The past few weeks have been tumultuous, to say the least.

On top of the usual emotional struggle that I’m learning to cope with every day after losing Mona, I’ve been dealing with a physical issue as well.

Basically, a couple weeks ago I passed a small kidney stone.

I had one a long time ago (right before I was going to get on a plane to Japan!) and knew the symptoms. I had Mona in my head saying…

“Don’t wait..go to the doctor.”

I listened and went. And he thought that my diagnosis was accurate as well.

He went about setting up a CT scan and told me that if the pain got to be too much, head to the emergency room.

Well, I was able to pass that guy a day later and was out of pain.

I thought that was the end of the saga and boy was I wrong.

Fast forward about 5 days and I got hit with the same pain again..only this time it didn’t back off…it went full blown “Mike Tyson body shotting me continuously” level of pain.

I diverted on the way home with Miriya in the car to the emergency room.

A few hours and a CT Scan later I found out I had a 10mm or 1cm kidney stone chilling just outside my kidney.

As far as stones go..thats HUGE. By comparison, the other one I passed was about 1.5mm wide.  And that was almost blackout level pain.

This guy wasn’t going to be passing on his own.

So I’m in the ER with Miriya. Monas Mom and Dad come and pick her up and I definitely don’t want her (or them) suffering with me overnight as it sounds like they are going to admit me when a room is available to get me some fluids and make sure that there’s no infection.

Another couple hours pass after Monas parents leave. I get transferred up to a room….

And another blindside hits me.

Mona’s not coming with me to the room.

She’s not going to be there to tell me it’s ok…and to chill my anxiety about being in a hospital.

This is a total role reversal. I’m the one that’s usually on the chair by the hospital bed…not the other way around.  Only there’s no other role. It’s just me.

I’m in completely unfamiliar territory without the number 1 person who “should” be there to do it.

It hurt. Very much.

So much I cried.

And the nurses came thinking it was pain from the stone…and I told them no it wasn’t. It was something else. They asked.

I told them the story. Or a piece of it just so they could understand. They understood. They see it every day.

Luckily an amazing friend came and brought me a battery backup and a blanket and other stuff to make the short stay more comfy.

I was hanging by a thread…they got me through it.

Now don’t get me wrong. I could have called Monas parents again..or even my Mom (who would make the drive down at a moments notice), but that wasn’t the pain.

The pain was knowing that I got Mona to her finish line. I stood by her side through years of chemo…countless doctors appointments…tons of procedures. I know how important it was to her for her to keep going and fighting…

And that wingman wasn’t there. Not through any fault of her own. Through the fault of the universe. Fate. Or “the plan”, or whatever it is you subscribe to.

It was the emptiest feeling I’ve ever experienced. It simultaneously made me elated I was there for Mona when she needed me…and absolutely dismayed she wasn’t there for me. And I know more than anything she’d want to be….by my side..caring for me…it was in her nature. It was how I learned to do what I did for her.

She was never alone. She always had someone with her. Me 98% of the time and family the other percentage…through the whole journey. I’m grateful we could do that for her.

I felt betrayed.  And that made me even sadder because this wasn’t a choice Mona made. She hadn’t made this decision. Why did I feel like I was betrayed? Angry?

Angry at the world. Angry and alone. Angry at the whole damned thing. Tons and tons of guilt just washing over me mixed with sadness.

In a hospital room.

I felt vulnerable and exposed at a level I’ve never experienced.

I still haven’t shaken that feeling.

I’m not sure I ever will.

The age-old adage of “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”

I know all too well.

It’s overwhelming.

I’m not wired to go it alone.

Never have been…




3 Replies to “Vulnerability”

  1. One day at a time Brother….. I’m sure Mona was right there by your side…. Sending love and prayers everyone’s way.

  2. Ryan, thank you for sharing your story. You are not alone. I’m always here to listen to your story. When things settle down for you in the monster stone saga, I’ll share my surgery scheduled for 11/14. I’m on a different journey but I totally understand yours. BIG hugs to you my friend. 🙏

  3. Soo many emotions to be hit with at once – no wonder you felt the way you did, Ryan. Hang in there – things take time to evolve – and resolve. Sending good thoughts. 🌻🌻

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