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.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Judy on the mend

A quick Friday morning update: Judy had some early problems last night with pain management but seems to be fairing much better now. I just talked to Candice, who spent the night with her in the hospital, and I talked to Judy as well, who sounded really good. Judy's output through the NG tube is minimal, which would indicate that "stuff" moves through her bowels. She's allowed to have some ice chips--little things, but they all make things look positive. Let's hope that by the time I get back to Lubbock on Sunday she's off the tube and her bowels have started to take over.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Surgery appears to be successful!

I just got the word from Judy's sis-in-law that it appears that this afternoon's surgery was successful! Candice (in the above photo with Judy pre-op) said that Judy was for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours in surgery this afternoon. According to her surgeon and oncologist, Dr. Phillips, there were various "adhesions" and scar tissue in the area of her small intestine. According to what I was told, Dr. Phillips bypassed some of these sections of bowel, deciding to keep them in place to help in the absorption of nutrition but also making it possible for digesting materials to pass through. I haven't seen the diagram that he drew, nor am I totally sure what exactly he did, but one thing is for sure: Judy apparently didn't lose too much blood (he didn't mention a transfusion), she is NOT in ICU but will return to her room, the doc said that she appeared to fare well during surgery, and probably one of the most dreaded things didn't happen: She will no wake up with a colostomy bag. That possibility was brought to the forefront yesterday when she signed her consent forms. So no, NO colostomy!

I am updating the blog from the Admiral's club in DFW, on the way to Chicago. Let me plug American Airlines really, really big here: The staff in Lubbock refunded Judy's ticket not only for today but also for the trip to Seattle in two weeks, without the customary fees! And not only that, they changed my return from Chicago from Monday to Sunday, no fees or hassles. I tell you, that's customer service, and that's why we've been flying this airline for more than 25 years! In a time of such great stress they did everything they could to minimize our troubles. Thanks, AA!

And thanks to Candice and Becky O., who made me feel comfortable today while waiting with Judy in the hospital for her to be wheeled into the OR. I can't express how much I appreciate their understanding and support and help.

I may or may not update once again tonight, once I get to the hotel in Chicago. To all of Judy's friends and supporters out there: Please send whatever it is that you are good at sending--thoughts, prayers, vibes, mainly love.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Surgery on Thursday

We just got the word that Judy will undergo exploratory surgery to remove possible adhesions in the small intestine. Dr. Phillips will do the surgery, most likely late in the afternoon since there are several more scheduled surgeries ahead of her.

Please keep Judy in your thoughts and prayers and wish her an "easy" surgery tomorrow and a quick recovery.

I will try to post updates when possible.


Up and down, obstructed and not, surgery or go home?

Those are the questions that keep swirling. The past few days have brought with them positives and negatives, and we're still in limbo in regard to what will happen.

As of this morning, Dr. Phillips still held out hope that the bowel obstruction (which on Sunday appeared to have been resolved but which then re-appeared and was confirmed by some major scans yesterday) will dissipate. However, he also made clear that if surgery were needed (which he really is not keen on), he will be able to do so pretty much at a moment's notice. By Friday morning, it seems, we should know which direction we are heading.

This morning, Judy's NG tube was clamped off to see how she would fare. She's walked around, and we're hoping that the bowels will show more activity than just the faint gurgling that has been detected.

The fact that I have to leave town tomorrow to be the Head Referee for the Steelhead 70.3 Ironman triathlon in benton Harbor, MI, is not helping. However, if it does come to surgery, Judy's sister-in-law Candice will come to Lubbock on short notice. At least I'll be back on Monday.... Let's hope for the best. Maybe surgery will not be needed, after all, and Judy can go home this weekend.

I will update the blog as needed, of course.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Still hospitalized, but things are improving

After a long weekend at Covenant, Judy is starting to feel better. The very good news is that the bowel obstruction, according to the last scan, has dissipated and surgery no longer appears on the radar—we had been really worried about that prospect. The NG tube, which removes all that nasty, green slimy stuff that forms in the stomach and that later gets passed on to the intestines, apparently did the trick, as did her being on an IV and not receiving any food.

Dr. Phillips came through this morning, and he appears satisfied. Tomorrow's scheduled chemo will be postponed by a week. The immediate prospect calls for removal of the NG tube today (Monday) and then getting her back to using solid foods. She may be released from the hospital on Tuesday, but I think it will more likely be Wednesday.

Judy's spirits remain positive and up-beat, but of course there were a few bummed-out moments. I know she's ready to come home, but with her the big danger is always that she overdoes things. And since I will be traveling to Michigan this weekend by myself, there won't be anyone to make sure that she rests and takes it easy. Well, maybe for once she will be a good patient!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Quick hospital update

Judy has spent the past 24 hours in the hospital. We're hopeful that we may not face surgery for the bowel obstruction. At this point, she is hooked up to an IV, and an NG tube is supposed to take relieve the stomach and whatever it produces. The idea is to let her bowels rest, settle down, and start working again to clear out whatever is sitting in there. Let's hope it is as simple as that. Dr. Phillips saw her today and was quite positive; however, he only rolled his eyes when Judy asked whether she could travel with me next week to Michigan for the Steelhead 70.3. Oh well, she wouldn't be Judy if she didn't ask, right?

Her spirits are OK, and if you want to give her a buzz, the direct line to her room is 806-725-7555.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

After a good Vineman, we're back in the hospital

There are the good times, and then there are the less-good ones.

Before things started to go a bit south, Judy and I spent a long weekend in the Bay area and the California Wine Country, working once again one of our very, very favorite races: the Vineman 70.3. The flight out and our first night in Berkeley were marred by Judy's feeling very nauseated and just down-and-out. All that changed after a good night's rest, but we knew something was up when we learned Friday that Judy's CA-125 had more than doubled from 101 to 216 in the course of three weeks. Saturday and Sunday for the race Judy felt perfectly fine, and we thought that some of the recent bowel problems were finally nipped. Judy was in charge of the Pro Women's field on Sunday, and she did her usual great job. She later worked the transition zone and even helped out at the awards ceremony, and you wouldn't have known that this is a woman who has been butting heads with cancer for almost two years now.

Monday afternoon, on the way back to San Jose, she started to once again feel constipated and bloated, and Tuesday's flight home was only made easier because we were upgraded. We had arranged for Judy to have a CT scan on Thursday morning (today), a good thing since Wednesday she had a rough day at work and a really rough evening and night.

Just a short while after today's scan she was told that she'd be admitted to Covenant Lakeside this afternoon because of an "obstruction" that the scan revealed. Being the Judy that she is, she first finished another full day at work before we checked in at 6 p.m. Right now the charge nurse is taking up a lot of info, and we will see what the doc has to say tomorrow morning.

Until then, enjoy the pictures from our trip to California. The one below shows her with race director Russ' father, Jim, at the awards. The other pics were taken at Armstrong State Park, among her beloved Redwoods.


Monday, July 12, 2010

July 4th and World Cup celebrations

Time flies when one is "retired".... The above photo shows us with Emily (plus Alan and mother-in-law Martha senior in the background) on July 4. Alan's neighbor puts on an absolutely incredible fireworks show (lasting about an hour!!!), and the rains stopped just long enough here in Lubbock for us to enjoy the pyrotechnics. Judy was just oohing and aahing—it was truly amazing.

With Lubbock experiencing its wettest July ever it's been a real challenge to ride and engage in other outdoor activities. But yesterday we were spared the downpour, and our Sunday ride ended up at the house just in time for the World Cup Soccer Final. Judy, every the party-lady, had been unsuccessful in locating much-desired vuvuzuelas for us, but in the spirit of the game she did manage to find those cute little soccer-inspired beer cozies for us at the local Dollar Tree. She's a woman of many resources, not the least of which was spoiling Alan, Carl, and me with the best muffaletta this side of New Orleans!