Aug 18, 2019 Latest post:
Jun 20, 2020
An unexpected journey has begun for Ryan Smith. The outpouring of love, support, and prayer has blanketed us all this past week, and we will be forever grateful. We are stunned at his diagnosis, but will accept nothing less than a 100% cure for him. May God’s plan be revealed to us as we navigate this uncharted territory under His love, hope, and promises.
Ryan stayed at East Stroudsburg this summer to work for the university and workout for basketball. He was in the best shape of his life as he added muscle and strength. At the beginning of August, he became unusually tired and lethargic. At the same time, he went for some further testing to check for exercise induced asthma. The doctor found his hemoglobin level to be low. His physician asked him to go directly to the ER to get a full blood panel and to be checked for internal bleeding. The test revealed extremely low levels of red and white blood cells and platelets. He was taken to Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown to meet with the hematologists.
While there, he had extensive testing on his blood and bone marrow. He was tested for a multitude of viruses, infections, and diseases. All of the initial testing showed no sign of malignancy. Results from all labs kept coming back negative. Further testing, however, showed that Ryan has acute myeloid leukemia. He was transferred to University of Pennsylvania early Saturday morning.
At Penn, he received a second bone marrow biopsy to determine exactly what type of cells are mutating so that the drugs given will be most effective. This process is very long and requires a lot of patience on our part. A team of doctors met with us today to discuss the treatment plan although the final plan hasn’t been determined. It looks as if he will be inpatient for at least four weeks, but it could be six weeks if a bone marrow transplant is needed. He will receive chemotherapy for seven straight days and then will work to rebuild his blood over the next three weeks. Our prayer is that he will only need one round, but that all depends on how is body responds, It is quite possible that the physicians will decide to have Ryan go through a second round of chemo, on an outpatient basis.
While we all thought Ryan was preparing for his basketball season by being in the best shape of his life, God has another plan for him. He is in the best shape of his life to fight cancer. He is strong and young so the odds are in his favor. He will beat this. His basketball team’s motto is RELENTLESS and now that word has brought on a whole new meaning.
Treatment for Ryan may begin Monday or Tuesday. Adjustments to his treatment plan will be made as more results come in from his biopsy.
Ryan has just been moved to a private room in the hospital. The doctor said that there will be no restrictions on visitors as long as they are healthy with no signs of a virus or infection.
The expressions of love from family, friends near and far, our church, East Stroudsburg, and Ryan’s extended basketball family has been unbelievable. Ryan CAN DO THIS knowing your love, encouragement, and prayers will be with him.
We told the doctor that we have so many people asking what they can do to help, and he said to have them contact their local American Red Cross and donate blood. Ryan will be receiving many transfusions over the course of his treatment, and giving your blood to help someone live is one of the best gifts you can give.
Many people are wondering what specifically to pray about. Please pray that the doctors can tailor Ryan's treatment plan to kill this monster and that Ryan eats to keep up his strength and spirit.
Ryan lives by this bible verse: Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” We are trusting in God to do exactly that.