I’ve got rhythm (again)

Brief progress report on the treatment regime:

Yesterday (Tues, 14 Nov) I went in to have the “port” placed (on my starboard side, heh). Came out of the outpatient sedatives in the PACU with an incredibly bruised lump below my right breastbone, and to news that I was in “afibrillation”, my heart rate was spiking through the roof, and they were going to admit me. So they did.

And I spent the night in cardiac care, being extremely well taken care of, on an IV drip which eventually slowed my heart down to normal. Come morning, the cardiologist came by to say I was still “afib”, and might need what I’m calling a “hard reboot”: out, then immediately back in with the help of paddles. But first, they took me off the IV and gave me a big oral dose of the same med. It knocked me back into sinus rhythm without the reboot :)

I also still had the scheduled bone scan today… That turned out to make me a temporary low-dose radioactive source (gamma rays, from technetium), with images collected passively by a scanner. I got to see the  monitor — it was fascinating. On the screen were two cloudy shapes, resembling me from opposite angles facing each other, formed of scintillations, as if I were some distant irregular galaxy mirrored by a gravitational lens.

On another screen, farther away so I couldn’t see details, was a complete reproduction of my skeleton. I said “Put me in a 3D printer!”

Finally got released at about 3 pm (local time). Tomorrow morning I’m still on schedule for more gamma; this time as the receptor, not the source, as they zap the tumors in my head — barring unforeseen circumstances like yesterday’s, that will be an outpatient treatment and I’ll go to work after.

Chemo should start the week after Thanksgiving, and so should… not a return to the old routine, but a new one that makes room for the chemo among the other things.

So it goes.

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Stage IV

Stage IV: cancers have often metastasized, or spread to other organs or throughout the body.

(source)

Wednesday next (14 Nov), I’m having a “port” installed. That’s a semi-permanent intravenous inlet, in my upper right chest, to avoid the difficulty of weekly IV insertions into the arm, etc., and the gradual hardening of the tissue around such sites (which would eventually necessitate a port, anyway). After a week’s healing and a follow-up exam, I begin chemotherapy, cycling a cocktail of three drugs through a tri-weekly schedule.

The following day (15 Nov, tentative at time of writing, to be confirmed Monday), I’ll receive micro-targeted radiation to the metastasis on my brain. So far, this is planned as a single treatment. Subsequent scans will evaluate success.

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Waiting rooms in cancer centers offer a number of free publications (many published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a.k.a. the US CDC) containing advice for patients. It appears that emphasis in the discussion of cancer treatment has evolved toward “quality of life” rather than “cure” (prevention and cure are still, of course, the thrusts of research). The point is: Don’t rely on the chemicals — your quality of life is yours to control, not the medicine’s. The three suggestions I find to be most important are:

EAT — I weigh approximately 10 pounds (5 kg) less than the optimum weight of my slightly younger years — and 25 lbs below the most I’ve ever weighed — and it continues to decline. The oncologist told me, “everything that a cardiologist will tell you to avoid, oncologists want you to indulge in.”

EXERCISE — which I do almost none of, exercising my brain instead through hours spent in front of computer screens at work and at home.

EXPRESS — Cancer counselors encourage their patients to keep a diary or journal, or a blog; that, at least, I’ve got down already. As said before, most of the people who I know, admire, respect, and care about are, themselves, expressions of personalities I have never met face to face (and likely never will)… The way to reach them, and for them to reach me, is through this blog, and Twitter. It has worked marvelously so far, and I cann0t ever be grateful enough for the support received. <3

Thus: the evolution of “Like it Is” to include more of the organic me, while trying to maintain the connection to the virtual worlds I know you all from. It will, by necessity, remain pseudonymous — the most important person on the planet reads it; she is not also an avatar, she knows the name in my wallet, yet she, too, calls me “Lalo” :)

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I hope, soon, to be reporting from the pixel side — for instance, Inara Pey blogged about “The Garden”, an immersive game-space sim in Second Life (created mainly by Salome Strangelove) which has me so intrigued that I may, for the first time ever, indulge in such a pastime. Also, Alizarin Goldflake has a new art installation, “The Niagara River”, opening soon in InWorldz; everything Ali does is a must-see.

And of course, I’ll continue to update my physical news as it happens.

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Excused Absence

I’ve been absent from this blog for far longer than I’d like. No, I haven’t died… but my computer did. The results of the autopsy haven’t been released, but the likely cause of death was a power surge resulting from a lightning strike during last Sunday’s thunderstorms — which, incidentally, also fried my DSL modem (replaced this past Tuesday, at no charge – thanks AT&T!).

[It may not surprise you that there were tornado warnings in Central Indiana… but, in February???]

It may be too much to hope that the hard drive itself survived, but still… there’s a metric ton of photos on it taken in-worlds (SL and IWz both), including more than 50 from last Sunday’s 7-hour #sltweetup at Skate Foss’ gorgeous Matanzas sim, which I was about to begin editing for posting here.

~sigh~

So, while my formerly “good” computer is now an expensive doorstop, and before I amass a medium-sized wad of cash to drop on its replacement, I’m using this six-year-old Dell [single 2.8GHz P4 CPU, 2Gb RAM, GeForce 6200] that I keep for just such emergencies. It’s the one I entered Second Life with, back in ’07, but the world and the viewers have changed so that I’m not even going to try, now. I tried two years ago, when the original hard drive in the big box bought the farm… <2 fps on Low graphics with DD at 96m is not my idea of a good time, not after a couple of years of being able to run Ultra at 256 meters (and higher, for taking overview shots of full sims).

It’s been a bit of an adventure, taking this old wheezer out of its box and discovering what’s on it, and what’s not — the latter including 77 (!!!) updates to Windows XP that have been released since the last time. The photo folders still contain all of my oldest SL shots, from before I even had anything more than integrated graphics… godz, they look awful now! Guess I’ve learned a thing or three in the interim.

Meanwhile… no Virtuality for Lalo, except from the vicarious vantage of reading my friends’ blogs and tweets about it. Speaking of which, you ought to be reading Honour McMillan and Chestnut Rau regularly — they’re both posting prolifically about extremely cool sims they find, and I can’t wait to follow the SLurls myself. There’s a new exhibit at Originalia, too, including Scottius Polk – after “Metaluna” and “mushROOM”, I know it’s got to be amazing.

One thing I’ve been happy to miss direct contact with: Red Zone. It’s been around for long enough that perhaps an attempt at scanning me was made while out hunting (yes, I do hunts some times, when Ali IMs me to say there’s “guy stuff” as hunt gifts). I say “attempt” because I keep streaming media disabled as a matter of principle, and streaming audio doesn’t work in the Imprudence 1.4 Experimental viewer I use, so maybe I’ve been immune to Red Zone all along.

The latest buzz, as of today, is about the “achievement system” in the new Community Whatsit on SL’s website. ~yawn~ If it works as a behavior modification tool there, then more power to it. With extremely rare exceptions, I stayed far away from the previous couple of incarnations of the Flogrums; I’m not about to go there now, and I really don’t give a rodent’s posterior about an auto-generated email with some Linden’s name on it awarding me some bullshit badge.

I can award myself badges for bullshitting, right here ;)

BUT! (minor brag alert)

My weekly stats report from Sitemeter mentioned that I’d passed the 11,000-visit mark, and while looking that up I stumbled across this referral link, by which I’d received a visit or three: a post from Torley Linden on Tumblr. Nice to know that someone at the Lab has noticed, and it’s kinda cool that it’s the most *ahem* eccentric of the bunch, as well as probably the only one still on-staff who was around back then.

Now that’s what I call an achievement badge from a Linden! Friendly greetings backatcha, dude!

Anyway… Keep those blogs and tweets coming, my friends! I miss your pixels terribly (especially Ali’s, of course!), but at least I’ve got your words, and the personalities behind them.

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