Monday, January 25, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
I Love My iPhone
So for the second time in probably two years I'm caffeine free. More accurately, I'm stopped taking any extra caffeine in the form of coffee, soda, or other such stimulating drinks. The last time I did this I think it lasted close to six months. I'm not sure how long this current behavior modification will last but I want to make it a life-long change. I have health issues that could probably use reducing my stimulant intake and my life is not what I would call stress free. It was probably a good idea to permanently eliminate all this extra jitter.
The week before the Christmas break I kept track of my coffee intake and it looked something like:
- 7 double espressos, my morning pick me up
- 25 cups of regular "american" coffee (a 5 cup a day habit)
- 10 Diet Cokes
That totaled about 3050mg of caffeine a week or about 436mg per day. According to some sources you shouldn't have more that 300mg per day. I didn't measure other small amounts of caffeine I may be ingesting in chocolate and other sources. I figured they were noise in terms of the other more concentrated sources. So after Christmas week I went cold turkey. After a week or so of bad headaches, irritability, an just plain feeling lousy, I'm off coffee and other caffeinated drinks. I'm feeling pretty good now and I'm sleeping better. I'm still not sleeping much but what sleep I do get feels more sound and less interrupted.
I'm not sure if this will be a complete and total break with coffee. I mean real coffee. Dark rich creamy espresso. I may still enjoy one after a particularly good meal, but I don't think I'm going to be downing coffee at work to stay alert and active or worse just out of habit. I don't like the feeling of needing to have coffee in the morning just to be able to function. That can not be good. I think that automatic, default, consumption behavior is something I need to weed out of other areas of my life as well. For now I'll start with caffeine.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Thyroid Post-Game Show Part 2
Last Friday, about a week-and-a-half or so after having my thyroid taken out, I started my Levothyroxine regimen. My primary care physician and I will work on determining the correct daily dosage. I was surprised at how little was actually required. Right now each pill contains 25 micrograms of the active ingredient. Makes you wonder what's in the rest of that 1/2 gram pill. I will be on this drug for the rest of my life.
Yesterday was my last visit with my surgeon. The final result of my biopsy was in and he needed to do his standard post-op check up. The main reason my thyroid was so enlarged was goiter however the biopsy turned up two small cancerous nodules (measuring 3mm and 1mm) one on each side. The guidelines for what to do next are pretty clear. Do nothing. My surgeon and the pathology report both indicated the tumors were completely contained and there is no indication that the cancer has advanced outside the thyroid. These tumors can almost be considered "pre-cancer" and basically they are nothing to worry about. So I'm not going to worry about them. The only alternate course of action is radioactive iodine treatment. Unless my primary care doc thinks it's worth doing, I'm going to skip it. These types of tumors are actually quite common and usually pose no threat. Later in life there was a chance that these tumors could have evolved (devolved?) into something really nasty but we won't know. Those little bastards are sitting in some pathology lab getting ready to be incinerated or whatever they do to incorrigible organs after they are separated from their owners, chopped up, and analyzed. The biopsy contained some other good news. There was no parathyroid tissue found in the sample so it looks like my surgeon did a good job keeping those calcium regulating babies intact.
So the $64,000.00 question is was it worth taking out my thyroid? Unfortunately I'll never know. I probably could have treated the enlarged thyroid with drugs but there were those tiny tumors in there which later in life could have blossomed into a real problem. If given this information I probably would have taken the same course of action.
This is probably all I'm writing about this unless some really big news comes up. I hope these posts are helpful for anyone facing the same choices. I found it extremely comforting to talk to other people who went through this experience and I'd be happy to converse, publicly or privately, with anyone who's been diagnosed. You know how to reach me.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Let's Connect with Friend Connect
Labels: blog friendconnect google tools
Sunday, November 08, 2009
The Thyroid Post-Game Show
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Let's take out his thyroid for 100 dollars!
Close to a year ago my doctor discovered that my thyroid was larger than normal. I was in for an ear infection and after the usual poking and prodding he felt the front of my neck and asked, "How long has this been like that?" That's how this odd journey began. Now, after a biopsy and some further monitoring my doctor and my surgeon both agree it's time for that troublesome gland to go. Funny, the surgeon was the one who initially was opposed to taking a scalpel to me.
The "tumors" are quite large. I can feel them when I swallow. I have two, one on each side of my thyroid. The largest is about six centimeters which is about how long the incision will be across my throat. Kinda makes sense since that six centimeter mass is going to have to squeeze through that small window. A friend recently brought to my attention that I should have scheduled the surgery this week so I'd be out by Halloween with a nasty, oozing, possibly bleeding wound on my neck. My timing was always shitty. I would have made a great zombie.
I call them "tumors" but it's not yet determined if they are in fact cancerous or if they are malignant or benign. My biopsy indicated that I probably don't have cancer, but given the relatively high false negative rate for this procedure, I'm not willing to play the odds. My docs both agree with my decision. My family members are happy too. Some thought we (i.e. my wife and I) were taking this all a bit non-chalantly. We'll know soon enough.
I know people who have gone through this procedure before me and they are all ok. Some have had all or part of their thyroid removed. No one seems to have a nasty scar or long term health issues. Most are just taking a pill a day to replace the hormone normally secreted by their lost gland. I'm expecting to have much the same experience.
I have been counseled on what could go wrong. All of these scenarios have very low single digit probabilities. The worst of which is probably that I could permanently lose my voice. It freaks you out but again very low probability. I've never had major surgery before so I'm a bit unsettled about being under. I'm also not one for staying in the hospital but my wife has delivered three kids, the first by c-section (Yes, that's right the first by c-section.) she's basically telling me to suck it up. She's right of course. There are others I know who are really fighting for their lives. This little hiccup is nothing in comparison.
So gentle reader we'll see how this thing goes. I'm going to try to remember to blog and tweet my whole experience if I remember and I'm determined to ask my surgeon if I can have what's left of my thyroid after my operation. I think it would be fun to keep on my desk and have my kids take it to school for show and tell. It will be fun to have a little bit of myself in a jar even if it is a little bit of myself that has gone slightly haywire.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Playing with Google Wave
Wow. I've spent some time playing with Google Wave over the past few hours. I must say it's a bit overwhelming. My initial reaction is that Wave can fulfill it's design goal. I can see Wave completely replacing email. Traditional email functionality is a subset of Wave functionality. It should be a simple switch with one caveat. Large public waves are like being in a chaotic editing jam session. It's often difficult to keep track of all the conversations going on in the same doc. So if you are sending a Wave to a bunch of contacts that are all online you can probably expect that someone is going to just start typing a response before you've finished composing your message. There is currently nothing stopping them from seeing the inbound wave and just jumping in. That happens frequently in IM/Chat but it's impossible with email. No one sees anything you write in email until you press send. This has all sorts of interesting implications. Drunk Waving is probably going to lose a few of you out there your jobs or your ex is going to want to slap you with an injunction. So waver beware! (Caveat Undo-er?)
The quite side of wave is simply document editing although one could see that you could add some useful robots to your editing session. Robots are bits of code that will watch while you type and trigger some functionality based on an event or by matching some word or phrase. It's not hard to imagine basic utility robots for thesaurus, dictionary, spelling, grammar, etc. You can also imagine more advanced types of robots that would identify addresses, embedded images, and pull up more information via search. Imagine dropping in a bad picture of a painting in a document and having a robot automatically, or at your request, search the web for alternative images of the same painting.
Wave is really going to be all about communicating and collaborating online and in real time. I think that's where things will settle but it's going to require us to learn how to deal with collaboration that happens that fast. There aren't many systems out there that behave this way on this scale. It's going to take some time and it might be some time before your Waving with your mom and dad.