Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekly Recap, Car Ride, Fund Raisers and More…

Overall, Ryan had a good week. If there is such a thing as a light chemo week…it was one of those weeks. He says he is feeling better and stronger each day. The week was highlighted with not one, not two, but three excursions out of the hospital. The hospital staff allowed him to leave the hospital and go for a drive with his Dad for a couple of hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Ryan really enjoyed re-experiencing the routine. The things that we all take for granted everyday…a short car ride, trees and flowers in bloom, a view of an empty Ohio Stadium, Abby (the dog) putting her head on his knee for a quick ear-scratch and a drive by Leave a Mark Church, a Church of Ryan supporters. Re-experiencing all of these things gave him a tremendous mental boost.

Next week is a tough chemo week and Ryan is really dreading it. Please keep him in your prayers that he may be able to tolerate this ‘healing poison’ they are pumping into his body. He is very nervous about next week. The current plan calls for an ‘evaluation week’ the week after next.

Many blog readers have emailed or posted public words of encouragement for Ryan. What amazes me is the outpouring of support and encouragement from total strangers. Parents, who by fate, that have been brought together by this awful disease that’s attacking their precious children. We’ve received words of encouragement and prayers from parents of a child who fought alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma ten years ago and beat it. Thank you Lynn M for your kind words of encouragement. I passed your email to Ryan’s Dad, Brad (my brother.)

Here are a couple of reminders about the upcoming fund-raisers. Tomorrow night is the Skate for Ryan! event. Please try to attend. It should be a great night with a rink full of Ryan’s friends and supporters. Additionally, the deadline for registration for the Ryan Salmons Charity Golf Outing is Monday, June 2nd. All proceeds will go to the Ryan Salmons Donation Fund to help offset current and future medical expenses and necessities.

God Bless!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Update

I had the opportunity to spend the last 24-hours by Ryan’s side. So, first a quick update on his condition. He had a terrible week coping with the side effects of Monday’s chemo treatment. Nausea, total loss of appetite and extreme weakness are expected side effects and he certainly experienced them in a BIG way. The MRI on his head came back clear and his stomach x-rays were clear too. This was great news and a blessing during what turned out to be a challenging week. But, what I noticed and we are all concerned about is his current mental state. He knows the battle ahead, mentally and physically, is going to be long and tough. Together with God’s Grace, Ryan can beat cancer, but the reality of the fight ahead has him down. Today was the best day of the week, but he has a long way to go. Please keep praying for his peace and a mental state that will keep him in the ‘fight.’

The oncology floor (J5) at Children’s Hospital is truly a special place. Over the last few weeks, as we all try to cope with a Son, Brother, Grandson, Nephew and Friend with cancer we’ve had the opportunity to draw upon experiences of other families going through their own battles with cancer. Two particular children that also need your prayers….eight year old Trey Martens who is next door to Ryan and sixteen year old Tyler Alfriend. Although in different phases of treatment, their journeys have been hard fought and are an inspiration. When you get a chance, read Tyler’s Dads comments about coping with a child with cancer. I think we all can take something away from his words of advice. Keep Trey (pictured with Destroyer Bombshells), Tyler, Jessica and all of the kids on J5 in your prayers. While you are at it, remember the Nurses, Doctors and Caregivers on J5…it takes special people to do what these people do day-in and day-out. God Bless!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pray for mental and physical strength

Ryan is going in shortly for another MRI. Please pray.

Ryan had another rough night...especially mentally. He understands that this will be a long battle with plenty of ups and downs. But with that said, we need your prayers of support to help lift him up emotionally as well as physically. Ryan is just physically drained. All involved are trying very hard to keep his spirits up. I would also like to ask you to pray for those caring for Ryan day in and day out. It is so hard mentally for everyone. It is so difficult to see someone you love hurting. Please lift them up as well.

Hopefully, since Ryan's chemo is done for the week, he will feel better and be in better spirits. Ryan’s appetite has diminished (partly due to nausea, and partly as a direct side effect from the medications) so he has been receiving nutrition intravenously. Last night, in addition to his usual regimen of medications he was given an appetite stimulant. With that, hopefully he will regain his appetite and be able to enjoy some food soon.

Ryan slept a good portion of yesterday morning/early afternoon, but had a pretty full late afternoon...Shortly after finishing his chemotherapy (in addition to many friends and family) he had a very special visit from a fabulous group of ‘bikers’… Close family friend, Ken Vaido, and a group of about 20 leather-clad friends and supporters from Leave a Mark Church, dropped by to pay Ryan a personal visit. It was a real blessing to have the group take the time to stop by and encourage Ryan. And after a heartfelt, spirit-filled (and much appreciated) prayer, everyone’s spirits were markedly lifted.

The American Cancer Society’s Race for the Cure was this past weekend. A very special thanks goes out to Becky Hollen who, although she’s never met Ryan, was willing to sponsor Ryan’s luminary and avail her ‘TALX WALX team’ to Ryan’s friends and family.

It is impossible to put into words the depth of gratitude we feel for all of your support and prayers for Ryan. Thank you doesn't seem adequate. Please continue to cover Ryan with prayer for mental and physical strength.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Good News Visit!

I had an opportunity to visit with Ryan after work today. He looked great and his spirits were good. When I got there I learned about his day. Around 3:00 p.m. he was able to get out of bed and spend some time in his wheelchair. Get this...he went outside and shot basketball (see video clip below) with his Dad and his friend Eric. Indeed a time for celebration and truly a blessing!



His oxygen levels and blood pressure have stabilized and are continuing to be monitored. During my visit his pain was minimal and under control. He ate a plateful of Plank's pizza with us and had a strawberry milkshake. I know what you are thinking, "No Wonder His Abdomen Hurts!"

While I was there this evening the chemo nurse came in and gave him his weekly chemo treatment. They gave him a syringe-full of chemo drugs and hooked him up to a drip that will take approximately 48 hours to complete. If all continues to go well this week, we are hopeful that he will be moved to the rehab floor. At that point, we think he'll be in rehab for one to two weeks...then hopefully he'll be able to go home.

Continue to pray for Ryan's comfort and tolerance to the chemo treatments. Thanks everyone and God Bless!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday Update

Ryan had a very rough night last night. Overnight, his blood pressure and oxygen levels fell to extremely low levels and has been a definite cause of concern. They have cut-back his pain meds and have had him on oxygen periodically. Additionally, they have "pumped" a lot of fluids into his IV. Needless to say, the reduction in pain meds have caused his pain levels to increase. They are continuing to diagnose the reasons for these sudden drops in blood pressure and oxygen levels. Please pray for the hospital staff and Doctors in diagnosing these issues and pray that Ryan has a good night.

Skate for Ryan!

As many of you already know, one of Ryan's passions is ice hockey. In his honor, there is going to be a "Skate for Ryan!" on Saturday, May 31st from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Admission is $8.00 and ALL of the proceeds will go to the Ryan Salmons Donation Fund. Please show your support of Ryan's fight and join us at the Dublin Chiller on May 31st!

Skate for Ryan! is open to everyone. Tickets can be purchased at the door on the 31st. Hilliard Davidson students can purchase tickets in advance from Brittni Elliott. Brittni said, "students should buy early though...we have already had a bunch of people asking about the event!" Thank you Brittni for helping with the event. Download the flyer below for more information.

A big THANK YOU goes to the Chiller Ice Rinks, proud members of the Columbus Blue Jackets family, for donating the ice time for this fundraiser!


Read this doc on Scribd: Skate for Ryan!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Daily Recap and MRI Results

Ryan woke up feeling pretty good today. He was up early about 4:00 a.m. Luckily his buddy Eric stayed the night, so they spent the early morning hours surfing the Internet (I am sure looking at cars.) He ate a good breakfast. He was on oxygen earlier today because his breathing was pretty shallow. This afternoon Ryan was able get out of bed and, with the assistance of his walker, walked down the hall. This is great news! He was resting well this evening.

Ryan's MRI test results were received today. The Doctors did not believe there was any new growth. They did indicate that areas in Ryan's back were a little inflamed or swollen. They felt this could be a result of the back surgery from a couple of weeks ago. They will continue with the Chemo on Monday as planned. As of now, they are thinking of trying to move him to the rehab floor next Wednesday or Thursday.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Good news and limited visitor request this evening

Good news...Ryan had a good night last night and has been feeling pretty well this morning. He ate breakfast and had early morning physical therapy. He did have a low grade fever last night so they were going to run some additional testing to make sure there aren't any new infections to be concerned about. The results from these tests aren't back yet. I'll update when they are.

Today Ryan is getting a new bed. It is a multi-pressure point bed which periodically alternates pressure points to help keep bed sores down. Ryan has a MRI scheduled at 5pm today. Please pray for a positive outcome for these tests.

Visitors should be aware that Ryan will be away from his room from 4-7pm tonight for the MRI and possible physical therapy.

There will be a Skate-A-Thon fundraiser at the Dublin Chiller on Saturday, May 31st from 6:30-8:30. Thank you so much to the Dublin Chiller for donating this ice time. More detailed information on this will follow.

Thank you all again for your prayers and support!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday Update

Ryan had another difficult day today dealing with a lot of stomach pain. He was up a good bit of the night and slept a good part of the day. I am sure it would be very easy to have days and nights mixed up. His pain meds have been "ramped up" and he has been sleeping more. He will be going through additional testing (MRI) and scans tomorrow to help determine the cause of his abdomen pain. Please pray for a positive outcome to these tests.

The picture-taking has slowed down as attention is certainly focused on getting his pain and stomach issues under control. Additionally, as many of you know, the hospital staff has limited the numbers and duration of visitors...so there is less to take pictures of. I am including the picture below, taken on May 9th, of Brad and Dennis with Ryan. Dennis brought Ryan one very large pair of used cleats worn and signed by James Laurinaitis and a mini-helmet signed by this year's leading Heisman Trophy candidate Chris "Beanie" Wells.


Click image to make larger. The shoes are huge!



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday Update

Ryan has been in lot of pain over the past couple of days. They believe the pain is due to the bladder infection. His pain medication has been adjusted and this evening he seemed to find some relief from the intense pain he had been experiencing. He did receive a chemotherapy treatment this afternoon. Please continue to pray for Ryan and decisions that he will be making about his treatment. Thank you all for your support. It is greatly appreciated.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Golfers - Registration Deadline Set for June 2, 2008

Calling all golfers to the Ryan Salmons Charity Golf Outing. The good folks that Brad works with are organizing this outing in their spare time. As you can imagine, this is a tremendous effort...so, let's all be kind to them and get signed up asap, so they can get back to doing their day jobs! We would very much like to fill all of the spots.


Here are the details:

  • Date: June 20, 2008 (register and pay by June 2, 2008)
  • Location: Turnberry Golf Course (1145 Clubhouse Rd. Pickerington, Ohio 43147)
  • Time: Shotgun start at 1:00 p.m. (registration starts at 11:00 a.m.)
  • Price: $100 (includes green fees and dinner after golf)
Here's what you need to do:
  • Find a foursome
  • Pick a Team Name and a Team Captain
  • Send all Team Information to Barry Salmons, call 614-288-0183 for more information.
  • Submit Team Payment to Chipin.com or send check by June 2, 2008

Payment Information

To make collecting green fees easier ($100 per golfer) we have set up an account on Chipin.com that uses your PayPal account. If you’d prefer to write a check, please write to Barry Salmons and then we can deposit it into the account we have set up to manage the golf course bills.

We will have an awesome time together, for a great cause. Hopefully, if Ryan is feeling up to it he can join us for for a ceremonial first swing, photos and dinner.

You can contact Barry Salmons at 614-288-0183.

Weekend Update

I had the opportunity to briefly visit with Ryan late this afternoon and I wanted to give you an update. As you all know from the request to 'call before visiting' on Saturday, Ryan was not feeling well at all. He has been experiencing quite a bit of pain in his abdomen. Overnight on Saturday, Ryan's temperature spiked up to 102 degrees. By Sunday morning they were able to bring his temperature down, and they determined the catheter caused some sort of infection. The nurse indicated this was relatively common for anyone who has been 'cathed'... I think she said "it's the foreign objects in bacteria-sensitive area" type of thing. They are still unsure if it is a kidney, bladder or some other type of infection, however they are aggressively treating the infection with IV administered antibiotics. Hopefully, this will clear up some of the pain he has been experiencing in his abdomen.

On Monday, Ryan will be faced with another aggressive treatment of chemotherapy. He will also have some difficult decisions to make on how aggressively they 'go-after' his bowel issues. It is important they get these issues under control so they can get him up on his feet and start the rehab process. We all want to see him get back on his feet as soon as possible.

Prayer warriors...keep Ryan in your daily prayers. Every day is an important day as he continues to fight this cancer. He will have bad his days...but these bad days are necessary in the journey to get him into remission.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Visitation Request: Please Call First

Family and Friends, thank you for all of your continued support and prayers for Ryan. Ryan is not feeling well today and is experiencing a lot of pain in his abdomen. Please call Brad at 614-736-2723 before visiting today.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ryan Salmons Donation Fund

We have been asked from several individuals and corporations if there is a way to help out with Ryan's medical expenses and other necessities. We have established the Ryan Salmons Donation Fund at Huntington National Bank. This account will be used to offset medical expenses and manage the proceeds from any fund-raising efforts for Ryan like the Charity Golf Outing.

If you would like to contribute:

You may make checks payable to: Ryan Salmons Donation Fund
Last 4 digits of the account number are: 9922

You may go to any Huntington Banking Office to make the donation. If you don't have access to a Huntington location, checks may be sent to me [Amy Salmons] and I will deposit it into the Donation Fund…but please make checks payable to Ryan Salmons Donation Fund. Please email me if you need my address at asalmons@gmail.com .

Once again we are so humbled by the generosity of so many. We covet your prayers and good thoughts for Ryan as he continues his fight. Thank you so much.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ryan received a special letter from 2-time Heisman Trophy winner and former OSU football player, Archie Griffin, yesterday. Archie wrote that he was informed about Ryan's illness and encouraged him to keep strong and fight as hard as he can. The much treasured letter will be added to his growing collection of OSU memorabilia and various other well wishes. All of which serve to inspire and encourage Ryan every day. . .

Since Ryan no longer has an appetite and has been continually nauseous, they are now giving him fluids via his IV to help keep him adequately hydrated. Today or tomorrow they will be drawing blood to check his blood count. We're hoping and praying that it remains good.

This morning was Ryan's last radiation treatment for a while. Since Ryan is still very weak, they have postponed moving him to the rehab floor until this weekend. Hopefully he will get his appetite back and can regain enough strength to transition to rehab. We will certainly continue to keep you all posted.

A special thanks to Katie Steiner and Kate Furman of Nationwide Arena & the Columbus Blue Jackets organization for setting up yesterday's special visit from "The Bombshells" - the Columbus Destroyers [Arena Football team] cheerleaders.

We really can't thank you all enough for keeping the prayers and well-wishes coming . . . it's not only an inspiration to Ryan, but a comfort to the whole family as well as all of the friends and caregivers involved in Ryan's fight and recovery!

To sum up today’s update; I’ve included a heart-felt poem written for Ryan by Mike Huffman, Softball Coach and long-time family friend . . .
-Melissa


Ryan’s Journey
by Mike Huffman
Family and friends have joined their hands and their hearts
We have formed a circle of strength that will not come apart
When times are dark and some things go wrong
Remember our prayers to help you stay strong.

Let our tremendous love for you become a guiding light
Let us show you the path as you as you continue your fight
We will be beside you for support every step of the way
We will join voices to cheer for you on your victory day.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Just a quick update on Ryan's Tuesday. Last night was a rough night as the effects of the chemo continued to affect him. He was up a couple of times during the night, watched a bit of overnight TV and was awakened early to go to The James at OSU for radiation. He slept most of the afternoon after his early morning treatment.

In the afternoon, a few Columbus Destroyers Cheerleaders stopped by to see Ryan but he did not feel well enough to visit with them. You know he must be feeling bad to turn the 'cheerleaders' away! Brad took a couple of photos of the cheerleaders (of course he did!) and they left a couple of parting gifts for Ryan. Late afternoon he was feeling a little better and was able to spend limited time with a few visitors.

Please continue to pray for Ryan...for him to be able to tolerate the treatment...for him to regain full feeling and use of his legs...for total healing. Thank you all!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Monday Update and a Visit from Chris Spielman and William White

With the first full week of the chemotherapy under his belt, the weekend became progressively more difficult for Ryan. By Saturday, the nausea and the draining weakness that predictably accompanies the chemo treatments significantly impacted Ryan’s comfort-level. But it didn’t stop him from making every effort to enjoy his family and friends and the visit from Dee Miller (former OSU wide receiver) on Saturday morning – new pictures of this just posted to the photo site. Ryan tried to be upbeat, but most could tell he was just not his perky self. He stayed in bed most of the day. He also opted out of physical therapy due to being just too tired to take it on.

Yesterday was a tough day. After sleeping for about 15-hours straight, he woke up around 3PM feeling pretty sick. Physical therapy was put on the back-burner again and he really was not up to having visitors. Sunday night was rather rough– he just couldn’t get comfortable and was up almost all night fighting the constant nausea and debilitating weakness.

Ryan’s schedule for this morning through Wednesday will include: Radiation treatment up at The James in the morning and physical therapy mid-day if he’s up for it. After Wednesday his radiation treatments will be suspended (according to plan) and will resume later in his treatment schedule. Tonight he will receive his only round of Chemo for the week, but this will be a much stronger (increased) dose.

Either today or tomorrow they plan on moving Ryan from the Cancer Floor to the Rehab Floor to begin a regimented program to strengthen his legs and see what his limitations and strengths are. They hope to eventually get him strong enough to come home (possibly as soon as this coming weekend) and then he would only have to visit Children's once a week for his chemo. Initially Ryan was disappointed when they told him he would be leaving the Cancer Floor because he has become very attached to the staff taking care of him there. He understands, however, that he needs to keep positive and this is just one more step toward getting stronger and beating this disease!

Ryan’s dad, Brad, planned for Chris Spielman and William White, former OSU & NFL players to visit this morning. They stayed for about 45 minutes and spoke with Ryan. Chris talked with Ryan about the cancer that he has and his treatment. Chris shared with Ryan his own personal experience and how his family coped and dealt with his wife, Stefanie’s, own battle with breast cancer. Chris and Ryan also discussed weightlifting. William shared with Ryan about what he’d done in the NFL and stories about the Super Bowl. Ryan was thrilled with the visit.


William White and Chris Spielman visit with Ryan and Brad.

This was an uplifting time for Ryan when he has been down a little bit. He was able to share this time with his friend, Elaine, who has been here this morning visiting Ryan. Pictures of this will be posted to the blog within the next day or so.

Please do keep all the thoughts and prayers coming. . . . The impact all of your prayers are making is not unnoticed and is truly comforting for all involved!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday Update & Blogging 101

We can't thank you enough for your continued support for Ryan. Your visits, texts, support and prayers help him so much. He has been very tired this weekend and has been resting a lot. I wanted to point out a couple of different ways you can continue to support Ryan. You can leave comments for him through several different sites...you can always comment after each post that is written here on his blog. Just click on the green "comments" tab below the post and a screen will come up to type your message. If you don't have a google/blogger account, then you can click on "Name/URL" to type your name so Ryan knows who wrote the comment. Another way to comment is on Barry's photo website [link to the right - "Photos of Ryan"]. There's an "Add Comment" button below the pictures that you can add comments. And, there is also Ryan's Caring Bridge site [link to the right - "Caring Bridge Website"] that you can write comments in the Guestbook section. Click on "Sign My Guestbook" and follow the directions to leave comments. Make sure you sign your name to the comments so Ryan knows who left the message. Ryan does have access and reads the blog and these sites. So, let's shower him with our messages and thoughts for him.

Also, while Ryan is at Children's Hospital, you can also send him an E-Card [Room 5316]. These cards are delivered every weekday to him. This is a quick and easy way to send him a card.

If you'd like to be able to retrieve the daily updates from this blog, enter your email address in the box to the right where the "Subscribe" button is located. New messages posted to this blog will be sent directly to your email every morning between 5:00-7:00am. Soon after you type in your email address and click "Subscribe", a link will be sent directly to your email account. You must click on this link for the daily messages to come to your email inbox going forward. You may have to check your spam filter if you don't receive this link in your inbox. There are a couple of you that have signed up for the Email subscription but haven't clicked on the link yet...so you may want to check your spam filter for this or you can re-register.

Again, thank you all so much. It has been so wonderful to see the outpouring of love you have given to Ryan and to all of his family. Be sure to check out this weekends photos, including photos with Dee Miller, former Ohio State receiver. Thank you.

Friday, May 2, 2008

MRI Update

Just wanted to send a quick update on the results from Ryan's MRI today since many of you have been praying for that specifically today. It appears that the radiation has caused the tumor to swell some which the doctors say is very typical at this point in the therapy. This swelling occurs before a tumor shrinks and dies. Also, they believe his pain could be due to inflammation around the joints which is also caused by the radiation. This pain should subside as the tumor shrinks. So, the radiation seems to be doing it's job which is wonderful news.

Ryan is doing great today despite the testing that he went through. He did well in physical therapy and is concentrating on getting his full strength back in his legs.

He is expected to be moved from his current room on J5 to the rehab floor at the beginning of next week.

Thank you all so much for your support and prayers for Ryan. They help him so much.

OSU Relay for Life

The Talx Corporation (in Hilliard) is supporting/participating in the OSU Relay for Life (to benefit the American Cancer Society) May 17th and 18th . . . a friend (Becky Hollen) has purchased a luminary for Ryan to put on the path and she’ll be walking in the event as well.

If any of you are interested in participating in this event – there are a number of ways to do so. One easy and tasty way is to chow-down at Skyline Chili (Mill Run) 3693 Fishinger Road on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Simply mention the OSU Relay for Life fundraiser in the Dining Room or at the Drive-Thru and a portion of your sale will be donated to benefit the OSU Relay for Life! Another way to get involved is by either sponsoring Becky as a walker or you can sign-up to join her team (they’re still in need of walkers). The event is a full 24 hours – with walkers walking in ½ hour time increments.

For those not familiar with what happens on the walk, our team must have at least one team member walking the luminary-lined path for an entire 24 hour period. Each member of the TALX WALX team will be walking. But, there's a lot of time to cover.We're asking for volunteers to come out and help us walk. The time slots are divided into 1/2 hour increments. You can sign-up for just 1/2 hour, a full hour or even more if you like! Lots of activities are going on throughout the walk (yes, even in the middle of the night). There's usually always a band on stage playing music, they've also done karaoke, there are lots of games/activities and they even have "Movie Time".You can send an e-mail with your preferred time to lgaskell@talx.com -- tell her that you got the info from me (Becky Hollen). I will be there most of the day Saturday, but I cannot walk on Sunday.No limit on the total number of walkers -- the more the merrier! Thanks again everyone for your support.
-Melissa

See the link to the right for the team sign-up for the TALX WALX or to sponsor a walker.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thursday's Update

Ryan started experiencing some pain in his right hip/lower back area yesterday. So the doctors ordered some X-Rays of his back and pelvic area. The new pain creates a bit of a quandary because, of the cancer found in his pelvic region, the significant portion was detected on his left side – not the right. The X-Rays did not reveal any major issues but the doctors still wanted to get a MRI done on his pelvic area tomorrow. He didn't seem to experience the same level of discomfort today which was good. Please continue to pray that Ryan's pain can be controlled.

His treatment still continued as planned…He had his radiation treatment this morning, had physical therapy this afternoon and chemo this evening. He still has a healthy appetite, not exhibiting any adverse side effects from the chemo, and is still as quick-witted as ever.

EJ (of EJ's Canyon CafĂ© – formerly Gibby's – in Grandview: http://www.ejscanyoncafe.com/ ) generously provided hot-wings with all the trimmings for dinner last night – a big treat for all! If any of you are ever in the Grandview area – please do stop in EJ's for a bite and return the favor. A good friend with a generous heart . . . and seriously good food!