I have never been a very strong writer… so bear with me here. I will start with some emotions/words that have come to mind over the past month which I have felt sink into my heart. God’s provision, blessing, watchfulness, love, care, grace, steadfastness, mercy, and the body of Christ surrounding my family so closely are some that come to my mind and heart. We are so so thankful for such a great tribe of family, friends, work community(Kent ISD and Chaco/WWW), and neighbors pulling for us with physical, emotional, and prayerful support through this time. We have meals coming regularly, daycare for our daughter, even family mowing our lawn!
As for updates on where I am at physically and emotionally, there are many details below -maybe too many- but if you are interested then please read along.
On July 14th, soon after going to sleep I had a generalized (full body) seizure. My wife Bri noticed something wasn’t right and if she hadn’t had a minor obsession with Grey’s Anatomy she may not have had the knowledge of how to save my life that night. Because of God’s grace, Bri was able to contact 911, which had emergency services to our house in less than 10 minutes.
I woke up confused in the ambulance sometime around 2 a.m. and remember most everything past that. I was asked repeatedly my name, birth date and the current president, to which I answered “George Washington” 3 times. Eventually they told me it was someone you’d never expect, to which I said Donald Trump in less than a second I think!
The first thing I remember after getting to the E.R. was being rolled in and wired up to check if I had a stroke or a heart attack. Once I passed those tests, they brought me into a room for a CAT scan, which is where they noticed I had a brain tumor in my right frontal lobe.
I was then admitted to a room where my Neuro-P.A. showed Bri and I the imaging showing a golf-ball sized brain tumor in my head. This was a lot to process, but there was also good news to go along with it.
Our P.A. was very personable and optimistic for me, and introduced us to my neurosurgeon named Paul Mazaris. He looked like he didn’t just graduate med school, but also like he wasn’t going to retire in a year or two and was very kind. He was also humble in saying that he wasn’t sure what caused this tumor, if it originated somewhere else in my body, or what the outcome of surgery might be. I think it takes humility to not make your best guess to try and sound impressive or “sell yourself” as the best surgeon in the area. After all, I did still have the option to research another neuro-surgeon in the area or country should I feel inclined.
From this point I had 4 MRI scans done to give the doctors/surgeon the most accurate information on my tumor and its location in my head. They realized it was very close to the motor skills area which physically controls the left side of my body. Because of this, my surgeon had to be very diligent and cautious, but did well keeping my family updated in the waiting room. I literally cannot say enough good things about every level of care Bri and I have received here at Spectrum Butterworth.
The next steps were very difficult for Bri and I to hear. We were told I have Cancer, will need to be aggressive with radiation and Chemotherapy, and i will be on high dosages of medication for some time. Research shows that this gives me the longest amount of time before the cancer grows back. I also have epilepsy brought on from surgery which means i will be taking medication for 6 months up to the rest of my life, depending on how my brain responds to each drug.
Since surgery I have felt GREAT physically, pretty good emotionally(every day is different) and very thankful that my strength/feeling/etc.are equal on both my left and right side of my body. I don’t deserve any of these favors from the Lord but I know that He had this plan for my life since I was created in the womb. I know He has chosen me as a vessel or platform to shout God’s glory through this storm. One of the most difficult parts is watching my wife Bri have to take care of me like a nurse (which she is happy to do), but I thought maybe this would happen 50 years from now, not this soon.
I guess it is a good thing, because it is softening my heart and teaching me so much about God, friendship, my marriage, the complexities of the brain and a new appreciation for modern medicine. I keep telling Bri that tomorrow was never a given and I could have died in a car crash last night or next week. The best thing to do is keep hope, spread joy, enjoy life and love well.
Love you all,
8 thoughts on “Grace Upon Grace”
My heart goes out to both of you. I will be praying for God’s healing hands to be on you! Continue to stand firm in the Lord, and may he continue to be your strength. I pray for comfort and peace and love to surround you both! Love you both!
Thank you Chris!
Well written Ryan.
You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. As long as I have known you you have been a humble, easy going, and positive person. I am happy to hear you can remain the same even with the trials you are enduring right now. God is useing you and your beautiful spirit to tell one magnificent story of faith, love, and family. Stay strong and keep being you.
I will talk to you soon friend.
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Who said you couldn’t write?! Just because you can’t read cursive…! Your heart is full of such beautiful thoughts, your words inspire us. I pray daily you feel our great God’s love no matter where you are.
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Bless you Ryan. We pray for you daily. Faith over fear.
Sending our love from northern Michigan!
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Thank you Kim!