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 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well, here we are: Christmas is done and over, and another year (and decade) is looming. We both hope that the future will bring lots of joys and happiness to your lives. We all know that there are ups and downs, and we have only limited control over when the peaks arrive and when the potholes open up. Try to do the right things, remember the fleeting nature of time, and live life to its fullest--whatever that may mean for you personally.

We will celebrate New Year's Eve with our friends Wayne and Lorane. Emily decided that she is ready for an adult party (no worries, she'll be our Designated Driver). So, the five of us will whoop it up tonight. It's beyond me how Em can hang with old, boring fogies such as us.

Tomorrow (New Year's Day) around noon Judy and I will leave for Berlin. My dad is really looking forward to seeing her--it's been about two years. It'll be interesting how much extra inconvenience will be built into our flight experience thanks to the nutball coming from A'dam. Still, the flight should be A-OK as our upgrades into Business cleared a long time ago.

For 2010, I'm planning to keep you updated on how things are progressing for Judy, with a bit of our everyday life thrown into the mix of medical news. Enjoy the party, wake up without a major headache, and do everything in 2010 that you have always wanted to do!

Here's a sip of the bubbly to all of you,

Jürgen & Judy

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas To All Of You!

Christmas came early for Judy last weekend in the form of a buggy ride through the Texas Tech Carol of Lights. My bike-buddy Carl owns 21-year-old Ashes and is currently storing a friend's authentic Amish buggy replica, and together we had hatched the idea to load up the wives and go for a ride. For those of you who don't know what the Carol of Lights is: A large number of buildings on the TTU campus are illuminated with thousands of Christmas lights, and it is truly a beautiful sight.

Judy had no idea what surprise was in store for her, and she was completely floored. She fell in love with Ashes, and plans already have been made for Judy to ride her sometime this spring or summer. Carl and his wife, Terri, had the buggy all prepared when we arrived at our meeting point, and on a beautifully mild and calm Sunday evening we cruised the campus, nice and slow, taking the occasional sip of Jägermeister.

It's been a while that I have seen Judy so happy and totally enchanted by something. For Carl and me, it was the best Christmas present ever. Afterward, the four of us had dinner at the house (nothing fancy, because of the secrecy of the plan) and shared a few beers. It was a wonderful evening, and we can't thank Carl and Terri enough for going through the trouble of bringing Ashes and the buggy to town.

Tomorrow, on Christmas Eve, Judy and I will launch out early to drive the six or so hours to the Burnett/Marble Falls area to celebrate with her family. The presents are all wrapped, the food that we have to take is prepared, and the truck is packed. It is finally time to relax and start looking forward to the Holiday.

Merry Christmas to all of you! May it be the best one ever! With all our love,

Jürgen and Judy

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stent procedure successful

I just wanted to briefly update y'all that today's procedure at Covenant was successful. It took Dr. A. about 20 minutes or so to place the stent in Judy's left urethra. As he said afterward, it was a good thing that we had decided to go ahead with the procedure instead of waiting for things to develop. He found out that things were obstructed quite significantly and that the stent will help. Judy's recovery from the surgery was quick and relatively painless, and apart from being a bit bushed this afternoon (well hell, they made her so drunk that they could do this type of invasive thing!) she was her usual self. The only bummer is that in Dr. A.'s opinion she will have to have a fresh stent every 2 1/2 to 3 months--but that still beats the alternatives that would come with a sickened kidney.

This evening Emily came over, and the three of us had our little Christmas celebration. Emily was the proud recipient of one of Judy's home-made tied blankets, and we had to immediately try it out--see the photo to the right.

Before we take off for Marble Falls to be with Judy's family I will post one more short update with a photo that you will not want to miss.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CA-125 down, California great, stent next week

Well, this post's title pretty much sums it all up. Of course, I could have added that Judy, the cookie-making-machine, is running on all cylinders.

I apologize for not posting earlier the good news that we received late last week that Judy's CA-125 has significantly dropped since the last chemo, from 132 to 78. We received the news two days after her last chemo, last Tuesday. So, it appears that the new drugs are doing the trick. Obviously we're elated. Her new nausea patch has also been a godsend in that the usual complications in that area have been significantly reduced.

A bit of a downer is the fact that next week Tuesday, two days before we're hoping to join family in south Texas for Christmas, Judy will have to receive a stent to aid one of her urethras drain urine from the left kidney. It will be a day-surgery thing, but still .... We saw the urologist last Wednesday, and he doesn't want to take chances with what seems to be a blockage that could have implications for her kidney. Bah humbug.

With all the medical stuff behind us we left Friday at 5:45 a.m. for Monterey, CA, for a quick three-day trip. We spent a rainy day in Santa Cruz, where Judy felt compelled to get her first haircut in a long time (really, just a trim job) in an old-fashioned barber shop. We spent the other two days a block or two away from Cannery Row in Monterey. Our major reason for going had been the Monterey aquarium, and it did not disappoint us--what a fabulous place. Add to that a very, very nice hotel (which totally surpassed our expectations) in Monterey and just some good chillin' time, and it was a very nice little get-away.

And now it's back to cookie baking, fudge making, and present wrapping. One wouldn't think that this woman has cancer! I wish she'd slow down some, but good luck with that.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Three days before chemo Judy is PARTY LADY

On the eve of St. Nick's day (Dec. 6) Judy invited various little munchkin friends over to the house to a cookie-decorating party. The parents were also allowed to come. Anna, Noah, Nicole, and Alli were the best party guests ever, spilling nothing but sprinkles and spreading icing mainly on the cookies or around their mouths. It was quite a sight! The mothers had their fun, too, while the boys decided to destroy some of that evil beer that they are now selling in Lubbock.

Despite a lot of preparatory work--yes, there were some snacks for the adults as well--Judy absolutely loved the day, and it seems everyone else did too.

It is starting to feel like Christmas in Lubbock, with traffic around the mall insane and the temperature not even hitting 27 Fahrenheit today. I have my last day of classes tomorrow, and Judy will undergo another round of chemo. So, life just rolls along.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Post Thanksgiving News

First of all, I would like to say thanks to each of you for your continued support and kind words and thoughts. It has been a difficult year, but we certainly have done better than just survive.

We spent our Thanksgiving in Lubbock. Our plan had been to smoke Jürgen's turkey for the Big Day, but then Martha and Alan invited us over to their place for a non-traditional Greek-meal Thanksgiving. That was fun, and we all decided to make this a tradition. So, on Friday we reciprocated, and our friends came over to our house to partake in the smoked bird. More wine flowed...

You remember that I had had a CT scan before Thanksgiving, and yesterday I saw Dr. Phillips in regard to the results. Here's a quick run-down of what he told me: The cancer does not appear to have grown and there is no new tissue; however, there is some cyst-like tissue that is pushing against my urethra, close to the exit from the left kidney. As a result, urine backs up because it can't properly pass through the urethra. So, next week I will see a urologist to see what can be done about this. Quite likely a small stent will have to be inserted to open up and support the urethra. In regard to the chemo, Doc Phillips wants to continue with our current drugs as they seem to work. My next chemo treatment is scheduled for next week Tuesday, and on Wednesday I will see the urologist, Dr. Aronoff. And, I almost forgot, I'll be getting a weekly shot of a blood-boosting drug that Tour de France riders would probably love to get their hands on.

So, that's life in the Big World of JuJu. Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another CT Scan Today

It's been almost two weeks since the last post. My, how time flies. Our life has been regulated by work (MHMR and TTU) and the usual day-to-day routine. The officiating travel for the year is done and over with, although we're going to run off to Monterey (CA) before mid-December for a weekend get-away.

The big thing this week (apart from the Thanksgiving turkey) is Judy's CT scan today. Dr. Phillips ordered the scan to find out whether something is going on that we need to know about. We hope that things are normal, but one never knows.

It is doubtful that we will know anything about the scan results until after Thanksgiving, so from both of us: Happy Turkey Day!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Good News!

We just received the great news that Judy's CA-125--the number of cancer markers--has finally dropped after slowly increasing for months. When Judy went in for some lab work on November 2, her CA-125 was 171; this Tuesday, taken right before her latest chemo, it was down to 131.

We know that these are just numbers, but even so we are encouraged by these news. Maybe the new meds are finally kicking in. We'll know more in a month or so, when the next test right before her next chemo will be performed.

Let's keep our fingers crossed.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Chemo Treatment Behind Us

Yesterday, Judy was treated to another cocktail of meds. I am starting to lose count of them. After chemo she came home for half an hour and then went off to work. She's so tough. The nausea set in pretty early, and it was a rough night for her. Back to work this morning. I just hope that she is going to feel better tonight.

This weekend, Judy will go to Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo where she will be chief for the TMBRA marathon mountain bike race. Rumor has it that Lance Armstrong will show up, and she's a bit nervous about that. I'm going to fly to Clearwater, Florida, tomorrow after school for the 70.3 (half-Ironman) World championships. This will be our last race weekend of the year. Yeah!

Monday, November 2, 2009

What else did we do in Madrid?

We visited the stables where Karen keeps her horse.

We went to the ham museum!

And we kept celebrating our friendship.

... and when we got back home, it was time to work yet another mountain bike race, this one a small affair in Abilene. Emily came over from Stephenville to help out.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

London, Paris, and Madrid in one day!

No kidding! The title to this post says it all. Judy's direct flight from DFW to Madrid last weekend took on a different dimension when her original flight out of Lubbock on Friday afternoon was canceled and she thus missed the Madrid flight. American rerouted her to London, but since all British Airways and Iberia flights from Heathrow to Madrid were completely sold out she was routed first to Paris for a short stop-over before traveling on. We reunited in Madrid early Saturday evening...

We had decided to see our English/Mexican friends Howard and Lidya in the Spanish capital a few weeks back after being informed that we wouldn't work one of our favorite (and longest-running) races in Ruston. Oh well. Howard's sister, Celia (with Judy in the photo above), was to come down from Twyford near London for our Big Chill-like reunion. I flew out on Thursday, right after my last class. Judy's plans to join me on that flight were stymied by work schedules at MHMR.

Regardless of how much time we actually spent with our friends, it was worth the effort. Quantity does not always equal quality, and that was certainly true of this weekend. We made our time count, even though Celia had to leave for the UK on Sunday afternoon while we didn't fly back until Monday noon, getting home by 11 p.m. on Monday. The time spent with our friends and Howard and Lidya's great kids--Sandra, Karen, and Simon--was priceless. We went out to eat, we had great tapas at home, we took a long walk in beautiful gardens, we went to Karen's horse-back riding stables, we had sangria and Spanish ham in the wee hours in a small downtown bar. What better way to spend a weekend, eh?

Today was a normal workday for both of us. Indeed, sleep and cancer are overrated. :)


The best olives in the world--and even Judy enjoyed a Mahou beer

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oktoberfest precedes the next chemo

On Saturday, Wes and Susan hosted a small Oktoberfest party, and the surprise guest was Emily, who had come up from Stephenville and was taking a break from her studies at Tarleton State. Jerred and Jennifer had come over, too, and Wes' mom rounded out the company. (And of course, there were the rug rats.)

We all had a fun evening, with lots of brats, potato salad, and, yes, beer. Judy had dug out the customary Oktoberfest decorations, and as a special treat all of us--young and old--played a wild game of "Topfschlagen" where the blind-folded player uses a wooden spoon to find and bang on an upside-down kitchen pot that hides some trinket. We all laughed so hard that our bellies hurt!

After a dreary Sunday (drizzle, fog, cold temps) we're back to the normal routine: Judy is having her lab work done this morning, I'm grading papers, and the outlook for tomorrow is another round of chemo.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Judy is back from Bryan

While I was frolicking in Chile on UCI business, Judy traveled to Bryan to officiate the BTU Power Pedal mountain bike race.

From what she told me in her e-mails (I am still en route coming back from Santiago while updating this blog), everything came off fine, despite rainy and muddy conditions.

As a special treat, Judy got to spend some time on Sunday after the race with Michelle, Ken, Ian, and Cal.

Next weekend we're actually going to be home together, so that's going to be another big treat for us. We should also learn fairly soon when the next chemo will come.

I'm sure looking forward to get home after six days in South America, and Judy is ready for a good snuggle, too.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Stable Disease," says the doc

So, there you have Doc Phillips' assessment of the state of affairs, one year--mas o menos--after diagnosis. Comforting? Not really. Positive? Well, that depends. Something we can live with? You bet.

Judy and I are coming off, or more precisely, are at the back end of a loooong run of travel weekends that started with Camp Eagle and is going to end with the BTU PowerPedal in Bryan for Judy and the Copa Chile XCO in Santiago for me. Interbike (as you can tell from the photos) was in between; Oklahoma City and Jack's Prairieman came before that. Dude, that makes it FIVE weekends!!! It'll be nice to be home next weekend, but first we're going to take care of business on the first October weekend, almost 5,000 miles apart.

We feel lucky to have these opportunities, and we both feed off the energy of the racers. The closer to home the race, the more energy. I'm updating this from the Atlanta airport, on the way to Miami and then Santiago. There won't be much energy from racers to feed on, but that's OK--the challenges and the environment I will find myself in are enough to wean Iran off its nuclear program. Judy will be great in Bryan as she has a good sous-chef in Darlene, great support in Tobin, Jen, and Cap, and end-of-the race cuddles from Michelle and her rascals.

We're lucky folks, "stable disease" not withstanding. We love what we do, even if we get a little tired once in while along the way.

OH, BTW, the pic shows us at the USAC booth where we spotted our little buddy Lilly Frasier from the TMBRA circuit.


Monday, September 21, 2009

After the OKC Redman

It is Monday and time to remove the red mud from our clothes, courtesy of the Oklahoma Redman triathlon. For the second weekend in a row we had a rainy race. On Saturday, for the Ironman and Half-Ironman distance races, it poured buckets, once again. The beautiful park around Lake Heffner was reduced to a red mud pit. So that's why they call it "Redman"!

Sunday was sunny and quite warm, and the athletes doing the Sprint and the Olympic distance races did not suffer from hypothermia as on the day before but rather from dehydration. Things can change so fast. We saw a few old friends, among them Donna P. from the metroplex and her "Ironox" husband, William (not in the photo).

Judy held up very well with just a few bouts of nausea after Tuesday's chemo. It seems as if the doc has adjusted the meds well. This week we'll be in Las Vegas for the Interbike tradeshow, so more travel coming up. At least this time it's not 800 miles of driving but rather a few hours with American Airlines.

Judy says thanks for all those birthday wishes!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

So Far, So Good: Chemo #10 Benign So Far

Judy had a much easier time with her chemo yesterday than she did four or so weeks ago. Dr. Phillips apparently tweaked the meds enough so that the immediate nausea and general rotten feeling did not kick in. After chemo she went back to work, and in the evening we had a nice dinner on the porch with our friend Alan.

Tonight, 30 hours later, still no nausea--just a general feeling of being tired. But who wouldn't be in her shoes, even without chemo, eh?

Here's another Camp Eagle photo that our friend Kathy from the metroplex sent this morning.

If you didn't know: Judy's b'day is this Friday! Since we'll be traveling to OKC, we won't be close to a phone, but I'm sure she'll love e-mails or comments once we get to the Marriott!


Monday, September 14, 2009

One Year, 100 Blog Postings Later ...

It is hard to believe, but almost exactly one year has now passed since Judy went in for what seemed to be a routine colonoscopy and what turned out to become her on-going battle with Primary Peritoneal Cancer.

A year ago we sent an e-mail to our families and many, many friends, letting you know about our new situation. Our world had been turned upside down, and we had no idea where we would be a year later. Shortly after that e-mail I wrote the first blog entry, and now I am composing #100--it is such a round number that it does stand out. Initially we were worried that this electronic tool would be much too impersonal and sterile for such profoundly personal matters. Yet, as it turned out, it was the only practical means to involve those of you who wanted to follow Judy in her fight and who wanted to be kept informed on her progress (and setbacks).

Over the past year we have read your comments of encouragement and support that you have left on this blog, and we cannot tell you how important these messages have been and still are. Re-reading entries—just like those in a diary—and once again looking at the photos and your comments makes us even more aware of the journey that lies behind us. At the same time, we know that the journey continues, with no indication of its route or final destination.

I intend to keep this blog running for as long as is necessary because you have told us—often in person—how glad you are that you can participate and lend Judy (and me) a helping hand, even when you are far away. Your friendship is a huge factor in our ongoing battle as it strengthens us and provides us with the courage to go on.

Tomorrow Judy will have her overall 10th chemo treatment. We spent a rainy weekend in the Dallas area at the Praireman triathlon, where we saw Ester, Jack, Wanda, Cliff, Joanna, and many other of our strong supporters. Next weekend we will be in Oklahoma City, for two days of officiating triathlon competition. Our life goes on, as you can tell, but we don't forget that it almost stopped.

We love all of you!

Judy & Jürgen

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Camp Eagle, Cycling Friends Boost Platelets!

Our Labor Day trip to the mountain bike festival at Camp Eagle in central Texas proved to be a big morale and platelet booster: Judy's lab values today showed that she had gone from 36 to almost 140 platelets in just a week's time. So, another round of chemo is on tap for next Tuesday (9/15), just in time for her birthday on September 18. C'est la vie.

The trip to Camp Eagle brought with it early mornings and long days, but we cannot stress enough how much fun we had at this great venue. Just look at those photos and you see how much Judy feeds off being among this great family of friends. In the first shot you see her hamming it up with little Ava, who declared that she was the Queen after scaling the rock she's standing on.

The photo to the left epitomizes Judy, child of the '60s. After all, in her own words, she's all about tie-die. Camp Eagle has the facilities for contestants to tie-die their own event t-shirts, and Judy took the opportunity to also ti-die a bandana.

In the third photo you can see Judy at work, starting one of the many groups that go off in rapid succession. Yes, that's a starter pistol in her left hand. And the last two photos show her with medic Kirk, as well as her little friend Syndey, who is growing up way too fast. The two had a friendly competition who could slide the fastest down the Wet Willy into the Nueces river. What a great weekend! Thanks to all of you who came by and made a point to check with Judy personally how she's doing.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chemo Date Postponed By Two Weeks

Despite the transfusions, Judy's bloodwork was not good enough to allow the next chemo to happen today. Most likely it will be a two-week delay. Also, Dr. Phillips is tweaking the medication, so we'll see whether this will make a difference in how she reacts to the next treatment.

Judy had an uneventful HHH weekend, and when I came home from Canada yesterday she was quite chipper. Her hair has started to come back after we gave her a nice, clean cut about 10 days ago, but now with the new medication it looks as if it may fall out again. Oh hell, we'll get through this, too.

This upcoming weekend we'll see all of our TX mountain bike friends at the race at Camp Eagle, one of our very, very favorite venues. I'll definitely try to get some pictures. However, this year I doubt that we'll allow Judy to scale the floating "iceberg." No need for that foolishness if we can just swim in the river and avoid getting hurt.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Next Chemo Scheduled For Sep. 1

After a full-meal-deal type of transfusion last week, we didn't think that Judy would be up for her second chemo of regimen #2 this week. So it came as no surprise when after lab work yesterday the verdict was: Lets have a cocktail next week.

So, that'll give Judy a chance to recover a little more, even though her trip this weekend to the Hotter'n'Hell bike races in Wichita Falls will not be exactly a vacation. Judy will chief the mountain bike race on Friday afternoon, and then she'll work the road races and the crits on Saturday and Sunday. But she wouldn't hear anything about sitting this one out--after all, the HHH is her longest-running officiating gig, something like 12 years in a row or so.

Say hello to her if you see her!

I for my part will jet out to Seattle right after (the semeter's first) classes on Thursday and then continue to Vancouver and Penticton, BC, on Friday morning. This will be my third year to be Head Referee for Ironman Canada.

I'll be back home Monday afternoon, in time to kiss Judy good-luck for Tuesday's chemo.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another Triathlon Behind Us--And A Transfusion Ahead

Last weekend, Judy and I were in the Seattle, WA, area for yet another half-Ironman triathlon. As you can tell from the picture, it was a beautiful day for racing, even if it started out a little foggy and cool. Lake Stevens is set among forested hills about an hour north of Seattle, in a beautiful part of the US. We are truly thankful to race organizer Bill Burke to have brought us out here--he's been a great supporter and friend. Even though there is always a lot of work to be done, every race brings with it great moments that show us how lucky we are.

When we got back to Lubbock yesterday, Judy had more lab work done. Now we know why she had been bruising up so easily: Her platelet count was down to a paltry 7. In a way that is good because it appears that the chemo cocktail is doing the trick, but it also means that Judy is pretty vulnerable. So, tomorrow morning (Thursday) it's off to the hospital for a few bags of fresh blood--sounds like Dracula, doesn't it? This should also help her perk up a little, because she has been quite tired, even though one wouldn't know it from seeing her go after things at work or at the races.

Right now it is doubtful that she is going to receive another round of chemo next week, as initially planned. Well, we'll take it the way it comes.


Here's the full crew:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Without Steroids Chemo is Less Fun

Well, that's the mild way of putting it. Judy began her second cycle of six to eight rounds of chemo on Tuesday, and things were (and still are) quite a bit rougher than we expected. We had been told that the new drug that she is now getting (Gemzar) has fewer side-effects than what she had been getting (Taxol). Maybe that's why she wasn't given her usual accompanying dose of steroids. Whatever the reason, Judy has been feeling rotten since Tuesday's treatment. Next time around, she'll ask for the steroids, for sure.

The CA-125 cancer markers continue to inch upward--not good. It will be interesting to see whether this new drug and the renewed chemo after the lengthy hiatus will convince the disease to start receding again. Sure, it's just numbers, but that's all we have to go by.

I am writing this update while sitting in the Miami airport, waiting for my flight to Costa Rica where I am officiating an international mountain bike race this weekend. Judy and Emily will spend Saturday and Sunday in Abilene for their annual "Ride of Passage," a tradition that goes back 10 years. The idea has always been to ride a little farther than the year before and to try something new--in line with progressing from one school grade to the next. Now Emily is getting ready to enter college, and the Ride of Passage is still as apropos as a decade ago. Judy may be feeling crappy, but she won't let that stop her from doing what she wants to do. Maybe they'll adjust the length of the ride a little....

Stay tuned for the next update. Let's hope we have some good news and maybe a new photo.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Doc Says: Let's Continue Chemo

This morning, Judy and I went to Dr. Phillips' office for a follow-up to her CT-scan a few weeks back. The scan had been conducted after the official end of her chemotherapy.

We knew that her CA-125 (cancer markers) had been inching upward; however, the CT-scan did NOT reveal anything alarming, according to the doc. There is no spreading of the disease to any other organs or areas of the body apparent. Two small masses, each 1.8cm large, may be responsible for the increase in the CA-125, but Dr. Phillips did not seem too worried about these small areas but said that we obviously will want to keep an eye on them. He made no mention of any follow-up surgery. Instead, he is going to change the chemo cocktail (out with the Taxol, in with the Gemzar) with which he hopes to attack the cancer from a slightly different angle. From what we learned today, the Gemzar comes with fewer side effects than the Taxol and Judy may see some of her hair actually coming back. Most people also experience fewer episodes of nausea.

We're looking at another six to eight rounds of chemo, once again in three-week intervals. Obviously, the exact schedule will be dictated by Judy's blood count, so realistically we're looking at the remainder of 2009 for the chemo treatment. When the doc mentioned that simple, non-aggressive "maintenance" might be something that one could look at as well, Judy just said that she's "ready to kick the cancer in the ass, not slap it on the wrist." Dr. Phillips just grinned and gave her the most gentle and genuine hug.

So, that's where we are: more chemo on the way. Cancer, better watch out! You heard Judy!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Back to CA and the Redwood Forest (and Vineman)

Last weekend, Judy and I once again traveled out to California to officiate the annual Vineman 70.3. we love this trip, because aside from the work
there is always a little bit of time for R&R in the wine country.

We flew out to San Jose on Friday and drove up to Sausalito and San Rafael that evening. On Saturday morning, we paid a visit to Guerneville, where the swim takes place. Apart from measuring the water temperature, we also made sure to pay a visit to Judy's giant friends in Armstrong Redwood State Park. Judy was sooooo happy on our 2-mile hike.

The rest of Saturday and Sunday we spent working the race--athletes' meetings, volunteer training, the race proper. It was a pretty wild one this year, with a few freak incidents: First my moto driver and I went down after about 100 meters in a right turn. Fortunately neither one of us got hurt, but his motorbike has some nasty scratches. Then, a short while later (and fortunately way behind us) an oak tree toppled and injured two riders underneath it as well as blocking the entire road and hundreds of racers for 10 or 15 minutes. Mind you, it was a calm, perfect day. And then one of my officials was stung by a bee and needed medical attention. Oh well, stuff happens.

Monday was a play day for us and we leisurely drove back toward San Jose, from where we flew back on Tuesday. What a great race weekend!

(The first pic shows us in the Redwood forest; the second one shows Judy with one of our officials, Brian O.; and the third shows a bovine made entirely of corks and other wine-related items that we saw in a small trinket shop in the city of Sonoma.)

This Saturday and Sunday we're at home in Lubbock before heading out to Michigan next Thursday for yet another race. On Wednesday we're going to have the big meeting with Dr. Phillips in which we hope to hear what the next course of action in Judy's treatment will be. I'll fill you in as soon as we know. Please send some good thoughts Judy's way when you get a chance!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Getting ready to go to California

Last weekend, Judy and I went for a quick visit to Midland, where her brother, Mike, and sister-in-law, Candace, live. As a special surprise, their daughter Alli with her 4-month-old, Griffin, flew in from Houston.

We had a great 24 hours with our family, hanging out at the pool/jacuzzi and eating and drinking well. By now, Alli and Griffin are back with daddy Jason in Houston, and Mike and Candace are getting ready to go to Colorado.

For our part, we are getting ready to go to California this weekend. Just like for the past few years I will be the Head Referee for the Half-Ironman race in the wine country, the Vineman 70.3. It is a well-organized race that runs in some of the most beautiful part of Sonoma valley, and the weather forecast beats the heck out of our monotonous 100F to 104F that we've been seeing in Lubbock for the past two weeks.

If we get a chance, we will say hi to Judy's beloved giant Redwood trees.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Waiting for CT Scan Results

I thought I'd give all of you a quick update on where we are at this point in the treatment process.

Two weeks ago Judy had her eighth chemo treatment, and yesterday she went in for a CT scan to assess the next steps. Over the past few chemo treatments Judy's CA-125 (the cancer markers in the blood) have been slightly creeping upward, from a low of 11 to 40 before last week's chemo—remember, pre-op the CA-125 was over 1,300! Doc Phillips is not overly concerned as this is still considered within the normal range, but obviously we're not happy. We would have preferred a count of zero. But with all the delays because of Judy's low blood count it could be that things just didn't get as quickly cleared out as we had hoped.

We will have to wait until July 22 for a full report and a meeting with the doc. Until then, we will continue to lead our life as normally as possible. This weekend we'll be in Midland with Judy's brother and sis-in-law, and then we'll fly to the California wine country next weekend for a triathlon, the Vineman 70.3.

Stay cool (it's 103 here in Lubbock today!) and please keep sending your good thoughts Judy's way. We'll be in touch.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chemo treatment completed!

Yesterday, Judy went through her 8th and—what we hope—last round of chemo. Yippie! Our good friend Lorane sat with her for most of the treatment, just as she had done on several other occasions before.

So now we will have to see how things continue. In two weeks, she will have a CT scan to "look" inside, and of course the lab work will also give Doc Phillips clues as to where we stand in regard to killing the beast completely. We expect that Judy will have to receive what is generally referred to as "maintenance," a lower dose of intermittent medications. Whatever it takes, she's ready.

But this was another milestone, pretty much 9 months after surgery. How time has flown by! Thanks to all of your support things have been much easier for both of us. It'd be nice if the war had ended, but we have some major battle successfully behind us. With your help, the upcoming skirmishes should not be insurmountable.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Hello from Cancun from a HAPPY Girl

Sorry not to post any pics or long stories since our Internet access is severely limited down here in Mexico, but Judy is ONE HAPPY CAMPER!!!

We were upgraded in our hotel (the Westin!) to the one and only Master Suite (!!!!!!), and the beautiful blue sea is at our feet. Judy does everything she loves to do: sleep in a little, eat favorites, walk along the beach, drink a margarita at Happy Hour, and ......... so many other things. And by golly, she looks great! I have a beautiful wife.

I hope some photos will come soon once we have real internet access. And yes, her transfusion on Monday, before flying out Wednesday morning, helped a boatload.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

24 Hours in Palo Duro

I have been amiss at thinking all of my supporters on a regular basis, but now here it goes: Thanks for all of your support and love.

Last weekend, Team Jetstream (the Amarillo/Canyon High School team; all of them pictured above) pampered me and made sure that I had a perfect weekend. Oxymoronic as it may seem, during a weekend that was billed as a fundraiser for cancer awareness and research, was one of those magical respites from thinking of cancer. Even with low platelets and hemoglobin to boot, I was able to ride 31 miles on the trail, share great company, and enjoy the peace of the canyon that I have always loved. I felt like Outdoor Queen for a Day. My thanks go to all the members of Team Jetstream, young and old, for my super escape.

Now for an update as we plan for our little vacation in Cancun next week. I am skirting a transfusion, but the platelets are up to 55. Because of all my great support, love, and medical care I know we are beating this thing.



Friday, May 29, 2009

To three cool women: J, C, & K

OK, so there are billions of very deserving people out there, but this is dedicated to three of them:

Cindi H., who is right now at Hardwood Hills, Ontario, Canada, leading a UCI race with a crew of fine, fine Canadians. Cindi has been an undying supported of Judy's cause, even though the two have never met in person. Good luck this weekend, scootr!

Kathy J., whose hugs and rubs and good-luck wishes have been more than an inspiration during the TX TMBRA Spring Championship Series, and who is currently staying at the same hotel as I am in Pellham, AL--together with her hubby Alan, aka Jürgen--or is it Jürgen, aka Alan? (Don't read too much into this--A. and I always get mixed up at races because of our superior facial hair!)

And: JuJu herself, who made it through another week of post-chemo and work, was the great wife she is, and built that wonderful graduation cake for Emily--only to leave on Saturday morning for the 24 Hours in the Canyon. She's incredible.

Thanks for all your support, amigas y amigos!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

#7 and Memorial Day are behind us

My, how time flies. Memorial Day is already three days past, and Judy's latest chemo treatment was more than a week ago. It was not a very kind chemo as it made her more nauseated than any of the other treatments before, but Judy is a tough cookie.

Over Memorial Day we stayed in town, had good dinners with friends, and rode the bikes. Judy tried to get back into the cycling mood since she will be going to Palo Duro Canyon this weekend to participate in the 24 Hours in the Canyon Ride for Cancer. She has promised me to be sensible and careful and not to overdo it. I can't keep an eye on her since I am writing this from a hotel room in Birmingham, Alabama, where I am as the Secretary for the Bump and Grind UCI mountain bike race.

When I talked to Judy earlier tonight on the phone, she told me that she had finished Emily's graduation cake and that our young friend was just estatic when she saw the objet d'art. Last night we had a little graduation ceremony for Em at Wayne and Lorane's place, and this Friday Emily's family will honor her--and then she'll run off to join Judy at Palo Duro.

That's it for the latest update. I hope to have new photos next time.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Chemo Round #7 Tuesday, May 19

For all of our friends whom we have been seeing over the past few weekends at the races—and all those of you who have been following the blog—comes the latest news: Judy has been given the green light for her penultimate chemo treatment tomorrow, Tuesday May 19. Her platelet count was 103—three itty-bitty, tiny platelets above the minimum of 100 to get chemo. It probably was that last little piece of steak that she ate last night after we got home from X Bar.


Monday, May 11, 2009

No chemo this week

The title says it all: Once again, chemo has been postponed by at least another week. Judy's blood just takes a huge hit every time she has a chemo treatment, and it takes her weeks to recover. she had her lab work done this morning, and once again the verdict is that she'll have to wait until next week.

On the bright side, Judy (and I) had a ball this weekend working the Texas High School Championship races in Amarillo. The kids were super-nice, and the organization and volunteers in Amarillo are incredible.

In the top photo, Judy starts the boys' criterium; in the middle photo, she poses with the top three riders in the girls' crit; and the bottom photo shows her with our long-time friend, the flamboyant Doc Nolan--note the stethoscope around his neck. Yes, he's a real doc.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Between #6 and #7

My, how time flies! It seems as if I updated this blog just yesterday, but here we are, almost three weeks later.

This is just a short update to let you know where we stand: Judy saw Dr. Phillips yesterday, and the lab work hints (but not forcefully) that she will have chemo round number 7 next week Tuesday. Her blood values are down, as usual, but we're hoping that she can get on with the program. Otherwise, it'll be yet another week later.

It came as a little bit of a disappointment when Dr. Phillips mentioned that most likely round # 8 will be the end of chemotherapy proper but that Judy will have to undergo "maintenance" treatment. That means that her port will not be removed for months to come and she will have to continue lab work and check-ups on a frequent basis. At this point we don't have any details whatsoever, but Judy was disappointed as she had hoped to get rid of the port, which is at times uncomfortable and will keep us from going back to our diving days as long as she has it.

Oh well. The most important thing is that we continue the recovery and get rid of the cancer completely, regardless of how long that will take.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Racing season is Moving Along ...

... and so are Judy's treatment and convalescence.

Last weekend we spent two days at Flat Rock Ranch, close to Comfort in Texas' beautiful central part. For the ninth year in a row we worked the STORM Hill Country Mountain Bike Challenge, which celebrated its 10th anniversary. The weather cooperated, and it was one of those weekends that blur work and fun. But isn't that the way it is supposed to be anyhow?

Overall, it was a fabulous, well-run race, with only two injuries that required incident reports (but that did not appear to be so serious that we had to involve ambulances or helicopters). We had an unfortunate situation with a course marking that confused some riders, but all-in-all it couldn't have been much better as the weather cooperated and everybody seemed to sport a smile (especially when ice-cream man Lindal came by with yet another round of free popsicles and crunchy bars!).

After her chemo, Judy didn't feel all that great this weekend, but she still pulled her share of work. In the photos you can see her giving the countdown in the Time Trial to Kyle J. (whose mother, Kathy, sent us these three photos) as well as Eric F., the ever-smiling Junior whose brother Ian has been ripping up the open Single Speed class.

In two weeks we'll be at Double Lake, near Houston, for another round of mountain bike events.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all of you!

Judy is playing bunny this morning with a whole basket of home-made Easter eggs that she is taking to her church. Not only do they look great, but they are yummy!

We are at home this weekend, in between two weekends of races. Judy is going to have her next chemo on Tuesday, so she's enjoying these days of not feeling crummy. Last night we had a fabulous spread of tapas, and tonight we'll carve into the ham that I am planning to slow-smoke this afternoon.

We'll update you next week how round #6 is coming along.


(PS: If you really want to see these Easter eggs in all their glory, click on the picture and get a close-up view!)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

70.3 Ironman New Orleans

This past weekend, Judy and I were for four days in New Orleans for the inaugural 70.3 Ironman New Orleans. As Head Referee I was responsible for the fairness of an event that with 3,000+ participants was the largest in Ironman history. Wow!

Everything came off fabulously at a superbly organized race in a spectacular setting. Just imagine the racers finishing right in front of Jackson Square in the French Quarter! Judy did a great job keeping the Pro women's field in check during the bike portion of the race, which is our main responsibility. I stayed with the Pro men, and our remaining six officials did a fine job keeping the so-called age-groupers fair.

It wasn't just all work. We were able to spend time in the French Quarter and on Bourbon Street, listening to a beautiful concert, eating muffalettas, begging for beads, and drinking Abita beer (I more so than Judy). It was our 20th anniversary weekend, and the Hilton (where we stayed courtesy of race director Bill Burke) had a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries waiting for us when we arrived.

Judy was beaming pretty much the whole time. At one point she told me that she hadn't felt this good in more than a year, and several times she said that she wasn't barely thinking of the cancer. Her attitude was just amazing: Hard working as always, energetic, fun-loving, and happy. What a wonderful weekend we had in the place where we had honeymooned 20 years earlier. We can't thank Bill enough for insisting that we'd work this event—he and I had talked about it last November at the 70.3 World Championships in Florida, when I told him about Judy's condition. He'd said to me, "I want you to come out and have a good time." And he was a true friend this weekend, too. Thanks Bill and Ashley, his right-hand assistant!

Even the plane ride was fun as we were upgraded to First both ways on the DFW to New Orleans portion. Our loyalty to American Airlines does have its perks.

We're back in Lubbock, and Judy had her lab work done yesterday. All systems are "go" for the sixth round of chemo next Tuesday. We're getting closer to the end of this part of the treatment.

Happy Easter to all of you!


Judy and her buddy Fats Domino in the French Quarter.

What a spectacular finish in front of Jackson Square.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Next Chemo Not Until April 14

Well, the blood values have spoken: Even though Judy's red blood cell count is up her platelets and white cells are not ready for another round of chemo just yet. Judy had her routine lab work done this morning, and the verdict was that chemo # 6 will most likely come right after Easter.

In a way we're glad about the delay since we're going to fly to New Orleans Thursday evening for the inaugural New Orleans 70.3 Half-Ironman, for which I am the head referee. Had Judy received her chemo tomorrow, chances would have been good that NO would have been less fun. We're looking forward to working this race since—drum roll—Wednesday (yep, April Fools' Day) is our 20th wedding anniversary and we had honeymooned in the Crescent City. So, for us it is not just a race (a big one at that!) but also a return to the past.

We'll let you know how this trip comes along. As an early gift from American Airlines we received our upgrade notification last night, meaning we'll be flying in style on the short hop from Dallas.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Transfusion Day

After Judy's blood values still had not recovered sufficiently from her last round of chemo, the doc wanted her to have another transfusion. She went to the hospital this morning, and when I got out of school she still had the last half bag (of three) to go. Around 4:30 p.m. we were home, and now she is resting. The transfusion made her nauseated and she had to throw up a few times. Poor little thing! She looks even tinier when she is not feeling well. We don't know yet when the next chemo will happen, but we doubt that it will be next Tuesday, the day before our 20th anniversary.

Let's hope that this "outside assistance" is going to perk her up a little.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Might as well have some FUN!

Judy's hair is doing funny stuff: after a period of falling out and becoming patchy it has decided to grow, just a little bit--but in a funky way. So Judy decided that it was time to have a little fun, and with the help of her biggest supporters she was given a purplish mohawk yesterday. The color is very temporary, and we already had to touch up a little this morning.

We didn't go to Waco this weekend for the race, as planned. Waco had torrential rains, so the Outback Blowout was rescheduled for next weekend. Since I will be in Germany for a few days with my dad, Judy will have to work the race by herself. We were able to snag one of the last seats on AA (think spring break and all the flights being full!), and she'll fly to Waco on Saturday morning and come back on Monday morning.

The worst of chemo #5 is behind her, it seems. This morning she is going to have her routine blood work done, and we'll see whether her booster shot of Aranesp last week has had the desired effect.

For those of you who will be in Waco next weekend, check the color of Judy's hairdo as she may go for something different by then.