October 22nd, 2012

a-links

[links] Link salad wishes the Child a Happy Birthday

Have you voted in the Kalimpura caption contest voting poll?

Cliff Nest> — The shadow hunters of underground Thailand. Wow.

A Space Shuttle on the Streets of Los Angeles — Cool time lapse video.

Fish Can Cloak, Become Invisible to PredatorsSilver-colored fish, such as herring, sardines and sprat, are bending the laws of physics, according to a new study published in Nature Photonics. The ability allows the fish to become invisible to predators. Ye canna' break the laws of physics, Jim.

Spa Massacre By Estranged Husband With Restraining Order — So, how many of your essential liberties did your guns defend yesterday? Were they worth these lives, too? Because that's what your guns cost every day: other people's lives. Thank god for the NRA and the Republican party: protecting the right of the angry to massacre.

Romnesia — President Obama, on fire. Romnesia, in case you missed it over the weekend. This is hilarious.

Issa defends releasing documents — This would be the same Congressman Issa who promised Congressional investigations of the Obama administration on virtually everything. Because reasons! More on the sterling qualities of this leading conservative.

Undecided Voters That Have No Business Being Undecided — I have to admit, I find the whole undecided voter phenomenon more than a bit baffling. On the other hand, I find likely Republican voters baffling, too, on the basis of logic, sheer common sense, and the GOP's actual record in office. (Look at the balance of the budget and the overall deficit the day Bush took office and compare those to the day he left, for one of the simplest and least controversial measures of the colossal failure of conservative governance and values that I can imagine.) But I suppose that's my own confirmation bias speaking.

The feedback loop catches up with Romney — Regarding Romney's constant lying. The question is: Why shouldn’t he do it? Republican-aligned media surely aren’t going to call him on it. Indeed, within the GOP political loop, there’s no one who is even going to realize that they have a basic factual thing wrong; that’s what happens when you convince yourself that the neutral press is out to get you, and you’ve trained your supporters to only pay attention to what they hear on Fox News and the Rush Limbaugh program, so you had better stay tuned to them yourself or else you won’t be able to talk the way you need to. Of course, that’s how a candidate winds up insulting half of America, because that’s what high-level party donors expect to hear. I'm old enough to remember when Republicans loudly proclaimed that "character counts". Not anymore, clearly. Or perhaps character only counts for Democrats and liberal-progressives. Especially in a post-truth world where conservatives cannot win on their ideas, and so must lie. ("I don't have time to go into that", "we'll tell you after the election", etc.)

?otD: When is your birthday?




10/22/2012
Writing time yesterday: 2.5 hours (Sekrit Projekt, 0.25 hours revisions on "A Stranger Comes to Kalimpura")
Body movement: 0.5 hour stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 9.0 hours
Weight: 229.2
Currently reading: n/a

cancer-biohazard_bag

[cancer] The psychic pain of Vectibix

As previously mentioned, thanks to my friend Vectibix (the anchor drug in my chemo regimen on this third series), I experience severe acne and moderate skin rashes. To combat this, I am given Doxycycline, which for its side effects induces both phototoxicity and photoallergic reaction, which much to my surprise is true immune system response. A bit more on the difference between the two here.

Fundamentally, this means my skin, especially the skin of my face, is one hot mess. Literally one to two minutes of direct exposure to sunlight can cause redness, swelling and cracking. This is because I'm profoundly sensitive to UV, to the point where the partial UV shielding provided by window glass or even many forms of clothing is not effective in blocking my skin reaction. (That was my new learning this weekend, by the way, that even most sunscreens don't fully block UV, and neither does window glass.) I've become twitchy at any sunlight, which must be operant conditioning in action, but is a very real phenomenon.

The medication currently prescribed by my doctor is 2.5% Hydrocortisone cream. I'm suppose to be using it daily from now until about next May. Except that Hydrocortisone cream has a well known side effect of thinning and damaging the skin on repeated application, including permanent scarring. So now I'm supposed to use it on the skin of my face, which is already so thin and damaged that I will emit blood spots under gentle pressure?

I am being deeply paranoid about this. My pharmacist, while being very careful not to criticize my doctor, strongly agrees with me.

The big problem here isn't dermatological, however. All of this is feeding a strong adverse emotional reaction. My disease has never before affected the way I present myself to the world with anything like this degree of obviousness. I feel disfigured, unattractive and marked. Basically, I look like I spent a week in Hawaii with no sunscreen eating nothing but chocolate and Crisco. This has quite badly rocked my social self-confidence, my relationship style, and my self image.

The people who love me still love me just the same. My friends and my friends. Strangers don't flee in screaming terror at my approach. Frankly, I haven't even noticed anyone staring at me in public. So I know it's not that bad. But it feels that bad. In part, because the skin on my face never feels normal. There's a constant sensation somewhere between itching and low-grade pain. This 'skip' week of chemo (thanks to me failing my blood tests last week) is giving me some relief, but I'm shedding skin flakes and dandruff everywhere I go. My beard coverage stings and feels brittle, but skin is too fragile to shave it off.

In other words, unlike virtually every other symptom and side effect of either cancer or chemotherapy which I have ever experienced, this one never lets up. Not for a minute.

It's always there, always reminding me, and always marking me out from the herd.

I feel like the proverbial pink monkey, and besides that, it always hurts. In some very real senses, this is the toughest thing cancer has made me put up with so far.