The Bachelorette's first star Trista Sutter and husband Ryan Sutter are celebrating their 17th anniversary with sweet online tributes, as he continues to fight a mysterious, undiagnosed illness.
On Sunday, Dec. 6, Trista, 48, shared on her Instagram page a photo of her 46-year-old partner at their 2013 wedding, which was televised as part of a multi-part Bachelorette special. She wrote, "More handsome today than he was on this day 17 years ago, but not only because I see him through the eyes of the mother of his children. Because he continually works to better himself...and us."
Trista and Ryan share two children—son Maxwell Alston Sutter, 13, and daughter Blakesley Grace Sutter, 11.
"Because he is the most humble, hard-working, generous, sincere, kind-hearted human with the biggest heart and even bigger muscles," Trista continued in her post. "Because his bravery and resilience is something I personally strive for. And that smile and those eyes. I mean...they pretty much slay me. Happy anniversary, Mr. Sutter and thank you for giving me the best years of my life. HIF. #mylove #mybestfriend #myhero #mydreamcometrue #happyanniversary."
Ryan shared on his Instagram a photo of Trista wearing a wool cap and sunglasses, writing, "Thank You. For 17 years you've been there for me. Through good times and bad, sickness and health, blue skies and rain. You've stood by me through difficult times, supported me through change and sympathized with me through struggle."
"You've shown me grace and taught me gratitude," he continued. "You challenge me and inspire me. You exemplify love and are a wonderful mother. You are my light, my reason and my hero. You are the best thing that's ever happened to me and the love of my life. Thank you. I love you. Happy Anniversary Mrs. Sutter... #love."
Last week, just after Thanksgiving, Trista revealed on Instagram that Ryan was battling an unknown ailment.
"I know I should be thankful, but I don't want to be fake. And, I'm struggling. This guy...my rock, my best friend, my hero, my love...is struggling," she wrote. "Not everyday, and not to the point that he can't work or cook or exercise or be with family, but enough. We've been struggling for months. Struggling to get answers."
Trista said that they recently learned that Ryan does not have cancer, which she said was "A HUGE relief...without a doubt, especially after fighting to find a doctor to take symptoms that lined up with lymphoma seriously and advocating for the scans to rule it out. But part of us was wanting a diagnosis. Wanting to be able to fight for him to be cured instead of fighting for an answer. How messed up is that? Don't worry, I know. It's messed up. But, that's where we are. In a holding pattern of not knowing. And believe me...I know it could be worse, so for that, I am thankful."
A day later, Ryan offered more details about his condition. The Colorado firefighter wrote on Instagram, "Backstory - In February I started my fire career over and began an 18 week fire academy. Towards the end of that process I felt more and more worn out and began feeling occasional 'flu like' symptoms. I was tested for COVID multiple times but never tested positive. I completed the academy and believed/hoped I would begin to recover and feel better."
"It's been five months now and, if anything, I feel worse," Ryan continued. "Though I am functional and continue to work my regular fire schedule, I am experiencing a battery of symptoms which include: fatigue - sometimes almost paralyzing, deep body and muscle aches, fevers, night sweats, full body itching with no rash, headaches, neck and throat swelling, congestion, light headedness, nausea, and just general all around not feeling good."
Ryan said he underwent several blood tests and a CT scan and has "a high ANA Titer and low WBC but nothing else has proven anything conclusive." The former result typically occurs when there is an autoimmune activity in the body and further and more specialized testing would be needed to confirm or rule out many possible diseases. Ryan told a fan who commented on his post that he has tested negative for Lupus.
"I am not taking any medications, maintain a healthy diet and am doing my best to get rest," Ryan wrote. "Most days I feel about 70%. Somedays I feel a bit better and somedays I can barely get out of bed. I don't believe I have anything contagious as no one else in my family has been sick nor has anyone I have worked with or associated with been sick."
In another post, Ryan shared a selfie of himself and Trista, writing, "I have spent the better part of my life challenging my personal limits. As a result I feel well prepared to take on my current health situation. I have a strong support group and the best wife in the world. Please don't worry about me. I will be fine."
"If you must worry, worry about each other," he continued. "Support each other. Be there for each other. The outpouring of support I have received has been humbling and therapeutic. I could not be more grateful. I can not imagine the healing power that amount of love and caring would have on the world should we all choose to apply it? Maybe let's find out..."