March 29th, 2012
Archive for March, 2012
March 23rd, 2012
(For those who like reading about cancer and poop and dying and stuff, this will be a post about bicycles)
Yesterday I finally got all the parts together to build up a bike that I’ve been working on for the last several weeks. It’s sort of a special one. It was purchased as an anniversary present for the customer by his wife. Very sweet, I thought. She gave me carte blanche to do whatever it was that her husband wanted. When I emailed him to find out what that was exactly, he sent me this picture..
So I got to work.
I’m being a little coy. There was more of a conversation than that.. but not too much more. The customer made it pretty clear that he was up for letting me explore. There were a few criteria. Front disk brake.. single speed.. he liked the raw steel.
I sent him back a picture at some point and said, “I’d like to build you the bike that goes with these bars”.
He was game and Thunderfucker 5 emerged!
The seat clamp and top cap were particularly fun little details to make. I got a lathe in the late summer, and it has opened up a whole world of possibilities. The threaded side of the seat clamp is sleeved with steel so that it’ll be less likely to strip if someone really GRONKS on it.
The bars are quite comfortable, and not spongy like the Billsam bars proved to be. It’s a little scary to make an integrated bar stem combo since you are loosing the ability to adjust. The bar angle is set, and if you don’t like it, well, start over! If the stem length is wrong, you can’t just run out and get a new stem. There’s a reason that we tend to use separate parts! BUT if you get it right, it’s pretty sweet. (the verdict is still out, of course, but the unnamed client is the same size as me, and I find it all very comfy!)
I used the singlespeed dropouts that I designed for sliding interior mount sliding disk brakes. I used two drive side drops since a rear brake was not requested and I removed the fender and rack tabs. I like the feel of these guys.. little monsters. (a movie about putting on the faces over here).
A fun project. I will be sad to see it go (particularly since I am looking for a bike with a saddle for myself at the moment! Hmm…)
March 20th, 2012
And just like that, I’m a little less bionic!
The young anesthesiologist was from NH.
“Oh yeah! I’m from vermont”
He blushed a little. “That’s funny.. I know putney well..”
“Dare I ask?”
Turns out he’d had a civil union there back in the dark ages of the marriage equality movement.
“I thought you looked familiar!”
He gave me a little fentanyl and I got to enjoy that familiar narcotic optimism for about 45 seconds before the propofol put me to sleep.
Today. Back to work.
March 18th, 2012
This new doc agrees with me that there’s no reason to have it in.
That if, down the road, I am offered more chemo for some reason, and am bat shit crazy enough to accept it.. (or am some how otherwise compelled), I can have another put in. I’ve already had two. What’s the big deal with doing a third. This one has never worked properly anyway.
As to the fate of the assless. Thank you all for your input.. I think I’ve arrived at a decision. In the interest of embracing a use-it-up-wear-it-out attitude, and the notion that nothing is precious, I think I’m going to strip that thing down and re-purpose the parts.. despite the limitation that will put on the ultimate result!
Thank you Eric.. you’re absolutely right. I don’t need any more trophies. I’ve got the scars and shit bag to remind me. And really? do I NEED any reminders?
I fear that some of you may have misinterpreted my intentions. Finding a way to put a seat on the assless isn’t on the table. The steering geometry on that thing is designed for stand up riding, not to mention that I can’t abide kludgy solutions.. But the soul of the assless will find a way into the new bike, along with all of it’s useful parts.
(or maybe I’ll change my mind this afternoon..)
March 16th, 2012
I went on a little 4 park trot this morning (steel toed boot with the toe caved in?). St nick, riverside, central, and morningside. What a pleasure to live so close to so many parks! I’ve been a bit lax about posting my runs. I’ve kept it up, though not as frequent as at the start. The weather has been getting nice enough to play a little handball as well. I’m definitely getting it back. Feeling progress.
I have lots of good news to report. I’ve been feeling over the last week or so that I’m coming out of a stretch of depression that was a lot worse than I realized. It coincides in a chicken or egg type way with lots of good news lately.
Increased doses of gabapantin (nuerontin) seem to be helping to dull my sciatic pain. There have been a few instances in the last couple of days when I’ve been surprised to notice that it’s not really there!
Irrigation is working, after a few fits and starts at the beginning. I have been continent for over a month now. What an amazing change in quality of life. I guess I won’t got into too many details about it here, but if any of you reading are in my situation and want info, don’t hesitate to contact me.
On wednesday, I went with Hill to meet a surgeon who came highly recommended. The idea was to see if he was a guy we liked enough to be my new surgeon, AND to see who he thought was the right doc to be my new oncologist (I may have given the impression in a previous post that I had a new doc in place. Not so. I was stepping into the void!). We sat in an exam room for a while waiting for a resident who was going to take my history. In walked a beautiful red head who looked strangely like hill (and hill agreed.. not just that all red heads look alike), and as I was realizing that I recognized her, she said, “Ezra, right?” (not the name on my chart.. I am daniel e. (zra) caldwell.. I’ve been ezra since I was about 3).
She was the resident working with my old surgeon on my last surgery. She had been a beacon of light during that week or so in the hospital. The only one of the team of docs and residents who I really trusted, and felt I could speak with frankly. She didn’t have to take my history. Remarkably she remembered it! She remembered that the tumor had been particularly stuck, and that they hadn’t managed to get totally clean margins. Remembered that here was lymph node involvement. Remembered that for the entire team, I had really stuck out because I was otherwise so young and healthy. She seemed very happy, and maybe a little surprised, that I was (still alive?) looking as healthy as I am. A strange, but very comforting reunion. She’s finishing her residency in a couple of months, and if she wasn’t moving to the west coast, I’d want her to be my surgeon.
When the Surgeon came in, he had clearly been briefed. We instantly liked him. Young, progressive, personable, and very frank. He had looked at my last three petscans, and was very comforted that without any treatment over the last 9 or 10 months, the curious presacral mass had shown a steady move towards resolution. He said that my cancer appeared to be “stable.” He recommended genetic testing and an MRI with contrast to get a better look at the actual content of the area to try and figure out what the hell it is.. inactive tumor? scar tissue? pocket of leaking bone marrow? (was that on the list?).
This is all well and fine, but I’m getting to the part where there’s good news that will actually affect my day to day life! When I asked him about riding a bike, and explained my ex-doc’s attitude and theory, hi grinned from ear to ear. He was on the verge of laughter. He said, “ok.. I’m trying to maintain some level of professional decorum here..”
I said, “so.. pure unmitigated horse shit?”
He nodded, still trying not to laugh.
“riding a bike did NOT give you cancer.”
“but could it speed up a recurrence IF your saddle was adjusted in such a way that there was pressure on the area somehow (why would your saddle be adjusted that way?)”
“there is no evidence of that.. no.. there are some cancers that are caused by repeated trauma to the skin etc.. etc.. not colon cancer”
And there was much rejoicing.
There is one small problem. Two weeks ago, I sold my urban transportation bike.. FTW!!!! The DoubleDuallyDinglefucker now belongs to my race car driving hair dresser (who has lusted after it for a few years and threw in free haircuts for life for me and Hill to sweeten the deal. My mom already gets them in return for his first fast boy..)
So. I don’t actually have a bike to ride at the moment. There’s the nose bike.. not really great for covering ground. There are a few fixed gear bikes, that I’m a little too old and sore to ride, whose seat posts and saddles have long since been pirated for other projects. There’s my tourer, which isn’t really a lock up bike. (I’m sure you all feel my pain.. an embarrassment of bikes, but nothing appropriate to ride.. awww muffin ).
Can’t really afford to build myself a new bike at the moment!
BUT! AHA! The assless has a beautiful, donated build on it (minus a seat post and saddle), that I could swap onto a new frame to make a new urban assault single speed! That might be just the right symbolic move! We’ll see. Then again, maybe that build would limit the possibilities too much. Maybe the assless should remain whole with its flashy new paint job and get hung up as a reminder.. for posterity (posteriority?) Please feel free to way in. We’ll take a poll.
Whoa! This got long. It seems maybe that in emerging from this little depression the pendulum has swung towards mania! A welcome change, frankly. If you’re still reading, thanks.
Finally, the very best news of the day.
My friend and neighbor, Gail, found out a few short weeks ago that she had breast cancer. Since then she’s been on the cancer roller coaster leading up to surgery a few days ago. Last night she was moved from the ICU into general recovery, and she’s doing great. The surgery seems to have been a success. From the first round of on the spot biopsies, the margins appear to be clear, and there is no lymph node involvement. As it is with this beast, there are always more tests. She’ll hear back in a while about the more advanced pathology. Please keep fingers crossed for her.
March 11th, 2012
I’m trying to get into the habit of shooting more process pictures/videos in the shop. I made these.. um.. chopstick clamps yesterday to make a clumsy part of the process a little smoother. They work great!
A couple of days ago I noticed that the fog seemed to be lifting. Like getting over a cold you’ve had for a month or so, and realizing in retrospect just how crappy you felt. I’m emerging and realizing that I’ve been pretty depressed for MONTHS.
March 7th, 2012
I apologize for the silence.
It’s been a busy few weeks. After considerable deliberation I decided to switch doctors. This has really been a long time coming, but trickier to implement than I could have imagined. Most of the complication came from the fact that my doctor is a family friend and a guy who’s known me since I was just 4. At the outset, this was a godsend. A familiar face that I could simply put my trust in and get started with treatment. But over the last 3 and a half years, as my case has gotten more and more complicated, there were some personality issues that made working with him progressively harder. I don’t care to enumerate the issues here, because he remains a close friend. I HAVE let him go, however, and just got back from my final appointment with him.
We agreed that a final Pet/ct would be appropriate, and today I went in for the results.
The highlights from the report are:
Presacral mass has decreased in size and has lower uptake.
Is now 1.5 cm X 3.3 cm, down from 2.0 X 4.7
SUV is 2.3 down from 2.7 “just minimally hypermetabolic”
There is a 4x5mm nodule in the lung that in retrospect was present before, but too small to mention.
Now big enough to mention. It has no uptake.. BUT the report does mention that it is too small to be able to characterize with any certainty.
Bert (ex-doc) was not upset about this, though the radiologist took the time to call him about it.
Clearly having a new doc’s eyes on it will be helpful.
The news never seems to be simply GOOD. But all things considered this is a good report. This makes three PETs in a row that show the mass getting smaller and less active, which lends weight to the theory that it is simply post surgical tissue resolving.. slooooowly. Instead of the possibility that this might, in fact, be a tumor.
OK. gotta make some phone calls