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[links] Link salad goes on the needle today

The Conversation We Never Have — On being a writer, economically. (Snurched from Elizabeth Bourne.)

My Headline Was Stolen — Ah, ideas.

Needless 911: Can’t Get This Jacket Off and I’m Pissed About It! — This would be the Portland area. Be proud, Oregon.

Oscar Mayer Wants to Make Your iPhone Smell like Bacon — Well, okay then.

Beatles memorabilia — Talc? Really?

Measuring Atmospheric Pressure on Exoplanets — Because science!

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: Upskirt photos not illegal under state law — The law, in its majestic equality, permits the polite as well as the creepy to take upskirt photos in Massachusetts.

Oscar Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend says he fired from carOscar Pistorius’ ex girlfriend has told his murder trial he once fired his gun from his car sunroof after becoming angry with police. Because guns make us all safer. Ask any conservative.

Navy will deploy first ship with laser weapon this summerNavy’s LaWS will save bullets and missiles—and blind and burn drones and boats.

Flash WarRussian mystery soldiers invaded Crimea by covering up and keeping mum. That could work for us!

Watching for a Crimean Cyberwar CrisisAn info-war is under way as websites are blocked and telecom cables to Crimea are mysteriously cut.

These 9 Maps Should Absolutely Outrage Southerners — Conservative governance, conservative results. These folks should be proud they’ve gotten exactly what they’ve voted in for. Increased poverty, decreased economic mobility, increased teen pregnancy, compromised healthcare outcomes: all utterly predictable results of GOP policies. What’s not to like?

Obamacare Effects Account for Most of Income, Spending Increases — This was published by The Wall Street Journal? The paper that abandoned its editorial integrity years ago in order to become the FOX News of the country club set? Wow… (Via David Goldman.)

Report: How GOP lost young voters“In the short term, the party ought to promote the diversity of thought within its ranks and make clear that we welcome healthy debate on the policy topic at hand.” Why in the hell are you a Republican if you believe diversity of thought and healthy debate are actually good ideas? Or have you never heard any single GOP political or media figure speak, ever? And you’ve obviously never read any GOP party platform.

?otD: Got infusion?


3/7/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.5 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: 0 minutes (hall walking to come)
Weight: 233.6 (hospital weigh-in)
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching wives how to be submissive: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[cancer|personal] NIH Day Two

Yesterday consisted of a great deal of hurry-up-and-wait. Sometimes NIH remembers that it is a hospital. After the initial discussion about me perhaps washing out of the study protocol due to my elevated white blood cell counts, the doctors temporized a bit. If we could find a clear source of infection, I would wash out. My CT scan showed no evidence of pneumonia. If my WBC trended down, I might not wash out. That was re-tested again the this morning, results as yet unknown. If last night’s MRI shows any sign of infection, I might wash out. Results unknown. Sometimes large tumors release signalling hormones that cause elevated WBC, so I might not wash out.

Blargh!

I still don’t know. The doctors’ language got easier and more supportive every time they popped in as the day went by, but we’re a long way from closure in either event. Or not. This could change at any moment. The issue, of course, is if I do have a real infection somewhere, flat-lining my immune system with chemo starting tomorrow will kill me. This is a suboptimal outcome.

The problem is that if I miss this window for chemo and TIL cell infusion, I miss it all. The cells grow and senesce. We’ve got about two days of wriggle room on this one. Otherwise the washout is total, not “come back in two weeks and try again.”

The MRI last night was pretty tough. They wanted both a brain scan and an abdominal scan, but for some reason not a lung scan. I spent about 140 minutes in the tube. I’ve lain inside a coffin, and trust me, they’re much roomier than an MRI tube. Somewhere in the last third of the procedure I was ready to climb out screaming and run away. Next time they want a double MRI, I will insist on either separate sessions for each imaging order, or sedation. (And yes, I was already tanked up on Lorazepam for yesterday’s festivities.)

Today I am supposed to be having the dual-lumen Hickman catheter implanted in my left chest. No one can tell me when, so I am NPO from midnight until sometime after whenever Interventional Radiology bestirs itself in my direction. Could be outside my door right now, could be three o’clock this afternoon. I will be one thirsty, grouchy bear if this takes all day. The catheter itself is a bit of a commitment, so I suppose it’s possibly my immunotherapy docs will have that procedure postponed until we’ve come to a resolution on the WBC issue.

This is making me very, very crazy. I’ve invested the time since late December in this protocol. To lose it now…

Grrr.

[links] Link salad begins to develop new phobias

Found: The Brain’s Own GPSNavigational neurons called grid cells help us find our way in the world. (Via [info]danjite.)

Incredible HD Video of Earth From Space Brings Maps to Life — “Peter… I can see your house from here.” (Via David Goldman.)

Creativity

Since It Can’t Sue Us All, Getty Images Embraces Embedded Photos

Pop Art, vintage style

Incredible Balloon Art By Daisy Balloon – These Aren’t Your Party Store Balloons — The first image is intensely cool. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Oh, baby it’s a wired world — That’s some damned fine art. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

The Indian sanitary pad revolutionary — This is something else.

Artificial Organs May Finally Get a Blood SupplyArtificial tissue has always lacked a key ingredient: blood vessels. A new 3-D printing technique seems poised to change that.

The Catholic conundrum named FrancisNow we have a relatively new pope who has expressed the heretical (to conservatives) notion that unfettered capitalism is not a guarantor of freedom, prosperity, or human dignity. He’s even suggested economic inequality is a more important concern for the church, and humanity, than condemning gay people or women who use contraception. Kind of like how Jesus talked a lot about the poor, and not so much about the gay menace. Huh. Who knew? Judging by their words and deeds, certainly not the Catholic church in the America, or the American Evangelical community, nor a lot of other denominations.

Surrender Douthat! — On the conservative Christian trope that an incremental loss of privilege from absolute cultural supremacy to merely overwhelming dominance counts as persecution, especially in the area of marriage equality. I’ve often wondered whether, as gays and gay marriage become more mainstream and, well, banal, many Christians won’t find themselves wondering why the apocalypse hasn’t come after all and what that says about Scriptural authority in a lot of other areas. That’s what’s not sitting well with a lot of Christian culture warriors right now.

2013 Was a Terrible Year for Evolution — On the collapse of what tattered remains still exist of conservative Evangelical intellectual credibility. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Ask The GOP: What Are Women?

The Tea Party Just Turned Five — Is it Winning its War on Workers and Minorities? — Ah, those fine non-partisan patriots whose agenda just happens to coincide 100% with the looney tunes wing of the GOP.

House Republicans Gear Up For 50th Vote To Dismantle Obamacare — Because nothing says compassionate conservative like endless scheming to throw millions of people out of the healthcare system. 50 freaking times. (Via [info]shsilver.)

?otD: Ever been afraid of balloons?


3/6/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: 0 minutes (hall walking to come)
Weight: n/a (no scale here)
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching wives how to be submissive: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[cancer|personal] My first day at NIH

Well, this has been a doozie. The flight yesterday was reasonable, and I set alarms to remind me to get up and walk every 30 minutes. This kept me from stiffening up. On arrival, after some delays on the tarmac, I was re-united with Lisa Costello. We went to dinner, then she brought me to the NIH hospital in Bethesda, MD.

I was late checking in, due to the travel schedule, and it took a while to get settled. Then around 10 pm they wanted a chest x-ray. Then an EKG. Then a urine sample. Then a blood sample or twelve. There was a small comedy of errors around trying to set a needle in my chest port. All in all, I did not go lights out until 12:30 am, which even by West Coast time is quite late for me. I slept very poorly, awakening around 5:20 to eat half a granola bar, as I’m NPO from 6 am on due to a forthcoming CT scan.

There’s been the usual cycle of doctors, nurses, dietitians and whatnot flowing through here this morning. The critical conversation was with Dr. Klemen. My white blood cell count is quite elevated, 15 on a scale where 10-11 is the top of the norms. My neutrophils are up as well. This is evidence of infection, which he believes is linked to my cough. Unfortunately, if we can’t get my white count down in the next day or so, I am at strong risk of washing out of the trial completely.

They simply cannot go in and flatline my immune system while I have an active infection. That could kill me. And the TIL cell growth is timed. I have to start that infusion within a pretty narrow window.

We’re hoping the white cell count is already dropping. They’ll be reviewing this morning’s CT for evidence of lung inflammation hopefully on the retreat. But as Dr. Klemen says, whatever I’m fighting, unless it’s already on its way out right now, we can’t suppress it fast enough to meet the deadlines.

So, yeah. Here we are, in March, on the journey that started last fall, and we may be looking at a wash out.

I cannot even begin to describe the bitterness I would feel at that disappointment.

We shall see what happens today and tomorrow.

[links] Link salad wakes up in a strange place

Another game of putting things aside, as if we’ll come back to them sometimeLisa Costello on living with my death.

Small fortune: Why everyone should give short stories a chance — (Via [info]willyumtx.)

How the Grinch Stole Grammar!

14 World-Changing Data Visualizations, From the Last 4 Centuries — Which reminds me of Charles Minard’s flow map of Napoleon’s march on Moscow. (Via David Goldman.)

When Trilobites Ruled the World — (Via Dad.)

A Successor to Sagan Reboots ‘Cosmos’ — This is cool. An incredible shame that it’s on FOX, the conservative propaganda organ. (Via Dad.)

Christians, authors debate role of submissive wife — It so very hard for me to interpret this as anything but creepy as hell.

Gay marriage opponents don’t know they’re on the wrong side of public opinionAccording to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, only 41 percent of Americans oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry. But that same 41 percent has a highly skewed perception of where the rest of the country stands: nearly two-thirds of same-sex marriage opponents erroneously think most Americans agree with them. I’m pretty sure this is true of most conservative positions: unpopular, often deeply, when polled among the population as a whole (i.e., including people other than likely Republican voters), but not understood as such by conservatives, who imagine themselves to be the brave vanguards of a still-silent majority.

GOP’s “inane” war on science: Plasma physicist congressman takes on the denialists Holt, a plasma physicist and eight-term congressman (and five-time “Jeopardy!” champion), last month announced he’ll leave the House in January. For “future generations, who will pay an even greater price than the current generation from climate change,” Holt told Salon late last week, “it will be hard to explain to them the inaction of America and the U.S. Congress.” (Via [info]shsilver.)

Obama’s Critics Should Put Up or Shut UpDo you remember when President Bush’s political adversaries starting ragging on him during the first days after 9/11? Or during the first days of the invasion of Iraq? Me neither. Whatever you think of the holder of the presidential office, if you are actually concerned about the nation’s welfare you don’t go on TV mocking him and saying he’s weak.

?otD: Can you sleep alone? Can you sleep with somebody else?


3/5/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: 0 minutes (hall walking to come)
Weight: n/a (no scale here)
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching wives how to be submissive: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[personal|travel] Five things make a post for a flying day

Five things make a post. Or something. #blogworldproblems, I guess. Let’s see…

1) I am heading for the airport shortly to fly to DCA. There, Lisa Costello will pick me up, take me to dinner, then take me to NIH to check into their inpatient unit, pretty much for the month of March. The flight’s probably going to suck because of all the cancellations yesterday, which means severe overbooking today.

2) I continue to fear washing out of the trial at the last minute. My drop in baseline health these past 3-4 weeks concerns me. I have a tender lumpiness in my right side which I’m afraid is a result of the known rapid growth in my liver tumors displacing enough tissue to be detectable by touch. And this damned cough…

3) On a more-or-less unrelated note, I’d hoped to make a post this morning about atheist errors-of-thought, especially where it concerns the fungibility of faith. Or more to the point, lack of fungibility of faith. This is in part in response to [info]ericjamesstone‘s thoughtful essay And we will prove them herewith… in which he talks about (among other things) conforming to church doctrine with which he does not personally agree. He sees this as a test of faith (if I may simplify a bit), while I see this as evidence he’s in the wrong church. I’m pretty sure my reaction is simplistic bordering on insulting, and I wanted to analyze that in compassionate and respectful terms. But not this morning, it seems.

4) My dreams of late have been more and more chowder, less and less linear. I don’t believe my brain is decaying that fast (not an ordinary symptom of my kind of cancer, though intracranial metastases are a slight possibility), so I’m pretty sure my subconscious is working on a project. When it deigns to send me a coherent postcard, I’ll pass the word.

5) On a topic somewhat less to my own credit, I find lately that old hurts have been resurfacing in my thoughts. There’s precious little point to that, and it’s not the least bit constructive, but here I am. Like the chowdered dreams, my mind is trying to put things in order. I’ve gone through life not making enemies, though a few people have certainly gone out of their way to make me their enemy regardless of my actual words and deeds. But in this case I’m talking more about the usual hurts of life, lost friendships and fractured loves and “whatever happened to…” moments. Really, I don’t need these trips down memory lane amidst everything else that’s going on.

[links] Link salad likes to get some sleep before it travels

SlushPile Hell — Hahahahahah. Sadly irregular, so I suppose it’s an occasional skim.

30,000-year-old giant virus ‘comes back to life’ — What could possibly go wrong!?

A Powerful New Way to Edit DNA — (Via David Goldman.)

LSD, Reconsidered for TherapyIn Switzerland, the first controlled trial of the drug in more than 40 years found that it eased anxiety in people nearing the end of their lives. Personally, given what’s inside my head these days, I’d be very concerned about a bad trip. (Via David Goldman.)

Toward an Extraterrestrial Paradigm

School releases pamphlet with sex alternatives — Because nothing says “young love” like a burping contest. (Via [info]danjite.)

IMF study finds inequality is damaging to economic growthInternational Monetary Fund paper dismisses rightwing argument that redistributing incomes is self-defeating. Clearly, the IMF are a bunch of Socialist moochers who don’t know anything about money, economics or job creators. (Via [info]danjite.)

The Cliches of “Leadership” and “Resolve”

And we will prove them herewith… — My friend [info]ericjamesstone with a Mormon perspective on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Since he’s primarily talking about his interpretation of Mormon doctrine, it doesn’t matter what my opinion is. I’m not a LDS member. But I’m glad he wrote this, regardless of my disagreements. Where I engage those disagreements is when doctrine leaves the church, any church, and enters the statehouse in an attempt to coerce non-believers according to church rules. Within their house of worship, according to our Constitution, people are free to believe anything they want. My opinions do not apply there.

The Forces Behind The ‘Religious Freedom’ Movement That Exploded Last Week — No vast right wing conspiracy here. Just lots and lots of conservatives and deep pocket donors working quietly to the same malicious ends. See the difference?

Handbook for HomophobesAdvice for those who are troubled by tolerance.

The Real Welfare QueensA new report shows corporations like Koch Industries have gotten billions in government subsidies. It’s not welfare if you give government money to rich people who don’t need it.

Right-wing columnist urges GOP to abandon outreach: ‘Colorblind conservatism’ is futile

Bill Kristol To Bill Maher: ‘Total Bullshit’ That The Tea Party Was About A Black President — Nice try, Bill. I know bigots don’t like to be called bigots, but too bad. “I totally believe that,” Maher said. “It happened a month after he took office. Suddenly white people were very upset about debt, even though Bush had raised the debt way more than Obama had.”

It’s not a messaging problemIsn’t it time for people to recognize that this isn’t a problem with the GOP “message?” It’s a problem with conservative philosophy. Also, this just in: sun rises in east.

Tea Party Might Just Fizzle In Ted Cruz’s Texas — America should be so lucky.

McConnell Vows a Senate in Working Order, if He Is Given Control“We are going to treat senators with respect — we are going to work harder and accomplish more,” said Mr. McConnell. Sure thing, Mitch. Given the behavior of the GOP majority in the house, and the Senate during prior periods of GOP majority, does anyone believe this crap besides the low information crowd watching FOX News and voting Republican? Plus, note the glaring hypocrisy on the question of the Senate filibuster, which was the worst Constitutional evil EVAR when Democrats changed it according to McConnell, but is a reasonable tactic for Republicans to keep on the table according to McConnell.

Republican Lawmaker Apologizes For Saying Men Should Be Able To Rape Women If Abortion Is Legal — Are you proud of Your Republican Party?

Wisconsin GOP Seeks To Oust Majority Leader Accused Of Sexual Harassment — From the credit where credit is due file. Good for the Wisconsin GOP.

?otD: Has it been a long, strange trip?


3/4/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0 minutes (airport walking to come)
Weight: 234.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block unjustly vilifying Ted Nugent: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[cancer] Dead man walking, wearing a corpse

Saturday I was out and about with my offspring. She wanted some Dad time, and since I’m leaving town tomorrow for a month of grueling last ditch experimental genetically-driven immunotherapy, I said yes.

I drove for about two hours in the course of our outing. Around town, not nothing overwhelming. We popped by my Mom’s house briefly, we got lunch at a Burgerville drive-through, we talked about life and graffiti and urban infrastructure.

When we got home, I hurt. I hurt for the rest of the day. I hurt overnight, sleeping ten hours as my body tried to catch up. I hurt the next day, canceling light duty social plans to concentrate on healing. I still hurt this morning, on Monday.

But then I hurt all the time these days. My old liver surgery scars are stretched by the incessant coughing. Every two or three days I cough myself into wrenching nausea. My new surgery scars ache and sting. That band of pain below my right pectoral nags. I don’t breathe very well any more. Everything wears me out.

The idiot lights are winking on one by one on the dashboard of my body. I am failing. I am a dead man walking, wearing a corpse that hasn’t yet caught up with the not-so-exaggerated reports of its demise.

I will not give up. I never do. I reserve the right to lay down my arms near the very end, when all the battles all over, but the war is long since lost. For now, though, I go to NIH, I seek a treatment that will be at best brutal. It may extend my life, it may diminish my days. But this is my path.

And I am so tired. So very tired. Not hopeless, exactly, though as I read over these words they echo of hopelessness. But hope is something I abandoned long ago when I passed through cancer’s gates of horn and ivory. These words are the breath of someone who has already lived too long, worn out both his welcome and his pity, and continues because there is no other course but forward into the shadows.

I love whom I love, and I am loved by more people than I will ever know. Love keeps me going through the pain and loss. This is not a desert, just a tired landscape overwritten by years of struggle and the footprints of a thousand people who helped carry me.

Thank you.

[cancer] Comparing pain cards just makes me want to go for my thankfully nonexistent guns

Yesterday, I read a blog post where someone was describing their struggle with depression in earnest, heartbreaking detail. Then they said something I found very strange. They described cancer as a “physically evident” disease, in contrast with depression, the very clear implication being that somehow people with cancer were better off compared to people with depression.

This irritated the hell out of me, and I spent some time trying to figure out why.

It certainly wasn’t personal. The writer wasn’t trying to put me down, or cancer patients in general. I think their point was that invisible illnesses are harder for other people to understand. Which makes sense as far as it goes. I’ve said the same thing about cancer, and cannot even begin to count the number of times I’ve been told, “But you don’t look sick,” or some close variation thereof.

Except suffering is not a contest. Suffering is not a race to the bottom. It’s not a competition to see who has the worst, most unspeakable affliction.

Not to mention, many people with cancer, and I suspect most people with metastatic cancer, struggle with crippling depression right alongside their disease. As is true of most chronic and fatal illnesses, I should think. Given that depression often accompanies cancer, the idea that people with cancer somehow have it better than people with depression is a ridiculous one on the face of it.

Also, for whatever it’s worth, as I said above, cancer is also largely invisible. I’ve been ill for six years as of next month, and for most of that time, unless I was in surgical recovery or deep in the throes of chemotherapy, you couldn’t tell it by looking at me. Even then, I mostly looked like a gaunt bald guy. I could just as easily have been a meth head as a cancer patient.

These days my disease visible, but not as cancer. I get mistaken for my father’s brother, my mother’s husband, my partner’s parent, my child’s grandparent. But what I look is old, not cancerous. To the casual eye I’m 49-going-on-60something, not 49-going-on-tumorous-wretch.

I appreciate that the blogger was writing from a place of deep personal pain. But what read like an expression of envy for visible disease such as cancer was very hard for me to interpret with good will. I’ve done the chronic clinical depression thing, from my childhood into my mid-twenties, complete with suicide gestures and hospitalization. I know that world intimately from the inside. Now I’m doing the terminal cancer thing, starting at age 43 and going through an awful downward slide that has carried on for years. I know that intimately world from the inside. They don’t compare, they’re both beyond awful. One is not luckier than the other.

Really, truly, it’s not a contest. Claiming that people with some other terrible disease are better off than you is a strange form of reverse privileging. Assuming that cancer patients don’t struggle with depression as deep and crippling as chronic clinical depression is simply thoughtless. I mean, I could just as easily say, “Hey, you depressed people, with proper treatment you can lead rich, full lives, but I won’t live out the year. You have it way better than me.” Which would be about the stupidest, most pig-ignorant thing I could say to my friends who struggle with depression.

Really, truly, cancer patients do not have it better than the depressed. We’re all struggling here. We’re all suffering here.

[links] Link salad has a (hopefully) quiet Monday at home before leaving town

Misheard Lyrics: Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’

Polish Move Posters — Cool. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

At first I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. Once I got it, I couldn’t believe it. — Trompel’oeil tattoos. Wow. (Via [info]goulo.)

Objects of Intrigue: Mickey Mouse Gas Mask — Uh. Words fail me. (Via [info]danjite.)

Flu viruses derive from a global selective sweep in the 1870sA single event seems to have set the stage for all pandemics since. Story idea?

Potentially Habitable Exoplanets — A handy spotter’s guide.

‘Super-Earths’ Problematic for Life

Climate Change Behind Trapped Heat in Oceanic Depths

Meet The American Pushing Homophobia in Uganda — Meet Scott Lively, the American Christian who’s globalizing the worst of conservative Bible-based hate in the name of a just and loving God, with great success. In case you’re wondering why straight people like me stand so angrily against anti-gay bigotry from American churches and politicians. This is its logical extension.

No, Arizona’s SB 1062 was not “egregiously misrepresented” by critics

Disney ends funding to Boy Scouts over gay policy — The world really is changing. Moralistic discrimination by conservatives used to be consequence-free, and even rewarded. It still mostly is those things, but these are welcome shifts in society that will lead to a more just and moral America that better lives up to its own Constitutional promises.

Arguments Against GodI say “there is no God” with the same confidence I say “there are no ghosts” or “there is no magic.” The main issue is supernaturalism — I deny that there are beings or phenomena outside the scope of natural law. That’s not to say that I think everything is within the scope of human knowledge. Surely there are things not dreamt of in our philosophy, not to mention in our science – but that fact is not a reason to believe in supernatural beings.

Will a Multi-Polar World be more Peaceful? The Failure of the Project for a New American Empire

Pork-laced bullets designed to send Muslims straight ‘to hell’ — Because sometimes, simply hating people is not enough. (Via [info]danjite.)

The fallout from flouting international lawIt’s very hard as an American to righteously defend the precepts on International Law with respect to national sovereignty after what we did just 11 years ago in Iraq. I feel like an idiot saying it out loud to anyone and am embarrassed to see John Kerry shaking his fist and proclaiming the illegality and illegitimacy of Russia’s actions when he personally voted for that illegitimate and illegal invasion. The Iraq War was never anything but a conservative project to launch a war of choice under knowingly false pretenses. And the Republicans really did abrogate America’s diplomatic legitimacy in pursuing that morally vile course. Sadly, neither the political establishment nor Your Liberal Media is likely to acknowledge this now, as it embarrasses many currently powerful people on both sides of the aisle.

Rush Limbaugh weighs inNo, not on Ukraine or even the Oscars. On Michelle Obama’s weight. Ah, the leading voice of conservative media, guiding light of millions of Republicans, with his usual thoughtful, nuanced approach to the critical issues of our era. Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

?otD: How’s your life today?


3/3/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: 30 minutes
Weight: 232.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block unjustly vilifying Ted Nugent: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad wakes up alone

Jay Lake, NIH, and Local Visitors

The Sound of Philadelphia Fades Out

Voynich Manuscript partially decoded, text is not a hoax, scholar finds — (Via David Goldman.)

The Oscars Have Just Become NSFW. — Heh. (Via David Goldman.)

Martian Sunset

Watch This Fox News Host’s Heartfelt Apology To The Intersex Community — Color me shocked. I’ll be even more shocked if there isn’t either a firing or a hard walkback over this. FOX simply can’t have this kind of empathy and compassion on their airwaves, it utterly undermines their brand management and message consistency.

Legalizing vigilantism — The bullies with their guns are successfully dismantling civil society.

Filthy rich but secretly terrified: Inside the 1 percent’s sore-winner backlash Why are the super-rich whining so much? They rigged the game for themselves, but are terrified of being discovered. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Why Republicans Don’t Want to Acknowledge the Falling DeficitThe steep decline of the deficit is not something Republicans really want to talk about, even though their austerity policies were largely responsible for it. If the public really understood how much the deficit has fallen, it would undermine the party’s excuse for opposing every single spending program, exposing the “cost to future generations” as a hyped-up hoax. Mmm, evidence-based thinking for the win, not.

?otD: Did you sleep the sleep of the just?


3/2/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (slightly fitful)
Body movement: 30 minutes
Weight: 233.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block unjustly vilifying Ted Nugent: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[cancer] Some details on my NIH schedule

I fly back to DC next Tuesday, and check into the NIH inpatient facility that evening.

Wednesday I’m getting a CT, a brain MRI and an abdominal MRI. I’ve asked for an Ativan to help me be still for two hours inside the MRI tube.

Thursday I’m getting my chest catheter put in.

Friday (3/7), the chemotherapy starts. It will be in two phases. The first phase will last 48 hours, with twice daily infusions of about two hours each. This phase will require me to be awoken and have my urine output monitored every two hours during that entire period. I have been told not to expect to get a lot of sleep those two days.

The second phase will last five days with twice daily infusions of an hour or so each. During that period, I will be allowed to go out on a pass if I want to lunch with family or friends, or just be out of the hospital.

The cellular infusion will occur on 3/14, and it’s a one-time event. The variable days after that are the number of times I can tolerate the thrice-daily infusion of the helper drugs intended to activate the TIL cells. Those occur at 7 am, 3 pm and 11 pm. Very few patients have lasted all five days, to maximum dosage.

I’ll then be in recovering until my immune system is sufficiently robust for me to be released. That can be as little as seven days, but that patients with a lot of chemotherapy history usually take longer. I pointed out to the nurse I was speaking with that I’d had 1,600 hours of IV chemotherapy over the past five years, which seemed to surprise them. They said, “That’s a lot.” Figure at least ten days for me, possibly two weeks.

I can have visitors whenever I’m willing to tolerate them, but while I’m neutropenic I won’t be allowed flowers in my room.

So there’s two points of variability in my stay length, but if I had to guess, I’d say three-and-a-half to four week inpatient experience.

Return followups will be on a monthly basis for at least the first two months.