Monday, April 9, 2012

Tumors are up by one but there's still time left on the clock...

Hi Friends!
  I had a CT scan on Tuesday to determine the size and growth pattern of the (2) tumors in my liver.  Well, it turns out there are 4, maybe 5 tumors and the oncologist says they are growing at a "brisk" pace.  That's the bad news.  Now for the good news...hmmm...don't rush me, I'm thinking...oh yeah, the good news is it's only in my liver, nowhere else that they can detect.  Also, I've been given a spot in a clinical trial for a new drug at the Huntsman Cancer Center.  I start that on the 24th, so hopefully we can stop those nasty lesions in their tracks!
  In the meantime, I'm having some great days with family, friends, and the BYU football team!  I'm grateful that spring has arrived.  It rejuvenates my soul to hear the birds singing and see the flowers and trees blooming.  Life is wonderful!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm still here...

  I just looked at my last post and can't believe it's been so long since I've posted anything.  I kind of stumbled off the edge of the planet for several weeks, but I've been a very busy girl being very sick.  Not the kind of sick that just gets worse, it's the kind that leads to better days.  On October 17th, I went in to the Hunstman Cancer Institute for my surgery.  Here are a couple of pictures of me the day before and the morning of.  I remember being apprehensive but also feeling the courage and optimism that most adrenaline junkies probably feel right before they jump off that cliff or the first time mommy feels when she goes in to labor.  Excited for the outcome but pretty much oblivious to the reality of what's about to happen.

Me and Terry the night before D-Day

  We had some great family time the night before.  It was the best way to wile away the hours before going into the hospital, it kept my mind off everything.
   We had no idea at the time that both me and Kate would have such an eventful October 17th.  She ended up having their first baby, little Joseph Andrew the night of my surgery.  What crazy timing!!!  My only daughter has her first baby while I'm unconscious...sheesh!  We Robinsons sure do things up big!

Me and Kate the night before my surgery and the night before she became a mommy.

The morning of at the hospital...waiting...
and waiting...

 Andy took one of his vacation weeks to come up from California and be my "personal physician" while I was in the hospital.  What an awesome son!  He was there practically 24/7.  I don't know what we would have done without him there.
Dr. Robinson ready to crack the whip on his mommy with the dreaded breathing machine!  I know he looks like he's asleep on the job, but he was a much better doctor than I was a patient.  :)
Love these guys!  What troopers.  They took such good care of me!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

T Minus 1 Day, 6 Hours, and 22 Minutes to blast off!

Whipple Procedure Before and After
Well, the moment we've been hoping, praying, fasting, and wishing for is fast approaching.  At 6:00am Monday morning, I report to the Huntsman Cancer Institute for surgery to remove my tumor.  About 2 weeks ago, I started to get really apprehensive, but thankfully, that phase has given way to anticipation and almost excitement to get this show on the road!  The "Whipple" Surgery is very complex and is definitely major surgery.  They will remove a good portion of my pancreas, my pancreatic duct, part of my small intestine, and anything else that is cancerous.  They will do biopsies all through the procedure to check for cancer cells and remove any surrounding tissue that may be affected.  They will take out a section of my small intestine and reroute the portion of the remaining pancreas to the end of the small intestine. (see before and after diagram above). Sounds messy, huh?  Luckily, I'll be snoozing through the whole thing!  Consequently, it will take somewhere between 6 to 8 hours (7:30am-3:30pm).  I'm told to expect to be in the hospital for 7 to 10 days, and recuperation at home will be 6-10 weeks.  I have great confidence in my surgeon, Dr. Sean Mulvihill and his team, (which is very comforting).  I feel very peaceful about this and know that the Lord will guide me through it.
  I'll try to post something (or more realistically, have someone post for me) to let everyone know how the surgery goes and how I'm doing.
  Thank you all for your fasting and prayers. I truly believe that without them, my journey would have been so different.  I am completely humbled by your faith and love. Kindness after kindness received from family, friends and strangers overwhelms my mind and heart.  I only pray I can live my life in such a way that shows my gratitude for each and every blessing.
  Please know that I love you all so much and hope to see you soon!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

RISE AND SHOUT, the tumor comes OUT!!!

I'm doing the happy dance!!!  We met with the surgeon on Friday and he had nothing but good news for us!  He started out by saying that I have had a dramatic response to the chemo.  He kept using words like incredible and amazing.  When I had my first scan before the chemo, the tumor was "red hot".  Now he says they can't really tell it's there...what a miracle!!!!!!!!!!!!  He said some people have no significant response to this chemo, but my response has been amazing.  No other hot spots anywhere in my body.  He was very happy and excited.  How often do doctors get to give pancreatic cancer patients news like this?  My guess is very rarely.  It has been a feeling of "Shock and Awe" for me.  I always knew that Heavenly Father could make this tumor shrink, but I wasn't sure if that was what his will was for me.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  I now have to ask the question: "Why Me"?  Most people ask that when they get cancer, but for me, this question is so important to ask now.  I have thought of all the good people out there with terrible illnesses who are praying for good news and don't get it.  My heart breaks for them.  With this total gift from God, I feel an enormous responsibility to spend every second the way He needs me to.  I am praying to be guided so that I don't waste one single bit of this miracle.  I still have some hard things ahead of me.  The surgery is pretty brutal with a long recovery time, but one thing I've learned this summer is that I can do hard things when the Lord is by my side (and countless loving family and friends). I may have to do 3 more months of chemo after I recover from the surgery, but I can do that too (even though that's the LAST thing I want to do).  If 6 more rounds of chemo buys me more years, so be it. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I hope you're all sitting down! Wait for it...wait for it...
I wasn't supposed to get the results from my scan until Tuesday,
so when my Doctor's nurse called me this afternoon,
I was somewhat surprised...and what a surprise it was!
I not only passed my test with flying colors, I got an A+!
Long story short...THINK SHRINK is WORKING!!! I am
completely overwhelmed with gratitude, relief, and joy!
This is not over by any means, but it is a HUGE step in
the right direction. I meet with the surgeon in a week and
I have a lot of confidence that he will tell me he can operate!
This is truly a miracle...a gift from God that we have all been
hoping and praying for. Thank you so much for calling down the
powers of heaven in my behalf. Words cannot even express the
depth of my feelings today. I'm still processing the good
news and I think I may be in shock...but I'm so happy that I'm:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Big test tomorrow...hope I pass!

Well, tomorrow morning I have my big test (PET scan).  I've studied really hard and I hope I get an A!  If you don't know what a PET scan is, it doesn't have anything to do with your dog, although that might be more fun.  First, they inject you with some sort of potion that lights up where there are highly active cells (usually cancer cells).  Then they shove you in this big toilet paper roll.  (OK, there is no pushing or shoving and it is a little bit bigger than a toilet paper roll.)  They slide you into the machine and start scanning.  They have you hold your breath for some of it.  The whole thing takes about 3 hours and you're done.
  Then the hard parts begins....waiting for the results to see if all this chemo has worked.   I won't meet with my oncologist to get the results until next Tuesday and the surgeon a week from Friday.  In the meantime, please keep thinking and praying SHRINK!  
Thank you, thank you!!