In Honor of Ryan Figlestahler — Survivor
Ryan is the youngest of our three children. He has always been full of life, adventurous, always looking for fun. He also was so healthy growing up, that we almost forgot to take him to the Doctor for his regular checkups.
So, when he came home from Indianapolis in January of 2006, and was complaining of being numb on his one side and having these “out of body” experiences, his Dad and I were really worried. Ryan made an appointment with his local physician, Dr. Scott Keller. Dr. Keller has been taking care of Ryan for years and didn’t like the sound of these symptoms and immediately sent Ryan to have a CAT-SCAN. The CAT-SCAN showed a huge mass in Ryan’s right front brain area. He was admitted to the hospital immediately and then the tests began. He had an MRI to confirm that he indeed had a brain tumor and Dr. Michael Hartman, the local neurologist met with us on Saturday afternoon. He said that Ryan’s tumor was huge and it had to come out NOW—we were just frozen with fear. This was on February 3rd.
We took Ryan for a second opinion at another hospital in the Atlanta area and got the same diagnosis. Ryan had surgery on February 10, 2006 (That happened to be our 38th wedding anniversary). Dr. Hartman was amazing—the surgery was a complete success. When we received the pathology report, we again were frozen with fear. This diagnosis was a malignant brain tumor. Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma. The local oncologist recommended we go to Duke. She personally called Dr. Henry Friedman for us. Dr. Friedman called us within 24 hours and had us send him all the information. He again called us within 24 hours of receiving Ryan’s information. He was just amazing.
We have been coming to Duke for the past 3 years. We love all the Doctors and nurses, and just feel like God led us to this wonderful place. Ryan’s last MRI in April was again stable. We have learned that is a wonderful word—“stable”!!
At Duke there is HOPE!!!