Ryan’s Story

On April 12, 2011 Ryan was on his way to class and wasn’t feeling like his usual self. He felt very weak, tired, and out of breath. Thinking that he maybe catching a cold he went to the University Health Center.  Upon arrival, the nurse knew right away something was not right.  He was very pale and had little energy. They immediately rushed him to Washington Adventist in Takoma Park, MD. There they ran blood tests and realized his blood counts were really low. Over the next few days, he received multiple blood transfusions to see how his body would react. By Friday, April 15th his levels seemed to be improving and was released to spend the weekend at home.

After a weekend of being home, Ryan was feeling very weak. Sunday night, his mother took him to the hospital to get his blood count re-checked. Once again, his blood counts had plummeted and he was seen by a specialist on Tuesday morning at St. Joseph Hospital in Towson, MD. The specialist ordered a bone marrow biopsy for the following morning.

On Wednesday, April 20, 2011, after going through the bone barrow biopsy procedure, Ryan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He was admitted to the Greenebaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.

Since being admitted, Ryan has gone through many tests and medical procedures preparing him for his chemotherapy. During this time he has had amazing nurses and doctors that will continue to help him get better. He has also had many friends from Fallston, College Park, and his fraternity Kappa Alpha Order visit.  That Friday night Ryan started his chemotherapy. He was wiped out all day Saturday from the previous two days where he had upwards of 20+ friends and family visiting and multiple tests conducted. He really needed his sleep and slept all day and all night Sat night.

On Monday April 27, 2011, after a rough night of sleep, often being woken up to take blood, he wasn’t allowed to eat until 4:30 pm. He had a spinal tap earlier in the afternoon where they removed some spinal fluid in order to run some tests as well as inject chemo into his central nervous system. The same morning his sister Brittany was tested to be a bone marrow donor, while his other sister Katelyn was tested the next afternoon. There was a 25% chance that either girl, being full siblings, could be a perfect match. Ryan’s family has been active in the Team|Be the Match, a nationwide community committed to helping patients in need of a marrow transplant by raising funds to add more potential marrow donors to Be The Match Registry.

On May 4, 2011, the nurses and doctors seem to have gotten a handle on Ryan’s headaches, which makes the day much more pleasant for him and his family. Tuesday he had another spinal tap which went smoothly, and everything came back OK. Today he went in for another bone marrow biopsy, the test that will show if the chemo is working. Depending on the results, the doctors will decide to continue with his current treatment, or if they need to make any necessary changes in order to get better results.

Ryan has had quite a few visitors the past few weeks, helping to keep his spirits high.  When he and his family first heard of his diagnosis their thoughts were…why him? why us? But their attitude quickly changed. They realized how lucky we are that he is in such a great hospital with amazing doctors and nurses (so close to home). How lucky they are to have such a close family. And how lucky they are to have such an amazing community of friends that are helping to support the through this. Ryan is well aware that he is not fighting this disease alone, and that you all are right behind him. Ryan’s family is thankful to each and everyone of you for all of your support.

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About The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults

The Mission of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults is to enhance lives by supporting, educating and connecting young adults, and their loved ones, affected by cancer.
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2 Responses to Ryan’s Story

  1. mike serio says:

    iam also a have ALL i have meant alot of people down the cancer but none of which also has ALL is if ryan would like someone to talk to or whatever please give him my contact info ive been in remission close to 3 years now so i probably can answer alot of his question’s

  2. Jonathan says:

    Ryan – please know you have an army of supporters standing with you. I went through a very similar ordeal as you in 2009, diagnosed with AML, and had a BMT 17 months ago at Johns Hopkins (teamhaupt.org). Since then we’ve formed an organization (30kfriends.org) aimed at counseling patients and families on finding a perfect match and overall support through the treatment and transplant process. Your in great hands at UM and with UCF! Please feel free yourself or someone in your support group to contact me. We’re here to help, keep up the fight!

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