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2014: A fresh start.

January 6, 2014 Uncategorized

Excitement…  Maybe not the right word, but the first that comes to mind when looking forward to 2014.  2013 was a different year for me.  By different I don’t want to say it was a bad year, but it certainly was not a good year.  2013 had it’s fair sure of troubles and I certainly have grown from these trials.  But 2013 also introduced me to some of the most amazing people I have ever met.  I lost a few friends, but for every friend I lost I gained two.  No one can ever replace a lost friend, but it is a great feeling meeting other amazing people who do noting but better you as a person and push you in all your endeavors.  In 2013 I realized just how important it is to surround yourself with inspiring, ambitious, courageous, and LOVING people with nothing but positive energy.  People are in your lives for exactly the right amount of time they need to be; some for years, maybe decades before you have a falling out or they pass, others maybe only a day or a few hours and they are just as important and make just as big of an impact as the latter.  I learned that your mind, spirit and personality are far more important than your body.  I grew to become a more whole and better human and I learned to let go of fear and only entertain hapiness.    

I did a lot of thinking and reflecting in 2013.  I thought a lot about my life, my future, death, love, and and my outlook on what truly quantifies a persons time spent on earth.  I have a little black book that I put my thoughts in that might not be suitable for the public viewing.  When I write publicly on my blog I try to only post and write about all the positivity I have through my battle, which is almost all of the time.  But every once in a while I do ware and feel like I am breaking, this little black book allows me to privately vent and get my frustrations out without sounding like a crazy drama queen to all of you.  I went back and read through some of the pages and when I was first diagnosed there was a lot of negativity.  I write little ‘sentences’ that are all just emotions and feelings mixed in with a lot of profanity and little sketches.  Early on it was almost hard to re-read, but as time went on and I accepted my new life I saw a fairly dramatic shift into a positive light.  Once I changed my outlook (this was very early on after my diagnosis) and decided to make every negative aspect of my life into some sort of positive, not only did my writing become much more positive, but the words were actually more legible and easier to read (early on my writing looked as if I was barely learning how to write out the alphabet.)  Each page forward was cleaner and more insightful, each page became more and more grateful and less self loathing.  My personal reflections were almost a direct reflection of my personality at the time.  When I was fresh out of the hospital and on copious amounts of steroids, there was a lot of anger.  When I was living in LA going through treatment there was a lot of sadness, but when I was able to come home and be with family and friends it became a whole different story.  Every time I traveled or visited my family it was nothing but positivity and optimism and as the days passed and the summer days went on I actually enjoyed reading the pages.  There were still a few pages of darkness that slipped in as this road has been brutal, but I think thats to be expected with the amount of frustrations that go into trying to balance so many things at once.  As the Holidays approached I expected the pages to turn dark again, but to my surprise it was to the contrary.  

For the last 9 years I typically would get a little anti when it came to the holidays.  My mother passed right before Thanksgiving and her birthday is in January.  Christmas was and never will be the same without my mom and being the ultimate momma’s boy I still miss her immensely during the holiday season.  This year was a little bit different though.  For the first time in about 9 years I actually felt at peace this year.  I felt like my mom was with me more than ever and this allowed me to enjoy  the season much more than I have in a long time.  

I had an amazing Christmas visiting both mine and Natashia’s families which led into what was by far one of the best New Year’s I have had in at least the last 10 years.  This Christmas was not an epic showering of gifts and in fact I think I only opened maybe 5 presents and unfortunately I couldn’t really afford to buy much so I made most of my gifts, but that didn’t matter.  It was the fact that we were together and ‘healthy’ just enjoying company.  When New Year’s Eve rolled around  we didn’t have any plans and we decided to stop by a friends house who was having a party.  A few minutes after we arrived about 20 friends of mine who neither knew or had ever met the host of the party came in with on of their friends who is friends with the host.  I had no intention of staying out late, but I ended up staying out VERY LATE.  For the first time in over a year I was out till past 2:30 am.  I did not go to sleep till almost 4 am!  I have had plenty of sleepless nights this past year, but this was the first sleepless night that I did not want to end!  I got home and reflected about the past year.  All the memories I made, people I met, friends I lost and I was genuinely exited for 2014.  

I have been noticing a lot of changes.  People seem to be happier, my friends are doing amazing things with their careers and personal relationships.  Everyday I see someone getting married, having a child or getting engaged.  I am re-emerging myself into the social scene as I was pretty much a shut in for 2013 once the sun went down.  I was as active as I could be during the day, but I hardly ever went out at night.  I am trying to change that and re-introduce myself to what it is like to be in your 20′s and the best part is I don’t even need alcohol to have fun.  I am living healthier than ever and surrounding myself with as much positive energy and optimism as I can find.  I am getting older and I simply have neither the time nor the energy to hold grudges anymore.  I am living in the now and in the now every moment is a fresh start.      

2014 WILL be a great year.  January will be an exceptionally hard month working as much as I can, managing my ongoing treatments, trying to launch the foundation and taking a 5 unit intersession class to finally finish my undergraduate work and get my BA in Business.  I won’t have much time to do anything, but come February I hope to have a new job, a new outlook and another new lease on life as my next bi-monthy MRI is scheduled for the middle of January.  Excitement might actually be the right word now that I think about it, because that is all I feel.  

I have never been one to make resolutions, but this year I think we should all make a simple and yet difficult resolution: simply be a better person in every way possible.  Lets be more humble and grateful for everything we get to do on a daily basis.  There are so many people in this world who would kill to be anyone of us and yet we still are often still not satisfied.  New Year’s resolutions typically have to do with self improvement, I propose a large scale resolution to make other people’s lives better.  When you help someone better themselves, you help yourself at the same time. Happy New Year, Merry Christmas and lets make 2014 EPIC!  2 + 0 + 1 + 4 = 7, and you know what they say about 7?!

 

FTGF,

Ryan 

XO

“You must not under any pretense allow your mind to dwell on any thought that is not positive, constructive, optimistic or kind.”  Emmett Fox

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Just a few of my awesome days in 2013!!!

 




12 thoughts on “2014: A fresh start.

  • Sally @ sweat out the small stuff

    Landed here after reading a link posted by Stupid Cancer’s Facebook page. Just wanted to say I wish you continued strength and positivity. May you keep the disease at bay for 9 more years to finally say REMISSiON. I lost my husband to melanoma close to 15 years ago. We were both in our 20s. I miss him every hour of every day but his passing changed me. My life has become more meaningful somehow…I don’t ever glaze over an article or blog from someone sharing their personal journey with cancer. I read it all and I keep those people in my prayers.


  • Catherine

    Hi Ryan,
    Congrats on your one year birthday! I came across your site from a posting on Stupid Cancer’s FB page. I must say that your blog is very informative! Being 32 and living with metastatic breast cancer (now in “remission”), I have embraced a very similar life as you. Yoga has kept me sane and allowed me to embrace my life. I wanted to add that Kris Carr has written an excellent book called Crazy, Sexy Cancer, which although geared towards women, is a positive and motivating book. I was instructed not to “juice” by my doctors at Sloan Kettering, but others may be allowed to do so. Anyway, your story inspires many around you; after reading so many horror stories, I read an entry from a young woman on Fight Like a Girl after I was diagnosed in the spring out of left field. She posted that she was in remission/living life/doing well and that gave me the hope and endurance I needed to stay strong. I am positive you are doing the same for somebody else.
    Take Care.
    Catherine, NY


  • Ggoldb2

    Found your page through stupid cancer !! My 17 year old daughter had brain surgery( at UCLA) nov 2012 and her tumor also was diagnosed as a GBM! She finished radiation last Feb and is currently in chemo treatment till this spring ! She is doing excellent considered what she had to endure ! All her MRI’s have come back clean ! I love how positive you are and that’s our attitude too. We are still in-midst of this journey but there is a light at the end of the tunnel ! We’ve learned lots from living through this cancer journey . It just takes a big toll emotionally in my daughter , being 17 and grieving over her looks, her hair ( which fell out from radiation , but she already had her second hair cut since it grew back) .
    We live in Las Vegas and our get aways from her consist driving to California !
    I will continue follow your page and hopefully it will give my daughter some uplift in her spirits .
    All the best to you !!


    • Ryan Coffelt

      Sorry to hear about your daughter, but that is awesome that it is stable. I am also nowhere near the end of my road and I know this. In fact, both our roads have just begun. The hard part now is the anxiety that goes with living with knowing the fact that there is still something in your head that wants you dead. From what I have learned, GBM’s leave little stem cells and they usually are extremely hard to radiate. The first few years are critical and I will not let off the gas until I celebrate my 10th ‘cancerversary.’

      Please send your best to your daughter and tell her to feel free to e-mail me @ ryan@ryansepicbattle.com if she ever wants to talk to someone who knows what she is going through. Also would love to meet you guys if you ever make it to Orange County. I love meeting fellow fighters, and I will be in Vegas in April for the OMG summit. It’s a great thing to attend if you have the chance.

      Stay Strong!
      Ryan


  • Rachael

    So great to hear your story! March 2nd will be my “tumorversary” of the resection of my GBM. I was only 21 when I was diagnosed. Good luck to you and God bless! :)


  • Carol

    Hi Ryan,
    You have a fantastic outlook. My daughter did too. She was diagnosed with a GBM at 19 during her spring quarter of her freshman year of college. This was after she had already battled brain cancer at 8 years old and beat it for 11 years. She died on 2/2/13 just 3 days before her 21st birthday. I know that it is difficult to here of others who have died form this beast but like you Kathryn lived a beautiful life. She gave so much to others and inspired people to be their best . She changed so many lives for the better. She even helped me be a better person and I continue to look at her as an example to continue to improve my life and myself as a person. I truly wish you the best in this. You spoke of one long term survivor but here are more. Ben Williams is a 17 plus year survivor and he would be happy to email with you. You can google him. He has a book called Surviving Terminal Cancer which I found very interesting. He is up on the lasted treatments. Also Dr. Henry Friedman at Duke University is great too. He has a great deal of experience with GBMs and he brings hope. He has a fabulous attitude. He will also give you advice and talk to you. He actually gave me advice and worked with my daughter’s oncologist over the phone. His help gave Kathryn a second year of college that was absolutely beautiful and just what she wanted. She wanted to be a normal college student. I don’t know that driving 250 miles every other week for treatments during the school week is normal but she wanted to be at college with her friends and her brother. I’m so happy this happened for her. You may also want to contact Dr. Linda Lou (spelling might not be correct). She is at UCLA and she has had some success with GBMs and using vaccines made from the tissue of the tumor. These are just things I thought you might like to look into. I would love to here that you have celebrated your 30th birthday someday. I also truly believe Kathryn is here with us. I smell her and she leaves us signs that she is here. Some day I will see her again. I also write a blog and it goes back to giving details of our time in the hospital. http://www.kathrynpandabradley.com

    Take Care and remember to live life to the fullest!
    Carol Bradley


    • Ryan Coffelt

      Carol,

      So sorry to hear about your daughter. I know watching my own mother pass from cancer was 1,000 times harder than going through it myself. I can’t even imagine having to sit helplessly watching my daughter die. Find comfort in the many many people’s lives she changed for the better and let their lives become examples of what a great life and inspiration your daughter was. We are all here for a short period of time, people like your daughter will be remembered when most others have long been forgotten.

      Thanks for all the references, lets pray I never have to use them!

      FTGF,
      Ryan


  • natashuaf

    My dear friend, I just want to say: Challange Accepted! I’m not one for NY Resolutions, but after reading ur blog, I realized how much I have complained about 2013 & looking back, it was a great year for me, maybe even the best year I have had in the past 5. I travel for a living, I met the love of my life & most of all I had great health. I felt ashamed for allowing myself to be so negative, so THANK YOU for making me realize how lucky we are to just be here. Every day we wake up is a good day! May 2014 bring u all the happiness in the world & good health. I love u my friend, keep fighting the good fight. Hope to see u soon in Long Beach. I am not allowed to get of the ship, silly customs, but u and ur girl and Scott and his and John can all come visit me onboard on Sunday if u like, from early morning till around 3pm, we can have lunch onboard. Just let me know when will work for u. Take care x


  • Katrina

    Hi Ryan

    I admire your courage during your fight to battle this awful disease. Like you, 2013 was defiantly not the best year for me as I was diagnosed with stage 4 GBM. I was given the news that it is inoperable as well. Diagnosed at 19, my whole life has changed just like yours. I underwent radiation and chemo for 6 weeks straight had a five week break then continued chemo 5 day on 23 off as you did. After my radiation my tumour was showing that it had shrunk! I have also had the opportunity to be on an amazing clinical trial which constits of me carrying around a 9 pound backpack every day for minimum a year, with wires attached to my head which send electrodes to kill the cell. It maybe a large intrusion in a 20 year old women’s life but my MRI in November showed it shrunk even more!!. Although I have not lost my hair I have to keep my head shaved. You have inspired me to continue to fight hard! Continue to fight, as I will everyday! I would love to talk more if your interested.

    Keep fighting
    Katrina


    • Ryan Coffelt

      Katrina!

      You are a bad ass! I have heard of those electrode brain thingys and I feel like that would be pretty cool. Kinda like a cyborg treatment. I am so glad to hear the tumor is shrinking, but have you thought about a second or third opinion as far as the operation goes? Mine was so big that they wanted me to do an awake craniotomy, but I wanted to get the whole thing out so I chose to do it asleep and deal with the consequences when I woke up (luckily I was completely fine afterward.) I have heard many stories of people being told their tumor is inoperable and having a second or third doctor remove it no problem… Just a thought if it starts to grow back :)

      Keep kicking ass and stay in touch!

      FTGF,
      Ryan


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