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!