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, 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.