My violin bow coaxes a jaunty, toe-tapping rhythm playing “Ryan’s Rant” as I send love and healing thoughts daily to my 21-year-old grandson Ryan as a musical prayer. Others have been sending prayers for his recovery of health, too — greatly appreciated.
Picturing this Colorado-born-and-raised grandson as he was the summer when we strolled the streets of Moab, Utah, I see again his grin when we were “wowed” on seeing the treasures displayed in and around his favorite rock shop; how proudly he introduced us to the time-sculpted rock formations in Arches National Park, with which he is familiar; how Ryan smiled over his shoulder as he went off jauntily with his college roommate to their campsite.
And then, the James Dean-like photo he sent, tipping his new hat’s brim toward us at the start of another year, studying hard toward his goal of becoming a hydrologist and anticipating field work with his professors.
Last fall, the beginning of his senior year, he suffered a horrendous bout of itching — an unusual-but-not-unknown symptom pointing to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It took awhile to discard the search for dietary or topical causes and a battery of tests to reach his doctor’s diagnosis of this potentially-deadly form of cancer.
The news stunned Ryan, who was sleeplessly crazed from the extreme itching. No medication had served to ease the curse of “The Itch.” He was desperate for help, but he certainly did not know what challenges awaited him in the form of effects resulting from his cancer treatment.
No doubt, dear readers, many of you may have experienced similar circumstances with loved ones, young to old. And no doubt you have supported, prayed, and maybe ranted and raged at what a person you care for so deeply has to endure in the attempt to regain or extend their life.
My plan for this column was to write about a new garden patch we planted to attract butterflies, as well as bees. While roaming local garden departments in search of seeds and plants, I was shocked to see shelves still laden with chemical weed killers such as Roundup, now fully suspected as a cause of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Meanwhile, we had been following reports of court cases where Monsanto’s claim that Roundup doesn’t cause cancer was refuted. Last Thursday’s TGI “Forum” column submitted by Will M. Davis caught my eye in saying that within the last nine months, there have been three juries that have ordered payment of punitive and compensatory damages, and medical bills, by Monsanto’s parent company, Bayer, to the plaintiffs.
As a blank file opened on my computer screen, my mind spun 180 degrees from butterfly life to Ryan, recalling how he committed to playing team soccer on green, no doubt weed-treated fields since he was a sprout.
Also, during winters he played on indoor fields made of pulverized tires, a way of recycling the carcinogenic over-supply of old rubber.
Conjecturing cause and effect, who really knows what an individual’s “trigger” mechanism is, and how many times one has to breathe in chemicals and rubber particles before cells are affected and the “Big C” is activated? More scientific studies are needed, perhaps Erin Brockovich style, if not by the EPA.
Our grandson has been “a rock” through his ordeal. Likewise, his brother and supportive parents, who backed Ryan in his decision to “keep focused” by staying in school and trying to complete his course of study, doing all that that takes: wearing a mask to classes, sporting a variety of caps to cover his newly-shaven head, studying while feeling sick.
He is lucky to have caring roommates to buoy and help him, supporting him daily as a family and even rushing him to the ER several times.
He is also fortunate to have professors who have allowed him some “slack” during the days directly following every-other Monday chemo treatments, when he feels weak and nauseous.
Ryan’s fortune extends in having a tip-top oncologist and a team of treatment specialists who connect with him in a personal way, greeting him as a long-awaited friend on chemo days.
Our good news: the treatment is working. Ryan will be having three more sessions of chemo at intervals into the summer, just “to make certain” he is now cancer-free.
All peripheral details pale in the focus of his hoped-and-prayed-for good health regained, and gratitude that he may continue his life.
As for the “Green Flash,” here on Kauai let’s become activists in getting the known-to-be-harmful chemical sprays and pulverized rubber off our school and sport playing fields and playgrounds now, not to speak of our parks, golf courses and roadsides.
I also urge you to clean out and properly dispose of any harmful chemicals and sprays lurking on your shelves, switching to eco-friendly control methods now available for home and garden.
This can truly become a “grassroots” movement of major proportion toward the healing and betterment of our natural world, our citizens, loved ones, and our keiki and mo`opuna, children and grandchildren.
Source: The Garden Island