Our life took a completely unexpected turn when we found out that Ryan, my husband of 10 years has Stage 3C colon cancer at 29 years old, just a week after learning we are expecting our first child. We have been blessed by an outpouring of love and support!
Cancer sucks. We all know that though, right? I think everybody these days has been touched by cancer in one way or another. Two years ago I traveled down Cancer Road with my Dad when he was diagnosed with lymphoma just a few short months after he celebrated his retirement. Thankfully he beat it.
I had been hoping that my Dad’s experience with cancer would be my last close encounter, but here I am again, and this time it’s with my husband. I’ve mentioned Ryan before, he’s my high school sweetheart, love of my life and the person responsible for everything technical here at CenterCutCook. We’ve been married for 10 years now (yes, we were very young when we got married), and we got the shock of our lives shortly before Christmas when we learned he has colon cancer at a healthy 29 years old.
Sure we indulge in Chocolate Lasagna and Chocolate Chip Lava Cookies on occasion, but we’ve always been pretty good about getting our fruits, veggies, and whole grains. We make it to the gym at least four days a week, and take our sweet dogs for a good two mile walk almost daily. I guess what I’m getting at is we thought we were doing just about everything right. Cancer, however, doesn’t discriminate. Young, old, good health, poor health, it doesn’t matter.
The purpose of this post today is two-fold. First, I want to bring awareness to the fact that cancer happens in young adults more often than most people realize. Secondly, I’m using this post as therapy. Typing out what happened is SO much more affordable than finding myself a therapist, although Lord knows I probably need one of those too. ;) My hope though, is that perhaps someone will read this and benefit from it in some small way.
In the beginning of November, Ryan came down with the “stomach flu” that consisted of abdominal pain and cramping with vomiting. It lasted a few days, but before we knew it, he was back to normal. A few weeks after that, the “stomach flu” returned again, and we began thinking maybe it was a gall bladder issue. On December 17th, the “flu” came back for a third time, so we called the doctor who recommend we head to the ER to have some tests done.
- Abdominal Ultrasound – normal
- Blood work – normal
- Endoscopy – normal
We were beginning to think it really was just the stomach flu three times in six weeks, but the GI specialist decided to order a CT scan just to be sure.
Cancer? You’re joking, right?
The CT scan revealed a 8.5cm x 5cm mass in Ryan’s colon, along with some enlarged lymph nodes. I was shocked. Actually, shocked is an understatement. Cancer? Really? You must be joking, right? Colon cancer was last on my list of possible illnesses that Ryan had. 90% of all colon cancer cases occur in those over 50, how is Ryan one of the 10%?
A colonoscopy the next day confirmed that it was indeed cancer, and that the tumor had perforated the bowel wall and was getting dangerously close to his appendix. Before we could blink our eyes, Ryan was being wheeled off to surgery in excruciating pain to have two feet of his colon removed, along with his appendix and some lymph nodes.
Oh, and by the way…. I’m Pregnant
Just one week before the cancer diagnosis, Ryan and I were celebrating the fact that the baby we had wanted for so long was finally on the way. The conversation with our families went something like this…. “Ryan has cancer, and oh, by the way…. we’re pregnant.” How’s that for a roller coaster ride?
This little baby is a miracle for more reasons than one, and will certainly be the shining light at the end of the tunnel as we begin our journey with chemotherapy. I’m about 9 weeks along, and feeling pretty good all things considered.
So, here we are….
So, here we are… 9 weeks pregnant and about to begin our journey to do what it takes to kick cancer’s butt! I don’t know why God has decided to take us down this path, but I have to believe it’s for a reason. Ryan’s official diagnosis is Stage 3C colon cancer. We know the road might be bumpy, and there will probably be some obstacles along the way, but we also know that cancer doesn’t stand a chance! Ryan is strong, and we are blessed to have some amazing supportive friends and family to pray for us, and send healing thoughts our way.
It is truly humbling to see how people come out of the woodwork to help in situations like this. I’ll give you a few examples.
The Food Blogging Community Rocks!
As a food blogger, I am lucky to be a part of a wonderful community of other food bloggers who are so supportive and caring. In fact, some of them began a Give Forward campaign on our behalf. I was literally a sobbing mess when I saw what they had done.
And then… they completely outdid themselves and shared comfort food recipes and said all kinds of nice things that put a smile on my face that hasn’t left! You should go check out these lovely ladies and the delicious comfort food they shared. To die for!
- Kick Ass Chicken Lasagna – Sugar Dish Me
- Taking Meals to Friends and Family – Barefeet in the Kitchen
- Slow Cooker Turkey and Potato Cheese Soup – On the Banks of Squaw Creek
- Chicken Soup – The Midnight Baker
- 25 Best Meals to Deliver to a Friend – The Slow Roasted Italian
- Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole – My Gluten-Free Kitchen
- Cashew Rice Bowl – Vegan in the Freezer
- Pepperoni Pizza Dip – Wishes and Dishes
- Blogger Spotlight – Crazy for Crust
Not only does the food blogging community rock, our family and friends are amazing as well. My sister and brother in law came and stocked my fridge full of food while Ryan was in the hospital. It was SO nice to not even have to think about what to make when I’d get home at night after a long day at the hospital.
And of course, this all happens when Chicago was getting all kinds of snow. Our neighbors were so kind to keep up with shoveling and snow blowing our driveway, day after day when the snow kept coming and coming.
I could go on and on, people are truly amazing.
If you follow me on Facebook, I’ve posted updates here and there talking a little bit about this situation. I have to say, you guys are AMAZING! The support from people that don’t even know us, except through my little corner on the Internet has been mind boggling. All of the encouraging stories from those of you who have gone through a cancer diagnosis yourself, the stories from caregivers, and just the kind words of support and prayers has been so overwhelming. I love how the Internet can bring complete strangers together and make the world seem just a little bit more connected. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
So what’s ahead?
The first two weeks after Ryan’s surgery were all about recovery. This week a flurry of activity started as we met with the oncologist for the first time and began to prep for chemo to start: scans, port surgery, blood work, and all kinds of fun stuff! In a little over a week, Ryan starts chemotherapy. It feels good to know that we have a game plan and can get started with this part of his treatment. The sooner we get started, the sooner he will be cancer-free!
If you’re still reading this, I am IMPRESSED! You deserve a cookie. Maybe one of these White Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Cookies?
Oh, and have you noticed our new look? CenterCutCook got a major makeover the other day and I couldn’t be happier with it! I’ll be posting more about that on Monday. :)
In the meantime, if you’ve got any encouraging words of support, I’d love to hear it!
Have a wonderful weekend.