Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How drastic changes can easily happen

Hi everyone,

Sorry that it's taken awhile to be in touch. As I mentioned in my last Blog, things have taken quite a change for the worst. It turns out that that was an understatement compared to now.

I'm sitting here writing with more blindness and partial paralysis on my right side after having a significant downturn in events over the past two weeks. It was on New Year's Eve that I fell over while I was getting dressed. I truly realized that something was wrong and with tears in my eyes, I asked Tasha to come upstairs to talk to me about what was happening.

I let her know that I was now experiencing partial paralysis in my right side, but was hoping that it was simply a side effect of the CCNU chemotherapy treatment. She called in and the doctors requested me to go into emergency. After spending quite a few hours in emergency, it was determined that it might have been a stroke and wanted me to stay. I was pretty upset to be spending New Year's Eve in the hospital, but oh-well, you do what you gotta do.

Turns out that I was able to leave for a few hours on New Year's Day because they weren't able to get me in for an MRI just yet. I did the MRI on January 2 and things went downhill from that point forward. The results showed that my tumour now had progressed to my brain stem and there was nothing else that they could do to help me. I was told that it was best to be in contact with a hospice and get myself prepared to go onto the next world (whatever that might be).

Since then I've made adjustments to walking and my home life with respect to helping me get around. I am using a cane on my left side to help me balance and am partially paralyzsed on the right side. It took a couple of days for us to digest what was going on. But with my past experience it wasn't that hard and I stole an idea from a great book "Tuesday's with Morrie". It was about having a party while I am still here with close friends and family.

On Friday night we had 60 people over for food and drinks. Lots of pictures were taken to remember what was going on if I do actually pass away soon. It was so nice to see so many people and to feel the love that I have around me, which I am very lucky to have. One thing that really stands out to me about this situation is that as bad as this might be, I am very fortunate to have what I do.

Tasha and I were back on the news again today so that we can do what we can to help other people take advantage of the fact that we even exist. To ensure that the small stuff means nothing and what is truly important is LOVE, PEACE and HAPPINESS. This life we live is full of chaos so please do yourself a favour and take the time to slow things down. Otherwise, you won't even see it until the time comes to go.

I will be continuing with my blog as time goes on to fill you in on any changes. Although I do feel very confident that I will be here for quite a while, I have also accepted that I might not be.

Peace, Love, Happiness.

Ciao for now...


Anonymous said...

Ryan: I have been following your blog since last year's tv show. I hope you realize how inspiring you are in the way you live your life. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Meanwhile I continue to pray for you and your family and the best possible outcome.

Lisa in Calgary

Rethink Breast Cancer said...

Thank you for sharing this Ryan. You have an incredible family and you are such an inspiration to all of us here at Rethink. Everyone in the office has just been reading this post and are all a bit in awe. Thank you. We continue to think of you so much.


Todd Kane said...

Ryan, your life and perspective have played a role in my life, beyond anything that I have shared with you thus far. It`s important to live life while you have the opportunity. Love and happiness are far more important than our attachments. I made an affirmation for 2010 to `let go and live.` In keeping with that I plan to travel the world and re-evalute what makes me happy. Either way I plan to start living life everyday. Thanks for your inspirational bravery and your willingness to share your experience. You are loved and will be missed.

- Todd

Anonymous said...


This truly breaks my heart, but, as I saw with Elias - your courage and love of life still shines through and it's an incredibly admirable quality.

Please know, you and Tash are welcome to contact me anytime. Not that I have wonderful information to impart on you, but I have unfortunately been through this and sometimes just talking with someone who 'gets it' can help - at least that's what I've really found.

One other thing - after Elias died I read 'Death is of Vital Importance' by Elizabeth Kubler Ross, and it really helped me come to terms with the process of it all, and that there can actually be beauty in it. I think it's an important read for anyone, really (we all get there some day), and I think Elias would have valued the opportunity to read it, which is why I thought I'd share it with you. I hope you don't mind.

Anyhow, my thoughts are with you and your family every day. There are times it's not easy to keep that outlook, but you are doing an amazing job at it, and it's an amazing gift you are giving Tasha and Talyn.


Louise and David said...

Dear Ryan,
We are amazed that you are still able to write like this, with so much passion for life and such an interest in helping others to "take advantage of the fact that we even exist".

The Friday night party that you and Tasha had, your latest appearance in the news and today's blog entry are gifts to all of us who are privileged to experience first-hand, the love, peace and happiness you have found in life. We accept your challenge to "slow things down" and to see how fortunate we are to have what we have.

Thank you for your example of honesty and courage as you continue to meet life with confidence and face death with acceptance.

You, Tasha and Talyn are often in our thoughts and are always in our prayers.
Louise and David

kent pankow said...

Ryan - You are truly a fighting machine with this beast. I am thinking about you and your battle as I am going through a much similar situation. We met at the Brain Tumour Awareness Conference in November, sat next to each other at a table during a talk from Dr. Petruk from Edmonton. You are inspiring me to fight even harder, pushing myself to work harder in the gym to stay fit for future struggles ahead. I am on the Ava$tin/Etoposide train right now, it's going o.k. except for the ridonkulous cost! I'm really glad to hear you are blogging again. Keep fighting brother and stay strong. all the best to your wife and child - Much respect -
Kent Pankow in Edmonton 780-642-1664

Carol Westberg said...

Holding you all gently in my heart!
You truly are a Warrior Ryan. You are an inspiration and as I continue the battle with the myeloma beast...I will always remember our day at the TBCC with Shane and think of your courage and enthusiasum for life and all that it holds!!!
Good Luck on your journey. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!!!
Gentle Hugs..
Carol Westberg

Anonymous said...

Hi Ryan,

I just finished watching you and your family on the news and i wanted to say how inspirational you are. It made me smile to see how many smiles came from your son , your wife and yourself during such hardships at this time. Soon my smiles were accompanied by tears, but not the sad kind I will have you know. They were tears of happiness because i was in awe of the bliss that you and your loved ones managed to create with the time that we are given. It made me sit back and think to myself not to be so stressed about the little things that do not to be stressed over.
Like i said, you are an inspiration and I thank you for getting your story out to everyone because it makes one realize how important each and every second is.

I wish you all the blessings in the world you shall be in my prayers.

-NeaKeah , Calgary AB

Kitchen Utensil said...

Thank you for sharing your story! My heart goes out to you and your family. My husband and I also had cancer affect our lives in the first 2 years of our marriage. Thankfully he has conquered his disease and we now are so thankful to have experienced what we did. We have changed our lives to live every moment and treasure all the time we have had. Unfortuately until you walk through the devastation of cancer you really don't understand what it means to "live your best life". Thank you for sending your word out to everyone - I hope they embrace your message. Our thoughts are with you all, and God bless you Tasha - I've been in your shoes.
The Kitchen Family

kelly said...

Hi Ryan
I was watching the news and saw your story, I am so sad to see the cancer has spread. I met you and your family while we were going through radiation Jan/09, always enjoyed our chats. I remember the day of your last radiation and we said goodbye that we would meet again and you gave me the best hug ever. You have had a hell of fight and have done it with grace and strength that many cannot image.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Kelly Anne Murphy

Anonymous said...

Ryan...I want to say thank you for sharing your story on the news tonight. Ironically today I googled "how to be happy when you have cancer". I think there was a reason that I saw your story today. Since 2005 I have had to deal with cancer. Every test I hope for some good news but with each test things get a little worse. The last couple of months I got tired of being positive all the time (I think I've done well for 5 years of this crap!) But when I saw you tonight being so positive and the obvious love for your family I knew it was time to quit feeling sorry for myself and focus on all the great things in my life. I have a wonderful husband, amazing kids (11,8,4), great family, and super friends. What is more important than all of that? NOTHING. I wish you and your family love and peace. Thank you....you have given me hope again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. You have shown us and inspired us by the way that you have lived your life. My family and I will continue to pray for you and your family.

You are in our thoughts.
Natasha in Calgary

Anonymous said...


Ever since I read the latest news, I have been thinking about the first time we met. I vividly recall what struck me most was your amazing, positive view on life and your easy smile. Even though our interactions were mainly work-related you were always upbeat and ready to take on the world.

As I have followed your latest challenge on your blog and the television what always came shining through was that same positivity and appreciation of life and the gifts we have been given. Even in the face of the most dire news, you battled and celebrated the greatest gift of all; family.

Ryan, I would like to share a thought that I imagine is universal among those who were fortunate enough to have ever spent even a minute with you. My life has been enriched by the little time we spent together. Through your battle you have taught me life lessons that I will carry with me forever and have demonstrated an attitude that I will always aim to replicate.

Thinking and praying for you and your wonderful family.

Your friend from the Best Coast,


Anonymous said...

Hey Ryan: Wanted to thank you again for Friday night and also for allowing me to be a part of your life over the past year. You have truly impacted me beyond words. I look forward to kicking your...in our next round of golf! Take care and we'll talk soon.
Your Friend Brad

Julie-Anne said...

Ryan, There is a common theme here I see in everyone's comments, and that is just how much zest and love you have for life and for those around you. Long before the word 'cancer' even became part of your immediate world, this too was the Ryan I was so lucky to have known. Your passion and energy for ingesting life at pretty much all moments of every day used to blow me away. You laughed and danced and lived like there was no tomorrow. I will always hold tight to my many memories, in particular you insisting I come out onto the deck after dinner (UBC) to watch the sunset (every night!), and wailing along in the THING, roof down, me driving you playing guitar and both singing at the top of our lungs on another aimless Kootenay road trip, not a care in the world. I still have the tape (somehow we managed to record ourselves too?). We were young and life was easy. Anyhow, my point is that, even then, you drove home the notion daily that live is a gift and you wasted no time living it to the max. But the most beautiful part is how determined you were to spread your love for life with those around you. And though many years have passed, I see the Ryan I knew is the Ryan many others are so blessed to know too. HUGE-MON-GOUS bear hugs from my family to yours Ryan. Thank You for impacting my life in the most beautiful of ways.
Your friend, Julie-Anne

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story on Global this evening. It reminds everyone how precious life can be and how things can change so sudden. Live today as we never know what tomorrow brings. Best wishes for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ryan and family,

I have a full family, beautiful wife, 2 young girls, 2 older kids, and work every day, 7/12/365 for the last few years. I never get to see them enough, and keep promising myself that will change. I saw your story on the news tonight, hearing about it for the first time, and hope you have as much time as you can with your family. I complain of my daily problems of working too much, being way too burned out. I made a personal New Year's goal to change that this year. YOU WILL inspire me to continue to fight for that.

I wish you, your family, and close friends well, and I promise you, over this period of time, all of you will remember each moment, happy and sad, but glad you were there to witness them and cherish these memories forever.

Like many, thinking of all of you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ryan,

You remind me so much of my Uncle who also had Brain Cancer. He had an uphill battle for 3 years when they told him he was only going to live 6 months. I just want to tell you that you are a truly remarkable person. I hope that more people can read your blog and learn to be more positive. I wish more people celebrated their life the way you do. It breaks my heart that a person of your stature has to go through this and your family as well. I hope for the best for you and your family.

-EB from YCC =]

Kym L said...

Ryan, I haven't checked out your site for a while, and I see that a lot has changed. Still, you, and your beautiful family, remain strong. It seems a common theme, to speak of what an inspiration you are. Your love for Tasha, Talyn and LIFE, especially in the face of such adversity, is truly inspiring. Your are all heroes to me, and I keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

With love,

Anonymous said...

Anyone suffering with Cancer, or knows someone suffering, needs to see this: www.phoenixtears.ca

I wish I had before my dear Dad lost his fight with it.

Good luck to you, Ryan. My thoughts and wishes are with you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Watch the documentary "Run from the cure" at: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7331006790306000271#

Anonymous said...

I do not know you or your family personally but feel compelled to write. I saw you on the news last year and had hoped that everything would improve for you. When I saw you on the news again last night I was saddened for you and your family but also awestruck at how strong you are. None of us know how long we have here on earth but you should know what an inspiration you have been for others....teaching those around you to truly live in the moment and enjoy every minute of every hour. Thanks for sharing with us.

Anonymous said...

I saw your story on the news. I'am now following your blog. You truly are amazing. I'am speechless as I sit here as no words can describe how absolutley truly amazing I think you are. I have never meet you, but just watching your story on the news,How positive and amazing you are. God bless you and your family. Your wife seems like such a strong and wonderful woman. You can win this fight. Enjoy every minute with your family. God bless you.

Fiona McQuillan said...

Ryan, I am so sad to hear about all of this..I want you to know that I have always thought about you on a regular basis over the years, wondered how you were doing and smiled regularly thinking of all of the amazing times and adventures we had at UBC. You and your family are in my thoughts..

Anonymous said...

Ryan: I am dating Brad Gustafson & he has kept me posted on your condition. He loves you so much & you have been an inspiration to him. My husband died of cancer in aug 2008. I was 37 & my twin daughters were age 2 & our baby girl age 1. I'm so glad you had the party w/ people close to you. You & your family have only two choices now... let this devastate you or become inspiring, strong, loving examples. I think you have done the latter. One friend sent me a card when my husband was sick... it said "when life throws you a curve ball...swing!". How true. We can't always control the hand we are dealt. But we can sure pick how we play the hand. Thanks for playing yours in a way that will leave an inspiring legacy! Susie West

Anonymous said...

Ryan - Because of being our investor I have known about your journey and have been following your blog. Mario and I can only say thank you for being so open and honest. It is because of people like you who share that people like us can take the steps to appreciate those around us and the life we have. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Peace to you Ryan.
Mario & Louise

Anonymous said...

Ryan . i saw your story for the 1st time today , i sat there and cried , our 3 year old said " Mommy what are you doing ?" wow reality has it way of setting in...
My husband to has been battling cancer , his is a very rare form , 50 poeple in the world.They said 3 years ago may be a year , but than after a stem cell transplant and a highest dose of chemo ... he was great for 3 years , sept 10 appt his white blood count began going up&up... so trusting in his doctor we are presentltly deciding what to do .... ct scan next week etc ...
thinking posative and being a strong posative cowboy has brought him a long ways ... i feel i can relate with your wife , she must so kind hearted , strong and good will ... please give her alot hugs .... you are our prays...

Anonymous said...

I need to thank you for sharing your experience with all of us in this world. I often think of you, Tasha and Talyn and I am reminded how lucky I am to be surrounded by my husband, my little girls, my friends and family - because what else is there? When I want to have a 'melt-down' I realize that I haven't the right or the justification. You really are an inspiration - Talyn is lucky to have such parents!! I wish you the best that can be - take care.

Tara in Calgary

(my daughter Cydney was in Gymboree with your son for a few sessions - you and Tasha have a great little boy!)

Michael Permack said...

Dear Ryan and Tasha,
You are two special people who have shown literally tens of thousands of people what it is to live life to the fullest in the most extreme of circumstances. Fran and I think and pray for you guys everyday. Sharing an article with you was special but sharing time with you is priceless. I was so pleased to see your post yesterday. You have our support anyway we can.
God bless!

Vic & The Wearmouths said...

Hey Ryan, I saw your story on Global last night...it was awesome. You are so positive, and such an inspiration to me as I've said before. I haven't seen you in a while at Dr. Rays but I think of you, Tash and Talyn all the time. I had no idea (obviously) things had changed so much. Is it ok if I let Terry (Nieth) know? You may have told him already but if not, I'm sure he'd appreciate it. Take care of you my friend and way to keep up the good fight with the beast! Lots of love, Vic and the Wearmouths!

Noel & Tammy said...

Ryan, your strength has truly inspired us. We have very fond memories of our investment meetings at the kitchen table. Those lessons were very important to us and still are. But the lessons you have taught us and many others over the last couple years are priceless. Every day of life is precious,.. its a gift. We thank you for that.
Our love to you and your family. We are thinking of you.

Noel & Tammy

Fiona said...

Hi Ryan, I don't think you check Facebook very often, but last night I scanned in a bunch of photos from UBC days I think you might enjoy looking through!

Unknown said...


It is amazing to read all the comments and see just how many lives you have impacted with your story. It was so nice to listen to you talk when you came into the office the other day. I am in complete awe of your strength, your love, and your ability to accept what comes your way. You have influenced my life in every way possible. I consider myself so blessed to have met you, and to have had the chance to get to know you. Mark and I were talking on the phone the other night, and he said he can't remember the last time he met someone so genuine, and who gave off such positive energy. You are a hero, and an amazing example of a person we should all strive to be like. I love you very much, and wish you nothing but peace and comfort, and as much time as possible spent with your beautiful family.

Kim Milne

Anonymous said...

To laugh, to cry to celebrate the life we have, so precious. No matter how long we have no in this world, to pass to another dimension. You will forever remain in my heart. You have deeply touched my life, fond memories of us talking for hours,laughing so loud that we disturbed the whole office making them jealous because we always had so so much fun. Singing lyrics to songs carrying on...One song comes to my mind when I think of you Ryan and that is "YOURE STILL YOU".
Thanks for being YOU and allowing me to share with you over the many years..
Much Love to you and your beautiful strong family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Love always
Colleen Rainha

Anonymous said...

Ryan -
I saw some old photos of you up on facebook, which prompted me to catch up on your blog. I can't express how sorry I am for this terrible turn. I think of you often, and the old Cactus days. I have the BEST photo of you (unfortunately, no scanner) of you in the pilot seat after flying me up to my parent's place in Powell River, BC. That great big smile of yours, you are just beaming! That happy, positive guy that I see you still are.
I'm thinking of you and I'm hoping for the best. Things can turn around when you don't expect them to.
Love Andrea (Hearder) Hutchinson

Anonymous said...

As I am here still working at 1:35am on a Friday night...I am questioning what is really important. Thank you Ryan for providing the answer. Bless you.

Trish LaLonde

liz said...

Ryan, its Liz Abreu, its been years since we've spoke. I heard of your tumor a few years ago, and lately you have come to mind. 4 days ago, I spoke aloud and wondered how you were and if you were ok. This morning on facebook someone had posted pics of you and had tagged Lisa Edwards. The pics said Memories of Ryan at UBC and I felt sick.
How you have popped into my mind, I don't know, but I know you were a wonderful person who was part of my life. I had so much fun with you.
Hugs to you, your beautiful wife and goregous child.
Thinking of you,

Anonymous said...

Hey Ryan, I remember the day I met you and Tasha at my house in Vancouver. You always make me feel so good with your amazing smile. Talyn is so lucky to have you for his Dad! Love you so much,
Mackenzie Pollitt

darkdreamer said...

Hi Ryan - every now and then I check in on your blog to see how you are doing - someone had posted the link it on the 90 Lions facebook site quite some time ago. Truly, you have faced all these challenges with far more grace and strength than 99% of us could. It is true what you say about taking time for the important things in life.

It was a shock to read your latest post and I did not see it coming, as I am sure many didn't. I remember how easily and quickly you smiled back in high school - and I wish you plenty more smiles. It's obvious by your photos that even though I haven't seen you since then, that smile and joy is still there. It's that inherent joy that allows you to be the inspirational person you are to anyone who's met you; thank you for sharing your struggles with such fierce optimism. Take your own advice - stay strong and live each day to the fullest. I know you will.
Carol-Lynne (Mould) Quintin

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to inspire the rest of us who often take each moment for granted. As our investor your smile and truly giving spirit inspired us from the first day we met. We wish all the best for you and your family as you continue on this journey.

Alesia & Benjy

Auntie B said...

Ryan, your positive outlook has been with me since we met 7 years ago. The love that you conveyed in sharing stories of Tasha and Talyn have inspired me to cherish the little things and accept all of life's challenges. You're an amazing personality. You and your family will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Gary McMurren said...


Jaime and I have been actively following your blog for the last year as well, and like everyone else, I wanted to thank you for making a very important impact on my life. I find that it can be so easy to get engrossed in what seem like important issues at work or home and become stressed, frustrated and even angry, but it takes someone like you to slap me in the face and remember what is important in life.

I read the comment from "your friend from the Best Coast", Francesco, and it's like he read my mind, but wrote it down on paper more eloquently than my grade 3 english. You exude such confidence and sheer happiness that is totally infectious. I remember Jaime wondering if you were the right "guy" for us before she met you, and I just remember telling her that she needed to meet you before she could understand why I was so sure.

You're a champ. Keep your faith and keep getting back up.

See you soon.


Tyson said...


It has been said many times. You are a remarkable friend, partner, father and human being.

You have been and continue to be truly an inspiration, your courage and strength are superhuman. Sharing your story with the world has been a gift to us all.

I speak to others of you and your courage on a very regular basis. Just this last week we were discussing a close family friend who is fighting a battle of her own, and you came up as an inspiration.

I'm sure you've heard this hundreds of times, but once more cannot hurt. I am very glad to know you.


Anonymous said...

...Thank you Ryan...for allowing us the chance to walk this path with you and your family...your strength is a inspiration to all...

...Leandra in Pincher Creek...

Anonymous said...

Hi Ryan,
I don't know if you will remember me. It's Shawna from CPA. My husband David Dutschek (your former student) just gave me the news of your story this a.m. and we have been reading your blog. I am very sorry to hear that you are facing this battle. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insight to allow others to learn from your experience. You always lit up the room and I have not forgotten your smile. Enjoy this time with family and close friends.
Our thoughts are with you,
David and Shawna Dutschek

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you remember me, but it's Shawna from CPA. You always made the day brighter with your wonderful smile when your walked into the office each morning.I just recently learned that you are facing this huge battle once again. My husband David (a former student of yours) saw your story on the news and we have been reading your blog. Thank you for your inspiring words and insight to what is important in this world. You have a beautiful family.

Enjoy this time with your family and friends. You are in our thoughts.
Shawna and David Dutschek