Health, Batsquatch, C19 Defense, Plant Ears

Health Status

The hospital on Wednesday was a ghost town. A large sturdy tent stood out front, surrounded by serious looking cones and yellow tape blowing in the wind, and a massive generator connected to a spaghetti of thick white cables. Nobody around. Everything crisp, clean and freshly erected yet, tumbleweeds… a radiologist friend I ran into, in the ER, said the sick people were choosing en masse to stay away from where the sick people go.

I expected to struggle for parking when I arrived. To my surprise I swung a into “must-be-in-the-front-row” spot by the front door. I pushed the door open and rolled out, “dressed” in my fuzzy slippers and homemade green face mask (thank’s Sarah D).

Okay. No pandemic-monium. Weird.

I have been in this unenviable position more times than I care to remember, pre-face masks or not, over the last 8 years of my cancer fight.

The drive to the ER is always guaranteed to be a kind of emotional spin on Einstein’s theory of special relativity. During the fast driving, quick lane changing, frenetic moves to the hospital time slowwwwssss wayyyy wayyyyyy dowwwwn relative to my everyday, “normal life” going at regular speed.

It doesn’t matter whether I am in the back of screaming ambulance, or trying to keep the car on the road as I am doing “its not question of whether or not I can take it anymore –> I can’t take it anymore” dance with the steering wheel or performing the same kind of shutter-shake-shuffle-swear-moan from the passenger seat. Hell lives inside a four wheel drive vehicle with leather seats and a touch-scream display. Derp.

Getting out of the car I invariably have a mental image of crawling on my hands and knees to the automatic doors, having just crossed the Sahara, almost to the oasis now – finally – the land of milk and honey, a drooling hair sticking up Quasimodo impressionist with holes in his shoes and probably a long unkept beard, bouncing off door frames and ready shove past any “may I ask you a few questions” or “please have seat and take a number” swammy mofos who dare test the extreme boundaries of my worn civility or falling grains of gentlemanliness.

So, of-course as is the natural order of the shit at that moment, what do I find barring the door to paradise? Extra muscle. COVID-19 Security Detail style. Ready to block my entry into salvation or at least slow me down…I imagine the universe has designed this woman explicitly to “F” with me.

The guardian at the threshold is an overly friendly, all too bubbly at 6 am, probably attractive under her mask, 5″ troll in bright green scrubs and purple plastic clogs. I could either laugh or cry but really I feel like screaming, “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, and NO” to the questions I know she’s about to hurl across the pitch.

But I better not act of order. The woman is armed and dangerous with a thermometer.

And of-course after she takes my temp, she has her shit, I mean (hello Freud) sheet of questions. The questions are standard medical questionnaire fare that I imagine accompany every initial encounter, in every medical setting at this time in history.

Sir, I have to ask you…

  • Have you been out of the country in the last 30 days – No.
  • Been to any of the following countries …- Nope (and please see the anger, um excuse me again Freud, the answer to question 1.
  • In last 14 days… been in contact with anyone…No.
  • …Fever – Negative
  • …Cough – No.
  • Last question…What mythical creature would most improve the world if it actually existed? Duh Napoleon Dynamite- a flying big foot, the BATSQUATCH beatch! He’s part squatch and part bat, man! How cool is that!

Next up are the 2 security guards who send me through the metal detector while gazing into the dark recesses of my soul, unquestionably making me for a perp.

Perhaps I should just preemptively confess to them bout the time I stole a candy bar when I was 5 from Seven-11 and get it over with. Guilty as charged!

or

Then again, I could get all groovy and spiritual, give them a hug and say, ‘at the end of the day aren’t we all just perps underneath it all man?’

Instead I hand over my keys and my wallet and my phones and my half eaten edible underwear.

–then I am through the door and into Shangri La, here at last…

How did I get here?

Not in the biological or metaphysical sense.

As of my last post, things were looking moderately up.

How did I get here? I mean really…

So…3 weeks ago I ordered my cancer meds, which seemed to be working well. Hitherto had been next day delivery on order. Not this time. 5 days to go on supply so, okay. No show for 3-4 days. Get call from Insurance. I call them back. Think we resolve. Few more days. Now I am out of pills. Call back. ‘Oh one of your meds is real expensive so we needed to get extra approval.’ New policy. Sorry for delay. ‘Oh.’

2 weeks, escalations, doctors calls, 1:30 hold times, call backs, and no deliveries later I am flat on the bathroom floor. The oxycodone is going fast. I am refilling a 30 day supply every 3 days. There is not enough to keep the blood, bone and organ crunching wolves at bay. Pharmacy people are looking dubious when I go refill my supply. Shit. I mean I am feeling dubious. And I feel like I am bugging the doctor too much. I don’t want to abuse that relationship. But the Crucious Curse is upon me. Cancer pain. Hot pokers stuck inside liver. I can feel more sticking through my chest and out my back. Two pitchforks in the kidneys. Flaming shit sandwiches all around. Do me a favor. End my misery. Two between the ears. Bam-bam. Please. If not for Sarah and the boys whisk me to hospice and the last day of church on time, then in the urn. Sorry, that’s how I felt. It doesn’t last.

The doctor and I have talked – a lot. We agree that the key is getting those meds back on board this sinking ship. This disease is an extreme aggressor. A bully and a real shit with sharp teeth. Studies show when on this treatment and it stops working or you stop working it, the roar comes roaring back. Well – f – it sure did.

Anyways, yesterday, Saturday was better. I was starting to wonder. I know you have heard me say that before. I know I have said that before. It’s part of the story. Bloody ground hogs.

Doc and I talked two days ago. If it did not get better this weekend after having been back on meds 4-5 days I was going into the hospital to try to get a handle on this escalating pain.

But yesterday was better. I woke up late (a good sign) without any wolves latched onto organs. I actually walked with Sarah and Derek (Connor is not there yet) around da’ hood (3 miles) and then did my old crucible of 100 pull-ups, 100 dips, 200 pushups, 50 burpees and 50 surrenders while listening to music (though in about 2x the time it normally takes). I then promptly offset any potential gains with some extra pizza. More of the same today.

Don’t know if I am back but it is good to be closer to feeling that way today.

Will provide more updates as we go…

COVID-19 and Plant Ears

I exchanged some texts with one of my other doctor friends over the last week. He is the one with the theory about a novel defense against COVID-19. I discussed in my last post..

Update in the last week: he had a patient with confirmed with COVID-19 who tried the water treatment and was symptom free in a few hours.

That makes 4 cases now that appear to have good results against viral conditions.

As my blog disclaimer says and as I have said before in other places, I am no doctor, I don’t play one on TV and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night. I have no medical cred.

But my un-paid, not for profit, opinion is it makes sense to consider this low cost, low-to-no health risk “solution” (it is literally a solution LOL).

If I waited for complete data, the right set of statistics, or clinical trial results, for every move I have made over the last 8 years against cancer, I might be dead.

I read an article this week which suggested that a topic considered quackery and career seppuku from the 1970s – namely that plants can hear – may not have been off base.

Scientists once driven off for fear of reputation, grants, collegial dinners snubs, or fear of losing out on special tickets to the annual pipe tobacco and corduroy jacket convention are returning to plant ears.

Studies have been published, using repeatable scientific method, of plants:

  • Producing more nectar to the sound of bees wings flapping
  • Growing towards recordings of gurgling streams.

Okay Rick Moranis / Little Shop of Horrors.

THE POINT IS what we think we know right now may be wrong, no matter how certain we are of its truth.

Probably a good thing to remember with regard to any subject.

Reads

This is older but I just discovered this interview in last few days. He’s been around for a long time apparently but I am just kind of getting up to speed…talking about the cantankerous George Gilder. I read a blink of his book, “Life After Google Book” which was very interesting.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/richkarlgaard/2018/02/09/why-technology-prophet-george-gilder-predicts-big-techs-disruption/amp/

Of course not everyone is going to agree with Gilder. That’s alright. Curious I was interested in what some folks might have to say about how we got here or what we might do. I think this essay published by Stanford in 2018 hits some good points.

BTW, I like what he says about the “echo chambers” a lot of us inhabit. If you have not read about how companies like Google or Facebook construct narrow worlds around us, it can be illuminating. Start by googling “filter bubble” or try wikipedia on the subject.

Finally, this last article is long but fascinating about the largest privately owned farm in California… I consider myself a capitalist but dang skippy!

Music

Finally, I wonder what our plant friends would think of this video. This video was produced entirely with Zoom. I imagine some wilting…

Here, this will make you feel better my “Fern” Friends.

I recently got into this song. I believe this may have been Jerry’s last show before he died. He is certainly looking well-traveled. Also to my knowledge one of his last collaborations with long time friend Robert Hunter.

Had not planned this, but a cool version of “He’s Gone” came next on YouTube so I also linked to that below.

Going off on a bit of sidecar here, forgive me…

But here of-course is a real-time example of what I was talking about, above. That video selection did not appear by accident, nor will the next one, which will also happen to probably be an even more appealing choice. If this was Facebook the same thing would have happened as their algs examined my latest click, applied it against 29,000 bits of data they keep on each one of us, and selected the thing that was likely to keep me blissfully inside the application.

There, YouTube just sold one more ad. Multiply that a few trillion times and we see why these companies are so successful.

And ain’t ironic that one of the most famous lines from “He’s Gone” just happens to be “Steal your face right off your head.” 0-;

“Help, I fallen inside a YouTube filter bubble and I can’t get out.”

But wait a minute, what if I like being unwittingly trapped inside this brave new worlds these companies have personalized and constructed for each and everyone of us, with 90% of the population having no idea that is what is happening? Guess there is nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile…

Cancer “progress”, Broken Bones, Potential COVID-19 Novel Defenses and the Grateful Dead Man!

Cancer Progression

There are certain words that seem totally incongruous, especially when it comes to cancer. “Full neck dissection” is one word salad I could never quite wrap my brain – what am I a bullfrog or nurse shark splayed and pinned on a formaldehyde soaked table in 8th grade biology class? Cancer “Progression” is another nonsensical one IMO. 99% of the time progress has always had a positive connotation but not when it comes to the “C” word.

My cancer progressed on a massive scale last January. Yes! Ain’t that sweet! Oh wait, yeah, no, not so much. The situation blew in fact. Maybe that would have been more appropriate sounding way for the Doctor to break the news.

I am sorry to tell you Mr. Fay but your cancer scans blows some hairy chunks of spew.

It was the worst report we have gotten in quite a while, almost as bad as the results that showed “progress” in lungs, liver, lymph nodes and 98 brain tumors 8 years ago. Imagery showed 20+ new lesions in liver, 20+ in lungs, and some big daddies in my lymph nodes hanging around the aorta and heart.

When I said in my last post that I was experiencing pain, I thought it was related to getting over the gastritis in the hospital and weaning myself off of the steroids. In hindsight, based on the “pain patterns” and locations those areas that lit up the scans like a X-mas tree, the pain was actually a pretty good mapping to the regions with the most “progression.”

By January, it was “Welcome to your new excruciating life.” At 2am I would be thinking somehow I had transformed into a whip spider, suffering the nearly incomprehensible “cruciatus curse” ala Harry Potter “Defense Against the Dark Arts” class.

Crucio!

Not that I know much, but I had been afraid this might happen. I realized when I entered the hospital the previous fall that many of the things they were proposing to fix the gastritis had the potential to be counterproductive from an immune system perspective. But choices were limited. 30-40 pounds of weight loss in 2 months, racking agony, and not eating for a few months was enough. I was cooked. I surrendered to the hospital, the doctors, their pain medicine, whatever treatments proposed, and ice cream sandwiches they had to offer.

I was not sure if this was it.

Fast forward a few months and here we be. As a result of my “progress” we talked to our Doctors, including Doc Hamid in LA. We decided I should triage with some fast acting targeted therapies (Mektovi and Braftovi). The treatments appears to be working. My last scan was decidedly less “blowing chunks worthy.” Whoever has been sneaking into my room at night and whispering “Crucio” seemed to have departed for the time being…though the number of pills for day is ramped up. The rub is with this combo of combos, it usually doesn’t last as a solution for more than 6-12 months. I think the statistically relevant data suggests 11 months. The last time I used this was 2 years ago. It lasted @ 4 months.

There is other ongoing drama involved in the story. I do have a recurrence of gastritis and ulcers, exacerbated by an h.pylori infection along with something called “adrenal fatigue” – the combined result was more daily throwing up, pain, and EXTREME this-one-goes-to-11 exhaustion. Am feeling better the last few weeks. Stay tuned to stay tuned, will soon be rescanning and deciding on the next course of action. I think the appropriate strategy is to try to find a longer term treatment before the current regime fails and, in doing so, keep that present medicine as a failsafe.

Broken Bones

To change subjects, I am going to take this opportunity to brag about my boy Connor. 15 going on awesome! This is an old man thing to say but he is so far ahead of where I was at his age. “Fine young man” comes to mind. I am PROUD! These thoughts bring tears to my eyes on a regular basis.

Kicking butt in school. Faithful at church and at home on his own. A good friend, a strong and patient older brother, teammate and friend, young adult. He is not perfect and has challenges but oh how we love this dude.

And what a great year of hockey! The kid started skating late as hockey players go – 7. That has always been an issue. So he spent last summer working out on his own and working with a skating coach. The goal was a AAA this year. He made it.

What a badass. Look at that stride. The skating was markedly improved and he enjoyed some successes this year. He really enjoyed his teammates (a great group of kids and parents I might add, which is not always the rule in youth hockey), the travel, workouts and the competition. He was even fortunate to be among a few players singled out by a scout for premier league in Canada from the Vancouver Giants. The lead scout was wondering if Conn would like to explore the WHL draft and play in the great white north (beer and doughnuts eh, old time hockey, Eddie Shore). Big thrill eh?

And then, disaster.

On his last trip with team, to Minnesota, he broke the crap out of his leg – bad.

Right leg. Tibia and fibula. Lots of embedded hardware. 2 surgeries. Pain.

Neither Sarah and I were able to tag along on that trip. I was suffering from that exhaustion I mentioned above, barely hanging on to my work life and health. Sarah was traveling with our other boy Derek (also a totally righteous dude) on a trip to Boston for AAA. That was tough. Thank God for Sarah’s brother who was in the area and, between him and his family, performed absolutely yeoman’s service in the care of our pride and joy.

Thank you Daniel. Love you and your family.

Now I should mention that Connor also, in a bid to apparently be like his Dad, experience some rather unique medical developments along the way. After surgery he had something called “compartment syndrome” which is basically uncontrolled swelling in a number of muscle groups in his leg. If gone untreated (with second surgery to make holes in the fascia or basically the bags that surround the muscles – think the repairs for hernia) it can lead in its most advanced stages to amputation.

Then we thought after surgery 2 the nightmare would be over. But for hours post surgery Connor’s pain kept escalating. The nurses injected him with enough narcotics to put down an elephant – an addict’s dream of 1 or 4 doses each of dalaudid, oxycontin, morphine and tramadol. Nothing worked. The treating physician – who was great btw – said he had not seen such a thing in 40 years of practicing medicine. Any parent who has gone through that will know how hard something like that is to witness.

At that point, and I hate to be too dramatic, but Sarah and I were siting there on some stale couch in a nice but bland hospital room, thinking about JOB. “WTF” comes to mind. I wish I could say I was more faithful.

The resolution, thankfully, was to block his sciatic nerve. Amen. If that had not worked we would have had to flight for life, or whatever, up to a special pain clinic in Denver.

So its onto slow recovery, lots of nerve pain, and mental and emotional anguish. We pray that he will make a complete recovery. I was out running today and thinking how much I am looking forward to him blowing up the mountain in front of me, waiting with him and his bro at the turn around asking, “What took you so long old man. 0-; If you are one of us who believe and have benefited from prayer, please pray for him. We want him well!

Novel First Line Defense for Viral Infection?

Look – I thought about not posting this information at all here. I mean I realize my thousands of subscribers (ha!) might turn me in and I could go the way of Jimmy Baker https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jim-bakker-coronavirus-covid-19-fake-cure-televangelist-sued-by-missouri-symptoms-selling-treatment

That is in part why I dropped this section down below. Kind of snuck it in the middle.

I figure my friends know, hopefully, know I would never want to contribute to the fake news statistics.

Let me also clear my throat a second and repeat the disclaimer of this blog:

In case you haven’t guessed yet, I’m not a doctor, I don’t play one on T.V, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night. I don’t intend on auditioning or playing the part of a doctor on this website or anywhere else for that matter.  What I do intend on doing is keeping information relevant and related to my experience or research. None of what I write or reference is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, condition, infection, virus, etc. Any statements made have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration… or people who played doctors on T.V. or stayed at Holiday Inns last night.

That said here, I would like to offer a potential first line defense against COVID-19.

Here goes …

One advantage of fighting an 8 year cancer battle is I am now pretty good friends with a number of doctors and specialists, having their confidence as well as cell numbers.

One of my doctors the other day pulled me aside to discuss a conversation he had with a naturopath recently, who is a friend of his…as you can imagine an MD and NMD have some pretty interesting and lively conversations.

Anyways, the NMD shared with MD a theory about the use of water treatment chemicals found in camping products. Basically he offered that the same, safe treatment could provide an effective front line defense for viral infections …

Longer story shorter …Doctor kind of laughed at his friend but remembered the discussion when he started coming down with some flu like symptoms a week or so ago. He rifled through his camping supplies, found some drops, and, following directions, tried it. Believe it or not, his symptoms were gone in a few hours. Curious, he then also shared a drink with his sister who has been dealing with a viral infection since last January (Bronchitis). She tried and her symptoms were gone in 24 hours. His son then came down with fever a few days ago, same results, in an hour or so.

My doctor’s suggestion (not direction and he was careful to tell me he did not share with his ‘regular patients’) was for me to get some on hand and, if open minded to the possibilities, try it if I needed to…he is using prophylactically now as part of his practice/daily seeing of patients.

His other point was, if only a placebo- though study of epigenetics in last few years is demonstrating mind actually does and can create physiological changes, so placebo is not as much of a boogie man as used to be.  That said, IMO in the next 10 years we are going to see if a shift away from what has been historically the use of human and animal trials in favor of data analytics/super computing/unprecedented data models that can perform testing without harm and in a fractions of the time.

Even the other day I was pleased to see the announcement of a collaborative measure between industry, gov and universities to point the world’s largest super computers at the covid-19.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/white-house-announces-new-partnership-unleash-u-s-supercomputing-resources-fight-covid-19/

My guess is that with our best minds, research and collaborative efforts pointed at this problem space, there will be lots of “side,” profound benefits occurring in the same manner that massive scientific efforts like the space shuttle program led to host of new ideas, products and inventions.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/07/08/space-race-inventions-we-use-every-day-were-created-for-space-exploration/39580591/

But…I digress…his other point is these are water purification drops and are at least safe to consume by very nature of their presence on shelves (been through that rigorous testing to certify for marketplace). And along those lines, if you look at the science of what it does, it is basically dramatically raising the 02 content of the water to kill pathogens.

If you are curious about potential science that supports this theory / approach I have attached a few articles that might be of interest.

These articles examine chlorine dioxide’s ability to reduce or eliminate viral lode.  There is nothing presently looking at the effects of chlorine dioxide on COVID 19 virus or any human studies looking at chlorine dioxide’s effects on viruses.  My doctor is trying to find someone who can do a human trial involving individuals suffering from COVID 19.  He told me this week, a 4th person who became ill took chlorine dioxide drops in water and within 24 hours their fever dropped from 100.8 to 96.8 (normal for them) and by the 2nd day, they felt nearly 100% better. 

One other note: there is likely an additional consideration of this concept as a front line defense. That is ensuring that, if infected, you try to treat the virus while there is low viral load. In other words, before it progresses and gets “out of control” in the body (to use a medical phraseology 0-;). Ideally this would translate into before it moves much further beyond the nose or mouth. This might explain why the doctor’s sister (who was, while not infected with COVID-19) took longer to see results than the others.

Viral load is a reason (tangentially speaking) to try to use gloves and mask when in public (though I admit to not doing that). If you get a little bit of virus off a doorknob it seems like that is preferable to making out with someone with covid-19 on spring break in Daytona. 0-;

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/is-viral-load-key-to-understanding-coronaviruss-severity.html

Finally, to re-emphasize the disclaimer above, I know that we have FDA controls (anti-snake oil salesman, scientific method based approaches) for a reason. And for a ton of good reasons! I am not a medical doctor by the furthest stretch, nor is this medical advice, but I feel impelled to pass this information along. I put a picture of what I bought /Doc advised I buy to keep on hand, along with instructions if anyone is interested…please do with as you see fit.

Instructions
From bottle A and 3 drops from bottle B in bottle of water and wait 30 seconds to activate it.

Drink water

Gradually increase to 4-6 drops from each bottle and drink up to 3x per day.

Can increase up to 24 drops per day.

COVID-19 Dress Code

We are very thankful for my job and that I have the opportunity to perform much of my work from home. Most in my company are dealing with the same situation. I was told the other day that we are averaging 40k teleconferences a day with @ 150K participants. That’s a lot of hoping that you pushed the mute button before you let one rip or no one can see your present “state of attire” while giving a presentation.

Dress code 2019 (some days)

Dress code post C19

Yeehaw.

Some Inspiration from THE Dude

Success

My company of 25,000 employees operates adjacent to a wider group of companies with over 100,000 employees.

At the beginning of 2019 I was promoted to Chief Engineer for over 600 over engineers. I am ultimately responsible for over $1B of technical performance and solutioning. I also manage the technical leadership for a few programs, with some of our brightest fellows and PHDs on my “desktop” or within my HR “control.” Add to that over the last few years I kind of developed a reputation of being a “fixer” where VPs and directors send me out to various failing, usually high profile efforts, to get them on track from a cost, schedule and quality perspective. Its a lot of responsibility but I love the challenges and it’s fun most days. By the grace of God, I have been able to enjoy some success despite the pressures and health detours.

In hope of inspiring others I was recognized 2 years ago with the company’s most prestigious award for individual technical performance, given to only @ 250 employees in 2018. Crazy I know but lightening struck again. I was recently given the same award for my performance in 2020 – in this case part of a larger technical team that achieved some at risk, high profile milestones- on a different project. These are pretty “epic” awards most people in the company will never achieve, let along 2 years in a row.

All that is say for my few readers – you can be productive with the help of great friends and colleagues, great bosses, and at least in my case, absolute, total assistance from the Big Man upstairs. I am just not that good, smart, faithful etc.

Reading

I thought I would pass along some of my most recent favorite reads.

I have a man crush on Krakauer. I love every word of his without fail.

Similar topic, great stories, especially Gonzalez’s recount of his Dad’s improbable survival during WWII. Warning – may make you not want to step outside again…though that might be good right now.


I would argue (and I don’t think I am alone in this thinking) that government contracting is ripe for disruption from not only a technical perspective (which is happening already) but also from areas like bus ops, contracting etc. In fact those areas should be included under the banner of “Digital Transformation” in order to be truly successful. The book talks about how many new as well as established S&P 500 companies have or are turning towards subscription based models and the “tyranny of margins,” suggesting it is not only much more profitable and better for customers but also a matter of survival in today’s environs. A lot of this was a natural evolution or extension of movements like agile and their enabling technologies (cloud, continuous integration servers etc)…great book if you are interested in such topics.

This is a great read on leadership. Fuses together many current trends like disruption, agile, ethics etc in a largely a-political manner (which I appreciate).

Lastly, this is kind of fun analysis of company logos /infographics.

Music

Behind as usual I recently caught this GD series on Amazon prime. If you like or were ever into the Dead, this was really fun.

  • I am pretty convinced I will hear Jerry playing when I die – I know that’s a pretty over the top. Sorry. His guitar and voice was religion for me and the music still puts me in a place that few sounds can on a nearly 100% basis.
  • As the series pointed out, Jerry Garcia never wanted that kind of adoration. It may have, to a some degree, led to his sense of isolation and ultimately his demise; thus proving among other things, there is so much we don’t know about people, situations and things when we are embedded in them or until we get older…
  • I was happy to hear Bob Weir say he thought the band was playing exceptionally well from @ 1988 – 1991. This is roughly the time I jumped on the bandwagon. Speaking of which, I think most of us who made a study of dead music would cite Cornell 77 as the pinnacle of scarlet –> fire jams but this is pretty awesome stuff from my era:

Then again, and this is probably making an even further fan-boy fool out of me, but I think I might also hear Browstein’s bass at the pearly gates too.

Okay good night and best wishes.