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, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

In the final comment to the last post Ms. Eddie had expressed her wish that Judy would get her cookies made. Well, all you have to do is look at the photo to the right and you'll see who's keeping the upper hand here! Mr. Cancer-Scrooge, go home!

Two days ago Judy did what she loves to do so much: Set off flour bombs in the kitchen and create beautiful cookies. She and Natalie had done a half-batch test run last weekend, and with a few breaks between baking, icing, and decorating Judy turned out these spooky-scary punkin' cookies.

Right now she's getting her daily dose of antibiotics while we are waiting for the first trick-or-treaters to knock at the door. We will have to continue the antibiotics for at least another week, probably longer. The fluid in her abdomen (actually, two different effusions) continues to shrink, but at a lower rate than I had understood from what the docs had said. I read the report of the CT scan from last week and the shrinkage is evident, but only at a snail's pace. If the fluid is just, well, simply some fluid (don't ask me for the proper medical terminology), then all the antibiotics are just B-52s lining up against houseflies. If the fluid, however, is infectious and we discontinue the antibiotics, Judy most likely would not last through chemo. So, the decison to continue is not a tough one to make.

Chemo: We're going to get started on Tuesday. Judy will go to Dr. Phillips' office at 8:30 a.m., hang out with three compatriots for about six hours, and then go home. Three weeks later, she'll do the same. and three weeks later, again. And so on. We're anticipating eight cycles total--provided that there are no complications, no excessive nausea, etc. etc.

So now we have a well-laid-out plan, and just like when we went in for the surgery, I feel somehow relieved: There's the road, and we "just" have to take it. I've learned a few things about how I operate best. I need a straight line and a goal, and the glimmer at the end of the tunnel is enough for me to give and sustain energy.

Judy is different. She is worried about letting us down by not being strong 24 hours a day, eight times three weeks. I'd be afraid of feeling like dog-poop, and she's worrying about failing us, her supporters. We talked about this, but that's Judy who feels like that, and if all of you are honest with yourselves you know that it is sometimes very, very difficult--if not impossible--to jump over one's shadow.

Judy is getting ready for the second part of this big stage race--after the Pyrenees come the Alps. She's already proven that she's a fighter who can stomach and come back from the set-backs. She's getting ready for an even harder battle now, because it is longer and gives you the same punches again and again and again. Every time the hit is going to be a little harder, too.

So, right now we're waiting for the trick-or-treaters. But deep down inside, we're waiting for the first punch to be thrown. Let's hope that little Juju is going to be able to withstand all of these attacks and will recover in time to offer the other side of the chin. Do you remember that little boy confronting the headmaster in Oliver Twist? "Master, may I have another?" May Judy be able to ask for more and more and more and flinch every time but never get knocked out.

Happy Halloween indeed.



Anonymous said...

Hi Judy!
Your Halloween cookies look yummy!!! No trick or treaters up this way-no kids on our street-and we live quite a ways off the road-so no one will be visiting us.

I'll be thinking of you on Tuesday!!I'm working at the polls all afternoon checking in the folks when they come to vote.


WayneLorane:) said...

Judy June Austin,
You don't have to be strong for anyone, but YOURSELF. Forget about everything else. Your job is to take the chemo and then help your body heal and recover everytime....not worry about what others think or want. This is all about you, baby and what you need. We will ALL be thinking about you on Tues in spite of the election.
Best, best wishes, we love you very much!!!!
Love, love,love, WayneLorane:)
Ps. as of now I think both of us will be driving to Shall. on Tues. evening. We'll call Wed. to see how you are etc. L

Alan said...

Happy Halloween to both of you.

Janis V. said...

You always make the best Halloween cookies! You go girl!!!

Anonymous said...


Good luck with your chemo. Call me sometime and we will compare chemos and side effects. there will be good days and not-so-good days. i had a hard weekend so my blood levels and hydration level were not good enough to do chemo today. I got fluids and a shot and will get the same tomorrow. Then we'll see if I am up for the chemo later this week. Its been over a month that I have had this hard a time. the good news is, we are planning on only 3 more chemo treatments. Seems like its been a long road with all the treatments, surgeries, and radiation. And its kind of frightening thinking that we're not going to do anything to fight any new growth that may show up. But we'll be doing scans regularly. I know that may seem like a long time off to you today - but it will come for you - and there will be crummy times in between and fun times baking cookies too. Take care. Sorry I haven't been in touch as much as I need to.
Cindy L.

Sandi said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you today for the start of Chemo.
Love you,

Anonymous said...

Judy, take strength and comfort from knowing that you are in so many thoughts and prayers today and every day.
Love you, Judy and Doug