A Hairy Update; More FIRE; What Has M&M Been Doing Lately?

It’s Monday, 130 days ATN and 91 days into chemo.

Some of you have let me know that it’s been a few weeks since I posted anything.

For the record, I’m still undead (as any decent vampire would be, even though the ones who have have to deal with the medical community and their early morning ways desperately wish they were dead.)

A Hairy Update

There have been a few instances recently where I’ve run into people and their first reaction has been, “You still have your hair!” They know I’m undergoing chemo but didn’t get the part about FOLFOX being one of the regimens that requires you to still subject yourself to haircuts.

Well as it turns out FOLFOX has had some effect on my hair. I used to have coarse porcupine like hair. It was bad enough that the newer stylists at Supercuts would complain that they’d get stabbed while trying to cut it (no, I’m not kidding. When cut short my hair can be weaponized.) Over the past few weeks I noticed that the volume of hair seemed to be decreasing and at first though that there was just less hair. But no – while there may indeed be a few less strands – my hair has turned from coarse to fine.

At first I though this was a good thing since it seemed to be somewhat more manageable and would actually lie flat against my head. But I’ve come to learn that they’re so fine that they don’t hold any particular position. So I can leave the house well-groomed only to have a slight breeze turn my hair into a tangled mess.

I suppose I could use gel (that might actually work now – even the extra firm hold stuff I used to use wasn’t able to tame the coarse hair.) But let’s just say that at this stage I don’t care what my hair looks like.


Some of you may recall that on day 1 of cycle 5 my microwave attempted to flambé my dinner. That led to said microwave being evicted from the house.

Well on day 1 of cycle 6 the noodle house across the street, which I had been thinking of getting dinner from, suffered a fire. Apparently their commercial refrigerator erupted in flames. They’re currently closed while cleaning up the mess, which was largely the result of water damage caused while putting out the fire. And on day 3 I walked into the Safeway across the street (in the same strip mall as the noodle house) to find it a bit hazy and smoky. Apparently something caught fire in the deli. And yes, I frequent the deli. Especially since they mark down the roasted chicken by 50% around 6:30 in the evening.

Coincidence? While I haven’t asked my oncologist, I’m pretty sure she’ll deny that causing kitchen appliances to combust is a side-effect of FOLFOX chemotherapy. Then again…first-bite jaw pain is also so rare that it isn’t mentioned in the literature (but there are enough patient anecdotes on the Internet that it’s considered A Thing.)

Needless to say my neighbors are a little worried about having me over for dinner…

What Has M&M Been Doing Lately?

So just what have been up to in the past three weeks? Well I suppose the following list will demonstrate that even when you’re on chemo you can still do a lot of things (even the ones you don’t want to.)

  • Dealing with a stamped concrete and curb repair project at my townhouse complex. One of my neighbors kindly took on the brunt of setting things up with the contractor, but when it comes time for the actual work I still need to oversee things.
  • Dealing with a home sale in my townhouse complex. I told all homeowners not to sell their homes while I’m undergoing treatment, but of course they don’t listen. And naturally I got a title demand request a day after infusion #6. I’ve done a number of title demands before and they take a couple hours or so to process – if the books are up to date, which of course they weren’t.

    In addition to the demand request there was the open house I dropped in on. The moment the agents learned I was the (only) Director of the Association I got peppered with questions. In all honestly this was a good thing, especially since one of them was “Are there any restrictions on Airbnb?” Well strictly speaking there aren’t now, but I made it clear that if anyone tries that the CC&Rs will be amended to prohibit Airbnb and similar rentals. We don’t want random people coming and going and throwing wild parties all the time! (Well, if they invite me and have a lot of quality dark chocolate we could come to some arrangement…)
  • Dealing with the end-of-year HOA disclosures that need to be sent by the end of each November. One has to wonder if the California legislature has anything better to do than create onerous requirements for HOA boards.
  • Trying to figure out how to buy the house in Hawaii while minimizing the tax liability. I’m now convinced this is an impossibility – I’ll be paying a LOT in taxes. And to make things worse every time I sell some stock it immediately goes up. (As an example, take a look at NVidia stock recently. I sold several hundred shares at 220. It’s now in the 300s. Sigh. For those of you with Apple, Tesla, Facebook, and Netflix stock you can thank me for the year-end rally that’s about to occur.)
  • Wall-mounting a TV and installing an over-the-range (non- flambĂ© model) microwave. These should have been easy tasks taking no more than a couple hours each. Except that the microwave apparently needed deeper cabinets than I have so I couldn’t bolt the top of the microwave to the bottom of the cabinets. After increasingly creative attempts to remedy that I eventually did a bottom support. This is definitely not the way its supposed to be installed, but it hasn’t fallen down. Yet. As for the TV, there was finding the right TV mount, then deciding that I wanted in-wall cable and power management, and then realizing that a 75″ TV is just a little unwieldy to pick up by myself. Fortunately one of my neighbors helped with that part.
  • Napping. OK so this might seem like a non-activity. But the fatigue in cycle 7 was worse than the past few cycles. I attribute it to not drinking green tea on the day before and of the infusion. Green tea is said to have a chemo-protective effect and reduce side-effects. I’ve always wondered if it also protects the tumor – which would be somewhat self-defeating. Although my oncologist said a cup a day (but not more) is fine (as is a weekly trip to McDonald’s), I figured I’d go cold turkey on cycle 7. And the side-effects were noticeably worse, from the cold-induced nephropathy and nausea to fatigue. I think I’ll be drinking a little green tea in cycles 8 and 9.
  • Continuing to validate my NextGen TV stack – with much thanks to my friend’s son Jackson who is hosting one of my systems in Phoenix and my sister Lisa who has the Portland system. I only live in one of the tech hubs of the world. We’ll get NextGen TV when its LastGen TV, much like we got 100 Mbps broadband long after it was prevalent in Hawaii. Normally I’d be making my way to Santa Barbara, Phoenix, Sacramento, and Portland to work with the signals, but now the signals have to come to me.

I could do without all the HOA stuff, but keeping active does seem to have its own way of minimizing the chemo side-effects – or at least dwelling on them.

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