Archive for October, 2008

so there!

Had another appointment with the surgeon yesterday.  Just a week later, and he said that the tumor had continued to shrink, and was much softer.  He felt encouraged.  He says that he’d like to have me come in to the hospital, and under anesthesia he’ll remove all of the tumor material and do detailed biopsies.  If there is no sign of any cancer, he says that he’ll be satisfied to stop at that.    (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

He claims that the chances of this are about 10-15 percent.  I’m a wicked lucky guy. I’ll take those odds.

This could happen as soon as the week before thanksgiving, though he says that there’s no particular advantage to it.  If it’s up to me, I’ll wait until just after.

Even more exciting, however, is that he said it was fine for me to ride a real bike again (I asked him to break it to Alberto for me..  like a kid going to dad when mom says no.)  So I went straight home and tuned up the white track bike that’s been patiently waiting for me on the bike room wall.  YAY!

well damn.

I was in the bathroom last night getting ready for bed.  “hey babe..  look at this, I’m loosing all my pubic hair!..  look!”

She said, “yeah.  You’re loosing your eyelashes too.”

“WHAT!?”

Sure enough.  Almost none left on the bottom, and they’re jumping ship fast on the top.  Compare to this.  My eyebrows, however, continue to hang on like champs.  EYEBROW POWER!

I went to see Alberto today.  He did blood work.  I’m still anemic.  So it turns out I’m not ACTUALLY feeling better, I just think I am. (?)

He sent me over to see the surgeon.

The surgeon smiled, “it’s nice to see you.”

“You too,” I said. “I lost my hair.”

“Let me see.”   I took off my hat.  “It’s perfect,” he said.  I’m not sure what he meant, but he was beeming.

He did a *cough* digital exam.  He said “It’s really much better..  much smaller.  It is my gut sense,” (yes, he said “gut sense”) “however, that I will still need to amputate.”

Damn.

Wasn’t much of a day.

On the bright side, he doesn’t feel that we need to be in too much of a hurry.  Whatever surgery he does, he’s willing to wait until after Thanksgiving.  Good.

fast again

I’ve had just about the best week.  I know I’ve mentioned it in past posts, but I’ve never felt more energetic in my life.  I’d say I’m at about 80% now.  But after the last couple of months of chemo brain and anemia, 80% is like being on amphetamines.  Man.  I’m FAST.  I’ve been working 10-12 hour days.  No wasted time.  It hasn’t all been in the shop..  I’ve been doing some projects around the house as well, and some construction stuff over at my mom’s new place (my folks are retiring* to an apartment two blocks away from us here in harlem!).  But I did manage to build a frame this week.  I’ll get out to the shop today to build the fork and do some finish work, but other than that, it’s ready for the painter.

I sure hope that this sense of perspective lasts.

A brief medical update for those who come for that:  I haven’t seen Alberto since getting back, but have a meeting with him next week.  He says that he’s spoken with the surgeon he has in mind, and that the surgeon is on board with the feeling that it’s worth trying to save my continence..  weeee!  I’ll meet with them both next week.  Alberto is going to try to track down another surgeon to get an unaffected opinion from him, just to see if, independantly, he has the same sort of optimism.  Surgery will be sometime in the middle of November.  If it gets pushed too far back and seems as though it will interfere with thanksgiving, I may request that we wait until AFTER.

Thanksgiving is my holiday.  That’s the one I like.  There’s no heavy commercial component, no pressure to buy stuff and give it to people, just the encouragement to get together with a bunch of people and pool resources to have a really good meal (and then think about how fortunate you really are..  just take a deep breath after good food and good drink, and think “yeah.. we’re winning.”)  For the last bunch of years, we’ve hosted thanksgiving here at the house in harlem.  We try to collect as many folks as possible from the city who aren’t going home to their families.  Travelling around the holidays sucks.  We always have a much better time just staying put.  Anyway, I love TG and it would be a real pisser to be layed up for it.

On halloween, Megan (aka faster panda kill kill, aka BFF, aka fast boy cycles web guru) will be arriving!  She’s coming up from Austin TX to visit for 5 days or so.  During her stay some fun stuff will happen.  Laura Clutterbuck, my dear dear surogate Auntie (mom’s best friend from growing up in South Africa) will be in town to run the New York marathon.  Talk about inspiring.  She STARTED running at 60 years old, just a few years ago.  Ran in the London marathon last year, and did well enough to get a spot in the NYC marathon.  Also during her stay, we’ll oust the current administration!  No matter what way your political views swing (and to most of you, I’m sure it’s pretty obvious where I stand), I think we can agree that this current crew has sucked.  Make sure to vote!!  It’ll feel good.

So!  stay posted.  I think it would be fun to organize some sort of a ride while Megan is here.  Maybe even a halloween ride?

* “retiring” may not be the right word since neither of them plans to stop working, but we’ve been calling it that anyway.

slacker

I got back to NYC on saturday night to find a stack of the latest issue of the derailleur.  I am stunned.  Naturally it was my intention to post about it on Sunday morning, but I’ve been at something of a loss for what to say.  I can’t help but feel that the guy you’re all describing is a guy I’d like to know.  Or maybe a guy I’d like to be.  How do I write about my reaction to this without it seeming like false modesty?

So instead, I jumped into work.

On sunday I went to the lumber yard in the morning with my mom and got what I needed to make a built in couch to replace the bike portrait couch in the kitchen.

Naturally I’ll be a little sad to see the portrait couch go (as will putney), but the truth is..  it was a crap couch.  Way too soft, and completely filthy.  Now we’re just waiting on cushions.

On Monday, I pulled off all the cabinet doors and drawer faces in the kitchen and painted them.  I’ve been wanting to do this for ages.  Now my kitchen is orange.

Yesterday, I went out to my shop at 7:00 in the morning and cleaned it.  Made it sparkly.  Then mitered up some tubes and brazed Tangle’s main triangle.  Going to try to add the back end today.

So now it’s wednesday morning, and I still haven’t figured out how to thank you all for your comments in the derailleur.

Thank you Willow for thinking this up.

Thank you Megan for kicking me off my own blog to make it possible.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to actually write and send something in.  It’s a document of a pretty scary time in my life, and proof that I’ve had incredible support through it.

Ok.. this is shit.  I can’t say what this thing means to me.  Not really.  I got choked up reading it, and I will again each time I re-read it.  I will always have this.  Thanks.

slacker

I got back to NYC on saturday night to find a stack of the latest issue of the derailleur.  I am stunned.  Naturally it was my intention to post about it on Sunday morning, but I’ve been at something of a loss for what to say.  I can’t help but feel that the guy you’re all describing is a guy I’d like to know.  Or maybe a guy I’d like to be.  How do I write about my reaction to this without it seeming like false modesty?

So instead, I jumped into work.

On sunday I went to the lumber yard in the morning with my mom and got what I needed to make a built in couch to replace the bike portrait couch in the kitchen.

Naturally I’ll be a little sad to see the portrait couch go (as will putney), but the truth is..  it was a crap couch.  Way too soft, and completely filthy.  Now we’re just waiting on cushions.

On Monday, I pulled off all the cabinet doors and drawer faces in the kitchen and painted them.  I’ve been wanting to do this for ages.  Now my kitchen is orange.

Yesterday, I went out to my shop at 7:00 in the morning and cleaned it.  Made it sparkly.  Then mitered up some tubes and brazed Tangle’s main triangle.  Going to try to add the back end today.

So now it’s wednesday morning, and I still haven’t figured out how to thank you all for your comments in the derailleur.

Thank you Willow for thinking this up.

Thank you Megan for kicking me off my own blog to make it possible.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to actually write and send something in.  It’s a document of a pretty scary time in my life, and proof that I’ve had incredible support through it.

Ok.. this is shit.  I can’t say what this thing means to me.  Not really.  I got choked up reading it, and I will again each time I re-read it.  I will always have this.  Thanks.

Leaving NS

Today is our last day in N.S.  We’ll spend the afternoon packing up the house and getting it ready for winter.   Getting boats out of the water, matresses and cushions in plastic bags (mink protection), belongings packed up and back to the car on the mainland, etc..  We’ll spend the night with our friends Greg and Janina down in Port Medway, and then get up early tomorrow to start the long drive home.  We’ll aim for Portland tomorrow night, stay with Kim and Jon again, and then finish up the drive on saturday.. with stops on the way for lunch with cousins, and a visit to Mike Flanigan of ANT Bikes.

It’s been a great time.  Lots of good long walks and afternoon naps and great meals.  It’s been a little strange, though.  After not really working for the last couple of months, I’ve been feeling pretty antsy up here.  It was my intention to work in the shop right through the treatment.  I really though it would be possible.  It was not.  (Memory is such a merciful thing, that I can’t even remember why I wasn’t able to work, exactly.  Oh yes.  I remember now..  alternating between puking and anemia..  headache and chemo brain, etc..  Amazing how quickly a healthy mind will catalog nasty memories away). The idea had been to come up here and have some forced time away from the shop.. To make sure that I didn’t jump back in prematurely, and feel frustrated by how slow I was moving.. by how many mistakes I was making.  The truth is, though, that by about day 4 up here, I was feeling nearly 100% (ok..  75%.. But GOOD for a change) and was jonesing for some work time.

What a strange feeling.  Being in the one place in the world that I spend the rest of the year wishing I could be, and half wishing that I was back in NYC instead.  We even discussed going back early.

I’ve got this fantasy that I’ll head back and dive right in.  I’ve got a couple of bikes that I would love to have built by the time surgery rolls around.  Naturally, though, after several months of uselessness (or to put a better light on it – “preoccupation with staying alive”), there is a list of things that have piled up.   Our house needs a new roof, for instance.  Hmm.  Anyway, I’m full of energy and excited to tackle it all.

Most of all, though, I’m really excited to see my friends.  For years I’ve had a pretty shameful out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude about friends.  Over the last months, I’ve realized just how many of them I actually have.  It seems like a real waste not to keep them closer.

Nova Scotia

Hill and I are celebrating our 2 year anniversary today. We don’t know that it really is, we’re just guessing. Oct 1st seems like a nice date. Easy to remember. We’ll be heading down the coast a little way to have dinner with some friends, and watch the VP debate. We’re hoping for high comedy.

So far we’ve had pretty glum weather up here. Gray every day. It’s definitely a different place than it is in early September. All the colors are more muted. Some of the local weeds that we like to eat (lamb’s quarters namely) are all gone, but the cranberries are in full swing. The mussels are taking over the islands. Can’t eat them fast enough.

It’s interesting to be up here in recovery mode. I’m really not the man I used to be (wonder if I ever was). More physical work goes into a day up here than back in the city. There’s water to haul, lots of in and out of boats, lots of scrambling around on rocks. And I notice the difference from last year. I’m not complaining. Not surprised. Just sayin’. Life hasn’t been all that physical for the last couple of months. A lot of curling up in the fetal position and etc.. Strangely that’s not all that restful. I think you get better rest when you’re a little physically tired out to begin with. It’s doing me wonders to be up here, I think.

The radiation burns are pretty well healed up at this point.  I’ve still got a certain amount of discomfort from the ex-tumor itself, but it gets a little better each day.  While N.S. is paradise for me, I am pretty excited to get back in the shop.. to get back to work.  The orders are piling up.  Current wait time for a bike, with a little surgery time accounted for, is about six months!

The other day, Hill and I took a walk to back harbor.  A year (plus a few weeks) ago I did the same walk with my mom and step-father, and we discussed the feasibility of becoming a frame builder.  It’s hard for me to believe that one year later I could be in such a different place..  that one year ago, I didn’t even know how to weld.  It’s a crazy life.  And a hell of a lot of fun.