July 13th, 2013


[links] Link salad once upon a time in the West

Tolerance For Intolerance: Boycotting Ender’s GameThat’s [Orson Scott Card] doubling down and saying, “You need to tolerate my intolerance.” Which is a classic derailing tactic that smells so strongly of horseshit that when he says it I wonder if I’m actually living inside a horse’s ass. Just because we elected Obama president doesn’t mean I have to tolerate racism. Bigoted ignorant fuck-all is still bigoted ignorant fuck-all.

New signs of language surface in mystery Voynich text — Word entropy? How cool is that? (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

France in the year 2000 — Cool. (Via [info]martang.)

Meet Atlas, the Robot Designed to Save the DayNew humanoid robots will compete in a contest designed to test the ability of machines to take on extremely dangerous and high-stakes human jobs.

This 3D printer makes edible food — Mmm? Or not? (Via [info]corwynofamber.)

Not yet gone, but effectively extinctA small drop in one species' population can drive others to actually die out.

All hail! Bacteria that control their squid overlords — (Thanks, I think, to David Goldman.)

The “Diaosi” social class: presage of impending social changes in China — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

A Life That Can Fracture a Relationship — Moving piece about working in the oilfields. (Via David Goldman.)

A time-lapse video map of 2,053 nuclear explosions from 1945 through 1998

Goodbye, MiamiBy century's end, rising sea levels will turn the nation's urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Racial Makeup of Red and Blue America — Unsurprising hard numbers to back up the intuitively obvious. (Via Dad.)

Murderers where the Victim was White are Far more Likely to be Punished in US

Zimmerman trial: Man carrying loaded handgun shoots and kills unarmed teen — I have never understood how it is self-defense when you stalk and confront someone, especially after the police have told you to do no such thing.

Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds Republicans Take Bigger Hit For Gridlock American voters blame both parties for gridlock in Washington, but they say Republicans are more responsible for Congress' inability to get things done. Would that be because of widespread and proudly declared Republican obstructionism? Remember what their top legislative priority was during Obama's first term. Not jobs. Not the economy. Not national security.

Obama's Plan to Crack Down on Whistleblowers Leaked — Hahahah. (Via David Goldman.)

Texas state capitol trooper confiscates woman’s Maxi-Pad, but guns are okay — That's the GOP in a nutshell. You couldn't find a more concise statement of conservative values as practiced today. Are you proud of your Republican party?

Why Republicans Might Lose in 2016 — From conservative commentator Daniel Larison.

QotD?: Tell me how we're gonna do what's best?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 5.0 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 250.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block building mandatory gay marriage halls: 0
Currently reading: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg; Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey


[cancer] New CEA levels in, news grows grim

New CEA levels came in yesterday. Not good.

2013_07_12 CEA_annotated
  1. Initial colon cancer presentation

  2. First metastatic presentation, a single-focus, single-site tumor in my left lung

  3. Second metastatic presentation, a single-focus, single-site tumor in my liver

  4. Third metastatic presentation, single-focus, multi-site tumors in my liver

  5. Fourth metastatic presentation, addition tumor in my liver while on pre-operative chemotherapy for third presentation

  6. Fifth metastatic presentation, multi-focus, multi-site tumors in my diaphragm and omentum

  7. Sixth metastatic presentation, multi-focus, multi-site tumors in my liver, lungs, and omentum

  8. Current testing (medical imaging to come on 7/22)

I measured 30.6 in a blood draw this past Monday. Back in early May when I was diagnosed as terminal, the CEA level was 9.2, which was considered fairly alarming. The highest I've been before this is 10.9, during my second metastatic presentation.

Due to wide variety of idiosyncratic responses, CEAs are not considered diagnostic. They're guideposts at best. In my case, however, while I've had false negatives (ie, low CEAs while carrying tumors), I have never had false positives (ie, high CEAs without tumor activity). My medical history strongly suggests that a highly elevated CEA like this is indicative of extensive tumor activity.

As my oncologist says, this is the wrong direction. These numbers strongly imply that the Regorafenib is ineffective, as its desired effect was a slowing or halting of tumor growth. That would translate into flat CEAs, or at most a modest gain.

If the imaging bears out this trend, I'm definitely on the short clock to mortality. Well less than a year.

We'll know more when I receive my next CT on 7/22, and next meet my oncologist on 7/24. At the moment, I see no cause for optimism.

This is very frightening. I'm tired of being scared all the time.


[cancer] My tomorrows grow shorter yet again

Last night I told Lisa Costello that all we've ever had is today. All anyone ever has is today. But the reality is we are time travelers, slouching roughly into the future at a rate of 1 sec/sec, assiduously converting all our tomorrows into today one at a time.

When your tomorrows grow shorter, you can see today diminishing. No amount of detachment or resolve can change that.

This morning I am badly short slept (stress), my GI hurts from an incredible amount of activity over the past twelve hours (stress), and my liver aches (stress). Yet time moves on. Today happens.

I have breakfast with a friend. Another dear friend is arriving from out of town this afternoon for a quick visit. There is a porch party this evening at the house of [info]tillyjane (a/k/a my Mom).

But with yesterday's CEA news, I can see my tomorrows growing shorter yet again. There's nothing particularly surprising about this, given how my cancer has progressed throughout the year. Still I am mortally tired. Still I am mortally discouraged. Still I am mortally ill.

It's as if I've been running from the shadows for years. Every now and then they knock me down from behind. My feet are bloody. My kneecaps are cracked from falling over too often. These days the blows from the back are almost continuous. I seriously wonder if I'll live to see Christmas.

I am being eaten from within by runaway cells of my body's own making. I have met the enemy and he is me. I am dying, rather faster than is usual for a man my age.

And I am tired. So tired. Scared, too, incredibly scared, but these days tired seems to be the dominant emotion.