Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Starting life at 28

To be honest I have no idea how this is going to play out 6 months, a year, 20 years, 40 years from now...  What I do know is that brain cancer as of today has been the best thing that has happened to me.  Yes it is hard as fuck and there are times where my body feels like it is rejecting itself from the inside out, but it is a small price to pay for inspiration.  I just turned 28 and it took me that long for my life to begin.  Up until now, I have been floating from stop-gap to stop-gap.  I never had any direction and everyday I woke more and more frustrated with myself.  I have surrounded myself with great people of all walks of life from CEO's of multi-million dollar companies, professional athletes, inspiring philanthropists and humanitarians, amazing artists of all walks, and countless driven individuals with direction.  I on the other hand have been passing time trying to figure out what the hell I am doing with my life.  Going from job to job not knowing where I am headed, just knowing I need money to pay my bills.  It is the most frustrating and depressing thing to KNOW that deep down you are meant for something much bigger than what you are doing.  I knew I had a purpose and I spent countless hours trying to figure out where my place in the crazy world is an now I have my answer.

Today is day one of my new life.  For the first time in a very long time I finally know where I want my life to end up.  I have direction, purpose, inspiration, drive and motivation...  The one thing I might not have is time and that in itself is even more motivation.  I have never had a clear path nor a smidgen of an idea of what I wanted to do with my life.  It is now clear as crystal where I want, no need my life to go.  I have learned, grown, matured, and had countless epiphanies over that past 4+ months that I can no longer hide from my future.  Going forward my life will consist of a few basic yet direct principles and missions.  The top of this list is going to be being happy.

It is strange to me that I can say something as basic as the most important and guiding principle in my life going forward will be to be happy.  I feel like everyone should live by this simple guideline, yet so many of us fall into lives that we truly don't enjoy.  Routine becomes habit and habit becomes familiar and familiar is safe.  We like safe, we like security and people for the most part are afraid of things that are not guaranteed.  I am at a point where I am not guaranteed too much other than right now and so this alleviates a lot of fear that most people let hold them back. As of today I have a new mission in life and that is to help people be happy.  This is what makes me happy and with some help from you guys we can do this together and I think you will see why helping others live happy will make you happy.

I am in the process of setting some things up that will shape and direct my life going forward, there are going to be some major changes and step one was simplifying my life.  I started this yesterday by literally cutting my possessions in half.  I didn't have too much stuff to begin with, but I had a lot of stuff that I didn't need that maybe someone else can benefit from.  I know all of you can do quite well doing this in your lives.  I made a rule and stuck to it with the only exceptions being nostalgic memories.  The rule was simple, if I hadn't used it in the last 2 years, it was gone.  After a couple hours, my bedroom was nearly empty including a completely empty dresser.  I will be sharing the next few parts of my new life going forward in due time, and I will be calling upon some of you for your help.  You have all helped me tremendously already, and I hope I have not yet worn out my welcome.

"Find happiness in simplicity, find chaos in greed."

FTGF,
Ryan
xo

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Benefit and Birthday wrap up (Finally)

After another 2 week hiatus and I apologize.  I have been exceptionally busy on the weekends and I have no internet access while I stay in LA aside from my phone.  Today I finally get to give a full report on the event we had at Detroit Bar and my birthday weekend which was both hard and amazing.  The third part of this post will be an explanation of my 'new life.'  There are things that have been set in motion that are now trains and will become very hard to stop.  To say this experience has changed my life is both cliche and an extreme understatement at the same time.  So lets start with the event that was on 2/9.

HOLY SHIT.  Thats all I can say about that.  I am STILL utterly shocked, amazed, awed, inspired, motivated, grateful, moved and touched by ALL the support that was shown.  There were close to 430 people who eventually passed through the doors of the place at one time or another.  I was scared, absolutely petrified that it was going to be a waste of time and nobody would show and it was going to be a waste of everyones love and effort who helped organize it.  I was wrong.  Very wrong.  The first good sign was when they put presale tickets up and nearly 150 were sold in less than a week!  I showed up a bit late, I was having trouble finding a ride, but upon my arrival around 8:45 there was already A LINE of people in the parking lot waiting to get in.  I was speechless and literally nearly cried.  To see so many people who truly care about you and want to help you is the most moving thing I have ever experienced.  I wish that everybody could have felt the feeling I had when I saw all of those people, it was unexplainable and it was amazing.  I was told not to hug anyone and avoid people as much as I could- I didn't listen.  I hugged everyone I could find and I think I kissed a few too.  I didn't care, at that moment all I cared about was showing how much I appreciated EVERYONE who came out.  The night was a HUGE success and the greatest testament to the people I surround myself with.  There were people I hadn't seen in close to 15 years who came from distances as far as Oregon just to be there.  There were plenty of people I did not know, but everyone there knew me through someone I was friends with.  I try my hardest to only surround myself with genuine and humble people...  Well after Saturday night (and I think and you guys can agree who were there,) I might have the best group of friends in the world.  There were drinks, there were laughs and even some tears, but when it was over and I was wellllllllll past my bed time I knew I was going to get through this with those people who were there that night standing strong right beside me.  My blood counts were low and I was risking getting sick with every hug and every second I spent there, but I did not care one bit.  I somehow knew I would be fine and I was.  I woke up the next morning STILL trying to wrap my head around how little 'ol Ryan could draw in a crowd of nearly 450 people- and then I realized it was all of you.  The people in my life are epic, not me.  You all make me who I am and help shape me as a person!  I draw my inspiration from you all and it feeds my desire and determination to beat this monster (and that is exactly what I am currently doing!!!!!!)

I need to thank a few people again, and make sure you guys truly know how much I appreciate you all in my life.  The people who were the organizers and purveyors of the event.  Leah, Jessica, Anthony, Lindsay and my partner in crime Natashia.  You guys were astounding and I still can't figure out where half of the awesome prizes came from.  You guys took the lead and made an astounding night of fun, entertainment and humanitarianism all in one.  I honestly can never thank you guys enough, but I will most certainly try.  I love you all like a fat kid loves cake!!

To everyone who donated things, you guys made this even possible and made spending a little bit of money even more worth it.  Without your donations (and this list is huuuuuuge) we would not have raised nearly as much as we did!  I hope one day you all will one day depend on me for something and allow me to repay you in some way.  I love you all like Willy Wonka Loves chocolate.

To the bands, David and the DJ-  You guys simply fucking rock. Period. I now have 3 new favorite bands and I am pretty sure I believe in magic now...  EVERYONE needs to check out Restavrant   Restavrant's Facebook!,  RT N the 44's   RT N the 44's Facebook Page and Dano Forte's Juke Joint Freak Show  Dano Forte's Juke Joint Freak Show Facebook! and if you see wanna see some legit magic, do yourself and check out David Bonfadini at  David Bonfadini the epic magician! -  how many MAGICIANS do you know that are sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drink??  Well now you know one.

And thank you to Detroit for allowing us to rough up your bar a little and hopefully not leave it too worse for the wear.  Detroit bar is an awesome place for GREAT music and I can say I have stumbled into there on more than a few occasions and come out with a new band obsession.  They are constantly booking great bands that rock the place and most any day of the week you can find some good tunes with stiff drinks.

Thanks to everyone who helped out in anyway!  There were probably another 30 people who helped with the photos, selling, organizing, raffle, and countless other things.  You all know who you are and I thank you and tip my hat to you all.  I love you all like a dog loves his bone.

The night was a huge success and we raised around $12,000.00.  Thats right, our little group of friends in one small area of Orange County was able to rally together and raise over $12,000.00.  This is just the beginning of what is to come.  Like I said, this has changed my life in more ways than I could ever explain and going forward I plan on helping to change other people's lives with all of your help.  I will tell you more about that at a later date, right now I want you all to realize what you did.  You helped save a life.  You all gave me another shot at LIVING, the most basic and important part of life is to be alive and now I feel like I have a future that wont be littered with 100k in medical bills swamping me and not ever being able to get out of debt.  For all of you, I like to think this was no sweat off your back and I hope you had as much fun as I did.  Think about that, you were able to change someone's life while having a great time, meeting new people, re-aquatinting old friends and seeing some awesome bands.  Who would have thought changing someone's life was as easy as a typical Friday night out with friends?!?!  Just sayin...

Thanks again for that epic night and you all are the true heroes.

_______________________


My birthday!  The day I turned 28.  For a second there wasn't sure if I was going to make it, but here we are!  We initially planned on going out on Saturday, but unfortunately my body had other ideas.  I had an early morning appointment of chelation therapy to help clean my blood which put me on my ASS for the duration of the day.  I could neither keep my eyes open long enough, nor eat a smidgen so my actual birthday was spent on a couch.  BUT, the following day I was not going to let this hold me back.  I woke up feeling equally as terrible, but I did not care.  I forced and willed myself to feel better and after a while I was.  A group of astounding friends and I ate an awesome dinner at True Foods in Fashion Island.  This is an amazing restaurant which serves natural, organic and fresh food at the most reasonable prices imaginable.  They have juices that are nearly irresistible and torture for someone who is no longer allowed to eat fruit since fruit sugar is my ultimate enemy at the moment!  We laughed, ate and had our own little private room.  It was great to be with friends I care about and not being on a couch was like euphoria to me!  Thank you to all of my friends who came out, and even those who were over an hour late (no names ;).  It was truly the most memorable birthday I have EVER had, I will never forget that night, our drinks at Muldoons, the laughs and the company.  You guys became a part of my life that will live on in my memory as long as my radiated and infected brain will retain the thought.  xo

Check the link below for an awesome array of photos thanks to the epically talented Leanna!  If you EVER need an amazing photographer check her out at  Leanna Jean Photo

Pictures from the show!!!!

If you were at the show, you know I had a little 'speech' I wrote out which I ended up no being able to read at all.  Well here it is if you are still interested :)


+It is going to be extremely hard to not be overly cliche and predictable in situations like these, but I'm going to try. 

I have been through a lot in the past few months and I've seen a lot in this life, good bad beautiful horrific Inspiring and everything in between. My time in africa showed me just how desolate and absolutely brutal life can be and my time with my friends and family doing amazing things has showed me how beautiful, awesome and utterly astonishing life can be.  I'm now in a new group, the so called cancer family. The one family that not a single person in their right mind wants to be a part of. I didn't chose this, but if it was between me and any of you I would bear this burden 1000 times over. For me, seeing the ones I love suffer is far more painful than going through it myself. I see children, CHILDREN a fifth of my age going through treatment. They are battered, bruised and some you can tell just wont make it. But they fight. They fight like they are trained and experienced veterans of life and all it has to offer.  Seeing things up close will change your perspective on life.  It is one thing seeing a TV commercial or hearing about people that are in need, but seeing it in your face will change you, I guarantee.

We all base our lives on perspective. It is impossible to deny this and to what degree each person does this is largely based on what they have experienced. To be more clear, you all feel bad for me and that is amazing and I can not thank you all enough, but there are people far more worse off than I. I ask you all to do what you are doing now. You are helping me in a way you will never really know and I can't ever explain, but I ask you to continue on. There are so many amazing organizations, hospitals and non profits and PEOPLE that need endless amounts of help. I don't care what it is, where it is or how often you do it. Just help others! If you think you have the strength go to a children's hospital and volunteer, do it. It will only take you a second to understand why I say if you think you are strong enough. If that does not change your perspective and appreciation for life, you probably should check for a pulse.  This, us here now is a testament to the power of the human spirit and our will and desire to help others in need. Maybe this is your first fund raiser maybe it's your 100th. Either way you now see just how easy it is to change a life…  TO help save a life.  If its your first, I hope this is a catalyst for you to start doing your part for the rest of the people who need a little help.   If it is your 100th, keep going.  I honestly can not thank you all enough and I never will be able to, but what I promise is that I will fight with all that I have.  I will exhaust every option and be a force for change.  You are all on the winning team now, and I hope you continue on this journey with me and allow me to one day repay you all. 

If you read my blog you know I usually end with a quote that I find funny or relate to what I talk about. I have tried my hardest to keep religion out of this because I neither want to offend or stray people in one way or another, but I think this quote by one of the greatest warriors and leaders the world has ever known is un biased and relative to a life worth living. 
Marcus arelius said, "Live a good life.  If there are gods and they are just, they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.  If there are Gods, but unjust, you should not want to worship them.  If there are no gods, then you will be gone.. but you will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."


FTGF,
Ryan xo

The Birthday Crew!

Stay tuned, next week I will be sharing some fun and exciting things!!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

My mother is my hero.

Some things get me thinking...

I have now been in treatment for brain cancer going on three weeks.  I have had my ups and downs just like any other person going through the wonderful world of chemo and radiation therapy.  Tuesday night I got the results from my latest lab work back and my white blood cell count dropped pretty low.  I was instructed to hold off on the chemo until my numbers stabilized and I was not at such a high risk to get overly sick.  I went on a 2 day "chemocation 2013" and it was glorious.  I had my energy back, I slept better and felt healthy again...  And then I tested again Friday and was told to start my chemo again...  Dang...  It was fun while it lasted.  I am not trying to say my chemo is terrible and I know for a fact that compared to most people going through what I am, I am literally on an island vacation.  My side effects have been minimal and I have yet to vomit once (knock on wood.)  The only thing is, I do not feel like myself.  I do not like taking toxic medications that were originally formulated to kill humans.  I do not like exposing myself to toxins that are known carcinogens and lethal in large amounts, but I am fighting.  Suffering in the short term is part of battle.  I am in a full fledged war on cancer and there will be hard times.  There will be bad times and no matter what I will stay strong.  My mother went through this right before my eyes and I can now for the first time ever say I truly can relate to how she felt.

My mother fought her war for a long time.  She was strong, and she was resilient.  She was the ultimate warrior and she is my hero.  I still remember her in all her beauty, not the time when the cancer took over her body...  I don't recall what she looked like when she passed and I do not care to.  That was not her.  That was cancer.  That was the disguise her body took on when the disease srpead so far that there was no hope left.  That was not my mother any longer, that was cancer.  What I remember was beauty, strength and power.   She was beautiful, a beauty only a mother can have in the eyes of her child.  She was such a fighter and refused to give up.  She never took on the attitude of "why me?" and I truly think that is what is making me so strong through all of this.  I HAD to stay strong for her sake and even in the hardest of times I could not let her see me cry.  There were two instances where I doubted myself and whether or not I could bear to see her suffer any longer.  One, I will keep to myself and the other was the day the doctor told us there was no hope left.

The doctor pulled myself and my sisters into his office and apologized, he said "I am sorry, but I don't think there is anything left that we can do.  The chemo is not working and I do not want to put your mother through anymore pain."  We kind of already knew this was coming and hearing it from the doctor simply cemented it in our heads.  We now had to prepare for the inevitable.  This was not the hard part.  We had a calendar at my mother's apartment which was a schedule of daily activities, Monday- radiation 10am.  Tuesday- day off (have fun!)  Weds- Chemo 11am.  Thursday- radiation 10am.  Friday- radiation 10am.  Saturday and Sunday- Make mom laugh.  This was our schedule and we stuck to it.  Once the doctor broke the news to us, that schedule became Mon-Sun make mom laugh like she has never laughed before.  My mother knew what happened and without telling her, she knew. She knew it was a lost cause and her days were now numbered.  She knew, but she wanted to fight.  She wanted to fight like a single warrior up against an army of 10,000 armed soldiers trained and focused on nothing but murder.  We changed the calendar one day to the above mentioned schedule, and she changed it back to the chemo and radiation schedule.  We told her we don't need to do that anymore and she didn't care.  She said she is fighting this and she is going to win.  She will see her grandsons first birthday and she will watch me marry and my sister have her first child.   She swore she would never smoke another cigarette, she said she will do WHATEVER it takes and she would not give up.  She changed the calendar three different times and it killed me inside every time having to see the chemo schedule back up.  She did not want to give up.  She had more fight in her than any person I have ever met in my life.  Even when it got bad towards the end, she swore she would never give up.  She is my hero, she is my angel and I admire her more today than I ever have.  She fought until her last breathe and both my sisters and I were there for her until the bitter end.  I have always been a 'momma's boy' and am proud of it.  I never left her side when I knew the end was coming and I think she knew I was there.  She waited to take her last breathe, she waited until I stepped out of the room for one stupid reason or another.  I was gone for less than 5 minutes and came back to a room with the empty shell of what was my mother.  She fought her ass off.  She tried to tame something that is untamable and she would not take no for an answer.  My mother is my hero. She is everything in life that I hope to become and I think everyone needs to take note of what a true fight looks like.

I apologize if I just got really emotional and made you step outside of your comfort zone.  I try my hardest to keep these posts as positive and up beat as I possibly can, but today for some reason I could not stop thinking about my childhood and the days spent with my mother.  Maybe it was being back in my old neighborhood with friends that I spent countless Super Bowls accompanied with my mom, maybe it was a talk I had with a newly war battered VICTOR Debbie Adams in the breast cancer battle or maybe I was just was overly thoughtful today.  Whatever it was, I am glad it happened.  I don't think about her as much as I used to and remembering her beautiful face is the perfect preparation for another week of toxic exposure and chemo madness.  I know what she went through and I know after watching what she fought through, this is a fucking cake walk.  Life is all a matter of perspective, we all have it good compared to the person who does not.  This is not a reason to feel sympathetic, this is a reason to live life.  This is why everyone should live their fucking lives like they have never lived before.  Don't find your will and desire to live a happy life because of me, find someone who is your hero and make a conscious decision to live a life that would make them happy.  And if you can not find a hero, live a life that would make everyone envious.  If we truly are here only once, make the best of it and DO NOT WAIT until you are forced to live, make a decision and break rules.  Have fun and do things that people say you shouldn't.

"Wherever life takes you, leave the place shaking, disrupted and trying to imagine what it was like before you came.  Be a force for change.  For pondering.  And re-pondering.  For LOVE and the belief in the GOOD OF PEOPLE.  Go forth and be a force of awesome.  Do epic, terrifying, unheard of shit.  Whatever makes you happy.  And drugs.  And other "bad" things.  And fall in love.  If nothing else, fall in love."

-Jordan Lejuwaan.

My new life motto.

xx
FTFG,
Ryan    

instagram @coffsauce for epic visuals of the cancer life.