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?!?!

48 comments:

  1. You're In my prayers! Looking forward to reading all of your blogs.

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  2. I know you can beat this, Ryan!!! Many prayers coming your way.

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  3. Ryan - Of course The Garretson Family is praying for you!! We love you and please let coach know if you would like him to call and talk football, you know how well he does that! Better yet - make a road trip out to AZ and come watch Darell play. We would love for you to come out & Darell would think a Servite QB came to watch him play after the years of him watching you. We will be in playoffs. Our last regular season game is this Friday - it will be a tough one. He broke the school record in passing TD's! 23! Let us know - All our prayers-hugs-kisses-love to you from us.

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    1. Thanks you guys. I think the next few months will be pretty hectic, but when I smash this little monster I think a vacation will be in order.

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  4. Ryan, we're confident that you are going to get through this. As you'll continue to hear, you're in our thoughts and prayers. Stay strong brother.
    -Casey Mahony

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  5. All my prayers are with you man! Can't wait to read the good news to come!

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  6. Hey Ryan. I just hope you know that we're all pulling for you and know that you are stronger than this and that stupid golf ball. You'll be in my prayers nightly and please let me know if there is anything I can do. You have a stronger support group than you'll ever know or realize. We all love you!!! Please keep us posted!!!

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  7. Big hugs, strong prayers and much love buddy...stay strong and possitive and you will beat this thing with no sweat :) Can't wait for that big party! We should have a practice one just to make sure we do the real one right ;)

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  8. You sound so incredibly strong, I know you can pull this through! We (IMS friends) will all be praying for you!

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  9. Ryan I am amazed by your strength and positive outlook regarding your circumstaces. You might not know it but your story is going to touch alot of people and change lives! We have shared alot of good memories growing up as kids and even though we dont keep intouch I see all the positive things you continue to do. Dont want to be a downer brotha but Im crushed to here the news, I know you will continue to be a leader and competitor throughout this chapter of your life. With much LOVE from all of the Carmonas, we will continue to pray for a super natural healing from our God.

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    1. Thanks Cameron, to you and all the Carmona's.

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  10. I just love your energy! I have no doubt that you will beat this! You will remain in our prayers as you take on and battle this fight! You have a huge support team behind you, cheering you on!

    Jessica & Eric Diaz

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  11. Thoughts and Prayers. I don't know you, but I'm pulling for you. Your attitude is inspiring and reading your blog has made me change the way I think about today and how I'm going to live it. Thank you.

    Pat

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  12. Wow my mom just called me and told me about this. So sorry to hear, but if anyone is stubborn enough to not let cancer beat them it is you :-) Hoping for the best.

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  13. Ryan, just heard the news through FB. You are such a positive person and if anyone can win this battle it's you. Keep your head up and I will keep you in my prayers!!

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  14. Ps. Sorry about the weird blog name it's super old...this is jenna p!

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  15. Ryan
    Scott and Kevin told me the news earlier this afternoon. I was shocked and deeply affected upon hearing of your situation. Your very soul will be tried in the coming months as your fight ultimately is one you must face alone. In fact, you will be facing yourself and all you believe in. You will ask "Why Me?". That answer will come from your spiritual realm, because there may be no answer from any other quarter. I will get a book into your hands in the near future. I found it comforting and inspiring. Written by a doctor confronting his own brain tumor, it is a very personal and human story of a man's battle to find a path for his life's journey. I cried and I laughed while reading this book.

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    1. I would love to read that book. Thank you again for all the love and support. You Hamrocks are a rare and awesome breed!

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  16. I once found myself in and out of a hospital, and I found peace in having the same attitude you do now. I found out about this from a person i used to know as well, and it sadden me that I haven't spoken to you in years, not since our days at ulv and working at leos den( old school) but im glad to see you take this on like the same guy I knew, a stud! My thoughts will be with you.
    -nando llanos

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  17. Ryan,

    You are a G homie, you got this. I'm am continually surprised at how optimistic and positive that you remain at all times. You are a strong man, my thoughts are with you and your family. I look forward to having beers with you soon.

    Matt Wolcott.

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    1. And you know this..... Man! Thanks Matt

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  18. Ryan,

    A friend of mine recommended this product when his dad had cancer combine with the chemo and it was a remarkably recovery. Down at the bottom left hand side is all the research related to cancer. Beta Glucan is also good for powering the immune system in general. I have posted the link below. Also take a look at oxygen therapy and stay away from sugar. I hope this helps. God speed on getting better!

    Beta Glucan, factually, is the most intensely studied immune system stimulator. There are over 3,000 published, peer-reviewed studies in prominent medical journals on Beta Glucan. Beta Glucan has been, and currently is, the primary treatment for cancer in Asia.

    http://www.beta-glucan.info/

    How Tumors Exploit Gut Flora to Fuel Growth, and the Surprising Finding that Chemotherapy Boosts Resistant Cancer

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/10/24/tumors-exploit-gut-flora.aspx?e_cid=20121024_DNL_art_1

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    1. Def going to check that out. Thanks a lot Ryan.

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    2. I am no sales rep for Beta Glucan but my whole family and friends take it. Check it out for sure it will definitely help. God Bless

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  19. You the man Ryan! You have the courage of a true Friar! I'll be praying for you big guy and I'll be sure to get the biggest and baddest prayer warriors I know to do the same.

    Mad love my friend. Keep us all posted... your not too bad of a writer. ;)

    "I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me. " -Phil. 4:13

    Conor Martin

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  20. Hi Ryan - Nice to meet you. I don't know you but Tasha's mom is my friend from high school. They are really sweet people and obviously Tasha has great taste in men. My husband is also Servite Friar (class of '76) and you guys are THE BEST! We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers as well as your awesome Dr. Tang. Golf balls are big but not as big as your heart and it sounds like you have a HUGE heart. Brain tumors are scary but much scarier without faith. Keep the faith and keep up the positive attitude.

    Big hugs -

    Lani Hana - Dodie's friend

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  21. Ryan, my thoughts are with you. Stay strong, I have no doubts you will be a survivor.

    Doug Waite

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  22. Hey Stud,
    Keep the warrior spirit and crush the cancer.
    From all of the Cicero's & the Credo Brotherhood... Our prayers & support are with you through the finish.
    Love you man and can't wait to have a beer with as well!

    Keep your head up stud.
    Joe

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  23. Ryan, I will keep you in prayer with St. Peregrine. Keep the Faith, God is good.
    Ms. Barrera
    Servite High School
    Administrative Assistant to the Principal

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    1. Speaking of St. Peregrine (Patron Saint of Cancer) Every first Saturday of the month @ St. Juliana Parish in Fullerton @ 8 AM; The Mass is celebrated specifically for the intentions of Cancer patients. After the Mass everyone is welcome to venerate the relics of St. Peregrine and receive a special blessing.

      :)

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    2. Patron Saint of cancer patients I mean. :)

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  24. Ryan...
    The book.."Anti-Cancer"..will be coming through Scott on Thursday. I have several of them...bought for just such a need..so no need to return the thing. I'll enclose a personal note.

    Love and strength to you,

    SRH

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  25. Ryan,
    Keeping you in our prayers & wishing you the best. Take care and continue with your brave attitude. You can do this.
    Love,
    Tony & Patti Martinez (Ruvalcaba)

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  26. Mr. Coffelt,

    My name is Saul Betancourt and I am a current freshman at Servite High School. Mr. Daniel Kause sent my class to your blog. Just wanted you to know that you are in my prayers and I hope you keep fighting the good fight. Good luck. :)

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  27. Hey Bro, I am glad we were able to provide you with an AMAZING DAY! I know I have only known you for the two months that you have been @ IMS but you are a cool brother! I like your style! I will constantly be checking on you on your blog. Your brother from another mother!

    Sterl

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  28. Hi Ryan,
    I have never met you but my girlfriend forwarded me your blog. Just from the sounds of it you are a tough man who will not let himself be defeated by cancer!! Maintain that positive attitude and when you are going through hell, keep on going!!! Lean on the supportive family and friends you have and fight like you've never fought before!! Well wishes to you and your loved ones during this difficult time!! YOU WILL WIN THIS BATTLE!!!! :)
    Brittney

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  29. Ryan, you are in my thoughts and prayers! You have such amazing personality and outlook on things, you are truly inspiring! You got this thing beat!! <3

    -Tristin & Nick

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  30. Ryan,
    Matt Eastman's mom here. You have moved to the top of my prayer list! Here's to hope and healing and a large dose of faith.
    Hugs,
    Susan Cossaboom

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  31. Hi Coach!( Matthew Packards mom.) You are amazing in your positive outlook. You got this beat. No monster can stop you. You are in my prayers. CREDO! Cecilia Packard

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