15 Year Window

Think about all the change that took place between the years '75 and '90. Think about the drastic difference in the styles, cars, music, movies, language, etc. All the evolution that took place through the 80's. All that hair spray and acid-wash that went relevant-to-archaic in a single breath. The pitch and roll of trends through this 15 year window was drastic.

Now think about the years '00 through '15. The same amount of time, yet there seems to be a much smaller overall evolution in the areas of style, cars, movies, music, etc. There certainly has been change, but is seems much, much less drastic then the aforementioned decade-and-a-half. Would you be able to see a woman walking down the street in a '00 hair style and really notice? Probably not. Do you think you could notice a hair style from '75 if you saw it in '90? Probably so. If it was '90 you went to a '75 themed party would it look all wacky and different, all filled with feathered hair and rainbow suspenders? If it was '15 and you went to a '00 themed party people would probably just be wearing Destiny Child, or maybe Matchbox 20 shirts.

If this is true (I think it is) then it begs the question "why?" I've thought this through, and in my uneducated opinion, I'd guess that it has something to do with the internet's increased ubiquity in our society, and the east with which we have access to it. My hunch is that people only have the ability to process (or maybe "care about" might be better) only so much change. With the way internet memes come and go (or any other various concepts pertaining to or perpetuated by the internet), maybe our collective attention is drawn away from the angle of our tail lights or the style of our hair, even if ever so slightly, and more-so drawn into tablets and smart phones and we simply pay less attention to any exterior change.


It's About Everything

I had another interesting revelation the other day as I was climbing some stairs at the gym. They have this nifty machine that is like a small escalator moving in the "down" direction, about three stairs long, that you set to a certain pace and climb. This is great if you are getting ready to do some hiking and need to build up endurance for gaining altitude on a trail.

I started with a 20 minute set, that was about all I could stand. Then I covered up the clock and pushed it to 25 minutes without hardly noticing. Then I started making a playlist that was a little over 25 minutes, so I would know where I was by what song I was listening to. The other day I shuffled that playlist and the way the songs happened to arrange themselves made the 25 minutes end far before I thought it was going to. The longest songs of that list of songs probably played first, so the last song (which probably was the shortest song) only got into the first chorus. I was just telling myself I had at least another verse and chorus before the time was up (because I don't look at the clock), but the stairs went into the "cool down" phase after the time has elapsed. It surprised me so much that I was no longer fatigued. I mean, I was fatigued, but not as much as I thought I was. I set the stairs for another ten minutes, quickly picked out another playlist, and kept going. Only for another 5 minutes, but still...

I'm finding out that I don't know when I'm really fatigued. Clearly I have the ability to play mind games with myself to push myself further. What I am experiencing as fatigue is made worse by things that have nothing to do with my legs or my lungs. The things that hurt me most are only in my head. Like looking at the clock. How far could I make it if I could only focus on the things that strengthen me, and forget all the things that weaken me? How strong am I, really? What are my limitations? Obviously I'm capable of more then I thought I was, how else would I be able to easily trick myself into climbing more stairs then I thought I could climb, simply by covering up the clock.

This applies to more then just stairs or hiking or running. It's about everything.

It's about everything.

One Year Later

Today marks one year since that little incident at work that initiated this whole new lifestyle. I have no problem seeing it as the beginning of something that turned out really great, but I still get pangs of bitterness and anger over the situation. I can't help but be so angry with a specific manager who was involved that I have these visions of coming across him in the street at night. I'll leave it at that. The situation was handled in such a clumsy way, and with such cold disregard for anything but to make an example out of me.

Laura gave me a very wise tidbit regarding this situation when I told her I was having a hard time letting my anger go, even in light of the fact that the situation led to something better. She said holding on to anger is like drinking poison hoping the other will die. Of course she is right.

The Mantra

It seems a little strange to apply and be approved for disability, then proceed to engage in jogging and hiking and other various strenuous exercises. I'm almost reluctant to blog about this stuff in fear that I'll be "found out" even though my approval has more to do with my diagnosis then it does an inability to be mobile.

That being said, getting in shape like I have been over the last couple months has been really good for me (understatement). Between the stairs I've been climbing to the jogging around Greenlake, I feel like I have a whole new pair of legs. I've never worked out this way before, and it's making me wonder what I was waiting for.

It hasn't been all funyuns and pink popcorn though, it's been a lot of work. I've done a pretty good job at trying to find different ways to make it easier on myself, like making a playlist that is the same length of time I want to be on the stair machine. This way I don't have to look at the clock counting down (which hurts me) and I can track my progress by how many songs are left. My next step in my mental games is to make a jogging playlist out of songs that are all the same tempo as my foot falls, so I just have to run to the beat of the music.

Laura suggested I come up with a mantra I can repeat to myself as a means of getting through some tough spots in the workout. I realized I already have one that I repeat quite often. It really helps to keep things in perspective. The mantra is: "I beat cancer"

Need That Run

A confirmation bias can be a tricky landscape to navigate. We have confirmation biases around us all the time and are barely aware we're heeding to them. It's like thinking that all asian woman are lousy drivers (simply for the sake of illustration, of course), every time you see an example of this it serves to confirm and support your original idea. What you don't do is observe every Asian woman who is driving safely as a support for the opposite claim (that Asian woman are safe drivers). You pay attention to the hits and ignore the misses.

I'm trying to actively feed and nourish a confirmation bias that has nothing to do with bad drivers. I'm in search of the proverbial "runner's high". I'm sure the runner's high is most likely real, but it seems just intangible enough that I could probably manifest it using something like a confirmation bias. When I go for a jog I can set my mind to be on the look out for feelings that might just be symptoms of a runner's high. When I feel something that might just be that, I'll count it in my head as a hit and ignore the nausea or the burning in my chest and legs as support of the opposite claim (in this case, the opposite claim would be that running hurts and sucks, which it kinda does, but that's why I'm putting myself through this intentional deception. But is it really deception? Is it???).

I want to want to run. I want to feel strange if I don't get my run in. That's what this is about. Making myself need that run.

A Few More Wisps

As if I had anything more interesting to write about...

Growing my hair in has been a little bit too real. Because there is no gray in the remaining hair, and because there is so much gray in my facial hair, it somehow makes me feel like I look younger and older at the same time. I thought there would be a few more wisps on top, certainly not enough to justify a part, but more then the barren wasteland that now remains.

It's a pain in the ass, but I think I'm gonna go back to shaving it clean. It's a better look for me.

A Nice Chortle

A couple evenings ago Laura and l went to dinner with our good friends KatiRose and Yama at a little dive bar near our place called The Pacific Inn. It's a cute little place, the type of establishment that has a sturdy foundation of loyal regulars. They also have one of the best chicken Cesar salads I've ever had.

We were sitting there enjoying the warmth of friendly banter when a cheer erupted from the patrons at the bar. I directed my attention to the tv screens, wondering what team had just scored, and quickly realized the cheer was not inspired by a game. I followed the collective gaze of the folks at the bar, not to the tv broadcasting sports, but rather to the tv broadcasting a program familiar to all native Pacific northwesterners: Evening Magazine. They happened to be doing a piece featuring the Pacific Inn, specifically the fish and chips, which Laura was enjoying right at that moment. It was quite the "meta" experience, and we all had a good chortle because of it. Are you now having a nice little chortle if your own?

New Cycle Count

Today is a bit of a landmark day for me. I'm not sure about all forms of cancer treatment, but at least some of it is sectioned out into cycles. For me a cycle equals three weeks. On the medication I've been taking (Vemurafenib) people normally receive about 8 to 10 cycles worth of benefit out of it. Meaning that after about 8 months or so the cancer starts growing again. Today is the end of my 89th cycle. The drug company who sponsors the study I'm enrolled in has made a new branch of the study for the few remaining participants who are still hanging on. It'll involve less appointments and scans (I'm currently being scanned every 9 weeks, most recently this past Monday) and a different definition of what a cycle will be. For this reason my cycle count will begin back at 1. I'm not sure what the new cycle will consist of, but I'll certainly be happy to be scanned less and have fewer blood draws. Hooray for science!!!

Semiformal Announcement

I'm ready to make a semiformal announcement that I will be growing my hair back. Or what is left of it. I don't mean "what is left of it" in the cancer sense, while I have experienced hair loss in nearly every other part of my body, I'm not sure my head-hair has thinned by anything other then good old fashioned male pattern baldness. Still though, I haven't let it grow in a whole month of Sundays, and then some. Perhaps I'll even grow a comb over.


I like that feeling when you're waste deep into a difficult phase in life and you can look back and say "I didn't know I was capable of this". I know this feeling all too well. It's too bad that we have to experience hardship in order to come to a full realization of how strong we can be. I have a friend who is going through a tough time and had an "I didn't know I was capable of this" realization. This is the same friend who once asked me if having cancer is the worst thing that ever happened to me. Strange question, really. It's tough, and there's a lot of negativity around fighting for my life against terminal illness. But somehow in the midst of it all, dealing with this has been the best thing to ever happen to me. In more ways then one. My reality is simply alive with examples of how this has grown me and changed me into something I could never have hoped to become any other way.

I read a quote once that said "you don't know how strong you are until strength is your only option". This is so dang true.