Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thank you to everyone

I am sitting here with my tissues, finally going back and reading all of the posts from the beginning of this blog and this terrible disease and contemplating everything that I and my family have been through over the past 3 years.

There is no question whatsoever that this has been a roller coaster of an ordeal and that this disease is vicious and evil and leaves pain and destruction in its wake. I expected to go back and read all of the posts when things did not look so bright, and feel anger or frustration at why I was forced to go through these trials at such a young age, having only been married barely a year. A young man, at what some would say was at the prime of his life, ready to take on the world. I would expect to feel cheated, or at least short changed for what I had to go through and the permanent effects I have to live with everyday for the rest of my life, however long that may be. But these aren't the feelings I am feeling, as you may or may not have guessed. My thoughts turn to the state I was in, as I search for a way to explain what I am feeling.

Now that I am in remission and can call myself a cancer survivor, we have heard interesting accounts from my Oncologist talking about how the first Doctor in the hospital who saw me didn't think I was going to make it, along with a few of the nurses. How I was pretty much as bad as it gets, when they wheeled me into the bone marrow clinic that day; "a train wreck" was the description used by my Doctor that keeps sticking to my memory, and ironically was probably more accurate a description than anyone could have realized at the time. Now that my bones and spine have settled, I am sitting a comfortable 6 1/2 inches shorter than I was when I began this journey. As the cancer slowly ate away at my bones and I unknowingly continued my daily routine, seeing specialists and trying any off the wall exercise routine, I was just compounding the problem. With each movement, each attempt to bathe myself, each flight of stairs climbed, each slight bump in the road my car passed over, I was losing another fraction of an inch slowly but surely. With one vertebrae jamming its way into another vertebrae, my spine literally becoming a human train wreck being carried out in slow motion on the tracks of my skeleton.

As I think back on this scene as I mentioned earlier, my intuition wants to be angry and throw things and cry out that I have been wronged, I want to scream I don't and didn't deserve this (and nobody does for that matter). But I can' much as I want to, I just don't have it in me, and it is all clear when I look back, think about, and read over all the posts and responses and letters of support that I was given. I want to take all the credit for recovering and getting to where I am today, to write how amazing of a patient I was and how I looked cancer in the eye and wrestled it right out of me. After reading and thinking about what I went through and experiencing it for myself, I know that would be a lie to say that. I am sitting here today because of everyone else in my life who got me here. The community which came together in a way I have never seen before. There were people from all religions and faiths praying for me, fasting on my behalf and wishing me well. My dear sweet wife, and my wonderful family were there every single step of the way; by my bed, holding my hand, literally feeding me anything in Salt Lake which sounded good when I was to weak to do it myself. My own mother and my mother in law visited everyday and came to every test and became known as my "moms" to my medical staff. The doctors rallied and did everything humanly possible to provide me with the best care possible and not waste a day, hour, or minute doing it. The nurses and physician assistant's became friends I still keep in touch with, and friends we had not heard from in ages became our cheer leading squad. In essence, I just lied there, determined it was not my time to go, having received a spiritual confirmation that I would be around for years to come, while everyone else did the healing for me. It is true, I did not allow myself to give up hope, but I am here today because of all the love, kindness, and devotion that a whole community had to offer. I just wanted to thank you all for everything that was done on my behalf and let you know that we all did it in this case. God does live, and miracles do happen, and I was lucky enough to be a part of one. I could not have done it alone, and for that I will be forever indebted to each and everyone of you who played a part in my recovery. I have been relatively silent until now, but I want everyone to know that I am perfectly comfortable talking about and sharing my experience with anyone and everyone. I am confident that if I could get better that there is hope for anyone else out there. I would love to hear from you or talk to anyone you know who is going through similar trials; my door is always open and my phone is always on.

One more thing; as I celebrate my anniversary today, I would be very ungrateful if I didn't mention the secret to my silent strength. My wife has always been right by my side, literally sleeping right next to me every single night in those dreamy and extremely comfortable (the sarcasm is thick here) hospital beds. If you have every spent a night in a hospital you know easy it is to sleep (still thick) when the nurses are coming in a few times a night to check your vitals and give you a drug or two, and see how you are doing. If you know Katie, you will also know how much she cherishes her sleep (now I am being serious), and what a true sacrifice it must have been to continue sleeping there night after night, just so I was never alone. I love you Katie and I will never stop loving you, and I pray every day that you will know it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone for getting me where I am today. I could have never done it alone. Sometimes the greatest thing you can do for a friend in need, is just be there or say a prayer in their behalf, and that was unequivocally the case for me in my recovery.


Aaron Salazar said...

I know I'm not your best pal but I am still very happy for your recovery. I've seen your occasional post on Facebook and it seemed like you have been doing pretty well for a while. I'm so glad that you were able to kick this. From the sound of this post, you are stronger for it. What happy news!

P.S. Just in case, I'm one of the MBA guys that went to China with you.

Jules said...

What a beautiful post Brandon. Your graciousness and gratitude in the face of adversary and all that you've been through are truly remarkable. You are my hero.

K said...

You are such an amazing person! Your humility and gratitude demonstrate this strength of character. Happy anniversary! You and Katie deserve a lifetime of happiness!

Chris said...

Such an incredible story Brandon, thanks for sharing it. I will second what Aaron said, I know we didn't know each other well; however, so good to hear that you are doing well and that you have such a wonderful family surrounding you. God Bless and hope all is well.

Ashley Homer said...

Your post bring tears to my eyes, a bit for the pain and suffering you had to go through, but mostly for your strength, graciousness, and positive attitude. You are someone I admire greatly! I love you cous, and I am so grateful you are here. You are a great example on how we should be while facing adversity in this life here on earth. I hope that if I ever face anything even slightly as hard as this that I will bare it as beautifully as you have. Love you!

Lacey said...

i think you are a pretty courageous fighter. although you have changed somewhat physically, from your disease, you are still the quietly strong Brandon i have always known and love. Your family is amazing and it is truly our families, who can get us through these challenges. Love you friend.

Amy said...

Brandon, You dont say much, but it is SO nice to hear what is in your heart. It was AMAZING to see SO many people rally to help you, and to know that fasting and prayers of other really are miraculous. And you do have an awesome, strong, loving wife whom I admire quietly all the time. I am so glad to hear you are still cancer free. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with all of us. It is amazing.

Laurel said...

Hey Bud-

You're an inspiration to all.....even your older brother! What a thoughtful post. It really is amazing to see what can happen when people come together and unite their love, prayers and compassion towards a common goal. You're living proof of that. I hope you never forget how many people love and care for you....Myself included.... I know you won't.

Thanks for this post because it helps all of us know how you're doing and how you're feeling. Sometimes it's easier to express things in writing rather than speaking and you did a superb job in giving all of us, your fans, an update. I'm so thankful that you're alive and well! It truly is one of the greatest blessings in my life.

Love you lots man. I'm glad we're brothers forever!


Cindy Griswold said...

Hi Ryan,
It's been a long time since we've talked however your mom has kept me informed. She sent me the link to your blog this morning. I am so impressed with the degree of honesty you expressed. Let's face it going through but you did was not easy & did not come without a price. The question "why" comes with real weight that sometimes in itself is almost too great to bare. I'm so happy for you, your family & are their everything & you now have a new lease on life. My best wishes from a distant cousin in California! PS I totally get the hospital bed thing. Our Hannah endured medical issues related to her hydrocephalus which meant 41 plus brain surgeries & many nights in the hospital. Love the accomdations.....:) Hugs & kisses from the Griswold family.

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