Phoebe and Red Robinson at the beginning of 2012. (contributed)

Archived Story

She’s tough as shoe leather

Published 4:27pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

Life is just plain hard today. The economy is rough, tax uncertainty makes it impossible to plan for the future, the international world seems to be in chaos and our culture seems to be drifting farther and farther away from traditional values upon which this nation was founded.

I am the third generation owner of Donald Real Estate, a company that my grandfather started in 1925, and I have been in the real estate business since I was 25 years old. I am now 61. I have seen a lot but this is the worst ever.

I inherited a little known disease from my father that is rare in women, Ankylosing Spondylitis. I was 38 when I tested positive for HLA B27, the genetic marker for AS. My close companion for more than 20 years has been Mr. Pissy Pain — Mr. P for short.

I have dealt with Mr. P as my joints fused, traditional AS. However, in the last six years I have gotten many new kickers, my word when a new diagnosis kicks you in the gut: cough asthma, sleep apnea, ulcerative colitis, restless leg syndrome, osteopenia, BOOP, fibromyalgia, liver fibrosis, chronic migraines, weight gain, balance issues and my latest kicker, SLE Lupus.

As 2013 approaches, I have decided to live life the best I can and focus on a half full, not a half empty life. It is what it is. I cannot change my health. I am powerless over the economy. My choice is how I react. I choose to change what I can: my weight, hair and especially my attitude. I choose to be happy even in difficult circumstances; I choose to be grateful and to look for the good in life. I will survive whatever life throws me for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am in. God’s grace is sufficient to take care of all of the kickers in life.

Phoebe and Red Robinson at the end of 2012. Phoebe changed things that she could in 2012, her weight and hair. (contributed)

Happy New Year! Tough times never last, tough people do and I am shoe leather. It is my prayer for all my readers to be shoe leather with me.


Phoebe Donald Robinson can be reached by email at

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