Crops are also feeling the heat

By Marcie Klomp

You’d think that having a hysterectomy and being diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer in four months time would make a person want to give up. Not Diana Roberts of Lime Springs. She’s just digging her heels in deeper, determined to come out a winner!

And she’s got a huge team rooting for her—her husband, Tim, and their nine kids—Clayton, Adam, Joe, Sheena and Tammy (hers) and Conner, Riley, Kaylee (adopted) and William (theirs). They also have seven grandchildren with two on the way.

On March 26, 2012, Diana had a hysterectomy. She jokes her body gave out after having those nine kids! That was an ordeal in itself, but then she started having stomach pains after the surgery.

Insurance was being a little slow at allowing the CT scan, so Diana waited. Finally the pain was worse, insurance said okay, and the scan was done on June 20.

The family was ill-prepared for the news: There was a spot of cancer on the pancreas. A trip to Mason City on July found two spots. Another trip, this time to Rochester for a scope evaluation, and three spots were found.

The pancreatic cancer is aggressive. A meeting on July 16 with a surgeon was another blow. “The cancer has wrapped itself around two of the main arteries in my body, and the doctor won’t do surgery.”

That’s a lot of bad news, but there is more to come. A bit of good news, on the other hand, is that the “cancer treatment works best on an aggressive cancer,” Tim said.

Diana added, “If the chemo can shrink it enough to get it away from the arteries, he’ll do surgery. But [the doctor] doesn’t think that’ll happen.”

On July 19, Diana was fitted with a portable chemo bag. She is allowed to go home, and the medicine slowly drips into her body for 46 hours. After they got home, a phone call was waiting and the couple was told the cancer had spread to her liver.

“They took pictures of my liver [at the time of my hysterectomy] and it was beautiful,” Diana commented. They have to see the doctor again to figure out how to fight this newest battle.

On her second day of chemo, Diana was feeling upbeat and positive. She wasn’t emotional as she talked about what was happening to her. She was more concerned about her children, family and friends.

She is thankful for her family. “People across the United States are praying for me and raising money,” she acknowledged. Daughter Sheena, of Yakima, Wash. was starting a fund-raiser, and Joe’s childhood friend on the east coast was raising funds as well.

For all her bravado in keeping a good face for the younger kids, she sometimes slips out back for some time to herself.

She says, “I’ve been talking to God and the four archangels. Each is for a different reason. I’m being looked over from the west coast to the east coast and from up above.”

Diana tries to keep a good face, especially for the younger kids. Conner, 10, and Kaylee, six, are taking it hard. Riley, seven, has gotten more quiet, and William, five, is coping in his own way.

Tim, an owner-operator truck driver, is trying to be strong for everyone. But it’s kinda tough to be stuck in the truck with nothing but miles of road and time to think.

Taking time off work and running to doctor appointments is costly. The family has already been helped in many ways. Several neighbors have already given gift certificates for food, etc. Son Joe and his girlfriend offered to take the younger kids school shopping.

 

 

Another son, Clayton, has been at the house at 5:00 a.m. to watch the kids when Tim and Diana take off for another appointment. Kelly Jenkins has watched the kids. Daughter Tammy helps where she can.

A benefit is also being held for Diana this Sunday, July 29, at the Lime Springs Community Center from 11-3. Sloppy joes, homemade potato salad, chips, bars and beverages will be served for a free will donation.

If you can’t make it, donations can be mailed to Cresco Bank & Trust at 126 2nd Ave. SE, Cresco, IA 52136. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans will be matching up to $1,000.

Diana professed, “I’m in the mode I’m going to be okay. I’m going to kick this in the butt. I may lose my hair, but I don’t care.” Tim thought the whole family could go bald. Tammy exclaimed, “That okay for you. Maybe not for me!”

Regardless, Diana is looking to the future. “In case I don’t make it, I took a cam corder and we all got in the pool so the kids would have something to remember. Tim told me ‘When you make it, it’ll still be a great memory.’”

Help the Roberts family make even more memories by attending the benefit on Sunday.

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