August 30th, 2011
Finally heard from the doc yesterday about the new blood work. The liver enzymes have resolved themselves, but the tumor marker (CEA) actually went up.
Petscan tomorrow morning.
The CEA marker is apparently pretty notorious. Lots of false positives AND false negatives. What’s the point of even using it? Its success rate seems to be the highest in people like me, however. That is, people with stage three colorectal cancer. And clearly it’s a useful enough measure that it can’t be ignored.
I doubt very much that the petscan will show anything at all. Tumors have to be pretty sizable to show up in a pet. Obviously, it’s great news if a pet is clear, but it doesn’t mean that you can stop the vigilance. It particularly doesn’t offer too much comfort if tumor marker levels continue to climb, and you’ve got no explanation for it.
It’s another lesson in patience, I guess. In trying not to let the unknown, the unknowable, affect your day to day too much. (starting to cut up tubes this morning for Nose bikes 2 and 3.. I’m a little obsessed. These things are awesome! Everyone should have one.)
I could have pet results as soon as tomorrow afternoon. An update soon.
August 25th, 2011
On Monday my doc’s assistant gave me a call asking if I could come in. My last batch of blood-work was a little irregular. Two liver enzymes were high. And a cancer marker was elevated. A cancer marker that was never even elevated when I HAD cancer. We’re not sure what to make of it. We’ve re-done the blood work, and now it’s more of that particularly sickening brand of hurry-up-and-wait that we never quite get used to. It could be that it was a bad test.. or some other sort of anomaly, but I’m having to mentally prepare for the possibility that there’s going to be a fair amount of poking and prodding for the next little while to try and get to the bottom of it. Naturally it’s hard not to let your mind jump ahead. I’m tired. Not sure I’ve got the energy for this.
SO! yesterday I went out to the shop and made the final push on a new prototype I’ve been working on. I would like to present NOSE BIKE mk1!!!
Ever since I started making frames, it was my idea that I’d most like to build cargo bikes. Things kept getting in the way, though. Orders for single speed townies and rando bikes mostly! NYC presents an interesting challenge when it comes to cargo bikes. Theft is bad enough that most people aren’t willing to leave their bikes outside.. And most people don’t have garages! let alone their very own front door. I liked the idea of making something with decent cargo capacity that still rode well, and was small/light enough to be able to carry up to your fifth floor walk up! About a week ago I decided to assert myself a little and get this idea out of my head and on to the road. It’s not a new idea. Small front wheel. Frame mounted rack. Carrying cargo in the front allows you to keep the wheelbase pretty short since you’re not having to avoid your heels as they pedal. The frame mounted rack all but completely gets rid of the handling problems usually associated with front loads. The small front wheel gets that weight nice and low so that the bike isn’t top heavy and doesn’t want to fall over sideways quite so badly!
I rode it down to the bike shop last night, and the boys threw a bunch of bike locks on the front. We calculated that it was between 65 and 75 lbs worth. The bike got a little noodle-y with that much mass, but really rode just fine. 65 lbs is a LOT of groceries.
It handles much more intuitively than I could have hoped for. It takes about 1 trip around the block to feel comfortable on it.. Though riding with no hands is a little tricky.
This one is just a prototype. I think it will go through some subtle changes. Going to build a few more this coming week. (place your orders at your earliest convenience.. everyone is going to need a nose bike!)
Today I’m exhausted. It’s been a busy bunch of days in a row in the shop, and a fair bit of anxiety to keep down. It’s rainy in NYC today, and I keep finding myself back in bed.
August 21st, 2011
A few of you have written recently to point out that it has been a while. Time flies when you’re not in treatment, I guess. All is well. I’m working hard in the shop. Currently, taking a week or so out to work on the prototype of a lightweight urban cargo bike. More on that soon (I’ll finish the frame today or tomorrow, and will throw parts on it as soon as they all arrive.. tuesday? wednesday?). Even though it is still august, we’ve had a slightly cooler spell recently. So very welcome. It’s been cool enough at night that Putney and Hill have been back to their old tricks. When I come upstairs after making coffee in the morning, I usually carry a camera. In case.
After the last post, I got an unusual number of emails. As it turns out there are many of you out there who are familiar enough with the kind of terrifying episode I had that afternoon up in Nova Scotia. In some ways it sounds as though I got off pretty easy! (there’s a scary thought). Happily, I haven’t had any repeats of that event since. I have had moments of the kind of nagging doubt that triggered the thing, but a sort of impotent version of it that doesn’t drag me down to any real level of despair. I suppose I’m waiting for it.
Briefly. The sciatica persists. Good days and bad, but never really gone. I’m getting stronger. (I’m a full 20 pounds heavier than I was when I came home from the hospital! Maybe that’s a little excessive). I feel as though the chemo messed up my connective tissue. Any of you cancer folks out there know what I’m talking about? My joints hurt. And ligaments. And Tendons. It doesn’t take much. Hoping that it’s just a body beat up from chemo slowly recovering.. Hoping that it’s not a question of natural aging that snuck up on me while I was distracted! I am, however, medication free.
Getting some baby time in Chicago with our new niece, Violet, was amazing. A little angel. One afternoon while Hill and Leslie got ice cream, I wandered around the neighborhood with violet. No stroller, no diaper bag, just baby. People can’t help but smile at you when you’ve got a baby. It seems to bring out the humanity in most.
“oh she’s precious!! congratulations..”
I was more than happy to not correct them.
“how old is she?”
After the 10th person or so I started to be tempted to say, “I’m not really sure… she was a stray.”
I want one.