ianunderhill vs. cancer (RIP Nick)

SillyRabbit wrote:
Until Clover and Mimble suggested them, I didn't even know such coloring books existed! I'm glad you're enjoying them. I'll be getting some for myself for sure.

clover wrote:
Yay coloring books!

Glad the steroid bit is working from you. I'm a pretty huge fan of them myself... they're usually pretty effective appetite stimulants too, so that chipotle meatloaf or whatever will sound extra good in a couple days.

Also: yay bagels!

Colouring books are great. If it makes you feel any better about enjoying it, I'm 37 and still like colouring. It's relaxing and simple.

Glad to hear your weight is holding steady and that you're eating bagels (excellent choice!). If you're in need of company, I've got Skype set up and would be more than happy to have a chat, or colour together on camera or something. Sometimes just knowing someone else is around, even if you're not feeling chatty is nice. PM me if you feel like hanging out!

G+ COLORING BOOK HANGOUT

clover wrote:
G+ COLORING BOOK HANGOUT

I'm so down for this.

Ian thank you for sharing your story, it sounds like it has been a tough fight. Fortunately it definitely sounds like you are responding to the treatment. I'm a medical oncologist and reading your story made me think a lot about what to us seem like small inconveniences that we put our patients through but it is striking the impact that every extra trip has on someone going through treatment. Good reminder for me to try to eliminate as much of that as possible.

Sounds like you are receiving FOLFOX? I saw reference to a surgeon in DC whom I assume is Dr. Sugarbaker. I was not clear if you were having the debulking surgery in Milwaukee or going to DC? I'm assuming they'll do hyperthermia with it?

Keep up the fight, the chemo will be done before you know it. And as far as the recommendation for marijuana - for someone young like you, it seems to work great. It makes a huge difference for a lot of my patients for nausea and in particular for appetite. We can't prescribe it in MN but I'm sure an enterprising fellow like you would have connections. There is a prescription form of it (Marinol) but it doesn't seem to be as good as the real thing. And better to take it orally than smoking to reduce the risk of infection, a lot of my patients use marijuana butter.

Oh and this is not medical advise, just an observation!

Someone's getting brownies for Three Kings' Day now...

Have you got FTL, Ian? I think the soundtrack, from what I've heard, will go well with a quiet, solitary, NYE. Mellow.

If you would like a recipe for butter prep or my famous choc chip cookies shoot me a PM. They're quite soft and sweet, and help mask the flavor well. Some folks found them helpful during their treatment

On GWJ, site doctors you!

Ian, having only interacted with you through the Wii U thread I had no idea you were going through this.

I'm glad to hear that your treatment is progressing well, and I hope that you'll be getting good news next visit.

Hey Ian, all the best for this coming year!

As a brief update, I made it through the holidays just fine. I just came off chemo treatment five of six, and I'm doing decently - Decadron remains the thing that's making things tolerable. I've gained weight back and have been holding at around 150lbs. for the past three weeks, which is a huge improvement from the scary 130lbs. I was at for a while.

I'd offer more details, but I'm not enjoying thinking about what might follow treatment number six, particularly if it means further surgery. My oncologist has found a local surgeon who knows the procedure, so travel isn't the obstacle-y nightmare in the equation, it's really more not wanting to get cut open again and deal with another month of round the clock painkillers etc. in the recovery. I'm also getting nervous about getting back to work...my hope was to return sometime in February to give me time to get used to being on a schedule again, but further surgery makes things more complicated. I'm not worried about money so much as getting back at the shop in the run-up to season so I'm sure to keep my job. Monday sees me back at my oncologist for a checkup, so hopefully I can get some more info and then phone my boss with a tentative plan for getting back to work.

More to come. Thanks for your support, everyone, and sorry about the lag in posting - this stuff isn't always fun to think about.

Good luck, ol' buddy ian!!

Ian

Is there anything you can do for work over email or something? Helping update the shop's blog perhaps?

Thanks for the update, ian, I've been thinking of you often. I picked up coloring again thanks to this thread and it's been a good stress reliever. I've got some original Dumbo's that should be hanging in the Met. But seriously, whenever I color I think of you and hope that you're doing well, and I also kinda hope that you're coloring too and are creating your own masterpieces. No pressure. Good luck on your next checkup!

That sounds like some overall positive news! Keep up the good work!

Great to hear from you Ian and keep it up. Glad to hear your boss seems to work with you as well on keeping your job.
Hang in there!

Congratulations on making it through round 5 and glad to hear you are having some success with keeping on the weight.

In terms of getting back to work and as someone who has employees let me offer the following. While the folks who run the business have to deal with the practical elements of keeping things going, it sounds like they have been very supportive of you so far. All of us understand that what you are going through could just as easily be happening to our brothers, sisters, parents, or ourselves so we all see the good when you can make progress no matter what the pace. 1Dgaf's suggestion is a great one that if there is something you are up to doing that can be of help I'm sure they'd appreciate it but only if you feel up to it.

Thinking of you. Take care.

Ian, it's really good to hear you're doing well. We're keeping you in our thoughts.

Robear wrote:
Ian, it's really good to hear you're doing well. We're keeping you in our thoughts.

Yes, thanks for letting us know, Ian. I'm glad to hear you're feeling pretty well.

Morning Ian hoping things are going well for you.

wordsmythe wrote:
Robear wrote:
Ian, it's really good to hear you're doing well. We're keeping you in our thoughts.

Yes, thanks for letting us know, Ian. I'm glad to hear you're feeling pretty well.

Agreed. I'm so glad to hear you're doing well.

Rubb Ed wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Robear wrote:
Ian, it's really good to hear you're doing well. We're keeping you in our thoughts.

Yes, thanks for letting us know, Ian. I'm glad to hear you're feeling pretty well.

Agreed. I'm so glad to hear you're doing well.

Another cheerleader for you - keep kicking cancer's butt!

SillyRabbit wrote:
Thanks for the update, ian, I've been thinking of you often. I picked up coloring again thanks to this thread and it's been a good stress reliever. I've got some original Dumbo's that should be hanging in the Met. But seriously, whenever I color I think of you and hope that you're doing well, and I also kinda hope that you're coloring too and are creating your own masterpieces. No pressure. Good luck on your next checkup!

Same here, Silly. I hadn't coloured in awhile, but I swear it does wonders for stress. We should colour each other some masterpieces and post them here.

Ian,

Have you done an employee profile? I think you should.

1Dgaf wrote:
Ian,

Have you done an employee profile? I think you should.

That sure would be fun! However, I would totally understand if ianunderhill wanted to avoid it. Having to talk about the big C word would be taxing, and I imagine it would be a small part of an interview. [size=10]By big C word, I mean Coloring.[/size]

Edit: Oh, and yeah, best wishes! I hope everything is going as best as it can.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
1Dgaf wrote:
Ian,

Have you done an employee profile? I think you should.

That sure would be fun! However, I would totally understand if ianunderhill wanted to avoid it. Having to talk about the big C word would be taxing, and I imagine it would be a small part of an interview. [size=10]By big C word, I mean Coloring.[/size]

Edit: Oh, and yeah, best wishes! I hope everything is going as best as it can.

Oh right. I though you meant Chair, as in, "does it have to be a".

You folks remain awesome as ever. Thank you for the concern and kind words.

I'm currently at the hospital, waiting on start of treatment 6/8. Yes, originally, I was told there would be six, but last Monday I found out it was eight in total. My oncologist really couldn't tell me too much other than that we'd be doing a bunch of CT scans at that point, after which a decision will be made in regards to subsequent surgery. This moves things further out and makes me even more concerned about work business.

I basically need to have a conversation with my boss where we figure out what sort of contribution I can make to the business in light of my physical condition. The tricky part as we head into season has to do with my position as head mechanic. As we push towards April, this moves from a possibility of "we can have you do desk work" to "we need someone working on bikes". In a shop as small as mine, this is a problem as we only have one other mechanic, and only enough physical space to have one mechanic working in the service area at a time; the point at which the service queue is routinely full is the point at which one would have to weigh hiring extra staff against hiring a replacement with greater flexibility/availability. Granted, April seems a long ways away now, but it's important to plan ahead.

I've ultimately just got to get to the conversation. I would've had it last week but I wound up with a cold/sinus thing that had me in no shape for a focused conversation about employment and loyalty. I need to follow up with the boss on some text exchanges we've had lately regarding other staffing concerns (there's a second shop in the works), so hopefully I'll get to it before this week's out. I'll feel better once I find out about my boss's perspective and know what plans he's willing to go for; I'd like to think that between the support I've already experienced and being kept in the loop regarding other business concerns/decisions, I don't have a lot to worry about, but the realist in me who understands the thin margins of the industry still feels on edge.

As for an employee profile...yeah, I think tuffalobuffalo has got it. I'm not really all that eager to talk about my cancer experience in regards to identity...yet. It's something that's clearly a part of my life experience and will be regardless of what ultimately happens, but I'm not eager to talk about it that way just yet.

6 out of 8, slight bummer then of course when you expected 6...but I guess it is needed to kick the cancer to place where it belongs.
Far far away that is.
Hopefully your work won't suffer too much, as your position. Things should work out fine, once recovery is going well and you are
done chemo and all that.
GL!

ianunderhill wrote:
As for an employee profile...yeah, I think tuffalobuffalo has got it. I'm not really all that eager to talk about my cancer experience in regards to identity...yet. It's something that's clearly a part of my life experience and will be regardless of what ultimately happens, but I'm not eager to talk about it that way just yet.

When you're ready, drop me or boogle a PM.

Hello, Ian!! Be well, my friend.

Been a minute. I think I'm doing pretty good - coming off treatment number seven was the most manageable transition yet. I really can't stress how much the Decadron seems to help. Not only does it seem to leave me with more strength than I'd have otherwise, but the impact it's had on my appetite and my ability to regain and maintain something approaching a healthy amount of body mass has been tremendous. My weight's been holding around 155lbs. since the start of the year, and outside of occasional peculiarities in posture, I look far more like myself than I have since things went visibly nuts back in August. When I shower, I'm no longer looking past a skeletal arm as I wash my shoulder. In our weekly video chats, my parents seem delighted at the disappearance of my hollowed countenance. Lately, I have felt well enough to start seeing friends outside the confines of my apartment, and as such have gotten to see people I haven't seen since not long after my surgery or that disastrous period right before my first chemo infusion, when I couldn't seem to get out of the hospital for more than two or three days at a shot. These friends have openly said how relieved they are to see me now versus then, a point where I was looking to be in dire shape indeed.

This weekend was a fine example. On Saturday, two former colleagues from my crazy days in the not-for-profit tech/web scene were heading to a hackathon-type event down in the Pilsen neighborhood here in Chicago. They were nice enough to extend an invitation for a breakfast out, and between it being a balmy 35F and my improved constitution, I took them up on it. Think about your life for a moment and the number of times where you've found yourself uttering the phrase "it's really good to see you guys" and meant it - the times where it doesn't serve as a greeting or farewell, but where it's the single biggest thought occupying your brain and it just has to come out. I had the same sort of moment again Sunday evening when plans for friends to visit me at home fell through (somebody is on the cusp of getting a cold) and I instead joined the other would-be visitor for dinner at the Irish pub up the street from me. This guy's been a good friend of mine for over a decade now, and amidst all the usual in-jokes and chatter on current events one has with friends, we had a really good chat that touched on mortality and getting older and figuring out how to do the most with the time you've got. This wasn't some "let's plan to climb K2!" garbage, but rather, "I'm really thrilled that after all the adventures and scrapes we've been in, we can both sit down to some food and a pint of beer and it all feels like a continuation - a good, satisfying one you can savour, not a weary one."

Saturday afternoon also saw me move about 1/4 of my stuff into my new apartment. My amazing fellow-bike-industry-comrade of a roommate is in the unfortunate position of having his department at SRAM relocated from their Chicago HQ to their facility in Speedway, Indiana, which means we'll be going our separate ways after a good eight months of harmonious cohabitiation. On one hand, it's a shame - the guy's a good roommate, and those are rare, and to not talk shop casually at home will be missed. On the other, things have worked out where I'm moving into a much larger apartment with one of my dearest friends of the past twelve years - we're the sort of friends where I've known her parents for about 2/3 of the time I've known her and we've been supportive of each other in the craziest of circumstances. She's pursuing her doctorate and needs a new roommate in order not to move and lose a beautiful, stable living environment conducive to her studies, and her folks are very sensitive to the particulars of my situation; out of thin air, they've volunteered to pay the difference between my current rent and the slightly greater rent I'd otherwise be facing at the new place. My friend gets the peace of mind of not having to give up a good place or take in a stranger, her parents get to know their daughter has a trusted friend as the new cohabitant, and I get to move to nicer accomodations and routinely be in the company of an extremely supportive friend (as well as her delightful cats). I'm thrilled it isn't far from my current location (it's Logan Square vs. my current Avondale) and that moving boxes of books and games didn't seem to take it all out of me like it would've even a few weeks ago. And my folks are thrilled about it, too: they seem happy I'll be living with someone who's a trusted, caring friend I've yapped about for years and whom they've met, and there hasn't been another peep suggesting I move down to Florida since I divulged the current plans. But overall, I'm probably most thrilled at how everything's just gelled. I'm a skeptical person who doesn't rattle off metaphysical "meant to be" mumbo jumbo at all, so take this just-so - I really truly feel like things are in a good place.

Now, it's early in the morning and I'm typing this all in the middle of not being able to get back to sleep for some reason. I'm also only 31 - I'm guessing these thoughts are increasingly common with the perspective of age and more life experience. Forgive the melodramatic histrionics. I'm just pleased to report that, in spite of all the uncertainty about what follows treatment number eight and what's happening inside my body, life feels like it's got a sense of order to it, and in a way that pleases me. I've had a lot of rough stuff happen to me over the course of my life, and I've endured it all pretty well, albeit in that way where necessity dictates you "just go" and you survive, only to have a moment months later where the pressure has to get out and there's a big panicky meltdown the second you get to actually catch your breath. This doesn't feel like that. I won't ascribe any particular significance to it other than to say that I've got some really wonderful people around me, my willpower and resolve seem strong, and things seem increasingly decent physically. I am, I think, in a very good and fortunate place.

So you've blown my mind again, Gamers With Jobs. You've given me a resource for both amusement and contemplation, you've given me a ridiculous amount of kind words and totally unexpected way-freakin'-huge financial support, and an outlet through which I can share my tangent on my personal journey through just another leg of life. And there's absolutely no reason for any of you to have contributed or even tolerated any of all this (see above!) other than your being compassionate human beings. Once more, I'm compelled to say I genuinely appreciate everything you've all given me, and I am terribly proud to consider this place home.

So. Thank you for being some of the greatest internet friends a guy could have. I'm hoping the coming months will involve some good regional S&T activities so I can meet more of you in person. If things continue to go well in the way of my health, I'm hoping to host a few boardgaming nights going towards spring, as well as co-organize some cycling excursions in the same spirit as last summer's Two Bros. ride, so keep your eyes peeled if you're in Chicago or nearby or visiting in the not-too-distant. All these positive thoughts I've been experiencing of late have really made me want to participate in the community more and do my little part to keep what's helped keep me alive...well, alive. We'll see if I can manage to hold up to my end of the bargain.