progress report

I had a pretty productive day out in the shop on thursday.  Got all the tubes mitered and put dropouts on the end of the chainstays.  (also brazed up the fork crown/steerer because it was something nice and quiet to do while my brother napped upstairs).  Managed to work for about 5 hours all told.  Was pretty tired by the end of it, to be honest.  Yesterday was less impressive.  Just got an hour or so in, but managed to prepare all the lugs and do a dry run of the set up.  Everything is as it should be.  Once I finish this cup of coffee I’ll go out and take the whole thing apart, clean it up, and then flux everything up and put it back in the fixture.  Ready to braze!  That was a little more than I could imagine doing yesterday, but I think that with the right music, today should go pretty well.  My good friend Caroline is going to come over and hang out with me while I work.  It’s good to have moral support!  I should still be able to have something that looks like a bike by the end of the weekend.

My hands have been pretty good.  No numbness to speak of..  50 degree days are helping.  The herbitux has definitely made my skin pretty raw and delicate though.  And after 6 months without working, my hands are feeling it!

These last two weeks have felt long.  I think just because I didn’t loose so many days to the narcotic dayz that comes with the pain I’ve been having.  One less day of treatment really made a difference.  It seems as though the pain is caused by a synergistic effect of the oxaliplatin + luekovorin.  Whoa..  chemo brain.. I think I’ve already written about this.  Anyway.  One less day of leukovorin during the last round seems to have been the key to the pain not kicking in hard on day 3.  Not particularly looking forward to going in on monday for a full round again.  After feeling so well these last few days, it’ll be particularly discouraging to go in and have my ass handed to me.  Then again..  maybe this break has given me time to recover enough that my wrecked bod will be able to handle it a little better.  With this stuff it’s all speculation.  We’ll see.

BTW, how cook this?

All this shiny campagnolo stuff came in the mail for me recently (not that surprising, actually.  I ordered it all).  I’ve been working on the design for a touring bike for ME.  To match Hill’s.  It’s going to be hard to go touring with her if I don’t have a bike for it.  Also, after about 6 months of not really thinking much about the shop, and not even being really clear that building bikes was a sane thing to try to keep doing, I’m ITCHING to be back at work.  (I guess that’s what a slightly lowered dose of chemo will do for you!  I’ve been on fire the last couple of days..  For those of you who are following along, my 5 mile walk turned out to be a little longer even, and right on pace to do the 15k in 2:18, which will bring me in right under the wire.  We’re up to nearly $3700!)

Those of you who don’t speak bike, or particularly care about bikes (should have your heads examined), may want to tune out for the next paragraph..  you can start reading again where it says my hands (in red for your convenience..)

I had a bit of a design dilemma with this one.  Or maybe it was more that I was stuck between two bikes that I’d like to build.  My initial thought was to build a sort of thunderfucker inspired touring rig.  An adventure touring bike.  Something with disk brakes and room for 2+ inch cross country tires..  you know.. just in case.  But I was also pretty tempted by the campy athena group, which for a modern group is awfully nice looking.  Especially after Campy caught on and started to offer it with silver brake lever shifters (originally only available in black, I believe, which left us scratching our heads a bit about the concerted effort they made to make the rest of the components silver!!).  BUT campy 11 speed isn’t really compatible with any rear disk hubs that I could think of, and the whole thing got a little muddled.  Also, if the point was to go touring with Hill..  why would I need a bike that could go places hers couldn’t.  Hmm..  In the end, I’ve decided to use the last remaining set of paramount lugs to build a classy feeling touring rig with 26″ wheels like Hill’s, and a very classic looking but modern set of components.  If you are still reading this, you are a bonafide geek.

My hands aren’t really what I’m used to them being.  A little numb all the time.  They’ve lost some dexterity for sure.  It’s a bit frightening for me, but I’ve been through it before, and they DID come back after treatment ended.  The numbness gets pretty severe if my hands get cold.  The shop is not warm.  So we’ll see how it goes.  I’ve got 4 good days left before another round of treatment, and on balance, I’m feeling pretty well.  I’m going to see if I can make the most of it.

We also don’t really know how long it’ll be before I’m allowed to ride a bike with a seat.  Or how it will feel!  There have been some major changes in the region of my whatsis, and I’m really not sure what sitting in the saddle will feel like.  It is our goal, however, to try and find a way to do a little bike touring at the end of the summer.

Finally, thanks so much to all of you who have donated money to this cancer walk/run deal.  It’s honestly pretty moving to watch the dollars pile up, and to know that they’ll go to helping people catch this stuff early, and treat it effectively.

Big love.

Feeling.. well.. a little punchy!

I woke up this morning, after a good night’s sleep, and actually feel pretty good.  Best I’ve felt in 5 weeks or so!  Hot dog.  No treatment until next monday.  I might actually get some good days out of this week.  After our morning exercises (see above), putney and I are going to take a long walk.  5 miles or so..  just to make sure that the upcoming 15k isn’t pure insanity.

BTW!!!  You guys are rock stars.  After just one day, we’re over $3K!!  Too many beautiful!

Later in the day I might even venture out into the shop for a bit..  See if I can remember how all those tools work.  (or maybe I’ll come home from that bloody walk and sleep for the rest of the day!  there’s no telling.)

Big love to you all.

Team WAS FAST BOY runs/walks for a cure.

This one is a bit of a plug, folks.  On march 27th, Emily and Hill and I will be running (well..  I’ll be walking), in a 15k Colon Cancer run/walk for a cure.  It’s an event hosted by the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation.

It’ll be the farthest that Hill has ever run, and she’s been training for it.  (Em has done a few marathons..  she’s ready.)
It’ll be by far the longest I’ve traveled in any way in about six months..  I have been training for it by lying on my back on pain meds.  Should be pretty interesting.  There is also a little 1.7k walk or something, but I felt that 15k was a bit more of a statement.  Happily, it lands on the final day of a two week treatment round, so I’ll be feeling about as well as I can!

Over the last couple of years, I, we, have been frankly overwhelmed by the kind of support that you out there have offered.  People stop by with coffee..  and bourbon.  And once an envelope of cash, just left anonymously in our mailbox (with some cookies). You’ve bought photos from me on Etsy, which has actually provided me with some income during a time when I’m not able to work.  Mostly though there has just been an incredible cheering section throughout this process.  I am gratified, and honored, and humbled, and many other things.  The truth is, though, that there are boat loads of people going through exactly what I am, but not writing about it.   People who are NOT in the rather lucky position that I am of having such support from family, wife, dog, friends, complete strangers.  During my treatment over the last couple years, I’ve had overlap with some of these folks.  A good number of them aren’t around anymore.  It’s heartbreaking.  There is precious little funding out there for research, and let’s face it.. colon cancer isn’t really one of the glamorous ones!  If you’re up for it, please support these folks.  Do it within your means.  You are a big group of people, and have broad shoulders.  Every little bit will count.  Thank you so much.  Go here.

In other news..  My week of reprieve has turned out to be a bit of a bummer so far.  I think that whatever it was that finally built up enough to drive my white counts down so low, also managed to take most of the stuffing out of me.  I’ve been pretty tired.  Spent yesterday just resting in bed.  I’m hoping that after my erbitux top up on monday, a little energy starts to return.  I am planning to build myself a touring bike to go with Hill’s (did I already say that..  chemo brain), so that we can do some touring together at the end of the summer.  (Timmy, Chris and little girl Pearl, Cory, Christopher, Kendall, Guy…   get ready).  With the neuropathy, my possible work days are pretty limited, and my dexterity isn’t what I’m used to, but it won’t matter much building a bike for myself!  No clients’ bikes will suffer from my current condition.  It’ll be a way to ease myself back into the shop.  Fingers crossed.

Big love!

lucky cap and a brief reprieve.

First I’d like to make a little shout out to the nice folks in Spain at Lucky Basterds who contacted me a while ago and said they’d been following the blog and wanted to send me a gift.  I’ve seen a few cycling caps and owned a few, but this is by quite a stretch my favorite.  It is beautifully made, and their selection of color combinations is really great and all over the map.  Go check them out.  Something for everyone.  (When I suggested to them that I would put the cap on the blog, they protested..   ‘no no.. you mistake our intentions!’)

This week I’m getting a partial reprieve.  Monday went as usual.  I came home with intense pain that went away when properly medicated.  When I went in on tuesday for my second day of drip drip, the doc did my blood work and found that my white cell count had dipped dangerously low (1.4 something or others when it should be up between 4 and 10), and he decided to stop the treatment for the week.  SO one less night with the 5fu pump.  A blessing.  The low blood count is not really to be sneezed at, though.  He also sent me home with neupogen shots to up the counts.  Put me on a course of prophylactic antibiotics.  I’ll go back in today to check on the counts and see how much MORE neupogen I need to do to get back up to safe levels.

The pain did NOT raise its ugly head yesterday afternoon as it has been doing the last couple of rounds.  Cross my fingers and say a little prayer that that’s a good sign, and maybe this week I’ll just skip it.  Though I don’t think that’s likely..  I’ll be carrying meds with me today as I make my rounds.  This morning I’m packing up a few overdue etsy prints, and heading in to the doc all in time to make it to the pool hall by 11:30 or so to meet with Jeremiah.  The last few rounds have robbed me of some very important meditation at the pool hall!!  This round I intend to play a bit!

Yesterday was Hill’s b-day.  We went to a nice little dinner at Il posto accanto..  Same place we went for Valentines day.  They’re very sweet there.  When we declined desert, they brought us a gratis little bottle of muscato desert wine, knowing it was Hill’s day. Kindness of strangers.

(on friday, if I have the energy, I will make a video about cooking octopus.  A favorite food around here.  Another cheap, sustainable, delicious source of protein that most people don’t know how to cook!)