Friday, February 27, 2009

Daisy Day...

Daisy in October. Could that tag look bigger?

Today goes to the dog's! This is Daisy, she is Ashley and Robert's Italian greyhound. They got her last October as an early Christmas gift from Robert's parents. Ashley has wanted an Italian greyhound for years, and Robert loves all creatures four legged and furry. So when he set out to convince Ashley they needed a dog he knew he just had to find a face that Ash could not refuse. 

Robert's moon eyes are awesomeness.

After he met and fell in love with Daisy he knew he was in luck. He explained that since Ashley was going to school he needed a companion, someone to hang out with, and tease when his wife wasn't available. When Ashley laid eyes on her it was a done deal. She had a home.
Oh yeah, she is wrapped around my finger. (Daisy's inner monologue) 

They both love having her around, and miss her currently, but she is being well cared for by the Ashworth's. (maybe even a little spoiled, shh) Her birthday is August 20th, which makes her a Leo, just like Ashley. She loves when Robert teases her, makes funny noises, and generally acts silly for her amusement. More to come on Daisy's likes and dislikes...

*I want to answer the more detailed questions about Robert's health, and the timeline for his care. So I will share as much as we know now and what we are hoping for. His numbers have come up considerably the last two days, and he is no longer neutropenic. His doctor is pleased with his recovery considering his recent transplant. Robert's a fighter. Also today he had a bone marrow biopsy. The results for that will be available Monday or Tuesday, and it will give us much more concrete answers. And when we know, you'll know. For now we believe that this is the only round of chemo Robert will receive in town. We hope that he will be in Tucson for his transplant in late March, no later than three weeks after he leaves the hospital here. Also we are not certain whether Amanda will be the donor again.  Other than that we are just praying for his continued recovery, and we will hopefully have new news early next week.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I had the most amazing experience with Robert last week. I had started school again on Tuesday and it had been really difficult to be away from him all day. I ended up feeling like we didn't get to reconnect or spend a lot of time together at night, because I wouldn't get to the hospital until 6:30. And sometimes there were people dropping by, and Robert had been really tired and feeling sick with his infection.On Thursday night I woke up with him to help him to the bathroom and as he was finishing washing his hands I gave him a hug. He started crying so hard, I had never seen him so upset. He was saying he didn't know how much more he could take, and he wasn't sure if he could keep doing this. He was just genuinely so tired, on every level. I calmed him down as best as I could, and we talked for a while, we prayed, and cried. I went back to sleep just wondering how all of this was going to happen, and hoping that Robert would be able to make it through this with ease.The next morning I decided not to go to school and just spent time with him. He seemed to be doing a little better that morning and thanked me for comforting him the night before. We just spent time together until his mom came so I could run and take a shower and get some things done. So I went and did my things, and I was driving back to the hospital on the freeway when my phone rings. I pick it up and it says Robert My Love is calling. I answer it.
Ash: "Hello?"
Rob: "Heyyy!"
Ash: "How are you doing?"
Rob: "Ashley, I feel soooo good. I can't even explain it. I just feel so good. Like all my pain is gone and so much has been lifted from me."
At that moment I felt this wave of incredible peace, with a strength that I had never felt before. I immediately began to cry.
Ash: "Wow. That is amazing."(I had no other words for what I knew and felt)
Rob: "I know. I just feel so so good. I wish you could feel this feeling. I never want it to go away.
Ash: "Well I am just glad that you have it, and I think I am feeling a portion of it. I am so excited to see you and I am so happy.
Rob: "Me too. I feel like I can do anything now."
We then said we loved each other and that I would see him soon. I was on one of the highest, if not the highest, spiritual high I have ever experienced. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, love, hope, faith, all of it. It was the first time since I found out Robert's cancer had come back that I just knew that everything was going to be all right. That all of this was going to work. Even if I didn't understand everything, why or how, that I just knew that my faith and hope would carry me through everything that this experience has to offer.When I got to the hospital Robert was glowing. Linda was sure he had gotten some kind of pain meds, but I took one look at him and just knew that Heavenly Father had allowed Robert's pain to be taken away and for him to feel like he could take on anything. To make him feel and know that he could and would do this all again, and come out the other side victorious, and stronger than ever before.
After getting to talk to him alone Robert told me that he had had some sort of a dream state and that he felt things being taken from him and he felt this peace enter him. He kept saying that he would do anything to keep this feeling. He wanted me and Linda to know exactly how it felt. I think I got to feel a tiny portion of how he was feeling, just by being around him. It was simply incredible. I have never experienced anything like it. I have nothing but gratitude for... My Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I know that he will carry us when we can go no further on our own. For the atonement and its healing powers. For a loving Heavenly Father that will always make up what we lack, who is constantly sending us angels and heavenly assistance when it is needed by us at any moment. For the spirit's strength and comfort. For the connection we have as brothers and sisters to care for one another, and love each other, and serve one another. I am just so grateful for my experiences. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and his divine plan for each of us. There is so much he wants to bless us with, all we have to do is allow him to, and be grateful for whatever way it shows up in our lives.
We love you all very much. Thank you for the power of your prayers.

*Robert is feeling good, his numbers are coming up. He is now .8, and we are grateful to see them rising.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Going Bald!

RobDob's hair is starting to fall out, in patches and clumps! 
Tired of checking for his own hair in his food, he asked Ashpants to take it all off!

Here the man is looking pretty good. You'd never know he was losing his hair from this shot!

Look very closely at the hairy pillow!

"Hey guys! Look! I can pull my hair out in clumps, just like this! It doesn't even hurt!"

As long as I'm going bald, let's have a little fun!

And share the love! :)

Goodbye hair! See ya in 4-6 months!

Still the cutest couple ever!

"I'm too sexy for my hair, too sexy for my hair, so sexy it hurts! Come on, I know you want to sing along!" 
"I'm a model, you know what I mean and I do my little thing in my hospital bed! Okay, I'll stop--the syllables don't really work anyway!"
Whatever, I'm HOT!

*Robert is doing well today. The precursor for his white blood cells (and all the other things in his blood that we want to increase) is coming up. That means that his bone marrow should be coming back and his numbers should be coming up by the end of the week. He may still be neutropenic then, but it is a good start! He is still feeling good, just recovering from chemo without any other side effects.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

DNA Sunday

Today we have the pleasure of introducing Amanda Ashworth. She is the second of the six Ashworth children, and just younger than Robert. She is vivacious, fun loving, and very compassionate. She cares greatly about her family, and it shows. She was Robert's donor for the first transplant. She is lovely and I am excited to share more about her.

Amanda photographed by James Liu. (aka Mykii)

So Amanda... What is your favorite color? My favorite color is blue
What makes you laugh? All kinds of thing. A joke, someone tickling me, ice blocking and falling on my butt, etc.
If you had to live somewhere for the rest of your life, where would it be? I would live on the beach
Which is a better pet? Dog or cat? Dog because cats dont play with you as much.
What is your favorite TV show? One Tree Hill and Greys Anatomy
Describe yourself in one word. Adventurous
If you could trade places with anyone (living or dead) for a day who would it be? Mandy Moore
What is your passion?To be a wonderful mom
What surprises you most about your life so far? The fact I am 21 and still dont know what to do
Favorite holiday? Christmas and Thanksgiving! I get to see family
Worst habit? Taking long showers
What is something you are really good at? I am good at doing nails
Favorite book? Twilight
The nicest thing anyone has ever done for you? Let me cry on their shoulder
Biggest waste of time? Going to the bathroom
Most happy when? I can sleep haha, and when I am at Disneyland

* Robert continues to feel well, and his infection is improving. As you can tell he has gotten his sense of humor back. Thank you for your continued love and support.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Did I Pee My Bed?

Last night Robert was really tired at 8:30, so when his nurse came in just before 9:00 he asked for his sleeping pill, took it and drifted off to dream land. Ashley went to sleep around 10:00. 
At 12:00 Ashley is startled awake by Robert standing between his bed and her bed. He is taking the bottom of the sheets off the bed and stripping at the same time. Ashley just gawked at him for a moment, wondering what on earth he was doing??? She then realized that he was having a very difficult time getting his gown off because it was tied in the back. Ashley quickly stood up and said, "Robert, I can help you." He just looked at her and replied, "Oh."
With the removal of his gown he was now buck naked! He walked into the bathroom doorway and told Ashley, "I'm cold." (She thinks, "well yeah, you're naked!") But says, "I can get you some new clothes."
"What? I don't have any more clothes?"
"No, I said I would get you some new clothes."
"Oh, okay." Robert replies. Ashley brings over some new bottoms and a clean gown and helps him dress. She then tucks him into her bed while she goes out into the hall to find a nurse to change the sheets. When she gets back into the room she realizes there is water all over the floor under his bed and the sheets are soaked? Robert also notices this and is quite alarmed!!! 
"Ashley, did I pee my bed?"
Ashley looks around thinking, did he really pee this much? "I don't think so Robert, it looks like water?"
"Are you sure? (short pause) I had a dream there was a fire."
Ashley replies, "I'm pretty sure that you dumped the pitcher of water onto your 'fire'!"
"Ashley, I'm really awake!" Robert exclaims.
Once his sheets are changed and floor is mopped Ashley helps Robert into bed, he is still very concerned and worked up over the possibility of having peed his bed. Ashley assures him he was just putting out the fire and everything is okay. She is also very clear, "if you need anything Robert, you can just say my name and I will get up and help you!" He promises he will. About thirty seconds after laying down Robert is out cold, so much fore being so awake!
At 4:00 he calls to Ashley, "I need to pee." She gets him the little urinal he can use in bed. Peeing jogs Robert's memory! Suddenly he turns to Ashley and says, "was I already awake? Did I pee my bed? Did I do something bad?"
Ashley reassures Robert that everything is fine, "you woke up, but you didn't pee your bed. You just spilled water." 
"Oh, okay. (long pause) Are you sure I didn't do anything bad?"
"Yes Robert, everything is fine."
Convinced and calmed Robert goes back to sleep again. This morning Ashley tells Robert the story and he very vaguely remembers any of it, but still felt concern that he might have peed his bed! They have gotten a good laugh out of it and chalked it up as the night to remember 'when you were buck naked and were sure you peed your bed!'

Oh the memories! And the laughs!

*Robert is still neutropenic. The fabulous news is that he has not had a fever for over 24 hours, and he is no longer having any pain in his stomach or intestines! He says he is feeling great!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Calling All Angels

RobDob and Ashpants, looking rather in love and angelic!

I believe that angels walk among us! Some are other people who are on an angels errand as they answer our prayers and serve us, other angels we don't see with our eyes. Ashley and Robert have felt the spiritual angels with them, especially when they are in the hospital. Karalee and I have been touched by the angels who are answering our call to donate their time and talents as we put together an online auction. We have been so touched to see the willingness in others to share. Many say, "I'm just so happy there is something I can do to help!" I know what they mean, it makes you feel a little less helpless. As humans one of the hardest things to do is ask for help. It seems from the time we are young we have been trying to 'do it myself". I'm learning through this experience that it shouldn't really be that way. It is such an amazing connection to serve each other, albeit a humbling experience to be served. On either end it connects us to each other, I love that!
All that said, we would like to extend our request to anyone who might want to help. If you have a talent, craft, service, etc. that you would like to donate to the auction we would greatly appreciate it. Please email Karalee at and let her know what you would like to auction, what you would generally charge (the worth of the item or service), and if possible send a picture. Some examples of items already donated are: handmade cards, photography package, baby blanket.
We are planning a costume ball fundraiser for March 21st or 28th , depending on what we work out for a venue. I would love to put this idea out there too. It will be a dinner and ball. We are looking for caterers who might be willing to donate or reduce labor costs. We will also have many other needs as the details start to unfold, flyers, decorations, linens, volunteers to help set-up, serve dinner and clean-up. We've just realized that two heads are better than one, so maybe 20+ will be even better!
Please feel free to comment with any ideas. And I do mean ANY ideas, about the auction, ball or any other fundraisers that you know are successful. We are by no means experienced with fundraising (yet) and would love any help we can get!

I just want to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone! Everyone who has donated, prayed, or just stopped by this blog to visit. Thank you for your love, kind thoughts, sincere words, prayers and generousity. I know they mean more to the two angels in the hospital right now than they even do to me! So I will share thier heart felt gratitude too! Robert and Ashley are truly touched and grateful! Thank you, and may we all be angels to one another!

*Robert's numbers have not come up yet. They aren't concerned yet, but had expected them to have come up some by now. He sleeps a lot, day and night! He is feeling a little better today. Steve went to visit him for a bit tonight, and Robert told him that often he isn't really sure where he is or what is going on. Apparently he has 'halucinations'. Robert woke Ashley up in the middle of the night and told her to turn of the X-box, because he was SURE it was causing his halucinations! His fever has stayed under control, but he is still having some pain. Steve said it was harder to see him tonight than even on Sunday, he just looks so tired, worn out and well, like a cancer patient. We just know he is doing some serious leukemia slaying in his sleep!

Picture credits go to our talented friend (and current missionary in Leeds, England) James Michael Liu, aka. Mykii. He loves photography and had Ashley and Robert pose for this awesome shot just outside of Vegas somewhere!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Comment Change

I have changed the comment moderation, so that anyone should be able to comment. Even without a google account. Please feel free to leave Robert and Ashley a comment/message. They check this website whenever they can, and I'm sure they would love to read anything you wish to share with them!

Thank you!

True Love!

I love cameras and photographs. I have become the family photographer, by default (and because I love it). I love to look at pictures. As I have been looking back at pictures on my computer of Robert and Ashley I was amazed at how well they tell the story of his recovery from his last bone marrow transplant. I also thought they showed how much these two superheroes love each other. You can just see it in their eyes and poses. I hope you enjoy this little photo journey as much as I did! I will tell the date/event of the different pictures taken.

This picture was taken April 11, 2008 at Elijah's baby blessing. Such a cute couple, and Robert is looking quite dapper between chemo sessions!

Steve and I drove our truck down to Tucson at the end of July 2008 to pick up the superheroes and all their super gear. We were lucky to have our Whiting cousins who live in Mesa take us out on the lake for a day. This picture was taken August 1st. RobDob wasn't allowed in the water, too many germies!

August 12th. Ashley is a hardcore Rockband rocker! Check out her performance face! Robert is just cute as can be with his orange leukemia bracelet. He lost ALL his hair during his bone marrow transplant.

August 14th, which makes Ashley the birthday girl! If you look really hard and squint your eyes a little you can see the peach fuzz hair that Robert grew back first (before he got his real hair back), on his chin and his head!

August 17th, this picture was taken at the first Brad Squires Family Reunion at Jacob's Lake (near the Grand Canyon).

August 18th, another shot at Jacob's Lake. As you can see Robert employed his hat to keep his melon warm!

November 7th, this shot Ashley took herself! It is a perfect example of Robert's smiley 'half moon' eyes. Ashley is always telling Robert to 'open your eyes' when anyone is taking pictures of them, so funny!

November 27th, Thanksgiving Day! The tryptophan has taken effect here folks!

December 24th, Christmas Eve! Look at that head of dark hair! Such a cute couple!

January 2nd, at Raising Canes! Yummy!

Same day, swinging in the park!

So there you have the story, in pictures! Robert and Ashley are a beautiful example of True Love! They are an example of courage, faith and strength. Watching them and their unfolding story strengthens me! They remind me of the importance of relying on each other and growing closer when times get tough! Thanks for sharing your love with us RobDob and Ashpants!

P.S. The Mac is Back! Hallelujah!

*Robert had a better night. He is sleeping pretty well and his fever only got to 100.4 last night. He still likes his morphine, because he is still having pain. Robert has been sleeping a lot more the past couple of days than he did the first week in the hospital. We were informed by Dr. Gollard (the oncologist) that post-transplant patients have a harder time bouncing back from chemo, meaning that his numbers may come up a little more slowly than they did previously and he may be more susceptible to getting sick. The antibiotics do seem to be working, so we just hope they work quickly!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sometimes you just feel . . .

Helpless! Even when you have a mask, cape and kick-butt boots!

Ashley is attending Aveda's cosmetology school. She started in October and has been loving every minute of it! She is doing really well! She took a leave of absence last week, and they will allow her to postpone her studies while she goes with Robert wherever the bone marrow transplant takes them. She and Robert decided that for the next 5-6 weeks she should keep attending school. She goes to school Tuesday through Saturday from 8:00-5:00. I talked to her this evening and she said that school went well, but it was hard to leave this morning knowing that he wasn't feeling well! She's wishing that the sidekick was allowed to fight the war, or at least most of the battles in a superhero duo, but alas it just doesn't work that way!

Robert did have a better night last night. He woke up twice, but was able to go right back to sleep with a little help from pain meds. His fever stayed down most of the night too. He had a cat scan and a chest x-ray today, but they didn't show anything that would be causing him pain. They are pretty sure it is just an infection so they are hoping the antibiotics they have him on will take care of it. His fever was up to 102 at noon today, so he got more Tylenol and he gets his pain meds as needed right now. The good news is that RobDob is really funny on pain medication!

Then there are the sometimes you just feel like . . . Laughing!

During his stay at the hospital in Tucson he told Ashley one day just after receiving meds that, "my pain is like a rolled out carpet!" When she pressed him a little further to see if he needed more than the meds he had just received, and to see if she could understand exactly what that meant Robert only said it again! When he was off the medications later he didn't remember saying it, and didn't have a clue what he possibly could have meant with that comparison.

On Saturday February 7 when they put in his pick line (his more permanent I.V.) they gave him a pain medication that is similar to morphine, but doesn't last as long. Robert turned to Ashley with a big ole' grin and said, "I think I'm high!"
"Ya think?" was Ashley's reply.
Alycia Ashworth and her boyfriend Jake stopped by a little later for a visit and they played a game of UNO. Robert kept laying down the wrong cards, so Ashley was helping him with his hand. Apparently Robert was getting a good look at Ashley's cards as well. Just before her final turn to win the game he laid down his 'draw four' and changed the color from the blue she needed to red, and told her to grab four cards!
"So that's the thanks I get for helping you, huh?" she asked.
Robert quickly quipped, "I play to WIN!" With that same big grin on his face!

We'll hope for another funny story as long as Robert is on pain meds! :)

As for myself I know a little of that helpless feeling too! It feels like all I can do is pray! Robert and Ashley want to thank everyone who is praying for them! They felt the prayers through the last round with leukemia, and definitely feel their strength now! So thank you, and keep the prayers coming!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Trouble in Blogland!

What did anyone do before computers? I don't know what I did before I had two computers! I know, spoiled right!? So I have a really cute post almost all ready to go when my Mac dies. Now I know what your thinking, "They say Macs never die!" That is true, except when your 5 year old son thinks it might be a good idea to take the charger out of the computer and put it in his mouth. I can't be mad, I actually feel bad for him--he got quite the little tongue zinging shock. After that the cord would keep the computer running, but wouldn't charge it at all. Then it just turned off and I can't get it back on. The rest of the cute pictures I needed for that post are on my Mac Book! What's a girl to do? Well I'll just have to make the 30 min. run to the Apple Store for another cord tomorrow and in the meantime I'm sure I can come up with something for your reading pleasure for today!

Robert and Ashley in Moab, UT on Memorial Day Weekend 2006. This is from the many pictures we took for their wedding announcements!

Hmmm, of course it is President's Day after all, so I will take this opportunity to mention that Ashley is incredibly patriotic and loves being an American. Robert too, but not quite to Ashley's extreme. She has been known to shoe polish her own car with slogans such as, "Don't forget to vote today!" and "Voting is Totally Cool!" She makes t-shirts with iron on letters announcing to the world who she will be voting for that day! She is funny, feisty and spunky! It really shows when she feels strongly about something that is going on in her country, she's not scared to tell you what she thinks about political things! And I think she has a totally pc (you know, as in politically correct) crush on George Washington! Can you blame her? He was a pretty cool and amazing dude! So take this opportunity to be grateful for this country and the wonderful men who shaped it!

God Bless America!

*Robert update: He woke up last night with severe stomach pain and was throwing up this morning. He has an infection of some kind and he got a fever later in the morning. It got up to 103, but they have given him medication for that and started him on an antibiotic. This can happen when his blood counts are so low, because he basically has no immune system. My dad and Robert's friend Scott went to the hospital and gave him a blessing. He started feeling better this evening and was sleeping when I just got this update from Ashley. *His doctors think this is the same AML, or type of cancer that he had before.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

DNA Sunday

We thought it would be fun to introduce different members of Robert and Ashley's families on Sundays. For today we will introduce Karalee Garber and Janelle Gratteau. We are the two sisters who will be posting on this blog, and continuing to tell Robert and Ashley's story, so we wanted to let you know who we are. We thought it would be more fun to introduce each other, than introduce ourselves! *drumroll*

Elijah, Todd, Tyler Rose and Karalee Garber

Karalee Squires Garber is a cancer, she enjoys long walks on the beach, watching sunsets and baking delectable delights with lots of chocolate in them! :) Okay, while all of those things are true I'll stop writing this as if she is looking for a husband. She has an adorable red-headed one of those already, Todd Garber. They have two beautiful children Tyler Rose, 2 and Elijah 1. Karalee loves staying at home and caring for her children. She and Todd also care for his paternal grandmother, who lives with them.
Karalee is the middle child in our family, that said she is also the oldest of the four 'little girls'. Karalee is two years older than Ashley and they have always been the best of friends. She has always had a big heart, seen others needs and done what she could to help. She is a truly generous and compassionate soul!
Karalee loves to read books, well that is an understatement, she loves to devour books. She can read a book faster than anyone I know. She loves the color blue. Her favorite flower is lavender roses. She is an amazing cook, and even better baker! Chocolate chip cookies is one of her specialties, I can never get mine to turn out quite as well! She loves trying new recipes, and says that baking is a great way for her to unwind. It feeds her! :) In high school she would often have people sing the SaraLee jingle and insert her name, "Nobody does it like Karalee!" They would then request that she make them a favorite treat. Karalee is a licensed massage therapist, and she is amazing. She worked for a doctor and chiropractor before choosing to stay home full time. She has an irrational fear of being chased up stairs and her biggest pet peeve is drivers who don't use their blinkers.
Todd makes Karalee laugh the most, typically when he isn't trying to be funny. According to Todd he is always trying to be funny! She loves the funny things that her children do, they definitely bring her the most joy in her life! If you want to keep an eye on them see here.

Byron, Janelle, Taryn, and Steve Gratteau

Janelle has a hilarious sense of humor. If nothing else she laughs so hard at her jokes that you can always get a laugh out of that. She is the second oldest of the seven children in our family, and was always able to command a room. I can remember her thinking of very fun, and creative games to get us to clean up. Or just to entertain us for hours.
She was trained as a Montessori teacher when she was 19, and she is amazing with children. She worked in classrooms in Arizona, and Colorado. When she moved to Las Vegas she taught children in her home, after Taryn was born she decided to not continue watching other kids, and is now busy and happy caring for her family.
Janelle has always been quite the globetrotter. When she was 18 our paternal grandparents were living in South Africa, and she flew for a lot of hours (I am not sure the exact amount) on her own, and spent a few weeks with them. She saw lions, tigers, elephants, hippos, and she even rode an ostrich. Since being married she has been to Hawaii, Australia, and she even ventured to Texas.
She married her very handsome, and equally entertaining husband, Steve Gratteau, on October 23, 1999. They met after Janelle moved to Denver, Colorado to work. They currently have two children: Byron 5, and Taryn 1, and she is currently pregnant with baby #3 (it is another girl), and continues to teach her children new things every day. Both of her children have inherited her great sense of humor, and they never cease to crack me up. Just the other day Byron unknowingly ratted his Dad out. Janelle had been at my house planning a few things with me and she got home pretty late at night. She could hear a video game on upstairs, she hollered up the stairs to make sure it was Steve playing, and that Byron was in bed. Steve replied yes to both questions, and then Byron piped in... "I was up until Dad heard you, and then he made me hurry and get in bed." I was in stitches when I heard that one.
Janelle's favorite color is blue, and she loves ice cream. Don't let her fool you she is also an excellent cook, and baker. She makes a mean pan of lemon bars. They are a current pregnancy craving. She rock climbs, repels, and is generally adventurous. She is a loving and supportive friend, wife, and mother. If you want to learn anymore about her idiosyncrasies hop over here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Smurf Sacrifice

So the Smurfs (you know the little blue cartoon guys!) have joined RobDob in his leukemia fighting efforts, see:
Some nutty scientist thought it would be a good idea to test their blood and discovered that it has cancer fighting properties! Who knew? So the little blue guys heard about RobDob's plight and decided to donate to his cause. Really, it is one of his bags of chemo, the other is clear. It does make him pee that color though, cool right! There was a chance that the whites of his eyes would turn that same shade of blue too, but so far no luck! ;)

Here he is getting his last two bags of chemo! He got 5 total, starting Sunday and ending yesterday. Don't worry that isn't a look of pain on his face. Not even close! He is concentrating really hard on this:

Video games! Sometimes Robert has to lay down his luekemia slaying sword and let the Smurfs do his dirty work for awhile. Then he picks up his controller/gun to shoot bad guys of the 3-D video game sort. It gets his mind off the battle raging within while still honing his super skills!

Let me introduce you to the guy on the left! He is my husband, Steve Gratteau. He is on the short list of those who can visit Robert. He qualifies for that list because he doesn't have cooties, he is pretty funny and he loves video games as much as Robert. Ashley and I think they are video game nerds, but they never seem to hear us when we call them that!?! At least they are having fun. It really is true that laughter is the best medicine, so laugh it up boys!

Robert is looking good, he even still has his hair! There is still a good chance it will all fall out though. His numbers are still dropping as the chemo keeps on working! We just love to see him smiling!

Ashpants and RobDob smiling through the good fight! (They hung their capes in the closet!) They are such a cute superhero couple!
We love you guys!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sugar High!

So last Wednesday I baked up some sugar cookies for mutual. Our churches youth group night. I work with the 16-18 year old girls (Alycia Ashworth is one of my laurels!), and we were delivering heart cookies to members of our church ward. Well as luck would have it I completely ran out of time to make the goods, you know the homemade stuff! So, I cooked up some Pillsbury sugar cookie dough. The cookies were sad, flat and just lacking--in my humble opinion!

Before I even left my house I called Ashley and lamented to her the woes of my sad cookies and the cravings I've had for the 'real thing' since before Christmas. I believe that you have to decorate sugar cookies at least twice a year, and red hots are as necessary as icing! I think I only got to decorate the once last year, so sad. Anyway, back to calling Ashley! Because, she is the sugar cookie guru in our family! You know each of us sisters has our recipes that we do best! Sugar cookies are kind of Ashley's thing! She even tried a dozen recipes before she found the one she loved the best! She agreed to come to a sugar cookie day with me and my children on Monday! Of course Karalee and her cuties were invited too!

Well we all know how the Friday between the Wednesday chat and the planned sugarfest went! Ashley is back at the hospital with her famous pants on caring for our superhero RobDob! Alas we had to carry on with our cookie plans without her, because now she and Robert needed our sugary love!
So on Monday we measured and mixed, refrigerated and rolled, cut-out and baked our little hearts out! That was just the fun to get to the true excitement of frosting and decorating! We mixed up the brightest colors and spread on the love! And as you can see there were plenty of red hots to go around!

Alycia Ashworth

Byron Gratteau

Tyler Garber

Taryn Gratteau

Um, I'm just a little confused! Did you say we were decorating, or eating? The neices and nephews loved decorating cookies for Robert and Ashley! Every time that we took their picture they would pose and say, "I love Robert!" Luckily they didn't notice that none of their cookies actually made it onto Robert and Ashley's plate! Children have waaaay too many cooties, which are really bad for slaying leukemia!

"I love Uncle Robert!"

"Yeah, so I don't say all those words! So, how 'bout a kiss Uncle Robert!"

Monday was a great day! We all ate a bare minimum of five cookies! Needless to say we were loving the sugar high, and we were high on love for Robert and Ashley! Was that too cheesy? Oh well!

*Robert Update: He is neutropenic today (neutrophylls are the white blood cells that fight infection, being neutropenic means that you have less than .1% of normal.) He got his last two bags of chemo today! The chemo will continue to work in him and all of his blood levels will continue to drop, so now they will really watch for infection. (Visitors are very limited due to this.) He got 2 bags of red blood cells today too. Robert had gotten bumps on the back of his legs about 3-4 weeks ago. They think they were pockets of leukemia cells, and now they are totally gone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sweet Support

Dear Robert,
What Cancer Can Not Do
Author Unknown
Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

Fellow 18 year survivor..never give up hope, never forget to ask for help and most of all remember the power of love and prayer!
Always in all ways,

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In The Beginning...

There was Robert Ashworth. He grew up, loved his family, served a mission in the Bahamas and was off to college on a baseball scholarship.

And there was Ashley Squires. She grew up, loved her family, moved to Arizona and was working at her aunt's Montessori school considering the options for her future.

Then Robert and Ashley fell in love (a story that merits its own post in the future), and got married on July 8, 2006. All was wedded bliss! 

Little did they know that in October of 2007, while in Vet Tech School, Robert was mutating! And not just any normal cancerous mutation of the leukemia variety either, it triggered a mutation of a different variety. His cancer cells literally activated within him SUPERPOWERS!!! Robert became . . .  RobDob The Incredible Leukemia Slaying Superhero Extraordinaire! 

Through the magic of marriage and true superhero beginnings Ashley too began to change! Slowly at first. Then on that fateful Friday November 16th, 2007 when they received the call that Robert had leukemia and they were on the way to the hospital, the metamorphosis was complete. Ashley was the Trusty Incredible  Ashpants!

Now as you can see, it is a year and four months later. They have a first saga and victorious battle with leukemia! You can read more about the details of that super fight here. Those stinky little leukemia cells have returned! So, on Friday February 6, 2009 Ashley got out their super suits and capes, boots and all, and drove them back to the hospital to fight again! This is where you can read about all the adventures, super leukemia slaying moments, joys and occasional sadness's, laughter and tears of the current saga and battle of RobDob and His Trusty Sidekick Ashpants!

*Robert Update: The doctors are not sure if he has the same AML he had previously. They did extensive blood work on Saturday and we are waiting for the results. Robert started chemo Sunday Feb. 8, and they think this may be the only round he will need to receive in Las Vegas. He will definitely be receiving another bone marrow transplant, that will happen in Tucson, And should occur in the next couple of months. After his first transplant Robert never got  graph vs. host disease (rejection symptoms) that would have caused his new marrow to have some immunity against the remaining old marrow. . So this time around Robert won't take any anti-rejection meds until he has mild symptoms of  G vs. H disease.