Why the Redwood Forest slideshow?

Judy had always loved trees, and in 2008 we spent some time among the California Redwoods. Some of the ingredients in Judy's chemo cocktail were derived from trees (not Redwoods but Yews). We always knew that Judy loved the trees, and the trees got their chance to repay her affection.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Judy is out of surgery; things look positive--UPDATED

After a little over 3 hrs of surgery Dr. Phillips gave me the following update:

As suspected, Judy has Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma that has affected her body cavity. The colon was affected the worst and he had to remove a section approximately 10 to 15 cm long. This section was practically closed because of the tumor. He was positive that the dissection will not cause any long-term ill effects.

Cancer cells were spread over the omentum, presenting a thick layer. He was able to remove approximately 80% of the cancer cells, with the remaining 20% being smaller than 1 cm, except one 2 cm area that he hopes will respond to chemo. He expects to start chemo within 3 to 4 weeks. At this point it looks like chemo via IV instead of IP (via a direct port to the body cavity) because of the bowel dissection.

Judy will spend tonight in ICU as a precaution. She lost a fairly large amount of blood, but Dr. Phillips was very positive about the surgery and is very sure that she will recover fine from the surgery. He was equally optimistic about the chemotherapy and killing off the remaining cancerous cells. Any prognosis beyond that is out of reach at this point and academic.

He labeled her carcinoma as Stage 3c since it involved tumors of larger than 2 cm.


Sorry to stop abruptly earlier but I wanted to get some info to you but then I had a chance to see Judy in ICU.

When I saw her, she was sedated and had a few tubes in her. The nurse said that everything looked OK and that she would be under full observation for the night. Judy was given 3 units of blood, which I assume is a pint each. The plan is for her to come out of heavy sedation tonight and be moved to her room sometime around midday tomorrow. I am spending the night at home to get a good night's sleep--not much I can do in ICU anyhow. The hospital is less than a 10-minute drive from home.

This was a long day, but I assume that scheduling works like this. Dr. Phillips smiled when I thanked him for his long day in surgery, and he said sometimes everything takes just a little longer than expected. I wish I could convey how positive he was about the outcome of the surgery and the prospects for the initial chemo--there seemed to be genuine satisfaction and relief emanating from him. Quite frankly, I had expected worse, stage 4, and maybe he did, too.

To all those of you who stopped by the hospital today (Becky O., Kathy and Walt, Becky and Phil, Toni, John, Don, Barbara, Alan and my wonderful buddy Wes), I can't tell you how much we both appreciate your support. To all of you posting comments here on the blog or sending an e-mail, let me tell you that I have either read your notes to Judy already or will do so once she comes off her unnatural high.

Judy finished today's tough stage of her race a little battered but, in the long run, with some nice prospects for the next few stages. You guys have been an unbelievable cheering crew. The race is on, as she says.



Scott said...


Thanks for keeping us informed. I know it has been a long day for you both. So glad to hear that surgery went well and that Judy is in ICU recovering.

We will be thinking of you this evening,

Scott (Rachel, Harrison and Luke)

Alan said...

Sounds very promising. Hope you both get some rest tonight.

WayneLorane said...

Thanks for all the info. Jurgen. Rest up you two. You'll both need it. Give her a kiss on the cheek for us when she wakes up tomorrow.

I know surgens are busy people but why do they say surgery at 9:00am and then put her off until 4:00??? You're both better sports about it than I would be...even knowing there is no choice about it.
Lots of love, WayneLorane

Burkhard said...

Good to hear that the first big step ended with a positve outlook. Hope, you`ll can find some sleep tonight.

Be huged,


Adam & Carrie Tungate said...

I'm so glad to hear that the surgery went well. Thank God! Please be sure and let us know what room she moves to after she gets out of ICU and if she feels up to having visitors. Please let her know that Adam and family has been thinking and praying for her (and you!).

MTB_Chik said...

Ohhhhhh! So grateful for the good news. Sleep well and rest easy!

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear the surgery went well and is over. You did a great job keeping us updated...thanks.
You're both in our thoughts and prayers.

Judy and Doug

Dietmar said...


Kay and I were gone for a couple of days in Arizona and I just found your e-mail while I was sorting out junk e-mail in my folder! I am so glad I found your message and I am happy that you kept us informed, this blog is awesome. Tell Judy we love her and you guys are in our thoughts and prayers!

Dietmar and Kay

Paddy said...

Dear Judy,

glad to hear surgery went well. We hope you can sleep well all night and that you will recover best from it within in the next days.

We are thinking of you every day.


Paddy, Clio & Maurício

Celia said...

Hi Judy and Jurgen

Thinking about you yesterday with all fingers and toes crossed. Good to ready Jurgen's updates. Positive thoughts crossing the Atlantic. Much love Celia & Co.

Sandi said...

Glad that the news was as good as it was. Give Judy a big hug for me and tell her I knew she was a winner! Hope you got a good night sleep. It is sometimes harder on the caregiver going thru this, so you need to stay well. Take care!
Love you both,

MichelleL said...

Jurgen and Judy,

So glad to hear everything went well. Sorry about the long day but unfortunately that is not unusual. Tell Judy to enjoy her "happy medicine" as long as she can and to take it easy today. Sounds like things are more positive than Dr. Phillips thought and that is good news. Give Judy a hug (gently) from me and make sure the nurses spoil her rotten!


Cheryl and Fred said...

What an epic stage. That oftener than not happens with surgery but we're sorry you had to wait on pins and needles all that time. We're glad the surgery went well and are sending thoughts of recovery and strength for the recovery. Tell Judy I'll bring a picture of Mark Cavendish's bum to cheer her up. See you soon.
Cheryl Weber

aka Kathy said...

So good to hear that surgery went well and that things were better than what was expected.

Jurgen - give Judy a hug from us and don't forget to take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Hello Judy, I hope you are doing ok right about now. I told Sky about our birthday cake maker, and she said she would say a little prayer for you and so will I. God Bless You. Anthony

Anonymous said...

Liebe Judy,
sobald Du auf dem Wege Deiner Genesung den ersten "Berg" überwunden hast, wird Dir Jürgen unsere ganz starken Wünsche übermitteln, die Dir große Kraft und Zuversicht und Glauben verleihen sollen. Sei stark und vertraue denen, die Dir helfen!Wir vergleichen die Wanderung auf dem Jakobsweg mit dem Weg, den Du jetzt gehst. Er ist nicht einfach mit seinen Tälern und Bergen, aber es gibt viele Herbergen für Erholung und Rekonvaleszens.
Wir denken an Dich und Jürgen ist bei Dir. Ihm danken wir sehr für seine ausführlichen Informationen!
Alles Liebe - es grüßen Euch Anita und Udo