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Rosemary Thérèse. A fiery pistol since the day she was born with a soul as sweet as a rose. Her name seems to fit her all too perfectly. The youngest of six and the heart of the Robinson Family. Maybe it's because she learned by watching the rest of us (and picked up on what got us in trouble and what didn't), but we're always saying that she's the best of us. And she truly is.
Rosie is a fighter, a Catholic Christian, an athlete (track star to be specific), she speaks fluent sarcasm, her generosity flows freely, she's a hard worker, determined to reach her goals, a faithful friend, an incredible aunt, a daughter, and a sister. And now, a cancer patient — soon to be survivor.
It was a long journey to reach Rosie's diagnosis. Even though it was compact and all fit into about 8 weeks, it still seemed to drag as we walked further into the unknown. In the beginning, she was experiencing symptoms that were all similar to those of allergies or a sinus infection, so she received typical treatment for both of those diagnoses. When neither treatments provided relief — and a family hike ended with a remarkably swollen face — a trip to the ER led us down the path of a possible abscessed tooth. Rosie was such a trooper on vacation, trecking to one doctor after the other, casually running a race in the AAU Junior Olympics 5 hours away, and ultimately even undergoing a small procedure to drain some of the infection from what was still thought to be an abscessed tooth. However, another couple of doctors visits back home and an extended trip to the ER brought us to August 9, the day she had surgery at Vanderbilt Children's to determine what this mysterious growth was. It was a day when family suddenly found ourselves hoping that our baby had a fungus growing in her cheek. But it was also the day that our Rosebaby was diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer, the word you never want or expect to hear. We know our response was the same as that of many others — shock, disbelief. If anyone has cancer, it would definitely not be Rosie. She's too good, too sweet, too Rosie. There must be a mistake. But there was no mistake, and on August 13 Rosie was formally diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). On August 17, additional scans showed that it had spread to parts of her bone. That same day she met with her oncologist at Vanderbilt Children's to discuss her treatment plan: the trifecta of chemo, radiation and surgery.
Currently, her chemo plan is once a week for 9-12 months, with every third week being a stronger dose. Radiation and surgery will follow when needed.
It still feels surreal most days, and we know it will take a while to adjust to our family's new "normal." But the support, prayers and love that have already been outpoured on us have lightened our load and given us hope. We do not believe that in His goodness God wills bad things like this to happen. We DO believe that in His goodness God takes bad things like this and makes them beautiful. That when presented with evil, He will take that and bring about an even greater good. So we know that He will take this and make something so good we will all be in awe. His goodness is without end and what He starts, He will complete. We firmly believe that He is sending Rosie on a mission for Him. A mission to spread His light and save souls. She is already fulfilling this mission everywhere we look, and we are just beginning. While we all wish we could take this from her and free her from all suffering, we also know that she will take up her cross as called and walk on, because that's who she is. We will carry the cross with her in any way that we can, but we know that she is not weak, and she was chosen for this mission for a very specific reason. She is not ours, she is His and we entrust her to Him.
Rosie has been given a prayer to bring on her daily journey by an incredible priest who prayed over her, " Jesus, I bind all my suffering to the foot of your cross. Convert it to grace, and use it to save souls." There will be great power in her suffering and great moments of grace in the trials to come. We have great hope and peace that at the end of her mission, Rosie will be healed of all this bodily affliction and will one day (when she is 100 years old) receive the crown of life. "Blessed is the man (or 17-year-old girl) who preservers under trial, because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised."
We are grateful to all who visit this page, who pray for Rosie, who support us, who love our girl. We enter into this valley, trusting that we will one day be dancing on the mountaintops again. Until that day, we are ready to battle with RMS, to stand alongside our girl as she lights up this world, "to run and not grow weary." We've been standing on the sidelines for years yelling "Run, Rosie, Run!" So here we go again, a new race this time, but the same determined redhead leading the charge. Hope will anchor our souls and renew our strength. We will run and not grow weary, we will walk and not grow faint.