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Happy Birthday Ryan

by Naiomi Gardner 19 Jan 2020 0 Comments

Happy Birthday Ryan 🥳

What a difference two years makes 💕

January 18 2018...

I remember telling all of our family and friends to come and visit, but to please not bring presents for Ryan's birthday. This was an act of kindness, not cruelty. Ryan had a rare antibody that was supposed to fight her cancer...but it was fighting her own body...including her brain! At the time, Ryan did not know where she was, what was going on...and she certainly did not know it was her birthday.

Ryan was swiftly ushered down to ICU at Juravinski hospital as all of the heads of all areas of study; Infectious Disease, Hematology, Neurology, Psychiatry, scrambled to find an answer. Anything that might, at the very least, set a course for a direction. But there were no direction. In an act of desperation, they decided to shut her down. Intubation. Inflict a coma. There have been many scary moments in my life, but this moment was one of the scariest. Yet there was a semblance of relief. Ryan had been put through so much. Chemo (torcher) therapy. Anaphylactic allergic reactions to emerging therapies. Neuropathy. At my beautiful angel.

Then the actual scariest moment of my life. Ryan's oncologist/hematologist called us in the ICU where we spent most of our days and nights, and told us in a nutshell we were out of options. We were hoping to learn that an emerging new cancer treatment might be a possibility for Ryan, but this weird rogue antibody was making things too complicated. There was a real risk that the new treatment might like adding fuel to the fire. Another dead end.

Ryan's limbic fluid was literally sent around the world as they tried to figure out what the heck was going on. No answers. I can not really explain fully how absolutely desperate we were and I can not even fully explain how immensely grateful we are to Ryan's team at Juravinski who were so devoted to trying anything and everything to get save our baby.

And they did it. These amazingly brilliant people tried something that might just work...and it did. Immunoglobulin followed by plasma exchange...slowly but surely Ryan started to come back. She learned to talk again and walk again. There were times at the hospital where I had to ask myself if I was inflicting all of this on my daughter selfishly to spend more time with my girl and if my poor baby was going to spend the last of her days tortured.

The turning point...when I begged Ryan to not give up...that I wasn't ready to say goodbye. Anyone who knows Ryan knows what a loving giving person she is. So Ryan, who didn't quite have enough in her to fight for herself, fought for all of us who love her. She fought to stay alive for us!

Today Ryan is alive and well enjoying so much that life has to offer and continues to be supported by an incredibly devoted team of medical doctors, a naturopathic doctor, psychiatrists, epilepsy specialists, her grandparents, aunt, brothers and so many more dedicated professionals. She's always surrounded by family, friends and an awesome boyfriend. Oh...and of course there's us.. her parents...who supply her juice!

Happy Birthday Ryan! We're blessed to hear your laughter, give you hugs and look forward to many more birthdays ahead!

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