Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Quote of the Day

"And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.
And he said, This shall be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your orchards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
And he will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said Nay; but we will have a king over us.
That we also may be like other nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles." -- I Samuel 8, 10-20

So Yahweh is an Enemy of the State?

Radiation is boring -- so far

It is almost too boring. I don't have quite the mental oomph to think anything more than superficially about politics and my own life is uneventful enough that it's almost not worth chronicling. However, come to think of it, it is somewhat busy. I'm getting radiation treatment every weekday now, and that takes enough time out of the day to make doing projects around the house rather disjointed. But it's so far fairly uneventful -- no side effects yet, though they could still show up. Met with the radiation doctor this afternoon after treatment and confirmed that few side effects are likely; it's only a small part of the belly getting radiated, and apparently not with all that much. There still could be side effects from the chemo drug Xeloda which I'm taking now, but so far so good.

Most interesting thing is that they've marked up my belly with Magic Marker lines and plastic covers for markings to make sure that rays go to the same place very day, and it looks a bit like a child's version of a map. And themain challenge is to lie perfectly still for the 10 minutes or so they are zapping my poor little belly.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The weather breaks, radiation continues

I'm not sure why I hadn't noticed before -- or maybe it's true this summer but hasn't always been -- but on the nightly news Lake Elsinore is typically the hottest city except Palm Springs in the Greater-LA-Inland-Empire area. We're generally 10 degrees or so cooler than Palm Springs, but warmer than everywhere else. This has meant this week temperatures above 110, even unto 114. It was slightly cooler Friday and considerably cooler -- I don't think it got above 85 or 86 -- today. That meant we could actually spend some time outside rather comfortably. We started building a table-level bar on the other side of the upper patio cover, but the repurposed lumber was so tweaked that it wouldn't come out level, so we're going to have to find different lumber. Meantime we abandoned that project and I repotted some plants from the front porch. Pretty boring, eh?

I had another radiation treatment Friday and it went very smoothly -- actually only took 20-30 minutes as the literature we got had estimated. So far no side effects, but I'm aware that the stuff we've read and briefings from doctors and nurses says the effect will be cumulative and perhaps start to kick in after about two weeks. We'll see. I'm hoping overall health is a mitigating factor.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test before presenting the lesson." -- Vernon Law

This quote is sometimes rendered thus: "Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Radiation at last

Today they finally started radiation treatment on my beleaguered belly. No big storm, no power outage, no particular complications. They put you on a bed-like thing and a back rest(?) preformed to your own back so you will be in the same position during each treatment. Today they did a few more X-Rays before beginning the treatment proper, then the treatment itself. It consists of the radiation machine, mounted on a track, circling you and shooting radiation in in bursts of 10-11-12 seconds from numerous different angles. At least that's how mine went and I presume will go. You have to lie very still so as to prevent the machine's alignment being off because your body moved, but that's hardly an impossible task.

From all the literature we have read and from briefings from doctors and nurses, the effects of radiation are gradual and cumulative since it's done daily. It's fairly common for people not to have any side affects for about two weeks and then have them come on. Likely side effects of this treatment will be diarrhea, nausea, irritation on palms and soles of feet, vomiting, fatigue. After one treatment I have none of that and hope my experience will be similar to the first bout of chemo, when I felt pretty much none of the more common side effects. I'm hoping that general health -- mine is quite good even in the midst of convalescence and we're being quite cautious about crowds of people -- has a role to play in keeping down the side effects, but I don't know that it does for sure.

Upshot: mild tenderness on the scar, otherwise feeling pretty darn good!

Quote of the Day

"To own a green lawn, we'd have to groom it with chemicals that would kill beneficial plants and insects, ultimately seeping down into the aquifer so that our neighbors will eventually fill their sinks with traces of this broad-leaf defoliant, renowned for thinning Vietnamese jungles. Manicured green grass is an ecological desert, killing diversity and native species. Our views are not widely shared: The lawn care industry in North America grosses $25 billion per year." -- Jonathan Waterman, from his new book, "Running Dry," about the Colorado River.

The stand-up-straight moment

When we were at Dr. Nissen's office last Thursday his nurse practitioner, Honore, asked if I had had my stand up straight moment. After I gave her a puzzled look, she explained that most post- surgery patients tended to walk bent over for a while until they felt confident enough that healing was truly progressing to stand up straight. I knew what she meant, though I couldn't recall such a precise moment. In the first few days after surgery, with about 30 staples in my belly, it felt rather as if there were a fairly heavy weight on my belly, hanging on the outside. Strange sensation. I know the staples weren't that heavy, but it really felt as if there were something like triple the weight there. Although I tried to walk upright and straight, there was a strong tendency to walk bent over. I think my stand-up-straight moment came gradually, with me consciously trying to stand up straight from early on. Only later did it seem as if it didn't require such a conscious effort.

Another moment came early this week. I've mentioned that I had an open wound after Dr. Nissen pulled about half my staples out before leaving Cedars, revealing a sack or hole under the staples that would have stayed if he hadn't removed the staples (it looked like a piece of raw prime rib sliced). Jen packed the wound and dressed it faithfully until the depression was almost gone and it seemed superfluous (maybe a couple of days before ideal, but what did we know?). Since then there had been a pronounced scab on part of the wound that got a little smaller every day but stayed for several weeks. Dr. Nissen suggested rubbing Neosporin on it to soften it, so that's what I did. On Monday, somewhat softened, it simply fell off, leaving behind no sign of its presence, not even a spot that was darker pink than the rest of the scar. That's when I felt the healing was virtually complete. The scar, especially the part under the old scab, is still a little tender when I stretch, but it's starting to feel as if normality is just around the corner.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Of all the means birds use to talk to one another, the one that most delights mankind is the bird song, which sounds like a beautiful melody, but which is really the way one male threatens another; the more often the male sings his song, the more menacing his warning becomes.

"What the singing bird is doing is telling all other males that he is the owner of a piece of property -- a feeding and nesting ground -- where he shelters his mate and finds food for his young. Should the song of warning be ignored, the invading bird -- who may be attempting to steal the mate by forcing the 'homeowner' out -- is attacked. Usually, however, the threat is enough to scare the challenger off." -- Roger Tory Peterson

Weird weather makes for gorgeous sunset

It was a strange and potentially discombobulating day today, but it ended fairly well. Naturally, on the hottest day yet (I think) or at least one of the hottest, we wake up to the certainty, only suspected the previous night, that our home air conditioner isn't working. This leads to hasty consultation with a couple of home-handyman books (most of which say for anything really complicated you better call a professional) and some online sources, and a determination to stop by the local electrical supply store on the way to or from the appointment with the radiation doctors at 1:00.

Hot? Our car thermometer may read a degree or two above actual, but it's not too far off. It showed about 101 at our house as we got into the car, and 114 at the doctor's office in Wildomar. Pretty hot. I went in for what was planned to be something of an orientation session followed by an actual treatment. They lined the machines up on the dots the CAT-scan lady had tattooed on my belly and took a couple of X-Rays to make sure my internal organs hadn't moved significantly since the CAT-scan about a week ago. Then as they were setting up for the actual treatment, the power went out -- all those air conditioners pulling more than peak power could provide, I suspect -- and befuddlement reigned. It was probably compounded by the news they heard from their office in Hemet, that there was a terrific thunderstorm there, with rain coming down heavily. Finally, since the power outage made it so they would have to reboot all their electricity-run machines, presumably including the radiation gun, they told me they wouldn't be able to do an actual treatment today that we would have to wait until tomorrow for the first one.

Leaving the office we were accosted by evidence of storms, with heavy winds and the occasional clap of thunder. We got some drizzles on the way home, including at Four Corners, and at the electrical supply store. The guy there was helpful, suggesting we bring in a fuse box from above the compressor outside. We did that, Jen took them in (noting there was a downpour at the store about a mile from our house, while we got just a couple of sprinkles at our house) and the guy just replaced all the fuses. Twenty bucks. Fortunately, that was enough to induce the air conditioner to work properly again. Thank goodness! We weren't looking forward to paying somebody a bunch to fix the compressor or even replacing our vintage system for several thousands.

The climax of the day came with the sunset, all pink clouds with deeper orange hues spread all across the western sky. We love cloudless hot days, but such days usually produce fairly boring sunsets. You need some clouds for the falling sun to reflect against from several different angles before darkness finally overtakes the scene and puts the lights out for truly spectacular sunsets. Tonight's was a humdinger!

Red sky at night, sailor's delight!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Sweet are the uses of adversity.
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."

William Shakespeare (or the Earl of Oxford)
"As You Like It"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Birdsongs and private property

Spending so much time at home has reminded me of what I take to be a rather beautiful relationship. Jen and I have spent a fair amount of time paying more attention to birds than we usually do. Since we have so many trees and shrubs in our yard, we have lots of birds, and having breakfast on the front porch is a lovely experience, listening to all the various birdsongs and watching them fly, peck on the ground, and raise families. We've even bought a couple of books to help us identify species and just know a bit more about what we're watching.

I warrant that for most people listening to birds sing is an almost unalloyed pleasure. Even birds whose singing consists of harsh squawks are fun to listen to. There's a certain peacefulness, a sense that all's right with the world that comes with listening to birds sing. From the perspective of the birds, however, most of those cries that please us so much amount to a male saying to all other males of the species, "This is my territory. Stay away! Come too close and I'll peck your eyes out." (All right, most birds are so constituted that the real territory claimant has an advantage and hardly ever has to fight to validate his claim.)

The important thing is that a natural phenomenon most people find beautiful is in fact a celebration of and assertion of private property. "This is mine, and I will defend it. I have the right to exclude all others." I find it not at all odd that this celebration of territoriality is beautiful to most of us. Birds would nto survive if they didn't claim enough territory to have the resources to feed their families. That's the arrangement that works best for the species. Likewise, a system of recognized private property rights seems to be what works best for the human species -- perhaps not essential to survival, but certainly important to thriving and prospering as a species.

Private property. It's a beautiful thing.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back on track -- we hope

It has been a reasonably eventful few days.On Thursday we had our post-operative appointment with Dr. Nissen, our formidable surgeon. We also took the occasion to see Dr. Drazin, our second-opinion chemo doctor. He reassured us that the apparent delays in getting to the radiation treatment were not medically worrisome, though he understood that delay could complicate my going back to work at the most appropriate time. Guess we'll just grin and bear it and make it through somehow.

On Friday we went to the chemo place in Wildomar, and were almost reassured that they're actually beginning radiation next Wednesday, not just having another prep session. They issued us the Zelota pills for this round of chemo that coincides with radiation and said to start taking them Wednesday. When we let the chemo people know the radiation people were vaguie about whether actual treatment would begin, they said to bring the pills with us that day and we'd start taking them if radiation actually began.

Actually, it's only mildly irritating. We've figured out I can get back to working the first week in October either way, so it will be OK. But it's a bit irritating to get the feeling that the medical staff people aren't actually listening, even though they may be nodding sympathetically.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it…. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten; that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest." Learned Hand, “The Spirit of Liberty,” speech, Central Park, New York City, May 21, 1944

Staying persistent

Today was both helpful and mildly frustrating regarding medical procedures. Jen and I went to the radiation oncologist and I got a CAT scan to give the doctor information on which to base the treatment regimen. The CAT scan operator was very helpful and informative. She also put a few "tattoos" on my belly to guide the radiation machine operators when the treatment begins. All fine and dandy.

We're still not absolutely sure when the actual treatment will begin, however. Next Wednesday I'll go in for orientation with the radiation technicians, and presumably the first treatment will take place either that day or the next -- but they're not quite sure of that. The treatment cold be postponed until the first week of September, which could potentially pose problems. Due to disability law and the like, I have to be ready to return to work, even if it is working from home, by the first week in October. If radiation isn't quite done by then, it could pose problems if my reaction to radiation is negative. Since my response to chemotherapy has been generally positive, I have high hopes for a reasonably unremarkable bout with radiation, but the effects of radiation are cumulative, which could mean it will be worse toward the end than at the beginning. I don't understand what strikes me as a fairly lackadaisical approach from the radiation folks; we may have to push to get it started earlier.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Quote of the Day

"The main weakness of brute force or violence . . . is its sheer inflexibility. It can only be used to punish. It is, in short, low-quality power.
"Wealth, by contrast, is a far better tool of power . . . Wealth can be used in either a positive or negative way. It is, therefore, much more flexible than force. Wealth yields medium-quality power.
"The highest-quality power, however, comes from the application of knowledge . . . High-quality power is not simply clout. Not merely the ability to get one's way, to make others do what you want, though they might prefer otherwise. High quality imnplies much more. It implies efficiency -- using up the fewest power resources to achieve a goal .. so as to avoid wasting force or wealth altogether." -- Alvin Toffler

I suspect there's both a certain amount of wishful thinking in Toffler's sentiment and also some power porn. It is hardly surprising for a person like Toffler (or me, and probably you), who deals in knowledge rather than brute force of wealth -- an intellectual, if you will -- to prefer to believe that the power that comes from knowledge is of higher quality than the power from other sources. It would be unlikely to hold up in a battle of brute with tire iron vs. intellectual dispensing or using knowledge. If one questions whether power over others is usually a good thing, or that using power "efficiently" is desirable, the whole discussion becomes rather moot. I have nothing against trying to persuade others of one's convictions or beliefs, but things get dicey when persuasion morphs into power. If the ideal society arises when I have 100% control over my own actions and possessions and 0% over yours, conflating persuasion with power is problematic. One wonders whether Toffler is little more than a court intellectual, dancing attendance on those with real power.

Insulting Coors commercials

Years ago, when I first went to college, the beer of usual choice at our fraternity was Coors. Over the years I have developed a preference for darker, heartier beers (though my variation on Will Rogers is to claim I never met a beer I didn't like) so I haven't had a Coors in years, and the likelihood of being tempted by a Coors Light is vanishingly tiny. I appreciate that the Coors family has sometimes contributed to political causes of which I approve (and some I don't), but that wouldn't lead me to buy their beer just now, except perhaps once out of curiosity.

I'm glad about that for another reason. Watching more TV than usual during treatment and convalescence, I've had occasion to notice the theme of the Coors Light commercials these days. The message is that various clueless guys are so entranced with Coors Light that they don't notice a wife looking to be planked that night or cluelessly lead a girlfriend into thinking a proposal is imminent. Message as I see it: our target audience is clueless guys who think it's funny that they might prefer beer to women. Boy, does that theme turn me off.

Being insistent with doctors

Back to the doctor-visiting regimen today -- and unfortunately (or maybe not), back to having to insist a little bit (politely, of course) to get the kind of treatment we wanted from our doctors. We saw Dr. Sehgal, our chemo oncologist today to review matters after one cycle of chemo. It all looks pretty positive except for an uptick Dr. Sehgal thinks is anomalous in the Ca-19 reading. Then came time to nail down our radiation schedule, and the first thing the nurse said, after consulting with the radiation office, is that they plan to begin actual treatment (5-1/2 weeks) around Sept. 3. That would be too late for our schedule, which requires getting back to working, at least from home, by Oct. 7. We protested, then Dr. Sehgal talked directly to Dr. Mason, and things changed.The first blush was the set-up already scheduled for Friday to be followed by first treatment early the following week. Then on the way home we got a call from the radiation office changing the set-up appointment from Friday to tomorrow.

Moral, from our perspective: stand your ground with authority figures like doctors and if what you're asking for is reasonable, which ours was as everybody stresses not having big gaps in treatment, you'll probably get it. In the respect, I can't recommend Sharon Presley's new book, "Standing Up to Experts and Authorities," highly enough. It has not only philosophical arguments for being insistent with authority figures, but scads of very practical tips about questions to ask of a wide range of authorities. I can't prove it in our case, but I suspect the original schedule was built around the doctor's vacation rather than the patient's needs. But we got what we wanted eventually. So stand up for your rights, even if it isn't necessarily a matter of absolute right!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Relishing small triumphs

I don't think I have mentioned just how pleasant it has been for the last couple of weeks to take a shower without having to cover some significant part of my body to prevent it getting wet. I came home from Cedars the first time with a PICC line in my arm for the IVs I was taking every day, so I had to put a giant plastic sleeve over the arm and tape the top when I took a shower. The PICC line stayed in until a couple of weeks after the operation. Then I had an open wound in my belly, and we didn't want to get soap in it (although after a while I rinsed it with clear water after all the soap was rinsed off). Since we stopped packing the wound, however (maybe jumped the gun by a couple of days, but no serious problems), I've been able to take showers without swathes of plastic over various portions of my body. It has been wonderful! Sometimes you don't realize how much you enjoy a privilege until you can't do it.

In general, my health is pretty good. This is the "off" week for chemotherapy and then after a bit of a wait we start radiation combined with a different chemo. Next week we see Dr. Saegal for chemo consultation, then Dr. Nissen for what will probably be a final post-op check-up, and then the radiation doctor on Fiday to work out how we're going to approach the radiation. Little by little, we're getting there.

Quote of the Day

"To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true!" -- H.L. Mencken

Monday, August 09, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Intellectual freedom is essential to human society -- freedom to obtain and distribute information, freedom for open-minded and unfearing debate and freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices. Such a trinity of freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorship. Freedom of thought is the only guarantee of the feasibility of a scientific democratic approach to politics, economy, and culture." -- Andrei Sakharov

Even so insightful a thinker as Sakharov has a tendency to use the terms democratic and democracy rather loosely. What many people want to invoke with the term is a whole constellation of attitudes and a certain modicum of tolerance that might more accurately be called a civil society, or a society governed by the rule of law -- the kinds of conditions and attitudes that make it possible for a democracy to survive rather than the kinds of attitudes democracy in practice tends to generate. Democracy is simply a way of choosing rulers and perhaps controlling them -- perhaps. A free and decent society is so much more than that, and I'm not sure "democracy" is a good shorthand term for what most people seem to want when they invoke the term.

Journalism and iron demographics

Did I mention that being laid up at home I'm watching more TV than usual? Sadly, I'm reminded even when couch-spudding of some of the reasons for the decline in journalism.

What kinds of commercials do you see on news programs? Well, in addition to the cars and beer and companies promising to get you out of tax trouble, you tend to see a lot of ads for diabetes kits, for various heart medications, for COPD cures and potions to deal with gastrointestinal troubles -- and glasses. And AARP. In other words, the demographic for viewers of televtision news, like the demographic for newspaper readers, trends old. Our best customers seem to be sick and dying, and even if people are living longer these days, which they still are, we're not replacing them with younger readers, a trend newspaper watchers have been noting since the '80s. So the crisis is ongoing. Journalism has to find ways of being relevant to younger people. Being more present on the Web is a good start, but one doubts if it is enough.

Incidentally, I also take from certain television ads that whatever the official figures say a lot of Ametricans still feel like we're in recession. Look at all the offers to sell you gold, which always becomes more popular during inflationary and recessionary times, and to buy your old gold if you're feeling the pinch. They wouldn't keep those "we'll buy your gold" ads on if at least some people weren't responding.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

PBS and classical music

During my illness and convalescence I've been watching more TV than usual, and something about PBS programming's effect on overall programming has struck me. Back when government broadcasting began in the late 60s, the promise was that it would bring the kind of highbrow and intellectual broadcasting that network TV, because of the necessity of appealing to a mass audience, would never be able to justify commercially. So if you wanted, as I always have, classical music and opera on TV, the government would just have to provide it.

It strikes me now, however, that there was more classical music and high-toned stuff on network TV in the 50s and early 60s than there is on PBS now. Back then the Firestone Hour offered classical music weekly, and most variety shows featured classical players -- a Jascha Heifetz, Isaac Stern, Artur Rubenstein or Earl Wild or Oscar Levant, or a Metropolitan Opera singer -- Robert Merrill and Richard Tucker were on fairly often. The networks would even broadcast the occasional opera, and not just "Ahmal and the Night Visitors." There was quality drama as well. Not saying it was a Golden Age, but there was quality stuff on TV. Of course the '50s were a time of middlebrow status anxiety as many in postwar America wanted to demonstrate that they were not only succeeding they had taste, so there was impetus for classical stuff on TV.

Now, except for those stations that show Classic Arts Showcase (put together privately and offered free of charge) between midnight and 4:00 a few nights a week, there's just not much classical music on PBS. You can tell the audience they're trying to serve by the pledge drives, which may feature a crossover star like Pavarotti or Andrea Bocelli, but are more likely to be doo-woop or soul music or fifties classics or something distinctly on the pop end of things. That seems to be what the aging baby boomer eager to be flattered as above-average demographic that seems to be the most reliable donors seems to respond to.

In a way it's kinda nice that PBS stations are responding to the market for their services. But if they are to exist as entities that respond to the market, where's the rationale for giving them tax money? The sad thing is that the existence of PBS, whether it has fulfilled its promise or not, relieves network broadcasters of any felt obligation to provide anything highbrow.

Quote of the Day

"Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists generally. There is, has been and always will be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It's made up of all those who've consciously chosen their calling and do their jobs with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners -- and I could list a hundred more professions. Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it. Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges with every problem they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it's born from a continuous 'I don't know.'" -- Wislawa Szymborska, 1996 Nobel lecture

Quote of the Day

"The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence." H.L. Mencken
This may have been true when Mencken wrote it, probably in the 1920s, but I wonder if it is still true. People have become so innured to the absurdities in so many courtrooms and so accustomed to treating the proceedings with solemnity rather than guffaws that I wonder how many are tempted to laugh these days.

Steady chemo progress

It is late Friday/early Saturday, and after receiving chemotherapy on Thursday, I have once again not experienced any of what the literature describes as any of the more common side effects for Gemzar. Thursday's was the third chemo treatment, and after having the insertion vein irritated during my second treatment -- which left a small part of my arm tender to the touch almost a week later (although not actively hurting) the oncology nurses seem to have figured out how to dilute the Gemzar with saline enough that it didn't irritate at all going in. That compensated nicely for the 0ncology office people seeming a little confused about what my schedule was going to be. Jen thinks they're not accustomed to patients asking as many questions and asking for copies of all lab reports, etc. as we do. Having this followed by no side effects -- indeed, I had enough energy to treat our slatted teak outdoor coffee table with teak oil, a painstakingly detailed job which improved its appearance and durability about 1,000 percent -- I feel pretty good about my progress. (Jen accomplished more, putting a beautiful stain on and renewing the appearance and functionality of our pool deck.

I still don't feel focused enough to spend eight or so hours a day at the computer, but I'm getting there, maybe. My chemo treatment is three weeks on, one week off, to be followed by radiation treatment (daily) in combination with a different chemo substance, then another cycle of straight Gemzar. That still leaves what seems like a long time -- two months -- before treatment is done and I can truly go back to work. But one can almost see the end in sight -- closer to the end now than to the beginning, which it hasn't felt like until just recently.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Slight hitch in chemo

This morning I thought I might have developed a hitch in my chemo reaction. I threw up my breakfast. However, it was not repeated -- yes, I medicated, including with Compazine. On reflection, I think I did it to myself. I am supposed to avoid milk and stick to clear liquids right after chemo, and I not only put milk on my Cheerios,I put way too much sugar. It tasted fine at first, but obviously didn't agree with me. Other than that, response to chemo has been pretty uneventful. I have a slight rash where the needle went in Thursday, but no other side effects noted. I'm thinking full recovery.

Quote of the Day

"Yet, dumbfounded or not by the smoke and mirrors, why do we suffer so much at the hands of these ruler-governors, if we are many and they are few? Why do we become enchanted with the belief that our ruler-governors are just and benevolent. when we experience evidence otherwise every day, everywhere? Why do we allow so many abuses of liberty and property if the power the rulers possess is only that which we bestow onto them? Why do we let them treat us like beasts?"
-- Helio Beltrao, president, Instituto Mises Brasil