Ryder and I decided on a weekend away to get a new wedding band for him. We found these amazing rings inlaid with redwood, by accident, in a sweet little shop. Absolutely perfect! Ryder needed a new band because the original one just didn't fit him anymore and because of the design it couldn't be adjusted. After he picked out the one he wanted I got to thinking about how I'd like our rings to still match and be bound together some how. I'm not really a diamonds girl and the more I thought about it the more I wanted a ring exactly like his. (I will always treasure the original diamond ring he gave me because of the memories attached to it.) So later on we went back and I picked out the perfect one for me. We decided to renew our vows on our anniversary by going up to the exact same spot we got married at. :) We had been wanting to show the kids the spot for a while but had never gotten around to it because it's quite the drive. Leiella was over the moon excited about being part of the whole thing. I told her she could be the flower girl and wow did she take that very seriously! The boys were mostly just excited about playing in the river and camping. Ha ha!
Little did we know that we would share that weekend with the biggest health scare we've ever had. And that's saying a lot! I never dreamed anything would top Atty's seizures, but being told your husband appears to have a very large tumor on his liver... well that shakes you to your core.
Ryder hadn't been feeling well for a while and had some tests done, including an ultra sound, the week before the trip. The day of the trip, a Friday, I took the kids up to the camp spot alone because Ryder had to work. The plan was for us to secure a camping spot and he would meet us up there. There was no cell service. At one point I went back down the mountain a ways to get cell service and call Ryder. He told me that our doctor had called and he needed to go in to the office as soon as possible and that our doctor would wait after hours for him. He had the results but wouldn't say anything over the phone. Ryder told me to drive back down the mountain if he wasn't at the camp by 8:30 pm. Keep in mind this was Ira's birthday and I was trying my hardest to make it fun. Even though there had already been many snags in our day. I cried and prayed hard all the way back up the mountain and then got it together when we got to camp. It was so hard not having any way to keep in touch with Ryder! He finally showed up just as I was getting ready to pack everyone back up and drive down the mountain again. I could tell my his upbeat jolly attitude that something was terribly wrong. But we both put on a good face in front of the kids because we did want to ruin Ira's birthday and scare them. He wandered off to find a bathroom and I followed telling the kids to stay at camp. He tried to avoid answering me but finally he spilled the news and told me what the doctor said. I was in shock. I asked questions. I offered comfort. Words of disbelief. The kids started wandering over with their never ending radar, always knowing when something is off even when we try to hid it. So we stopped talking about it. We put on happy faces again. We made dinner, finished setting up camp, opened presents and ate a birthday treat. All the while everything in me is screaming and my brain is swimming in circles. I can't fully describe the desperation and pure terror that was swirling about inside of me. Cancer, for whatever reason, is big on his mother's side of the family and his own mother passed away from cancer when I was pregnant with Leiella. No survivors. Every person on that side of the family that got cancer got terminal cancer and it takes them quickly. I have (and continue to have) a huge fear that he will get cancer some day. So this was my big fear and it felt like I was living it. Ryder, true to form, passed out seemingly the moment his head hit the pillow that night. I on the other hand hardly slept a wink. My anxiety was through the roof. I cried in the dark off and on, quietly. Thinking of every worse case scenario. By very early morning I gave up and went on a walk with the dogs in the semi dark down by the river. All alone I sobbed my heart out. Loudly weeping. Snot and tears streaming. If anyone had seen me they would have been mightily alarmed! But I needed to get it out.
We were renewing our vows that day and I was determined to hold it together after that. I was seeing everything in a different light. How temporary everything can be. How we truly need to appreciate every single little moment with our loved ones. You never know that the next moment brings. Ryder and I really threw ourselves into enjoying this time together as a family and making the most of the weekend. The real and scary world felt very remote way up there in the mountains. I tried to stay present in the moment.
The ceremony was super simple and absolutely perfect. We just did it ourselves. Leiella threw down flowers she had picked along the way, Banden and Atty blew bubbles and Ira was the camera man. :) We repeated vows from before that we had written ourselves. It was so wonderful having the kids involved this time.
Leiella put a matching pink bow in my hair, like she had in hers. It was really sweet.
This is one of my favorites! Leiella was so into the whole thing! She's such a sentimental sweetheart.
Our perfect rings.
I tried to keep it together but there was a moment in our vows where I lost it and Ryder had to keep reading for me. It was all very overwhelming, but in a good way. That man truly is my everything. It's been 22 years now and a lots of ups and downs but every little bit has been so worth it.
It was hot out so we redid our vows on the creek side, not the river side. That way we could be in the shade and there was more privacy. :)
Got a picture of the camera man.
This moment hit me hard.
When we got back Sunday night reality suddenly came rushing in. I called my best friend in Texas and just broke down. Thankfully she had all the right things to say. Besides telling my mom and one other person, because it was necessary, we didn't want to talk about it. We decided to wait until after the MRI. On Monday it was scheduled for Tuesday, first thing in the morning. Ryder got up and went in and then went to work afterwards. I went into frantic panic mode. Which is what happens with my anxiety. Generally it is channeled into cleaning. So that's what I did. I literally ripped everything that was movable out of my laundry room and ripped up the linoleum tile flooring. At a frantic pace. I put everything from the laundry room out on the deck (which was a lot as my laundry room was in massive need of an overhaul) and I was in the middle of organizing that when our doctor called. Much to my relief he was able to tell me the results directly. He said the MRI showed what appeared to be a large birthmark (Who the heck has a birthmark on their liver!!!!) not a tumor. Although he will need to go in for a follow up MRI to confirm no growth. My whole body started to shake and I could hardly get off the phone before breaking into tears of relief. I called Ryder right away and told him the good news. After I got off the phone with him I immediately felt my adrenaline high dissipate. I walked back outside and realize what a mess I'd made for myself, no longer having the energy to finish it, ha ha! I was sort of wishing our doctor had called after I got the job done. Just joking! I felt giddy with joy the rest of the day, and some how managed to finish up what I could with my cleaning/organizing project. Which was basically shoving it all back into the laundry room because it started to rain. In my panicked haze I neglected to check the weather forecast... :/ One thing I didn't anticipate was the amount of people that were upset with us for not telling them during the scare. I told friends and family right after the MRI but they felt like they should have been told from the beginning. After I explained that talking about it then would have made it too real and I was trying hard not to focus on the negative they seemed to let it go. There just didn't seem like any point in telling people until we knew what we were dealing with 100% and I didn't want to rehash it over and over again in the emotional state I was in.
So there you have it, the big health scare of 2016. I hope and pray to never go through that again! Unfortunately Ryder is still having a problem with his health, which is what started all this. We have yet to get any good answers. And on top of that his knees are suddenly going out. Both of them. Which is causing a lot of depression as he is struggling to get through his work day. He can hardly walk. He is in so much pain by the time he gets home it's heartbreaking! We are trying to figure out what the next step is here. I wish so badly that I had the answers and that I could help in some way.
Wowzers, that was a lot to put together in one post! This crazy life.