Journal

Journal entry by Russell Pflueger

Rebecca Jane Pflueger - A Love Story 10/15/65 - 9/14/19

On October 15, 1965, a caterpillar came down from heaven.  A soft, precious, lovable, caterpillar arrived in Devon, England where she quickly grew wings to fly… as a beautiful blue butterfly.  

She was a tomboy, full of vigor venturing out at a young age to buy fancy cars and homes and even selling a company when she was 22 so she could travel to America with her best friend. 

And fly the butterfly did across the sea to the new England.  Thirty years ago, she flew too close to a flame in Philadelphia and was captured by an American man, that’s me, who immediately whisked her off to California, England, and Greece. 

The American realized he was no match for her power, so they merged their lives.  The American had won the lottery! That was so cool because he also got to enjoy the love of her English family in the Wallops. 

So she settled with him on a hill overlooking the Pacific ocean and focused on living, appropriately enough, at Cavalier, at Windsor, and at Monarch… holding court with the most wonderful friends imaginable and having incredible parties and so many fun times.  

Somehow, with incredible grace, she touched people and made them become huggers and kissers.  She created the “hug you / kiss you” thing 30 years ago, before any of us Americans were doing it.  I started doing it, everyone started doing it, she made it seem so natural and perfect, like she was.  Thank you my love for all the hugs and kisses I’ve been able to enjoy.

At 27, she became enlarged and offered the world a very special and brilliant man who will impact all those he touches in magical ways, then she did it again 3 years later with a baller, on the field, the court ,and in the classroom… and most importantly they inherited her heart of gold.

Becky was raised in a beautiful environment with parents and siblings that helped her become the deeply loving and caring person we knew.  She passed this sense of grace on to our boys, now our men, Devon & Rex. They’re both so perfect in our eyes and we’ve been so privileged and are so proud of who they’ve become.  In honorable tributes to his mom, Rex has tattooed “Family Over Everything” over his heart and he also has her heartbeat rhythm tattooed on his wrist.

Rebecca was beautiful, but that’s not what you saw when you looked at her  It was the beauty inside that was so immediately obvious, her infectious smile and kindness.  I can hardly remember her angry, ever. This was a constant lesson she taught everyone around her, it's possible to live in a world without anger, where happiness rules the day, I’m just so lucky to have had that in my life and hope I can carry it forward until I see her again. 

I’m humbled to have known Becky, everything in my life is a reflection of her.  If our friends are a reflection of who Rebecca was, then she certainly is in heaven. The love and support we’ve received from so many of you has exceeded my wildest imagination and we couldn’t be more thankful. The way her friends were able to make her feel during the most difficult parts of this journey were truly angelic.  These people, you know who you are, are God’s warriors and a reminder of what a wonderful world we live in.

Cancer humbles you with its viscous course… brings you to your knees. Many of you have been through this, it was my first journey and it’s changed me.  I hope for the better, a better appreciation of all that life has to give, even the taking away part.  I feel blessed to have ever known Rebecca, she was my winning lottery ticket.

A year ago our life together had sense of near perfection. Now I’ve lost my winning lottery ticket. I don’t want to think about “why” this has happened, I only want to think about how incredibly lucky I was to have ever had that ticket, she was more than any man deserved. 

She always thought about others first, even to the end.  She was more worried about how we would handle her fight with cancer than how she would handle it, she was so strong this way.  She may have lost this battle, but she won the war.   She had a joyous life, full of adventure, good times, and love.  I guess God wanted her in heaven, it’s easy to know why.  

I ask you not to console us or cry with us, that time has come and I hope it’s soon gone.  Better to congratulate us on how fortunate we've been to have had her in our lives.  Please help us celebrate the great honor of having spent time on earth with the most beautiful of God’s creatures, Rebecca Jane Pflueger, her beauty and charm will always be with us. 

Some pictures are at this link: https://youtu.be/QnBYhJFa_G0

XO,
Russell

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Journal entry by Russell Pflueger

Hello Family & Friends,

Despite being generally fatigued and sometimes nauseous from the 5 days a month chemo tablets, Rebecca's been keeping a very positive attitude and getting to do some fun activities like a spectacular week-end wedding in Mailbu for Jourdan Okamoto, an incredibly fun birthday trip to CordeValle for Robbi Kohler, and a family boat trip in San Diego with the McFaddens.  

We had the pleasure of a visit from her family from England, her mom Anne, brothers Mark & Simon, and sister Claire along with her nieces and nephews Chloe, Annabelle, Eva, and Magnus.  

We'll be celebrating the good news this week-end at the beach in Monarch Bay with our great friends Chris and Allie Thompson and their kids.

Thank you again for the constant support and prayers, it's made all the difference. 🦋

XO,
Russell

Journal entry by Russell Pflueger

Our lovely Rebecca sends much love and thanks to all her wonderful supporters.  

She's been living her best life, despite the many challenges that this terrible disease presents.  

We felt fortunate to celebrate Rex's graduation this weekend at Notre Dame which was really wonderful, we're so very proud of Rex and Devon!  

We also celebrated our 30 year anniversary of meeting each other. 😍 

On June 4, Rebecca heads back in for 5 extra days of radiation... so please keep her speedy recovery in your thoughts and prayers.

XO,
Russell

Journal entry by Russell Pflueger

Despite a rather difficult 3 weeks following the 6 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, we're delighted to report that Rebecca's follow up MRI did NOT show any abnormal signs of tumor re-growth!  

We're not out of the woods by any means, she'll be on and off short term chemotherapy and possibly some immunotherapy treatments, but we're very relieved by today's news.

As always, we're very appreciative of all your support and prayers that have helped her get through this very challenging period.

XO,
Russell & Rebecca

Journal entry by Russell Pflueger

Rebecca's 6 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy is in the rear view mirror now and she's looking forward to getting back to normal activities in the next few weeks.  

Her positive energy through all of this has been amazing, it even attracted millions of butterflies to Southern California!  

Thank you all for the outpouring of prayers and positive support which has lifted her spirits and allowed her body to focus its fight to eliminate her cancer.  

We'll know more in about 3 weeks when her follow up MRI is done and I'll plan to update you all then...

Journal entry by Russell Pflueger

I'm happy to report that Rebecca has been feeling incrementally better every day despite the ongoing radiation and chemotherapy.  She's in really good spirits and her energy keeps improving.  Knowing that her last day of radiation will be a week from Friday is helping... light at the end of the tunnel.  She's been getting out for some dinners and even hit some golf balls on the range with her El Niguel CC women's golf team mates.  We're planning to celebrate finishing radiation the Irish way on St. Patrick's Day and even have a trip planned to Deer Valley at the end of the month with our friends Liz and Steve Williams.

Journal entry by Russell Pflueger

Rebecca says thanks for all the beautiful well wishes, prayers, and support.  I can tell you that your energy is making a difference in our lives, she's been feeling a lot better each day this week.  Her nausea is gone and her headaches are infrequent now.

We got out for a fun Valentine's Day dinner with our good friends Peter & Karen Burke and Dave & Robbi Kohler.  We also got out to the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera CC courtesy of Janine Ingram Koeneke.  Some pics are below.  

Thanks so much for the many special treats she's enjoyed from so many of you including; Devon for being home so much, Rex for his daily FaceTimes, her Greatorex family and her many friends that are too many to mention (but great keto dinner tonight Liz, thank you Kelly for your amazing contribution to her healing, thanks Sean for the holy water from Lourdes, and thanks everyone for the beautiful butterflys).  Really, the love that you all have shown her is beyond.

We are now through 2 of 6 weeks of chemo and radiation.  Sadly, Rebecca brushed a few bits of hair out this morning from the radiation.  Good news is that she's never looked so beautiful!

Journal entry by Russell Pflueger

Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes and support, Rebecca is surrounded by so many beautiful and loving people that she feels very thankful and it makes us feel so fortunate.

She's had a difficult first week of chemo & radiation with a fair amount of head pain and nausea... but it's improved a little bit recently.  We're prepared for 5 more weeks of this before she's done with the radiation.  

Rebecca fully intends to get through this adventure and beat the hell out of cancer!

We've both been doing a great job of sticking to the ketogenic diet.  It's amazing how many of you have started it and thanks again to those who have helped with meals.

I thought you might enjoy enjoy a few pictures of my goddess including one of her with her super powers mask on before radiation at Hoag Hospital and today with Devon hanging out here at home with mom.  There is also a nice tribute to her on the attached youtube video featuring Rex on the Mike Brey Radio Show.

Journal entry by Russell Pflueger

My beautiful Rebecca starts her chemotherapy Wednesday night and her first radiation treatment is Thursday.  She's scheduled to do both for the next 6 weeks, Monday - Friday.  She's been pretty fatigued lately so thank you again to all her wonderful friends for your continuous support in so many ways, it's really amazing and a testament to how lovable Rebecca is.  We know so many people that have started the ketogenic diet that we're on, it's quite amazing.  Below is a picture of Rebecca holding her mask that will be used for radiation (she wants a Prada version).  Also below is video commentary from our good friends and ESPN announcers Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas, and Allison Williams with Rex at the Notre Dame vs Duke game last night with a wonderful tribute to Rebecca.

Journal entry by Russell Pflueger

Rebecca has been doing very well post surgery and her energy levels seem to be increasing each day.  She's hoping to get back out on the golf course in the next couple of weeks.

We visited our oncologists, Dr. Hu and Dr. Rudnick, again today at Cedars Sinai and Rebecca had her staples removed, attached is a picture.

We also visited with the clinical trial team for the ketogenic diet and Rebecca is officially starting the study.  For those interested in getting a copy of the study outline and a meals menu, send me an email and I will email those to you.  We've already started the diet and are feeling really great about it's health benefits.

We will be meeting with the radiation oncologist, Dr. Brain Kim, at Hoag Hospital in a week and we're expecting that Rebecca will start radiation treatments about a week later at Hoag.  The treatments will last about 15 minutes and she will get them 5 days a week for 6 weeks.  She will also be taking a chemotherapy pill, temozolamide, during this time.  Her next MRI won't happen until a few weeks after the radiation treatments have ended, so in about 3 months.  She will continue the chemotherapy pill on an infrequent schedule after that.

We've gotten so many first hand stories of people continuing to beat this disease after many years and that gives us great confidence that Rebecca can do that too.  The doctors believe that her age, health, positive energy and other factors give her a great chance.

We're so grateful for the outpouring of prayers and support, as well as the meals.  We don't care what the fake news says, people are amazing!

XO,
Russell & Rebecca

p.s. Rex had a very successful ACL surgery and is looking forward to playing basketball at Notre Dame next year while getting his M.B.A.

Journal entry by Russell Pflueger

Family & Friends,
As most of you know, my beautiful wife Rebecca had a seizure December 8th and we discovered she has a brain mass.
Many of you are asking to get updates and the easiest way we have of doing this, and trying to maintain some sanity, is through this wonderful web site.
Rebecca is home now and comfortable.  Please don’t feel the need to send anything.
She had surgery December 17th with Dr. Michael Alexander at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles and he was able to remove 80% of it.  
We just got the pathology results and learned what we feared the most, that she has a grade 4 glioblastoma.
Don't read the fake news about this on the internet, we fully intend to win this battle.
She is now scheduled for another surgery on January 4th to remove the rest of the tumor with Dr. Keith Black involved.  
We have the very best brain cancer surgeons available helping us.
We really appreciate the outpouring of positive support and prayers, it makes a difference.  
I’ll continue to update this site when we know more...
XO,
Russell
Rebecca’s Story

Site created on December 20, 2018

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