It's Wednesday morning and day 1 of Ryan's next 10-week cycle of maintenance chemotherapy.  Three more cycles to go and he will be done.  As usual Ryan has a routine spinal tap and I have a follow-up ultrasound at MD Anderson on the same day.  It's a normal day for us, we have both been down these roads before.  Ryan is doing great and well as for me, every time I go into MD Anderson there is some type of follow-up and after five years, you just stop thinking about it.  It's December 21, 2011.

Ryan's spinal tap is first and it goes great.  He came out of anesthesia great which is a blessing because he sometimes experiences what the doctor's call "rage" from all of the drugs and well on those days, let's just say its very hard on both of us.  

After Ryan is released from Texas Children's, Dad comes to pick him up so I can walk over to MD Anderson.  My ultrasound starts off normal, like the many I have had before until the doctor walks in a says, "There is a small lump and we want to take a core biopsy and insert a clip today."  They said it was moderately suspicious for malignancy.

I was not worried, all I cared about was that Ryan was doing great.  Mandy and I had worked very hard to put together a newsletter, "Ryan's Reindeer Games" so that we could share with our friends and family how great Ryan was doing despite going through cancer treatments and how he was still able to enjoy life.  I was at the post office and just mailed all the newsletters when I got one of the worst call's of my life.

It was Dr. Dreyer from Texas Children's Hospital and she had bad news.  Ryan's routine spinal tap came back and the Leukemia was back.  The chemotherapy was not working and Ryan will need to have a bone marrow transplant and his odds of surviving just dropped to below 50 percent.  We scheduled another spinal tap and bone marrow aspiration for January 4, 2012 to see how far it had spread with a slim chance that the December 21 test was wrong.

We decided not to tell Ryan about this latest news until after the holiday's.  We wanted Ryan to enjoy Christmas and the rest of his holiday break, and he did.  Ryan got everything he asked Santa for, except a dog.  Not that his sister Lauren didn't try.  She even brought a beautiful lost German shepherd home on Christmas Eve.  Ryan also enjoyed a Rocket's game with his Godfather, a Texan's game with his Dad, had a boy's night at Mom's house where they played Nerf wars, X-box, and ate pizza.  He went to the park several times with Dad to ride his new electric scooter, and finally got X-Box live up and running so he could play on-line with his buddies, Brady and Jack.

Sometime between Christmas and New Year's Eve it was confirmed that I did indeed have breast cancer.  But it was blessing because now Ryan had a reason for why Mom was not 100 percent and when he would see me tear up, he just thought it was because I had cancer so Ryan was able to enjoy the holiday's without worrying about his own upcoming change in treatment.  One day when Ryan caught me with a tear in my eye, he said to me:  "Mom, are you a chicken?  It's just cancer."

So we are going to take that statement and that is how we are going to face the next several months.  Cancer is NOT going to define whom we are and how we live, it just cancer, and we are going to wipe it out for good this time.