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, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Cyndi, Judy, Shannon, Sarah, and Emily before heading off to church on Christmas Eve.

Dear Friends,

Last night Judy was moved to tears when we went to Emily's home. Judy had wanted to pick up Emily to go to church, and she felt somewhat self-conscious about wearing a hat to church. When we got to Em's home, her mom and two sisters were ready to go along with Judy--and all of them, in support and solidarity of and with Judy, wore scarves.

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with our friends. We just wish we could celebrate with all of you!

Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 19, 2008

The Killing Continues!

We just received the latest CA-125 number from Dr. Phillips' office: We're down to 32!!!

So, the killing of the cancer cells continues. You may remember that the CA-125 right before chemo # 2 was 97, down from 313 after round #1 and a pre-op number of around 1,275. The latest number is based on the blood test that was taken right before Judy's third treatment on Tuesday of this week.

Judy is obviously elated, and so am I. Yes, these are just numbers, but these numbers are the only thing that gives us any kind of idea of where we are, and right now things look as if they're working.

Merry Christmas indeed--let's keep killing the bastard.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One day after Chemo #3 ...

...and Judy continues to do very, very well. Getting rid of the central line and quitting the antibiotics treatment have made a big difference, both from a logistical (no more having to hang from the drip every evening) as well as a quality-of-life standpoint (way less nausea, no more shower woes, no tangled-up lines while rolling over in bed, etc.).

The (more-or-less) permanent port that Judy received last week has not given her much trouble aside from a bit of swelling and lingering bruising. When Judy underwent round three yesterday, the port worked perfectly, and there was no discomfort. With the exception of a bit of constipation, waking up in the middle of the night and having difficulty going back to sleep (a function of being on steroids), and one bout of nausea yesterday Judy has really not had any ill effects at all. Amazing, isn't it?

I've made it back from Germany; 12 days was a long time. Now we're planning to have a few relaxed days leading up to Christmas, which we will spend here in Lubbock. At least we don't have any plans to do anything else, but you know us ...

In a day or two we hope to get the results of the most recent CA-125 test. We hope that it will confirm the good news that we received right after chemo #2, but if the numbers don't look as drastically improved (or even less than that) we won't let it get us down. But it sure would be a nice Christmas present to knock off a dozen or so points of the 97 from last time. We'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tomorrow's port day

Judy just let me know that tomorrow (Thursday, Dec. 11) will be the day that she will receive her more-or-less permanent port. I suppose the thing will be with us and the TSA for a year or so. Poor ol' Jude has been scheduled to show up at the hospital at 6:00 a.m. Dude! Her brother Mike and sis-in-law Candace are going to come up to the Hub City, but in case they can't make it on time her buddy Michael G. from work is going to help her out.

I am a crappy hubby, but at least I got the Christmas shopping done here in Berlin today.


Friday, December 5, 2008

No more antibiotics!

More good news: Judy's last CT scan revealed that the two accumulations of fluid in her abdomen have finally dissipated, and that means that she no longer needs her nightly time on the antibiotics drip. What great news! The daily routine had become quite old, and having the two small lines hanging out of her chest area was a real nuisance in regard to taking a shower and sleeping. Those lines were removed yesterday.

Next week Thursday, Judy will got to the hospital for the installation of her chemo port. The implant procedure is a minor day-surgery affair, and Candace will come up from Midland to take Judy home after the procedure since I'll be in Germany.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Post-Thanksgiving ruminations

Thanksgiving is behind us, and we had a great time with the family. Despite the long drive to the Hill Country, Judy held up quite well. It was just those late-night games of charades and other family chaos (what do you expect when almost 20 Austin-related folks get together?) that wore her out a little.

It was Judy's first road trip since the diagnosis and she enjoyed every minute of it. The family had rented two houses on Lake Inks, close to Burnett and Marble Falls. The countryside (lakeside, I should say, since we were right on the water) was beautiful, the food kept coming and coming, and the drinks flowed freely. Best of all, Judy was among her family that she loves so much and that gives her so much support. It was in this caring and sheltered environment that Judy asked her niece Hallie, who is a stylist, to trim her hair to a very short buzz. It's actually quite becoming, and it has allowed Judy to take ownership of her hair and not let the cancer dictate what it looks like. As you can tell in the photo, she and her brother Mike have a certain resemblance.

Yesterday, Judy had another CT scan. Let's hope that the pesky fluid has finally shrunk enough that she can stop those annoying nightly antibiotic treatments. We will know on Thursday. Otherwise, apart from being more tired than during her pre-cancer life, Judy is doing quite well. If it weren't for her weight loss and, yes, the much-shortened hair, one wouldn't know that she is sick.

The next update will come once we know what the CT scan revealed.


Judy and her niece Allison (and one of Judy's patented b'day cakes); Judy is still pre-barbershop

Alli, Judy, and sis-in-law (and Alli's mom) Candace