Life Changes

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Much drama has centered on how lives change in an instant. Most of us live our lives and have some sense when things are about to change. We sense falling in love or when things are going sour at work.Then there are those sudden events when things change in a blink. A fall breaks a bone or a car bangs into you.And then there are those life-changing moments when nothing will be the same.On Saturday, Robbie’s life, and our family’s life, irrevocably changed. After waking with back pain and leg pain, we took him to the doctor, who sent us to Bridgeport Hospital for testing. Based on what they saw in the blood work, it was decided to send him to hematology specialists at Yale-New Haven hospital.Sunday afternoon, we met with Drs. Beardsley and Massaro and they finally had the news: Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.Parents pray for the best and expect the worst and we’d both had leukemia on our mind since we heard the blood work didn’t look right with high white blood cell counts.Being wired the way we are, both Robbie and I immediately began thinking about the alterations that needed to be made: withdraw from college this semester, stop his job, miss the Farpoint convention, etc. It was how we processed the freaking out and trust me; much of Sunday was given to freaking out and supporting one another.Most immediately, this means he’ll be Yale-New Haven Hospital for the next month receiving treatment. The entire course of treatment should be about six months but since we don’t know how he’ll respond to the chemo, all we know for now is that he is getting top-notch care. We cannot be happier with the doctors and the nursing staff. (One example: Dr. Massaro called Kate to talk her through the situation after Robbie called to break the news.) His room is comfortable and the facility has wi-fi so Deb and I can try and get some work done while he’s here.Long-term, this affects Robbie for the rest of his life. He needs to give up alcohol and take better care of his overall health. He needs to decide what he wants to do with the rest of his life as the results may limit some options.I share this with you not for sympathy but because this will have dramatic effects on my professional life for the next year (I figure). I’ll still posting here and writing most of my projects but it may curtail some convention appearances.Robbie’s outlook is very strong and positive. He wants to beat this and regain control of his destiny. You should see him with the staff and how concerned he is with how the rest of us are going to live our lives while he’s undergoing treatment.He breaks our heart and makes us very proud.

72 thoughts on “Life Changes

  1. I’m so sorry. My best wishes to you, your entire family, and most especially, Robbie.Is there, and I mean this with all sincerity, anything we can do or send?

  2. Bob,It’s hard to put into words how stunned I am by this news. I’m sure he’ll beat it. He’s young strong and has an indomitable spirit that’s bigger than this disease plus everyone to support him, including two great parents who love him. You know he’s got fans everywhere, even in Baltimore. Julie, Rachel and I fully expect to see him down here as soon as he feels up to it so we can show him how much we’re pulling for him. Our hopes and prayers are, as always, with all of you. If there is anything we can do, please let us know.Bob Ahrens

  3. I just read about Robbie, and I wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayer are with him, you, Deb and Katie. I still remember how excited he was to see gophers by Fort Calgary.

  4. Wow… This is terrible news, and I’ll be anxiously awating further updates about Robbie’s progress.But at least he’s very lucky to have a solid support system through his family. Staying positive will win you half the battle, so he’s already got a big advantage.

  5. Bob, Rande and I are saddened to hear your news. WE are not too far from you, so let us know if there is anything we can do, or if visits would help.Beth

  6. Thoughts and hopes for Robbie are coming from here. Best of the good luck for your son as he fights this.In my reporting career I covered Relays For Life, and I’ve always been impressed with the resolve of the people I’ve known who’ve fought cancer and leukemia. And it’s heartening to know it can be fought. I hope Robbie gets 100% healthy again.

  7. I’m sure you’ll be a stalwart throughout this whole process, Bob. I’ve always admired your incredible devotion to your family. That’s the kind of devotion that needs to be there when events like this are inflicted on a family. On the one occasion I met him, he and I were two strangers to each other who seamlessly struck up a conversation and had a ball just yakking. He’s a plucky kid and I’m sure he’ll beat this thing down in a way that’ll provide a good example to others.

  8. As others have said, Robbie’s got the right attitude to beat the thing, to say nothing of the family and friends who will be fighting alongside him. We’ll keep him and all of you in our thoughts.If there’s anything we can do or send, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  9. Hi, Bob,I will keep Robbie and your family in my prayers, he’s young and strong, he’ll fight this and come out stronger in the end.

  10. Add me to those keeping a good thought for your family. These times are never easy, are never good, but I hope you can draw some measure of strength by knowing how many folks there are out there who you’ve touched, all of whom are keeping you in their thoughts, hoping for the best right alongside you.

  11. Bob, I know at this point factoids and research and survivor stories are less than useless. Just know that you and your family are not alone. Valerie and I hold you in our thoughts and prayers. If there is anything we can do, let us know.

  12. Please give Robbie our best, Bob, and the offer of anything we can do obviously holds for us as well.*big hugs*

  13. I’m not usually the praying type, but for this, I can toss one skywayd.. Of course, anything we can do to help we will as well..Hopefully we will see you BOTH, hail and hearty around the summer…

  14. Sorry that you and your family have to take this particular journey through life, but I know you all can win this fight. Good luck and all my best wishes.

  15. Bob, I’m so stunned to hear about Robbie. Please know that your family will be in our prayers and thoughts. Please tell Deb that I’m sending both of you all my love. If you need anything at all, just let us know.

  16. Hi, BobMy nephew was diagnosed with the same form of leukemia when he was 16.That was 20 years ago and he made a full recovery.We’ll be praying for Robbie and your family.Best,Mark

  17. Hi, Bob.We haven’t seen each other in quite a while and I’ve never met Robbie, but word reached me about this in a flash. You and your family will be in Eddie’s and my thoughts as you deal with this health struggle.Howard

  18. Hi, Bob.We haven’t seen each other in quite a while and I’ve never met Robbie, but word reached me about this in a flash. You and your family will be in Eddie’s and my thoughts as you deal with this health struggle.Howard

  19. Sorry to hear about this, Bob. Here’s to hoping your son fights the good fight and overcomes this quickly and with as little an impact upon your lives as possible.

  20. God, Bob, what terrible news. I’ll keep Robbie and all of you in my thoughts. Here’s hoping he’s as lucky as Mark Ellis’ nephew. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do.Paul

  21. Oh God, I am so sorry to hear this. I read it on Kate’s blog yesterday. Robbie has always been an incredible person and I’ve always appreciated his help and enjoyed his company. I love Robbie and I’m devastated by the news, but I know that he will do all in his power to beat this and that he can count on his family and legions of friends to help him. If there is ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING that I can do to help, please do not hesitate to ask.In the meantime, please be assured that the Boogie Knights will not let Kate go through this alone down here. (After dealing with my Mom’s cancer from 400 miles away, I understand all the conflicting feelings that Kate will be dealing with.)My love to the whole family,Smap

  22. I’m sorry to hear the shocking news. Sounds like you guys are holding up pretty well given the circumstances. Best wishes and good vibes to you, Robbie, Deb, Kate and your entire families.

  23. Bob, you are a strong person….I don’t know Robbie but suspect he is the same. My thoughts are with you for the battle, but I wouldn’t bet against either of you.Best,Heidi

  24. Sorry to hear of this. Here’s hoping that the treatment nukes it entirely and that any side effects are minimal or absent.**hugs**

  25. You will not find a finer hospital than Yale-New Haven; I’ve had 3 kids and three separate surgeries through them, and always had the best doctors and very best of care. That news alone gives me great confidence that this is merely a speed bump on the road of your lives. I do hope they waive parking fees for you – if not, demand it, because their parking will cost more than the treatment. Don’t forget to laugh, for laughter is the best medicine.And eat well for strength! Pepe’s Pizza is just around the corner, rated the Best Pizza in CT by Connecticut Magazine several years running, with good reason. If you need it delivered, we’ll be more than happy to oblige. We’re cheering for you.

  26. As I’ve said elsewhere, my thoughts and prayers are with Robbie and your entire family. I have faith and confidence that he can kick this, and look forward to seeing you all soon. [[[hugs]]]

  27. I’m so sorry to hear about this, Bob, but you and your family seem to have as good a handle on it as anyone could hope for. Best of luck to you all over the course of the treatment, and here’s hoping for many long, fruitful days for everyone involved.

  28. Read about this on Peter David’s blog. Sorry to hear it. I’ll say a prayer for Robbie.

  29. I don’t think we’ve corresponded in over a decade, but I heard about this over on Peter’s blog and had to come over. What awful news.I have a cousin who works at Yale-New Haven, and she’s had nothing but good things to say about the place. I’m sure Robbie is going to get the best of care. (And as Susan pointed out, at least you’ve got Pepe’s Pizza nearby!)If you’re ever in need of an extra consultation or opinion, my mother’s oncologist (specialist in hematology) is up in that area (New London, but that’s close enough) and was a huge boon to us. If you’re interested in details, let me know and I can e-mail them to you.Our thoughts and best wishes are with you and your family. Let’s hope he beats this.TWL

  30. Oh, Bob, I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ll be cheering you all on as Robbie fights this off.

  31. Ah, geez… I’m with everyone else here, that if you and the family need anything — and I do mean ANYTHING — all you gotta do is let me know. I’m really proud of Robbie, and of you, for being so strong and upbeat. And I’m hoping that there’s never, ever cause for that to change. – JS –

  32. Bob,My prayers are with you and your family at this time. Please, just as everyone else has said, if there’s anything at all I can do , let me know.

  33. Sending good thoughts your way, Bob. Do what you gotta do and we’ll all hope for the best!

  34. Bob:There’s not much more I can add to what everyone else has already said so well. Know that Carmela and I will keep you and your family in our thoughts.Be sure to take good care of yourself, too.– Roger

  35. Prayers and best wishes to you, Robbie, and the rest of your family, Bob.

  36. Prayers and best wishes to you, Robbie, and the rest of your family, Bob.

  37. Prayers and best wishes to you, Robbie, and the rest of your family, Bob.

  38. I know we don’t have much opportunity to talk to you anymore, but know that Brian, Karl, and I are pulling for you. Please give Robbie and the rest of your family our regards. You’re in our thoughts.

  39. I know we don’t have much opportunity to talk to you anymore, but know that Brian, Karl, and I are pulling for you. Please give Robbie and the rest of your family our regards. You’re in our thoughts.

  40. You know how I feel about your kids. Tell the young paduwan that his Jedi Master tells him to kick the dark side’s A**!

  41. I’m so terribly sorry for your family to have this awful burden, and can only wish you the very best. I can only hope for the speediest possible improvement and all the good will in the world.

  42. Has your family faced leukemia or a similar health condition prior to this, Bob? Sounds it. You guys seem to know what you’re doing already.I’m glad to hear your description of your reaction, and Robbie’s reaction — launching into practical steps to face this un-asked-for challenge. Hooray for you guys! Medical treatment and management programs for people with leukemia are vastly improved since you or I were kids. (That’s when I saw it in my own family.) Your reaction is perfectly appropriate. I’m really sad to learn Robbie faces this burden, but hooray he’s a Greenberger, who as far as I could tell do not panic — or if they secretly must, they do so in such a practical way. That’s good wiring, both of you!Best wishes to all Greenbergers.

  43. Bob, I am so sorry to hear about this. I have been following your blog for some time–ever since we both did not attend the Jericho High School reunion–and have been so interested to read about you and your family. I am sure that with all the love and support that you all have for each other that your son will respond well to the treatment. You all will be in my thoughts and prayers. Laura Lawrie (Greenberg)

  44. man, hang tough brother and please let me or amanda know if there is any way we can help at all. stay strong for him, and keep an open conversation, and most important, stay positive .praying for a speedy recovery!Jimmy

  45. All I can offer is my best wishes for your family. We had some health issues a while back and found out that a good attitude is at LEAST half the battle. Stay strong and be there for each other.

  46. Bob,So sorry to hear about Robbie’s condition. Life seems to have been hard for both of us recently… so I pray for all the best for your family.Take careJose

  47. Mr. Greenberger,Kate called me earlier in the week to let me know what had been going on. I’ve written to Robbie and hope to hear back from him soon, though I’m sure he’s heard from so many people this week. Please know that I’m thinking about him often, and keeping your family in my prayers.Lots of love to all.-Allie

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