Monday, February 15, 2016

An Update - Part 1

(Cross posted to Bipolar Support and Living With A Purple Dog)

I haven't updated this blog since Ryan passed, but it's time to come back and tell a story of events that only Ryan could orchestrate. This is a story where, if you aren't familiar with Ryan and his life, might sound like random events. We know better.

Ryan and his older brother, we'll call him Greg, were only 19 months apart, and were very close. They did everything together. After Ryan passed, on the anniversary of his death, Greg decided to honor Ryan by stepping outside his comfort zone and doing something he wouldn't otherwise do. Ryan was a fearless free spirit, and it was a fitting tribute. One year he went skydiving, another year he ate Chinese food. Then the third year...

On the third anniversary of Ryan's death, Greg went horseback riding. He'd been on trail horses at camp, but never wind-in-his-hair, exhilarating riding. It was the great experience he hoped for. Another fitting tribute. The next day he was sore - that's to be expected, right? Except it didn't go away. After several days he decided to get it checked out. His doctor got somber and told him to run, not walk, to the hospital. There they diagnosed him with testicular cancer. They scheduled him for surgery the next day. Not to minimize any cancer, but testicular cancer caught early is rarely life-threatening. A lot depends on when it's caught, and the particular situation.

Taking a slight detour here. Testicular cancer usually involves removal of the affected testicle, and after a period of time, fertility returns to a normal level. But we encouraged him to freeze some sperm before the surgery, and he said they'd consider it. Well, they did. Can you imagine a young couple trying to produce sperm after being diagnosed with cancer, knowing surgery was early the next day? My perverse sense of humor makes me chuckle every time I think about it.

Surgery went well, but after a CT scan they scheduled him for aggressive chemo. It was miserable, but successful. Except the chemo left him sterile.

Over the next year or so he underwent numerous examinations and scans, which eventually led to a clean bill of health - he was in remission, and they had no reason to suspect the cancer would return.

End of part one - if it wasn't for honoring his late brother, it's possible Greg's cancer wouldn't have been discovered soon enough for the positive outcome he received. I truly believe Ryan orchestrated this. And since he went that far, watch for part 2 of this post...

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