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Keeping the Faith

Judy's Photo



Submitted by:
John Hoffman

On September 30, 1991 our lives can crashing down. At 47 after working hard, raising two beautiful girls and sending them off to college my wife of 24 years was diagnosed with a Primary CNS lymphoma. Being a practicing nurse, lots of physicians made recommendations that ultimately took us to University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. The initial prognosis was not good and I was told that she could die in ten days to two weeks. Judy was given massive doses of steroids to shrink the swelling. I was told that the tumor was too big and deep to be operated on without serious damage so chemo was immediately started. After several months the doctor (Dr. Gene Frenkel) said that they were not getting the results they wanted to see because the Blood Brain Barrier was not allowing sufficient chemo to enter the brain. We were told our only hope was at Oregon Health Sciences University where Dr. Ed Neuwelt was experimenting with a procedure called the Blood Brain Barrier Disruption. The procedure opened the BBB and ultimately infused over 100 times more chemo into the brain versus conventional intravenous delivery. The procedure involved 24 treatments which required hospitalization in Portland, Oregon for three to four days. Once released from OHSU and returning to Dallas after each treatment Judy’s blood would crash requiring hospitalization in Plano and over the course of 18 months Judy received 120 units of blood and platelets. Judy fought hard and said she wanted to live to see her daughters married and to hold her grandchildren. Judy suffered many side effects from the treatment including a collapsed lung, blood clots, flash neurologic pulmonary edema and etc. The story could go on and on but eventually Judy survived the procedure and treatment and is clean 25 years later. After Judy was released from treatment three couples started meeting monthly to discuss their treatments as a method of group therapy. At that time there was no real internet or way to get information on brain tumors. No one wanted to waste all the accumulate information acquired and the group slowly started to grow. Judy suggested the name Grey Matters and since that time the group has grown into Grey Matters North Texas Brain Tumor Support Group. In 2000 the group was certified by the IRS as a 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit Group. We have been holding meeting every month since then with an active membership of approximately 100 people with an average attendance of 35 people. Judy has not only lived to see her daughter married and held her grandchildren, but also helped so many struggling with this terrible disease through the formation of Grey Matters. Judy is a very active Board Member of Grey Matters and continues helping those fighting brain cancer. Judy is my hero and I would strongly recommend your consideration for this recognition. If you need additional information, feel free to let me know at or 972-867-0367 Thank you John Hoffman