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).
 http://www.huntsmancancer.org/research/cancer-investigators/mulvihill-sean  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

"SO YOU THINK YOU CAN KICK CANCER"...The Results Show!

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!!

Take the test...who said it?

Take the test...see how many you know.  (They're all good quotes no matter who said them)
.Famous Health Quotes - Beliefnet.com

True confessions

  I've been avoiding my blog lately.  Several reasons pop to mind.  First, I've been so exhausted most of the last month, I couldn't think straight, much less write anything worth reading.  Second, I admit I have not been the best example of what my blog stands for: hope, faith, being grateful every day, etc.  I had to read my own words just now to realize I haven't been myself for at least a month.  I seriously hate cancer, but I've learned to hate chemo even more!  With each chemo treatment, I've seen the spirit and life literally being sucked out of me.  I also admit I've given in to negative feelings and pretty much felt really sorry for myself lately.  Now that chemo is in the past, I am so hoping that these feelings will quickly fade away with the last of the chemo side effects.  Too little time and way too many bitter tears!!!  
  I have discovered that I need this blog...it's healthy for me.  It just gave back to me a new perspective that hopefully will give way to brighter days ahead.  That alone is worth the effort.  
 Thanks to all my dear friends who have hung in there with me through the crazy summer of '11.  I don't know what I would do without you, your prayers, your support.  So many have reached out to me in so many caring ways, I can't even keep track.  I apologize for the "bulk" thank you, but there are seriously too many who have given so much, I can't keep up.  I guess you need to stop being so nice or I need to kick it up a few notches on the gratitude scale.  Now that I'm starting to ramble (may be the time of day), I'll just say thanks for letting me vent a little.  I'm inspired to try harder and climb higher.  Love to all!    

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Forever Young

Here is my second edition of Sue's concert series. This is our dear bishop (newly released) and his wife. They came over one Sunday night to play and sing. I love them, what wonderful friends. This song in particular touched my heart. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wow...how time flies when you have cancer!

video
I can't believe it's been a whole month since I've posted anything.  A lot has happened, so I'll be putting up several posts (not necessarily in chronological order) in the next few days.  I haven't had a lot of energy for blogging.  My last chemo was pretty rough.  They told me that the effects are cumulative, so each time it takes me longer to bounce back.  This last time, I ran out of "bounce".  Before that though, I was able to go to California and spend some time at the beach (thanks to my best friend in the universe, Terry).  More to come later...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

1st Annual "Heroes hike the Y" !!!




Time: Monday, July 25 8:00am to 11:00am

Where:  The parking lot at the Y trailhead

More Info:
Two of the great heroes in my life, Chad Lewis and Sam Durst
 are sponsoring this event. Sam, who has cerebral palsy and is
 in a wheelchair, and Chad, who is an award winning athlete 
were introduced at our daughter, Kate's wedding. They have 
been good buds ever since (remember, Surround yourself with
 Greatness)! Chad recently asked Sam if he had ever hiked the Y
 and when he said no, Chad's response was, "then we're gonna
 do it and I'll push you up there"! Being the huge hearted people
 they are, they decided to do it in honor of me. This really touches
 my heart.  I asked myself what have done besides get a nasty 
form of cancer? These heroes are the first to join my new club: 
Sue's Hero Crew. If you'd like to join too, come to hike, bike, or
cartwheel up to the Y on Monday morning, then bring a smilekn 
some good shoes and a hat. You could walk away with some 
celebrity autographs (and I'm not just talking about me here) :)
You'll meet Sam and Chad, and get a free J-Dawg if you summit
 the Y
There will be other fun things too. Not everyone will hike and that's OK. 
We're going to have a party at the bottom. I will definitely be at the bottom
 (NOT the top)! I'm working on some fun surprises. You will also have an 
opportunity to donate to Pancreatic Awareness. (We're the unpopular
 purple cancer, so wear purple if you can). Bring your businesses, your
 families, and friends. Chad will sign your shirt, your book, program or 
anything you'd like. He said "Heck, I'll even sign their foreheads!" It will 
be a great way to celebrate our Pioneer heroes and all the heroes in our
 lives. We hope you can come!

Please RSVP by commenting here or go to my 
Facebook page.  Thanks for your support...this 
will be fun!!!!



Directions to Provo, Utah 84604 (The Y)

Starting from the Marriott Center N 450 E St

1
Head north on N 450 E St toward Marriott Way
2
Take the 2nd right onto E 1700 N/E University Pkwy
3
Turn right onto N 900 E
4
Turn left onto E 820 N
5
Continue onto Oakmont Ln
6
Turn right onto E Oak Cliff Dr
7
Turn right to stay on E Oak Cliff Dr
8
Turn right at Terrace Dr
9
Turn left
Arriving at Unknown road
Total: 2.5 mi - about 7 mins


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Meet my lucky charm...Tina

video
If you read a few posts back about the bulldog card, you'll get this video.  Roger, Christine, Sam...you rock!!!  They brought me the cutest little bulldog charm necklace to remind me how tough I am.  Perfect timing because tomorrow is chemo treatment number 4.  Even though I'm dreading it, I'm ready...cuz I'M SO TOUGH! (and if I forget that, Tina will be there to remind me). 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Good times! You gotta take 'em when you can get' em

video
Andy flew in for the weekend (his only weekend off for months).  We (the whole family) went up the canyon for a picnic on Saturday.  It was so pleasant.  We relaxed and enjoyed being together.  It really wore me out.  It's amazing how little stamina I have right now, BUT I'll trade having to sleep more for making memories with my favorite people any day!  We went up Provo canyon to Big Springs.  It was so beautiful and peaceful.   Just hanging out in the shade was the best! The video is of Uncle Andy playing with James. 
Me and my Kate

I like what's growing in her tummy much better than what's in mine (I bet hers is a lot cuter too!)

Our baby's having a baby!

Dr. Robinson, Me, and Reid

I like this guy!!!

So fun having Andy here even for 2 days!

Sweet baby James

What a happy day

Reid wearing my ugly visor

Auntie Kate and Liam

Crazy flight delays landed him in Salt Lake at 4:00am...it's snooze time for Scott

After many 16 hour days, it's time for a nap

Kate and John, what a couple of cuties!

Grammie and Liam

It's picnic time
Rachael and the little chunk

Liam is such a happy boy!

   

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm tougher than Tina!

This is a card that our friends, the Dursts, gave me.  On the inside, it says: "Just remember, you're tougher!"
Thanks Roger, Christine, and Sam  for the vote of confidence!  Grrrrrrrr!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Never thought I'd see the day...

I think it's time for a haircut.  I'm sure if you saw me, you wouldn't notice the changes in my hair.  These are subtle nuances, mind you, but when each and every day I see myself morphing into "Trump", something's gotta give.  When I look in the mirror these days, I see what Larry King is looking at in this picture.  Hair that's thin, brittle, wispy, and arranged in the most awkward way, sort of like a bad rug.  If I'm going to have something in common with "The Donald", my last choice would be hairstyle!  Let it be my address, or my bank account, NOT my hair!  Every day, I literally am pulling my hair out.  It slips out in handfuls.   Since I have very stubborn, thick hair, it's not making a very graceful exit.  A woman's tresses are supposed to be her crowning glory, right?  Well, take a good look at the above picture and you tell me...what should I do???

1. Let it fall out until I resemble Gollum and then break out the FlowBee
2  Cut it into some crazy short style that I would never normally wear (until it falls out).
3. Get it over with and "Bic" it NOW.
 
Me and my 27 strands of hair anxiously await your responses.  Thanks :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Going the Distance

video
Yesterday was round 3 of chemo and I feel relatively GREAT!  I know I could attribute it to having an extra week to recover, or the fact that the oncologist tweaked one of the drugs in the "cocktail" down about 5%.  The truth is that I received a priesthood blessing that is a gift from God telling me I would be able to endure this better.  I'm sure I'll see many more hard days, but for now I'm enjoying the love Heavenly Father is showing me through this great blessing.  I feel like I can make it through the rest of these treatments and still enjoy life!  This tumor is goin' down!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The time to enjoy life is NOW!

The week after my cancer diagnosis (May 11)  before my first chemo treatment was a a magical week of denial we like to call "Andy's Graduation Week in California".  We saw him graduate from medical school, went to disneyland, and lived at the beach (watching Andy surf).  We had so much fun before reality set in.  It's memories like these that really help on the down days.  I don't know if that simple fun weekend would have meant as much to me without that horrible diagnosis.  I would hope so, but I wonder.  Lesson to be learned?  Most definitely.  All of us would do well to fully embrace each and every moment enjoying all the simple and magnificent events in life with our family and friends.  What else is there...really?  Here's a few of mine....  


Andy getting his "fake" diploma from the deans

 Congratulations  Dr. Robinson!

A proud moment signifying 8 years of hard work
  
There's no better place to be in a wheelchair than Disneland!

Part of the "entourage".  The Procs (plus one), Andy, Reid, Kate & John (plus one) and me!

Can you say "party of 13 to the front of the line, please?"
More pics of this perfect weekend later (when I can figure out how to get them gathered to my computer) :).  Please promise yourself today that you will make a memorable moment this week, today, now!  I highly recommend it.  When you do, please post it on this blog and tell us your story.  Life is good, I would love to hear about yours!                                                           

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Eat, drink, and be merry, for today there shall be NO chemo!!!

OK, so this morning, I geared up, got up, and went to the clinic ready to take my medicine like a good girl.  My numbers all came back good except my platelets.  They are pretty low.  Too low, in fact, that the doctor wants to give my body another week to build back up again before they shoot me full of more poison.  "WHAT did you say??"  I couldn't believe my ears.  I was so excited to have a reprieve for a week.  A week to feel somewhat normal, a week to do other things than work my life around side effects...WAHOO!  The nausea I was feeling immediately turned to hunger.  It was lunchtime, so Reid took me to Magelby's Fresh for a slice of my favorite halibut.  It was absolutely delicious.  Life is good!  Freedom is going to mean just a little bit more to me this Independence Day, so Happy 4th of July to me, my family, you and yours, and the whole wonderful United States of America!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Music heals the soul...

video

I have always been blessed with good family and good friends.  Often the line between the two disappears.  I consider many many people in my life to be family, even though we are not technically related.  If you are reading this, you are most likely in that group. :)  Since I've "taken to my sick bed" (as my southern belle grandmother would say), I've experienced some remarkable things. I've been overwhelmed by the capacity of my loved ones to strengthen me.  Each person has something to share that lifts me and comforts me.  My dear friend Linda Hale has taken it upon herself to make me laugh every day, how awesome is that?!  I could (and probably will) go on and on with other tales of compassion and support, but today I want to share what my honorary son-in-law did for me a week ago.  Scott Peterson (Erin Robert's hubby) is quite a wonderful guy.   What you might not know to about him is that he is an artist.  He plays the violin so beautifully it brings me to tears each time I hear him play, which isn't often enough for me because they live in Idaho.  Scott and Erin and their kids came down to visit Lance and Terry over Father's Day weekend.  They came over so Scott could  play his violin for me.  I was so touched.  After a very hard week with chemo side effects, my strength and courage were almost gone and then Scott arrived.  Here are a few of the hymns he played.  Excuse the background noise and the chatter.  Also, I apologize for the quality of the video, that's my computer. Thank you Scott, for sharing your God given gift with me.  I love you!