My Brother, My friend.

When I was a little girl, I was glued to my brother, Ryan. I love all of my siblings with all of my being, but I think because Ryan and I are closest in age, I spent most of my time in his shadow.

I would follow him everywhere. He climbed a tree, I climbed a tree. He was looking for caterpillars on the shed, I was looking for caterpillars on the shed. He was going for a bike-ride, I was going for a bike-ride. Where there was Ryan, there was Katie.

I had the hardest time when he went into his pre-teens, because he no longer wanted anything to do with his little sister. I still tried to follow him everywhere, but he no longer let me. We had a few bumpy years with that, but Ryan was still there for me. Once we both got through those awkward few years, we came out stronger than ever. He’s always been a constant. A comfort. A best friend.

I’m here today writing to you about my loving brother because he has been in the hospital for the past 5 days. It’s been a long history of being in the hospital for my brother.

See, my brother was born with cavernous angiomas on his brain. A cavernous angioma is a blood vessel abnormality characterized by large, adjacent capillaries with little or no intervening brain. The blood flow through these vessels is slow. The disease occurs in 0.4 percent of the population, and 18.7 percent of these patients have multiple lesions (Ryan has 4+). Individuals who have cavernous angiomas may suffer from headaches, seizures, and possible hemorrhages.

Ryan has gone through epilepsy, two brain surgeries, and now one pretty severe brain hemorrhage that is way different than any of his prior ones.

What’s specifically different about this bleed compared to previous ones, is that this one is located in the brain stem (PONS). The brain stem relays information between the brain, cerebellum, and spinal cord. It controls eye movements, facial expressions, and regulates vital functions like breathing and blood pressure.

It’s also an extremely difficult area of the brain to do surgery on.

Ryan currently has a breathing tube in, but he is initiating his own breaths (positive). He has paralysis on his left side, but some motor function on his right side (can give thumbs up and wiggle his toes), he can open his eyes a little bit and he can look up and down.

My brother has always been a miracle. He’s destroyed every statistic put against him and even though he’s been through more than I could ever imagine, he has the most loving, caring, kind, and generous soul. He’s an extremely talented musician, an avid hiker/runner (12 miles? No problem), a traveler, adventurer, and high achiever. Nothing has ever been out of reach for Ryan. His dreams have always been so massive and I am fully confident that his passion will take him to his success.

My family has never been the ones to ask for help. We opt to be the givers. My parents are pastors, I am a teacher. My sister takes care of more people then I could ever count and my oldest brother would drive across the country for someone without even thinking twice. We come together in times of need and we get through life with the strength of each other.

We all know that Ryan is going to accomplish AMAZING things in his life and we don’t want the progress he makes or the care he has to be limited because of finances, which is why we have decided to create a GoFundMe. We want the best possible care for Ryan.

I don’t always bring my family onto my blog, but I want to spread my brother’s story. I’m placing a link to the GoFundMe page at the bottom of this post. If you are able to donate, please do. I recognize that finances are difficult for many, therefore a prayer or good thought is still such a beautiful gift to us. Please help me share my brother’s story.

I have always fiercely believed that Ryan was brought into this world to make a difference, to be someone that others looked up to: a world-changer.

My faith has always been my rock and I have prayed more this week than I have in my entire life. God is healing him, I know he is, but we can accomplish more in this world together than we can apart.

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
― J.K. Rowling

Ryan’s Recovery, Against All Odds 

Thank you so much,

Katie May


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