You may, or mayn’t, know that Judy has been going through a lot lately. Fairly recently she courageously embarked on a career be a full-time fine artist (with the full support of her husband Brian). She’s been showing places and has had some success with sales, but was really just getting started. And then…

A few weeks ago, after not feeling well for several weeks with all sorts of symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal to migraines followed by frustrating doctors’ visits and no cogent diagnosis, Brian noticed that Judy’s skin was turning a lovely shade of amber. A trip to the emergency room later, it was determined that Judy is actually very very ill.

First, they thought she had sediment in her gallbladder blocking her bile duct, but upon endoscopic examination, it was realized that it wasn’t that at all, but that she had a growth encroaching on her bile duct. They installed shunts in the duct, as a temporary solution but through other methodologies, she has been diagnosed with a rare tumor, extrahepatic carcinoma, which turns out to be malignant 90% of the time. Unfortunately, it’s true form won’t come to light until after it is removed.

Regardless Judy has some incredibly serious and rigorous surgery, other treatments and a likely arduous recovery ahead of her. If you’d like to and are able, Judy and Brian could sure use your support helping her through this toiling and expensive convalescence. We’ve set up a Go Fund Me page to help you do just that.

Currently, Judy is in the hospital in Berkeley with an infection more than likely related to her condition.

What we know: 

  • She has a tumor on her bile duct [extrahepatic carcinoma].
  • The stents they inserted into said duct as a temporary measure (essentially so that she wouldn’t die) are working nicely thank-you-very-much, and she  her amber complexion has turned much more pinkish hue (not to mention, she feels much better)
  • The tumor needs to be removed or it will kill her
  • The tumor excision requires MAJOR surgery that can last between 4 and 9 hours with a recovery period of 6+ weeks
  • Judy has only recently embarked on her career as a professional fine artist at great financial risk—she and Brian are pretty much freakin’ broke
What we don’t know at this point:
  • Exactly when she will start treatment—the sooner the better, but y’know, red tape, insurance, etc.
  • Where she’ll be receiving treatment—it turns out there are world experts in this surgery out of UCSF. Now we need to see if her insurance will cover her being treated there
  • If this is cancer. We will not know until they remove the tumor. (Only 10% of these tumors are not cancer, but the pathology on the cells they have biopsied says that it is not. —Fingers crossed!)
  • How many procedures will be required and subsequent treatments. There is a chance that they will do laparoscopic exploratory surgery to determine the state of the tumor 1st
  • Based on previous examinations, it looks as if the tumor may be wrapped around the artery supplying blood to the bile duct. If they find that to be the case, she may require chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before they can excise it, thus prolonging the process and her recovery time significantly


—Post by Alexis



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