Ryan Anthony

I Hiked for My Family and for Caregivers, the True Heroes
Tuesday, July 25
Ryan Anthony, patient with multiple myeloma, climbed to the top of Mount Fuji with Moving Mountains for Multiple MyelomaSo many thoughts went through my head during the last 24 hours climbing Mt. Fuji with Team Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma.

At first I wanted to do this for all the patients whose voices are not heard; I thought, I could be an advocate for them. Taking my trumpet to the summit was a way to represent everyone who has reached out to me so that we ALL could be heard. 

Secondly, I wanted to do this to prove to myself that I can overcome physical obstacles. It certainly represents the ongoing battle with multiple myeloma (MM) and the mental toughness required, combined with physical grit. I am not “in shape” or athletic but I can persevere and push through. 

But surprisingly I found myself hiking for entirely different reasons and people. Not for myself or even other patients — but the family members and care givers. 

Nobody chooses to have cancer. When our backs are against the wall, we patients only have one option: fight the disease and take back control. The family’s path is less clear, yet this disease screws up their lives just as much. 

On this team were several patients but also daughters, sons, brothers and sisters of MM patients. This was a small token to show they wanted to help and would do more if possible. 

I thought of my wife and children. None of us planned on this life and I'm reminded they too live with my cancer every day. The difference is they can only watch as bystanders and hope/trust I'm doing everything possible in order to give us the future we planned on. 

The victims are not just the patients. When I wanted to stop hiking I just thought of my family — I owe them my commitment to keep going no matter how it feels personally. They deserve the life we dreamt of and only I can do something about that. 

Finally, as I climbed and looked at this team I did realize the we, cancer patients, are not alone. Not just with other patients but incredible people who have chosen to dedicate their own lives to cure this disease on our behalf. These are the true heroes! The scientists, researchers, foundations and doctors. There are many directions in their own fields they could choose that would certainly create more notoriety and income, but they choose to stand with us and fight. 

Knowing that so many people support our own personal efforts is incredibly uplifting and inspires me to keep going. 

I have cancer. I climbed Mt. Fuji. But I am never alone!
Taking Center Stage on Mount Fuji
Friday, July 21
Posting this a little belatedly; it was written on July 17, as I was sitting on the plane going to Japan. 

There are a million thoughts going on in my mind. I've been on this flight several times before, but they seem like a lifetime ago. I guess it was a different life now that I think of it? I am not going to Japan to perform or be "Ryan Anthony the trumpet player," member of Canadian Brass, instructor of soloist - this time I'm just going as Ryan Anthony, the cancer patient. The days of traveling international as an artist seems over, and most likely with my recent relapse, I wouldn't even be going on this trip if I weren't traveling with Dr. Brian Berryman. 

To have a doctor so involved in his patients' personal journeys is truly special and amazing. I'm sure he doesn't realize how much hope and strength he provides for all his patients, but certainly being able to have a freindship outside of the hospital is unique and a huge reason I'm able to overcome so many obstacles. I started a journey with this disease with Dr. Berryman and I know he'll be there for me (as all his patients) throughout the fight. To tackle this mountain with him personally by my side will be incredibly inspirational and something I will draw on for many years! 

This trek is more than just a chance to promote awareness and fundraise for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). It's a chance for me to prove to myself, family, friends and supporters that I can still live and hope for a better life even without my trumpet. For the next few days, I'm no different from every other cancer patient just trying to take one step at a time. The support I try to give to MMRF goes beyond musical events and career, it's about daily life. This trek is a chance for me to acknowlege that the groundbreaking research that they are doing is needed for my life, not career, but life! Regardless of my career and performances, I still want to support and help the cause for all involved for their success. I'm thankful for the "stage" on which I can perform to help promote the foundation, but this trek shows that every patient and caregiver can participate and make a difference for the future regardless of age, career and health.

The recent relapse, change and added meds plus radiation has certainly put a damper on my physical ability to train but that's no excuse. We still have to get up and conquer our demons, push past the aches, frustrations, depression, fatigue and obstacles that interfere with life. But as I look around, I see so much more beauty as well. There is overwhelming support and knowledge that we, cancer patients, are not alone. There is a huge family of patients and caregivers all in similar situations that I draw strength from. The friends, colleagues and family that accept me and what I do regardless of result but solely based on that I try. 

I'm so proud to be associated with the members of this team and contribute once again to MMRF as their research and new drugs are necessary in my life. I will continue to blog as well as update with pictures on the CancerBlows website and Facebook page
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View our interviews with climber Chuck Wakefield