Tuesday, October 30, 2012

November 8th.


The date is set.  The mental games have been played.  I have won.  There is nothing left to do now, but wait another week and a couple days.  This actually works out quite well for me.  To begin with, I thought I was going to be in the hospital for Halloween.  Now I get to hand out candy.  I also was under the assumption I would be recovering during the Servite / Mater Dei game.  Now I get to attend it.  I am going into this surgery with the highest hopes, but I will be expecting the worst.  Whatever the outcome is, I have no control over it, so as my high school football coach Larry Toner once told me, "Mr. Coffelt, is there anyway you can control this certain situation, can you manipulate the outcome to your liking?"  Me, "No."  Coach, "Then why are you worrying about it?"  There really is no point in worrying about things that you have absolutely no control over.  Sure there are things which one might want to put a little extra time into, but when it is all said in done, certain things in life you have absolutely no control over and just have to accept it.  There are countless mantras, prayers and sayings that say this same thing in 1,000 different ways.  People hear it all day long and pretend to think this way, but deep down they still worry and stress.  The past 4 nights I have slept like a baby.  I eat more now than I did before I found out and my head is clearer than ever before.  I have accepted the battle, whether it goes into something terribly hard or something not so bad.  I have been through some tough times in my life and I am prepared to take this on no matter what the doctor tells me.  I have an amazing family and my friends are basically the cats pajamas.  (Still don't know what that means, but I think it is a cool saying)  I still have not fully digested the fact that I have an unknown object growing inside my brain and I don't think I ever will, but I don't think I need to either.  It will eventually be out (I wonder if they will let me keep it as a souvenir) and I will get on with my life.  This experience has done so much for me and it has only been a week.  I am closer to my friends now than I can ever recall.  I have persuaded a few of my friends to quit smoking / chewing tobacco (whoever is left.....)  I get to see BOTH of my sisters in California instead of Portland!  And most of all this changed my ENTIRE outlook on life from top to bottom.  I have re-evaluated my diet and am now actually putting a lot of thought into what I put into my body.  Not many people think about nor care to know that what they put into their body DIRECTLY affects your health in every way.  What you eat truly is what you are.  If you put crap into your body, (which I have been known to do) your body will change.  I am still sorting through my research and trying to decide how to present what I am finding in the least biased and factual way.  What I can say now is that everyone needs to cut as much sugar and white bread out of their diet as possible.  Humans evolved eating around 2 pounds of sugar a year.  Today that number is somewhere around 150 punds give or take.  Cokes, energy drinks and even fruit juices are all crammed with sugar. Cancers feed on sugar and give the cancer the food it needs to grow.  By cutting your sugar intake in half you dramatically start to reduce your chance of cancers forming in your body.

Many people do no not know, or maybe do not understand that every single person walking on earth today has cancer cells in their body.  The question is only whether or not the conditions are correct for them to implant and start multiplying.  Nearly the whole population of the United States have the optimal environment for cancer growth, we can change that... I will have a copious amount of free time coming up here pretty soon and when I do, I hope that you all read what I have to say about health, fitness and the Western way of life.  I am not going to preach to you all that you must change, I simply want to help inform anyone who might not be otherwise informed and let you make an informed decision.

Until then I leave you with another quote of awesomeness by the great scholar and poet Will Ferrell, "Well I could be wrong, but I think diversity is an old wooden ship used in the civil war era."

LOVE

And here's a cute puppy to make you smile. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Amazing  Weekend.

It seems the universe always has a way to put you in your place.  To be honest, I have been staying extremely optimistic since the beginning.  I have never once asked "why me?" or even allowed myself to shed a tear.  The hardest part about all of this was breaking the news to my sisters and family.  It seemed like when they found out they were heart broken and wanted nothing more then to save me.  Even in times when we are suffering, we often forget that there are people MUCH worse off than we are.  This morning, I happened to find out a fellow Friar, Sonny Kaesbauer '04 was paralyzed in a swimming accident in August.  It has been two months now and Sonny has not been able to take a single step.  I knew Sonny quite well through football and he is an amazing and strong person.  He will walk again, for that there is no question in my mind.  It is simply a matter of when and how much hard work, and determination it will take.  Sonny has what may seem like an insurmountable road ahead of him, but with our help he will take it on with ease.  He has a couple of fund raising sites to help him get the rehab he needs to one day be able to walk again, they are http://www.gofundme.com/1adm80 or http://www.4teamsonny.com.  Just when I was almost ready to start feeling sorry for myself I read about Sonny.  Stay strong Sonny and remember 'The four D's' in your rehab.  There has never been an easy journey for those who are great.

This past weekend was a well needed relaxation.  I don't recall a time in my life being so stressed and yet so relaxed.  Friday after eating a raw food lunch at 118 Degrees in Costa Mesa, I felt refreshed and energized.  I knew what was coming, but I had no fear.  Even if the doctor would have told me I only have 6 months and I should start my bucket list, it wouldn't have mattered.  The reason is- I truly know that this is just a blip on my timeline.  My life is going to continue, (weather you like it or not) for a long time.  I knew that when I woke up Friday and I know it today.  Saturday was another relaxing day.  I watched some college football and went to an amazing dinner with Tasha's family.  It was nice to catch up with them and seeing her family reminds me why I am so lucky to have her in my life.  After dinner, we went and watched a 'scary' movie.  Sinister, which had potential to be a good flick, but then just kind of just sailed off into the comedy sector unintentionally.  I will say though, seeing the movie with 6 beautiful women Andrea, Brighton, Stacy, Kellie, Kelsey and my babe of a gf Tasha made quite the happy camper.  Sunday was by far the best though.  Spent half of the day at the beach and watching football.  Then came back to have a backyard bonfire with a delicious vegetarian dinner and amazing company.  This experience is a daily lesson in life.  It reminds you that there is no need to sweat the small stuff.  Arguing over petty and overall pointless things in life is an extreme waste of time and energy.  If we are on this planet only one time and for an extremely SMALL amount of time, then we must take advantage of every second we are afforded.  Every person has an obligation to themselves to not waste their time and this experience has re-taught me this.  I learned this with my mother and after she passed I set out about to do what I wanted and not let time be a factor, but I soon forgot what she taught me.  It is far too easy to fall back into the routine of the Western society and forget that you need to live the shit out of life.  Sitting on a couch watching TV is not what we are meant to do.  We are meant to be out and about with friends and loved ones.  We are meant to explore and push the boundaries of what scares us.  Humans are an amazing species that in the last 200 years have gone from horse drawn transportation to the moon and mars.  200 years is a small blip in the overall life of this planet and if we were able to accomplish that much in so little time, there is no telling what the future holds.  The future that we are in charge of creating, this future is only going to be as great as we make it and I for one hope to see my children live on a planet that is far beyond what we see today.

For now though, I must first have this monster taken out of my head.  My doctor, Dr. Stea is also a Servite grad of '75 and if there is anyone in the world I would trust with my brain, it would be a fellow Friar.  Once he gets this thing out of me I will get back on track.  There is a long recovery after brain surgery, but I already have my mindset on recovering in half the time the average recovery takes.  I will be back to 100% before you guys know it.  Thanks again to all my friends and amazing family.  You guys are awesome.

Beach Day Babes!

Friday, October 26, 2012

"Cautiously Optimistic"

I met Dr. Stea today and as I knew already, I will have to have my tumor removed.  Brain surgery is never an easy thing, but I feel like I am in good hands with Dr. Stea.  Dr. Stea said based on what he sees in the initial MRI along with my age and where it is in my brain, he is cautiously optimistic that it is benign.  There is absolutely no way to know what kind of tumor it is until it is looked at under the microscope.  This is somewhat of a relief seeing as how 3 days ago I was being told there is a 99% chance that it IS cancer.  Little did I know, the Dr. I spoke to in the ER was a RESIDENT!  I am sure she was just trying to be helpful as much as she could, but in a way I think I owe her a thanks.  I began preparing myself with the thought that I am going to be in a battle with cancer.  In this battle I would have to dramatically re-arrange my life.  Everything from my diet to my way of life would be changing and I was ready for that.  Regardless of weather or not it is cancer, this whole experience has changed my life.  Dramatically.  I am still going to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  I feel like this amazing army of friends and family has helped me in so many ways.  So, still waiting to hear back from the surgery appointment setter to find out when they are gonna chop me open and take out my monster, until then please continue to keep those positive thoughts/prayers/mental hugs coming my way.  I am still not out of the bullets path but I like to think I have my armor well prepared.

Steve Hamrock gave me a book called "Anti Cancer." (Thank you!)  This book is an amazing piece of literature and I think that everyone needs to read it.  Many people don't understand exactly how much of what we put into our body directly affects us in such a negative way.  If only we could see the inside of our body on a molecular level I don't think any person would do some of the things they do to themselves.  To start with, first and foremost my friends who smoke or chew tobacco need to quit.  It is THE ONLY known carcinogen that people knowingly ingest that harms the body in every way possible.  So Alex, Chris, Gio, Stacy, Dan, Davis, Brent, Curtis and anyone I didn't name and all of you other kids who "Smoke when we drink" should probably just quit.  Your body is an amazing machine and is capable of repairing itself as long as you help it.  Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco tears down natural defenses your body needs to fight off the bad stuff that can harm us.  Just taking this one toxin out of your body will decrease your chances of having cancer exponentially and it begins to happen within a day!

There is so much more that you can do to help your health and I will make another post about that stuff once I investigate a bit more into it and can be as informative and factually correct as possible.  What I will say now is that my life has changed and I hope that if I can help change one person than all of this will have been worth it.

Thanks again!

 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

THANK YOU!  And you and you and you and you!  I can not thank you all enough for the support.  I truly feel like I can take on the world and not even flinch.  Tonight was an amazing night filled with friends, family, laughs and love.  Bowling for brains is what I shall dub the night.  Friends from work met friends from high school.  Friends from my girlfriends past met friends from my past.  People coming together all just to hang out and throw some balls at some pins.  It was amazingly therapeutic and relaxing.  If it wasn't for the lame headache I could have gone all night!

My friends truly are cooler than yours.

Tonight will be the last night I have before my future is laid out for me.  I will go in tomorrow and find out what my doctor thinks is wrong with me.  Good or bad, I will accept what he has to say and stay strong because regardless of what he tells me, I know I can and will beat it.  I HAVE to beat it.  There is no other choice in the matter and regardless of the road I end up on, I will come out on top.  

Until tomorrow, 
LOVE!

So, I guess those generic sleeping pills from target are well worth it.  Had an amazing night of sleep last night after nearly nil the previous 2.  Waking up refreshed instead of full of anxiety and nervousness is a much appreciated feeling.  It really is amazing how much your mindset changes when you are faced with an overwhelming situation.  I watched my mother battle cancer and through her struggles I learned to appreciate things that I probably took for granted.  Over time I began to forget how to be thankful for what I have rather than worrying about what I don't.  Now that I am experiencing this first hand, it is at a whole new level.  I am truly SOOOOOO thankful and gracious for the HUGE ARMY of friends and family that I never even knew I had.  My Servite Family has come back in droves and people I didn't even go to school with are coming out and standing with me.  Like the tattoo on my shoulder says which I got in honor of my mother, I will Fight the Good Fight.  My family and friends are incredible to say the least.  It is hard not to be emotional in times like this, but I refuse to cry.  I will not shed a tear because like Lisa Sahagun a fellow tumor survivor says, this is a business transaction.  It will be met and greeted like so.  The outcome will be in my favor because I am a businessman.

"One step at a time.  One day at a time.  I will stay in the now an live for the next moment I am given."
This small mantra is something I am finding myself saying more and more.  Life is truly a gift and you given every breathe you take.  Once you forget that or deny that, life will show you exactly why you need to pay closer attention.  I am not trying to get super mushy or philosophical, but if there is one message I want to get across from all of this, it is don't stop and smell the roses.  Live life like you have no tomorrow and love everyone like they are the closest thing to you.  I was a perfectly healthy 27 year old young adult on a pretty decent life path 3 days ago.  Today I have a potentially life threatening monster dwelling in the darkness of my brain.  Sometimes life throws you curveballs and you have to adjust your swing, but don't forget that it is a gift and YOU MUST experience the bad in life to love and cherish the good.

LOVE!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

IMS?  More like I-MAZING! ---
Today is day 2, or technically I guess you could say day three since I found out the awesome news on Monday.  Yesterday was a crazy and non-stop thrill ride filled with an astonishing amount of love and support I honestly was not expecting in the least.  This blog I started just as ways to express my story and tell my family and friends what was happening with me on a day to day basis has turned into something a little bit bigger.  It was viewed over 3500 times in less than 24 hours... I am pretty sure I dont know half that many people.  I got e-mails from people I have never even met saying that I am inspiring them and I need to keep doing it.  So - I shall.  I shall not only continue on this journey with my updates and awesome puns, but I will try my hardest to keep you all in on every bit of this battle that I can (including the not so fun stuff, so be prepared.)

Today I had a choice, I could either sit at home, watch TV and mope around feeling sorry for myself, or I could go to work and be with some amazing people.  I think you all know what I decided on.  I have now worked at The IMS Company in Brea for a little less than two months thanks to the reference of my good 'ol pal Fidel.  In those two months I have been embraced and brought into the family in a way I could have never expected.  The IMS family is close, very close and I didn't realize it until today.  My wo-worker Roxy forced me to go to lunch even after I told her very clearly that I have not really eaten a proper meal in about 3 days.  Its more like take a bite of something - chew as fast as I can and swallow before I have to spit it out - wait an hour and repeat.  So I agreed and thought it would be nice to have one last lunch with my co-workers before I head out on this unknown journey.  Well, sneaky Roxy had something in store for me which I never expected - The entire repairs team, half of production and a handfull of folks from our endless other departments were waiting patiently at BJ's.  It was amazing to walk in and see so many happy faces and I was immediately in a better mood.  Lunch was amazing and though I did not eat anything, the company was all that mattered.  It was a lunch I will never forget and I didn't have a single bite of food.
The IMS card!



After lunch I headed back to the office and picked up on my mission to get my MRI scan to a Dr. My good friend Ryan Kalil has built a relationship with through USC.  Dr. Apuzzo is an extremely well known neurosurgeon (according to Ryan so chances are he barely got through med school) that was willing to take a look at my MRI and try to help with any questions or concerns I have before I talked to my surgeon.  The only catch, he is in LA and I need to have them to him before tomorrow 11am when he leaves for a flight to Japan.  Kaiser once again came through and gave me a disc with the entire scan on it.  So I left work around 4 to get to a different Kaiser in Anaheim to pick up my package.  I drove straight to Fed-Ex and I am not hoping they don't eff up and deliver it after he leaves. (Cmon Fed-Ex!!)  After Fed-Ex, a true miracle happened!  I was actually hungry!!  I demanded Tasha take me somewhere gourmet, healthy and guaranteed to be high in calories as well as customer friendly service oriented.
Obviously you all knew I was taking about Del.  2 chicken soft tacos, a bean and cheese burrito and some fries later and holy sh*t I felt like a new person.  It was the first true meal I had eaten since Sunday night and it could not have come any sooner.  Thank you Mr. Taco.

I am now back with my babe and her baby (Iggy) and we had a late bday celebration for him.  
He is the big 4 and clearly is very interested in what Tasha has to offer.

So all in all today was a great day.  I had a good time with my co-workers, had a great and nutritious meal and even got to go to a birthday party.  My battle has not yet begun, but Friday at 2pm I will be ready to rock.  I hope you all will continue on with me in my journey as we - in the words of the family friend and OR nurse Amy Thompson say, "Fuck shit up."  It won't always be pleasant and I am prepared to carry that burden, but with you all supporting me, it will be a much lighter weight upon my shoulders.  Once again I would like to leave you with an educational and poetic quote from the mastermind Sir Biggy Smalls, "Don't let 'em hold you down, reach for the stars.

And if you wanna see some more pictures follow me on instagram @coffsauce
Peace and love.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day one.


For the last few days now I have been trying to figure out the best way to let all of my friends and family in on what is happening with me.  Well, I decided a blog would be the easiest and most efficient way to keep everyone in the loop.  I figure anyone who wants to know what is happening in my battle (which I am now referring to it by-since I know I can win battles) can just check out this blog.  And this will save me from telling the story 60000 times. :)  I am gonna update it with pictures, stories and all kinds of fun goodies to let you in on how much fun brain cancer is! :)

So here is the back story, for the last year+ I have had these random headaches and small bouts of confusion (basically for a minute or two I would have trouble concentrating or making sense of my thoughts.  I chalked it up to stress and not being where I want to be in my life at this time.  Well, once I got my new job and finally got insurance again, I decided to go have a check since it had been well over 3 years.  So I went in and talked to my doctor a bit and even waited till the very last second to ask about it- she said it is probably nothing, but referred for a CT scan of my brain just to be sure.  The CT scan took place Friday October 19th at 7 pm.  I did the scan, and as I walked out - the technician stopped me and said, "So you having headaches?"  To which I thought in my head, "Well smart guy, I am getting my brain scanned, chances are I am having headaches."  But simply replied "yes" instead.  To which he followed by asking, "The front left part of your head?"  To which I responded "Yea.............."  To which he responded, "Well I dont read these, Ill have to send it off and you will hear from your doctor on Monday or Tuesday."  .....Rad.  So now I get to go spend my whole weekend wondering how in the hell you knew exactly where my headaches were...  I tried not to put to much thought into it and I went about my weekend as best I could.  Monday rolls around and I am at work, I get a message from my Doctor, Dr. Tang who asks me to call her back immediately.  Uh oh....  So I call her back and I get the nurse, the nurse says, "I think Dr. Tang wants to talk to you directly."  This was when I knew I should brace for bad news when in the back of mind I knew it from the second I left that CT scan.  Dr. Tang got on the phone eventually and told me my scan came back irregular and I need to do an MRI immediately to see the tumor more clearly.  Yaaaaaay, just what any 27 year old man in seemingly perfect health wants to hear - "Sir, you have a tumor on your brain the size of a golf ball."  A golf ball?  A gold ball?  Were not talking about a peanut or a grape. A golf ball is pretty decent in size...  So after about a 30 minute shock session where I tried to let all of this sink in and telling my boss I need to take the rest of the day I was able to drive myself home.  I get to my house and my thoughts are spinning 200 million miles an hour and all I want to do is get on Google and start investigating (which I still have yet to do because I know it won't help anything)  I call my sisters, my dad and my awesome gf.  Those were the hardest phone calls I have ever had to make.  I could barely talk and I felt like I wasn't making sense.  Natashia came over and my dad came home from work so we could all be together and figure out what the next step is.  Shortly after I got a call from my Dr. and she said I have a stat MRI brain scan today (Tuesday) at 10am.  So after I found out I wasn't going in on the same day, I decided I could do one of two things, stay at home and think of all the 'what if's' or I can GO TO DISNEYLAND!  So clearly I was out the door as fast as I could grab my annual pass and my girlfriend.  The entire time it was in my head still and I could't stop thinking about it, nor could Natashia, but we made the best of a bad situation and had a nice little time.  We eventually wore ourselves out on rides and headed home.  Got back to Tasha's house and had the most restless night of sleep I have ever had in my life.  Woke up this morning and put my battle face on and headed to Kaiser which is where I now am starting to see I will be spending a lot of my upcoming time.  I checked in, waited a couple minutes and got my name called.  I went back and started my MRI - which for anyone who has never had one, it's kind of a strange thing.  You lay on a motorized bed, get wheeled into a tunnel and lay for about 30 minutes while it snaps up bits of information and translates that information into an image which is far more techy than I cared or even understood.  After the MRI I came out and initially thought I would just go home...  Well I guess that changed when the technician saw the image. I looked at it and got a picture - which will be posted on here - and yea, it was big.  YAAAY CANCER!  So the technician scurried me off to a random waiting room just outside the MRI area and said I should wait and see what the doctor says and leaves me.  In a room.  No bigger.  Than the size of a walk in closet...  I sat there for about a minute and said fuck this.  I couldnt even get any cell phone service in order to call my family and tell them what I was doing.  So I walked out and said you can find me in the waiting room, I am going to go and be with my family.  I waited in the waiting room for about 10 minutes then received a phone call from the receptionist area and it was my awesome Dr, Dr. Tang.  She said, well I don't have good news... (Was there ever going to be any?)  She said she wanted me to go to the ER and admit myself and have the on-call neuro surgeon look over my MRI.  She said it looks like it has swelled and I might need to get going on a treatment now.  YAAAAY CANCER!  So I say thank you kindly Dr. and I excuse myself, my father, Tasha and Maryanne and we head to the ER.  I am admitted into the ER (Fairly quickly from what I recall typical ER visits being) and the waiting game begins.  I see one doctor, who is just the ER doctor and he looks at the MRI and says we need to have a neuro surgeon look at this.  So they show it the on call nero surgeon (who happened to be in the middle of surgery with another dr) and she takes a moment out of her surgery to come down and talk to me.  She immediately says I don't need to be in the emergency room and that I can wait until Friday to see the surgeon who will be doing my procedure and treatment schedule.  YAAAY CANCER!  but wait.  Nobody has said cancer, so it could still just be a tumor, right????  Dr.'s response, I can't say for 100% certainty, but 99 out of 100 MRI's that look like yours are cancer.  Dang...  So that takes us up to now.  I am now home, trying to force feed myself since I have absolutely no appetite and will wait till Friday to find out anything more.  

I know I have the most amazing family and friends, you guys are the backbone I have always had supporting me.  I appreciate and kind words, prayers or mental hugs I can get.  This is bound to be a tough road, but I think if anyone can beat brain cancer (ew) than it would be me.  I know a lot of you will be wanting to call and check up, but for now I don't want to tell the story anymore.  If you wanna text or just say hi that is awesome, but I am trying to live in the now and not worry about what comes next until I am there.  I have gone through cancer with my mother and I know what I am going to have to deal with and I will try my hardest to be strong.  Every step of this way I will update this blog and keep everyone up to date as best I can.  Please share the link with anyone and feel free to share this with people I may not know.  I will share my story with anyone willing to listen and when this is all said and done, we are throwing the biggest baddest party this side of Mardi Gras.  (Or at least a cool dinner)  I love you all and thank you in advance for all you support, this is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done, but I will be strong.  And guys, don't be all awkward around me now.  I might be sick, but I am still just Ryan.  I might start to lose my hair, but I look good bald anyways.  And I might loose a little weight, but all the girls will be jealous.  :)  Thank you so much to my amazing girlfriend Tahsa.  She has been strong like bull and taken the punches like a champ.  My dad, and step mom are going to be there for me every step on this battle and my crazy sisters are already trying to book flights home and we don't even know the surgery is yet!!  I am in no pain and the headaches aren't even happening right now so don't worry about that!  :)  

Let me leave you with a quote from the late, great Chris Farley, "In the land of skunks, those with only have a nose are king."  I don't know how that is relevant but I hope I made you smile after dropping all of this on you guys.  

Peace and love!!!


 The monster in my brain!!!!

...So you're saying I don't need to be here???  I put on my Sunday best for nothing?!?!