Our Story

December 2001 is when our story began.  At the time, both Ryan Prudhomme and Kendra Klotz were still students at Hart High School in rural west Michigan.  We met at our church youth group, started dating, and never looked back. We had a good thing going from the very beginning, and were fiercely loyal partners and friends.

Marriage in May 2006 was followed by the birth of our first child, our son Colton, in April 2010.  We had it made.  Life was great, except for one nagging problem. Ryan had been diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis in 2007, and we were worried that that diagnosis might one day lead to the necessity of a liver transplant.

However, God suddenly diverted us onto a path that we had scarcely considered as a real possibility.  On April 1, 2011, Ryan’s hepatologist called and said that an MRI done a few days beforehand showed signs of spotting on the liver.  He was worried about the possibility of cholangiocarcinoma, which is a rare cancer that is a potential complication of PSC.  A liver biopsy confirmed malignancy on April 4.  On April 14, 2011, our precious son’s first birthday, an oncologist from Mayo confirmed virtually every single one of our fears.  Ryan was diagnosed with Stage IV adenocarcinoma, consistent with cholangiocarcinoma (it was slightly abnormal on the slides, so it wasn’t exactly typical cholangiocarcinoma). Ryan was given less than a year to live.

As much as that initial diagnosis was a nightmare, the subsequent journey that we were placed on was an incredible blessing.  From the first moment that Ryan was diagnosed, we felt like our lives snapped from standard definition to a clearer, sharper “high definition” way of seeing the world.  Our purpose seemed more defined, and much more urgent.  Our relationship with one another and with Colton was more valuable and precious.  Selfishness and pettiness seemed to decrease almost instantly.  Seeing life in high definition has been the greatest blessing that we could have asked for.

Our God showed Himself to be a faithful provider of mercy and grace when we most sorely needed it.  He has not failed a single time to provide comfort when we were brokenhearted.  We still remained utterly confident in our God’s ability to heal Ryan against all medical odds, and we constantly prayed that it would be in His will to do so.

We started this blog in late April 2011 as a way to keep people updated on how Ryan was doing and we also coveted anyone’s and everyone’s prayers for his health.  However, it morphed into so much more than just a medical update.  It became a way for us to share our thoughts, feelings, and even (sometimes) our despair.  We have always strived to be real with people.  We are not perfect and we struggle often.  But we hoped and prayed that this blog is an encouragement to people, wherever they’re at in their walk with the Lord.

On August 6, 2011, a group of our friends put on a medical fundraiser for us called the Rodeo for Ryan.  It was an incredible day that will go down in our hearts as the most generous outpouring of love we have ever witnessed.  On that day, over 1,000 people participated, and the Lord literally held back rain from falling on the event, as it poured rain north, south, east, and west of the event - but not a drop fell on us.

Despite doing very well in treatment for 22 months, Ryan very suddenly came down with some strange symptoms in February of 2013.  When he did scans in Zion at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (where he had been treated since the very beginning of his journey), the doctors discovered some sort of internal bleeding.  For four weeks, Ryan remained in the hospital, fighting for his very life as doctors tried angiograms, bleeding scans, and ultimately a very risky abdominal surgery in a last-ditch attempt to stop the bleeding and allow Ryan to begin chemotherapy again.  Ultimately, our doctors confirmed that there was nothing that they could do to stop the bleeding, and Ryan's liver was failing.  We were sent home on March 26th, 2013 to enjoy our last days as a family.

Ryan passed away on April 8, 2013, with family at his side.  We sorely miss our brave, lovable, godly husband, father, son, brother, and friend, but we are overjoyed to think of the sights and sounds that he gets to take in every day while at the feet of the Savior he loved.  This blog has continued as I, Kendra, navigate what life in high definition looks like after burying my best friend.

Ryan Prudhomme, 1986-2013