Sunday, December 26, 2010

A new year, a new blog

It's funny when life starts to point you in a direction if you're paying attention and that's exactly what's been happening to me.  Just over a week ago, I was hanging out with Tricia and we decided that life continues to send us messages that we need to move forward.  It's a feeling that's been building in me for a while, but it suddenly felt very clear that it was my time to start to move forward with life.  With that decision made, the next question came.  How exactly do I go about doing that?

I spent the weekend contemplating that question and not coming up with any great answers.  Then last week I got a call from the Calgary Herald.  They let me know that I'd been selected for 2011 as one of their top 20 Compelling Calgarians and would be featured in their January 1st issue.  Still to this day I feel like they must have the wrong person and am waiting for the call to tell me that. But they did an interview, followed up with photos and so I think it is true.  Whatever I have done to be compelling in the past year, maybe I could use this opportunity to spread this even further.  But again, how do I do that?

What I came up with is that I don't have all the answers yet, but I have some ideas on how to figure it out.  This will be the last post for this blog site.  It has been the place where I first shared my cancer diagnosis, and then my second one, Ryan's battle and Talyn and my life over the past year.  Although I have learned a lot from all of this, it's time for a fresh start that doesn't have anything to do with the "c" word. 

The word "re-create" keeps popping into my mind and so I decided to start a new blog where I will do exactly that.  In a much more upbeat way, try to re-create my life.  I don't know exactly what that will entail, but I am excited at the idea of it all.  I plan to launch this in January, 2011 and it will be found at if you're interested in coming along for the ride. 

I thank you all for coming along for these last few years and supporting us all on our journey. 

Much love, Tasha & Talyn

Thursday, December 16, 2010

With uncertainty comes hope

Last Thursday was a bad day. I woke up to find an email saying that a family friend - Rob (my best friend's brother) had had an accident and had just come out of his first of 2 surgeries. One week later, he's still in a coma but hanging on. Another lesson that no one needed about how precious life is and that everything can literally change in the blink of an eye.

Later that day I went for my 3 month check up to find out that I needed some further tests to determine if my world was changing. I have been having some increasing pain around my ribs and so went for an ultrasound the next day and then a full body bone scan this week. The good news is that the ultrasound was fine and the bone scan didn't show anything of concern where my pain was. It did show some "uptake" (from the radioactive stuff they put into my bloodstream) on my left 2nd anterior rib. So the doctor called to discuss if I'd been in a car accident or had any other trauma to the area that might explain what they thought was a fracture. Which I hadn't, so off to x-ray.

Today they called to let me know that the x-ray was "unremarkable". In cancer terms, this is good. Although my brother quickly reminded me that I am very remarkable....what a smart a**. It's still unknown why this little rib is lighting up, so they will repeat the bone scan in 3 months to see if it has changed.

So the last week has been a bit draining. It actually feels like a month has passed and it's not until I go to sleep at night that I realize how draining carrying stress around with you actually is. I know that the news I got is good, but there's still that glimmer of uncertainty which continues to follow me around. Just enough to remind me that life is short and unpredictable, so make sure to live the life I want. It's time for me to figure out what that is and take some action towards it.

What has finally sunk in from Rob and my recent scare is that we don't have a whole lot of control over the big things in life. So we just have to try and enjoy the ride - whatever it is. But at least with uncertainty ... there is still hope. And hope is what keeps us all holding on at the end of the day - isn't it?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Big Events and Lots of People

The biggest event was Ryan's first birthday without him. This might have been the hardest day yet. I feel like I keep saying that, which is a bit scary, but it was a very empty day. All of the other "big" days we've been able to try to focus on the event as well, on Talyn and on our family's rituals that will always continue. But this day has always been and will always be all about Ryan - so it was hard to try and create anything new. But we did anyhow.

Last year, a couple of days before Ryan moved into the hospice, we surprised him with a nice dinner out and some close friends. We all shared our favourite story of him and then he shared his favourite story of each of us. In Kevin's words - it was truly a magical evening. So for his birthday, we tried to re-create this evening. But with him not there of course, this year I brought Talyn and asked everyone to share their favourite stories of Ryan with him.

We all shared some laughs and some tears, as Talyn asked everyone to put their hands up if they had a story about his daddy. Then he would choose the next person to share their story. Everyone was really good about trying to talk right to Talyn and "edit" the story where necessary. So Ryan wasn't really "drunk" in any of them...just really excited! It was another magical evening and it made the day seem full.

The Rethink Romp was another huge success. Because of the hard work by an amazing group of volunteers here, we raised $35,000 for support programs in Calgary! My work with Rethink is so fulfilling because we know that we are impacting people positively, while they are going through a terrible time. I strongly recommend some type of community involvement in everyone's lives, so that you too can feel the feeling.

In general, life feels a bit like it's slipping by. We have had some amazing huge moments, but most days I am happy to just make it through with a smile on my face. This single parenting thing is very busy (as some of you are knowingly smiling right now) and since my energy is still building again, I find that most days I get through the "need" to do's, some "nice" to do's for Talyn and rarely any "nice" to do's for me. I know that I need to put on my own oxygen mask before everyone else's, but much easier said than done.

Then the next big event is obviously christmas. I'm sure this will be another huge punch in our guts, as Ryan was a BIG christmas guy. For the last 10 years, I've watched him absolutely light up (even more than usual) during this time. Then when we had Talyn, the joy morphed again. We are planning to try and keep things as "familiar" as possible since the biggest part of it all has changed.

For the last several years, we've spent the holidays in our home together as a family, with visitors passing through and my family here with us. I feel it's important for kids to experience Santa coming to their house and somehow I feel closer to Ryan in our home filled with all of our memories. There is no way to get through this that will be easy, but I think this way will be the most comfortable for us this year.

At a time when everyone is busy shopping for gifts and preparing for the holidays, my mind always goes to those that don't have much. At work we are adopting a family for christmas and I'm sure someone on my list will be getting some amazing gifts offered through the World Vision catalogue ( If you're struggling on what to get someone that really doesn't "need" anything, please consider making someone else's christmas dreams come true somehow!
Thinking of others who are clearly going through a much more difficult time than we are really helps me turn my thinking around again. I know what Ryan would say - it's okay to be sad, but please live life because you know I would have! Cheers to that everyone.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stuck in the "in-between"

Lately I have felt like I know I need to move forward and start to re-create my life and who I am now, but haven't been able to. Most weeks go by and I feel like I've gotten Talyn to school and sports, gotten to work and done the other things I do, but we're not really moving ahead. Because I know that's the next step and I am a planner, it's frustrating that I can't seem to get going already. The best way I can describe it is that I feel like I'm stuck in sludge. My feet are moving, but I am not.

It wasn't until I watched last week's "brothers and sisters" - an excellent show, that I realized why. Calista Flockhart's character has crazy similarities to my life. She battled cancer, has a son and now has lost her husband. In last week's show she met someone and was having a hard time moving forward (that part I don't have a similarity too though). Her mother sat her down and said that she wasn't yet ready to let go of the life she was supposed to have. The life she planned with her husband and child, the dreams they had together and the life they wanted. Until she was ready to say goodbye to this life that wasn't going to be a reality anymore, she couldn't possibly move forward with creating a new one.

That was a huge AHA moment as Oprah would say. I am not ready to say goodbye to the life Ryan and I had planned, the dreams we shared and the things we wanted to do together, so how could I possibly start thinking about what was next? This has actually made me feel comfortable with the in-between that I am in and given me some peace to just "be".

I know that whatever comes next, whenever that is, will be great. But for now, I am still happy just knowing that I am doing the best I can for Talyn and I. Even if it is the "in-between".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Rough Patch

Life over the past month has been a blur. It's been nice to get back into a routine. School and sports for Talyn and work and Rethink volunteering for me. But now it's the middle of October and I wonder how 6 months could have passed since Ryan was here. It’s hard to describe where we are, but I think we’ve been through the shock, the sad, some mad and now as life starts to melt into what some may call "normal", most days it seems fairly overwhelming.

Because we are typically so busy, I don't let myself stop to feel much of anything. But then sometimes life just makes you stop - doesn't it? It started with Talyn having to go to the Children’s Hospital on Friday night at our family doc’s request for some ongoing stomach pains with no related symptoms. Talyn is fine physically now but it really stirred up some things in us both. The following day he was so hard to handle that I felt like walking out. Now I wouldn't have actually ever done that, but I just felt like I needed a break so bad and knowing I wasn't getting one made it even worse.

Sunday morning I woke up and started to feel those familiar feelings of anxiety. Doubting whether I could actually do this single parenting gig. I called my parents and although I tried to put on a brave front, parents always know. 8 hours later, they were at my doorstep - to the rescue. That night my mom was giving Talyn a bath and asked him what was on his arm. He told her the marks were from the IV they put in his arm at the hospital. She told him that must have been scary and he said "did you know my dad had an IV? and then he died".

How could I have not figured that out? When my mom told me what Talyn had said, it was so clear - of course that would have triggered some awful things in him. But at the time, I was so burnt out, that I didn't see it. My parents stayed for a couple of days and that gave me some time to not be the primary caregiver and allowed me to recharge a bit.

Underneath alll of the sadness that is still a big part of me and the tiredness that I feel all of the time from all of the things I am now the only person to do, I know there are questions. Before Ryan, I was fairly clear on who I was. With Ryan, I was fairly clear on who we were. But now, who am I? BIG questions are buried underneath me right now and most days I don't have the energy to go through the process to figure it out.

But what always seems to get me through in a moment of real struggle, is a sign always appears. Somethier small or something fairly significant, but whatever it is, it leads me down a path. Ryan was always there for me to talk to about work, Talyn, friends, family, all of the things that fill your head. But now those thoughts just feel stuck in my head, going around and around.

Just last week I was feeling very overwhelmed with a parenting decision and I actually said out loud "ryan if you are listening and you can, please give me some kind of sign to help me decide what to do". Later that day, one of the options that I was considering gave me that sign. The person I needed to talk to, if I wanted to go ahead was named Ryan.

Thanksgiving came at a really good time to bring me some more perspective on what life is really about. Yes we've had a rough year and yes we wish more than anything we could bring Ryan back to help fill the loneliness. But the rest of our life is pretty great. There are so many people that live much different lives, who struggle every day in so many ways. Thanks so much to everyone who makes our lives so much better than they could be! For all of you....we give thanks.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Opening my eyes to the weather and the good in things

Things are maybe starting to get a bit better...whatever that means. I don't well up in tears as often when I talk about Ryan or am reminded of something. Instead I typically smile as I remember all of the happy memories we had. This time has really allowed me to reflect on a lot of things and made me so very grateful for everything that happened. If there was any way Ryan could have stayed with us, of course I would have wanted that. But knowing that wasn't an option, I am so lucky for what did happen.

As Talyn continues to grow up, he is creating new memories of his own. We talk about daddy all the time, but I also worry that he will slowly forget the times they spent together. But because we had advance notice of Ryan's future, we had the time to put a bunch of pieces in place so that as Talyn grows older I will have many things to show him. The videos that Ryan did for us and his book are really the best legacy someone could hope to leave. Talyn will be able to hear his daddy's voice and see his maneurisms and learn more about who he was.

Ryan and I had time to discuss my future without him and what was important to him, as I continued to raise Talyn. We were able to say "I love you" to each other about 500 extra times and I know that if he has any control over his new life now, he is staying close to us and making sure we are okay.

This week Talyn starts Kindergarten. He is so proud of going to full day school and the structure that will bring our lives is really coming at the perfect time. Although we've really needed to have little structure for the last while, now it's time to create some again and find new ways to bring meaning and purpose to our lives.

We also had some time away in Regina and at the cottage. For Talyn that time gave him some one on one attention that he's been craving and for me, the world stopped and I was left with nothing but the loneliness. We used to go on this vacation together every summer and going without Ryan was very different. It used to be the chance we had to reconnect and start planning again for the next year. Now those plans were all erased.

One day when I was having a hard time, Talyn told me that daddy talks to him every day. I have learned to not act surprised by anything anymore and asked him to tell me more. But he said it was a secret between him and daddy. I asked him if daddy was there and if he could please ask him something for me. I said "ask daddy if there's anything he wants to tell me". That was my sure fire way of finding out whether something I wanted to be true so badly was or not. Talyn said "oh yes he does and it's very important!". "Great", I said, "what is it?". It was a beautiful sunny day and the forecast was all sun too, we were on our way to the exhibition for a day outside of rides and games. "daddy says check the weather". "what?" I said, "no, I asked if there's anything he wants to tell me. surely something very important is not that". "Yes", Talyn said, "he says check the clouds".

So that was the end of my hope that something in this was true. If Ryan had the chance to tell me something, it would certainly be how much he loved me, missed me, anything - but not "check the weather". We spent the next couple of hours enjoying the exhibition with friends and then talyn pointed up to the sky and said "look at the dark clouds mommy, that must have been what daddy was talking about". Sure enough, on a beautiful sunny day, the dark clouds that weren't forecasted came rolling in.

At the time, I was speechless. Wondering if I was going crazy, if Talyn was a jedi-meteorologist or if somehow Ryan was telling us that he was still with us. Before he died, Kevin and I used to tell him that if he was able to send us some signs from his next life, to please do so. I choose to believe that this was my sign.

Coming back to Calgary was really nice. I think the time away made me stop and spend some time alone with my feelings. There was no laundry to do, no chores around the house or emails to send....only time and thoughts. Although that was incredibly hard, I needed to get some of that out and I did. Being back allowed me to feel differently about things here. Instead of focusing on what was lost, I felt grateful for what we had and how lucky we were for how things happened. I challenge you all to take a look at your lives and its challenges through different eyes and see how it feels. I think you'll agree that we are all very lucky.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dragons are very dangerous!

Friday marked the first annual Ryan Westerman Open, golf tournament. Can you imagine? Ryan would have been over the moon at the idea of a golf tournament in his name. Investors Group, where he worked, pulled this amazing idea together. It had 32 golfers and then there was a BBQ after at the Colbourne's house. They put together a raffle with a bunch of prizes and a big grand prize - a trip to Arizona. The money they raised went to us - but really will go into Talyn's sports fund.

After they presented us with the money they put together, I just stood there rather stunned. But then Talyn turned to me and asked if he could talk. They quickly got him a chair and up he stood in front of about 50 people assembled, waiting for him to speak. He took a deep breath and then started...

"Dragons are very dangerous. If you ever see one, you should stop what you're doing, look around and run away." It was hilarious. I think he might have been referring in his own way to the book - stop, drop and smile - but maybe he was just being a 5 year old and talking about dragons.

I went over to him and whispered that maybe we should say something about daddy, but he just shook his head and so I took over. I started to say a few words of thanks to them all and then Talyn decided again he did want to talk.

"You all know that my daddy is dead and that means that none of you will ever be able to see him again. But he will always be with my mommy and our hearts and in his box." Tears welled up and because I knew exactly what he meant, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Talyn and I both got keepsake hearts with a few of ryan's ashes in them that we will keep forever and we keep them in a beautiful wood box we received as a gift. So Talyn meant that daddy will always be with his box.

The night ended with the organizer approaching me to tell me about all of the plans he already had for next year and we quickly brainstormed what it could be. And so another piece of Ryan's legacy has been put into place, as we continue to try and fill the big hole he left behind.

MANY THANKS to everyone at IG that attended and helped with this.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Trying to find the joy

So much has happened over the past month, but overall the feelings for both of us are still about the same. Life with cancer was filled with very high - high's and very low - low's. But lately things have just felt numb. Although I do still laugh and smile, it's not the same. I feel like the mountain peaks I used to climb and fall from are more like prairies now. There aren't many high's and not many low's either - until I got literally dropped back down.

Talyn and I have been trying to catch up on our normal lives - doctor and dentist appointments. So when we went for our annual physicals (about 2 years late), I thought - so this is what normal life is like. Until we noticed an area of thickening near my recurrence. Quickly all the pieces went into motion and I was in for an ultrasound and to see my surgeon just days later. Luckily, it all turned out to be just change in scar tissue - but it did rattle me a bit. It rattled the anger that hasn't really come around.

Then over the past couple of weeks, Tricia has been having her own health issues. One thing has led to a couple of others and last week there was a period of time where we were all fairly certain that her leukemia was making a come back. Just when I was feeling like I was starting to get more back into a few things in my life and BOOM - out of nowhere, we were all dropped into the valley. Over those days, I felt that anger come out more strongly and in that moment, I completely understood why Kevin decided to train for a marathon over the past year. I had all of this anger building up inside of me and couldn't figure out how to get it out. But running for me has always been a way of getting the build up of crap out.

But you will have noticed I used the past tense above, because we found out Wednesday that whatever has been going on with Tricia, it has not been due to the Leukemia. In the moments when we found that out, I was shot back up to the mountain peak - in fact we all were. I felt like we had both again been handed back our precious lives and at the same time, the subtle reminder to treat it with respect.

I continue to increase my hours at work and am trying to find the same connection with it that I used to and with time, that is definitely coming back. The struggle that I am having is that my filter is gone. The little things build up inside of me and I have a hard time keeping them in. When I feel that people aren't remembering to focus on the good things - I can't help but remind them.

The hardest day for me so far has been Father's Day. For that entire day, there was just a big hole that existed that was impossible to ignore. But throughout the day we did see many two dotted ladybugs to remind us that Ryan wasn't far away. We have now been seeing these two dotted ladybugs since Ryan's last month in the hospice, when it was winter outside, so I know they are a sign for us.

Our friends have been forcing us out, to do things we haven't done in a very long time - hiking and trips to the mountains, edmonton to visit Jill and family and it all really helps!

Talyn continues to talk about Ryan, it's now just his story. On two occasions, he has just added it into conversation with strangers. Once at Zoe's (Jill's daughter) kindergarten class, where he was asked to tell them a bit about him. He said "my name is Talyn, I am 5 years old, I live in Calgary in a red house, next door to my best friend Andy, Zoe has been to calgary a lot to visit me, cause my dad just died." It absolutely blows them away, they usually tear up and look to me in disbelief, but all I can do in nod in agreement, as he continues to answer their questions. It doesn't make him sad, it's just his story. And I am just happy he continues to talk about it.

After the shock to reality that we had with Tricia's health scare last week, I feel a push to start to do more. I was thinking about what places I have always wanted to travel to and wondered why I hadn't planned for a trip to one of the list in the next year? I was thinking about all of the things I have always wanted to do with Talyn and wondered what I am waiting for? I was also trying to think about what things make me happy and wondered why I don't do them more often?

Although I don't yet have any good answers, I hope to get some soon. I also truly hope that our lives will make you ask yourselves some of these same questions and that you come up with some good answers soon too.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Whole New World

When I was growing up - I loved the movie The Little Mermaid. The story of a girl who overcomes everything. It was filled with fun music that Tricia and I were known to belt out on many occasions. There was something about it that was hopeful, even though it was all new. And that is how I am trying to look at our new life.

Our trip to Disneyworld with the Crowes was great. It was jam-packed, fitting in 2 visits to Magic Kingdom, 1 to Animal Kingdom, Sea World and 2 Water Parks in just 7 days. I am so thankful that we went and that we were with the Crowes. Kevin did a great job of playing double duty dad to the boys and Hannah provided me with an outlet that I needed, when I needed it. We mostly laughed, but had some tears too, as we wished that Ryan could have made the trip with us. Talyn even said..." why couldn't daddy have died after this trip?".

I started attending a Young Widow Support Group last week. Who knew there were enough people affected by this that were younger...but as my life takes another turn, I again am faced with another need in our community. So maybe down the road I will channel some of my energy towards that, but for now I am just relieved to meet with some other people who really "get" where I am right now.

This week I started a very gradual return to work. It is one of the many pieces that I am trying to fit into my new puzzle. It was better than I thought in some ways and harder in others. But channeling my energy to somewhere that I feel such fulfillment from will be good.

What is giving me a lot of positive energy these days is some fun things for Ryan. Our friends Nathan and Christina are hosting a fundraiser in his honour on June 5th and it will be nice to have a day for him and give back to Rosedale Hospice for all they did for our family. As well we are within a day or so of launching his website and then the sale of his book. My next posting will no doubt be all about that.

Tayn continues to do well, but is filled with many questions that bring me back to the place that is so raw. Can we turn the ashes back into daddy's body? What do you think daddy is doing up there right now? Can you please get me a new daddy cause mine died? How old will I be when I die? I struggle to continue to come up with answers for all of them and mostly it just breaks my heart that I can't make it all better for him. That's what mom's are supposed to do!

We went to go see the new Shrek movie last weekend and popped into Lululemon afterwards for my niece to take a look around. There was a guy riding a bike to raise funds for the upcoming Ride to Conquer Cancer. Talyn asked why he was riding a bike and I explained that it was for medicine for people with cancer. "Can they get medicine up to daddy too so that we can get him back?" he asked. But then he said he wanted to go talk to the guy riding. When we got up there, Talyn got shy and the rider just asked me what time it was. "7:15, I said. What time are you riding until?" "9, don't know if I can make it", he said. Then Talyn said to him "My daddy just died from cancer.". The rider looked shocked and looked to me for confirmation. "Yes, just 6 weeks ago" I said. "Thanks for riding so that no one else dies from cancer" Talyn said" The rider got tears in his eyes and said "Thanks buddy, I will have no problems making it to 9 now".

So our lives continue to be filled with firsts - our first plane ride without the ex-pilot, our first vacation, and many more weekly. In that moment my eyes fill with tears as I wish desperately that we could make daddy's ashes back into his body or that they could get the medicine up to him and then we could get him back. But for now it's a whole new world for us, one that we are trying to enjoy and keep smiling in for Ryan.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Smiles for Ryan Event - June 5

Family Photography Fundraiser

Smiles for Ryan is a benefit in the memory of Ryan, to raise funds for the Rosedale Hospice, where Ryan spent the last months of his life. As you know, Ryan was known for his infectious smile, and his ability to brighten the day of those around him.

The Rosedale Hospice relies on donations from the community. So, on Saturday, June 5th, 2010, Christina (plus) Nathan Photography will be taking family photographs for a minimum donation of $100 to Rosedale Hospice.

For complete details and to book your session, please contact Nathan at:

For portfolio examples, visit us on the web at

On June 5th, bring your smile and help us support this invaluable resource for families in need!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My "person" is gone

I still mostly feel like I'm in a dream. Because Ryan had moved into the pad at the end of January, we had some time to adjust to our house without Ryan in it and so most times I can trick myself into thinking we just haven't seen him in a while. But then I remember the reality of things.

The hardest time of day for me is the morning. Waking up to a new day, sun shining in and turning over and remembering that he's not there. It feels really lonely and that will take a very long time to get used to. Some people have asked me what is the biggest change and I know exactly what it is.

You know when someone cuts you off in traffic and you need to tell someone? You know when something hilarious happens and you know exactly who you're going to call first? You know the person that makes you feel better when you're sick? Well that one person that I had in my life is now gone. That is the biggest change for me.

Talyn has been doing okay. Both at preschool and his dayhome, they are noticing some anger coming out. This is unfortunately normal for what he's dealing with, but breaks my heart. He spent the first two weeks after Ryan died trying to figure out how we could get him back and why he wouldn't just come back? But now he's mostly accepted that isn't going to happen and spends his time trying to figure out how we can get to daddy.

Sometimes he wishes we could both die so that we can be a family again together in heaven. And sometimes he wishes he were a giant, so he would be as tall as the clouds and then he could reach daddy to give him a big hug. I just wish I could make it all better for him, but I can't and that brings tears to my eyes to even write.

We are coming up on what might be a very hard "first". Talyn turns five next week and his birthday party is this weekend. Although he is excited about the party, he chose a Star Wars theme for daddy and we chose to have it at home in case daddy could be with us. I am sure the day will be hectic and with much distraction, but I am also sure that we will feel a big hole.

Then next week on the actual day we go into his preschool and talk about the years of his life. Last year Tricia helped us create a beautiful collage and Ryan, Talyn and I got to talk about it to his class. This year he asked if Kevin and Tricia could come because Ryan can't...I think I might be the one trying to hold it together that day! For his present, I am suprising him with a trip to DisneyWorld with the Crowes. I figure we could all use some of the happiest place in the world in our lives these days.

We continue to see signs of Ryan scattered throughout our lives and I am not ready to change that. I also continue to feel a true "pit in my stomach" sadness at the loss I feel every day. The life that Ryan helped us build was full of laughter, smiles and hugs, so we are trying to keep those things a big part of what we do. I feel like I have slowed down a bit and am more reflective about wanting to live a really great life today and be genuinely good to other people. I don't know yet exactly how I have changed, but know that I have and will continue to do so as we continue through this new journey.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The hardest 2 weeks of my life

Good Friday things started to turn for Ryan and we knew that the end was near. His breathing made a distinct change that afternoon and his headaches were getting worse. He put his hand to his head (the signal we had learned as his speech had lessened) and we called the nurse for some more drugs. After Carol gave him a top up and came back in to ask him "how's the headache Ryan...are the drugs helping?", he answered his last word "AWESOME!" - typical Ryan. That evening he entered a comatose state and we didn't really see him again.

I stayed on the cot at the foot of his bed that night and listened to the steady 3 breaths and the long pause that happened after that - and wondered whether more breaths would start or not. The nurses came in every 30 minutes to check on him. His heart rate was climbing steadily, but otherwise he was sleeping and non responsive. In the early hours of the morning, I texted Kevin to give him an update and he came up to be with us. From 5 to 7 am that morning, Kevin and I stood around Ryan's bed and told him all of the funny memories we had of him. We both laughed and Ryan raised his eyebrows a couple of times to show that he was listening.

Saturday some of Ryan's family and mine arrived and everyone came in to see him. In the mid-afternoon, the AMAZING pad doctor also came to see him - on her day off. By that time his breathing had changed again and the rhythm was more like a gasp for air coming from his stomach followed by a pause. Although he was in a comatose state, it was really hard for all of us to be around him and listen to his laboured breathing - wondering if his pain was really under control and if he was struggling for air or not.

When his colour in his face started changing rapidly, the doctor told everyone to say what they needed to as he probably wouldn't be there one hour later. Everyone rushed in to say some things to him and gave him one last kiss and one last "I love you". But that was around 3:30 Saturday afternoon and you all know when things actually went down...Ryan the ultimate fighter! An hour or so later some colour came back to his face and his breathing remained unchanged. So we all waited.

Ryan had been clear that when he passed he wanted me on his left side holding his hand and Talyn on his right. But of course with the laboured breathing and the sounds that go along with that, Talyn wasn't really comfortable staying in the room for long. So he would run in and out throughout the day. And it was a long day and everyone was getting tired, so in the later evening everyone left to go home for a bit. They thought that he would likely still be there in the morning, so said their goodbyes for now. But Ryan had his plan...

Before they left, Tricia did the most amazing thing. She got Talyn to lie on the cot at the foot of Ryan's bed and tickled him to sleep there. That is where he slept soundly for the entire night. And then it was just me left laying on Ryan's left side holding his hand, Talyn at the foot of the bed sleeping and my brother and Kevin on the second floor sleeping and waiting with us.

The nurses were in every 15 minutes with a flashlight looking for all the signs of a change, but our superman kept up the fight. I spent the night laying beside Ryan for an hour and then went to lay with Talyn for the next hour. At about 3:15 I woke up with Talyn and noticed that Ryan's breathing had definitely changed again. The nurses came in and confirmed that things were slowing down. They went downstairs to get Kevin and Chad.

Ryan's breathing was then just one very shallow breath with a fairly long pause after it. Every pause we all waited to see if another breath would follow or not. This continued until just before 4 am, when I said to Kevin....what is the date today? He said...I think it's the 4th. Just then I was the 4th month, the 4th day and he stopped breathing at 4 am. It was at that time that he took his last breath and in the long pause that other breath came. A week prior to this, Talyn had come running into the house holding a ladybug but said "momma, it's a ladybug - but why does this one have 4 spots?" - we didn't know at the time...but now do.

The last 2 weeks have been the hardest in my life. The first week was filled with preparations for the amazing celebration of his life. He had done all the planning in advance to ensure it was an upbeat celebration full of laughter and it was! Talyn even got up and spoke about his daddy and how he told really funny jokes...I was so proud of him and thought Ryan must have been standing up there with him, because Talyn had no fear.

Then last Sunday everyone went home. Talyn and I have been alone this week and he has gotten back into his daily routine - which I am also so proud of him for. I have been busy with the big lists of things to do and that has been good for me. But as the people have left and the list has decreased, we are only left with the sad loss of Ryan.

Today was the hardest day yet. Our first weekend day of loneliness and heartache for our daddy and husband. I know that with time this should get easier, but right now it just feels grey and empty. Ryan left a huge void to fill and we were so lucky to have the time we did! We miss you like Talyn and Tasha

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Small moments of Ryan

Every time I want to write an update on Ryan, I for a second wonder if I'm jinxing myself. If by writing something, another change will come right away. I know that's ridiculous, but I've always been a bit superstitious and this experience has made me more on edge all the time.

Since last week, Ryan's left side has seen a bit of weakening and that has made it hard for him to get around much at all anymore. He spends most of his days sleeping and is up for about 1 hour every day (if you put all of the time together). But in that time, he is mostly quiet or is trying to communicate something that you can't quite understand. It reminds me of when Tricia was in ICU. They are trying so hard to tell you something, but it's not coming out the way it should. So it's like the hardest game of charades you've ever played and if you don't figure out the answer very quickly, they will get frustratatd and just go back to sleep.

Ryan still tries to get up to go to the bathroom, probably mostly from his amazing fighting and stubborn nature and partly his memory forgetting that he can't, so Kevin, Jo-Ann and I are doing a sleeping rotation in his room. We have a little cot set up so that if and when he tries to get up, we are right there to help him. Then on the other nights I am either at home with Talyn or offer him the option of staying here with me in the guest room.

Talyn is still up and down. Some moments are better than others and he still asks why the doctors can't just cut into daddy's head and get the tumour out! When I told him that it would be too dangerous and would hurt daddy more, he said that he wanted to be a doctor so that he could help fix people. Wouldn't it be interesting if that is the good he gets from this situation? The motivation to study to be a doctor and try to "fix people".

I am trying to manage my energy and be here with Ryan as much as I can to try and get that little bit of Ryan time every day. We all still struggle with watching him within this body that is failing him now and his mind that is mostly foggy, knowing that he wouldn't want to be here. But then we see a couple of moments a day that show us that Ryan is still there - a head nod with a half smirk or a sassy word and we try to take it in and cherish it for the days when there won't be anymore of those.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Walking the Line

These days have seemed to just melt by and I have to think for a minute to remember what day of the week it even is. I am spending most of my time at the hospice with Ryan now and still struggling with the balance of time with Talyn too. It's something that I have always struggled with throughout my life and now the balance between them both and my own needs is very tricky at best.

Ryan's family is here to be with him and my mom is here to be with Talyn. That allows me to be whereever I want at any moment - which is mostly at the hospice. I always think that if it was me who was confused, sleepy and in a new place alone, I would want him with me - so I am trying to do the same. I can tell he wants me here too because when he does quickly open his eyes every hour or so, he scans the room and then when we meet eyes, he gives me a big smile.

Last night I stayed at home with Talyn and Ryan's brother stayed up here so that I could try and regain some energy. But my heart felt like it literally stopped when my cell rang at 12:30 am from the hospice and the lady at the other end introduced herself. In that moment I thought...."this is it - the call I've been dreading. I can't believe it happened on the night I am not there." Instead, Ryan was very confused and wanted to speak to me, so they called to try and calm him down. Once I explained where I was and that it was the middle of the night and he'd see me tomorrow, he settled down a bit.

Ryan is continuing to battle an increasing headache and is on some heavy pain medications to keep him comfortable. But he says it's always there a bit. His days are spent sleeping more and more and his words are very mixed up. Most of the time, we just try to assure him we understand and that everything is okay and he settles down to sleep again.

In my readings about people that are near death, there is often talk about unfinished business and experiences of crossing over and coming back. We've seen lots of interesting things with Ryan that continue to signal the time is near. He wakes frustrated about something that he needs to get done - unpluggling cords or talking to someone. Once he even told Kevin that he had to go somewhere soon and that he didn't know where it was, but that it would be really good. He will also think that his right hand is moving again and then realize it actually isn't. Are you getting goose bumps yet?

There are many hard parts to what is happening right now. But the worst is watching his body continue to fail him and knowing that if he knew this was happening, that he would want to go. But we can't just snap our fingers and make that happen. On days where I feel strong, I say out loud to someone that I hope he goes soon, because I know that this isn't the life that he wants to live. But then I instantly feel my heart breaking and think that isn't what I want at all. I just want him to stay with us forever.

Yesterday I went to Talyn's school to see what work he's been doing lately. After he finished one exercise he told me that now it was time to make a wish. He wished that we could be a family that allowed guns in our house (we are trying not to allow toy guns in our house - even though he still makes them out of anything he can find) and that his daddy wouldn't die and he could stay alive with us. I told him that I wished that no matter what happened, daddy wouldn't be in pain and that the two of us would be okay.

Thanks so much for all of your kind words that continue to lift us up and bring us some much needed strength as we walk the line.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Ladybug

If you've read Ryan's blog, you know that we are seeing some more changes. He has been having some headaches which he is rating a 7 out of 10. But he has quite the pain tolerance after all he's been through, so I am fairly certain it would be off the charts for any of us. Over the last day, they have worked hard to minimize the pain and gotten it down to his "2 out of 10" (our 5 I'm sure). He is now on a steady dose of morphine and that seems to be helping.

He has also been very sleepy most of the time. Both the headaches and the sleepiness are common symptoms for the location of his tumour. They are taking very good care of him here at the pad and the doc will see him again on Saturday to try and assess how quickly things are going. For those of us close to him, it's heartbreaking to watch this all happen - but we just don't want to see him in pain, so are thankful that is being minimized.

Talyn has been having some emotional problems with all of this and it has been expressed as panic attacks when we come to the pad. So we are trying to reduce his visits in half and that seems to have helped. Thank goodness for Skype he can still see daddy when he wants.

And me? Well I am just keeping going. I am keeping myself busy with watching Ryan sleep and doing tasks, but what else can I do? Inside my heart is breaking in two, but I don't want to spend my time with Ryan now upset. I already know that his biggest regret in leaving so soon is leaving Talyn and I alone. If I just cried all of the time when I was with him that would make it harder on him. So I am continuing to find out how strong I am and wait for the fall that will surely come. My comfort is knowing all of the people that are there to catch me.

Over the past 2 months, I have been seeing a cute little 2 dotted ladybug. Some of you are reading this thinking - okay, get this girl some sleep - she is losing it! But I have always been with someone else when these sightings happen - Talyn, Ryan or Jo-Ann. And every time we get the little guy moved to a nearby plant. When I mentioned this to "the coolest spiritual person you'll ever meet" Shane, he wasn't surprised and told me to look up "ladybug" and "totem" on the internet.

What I found is that the ladybug is a symbol of many things and whenever I am having an especially hard time or discussion, they seem to appear. For me they signify a time of change and metamorphisis. They remind me that we've been fortunate to have Ryan in as good of health as he has been for as long as we have - and certainly for the first 5 crucial developmental years of Talyn's life. And they also tell me that although there is 3, soon there will be 2 - Talyn and I and we will be okay.

Love to you all....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A legacy of smiles

We have seen a few changes with Ryan physically this past week and that continues to break my heart. He has double vision now for most things, wakes up most days with new weakness on the right side and lacks much of the energy he had only weeks ago. This all continues to be hard on him mentally and I really don't know how he does it most days.

With all of these changes, my mind has started to wander to the dark side. In earlier relationships, I was always the girl that completely lost myself in them. But with Ryan, I lost some of who I was and became who we are now. As I think about the potential future that awaits me, I worry about how to find my way in that new life. How do I try to rediscover who I am again at 35?

My eye is almost back to normal. That was one of the scariest things that ever happened to me and also one of the quickest healing things that I have ever experienced. Phew!

We have also had more visitors over the past couple of weekends. It's a very tricky balance. For me it's good to have company and keep my mind on today. It's also necessary for Ryan, as he has a much harder time every week getting up and down our stairs. But we also miss the time we used to have with just our family. In what seems like a life time ago, we had almost too much time together - doing boring weekend errands and resting up from a busy week. Now we don't get much of that and it's hard to even remember what that was like.

The best thing that has happened in the past two weeks is that we have completed Ryan's book and it's going to the printer this week! What book you ask? Ryan has always wanted to write a book to try and help other people and to leave his legacy. With the help of a family friend, Susan, he did it.

They spent lots of time together over the past two months - him talking, her listening and her asking questions, him answering. Then Susan spent a lot of time writing (a true talent she has) and getting all of the other details organized and ta-da - the book should be ready soon. Initially we are printing 200 copies and see where it goes from there. This wouldn't have been possible without Susan - THANKS for helping this dream come true for Ryan!

Although we are experiencing what seems like the hardest of times we've ever had as a family, we still find time to laugh and live in the moment. We got Ryan to a Flames game on Friday night (thanks Don) and still appreciate the time Ryan gets at home with us. Through everything Ryan has been through, he still manages to smile. So when you're having a bad moment take a second to reflect on that and pull yourself out. If he can still smile, then I'm sure you can to!

Friday, February 19, 2010

You will be happy

Initially when we heard the really bad news in early January, we had a period where we tried to adjust to it and then started putting some things in place. We hurried to get all of his legal documents current and had a lot of hard conversations. But since then Ryan hasn't had any big changes, so we've settled back into a new normal life. Most days I have some time with Ryan, he has a nap, someone else may visit and then Talyn, Ryan and I spend the evenings together at the pad. We eat dinner together, play a game and then Talyn and I go home to get him to bed.

On the weekends, we have been lucky enough to have him home for one or two nights too. Physically, his right arm continues to weaken, so he now has it in a sling to keep his shoulder and wrist supported. Some days he is very tired and others, surprisingly awake and alert.

At the end of last week, I caught a quick glimpse of another young brain cancer patient and his family, that we recognized from the Tom Baker Cancer Center. I told Ryan that he must be touring the hospice and we hurried outside to say hello. He is younger than Ryan, with a young wife and his parents were there too. It was at that moment that it struck me how unfair this all is. To us, we've always just accepted this as our life. But looking at a similar situation as an outsider, it seemed incredibly wrong. And that image stuck with me for many days afterwards.

Last weekend was a hard one mentally for us both. We had our hard time initially adjusting to the news in early Janaury and getting through the hard planning and conversations, but then we had some time to just be. But lately we've had another period where we have stopped and the reality of what is happening has hit us.

I have continued to try things to keep my energy up and reiki has been helpful. Our friends also arranged for me to have a hot stone massage - that was really helpful! Finally, I went to a work dinner and got to re-connect with a bunch of people that gave me a lot of positive energy, as they asked about Ryan and assured me that they are thinking of us and sending us lots of positive thoughts.

At that dinner, I had one conversation that really stuck with me. Someone pulled me aside to ask how things were going and in that moment, I let go a bit and told him that I didn't quite know where to keep my head these days. He said he didn't know either, but what he did know is that however things turned out ... "you will be happy". No one had said that to me yet, or if they did it hadn't hit me like this did. I actually breathed a sigh of relief and felt a bit lighter, with some new confidence that I could get through this and find happiness again some day.

In the last couple of days, we had another small challenge. Talyn accidentally poked me in the eye and when he did it, his fingernails sheared my cornea. I have been through a lot of different painful events in my life, but this one took the cake. I have never passed out from the pain and this time I came very close to that. I am on the mend now, after spending a couple of days looking like a "wanna be movie star" with sunglasses on at all times. One of my darkest thoughts has been "what if something really bad happens to me physically when I am home alone with Talyn? How can I handle that?". But the most important lesson I learned from all of this is that I can do this alone...if I need to.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trying to hold my heart together

It is incredibly heart breaking to watch this happen to someone so full of life. I try to comfort myself in the positives - I was lucky to have such an amazing husband for the time I did, it truly changed me for the better. He has taught me to slow down (still working on that one), let more things roll off my back, has given me an amazing son and really helped to make me who I am today.

For those of us around him, we know that things are progressing, but I try not to see it. When he comes home on the weekends, it is the clearest to me. I have to help him get around much more than the week before. Although he tries his best to do everything on his own, he does need more assistance now. His right hand is much weaker and doesn't do much he wants it to and he struggles more with walking - but I am still so proud that he is defying the odds as his mobility was supposed to be gone by now.

The last two days I have felt a tight ball in my heart. It just feels stuck and I don't know how to make it better. I went to acupuncture and my doctor told me that my emotions are really stagnated (which is shown in medical terms by my liver not moving like it should and not riding my body of the toxins it should). This is a real warning sign to me because that can lead to bigger problems if my body remembers the ugly cancer stuff it had before.

So, I started going back to the gym this week. Working out has always helped me work out the bad stuff before, I run like mad and feel better as I push my lungs and visualize me pounding on the ugly things in my life at the time. I am also going to Reiki and get some help pulling some emotions out of me. I don't feel like I'm trying to hold anything in, it's just stuck. So a good friend recommended this way to get someone else to help me pull it out.

Talyn continues to do fairly well, but has his moments where he is trying to figure everything out. He has even said some things this week that break my heart. He told me that he wished I would die and daddy could stay and be with him, but I realize they are out of anger. It still breaks my heart that I can't fix it all for him. He went to his weekly play therapy session last week and was really struggling with being there. He said he wanted to go and was having a bad day when she was asking him the hard questions. So we ended up finishing early and shortly after Talyn started vomiting. I took him home and spent the day cuddling him and watching G-Force.

The great thing that happened this week is that I got a ring made for my right hand ring finger. I realize that I will have to take off my wedding rings at some point and that will feel like Ryan is really gone. But with this ring, I can always wear it. I chose Ryan's birthstone - a blue topaz and it is held together by three small bands to represent the three of us together in our hearts forever. It is a reminder of all of the amazing things Ryan brings to my life and that whatever happens in the upcoming months, having him a part of my life for even this short time is not something I would change if I could.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My little protector

Last night I was giving Talyn a bath at Ryan's new "pad" (that's what he wants us to call the Hospice) and he was asking some more of his really hard questions. Then he said "I can wait until I get bigger and then I will marry you!". I started crying quietly and he said "isn't that a good idea momma?" and I said "you are the best my love". In his little word, he had something all figured out to try and fix this terrible, unfixable thing that is happening in our world.

Ryan moved into the hospice last Thursday and even though we were struggling with the timing of the move terribly, it was even better than we thought it was when we got there. The house and its staff are absolutely amazing. We had no idea it could be a good thing mentally as well, but it is. It's a place that allows me to relax because they can cook meals for all of us and has a great playroom for Talyn. So it's quickly turning into a family place for us that is safe and quiet.

Then we took Ryan home for a weekend pass. I was a bit nervous about that. After only a day in hospice, I was already worried about how I would manage. When we got home, Ryan was a bit nervous too - he missed his safety net and the convenience of everything in his room being so close for him. He got fairly tired moving around our house and was actually happy to be back at the pad last night.

I continue to be mostly "ok" - whatever that means. Last night when Talyn and I got home for the second night on our own, he quickly fell asleep and I watched Desperate Housewives - something Ryan and I always watched together. It was a good show, but something came over me at the end when Bree attended a 50th wedding anniverary. At that moment, the reality hit. Ryan and I likely wouldn't get that and I wanted it. But there's nothing I can do to change the future.

The company that I work for continues to amaze me too. They are giving me this time off to be with my family. I can't help but feel some guilt bubble up to the surface from time to time about that. But at the same time, things are so busy that I haven't yet found a way to fit some "me" time into my days. Hopefully this week I can find a way to work that all out.

Friends and family continue to swoop in where needed to help us out with the smallest day to day things and that is helping tremendously. It's hard to know what we need, but they seem to.

Now it's time to get up and get on with another day and hope that it's a good one. Our love and thanks to you all!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some more perspective

Last night Ryan and I had planned to put Talyn to bed and then watch a comedy together. But when we turned on the TV, we couldn't take our eyes off of the "Hope for Haiti Now" US broadcast. It was a breathtaking collection of people that had dropped whatever high paying job they had on the go, to come and use their talents to raise funds.

We have been mostly avoiding watching and reading the news lately, because it mostly seems to be bad and that might only bring us down. So although we knew about the devastation in Haiti, until we saw the images last night, we really had no idea.

My heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone so suddenly in that disaster and especially to the kids that don't know if they have parents now and are walking the streets alone and scared. They need so much help and although this is a terrible thing to happen, it warms our hearts to see how something so awful brings people together.

This gave me a chance to be thankful for what we have. Yes, our situation isn't ideal and will likely get worse. But we have each other today and we have our own amazing collection of people that have come together to hold us up through this time.

As I woke up in my warm bed with Ryan breathing steadily beside me and Talyn poking me in the side to tell me the clock said "703", all I could feel was extreme gratitude.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hard questions and some new "stability"

First things first, Ryan is mostly stable still. He continues to defy all odds and I am amazed at how little time his mind spends in the bad cancer place. How does someone get up every morning and wonder whether everything is still the same? Can I still see? Walk? Talk? I couldn't imagine living with that every day, but he does.

I say "mostly stable" because he has had some very minor changes in the past 2 days. He may have a bit more weakness on his right arm, is having some problems finding words at times and has had more fatigue. But compared to what they expected, this is really minor stuff.

Home care has been amazing as they continue to call or visit daily and check in on him. They think a bed might be available at the only hospice we are comfortable with for Ryan next week, and then we will have to have a real discussion about pros and cons. At this point, we are managing well at home and it is so nice to wake up with him beside me each morning and have him around the comforts of home. But there are significant risks of a sudden change happening at any time and because of that, it is likely safer for him to be at a hospice. You can see my struggle.

As we have achieved some "stability" in this new world, I have been struggling with how to spend my time. Don't get me wrong, helping Ryan around, driving everyone and getting his new diet prepped is a lot of work, but for "me" time - what should that be? Should I engage in some work things because it makes me feel strong? Should I get things done around the house while I can? Should I be spending every waking minute staring at Ryan and driving him crazy?

One thing I do know is that I feel that I have done a good job of "sharing" him with all of the people that visit and spend time with him and now I am worried that other than doing things for him around the house, I haven't had my time with him. So we are planning a dinner date tomorrow night to get some quality time with just us.

Talyn is doing well and asking lots of really hard questions as he tries to piece together what death is and what life might be like without daddy. He started play therapy again and seems much more open to the questions we all have for him when we check in, so that's an improvement from last time. But overall, kids really do see things much simpler than we do. For him, he feels comfortable associating people that die as rocks. Which I think is a fine analogy for now.

We continue to be grateful for this extra time we have as a family and of course every once in a while catch ourselves hoping that we will have much more. Then reality kicks in and we try and live in the moment. It's a hard balance to keep, but this time has given us that chance to breathe that we have been hoping for.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Parties, More Tears and Breaks of Sunshine

This past week has flown by. I am certainly still struggling with the news, but now have more "up" times than "down". The one question that keeps getting asked of me is "Do you feel strong?" and I am not feeling that way yet. I am moving in the right direction, but feel like my strength is still building. Proof of that is my body got the flu last night. I am in bed trying to rest it out and just made my way downstairs for some crackers and ginger ale.

Ryan is doing amazing. In the past week, his symptoms have remained the same. I almost worry about writing that since it might jinx it, but want to share the news. He is still on a waitlist for hospice, but we are hoping that he gets some more time at home first.

Mentally though he is even stronger than last week. One day after the news, he announced that he wanted to have a party to celebrate his life while he was still here. That alone, is amazing.

Our friends pulled together and made that happen for him in 48 hours! Friday night we had 60 close friends and family here to celebrate with him. We had a photographer to take photos so everyone would remember Ryan for who he is. And deep down, our hope is that we'll have this party ever year.

We had lots of family and friends fly in for the weekend and have been absorbed by love. But Monday we asked to have some time for just the three of us to spend together. I appreciate every morning that we wake up together and his body is warm and moving up and down from his breath.

Last week, our favorite photographer Michelle Wells came over to take some more amazing pictures for us. Check out her blog for some she posted

We also had Global over to the house yesterday and they showed a spot on Ryan last night. Even with what he's dealing with, he wants to share his story so that other people might feel better about their situations.

In the past 2 weeks, we've had lots of moments of absolute despair. But we've also been again blessed with some breaks of sunshine - Ryan and I have felt renewed love in our marriage and a connection that is so deep, friends and family have come to help us out where we need it and we have had some great moments as a family. Appreciate those around you and what you have - you never know what tomorrow might bring.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Crying a River

Lots has happened since the last post and unfortuanetely it's not what we had hoped. January 2 Ryan continued to develop more weakness on his right side and they did the MRI right away. We got the results within a few hours and were devastated to learn that it was the tumour progression that was causing the new symptoms. The difference in the December 21 to January 2 MRI's was significant and the biggest issue is that it's moved to his brains stem.

He was discharged from the hospital and we went home to figure out how to cope with the news. Tuesday we spent most of the day at the Tom Baker Cancer Center. Ryan's doctor had tears in his eyes when he told us that there's nothing else they can do for him now. That he has fought am amazing fight against this tumour for the past 12 and a half years, but now that it's entered his brain stem things could progress quickly.

It's now Thursday morning and I can't even remember what we're doing in the next hour. Ryan has been assessed by Home Care and now is on a waitlist for a hospice. It will be up to him whether he takes the bed when one comes up, but the doctor is strongly recommending he does. He then told him that if in a week he improves and can walk out of the hospice, he can come and punch him out. Ryan of course said - you're on!

Ryan has a cane to help him around because walking is getting more difficult. Stairs are the hardest for him, but he continues on with such determination, I am stunned at his strength.

Over the last week, the news has come fast and hasn't given us the time to adjust. We have cried pounds of tears and I feel like it could probably make a river. I don't know what to hope for at this point. That Ryan's end is near and he doesn't have to suffer any more physical challenges, or that it is far and we have him here longer.

We appreciate all of your love and support - we will continue to need it!

Friday, January 1, 2010

We need a whole lot of strength please

We were at the ER for most of the day yesterday because ryan developed some new issues over the past couple of days. He started his CCNU chemo on Tuesday night and we were bracing for fatigue and nausea, but not anything else. Wednesday he had a nap and when he woke up, another quadrant of his vision was gone. He now doesn't have any vision in the right upper or lower quadrants. This of course devastated us as we grasped to come up with some solution other than tumour growth.

New Year's Eve morning, he woke up and felt off. He went to get dressed and fell right over on his side. He also noticed new weakness on the right side of his body. We emailed his doctors and even though all of them were on holidays, one responded right away asking me to take him to the ER. We spent most of the day there yesterday. They did a CT scan to assess the size of the tumour and luckily it looked the same. But then after other testing, they are fairly certain Ryan had a stroke.

He was admitted last night and will be here for several days so that they can run more tests. These are to try and confirm that it was a stroke and then find the cause. The tumor board will be using these findings to see if he can continue with ccnu or not or whether any other changes are needed to the plan.

His mom arrived last night and we also have friends who came from edmonton for a couple of days so they are home with Talyn now. Thank goodness!

We are both feeling pretty weak emotionally right now. Everytime we get some challenging news it is shocking right away and then we somehow find the strength to accept it and move on. This last few weeks though, the news keeps coming and we are finding it challenging to continue to stay strong.

What would be helpful to us is continuing to think positive thoughts for Ryan and sending us positive thoughts to help give us some strength. This is the hardest time we have had to deal with yet and we just hope that things slow down and give us a chance to catch our breath.