrounded by all of the members of his immediate family.
So, we are certainly not out of the woods yet.  But we so trust in the power of prayer, and we know that our God is listening to the rising multitudes.  We are confident in Him, and we continue to pray that His will would be done.

ROMANS 8: 31-32
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?