Monday, December 21, 2009

Second Anniversary of Surgery



It's been exactly two years since my AP resection surgery. Last week I talked with Dr. A about my recent CT and MRI scans which show nothing new (yeah!). I asked what she used as the "zero time" of the survival curves - she said surgery date is something they use traditionally rather than diagnosis date. So I'm officially two years down the curve - these curves are called DFS-Kaplan-Meier(KM) probability curves (see graph below).

In earlier stages of cancer, these curves seem to have an asymptote - that is they flatten out to some non-zero constant (the number still surviving after x months). More likely, they approach the KM curves non-cancer people of similar age. Probably the slope is something like 1% per year. Compared to 30% per year (in the early parts of the Stage 3 curve), I'll take 1% as close to zero. :)

The winter solstice occurs when Earth's spin axis has it's maximum tilt away from the sun. This year, it occured today at 17:47 UTC. The spin access of Earth does not visibly change direction over a sinlge orbit of the sun. Due to the fairly even mass distribution, and damping forces, the earth's axis wobbles only slightly (and precesses slowly) - this is called nutation.

The solstice happens twice each year - in summer and winter. At these times, the sun's declination angle is an extremal - it "stands still" (sol stitum) as it changes direction from it's lowest or highest angle relative to the horizon. Of course, in the heliocentric reference frame, the sun stands still and everything else moves. This is pretty natural for our neighborhood. Relative to the galactic center of mass, the sun does move but at only about 250 km/sec (tiny by galaxy standards).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Funny Stuff - Palin vs. Silverman


I'm in a light mood today. It's probably due to the unseasonably cold weather we are having today - bright skies and -10C. I'll post the more serious stuff next week.
Here's a picture I found of Sarah Palin - gosh I'm wondering why I did not vote for her.
Also, check out this video by another, smarter and funnier (and cuter) Sarah.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Sullivan Does not Do It As Well

Hello all. Dateline: Kabul uh? Cambridge MA. The results of the City Council election were finalized yesterday. Eddie Sullivan did not gain a seat. The Sullivan family has a long history here. Sullivans have been mayor five times since the creation. The other historical surname here is Russell
The first major of Cambridge, William Russell became a governor of Mass. Richard, Leonard and Sheila have been majors.
Marjorie Decker had to a run a write-in "sticker" campaign for city council due to a late filing. She succeeded in being elected - starting with 1,285 #1 votes in the first round, she made the quota of 1,595 votes in the 13th round. We use a proportional system to elect our nine councillors (based on voters selecting up to nine choices in order of preference). It's a complex system and avoids runoff elections. It allow all nine candidates to run city wide.

Cambridge Election Results

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Garage Door Done


My 2-car garage is quite old. I believe it was built around the time the Ford Model T became available. It's made of concrete block and brick with a poured reinforced concrete roof supported by a central large steel I-beam. It's built like a bomb shelter but the blocks are clearly made well before the atomic age. So the reason is likely related to the worries about gasoline fires. Fire codes around 1907 must have called for this kind of construction. The doors for the first auto garages were modeled on those for horse carriage houses. basically large out-swing hinged doors built out of wood with galvanized steel cladding.

Before I owned the house someone had replaced one of the doors with a "modern" spring-balanced overhead sliding door.Here's a before pic and some during removal of the old door. I purchased a new Clopay steel door. First the rails needed to be attached to the concrete.



I needed a good hammer-drill to make holes in the hard, old concrete roof and the concrete blocks.Here's a pic of the beastie. I love tools.









I mounted some PT lumber to the door opening to create an easy structure for the rail verticals. I used concrete compression anchors and construction glue.



I mounted the rail verticals using lag screws. Since the door weighs a 100 lbs, I had to change the assembly method for a one person job. Normally, all four door sections are assembled and lifted into place. I decided to mount each section to the rails, bottom to top, separately. This requires the rail verticals to be nicely prealigned as each section is placed.
After the door was fully assembled, I needed to place the extension springs, pulleys and cables. I slowly added tension to the system as I levered the door up (Archimedes style)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Second Annual Stoma Colonoscopy


Yesterday, I had my second stoma colo. It's almost one year to the day of my first one. And this one was virtually a carbon copy of the last. Last year I wrote it all up in gory detail.


My chemo buddy, Ellen, was my designated ride. No going home alone with that nice benzo-opioid cocktail in your system - even on the T. :) I like to upload a picture to make these posts a tad more interesting. Let me rummage around for a second OK, food pics are always nice. mmm


Monday, July 20, 2009

First Anniversary of Chemo

Today is a replendent day in Beantown. The greens are glowing and the sky is pale cerulean. Cambridge, MA is a sister city of Florence (Firenze), the capital of Tuscany. Also, Coimbra Portugal. Yesterday I skated along the Charles River and the day before I rode my bike to Everett, MA along the Mystic River which is not to be confused with the other Mystic Rivers out there. The book and movie with this title are based in Boston. The other one is near the town of Mystic, CT - a very pretty place on the ocean. Several movies have been shot there. Mystic Pizza is probably the most popular one with Julia Roberts making her film debut.

News from the medical front: I saw Dr. C, my wonderful surgeon, a week to two ago - we meet once a year since I'm being followed more closely by Dr. A, my oncologist. In May, she told me I won't have to see her (and get more scans) for another six months. So I won't have the pleasure of her company until Nov. I'm scheduled for my 2nd stoma colonoscopy in August - almost one year to the day from my last one. Perhaps a one month delay would be nice - can't hurt (I hope).



This post needs a picture - let's see what I can upload from my hard drive.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The End of Kodachrome

Kodak announced yesterday that that Kodachrome will no longer be made. It's been around for almost three-quarters of a century. I don't know if it's freezable but I'm sure that many photographers, both amateur and professional, will be trying to preserve some rolls for a special event - the photographic equivalent of pulling an old bottle of champagne out of the cellar.

Kodak has prepared a nice slideshow demoing some of the photos taken with Kodachrome.

It's ironic that these slides are delivered via the www and displayed on a variey of current display devices from thumbnail to wall size. The analog slide show, using Kodak slide projectors and slide feeders, is a rare event these days. Perhaps this will allow me to have a Kodachrome party where guests will bring some of their slides. For a really large slide show click here .

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nine Months Post Chemo


This is scan weather. My onc told me it was time for another set of scans - three months since the last, I believe. Last week, I was in for a CT scan of chest, ab and pelvis. No changes since last - that's good. The radiologist also wanted an MRI for comparison - Dr. A gave me good news - the status is quo ante. :-) In celebration, I went for a nice bike ride to Bedford on the Minuteman Bikeway , one of the "rails to trails" projects in MA. Here's a pic of the Bedford Depot end.


I also did some celebratory eating and drinking at Jacob Wirth's - not healthy stuff of course.








Sunday, April 5, 2009

Springtime Without Chemo


Ice skating season is over in practice - my local ice rink is closed until late fall. This saves a bunch on electricity and also forces me to find alternatives. Since I love in-line skating on five-wheeler speedskates, it's not a big problem. I also like cycling. It's a lot easier on the body than in-lining on a bad surface (and most are). In-line wheels are made of solid polyurethane rubber and they transmit all the tiny bumps right up your legs. Pneumatic bicycle tires are a great invention - they absorb those high-frequency vibrations very well. I'm sure you've noticed how solid rubber tires are no longer in vogue. :)


Spring cleaning of in-line skates is a time to relax and bond with ones equipment. Bearings and wheels must be disassembled and evaluated.





Skating along the Charles River is quite convenient and the path on the Boston side, near BU has been recently redone. It is quite smooth and flat. The Charles river bike path is named after Dr. Paul Dudley White, a prominent Boston physician and cardiologist.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lastest CT Scan and Thanks to Many




Charles River Ice January 2003


It's Friday the 13th - the news is good - my MGH oncologist Dr. A says there is nothing on the scans to be concerned about at this point. My next scan is in three months. Having got here, I am in a thankful mode. I want to thank my MGH team: Dr. G, Dr. A, Dr. Z, Dr. H, and my great surgeon Dr. C, along with Emily O, NP; Esther O, RN, and Amy B. , Jill C-A, Ellen O. and all the nurses and specialists that have worked on me from head to toe. I also want to thank the staff at Blake 11 Dr. W & Dr. G for helping me through my recent issues. Without their recent work, there's no way I would be gallivanting across the Atlantic to skate the tracks and canals of the Netherlands.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Back From Netherlands

Back from the Netherlands



I just got back from a one week skating holiday in the Netherlands. The main reason for my visit was to catch up with the Ying/Daavis family in Utrecht. I had not seen them for quite a while.



Speedskating - or simply skating as the Dutch call it - is the national winter sport so there are a lot of 400m ice tracks is such a small country - 23 main ones at least. http://www.kunstijsbanen.nl/
You can practice your dutch on this site. Check out the different kinds of skates on the "schaatssoorten" link.


Utrecht

Utrecht

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Netherlands Natural Ice 2009

Large areas of the Dutch-land are frozen. But the northern area of Friesland - the traditional 11 cities area - has not experienced conditions as cold as the south of the country - Eindhoven and Rotterdam area. Dutch news story



End of post

Utility Pole Replacement in Cambridge (Riverside)

Last night a wooden  utility pole  cracked at the base and fell toward the neighboring pole across the street. This caused the wires to d...