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Author Topic: Jim Robken  (Read 2884 times)

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Offline bleudog

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Jim Robken
« on: September 15, 2014, 08:49:33 pm »
is retiring at the end of the year.

From his Facebook page:

Part I:
First, I must tell you, I have only let a few know about my adventures in health this summer. I just didn't feel comfortable doing more than that. You have all been on my mind so much... Razorback and Bulldog kids alike.
Well, I'll give you the short version of the health stuff. In April, prostate cancer, Gleason 9, was diagnosed. (Benny, I'm thinking of you... You will come through this fine, I just know this.) Due to the aggressive nature of the diagnosed cancer, we decided on surgery. We (being me and Sheri, my wonderful life partner of 24 years, who never, never left my side and held me up emotionally, spiritually, and physically every second, minute, and hour of each day) decided on surgery. I guess the thought was get that outta me now. In preparation for surgery, I had the requisite tests and x-rays. On my next visit to my amazing urologist, we were to "read" the X-rays and confirm the treatment. He came in and had one of those looks on his face that was NOT reassuring. He said, something unexpected has come up. On the top edge of the abdominal X-ray, he showed me what he said was my left kidney. At the bottom, a huge cancerous tumor. This was unnerving, but, what an unbelievable stroke of luck to find. Ok... is this too detailed?
So sorry. OK, so I went on extended medical leave while my wonderful colleagues picked up the space for the remainder of the Spring Quarter. Surgery one, end of April: took out my left kidney. Post pathology report: cancerous, but no indication of spreading outside the kidney. Praise the Lord!!! Took awhile to recover from that one. Quite painful, and sore. But had good drugs. haha.
Meanwhile, the prostate thing was a growing concern. Finally, in mid-June, the doctors felt I was ready for the next step: Radical prostatectomy. Post pathology report: partial appearance of cancer cells outside the prostate, but a good possibility that it hadn't spread elsewhere either. Later tests confirmed this.
I am cancer free. Not in remission mind you. Cancer free. Miracle. for sure. No radiation, no chemo. Doctor said see ya in about 3 months.
Told ya. Happy ending. I am still healing, still recovering, still hurting from time to time, but I am BACK!
But, forgive me, I have to get some things said and this is the only place I know to do it. So I have a bit of an epilogue to this part.... (more coming)

Part I: epilogue...
While progressing through the ups and downs of the summer, word started getting out here in Ruston. I only shared my situation with my family, my closest friends, and my trusted Tech music colleagues. I think that by the end of May, my name was on the prayer list of almost, if not every, church here in town. I am so humbled and moved by this. I was lifted up by this community and my university family in a way that I even now can't fathom. I can never thank the wonderful people of this community enough for holding me and my family up through all this. Gifts of food. Funny cards. A wonderful set of get well placards, and a bag of Bulldog goodies from the LaTech Athletic Department, and most preciously, a prayer blanket from the Christian Quilting Ladies of my home church Trinity UMC. Keeping spiritually warm is SO important. The act of wrapping yourself in prayers is pretty strong stuff. Thank-you. Thank-you, thank-you, my dear Ruston town. One more group of special people I feel the need to mention, are the cafeteria ladies at Ruston Junior High School. I thought of you often during all this. Knowing you were praying for me, well, I just knew everything would be ok. I tried to tell you all this when I visited you a couple of weeks ago, but... well, you know... turned out I couldn't get the words out past the tears as we hugged. So here are your words. About those cinnamon rolls you kept sending me... I know you aren't supposed to even be making them, and I know I'm outing you right now... if anyone says anything to you at all, let me know... I will handle it. My turn to have your back. Ha...
Now, as I have begun to make my way back to public life, I am constantly blessed with well wishes and hugs from the wonderful people with whom I am so lucky to share everyday life.
What I have written feels so inadequate, what is in my heart with this feels so much bigger than I am. My appreciation is boundless... and... I just need to add... PRAYER WORKS. All of you who prayed for me... you did it. I know it. Now you know it. I am so humbled by this support from so many. So, time to take me off those prayer lists. HA... Rustonites please share my thanks with the others you know who held me up who may not see this.
As far as getting back into the swing of things, my current band has showered me with their concern and love. We are having the time of our lives putting together this year's version of the Band of Pride, well, for sure, I am.... ha. My upperclassmen have been with me in this from the beginning. My rookies, bless their hearts, have joined in. Many of them still don't know what they have gotten themselves into. I can't wait to be there, to see it in their eyes, as they find out. HA
The feeling of walking into my band building again, and being greeted by my current kids, is... well... awesome. There were times this summer, I didn't expect to be able to get back there. So to all of you, know that I am healing, that Sheri is relentlessly taking care of me, and that my Band of Pride kids are holding me in their arms and helping me get back into the swing of things. On to Part II: Moments of awesome clarity.

Part II: Resign? NEVAH!
Most refer to it as Retirement. Sheri refers to it as Repurposing. I did not know this until now... Repurposing involves quite a long list. LOL
Well, had some dark moments... turned out to be moments of extreme clarity. There are things I wanna do that I haven't had the chance to do because of the demands of the position I hold, and cherish still, I must add. So after 37 years of teaching at the university level, the last 24 here at my beloved Alma Mater, Louisiana Tech, I have decided this is my "Final Tour". And so it begins, the realization that I am doing some things for the last, first time... and later, of course, for the last time. Judging by the emotions I am experiencing even at this early time in the tour, I will be a complete basket case by the end. I had no idea this would be such an emotional thing. It's a strange feeling. Bittersweet someone said to me. Perfect.
So... spend more time with my awesome kids... John is 17 now, Emmy 15... and my other awesome kids who are still in Kansas, Jenny and Jay, and, if you can believe this, my grandkids, Alex and Mia. I also am looking forward to playing golf with my brother Phil again. Lots of golf. HA...
Composing... David Gorham, and Chal, I have been so jealous... join ya soon I hope.
Arranging... miss this. Got a drawer full of em. Many of them in the RMB and BOP Libraries.
I want... no, I NEED to get to some Razorback Football and Basketball Games... miss my Razorbacks so much. A note to my Tech peeps... I also have a degree from Arkansas, so please forgive me this and know I will always love you, too.
OK, so there it is... that's it for now. I've run out of tissues. Check back for the final chapter in May where I'll probably have too much to say, once again.
Know this, each of you. You are always in my heart... I am watching you here, and loving it. You, each of you, mean so much to me, and are part of me. And, with all that I got, I love you. Thank you for being a part of my career.
Looking forward to the rest of our lives together.
Care about each other, but more importantly, care FOR each other. Hope I get to see you soon. And to my BOP... can't wait to be with you again next Tuesday. I am so pumped about what is ahead of us this year! You are my last band and you will be the greatest.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 08:52:51 pm by bleudog »

Offline Uncle Ivan

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Re: Jim Robken
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2014, 04:27:41 am »

I am cancer free. Not in remission mind you. Cancer free. Miracle. for sure. No radiation, no chemo. Doctor said see ya in about 3 months.

Forget that.  Get a second opinion just to be sure.  Then a third.  Never let up on it because if it comes back, often it's very angry.


Baptist Health Orthopedic Center