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Murderous Family Jewel

April 8, 2015 | Cancer, Life

I’m probably premature in posting this but having it out in the open means that I can talk freely about it. My apologies but this is going to be a bit discombobulated.

My left testicle was trying to kill me. He has since been banished from his sac. I also have swollen lymph nodes around my kidneys. It is still unknown if the cancer has metasticized. We’ll be keeping an eye on the lymph nodes to see if they respond to the removal of the testicle and I have a CT scan scheduled to see if there’s any indication that the cancer has spread further.

The Backstory

This all started last May. I had pain in my sac and in my lower back. The diagnosis was that I had a swollen testicle because of a kidney infection. I got the standard round of antibiotics and genuinely felt better after the treatment. But later the pain came back. Further diagnosis was that I didn’t have a swollen vegetable but a shrinking one. Alas, no better diagnosis was made at this time. At no point did anyone order any kind of radiology or ultrasound to look around inside.

Fast forward a few months of having tried another doctor to no avail and finally picking a new doctor at the newly opened facility near my house. Upon bringing the doctor up to speed his jaw almost hit the floor when he learned that at no point had anyone put me in for an ultrasound. So, I get one. And it sees lumps around the kidneys and on the testicle, but not with enough resolution for a diagnosis. Then an MRI which sees swollen lymph nodes and, fucking hell, a lump on the testicle.

Next step: surgery. That brings us to today. The folks at work have already taken to calling me The Uniballer.

Current state of affairs

So for now the future of treatment is unknown. Could be radiation, could be chemo, and might involve more surgery, an RPLND, if the lymph nodes are too far gone. We’ll know more this coming Monday after the biopsy, CT scan and pathology results come together. I’m back to work after next week but two weeks after that is when ongoing treatment should begin.

While I’m sure that Kaiser has a fine cancer treatment program I’ll be looking at other centers as a possibility. UCSF is right across the bay and has a good reputation for Cancer research and treatment. There are other good centers in the bay area as well. I’ve also been pointed to MD Anderson but they’re in Texas and will be in consideration if I need to undergo an RPLND.

Right now its just typical surgery recovery. Get help when standing up. Try not to cough. Get plenty of fluids and rest. And get plenty of naps because the pain meds only last long enough for a short sleep before I get woken up again. I’m pretty sure that I have a little phantom pain where my boy used to be.

I’m trying to humor my way through this but that only goes so far. I’ve broken down already both in fear of the surgery and recovery, and in anger that this even happened at all. I hope I’m over it now because its not very productive, but that’s probably wishful thinking.

Support Network

My wife has been amazing. We’re only a week in to diagnosis and she’s already done so much. I don’t think that there will be enough opportunity to call out her contribution to the recovery effort. She’s talked me down, she’s let me be. She’s helped me up and down. She’s kept me on schedule when I’m too tired to remember. And this is the easy part… The hard part is yet to come. I’ll be leaning on her more than I ever have before and I know that she’ll lean back and support me. Fortunately she’s got good friends to help her as well.

I am also extremely lucky with my work situation. I have a good health insurance plan and Twilio is a truly, fantastically, wonderful group of people. The emotional and professional support that I’ve received so far has just blown me away.

And I am really grateful for the experiences of friends. I have a “wonder-twin” who lost his right testicle last year. He has been very open in sharing details of his ordeal. While he did manage to calm me down about the orchiectomy he has, in fact, scared me shit-less about the possibility of chemo.

A few random musings about the current state of affairs:

  • I only threw up twice after the surgery.
  • Hydrocodone makes me REALLY itchy.
  • 3 days post-exorcism and I still haven’t pooped. That’s also to blame on the Hydrocodone.
  • The feel of a half-empty nut sac is something that I hope none of you ever need know.
  • Penis shaped cakes look better than they taste.

Changes to this site.

I’m turning off comments on this site. I kinda need this to be an outlet where I can write freely, write badly, and not have to necessarily engage in conversation about my feelings. There’s plenty of places on the internet for engagement. I’m sure those will work out just fine.

Parting shot

Survival rates for ball cancer are some of the best out there. It has a well known path of progression and treatments of the various types of cancer are well studied. I doubt that I’ll present anything out of the ordinary or that anyone in the biz hasn’t already seen. Even after metastasization to the lungs and even to the brain the treatment rates are really high. So I have that going for me.

And get yer balls checked. I wouldn’t have found this before having pain. My tumor is within the testicle and I’d not have been able to find it by inspection. It wasn’t until it started hurting and shrinking that I had any indication that anything was wrong.

1972 CB350 Rebuild Begins

August 31, 2014 | Life, Motorcycles

Haven’t had much to write about lately. But my recent introduction to the world of motorcycling (I’ve been riding for about a year now and currently scoot on an ’02 BMW R1150R) has given me more than just the desire to ride, but the desire to modify.

The wife recently joined me on two wheels so we got an old 1972 Honda CB350 for her to learn on. Unfortunately the “’till it breaks” in “ride it ’till it breaks” wasn’t very long, so we upgraded her to a more modern bike that she’ll be able to enjoy for a while to come and the CB350 is getting rebuilt.

Tear down began a few weeks ago. Here it is with all the easy bits taken off:

The CB350 tear down has begun.

Next the engine came out:

Engine is out...

And finally it was reduced to just the frame:

Down to the frame.

Next steps are degreasing and rust removal in preparation for a powder-coat in black.

The rebuild isn’t going to be a restoration. I don’t care about it being original. I want it to be a fun driver. I’m gonna upgrade the forks to something more robust, maybe from a newer CB500. Upgrade to disc brakes, and slim it down to just what it needs to be functionally legal. No, its not gonna be a cafe racer… more scrambler/brat, if that makes any sense at all.

All in all I’m greasy, I have parts all over the garage, and I have a long road ahead. This is gonna be great!

Digging up the past

July 17, 2013 | Photography

In a good way.

I’ve been wanting a slide duplicator for some time now. I’ve got a lot of slides from college as well as a lot of family slides that I want to digitize. I picked up a Pentax Bellows M with Slide Duplicator off of eBay for a damn good price.

Below is a quick test with minor adjustments. I attached an old Pentax K mount Sigma 70-200 on there and adjusted it in to place. And voila. Mom, Dad, my Sister & Iggy the dog. The date says December 1973 but I think that’s probably the processing date and that the photo is from earlier in the year.

Mom, Dad, Sister & Iggy

The original wasn’t the sharpest photo in the world, but looking at how sharp the dust specks are I think this setup will do just fine 😉

I would have much preferred to use one of my 50mm Pentax lenses but I needed to pull back to get the right magnification adjustment for the APC sensor in the camera. Maybe now I need to find myself a nice 85mm lens to use here? Just don’t tell the wife I said that 😉

I’ve never been able to justify a dedicated slide scanner. But for $80 shipped I couldn’t pass this up. So now I need to dig up a bunch of slides and get my parents to mail me what they have all boxed up and get to work.

Its a lot to do but I’m quite looking forward to it…

Happy Monkey

July 15, 2013 | Life, Photography


Monkey, Too

So, who likes that new Y! nav bar on Flickr?

July 13, 2013 | Computers

Yeah, that’s what I thought. There’s a lot going on in the Flickr interface as it is. Adding a garish purple Yahoo! bar across the top just sends my eyes in to fits.

So here’s a bit of CSS that’ll hide nav bar in its current incarnation:

  1.  body.with-eyebrow #eyebrow {
  2.   display: none;
  3.  }
  4.  body.with-eyebrow {
  5.   background-position: left top !important;
  6.  }
  7.  body.with-eyebrow #global-nav {
  8.   top: 0 !important;
  9.  }
  10.  body.with-eyebrow .subnav-refresh {
  11.   margin-top: 0 !important;
  12.  }

Now, here’s the tricky part: where do you put this? Most browsers include a user stylesheet override that can be edited. Its just a matter of where this file is.

For example, on OSX using Chromium that file is located at ~/Library/Application\ Support/Chromium/Default/User\ StyleSheets/Custom.css

Finding the location of the file on your specific browser is outside the scope of this article. So do a quick search on Google, edit your custom CSS file, and bask in the glory of a less suckage on the flickr interface.