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.

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.