Thursday, July 30, 2009


Robert busted out of the hospital on Monday night, and it has been so nice to get to relax in our apartment, sleep in a real bed, and eat some delicious food. Well Linda and I were doing most of the eating. Robdob has still been nauseated, so he hasn't been able to eat tons yet. But, we're working on it!
On his way out of the hospital. We will miss all of our wonderful nurses. They were awesome, but we were glad to go!
Getting some R&R and also some food at the same time! Robert is still getting IV nutrition(that white bag), since he can't consume enough calories on his own right now. But he only gets it at night. I just hook it up and he gets it while he sleeps.

Robert is doing well, just still recovering from his treatment, and trying to get used to the nausea and taking a bunch of pills. He is taking a LOT. But, everything is going well. Thank you as always for the love and support.

All our love.

Monday, July 27, 2009

DNA Sunday, I mean Sunny Monday--Byron

So we missed Sunday! We were having too much fun at Temple Square in SLC with Aunt Ashpants! And Robdob was hanging out with the Stevenator again. Then we were on the road heading home last night! So we'll just make it a DNA Sunny Monday today!

Byron Bradley Gratteau is next in line! He is Janelle and Steve's oldest. He will turn 6 on November 30th, but enjoys telling everyone he meets that he is six NOW. (Better than the 106  years old that used to be his answer to that question.) He is a funny guy, quite the character! He too loves baseball, and played t-ball for the first time this past spring. He doesn't have quite the same passion as Robdob or the Baker boys, he wants to try all the sport out first. He has asked to play football and soccer next!

Byron loves to climb, always has. I've found him on top of our fridge, the top shelf in the pantry and lots of trees:
Byron loved spending time with Aunt Ashley in SLC. He was sad that Robert was still in the hospital and that he didn't get to see him before we had to come home. He has a message for his Ashpants, "Thank you for letting us come to stay with you in Salt Lake. Tell Robert that I hope he gets to come home soon, and that I hope he feels better!"
Byron has quite the imagination. He loves to come up with costumes to be his favorite super heroes, and sometimes he makes up a new hero. This is the terrifying Thunder Man:
Byron loves to have his picture taken as he is demonstrating by his cheese face:
And I couldn't resist the baby picture:

Here's a little more information about Byron:
Favorite color? Red and blue.
Favorite food? Turkey sandwiches.
Favorite dessert? Mint chocolate chip ice cream and Oreo cookies.
Favorite book: Harold and the Purple Crayon.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A baseball player or do Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe (on the Discovery Channel--he loves that show).
What is your favorite thing or memory about Uncle Robert? When he plays games with me. Video games, Candyland, UNO, and especially baseball in my backyard when he lived at our house.
What is your favorite thing to learn about? Space, gardens, zoos and learning how to make books (I didn't know he was learning that one!) "And my best thing to do is to know where to get ice cream at every place." That is definitely an important thing to learn!
Favorite movie? All the Land Before Times! We've now seen all 10, thanks to Netflix! I just know you're all jealous ;)

*Robert is doing better each day. They are trying some different medication combinations that are helping his nausea. He and Ashley got to head to their apartment in Salt Lake tonight. He will go back to the clinic for appointments twice a week. They are excited about that. Last time in Tucson they went back to the clinic every day for awhile. Robert will be receiving TPN (IV nutrition) bags at home each night until he is consuming more calories during the day. The doctors said he is doing so well--with his numbers and general health--and that they could do anything that he still needs at home. Anytime Robert needs additional fluids they will send some over to his apartment for him, and hook it up to his chest catheter. They are hoping that his healing and appetite will get better faster at home! We are still looking for signs of GVHD! 
They were packing up and heading home sometime tonight, so look for a post from Ashley about their excitement on being home (aka. "snuggle time")!
Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sorry We Missed You . . .

The Gratteau family, Elyssa and friend Jinny are in SLC so . . .
The past couple of days, but we have been busy! Doing a little of this . . .

Ashley's been loving on & bonding with Josie . . .
And taking a little abuse from her too!
Hi-yah, I poke your eye! Take that Aunt Ashley!
They are sharing the love here for sure!
Ashley has been loving on all the Gratteau kiddos!
And a little of that . . .
Oh, and we've been swimming in the pool!
Taryn prefers the little pool aka. the spa, so she would drag Aunt Ashley over to hang out with her there.
Pulling funny faces, Ashpants teaches Taryn all her tricks!
Byron plays catch in the big pool!
We girls enjoyed a little shopping with Ashpants, while Linda graciously watched the kiddos. Nothing like some girl time, talk, and shopping break for super sidekick.

Me and Ashpants amid our shopping adventures.

Robdob has also had some extra fun (well, as much as the hospital will allow anyway!). He and Steve hung out all day, playing video games and getting some guy time. We're pretty sure Robert enjoyed having some testosterone around, and someone to play video games with.

Robert also got lots of love! This is Jinny, she is a friend of Elyssa's and our family's. She is a massage therapist, and Robdob talked her into massaging his feet a little when she came to visit him. Robdob loves having his feet tickled and massaged, and he will take it wherever he can get it, and Jinny is no exception!
We've been having fun, getting to bring some fun and excitement to Robert and Ashley here in Salt Lake City. Hopefully Robert will be able to have that fun outside of the hospital soon, but we loved being able to spend time with our favorite super hero and sidekick wherever we could.

*Robert is doing well. He is enjoying the extra company the weekend brought with it. He has been very nauseated while they are switching him to oral medications in preparation to send him home. They will keep trying different oral nausea meds until they find what will work best for him. They are hoping he will be eating enough and feeling ready to go home by monday. We are hoping so too! It's been a long time in the hopsital and we are hoping our super hero will be able to relax at home very soon. And eat whatever his heart desires! Please keep praying for him to continue feeling better each day. Thank you for all the prayers and love you offer. It is so appreciated.

Cookbook Presale Extended!!!

You now have until Wednesday, July 29th to order a super hero cookbook! To order at the special presale price, go here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Proof is in the puddin'...

Robert is quite incapable of keeping his eyes open for pictures. It's a problem. But, these pictures are proof that Robert is awake! Well, sometimes! He really is! And a lot more often lately at that. I love it.
He isn't sleeping in this picture, he is trying(not very hard I might add) to keep his peepers open for his "awake" pictures. Robert told me I should stand back farther and zoom in like a "normal" person would, so the flash isn't "all in his face". It made no difference, but, of course, I had to humor him. That's what we side-kicks do.
That's a little better Robert, but I think we should try one more...
Then he gives me something like this, open-eyed rebellion at it's finest.
There they are! Those elusive little buggers. Not many eyelashes, and the eyebrows are going too, but he is doing good, and that's what matters the most!
These open-eyed pictures are a rarity folks, so enjoy em' while you can! ;)
Robert is doing well, his throat and mouth are still sore, but they are on the mend, and we hope within the next couple of days that they heal up even quicker so that he can eat more food. His calorie intake had still ben low, but he eats a little more everyday. His numbers are still looking good, his white count has gone a little low, but that is pretty normal with immuno-suppressive drugs. It'll take them a little time to stabilize completely. All in all, things are going very well, we still haven't seen any signs of GVHD, but we are hopinge to see a little soon. We are anticipating leaving some time next week, hopefully earlier in the week!

We are grateful for you all, as always! We appreciate all you do! Please keep praying for our favorite super hero.

All our love.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Ashley posted this picture on her online journal, and I wanted to share it again here. We've shared this poem on the blog before. It was originally left in the comments on Robert and Ashley's old blog by Denise a fellow cancer survivor. Ashley loved this picture because she loves her angels.

Click to enlarge

Robdob and Ashpants have so many angels. I know that angels are present in their hospital room all the time. There are the angels, like Denise, who offer support and kind words. Their angel mothers, fathers, siblings and extended families who offer so much support. The angels who have so generously donated financial support, goods and time to ease their burden. Angel doctors and nurses who care for Robert's physical needs. And Angels who PRAY for Robert and Ashley daily!
Our super heroes are definitely supported by many, many amazing angels!

Thank you for being an angel!

*Robert is doing well today. He ate more today than he did yesterday!! He enjoyed some ice cream and watermelon. His numbers are down a bit, white blood cells are 1.0 and neutrophils are 1.8. His levels are still above neutropenic, so that is good. It is normal for them to fluctuate. You may remember they yo-yoed even more last time he was in the hospital. We're still looking for that graph vs. host disease! Thank you for your prayers and love!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

DNA Sunday--Shayla

This is Shayla. She is Robert and Ashley's oldest niece and Derek's younger sister (he was spotlighted last Sunday).

She turned 8 in March and was baptized a few days after her birthday. This is Shayla after her baptism with her dad, Dave, who baptized her:

Shayla is about to have 3 brothers (she was really hoping the baby who is soon to arrive would be a baby sister). We know another family with one girl and a bunch of boys. That girl is known in their family as "the rose among the thorns." Shayla thinks that is pretty funny and plans to adopt that title in our family. That should be pretty easy for her to do since she is 100% girl.

Shayla loves to cook. Here she is helping Aunt Brittany bake a birthday cake.

Shayla also LOVES gymnastics and is quite talented at it. She can already do a back handspring.
Shayla is also very flexible, which comes in handy at gymnastics. Above is a picture taken last summer during our trip to Vegas when we last saw Robert.

Here's a little more info about Shayla:
What is your favorite color? Light Green
Favorite food? Chicken Nuggets
Favorite dessert? White Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Topped with Fruit
What do you want to be when you grow up? A cook.
What is your favorite thing or memory about Uncle Robert? Robert and Ashley dancing on their wedding day.
What is your favorite book? The Secret Garden
What is your favorite thing to learn about? Animals
When Shayla was younger, she had VERY curly hair. The curls have since turned into waves. She likes to and is good at doing her own hair. This is Shayla when she was 3:

Robert Update: Robert's pain med pump was discontinued today. Part of the reason for that was because his blood pressure has been on the low side. And, he doesn't need it very much now that his mouth is healing. Before he can leave the hospital, he needs to be consuming 1,000 calories/day and drinking an adequate amount of fluids. He's getting better each day. Thank you for your prayers which are helping that happen!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sleepy improvement.

Hey everyone! I figured you would like some new pics that don't involve Robert's flesh falling off his tongue (eww, sorry about that). But things are going good for Robert. He is engrafted, and his mouth is healing more everyday. He tried eating today, but he can't taste anything yet, and somethings just haven't gone down so nicely. The sores in his throat are still healing up, so within the next coule days it should continue to get easier.

These are Robert's bags that he is receiving now, it's down from the 15-20 it used to be, and I'm not exaggerating, because I don't joke about IV bags. IV bags are serious business, or something. He was on about 5 antibiotics because of his fevers, so we are glad that those have been stopped. He is still getting his IV nutrition, it's the big bag on the left. They just want to keep him on it until he starts consuming enough calories, it's just making sure that he gets all the things he needs to heal, which I am all about, but Robert "hates that bag".

Robert has been more awake lately, but he is still sleeping an awful lot, but sleep is the best medicine, right? I am just glad he isn't hallucinating anymore. That was a little strange. Robert, of course, doesn't remember any of his hallucinations. I was telling him about couple of them, and he was crackin' up about it. It was nice to give him some comic relief since he has been feeling kind of bummed about not being able to eat, and still being in the hospital. I love his laugh, it's one of my favorite things.

Linda is still here, she was my saving grace a couple of nights I wasn't getting much sleep. It has been super nice having her here to spell me off. I think it's nice for Robert to have his momma around, even though she drives him a little crazy sometimes, he loves her.

Things are moving along great, we are hoping to see a little GVHD (graph vs. host disease) sometime soon. So keep praying for that, please. We are so grateful for our amazing friends and family, and even the people that we don't personally know. We are so blessed to have you all, cheering us on and keeping us in your prayers. We are so grateful!

All our love.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Fun!

Towards the end of July last year we had a lake trip! It was heaps of fun. Steve and I loaded up our cute kiddos and headed down to Tucson, AZ to pick up Robdob and Ashpants. He was done with his first transplant! We loaded up their car and our truck and pointed our noses home. On the way we stopped over in Mesa (where we have heaps of family). Everyone wanted to see the super couple! Ashley's one request while we were there was a trip to the lake. She loved going to the lake when she lived in Arizona working at the Montessori school. So, we ran to the grocery store with our cousins and picked up all the necessary lake trip food. The next morning we were on our way to Lake Roosevelt! Tyler Whiting was the lucky boat captain, Trevor was his first mate! We had a great time!

Robdob and Ashpants enjoying each other on the lake! So happy to be done and having a good time with family doing something they love!

Ashley showing off her wake boarding skills. (Unfortunately the photog missed all her good air, sorry again Ash!)

Trevor & Robert--who was not yet allowed to come in contact with germie, gross lake water!

Ashpants always pulls the best faces! Especially for pictures. Have we mentioned that she is a little crazy? Well, she is a Squires after all, it's kind of a prerequisite!

Steve and Robert enjoying the lunch break!

We had a great time enjoying the end of summer! It was a fabulous and entertaining trip. I would love to pick them up in SLC again this time. Anyone have any ideas for post transplant fun in Utah? Something that would be a good time in late September, early October. We need that perfect activity to kick off the post transplant celebration! Here's to more summer fun and a future full of heaps of lake trips!

*Robert is doing well. We have been schooled in the true nature of engraftment. Transplant patients are officially considered engrafted when their neutrophils are above .5 for three days in a row. Well guess what? Today Robdob is officially engrafted. Monday his neutrophil count was .6, yesterday 1.5 and today 1.9! His white blood cell count is 3.8 today! All great reasons to celebrate. Oh, and that sad tongue is already on the mend! Wahooooo! He still has some pain and discomfort. Eating is at a minimum, but is slowly increasing! Things are going well for our hero! Thank you for the prayers and love! We hope you are all enjoying your summer!


Monday, July 13, 2009


**I will begin this post with a disclaimer: picture of Robert's tongue follow! Not for the faint of heart!** 
It is pretty sad and gross. Ashley took this picture and uploaded it for me to see, and even though it isn't pleasant to look at I thought I would share. This is Robert's sad reality and pain. His current great nemesis mucisitis is trying to bring him down. But our superhero Robdob is fighting back. He is still requesting peanut butter sandwiches even if he can only get down one bite! He drinks his apple juice! And by golly when he wants to break out the big guns he sucks on those hospital ice chips!!!

Our superhero's greatest friend and helper Neutro-Phil has been hard at work too. As a result of all this hard work Robert's numbers are up to 1.3 today which is incredible!!! .6 of those numbers are neutrophils which means that this sad tongue will start healing soon!

The fact that Robert's numbers climbing up so well has the doctors convinced that Amanda's stem cells are well engrafted/implanted. This is such fabulous news. Now we just need some graft vs. host and we'll be set! Ok, it may take a bit more than that, but things are going very well for our superhero.
Robert is more awake, he even played some video games today. Ashley says it is funny to watch him though because he will doze off in the middle of a game and then wake up and keep playing. He doesn't always remember which levels he has played either, so then when he logs into his game he get a little confused and upset because he is just sure someone else is playing his games and 'messing them up'. Ashley is on video game guard duty to be sure no one comes in and plays his games! That's a good sidekick Ashpants!

Thank you for all your prayers and support. Please keep them coming!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

DNA Sunday

So we thought it would be fun to start up the DNA Sundays again and highlight Robert and Ashley's nieces and nephews. We realize that this excludes the Ashworth side of the family, but Linda is an honorary Grandma to the Gratteau children at church, we love Ashworth-Squires get together's to celebrate birthdays and Robdob's triumphs, and his siblings are like Aunts and Uncles to all our children as well. So, we don't think they'll mind!

Derek is Ashley and Robert's oldest nephew. He is 10 1/2 now and was 7 1/2 when they got married. Derek is the first child of Ashley's oldest sister, Kristin. He has 1 sister, 1 brother, and another brother who will be born any day now.

Derek and Uncle Robert have one big thing in common--a love for baseball. Derek's love for baseball began young--around age 2. This picture is from Derek's first T-ball season in May 2004 when he was 5 1/2:

Derek aspires to be a star pitcher like RobDob was. He's on his way to doing so:

Derek Pitching--May 2009

He was excited to see Uncle Robert after his treatments were completed last summer. We went to the Grand Canyon for a family reunion and spent a few nights in Vegas playing Rock Band and being together.

Here's a little more info about Derek:
What is your favorite color? Blue.
Favorite food? Hamburgers.
Favorite dessert? Oreo Ice Cream Cake.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A professional baseball player.
What is your favorite memory or thing about Uncle Robert? The funny thing he put on his nose when he came to Houston for my baptism. (How convenient--we have a picture of that!)

What is your favorite joke? There's a guy walking through a forest. He is warned by an old gnome that if he steps on any purple mushrooms, he'll have to marry the ugliest lady in the world. As he walks through the forest, avoiding stepping on the purple mushrooms, a very beautiful lady appears. She says, "I have to marry you." He asks, "Why?" She says, "I stepped on one of those pesky, purple mushrooms." Derek catches on to jokes quickly, and laughed quite hard when he realized the guy walking through the forest is the ugliest man in the world.
What is your favorite book? The Alex Rider series. (Derek LOVES to read).
What is your favorite thing to learn about? Math.

*Robert is doing better little by little. They changed his pain medication to dilaudid and his hallucinations have gotten better. For the most part he knows where he is, but he is still easily confused. His numbers were .2 yesterday and they are .4 today! Best news we have heard all week!!! 
He is developing a rash on his chest, neck and legs. We are hoping this is a graph vs. host rash. Apparently they will know it is a G vs. H rash if it spreads to his palms and the soles of his feet.
His mouth is still sad. He gets hungry and wants to eat, but then gets frustrated when it hurts him so much! The faster his numbers come up the faster it will heal!

Hugs & Kisses

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cookbook With a Cause

While Robert recovers from his Bone Marrow Transplant, we are keeping ourselves busy with the presale of a cookbook fundraiser. The cookbook will contain recipes for RobDob's favorite things to eat as well as much-loved recipes of his extended family. We hope that by the time this presale ends (July 20th) that his mouth is healed and he is once again able to enjoy eating his favorite foods!

To learn more and/or purchase a cookbook, please go to

Thank you for the support you give in SO many ways. The amount of love and support from family, friends, and even strangers is humbling and inspiring!

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Quick Update

Robdob's hallucinations are a little better tonight. They got worse last night. He kept trying to get out of his bed, and he is attached to way to many things to do that without help. They turned on his bed alarm so that the nurses would know if he was getting up without Ashley having to push the call button. Around 2:00 a.m. his nurse told Ashley that he thought Robert should have a 24 hour nurse. Ashley agreed and was very grateful. They will have a nurse in their room all the time until Robert is a little more 'with it' and can remember where he is. Ashley got very little sleep last night, so she is hoping that she'll get a little more tonight knowing that someone else is keeping an eye on Robdob. Linda stayed with Robert most of the day so Ashley could go back to the apartment and get caught up on some sleep.
They know that one of his meds is what is causing Robert's current state of mind. Morphine is the main suspect. They have cut back on that one and it seems to be helping. He got all showered and cleaned up around 8:00 and is peacefully sawing logs! Let's hope for every one's sake that continues!
Robert's tongue is still really swollen and raw, he isn't eating much. The TPN IV is his main source of nutrition currently. His numbers are pretty much non-existent. I think the count down is 3-6 days to see them start coming up!! His fever has been better today too!
I'm amazed daily at Robert's strength and courage. He is braving this battle with all of it's physical pain and the mental and emotional turmoil that must come with it with such faith. He remains cheerful and upbeat in the face of what appears to me as insurmountable odds.
And dear Ashley, she never ceases to amaze me. I don't know where she continually finds the strength and patience as she continually supports Robert. I'm the nursing mom of a newborn and I got way more sleep than she did last night. Yet I still found myself 'at the end of my rope' once or twice today looking for 'more rope'. I found it and all was well. Ashley helps me keep my perspective. She is constantly stating how lucky and blessed she is. I know that what she says is true, and realize that if she can say it, I can too. I am so lucky and blessed!
I know that some of her blessing comes from the faith and prayers that flow to her from all of you each day as well as to our hero Robdob! We say thank you every day, because there isn't enough gratitude to express our feelings!
Thank you!

Hugs & Kisses!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

This was the Wedding . . .

Of Ashley's dreams.  Robert and Ashley were both marrying the girl and boy of their dreams.
It was truly a perfect wedding on a beautiful day.

With their rings they promised to hold and cherish one another for time and all eternity.

The beautiful bride and dashing groom.

There has never been any question as to how these two feel about each other.
Two hearts truly in love!

These two lovebirds have chemistry! Ashley can't help kicking up her heel when Robert gives her a kiss, and check out her kicks! Ashley had her all white Converse shoes special ordered for her big day!

The Squires Family
Steve, Janelle & Byron Gratteau, Dave, Kristin, Shayla & Derek Baker, Brad, Robert, Ashley, Lori, Karalee, Tyler & Todd Garber, Chelsa & Brandon Squires, Elyssa, Brittany
The Ashworth Family
Richmond, Ryan, Ken, Robert, Ashley, Linda, Alycia, Amanda & Anjelica

The gorgeous bride.

The handsome groom.

They had quite the reception that really represented them. They had wings because they love them, everything at their wedding was black, white and red, and they totally partied the night away . . . 

They ate cake . . .

Ashley tossed her bouquet . . .

Far more exciting was Robert throwing the garter, which he removed with his teeth (peer pressure :) I love Ashley's face in this picture. They were definitely having fun . . . 

And they danced and kissed the night away . . .

'Love Conquers All' 
is another quote from the wall. I can't think of another couple who exemplify that any better than Robert and Ashley. Three years ago they started their life together. They have conquered so much in that short time. They have this one last battle to win in Robert's war with leukemia, and they are definitely conquering in SLC . . .

And then they will walk forward into the rest of their life together to enjoy the children, triumphs and joy that they truly deserve, for . . .

This is just the beginning . . .

*Robert's fever comes and goes. All of his infection cultures have come back clean, so they are a bit puzzled by the fever. His mouth and throat continue to bother him. He got an extra morphine push tonight and had a couple of his 'drug induced hallucinations'. There was a different blanket on his bed than the one he normally has. It had little black polka dots. He woke up and told Ashley, "Come here, look! There are ants in my bed! You have to get them." Ashley assured him that there weren't ants in his bed to which he replied while pointing at the black dots, "yes there are, look they're everywhere!" He was so convinced he made them change his bedding. 
The other was that he was sure his dad was in his room. When Ashley finally convinced him that they were alone he had to call his dad to tell him that he loved him. 
He also talks in his sleep even more when he is on morphine. While I was getting the update from Ashley you could hear him in the background saying, "come here Daisy, come here!" Must have been dreaming about his sweet dog. While it is a bit strange for him to do these things, it does provide Ashley with a bit of comic relief!
The doctors are expecting Robert's numbers to start climbing within 4-7 days from now which will allow his body to replace the mucous membranes in his mouth and throat and help them heal. He is still on TPN for now. He sleeps a lot. He is doing well all things considered. We credit all the faith and prayers that are offered daily on his behalf. Thank you!