Tuesday, January 11, 2011


11.25.10 is photo- Thanksgiving morning, Ryan and Makenzie pole
surfing down the 4th floor hallway

When at UCSF, Makenzie met a little boy named Ryan. He is adorable with the most berry filled little lips and twinkled when he saw Makenzie. We first got to be friends our first stay at UCSF and Ryan and Makenzie would pole surf down the hallways. Makenzie embraced a nurturing side around Ryan, almost as if she could help him out it would help her out too. Some days she was obsessed with seeing Ryan, but he made her smile, laugh and able to out pour her big sister role since Emerson was at home.

Ryan has intense pancreatic issues too, but he is only 22 months. Like Makenzie, the doctors don't have answers and Ryan is making them work at the hard earned degrees and accolades they received in Med School. Ryan's Mom, Carolyn, and I became fast friends. I don't know if it was because we noticed an old soul friend in one another from the beginning, or that we looked at each other for a sounding board that truly understood the pain and nerves of having a child with rare pancreatic issues. Regardless, Carolyn's kindness and compassion helped pull me through many tests and long hospital days. We tried to laugh at the reality of "living" at UCSF with one child, when we were Mom to others. We also shed many tears in the hallways and our rooms about the unknowns that our children faced. A friendship formed that is a blessing in a horrible situation.

Today I think about Carolyn a lot. Ryan is having surgery to remove the remaining 3% of his pancreas. While waiting in PICU for Ryan, there is a family saying good bye to their almost 5 year old daughter. It is heartbreaking and incredibly challenging to witness as you await good news for your own child. Thus, my mind has been racing to prayers of kindness, love and the feelings of hands on Carolyn's incredible back. Hands to support her to stand up as she feels ready to crumble. Hands to move her forwards the next days in PICU that will be challenging and intense. Hands to help her as she uses her hands to calm, cuddle and take care of sweet Ryan as he heals.

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I am probably out running, but I thank you for taking the time to share. I look forward to your additional input as this blog grows and evolves.
Erin Kreitz Shirey