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.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Judy to leave ICU today

After three hours of what Dr. Phillips termed "very aggressive" surgery and needing three units of blood during surgery, Judy spent a calm night in ICU, according to the nurses.

She is still hooked up to a ventilator, just in case. She is breathing fine on her own, and the machine is just meant to assist if she needs it. From what I understand, those nasty-looking tubes will be removed today. Because of the tube she cannot speak. She is drifting in and out of sleep, with only about 10 to 15 seconds of full clarity before wandering off again.

She was obviously elated when I told her that taking out the affected section of her colon did not require a colostomy—she really had been worried about that. And she showed great relief over all the other news that I have been feeding her by-and-by. I don't know how much of what I have been telling her actually is going to stay in long-term memory, but I can tell the relief when she registers what I am saying.

She is not in very much pain; she indicated pain levels ranging from 0 to 2 on the scale to 10. She has a pain-pump (morphine) but has used very little of it. She is obviously bugged by the ventilator tube because she cannot talk, but she understands that it is necessary and is only temporary.

The nurse just changed the dressing on her incision, and I decided to watch. The incision is in a slight S-curve, a little less than about a foot long, starting right in the area where the rib cage opens and going maybe two to three inches below the belly button. The doc used staples, and the nurse was very happy with the way the entire area looked—no leakage, just a few small areas with some bruising, just really, really clean. On the inside, I was told, the doc used sutures to reattach the muscles that had to be cut. The nurse said that from the way the wound looks she would heal up fairly fast. Now I have a baseline to see how the healing process is coming along. Still, I don't think I'll enter the nursing profession anytime soon.

I also had a chance to talk to Dr. Phillips when he made his rounds this morning. It was at that time that he told me that he was "very aggressive." Yesterday he had mentioned that there was a 1 to 2 cm growth that he had not been able to remove, and I asked him more about it. He said that it was some growth in the Cecum area, in the vicinity of the appendix. To remove it he would have had to cut another, albeit small, piece of bowel and reattach the ends, and he did not want to take this risk. He is positive that chemo will take care of this area.

So, for right now we're just hanging out in ICU. Once we get out of here, Judy will be in room 519, with fine afternoon sun and a view of the lake in Maxey park. I am glad about Judy's high spirits, which are evidenced by a few thumbs-up and other little things that she has indicated with her eyes and the attempt at a smile—tough to do with all that tape that holds those tubes in place.

One final note: If you want to be notified when we post something new on this blog, you can "subscribe" to this blog by using the "Subscribe" button at the bottom of the page. There are some other subscribe options on the right side of the page, too. We don't want to inundate you and we want to really leave it up to everybody how much information you get. Of course, you can just come back and check periodically. Also, if you want to post a comment (and Judy will read and re-read all of them), you can do so without having a gmail account or anything like that. Just click on the "comments" link right below each post and a new window will allow you to write something and post it.

Once again, thank you for all your support.



aka Kathy said...

Two thumbs up! We'll miss seeing you this weekend.

Anonymous said...

You are a wonderful and caring person who has touched so many lives including mine! please know that I am praying for you and your family. This is one fo my favorite scriptures: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
2 Corinthians 1:1-4.
With Love in Christ

Anonymous said...

Dear Judy,

Alli and I love you dearly and pray that you have a complete recovery.

You are a very positive and vibrant person which will help you get through these tough times.

We are with you and Jurgen in spirit every step of the way.

Love Jason.

Calvin Dawson said...

Hey Judy,

This is Calvin D. Just letting you know that I am still praying for you everyday, and cant wait until you are back to full strength. We love you here at SRC and you are here in spirit, but you here in the physical makes a big difference. I cant wait to see that beautiful smile.
Love Always,
Calvin & SRC staff

LdawG said...

Well Judy the big stage is over, now it's time to pick yourself up the following days to continue the sucessful battle. Hang tough!!


The Stewarts said...

Great to hear such encouraging news. You both are in our prayers. Will and Donna donated blood in your honor today, so if there are any other potential blood donors, Judy has a "sheet" to put the donation on at UBS. I'll miss you at the race this weekend.

Anonymous said...

This is all great news. I knowthey have you resting to start the next phase of your war but I am very excited with the news and that the future looks bright!

Anonymous said...

Good going, Judy! You made it through surgery victoriously! Jurgen, we're proud of you, too. This is a journey you both are facing and your San Antonio familia continues to root for y'all. Stay strong. "Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow."

David, Priscilla, & Elizabeth Lurz