And I Wrote This Book.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Big C Hop for our Dear Melissa Bradley!

My dear friend, Melissa Bradley, wrote this:  
My hugest thanks to Michael Di Gesu, who organized this. You are an amazing friend and I wouldn't know what to do without you.
As many of you know, I am currently locked in battle with the Big C...Cancer. Today I am celebrating the fight with my wonderful fellow bloggers on this Big C Cancer Blog hop. We are telling stories of the humor found in dealing with this disease. Humor helps a lot in this battle, it is a very effective weapon in keeping one's spirits up and at the ready.
Money is also an important part of the fight, so these entries you read are all going to be published in an anthology to help me in my fight. Whatever I do not use of the proceeds will be donated to Gilda's Club Chicago, a very important place for women fighting this terrible disease.
Thanks for reading. You can find all the incredible, wonderful participants here.

I'm sharing a snippet from Chapter 5 of Woman on the Verge of Paradise: Young Teachers and True Love. Here's the start of my story of Brianne, a four year old I was matched with when, during Freshman year at UCLA, I volunteered at the UCLA Medical Center. (The entire segment is too long for a blogpost, but I'll introduce you to Brianne.)
     I entered quietly, slipping by an empty bed to my left. Beyond it, a small girl popped her head up. She flashed a smile so glowingly it seemed Brianne hadn’t seen another human in months.
    “Hi Brianne. I’m Robyn.”
    “Hi,” she blurted, scooting into a sitting position.
    Brianne’s eyes struck me – the same deep blue as Mom’s, and with beautiful long, dark lashes. Otherwise, she lacked color. Brianne bore only a bit of peach fuzz on her head; her body, pale and depleted; and her heartbeat, dependent upon an IV stuck into her right hand.
    “It’s great to meet you sweetie,” I smiled. “How are you?”
    She pasted a half-smile-half-frown on her face. “So-so,” Brianne replied, adult-like. “Can we play?” Her mood lifted.
    “Sure! What would you like to play?”
    Brianne’s shoulders shot up and down, her mood shifting to sad again. “Do you know how much more I have to be in here?”
    “Oh, sweetie, I wish I knew. I’m sorry, but” —I switched to a low-pitched, manly voice, “I’m Doctor Seuss-opotamus,” I said. “Now let’s see, Miss Brianne.” I pulled my glass frames up and rested the lenses on my head. “Wait a minute. Miss Brianne?” I turned around and pretended to be looking out the window.
    “Where’d you go? I can’t see you.” I turned around and stuck my hand into my front pants pocket, as if to peer into my pocket for her. “Brianne? Where are you?”
    “I’m right here!” She laughed heartily.
    “Oh,” I said, setting my glasses back in place. “Oh, there you are! You must have been tricking me! Now, let’s see.” She giggled, a faint snort mixed in.
    I got close to Brianne, as if to perform an inspection. “It looks like you have two arms and, yep, looks like you’ve got two feet too! And there’s a pretty face on your neck.” She chortled again.
    “So I promise you, Miss Brianne, you are going to be alright. It might take a long time, much longer than we want it to. Those cancer cells are meanie booger monsters, aren’t they?”
    She nodded in affirmation, still giggling.
    “Well we’re gonna get rid of all of those meanie booger monsters. So can I give you a shot with magic medicine in it?”


  1. I bet you were a breath of fresh air to her! I'd take you as my nurse any day.

  2. haha those booger monsters just gotta go. First I heard it described like that.

  3. Very sweet story, Robyn. Best wishes to Melissa and to others battling this vicious disease. Humor really is the best medicine.

  4. So sweet of you to contribute to such a great cause :) you rock Robyn

  5. Very humbling to read, it puts things into perspective when you hear or know anyone with the "Big C", my late husband had it twice. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  6. Very cute story. It sounds like you two got along great.

  7. what a great story, robyn. it just made me smile. the world needs more people like you. cheers!!

  8. What a sweet story! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  9. nice story to start the week. Best of luck to Melissa in her battle

  10. The Big C is scary and Melissa is a brave lady and so is that little girl. The little girl really needed an earth angel

  11. I just tried to imagine how I would have handled interacting with Brianne.

    Wouldn't have gone well.

  12. Aww, this is a delightful story. Sounds like you had as much fun as Brianne did.

  13. I bet you made that girl's day.
    I didn't know about this Big C blog hop.
    Strange timing- My uncle was just found to have masses through his body including some in his brain.

  14. Love it - and you.
    My heart goes out to Melissa and everyone battling this vicious illness. Small donation made.

  15. Hi, Robyn...

    I'm all choked up... nothing hits me harder than a child with cancer. My favorite charity is St. Jude's and I donate as often as I can.

    NO CHILD SHOULD EVER BE INFLICTED WITH THIS!!!! My heart goes out to them and especially their parents. A very close blogger friend of mine has a child with Leukemia. Thank God he is in remission and doing well.

    But there are so many, like Brianne, who need to laugh and know that they will get well too! Keep on praying.... a cure must come!

  16. Cancer is so evil.

    Adorable story! I didn't know you were a nurse!

  17. Cancer is difficult enough for adults...but kids with cancer, that's just heart-breaking.
    I'm sure your fun approach to the situation, and the 'meanie booger monsters' really brightened Brianne's day...
    A healthy dose of laughter always works!

  18. Thank you, dear friends. To clarify, I wasn't a nurse - just a volunteer in the UCLA Pediatrics Ward of the Med Center. There's a lot more to the story, which I wish I could share, but you'll have to wait for the book.

    Ruth, I am so sorry.

    Michael, I agree. Heartbreaking.

    EC, thanks so much. You're a very kind hearted woman.


  19. Nurse or not, you must have brightened the day for every ill child you visited! :-) My Stetson's off to you.

  20. You're such a good soul, Robyn. Best wishes to your friend, and anyone else battling this terrible disease.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing and participating, Robyn. Such a beautiful, inspiring piece. Huge hugs!!

  22. And says Patch Adams was the only person who could bring a smile to a youngster's face? :-)

  23. Such a heart-warming post. Thanks for lifting my spirits today.

  24. You did a wonderful deed by cheering up that poor little girl! I'm sure she really appreciated your magical visit. It must have been so difficult for you to hold back the tears.


  25. Such a nice moment. Nurses that care about the patients enough to give them a little real time while they're doing their work, make all the difference in the world!

  26. Oh, this is so lovely, Robyn. Just like you.

  27. Laughter is excellent medicine. You have an excellent way with children.

    Thank you for sharing this story!

  28. You are lovely and funny -Robyn!
    And a nice friend.
    Thid is a sweet story!

  29. What a sweet child! You brought out the sweetness in her, Robyn. I'm hopeful we won't have to wait too much longer for a cure.

  30. I surely hope there was a magic shot of medicine for Brianne.

    It was hardest for me to deal with children suffering this terrible disease. You're a sweet soul to have spent time with Brianne and given her of yourself.

  31. When I get really self-absorbed and whiney (which is like hardly ever, right?), I think to myself- somewhere in this world there is a child sitting in a hospital bed battling cancer. Totally reminds me to keep my life in perspective.

  32. What a sweet story. :) I bet you were the highlight of her day!!

  33. Makes me want to cry. It's so cute but from such a dark place.

  34. Making that little girl giggle must have been an amazing feeling. It makes me want to do something similar.

  35. Nice share. Thank you for your opinions.

  36. ^^ Yes thank you for sharing your opinions on cancer. It would appear we both share the same opinion of cancer. That's good because I don't associate with those crazy pro-cancer folks.


    Man, I'm late to the party. But this was a beautiful story, and for being as much of a jokester as I am, I wish I was even half as good with kids as you are.

  37. Sweet story, Robyn. I sincerely hope that magical shot got rid of Brianne's meanie booger monsters for good, and she's a healthy young woman now. And I'm sure we all wish the same for Melissa. The big C is such a scary thing, but we have to remind ourselves that it's just a "word," not a "sentence." Bless y'all for doing the anthology for Melissa.

  38. ROBYN ~
    You went to UCLA? What years?

    I was born at the UCLA Medical Center and worked on the campus for 8 or 9 years. (By the way... the years when I worked at UCLA came long after the year I was born there. You might have already figured that out but I wanted to clear it up just in case you hadn't.)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'