Monday, November 03, 2014

Update in 2014

It's now been 6 years ago since I finished my chemo and radiation treatments and am still cancer free. Yay! I had to read my blog to remember what the date was.  I can't say escaped Scott free from the experience. It's taking a toll on my body in so many levels. Some of the hair didn't grow back,  my memory has turned to crap, and now it looks like it took a toll on my thyroid.

B and I broke up a few years ago, after dating for about 3 years. Haven't been in a serious relationship since. OK you might say I was in a relationship with someone but it was never mutually exclusive. That's definitely tough to define but definitely not girlfriend. That went on for years like that but I had to end it completely because I finally realized how detrimental it is to finding someone to have a real exclusive relationship that will lead to a lifetime partnership of life. Unfortunately I had to learn it the hard way when I lost someone else I had fallen in love with. Unfortunately that's another story for a different time, especially since I've given her the keys to my blog.

I'm still volunteering with the pageants doing a variety of roles, making some really good friends along the way.

I've switched careers and joined a rocket ship of a startup and moved out of IT and became a sales engineer. This role really stressed the social part of my personality and I love what I'm doing. Not to mention I'm getting paid really well to boot. But I still get to leverage everything I've learned in the data centers and directly apply it to my job.

I now travel a lot. More than half the time I'm out traveling to different cities. Appreciating what  each city has to offer.

Maybe I'll keep up with my blog. It's still semi secret since I don't advertise the link but a Google search may turn it up if you knew what to look for. Unfortunately most of my fellow blog mates have stopped blogging or disappeared from the blog world so not many people would be reading this anyway.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Visiting my past

Wow, I still have this blog!  It's been years and years since I've posted my blog and kept up with some of the old blogs that I used to follow. If anyone actually reads this blog of mine, please leave me a comment so I know you're still alive!

I'm now reading my old blog posts and half the stuff I wrote I don't even remember. This is literally a time machine for me right now. And a interesting one at that. The last post I had was when I found out my ex-gf found out about my blog, which I kept secret from her while we were still dating. I didn't think she knew about the blog, but I guess I couldn't keep it a secret for long.  She had told me one day that she found my blog and thought it was pretty interesting and that I wrote pretty well.

I had mentioned to another friend of mine that I used to maintain a blog about my personal thoughts and life.  I thought I had wrote about some pretty stupid stuff, along with some fairly uncensored thoughts since I thought it was fairly anonymous (though not really). She wanted to read my blog, but I kinda relented.  After reading some old entries, maybe it's not so bad after all, and I'll probably send my link to my blog and hope that nothing too embarrassing was written in here.

I do have to admit this blog had helped me with my creativity, and is one of the reasons why I'm such an eloquent speaker, especially since speaking eloquently is now one of my main parts of my job. And I do realize I do like to communicate eloquently.

To my new blog reader, welcome!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Secret blog not so secret

Ooops, looks like my "secret" blog was not so secret afterall. I guess I should find a better psuedonym, or not link myself to my friends. Ah well, what's done is done, nothing to hide here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm alive and living well

[Knock, knock] Anybody home?
Wow, it's been so long! I haven't seen you in gawd, forever. How have you been? Me? I'm starting to kick ass now. No sign of cancer. Yep, not even a peep. Gained some weight unfortunately. Yep, that's from sitting on my butt all day and not doing anything. But I have an excuse for that. Yah, it's been my neck. See, a few months after all my treatments were over, I decided to take a nice long walk to celebrate my ability to take nice long walks. Then my legs started to vibrate and get all numb. Yah, I know, right after I started feeling better. So it kept vibrating for a few days, so I go in to the doctor to see what's up. He gets me to take a MRI of my lower back and sends me off to neurology. Neurologist says nothing looks unusual, and orders me a MRI of my upper back and neck, as well a spinal tap, in case there's some cancer in the nervous system. I did not like that last possibility.

Have ever seen a spinal tap? No? Well basically they take this needle. It's so large that when the doctor pulled it out, the guy in the next room feinted. Then they stick it not so gently into your spinal cord to extract spinal fluid. Not so fun. You know what else isn't so fun, the head exploding can't stop it headache I got afterwards. Yah, apparently I had a CFL leak, where the spinal cord fluid leaks out the hole from the spinal tap. It gives you a excruciating, head is going to explode and no amount of excedrin or coffee will help, type of pain. And lying down in bed helps alot, enough where it's barely tolerable. That basically means I couldn't sit or stand up for more than 5 seconds without hitting the floor in pain. Yep, I was pretty much bedridden for 2 days before I went into the ER for a blood patch. What's a blood patch you ask? Why that's where they take some of your blood, and inject it right into the spot they did the spinal tap, that way your own blood can coagulate and stop the leak.

After all of that the doctor tells me the MRI shows that I have a herniated disc in my neck, pushing against my spinal cord. That's what was causing all the issues with my legs, which I also started to feel in my hands. He then tells me not to do anything strenuous. No lifting heavy weights, no running, no jumping, no snowboarding, no racing, pretty much no anything that puts any type of stress on my neck or shoulders. My Physical Therapist told me to go to the gym and do some very light weights with the lat bar and row machine, along with a couple of neck exercises.

So basically I've been sitting on my butt doing almost nothing active. I did that for about 8 months, and basically replaced active things with video games and work. Wouldn't you know it, after 8 months, I develop tennis elbow. Doctor said stop using my right arm and let it rest.

Finally my necks is feeling good. Not quite enough to run, but enough to start lifting weights. Tennis elbow is feeling better now too, so I'm starting to slowly hit the weights with light to medium weights. I'm hitting the elliptical or walking more now as well. Trying to lose the 10 lbs I gained, and get myself back into some sort of shape.

Oh look at the time, I gotta go. I'll talk to you later, ok?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I just don’t have time


[Me] Hello?

[TTB] Hey, it's me. I haven't heard from you in a long time.

[me] Oh hey, yah, sorry about that. I've been kinda busy lately.

[TTB] So busy you never even write anymore? We used to communicate so often!

[me] Yah, well that's when I had more spare time. And energy too. The chemo left me pretty much energyless for a good portion of it. I mean I couldn't even look at the computer screen for more than 15 minutes without getting a headache and nauseas.

[TTB] Yah, I know, I know, you told me that. But I see you online a lot nowadays. But you just ignore me. I don't hear a word from you.

[me] Yah, well I gotta work ya know. I'm still suffering from chemo brain, and my memory, geez my memory , it's toast. I remember less and less of my life nowadays. And I still can't multitask very well, so I need to keep focused on only one thing at a time. Plus I still don't have all of my energy, so after working all day, I'm pretty tired. Especially since I have this cold thing for 3 weeks that hasn't gone away yet. That makes me even worse cuz I don't sleep well, especially when I have a hard time breathing and I'm coughing up a lung.

[TTB] But we used to communicate so often. You told me everything that goes on in your life. I live for that! Now I'm lonely without you!

[me] Well ya know, I just don't have the energy or desire anymore. Ya know, you were never a major part of my life. Just a part time thing, ya know. Something I do on my spare time.  And ya know, I'm just not that into it right now.

[TTB] (cries)

[me] Hey, don't cry. Look my radiation treatments are almost over. Less than a week left. After I start recovering, maybe I'll have some more time. Who knows, maybe even my desire will be back as strong as ever. I can't guarantee anything though.

[TTB] (sniff) Really? You might come back?

[me] Yah, maybe. Like I said, no promises or anything, but I'll definitely say hi every once in a while, at the very least.

[TurboTiger's Blog] (sniff, sniff) Ok, I'll just wait around till I hear from you again.

[me] Alright, I gotta go, I'll talk to you later. (click)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel

What's that? That bright light. I see a light at the end of this dark tunnel. Could it finally be over soon? Yes, I think it is!

I've finished my last chemo treatment! My doctor just told me the other day. Yay! No more nausea, headaches, etc. Now I have to go get radiation treatment, whose side effects are alot more milder than chemo. Unfortunately it'll still sap my energy, cause internal sunburns, and cause my esophogus to feel like I'm swallowing a baseball.

I even got a tattoo out of it. Four of them actually. As Phoebe from Friends would call them, they're love dots. :P
Yep, I have four little dots on my chest and shoulders now. What are these tattoos for you might ask? They're there to align the lasers on my body for the radiation treatment, which is basically like taking a x-ray, except longer. The only sucky thing about the procedure is the fact that I get a hannibal lecter style full face mask strapped to my entire face to keep my head from moving about. Not very pleasant, and a bit claustrophobic. The doc said I'd be doing radiation therapy once a day every day for about 5 weeks or so. I find that info out next week when they determine the schedule.

I'm thinking maybe I can get some real tattoos to cover up the love dots after everything is over. I mean I don't have any real tattoos yet. But then again, the needle kinda hurted.

On a side note, Betty and I went to Reno's Rib cookoff a couple of weeks ago, and chowed down majorly on some of the best ribs around. We met up a couple of friends and ate till we could eat no more. It was lots of fun, but tiring. We then met up some other friends at Silver Legacy and at the Grand Sierra Hotel & Resort. I even taught a friend how to gamble at blackjack, and won $30 myself while playing. Yay! Since I don't really gamble that much or that much high stakes, I was quite happy with it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm alive, literally

Wow, has it really been 3 months since my last blog post?

Ever since my last blog post about me finding out that I have cancer, I've lost the will to blog. Concerned about other things, life, and living life. I've even stopped reading my favorite blogs from other people, and decided to concentrate on my own life. I've decided to be selfish and think about me and mostly me for a change. I figure I deserve it right about now.

Okay, update on my own life. After talking with my main oncologist, considering my good health, and young age, and the fact that the cancer is in stage 1 (it hasn't spread to any other part of my body), the doctor gives me about a 80% chance of full recovery. Considering that this is a big deal, I decided to get a second opinion from another kaiser doctor, and he also agreed with my initial doctor, and gave me a 80-90% success rate. That was a huge relief. But it's not all good news. I have to go through chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery isn't an option, due to the type of cancer, lymphoma, since it's classified more as a liquid tumor not a solid tumor. Plus it would be very difficult since it's in the middle of my chest around the lungs and heart.

But it's not all good news, since chemo is gonna have some serious, life threatening side effects, along with some that may be permanent. Not only does the chemo drugs attack and kill the cancer cells, it also attacks and kills alot of other cells that I don't want killed. Like my bone marrow which produce the white and red blood cells. Which suppresses my immune system down to nothing. Which makes me susceptible to all sorts of nasty stuff out there, and if I do catch something, it's potentially bad. I mean real bad, really really bad, as in no more blogging for me, ever. Oh, and the lack of red blood cells will make me anemic, which basically means I have no energy. Oh, and it also affects my sperm, and might make me permanently sterile. The hair loss ain't so bad for me. I'll just sport the b-ball look.

Oh, and did I mention that after everything, there's a 30% chance that it might come back in 5 years, which means I'll have to do the chemo all over again, at a possibly stronger dosage?

The chemo schedule from my main oncologist was scheduled for 6 rounds, three weeks between each round, for a total of 24 weeks, then radiation therapy afterwards. That would put me out of commission for most of this year. There was the possibility that I won't be able to work during most of my chemo time, and I would need to go on disability. I needed some time to put my affairs in order, as well as find and consult another doctor for a second opinion, so I delayed my treatment until I was ready. I took advantage of this time to refinance the house while I still have my full pay, and took some of my little guys to the sperm bank for safe keeping. Lemme tell you, it's not as fun as you think, nor is it cheap, since my medical coverage didn't cover it.

Betty and I also took one last trip into mexico with some of her friends. I'll have to write up about that one seperately as I had a good time there.

Fast forward to now. My parents are staying with me most of the time to keep an eye on me and help me out around the house. Betty's also pretty much living here now as well. I'm on disability from work, and work part time from home. I can't go into the office, and need to stay away from places with alot of people I don't know. Again, if I catch something from someone that's sick, it's very serious for me. Anybody that visits me at home needs to be sure they're not sick. I need to be very germ phobic, and that also includes food that I eat. I can't eat anything raw. I've basically turned into bubble boy.

I've finished my 4th round of chemo now. More than half way through. They give me the chemo drugs through a IV at the hospital. It takes about 8 hours to get it all into me. They also give me a whole bunch of really expensive and anti nausea pills. It's supposed to be really strong stuff that came out a few years ago and works well. The type of chemo I'm getting (R-CHOP) is supposed to be pretty intense with the nausea, and boy, do I feel it. The anti nausea drugs do work though, since I haven't vomited once so far. The first couple of rounds wasn't so bad with the nausea, but i'm really feeling it now. Couple that with the tiredness that hits you like a sledgehammer, and I basically can't do anything for about a week. Can't play video games cause that induces nausea. Looking at the computer screen causes me to get a headache, which induces nausea. Watching too much TV gives me a headache, which induces nausea. Walking around the house makes me tired. The nausea makes me not want to eat much. I'm pretty much a mess for about a week after the chemo treatment. During my second week, I feel better. I'm able to do some work at home. The nausea goes away completely. My appetite is back. I can go out for a walk and get some exercise, go to the store and do some errands. I have to keep it simple, and not overdue it since my energy level still isn't there. And I have to be extra careful since my second week is my nadir period, the time when my immune system is at it's lowest and I'm the most susceptible to catching something. By the third week, most of my energy is back, I can do almost everything I want to do, and then before you know it, it's time for my next chemo appointment again.

Today is the 8th day from my last chemo treatment. It's taking me longer to recover from the nausea and other ill effects. And it gets worse from what I hear the more treatments I go through. Today is the first day that I'm able to look at the computer screen for extended periods at a time. I actually can't sleep right now for some reason, which is why I'm writing this blog. I really should try to get some sleep, but I thought I'd update you on my condition.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The day I almost died

I’ve backdated this blog a bit to more accurately reflect the timeline.

Friday 3/28 was the day for my first appointment with the oncologist (Cancer specialist) at Kaiser. I’ve been trying to find out information in easily digestable terms about B Cell Lymphoma, but getting info is still difficult. There’s a few subtypes of B Cell Lymphoma, and it’s also a subtype of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL).

My sister Vicky wanted to come with me to visit the doctor and to ask some questions of her own. My sisters have been great, they’ve been talking to people and doing some googling more about the cancer, giving me some great links and info to digest. But there’s a lot to digest, and with my current state of anxiety and mood, I’m not assimilating the information as fast as I usually do. Armed with some good questions to ask, I think I’m somewhat prepared to bombard the oncologist with a flurry of questions. Vicky has her own list of questions she wanted to ask. My parents have finally digested the seriousness of my condition after talking with Vicky. They now want to come with me to see the oncologist as well. I’m sure they won’t understand much of what the doctor has to say, but they want to be there anyway. They know they won’t really understand much as well, so they decide to bring a tape recorder with them to record the conversation. Betty also wants to really be there, so she takes some time off of work.

We arrive at the oncologist en force. The initial staff member was concerned with my large posse and had asked that some of them wait outside in the waiting room because the room was too small and can’t handle the extra people. I suggested that my parents wait outside, and that I would ask the doctor if they could come in and listen in. A few anxious minutes later, the oncologist comes in, and she says my parents can come in and listen. So six of us cozily squeezed into the small exam room, my mom takes out the mp3 recorder I bought her for Christmas last year, and asks the doctor if it’s ok to record the conversation.

The oncologist confirms it’s B cell lymphoma, but we don’t know what stage it’s in yet. I need further tests which includes a bone marrow biopsy, a PET Scan, and a MUGA scan. Treatment options will depend on what stage I’m in, but will most likely include CHOP chemo therapy, Rituxan, and radiation therapy. I also can’t surgically remove the tumor because the cancer is ‘liquid” even though there’s a mass in my chest. It just happened to settle in that area. We talk more about the chemo treatment. 6 – 8 cycles of treatment, each cycle is 21 days. That means I get a chemo injection once every 21 days. Chemo is administered via IV drip, and takes somewhere around 4-6 hours, so most of the day. I get the anti nausea drugs along with the rituxan, so they’re not skimping on the good stuff. I ask how the chemo is going to affect me and how badly. The doctor said it really depends on the person, but typically most people feel like crap for 2 weeks after the chemo, feel better by the third week, then the injection starts all over again. The doctor also said that most people can tolerate the first or second injection ok, but it really affects them afterwards. I ask if I am able to still work, and the doctor says I might be able to, and if I am able to it’ll be under reduced work load. But there will be times where I am not going to be able to work at all. I will need rest during those times. The doc also mentioned that recurrence for my type of cancer is 20-40% over the next 3 years (yikes, that seems high) and if it does, I’ll have to go through the chemo all over again. I may have to switch to a different type depending how well it responds, and or do a stem cell transplant. There’s also another 20-40% chance of permanent sterility depending on how aggressive the chemo is going to be. The doc suggested I use a sperm bank and freeze some of the guys away for a rainy day. Unfortunately Kaiser doesn’t cover that, so I’d have to pay out of my own pocket, and it’s not cheap either. We ask about getting a second opinion, and the doctor is all for that. Unfortunately Kaiser doesn’t cover a second opinion outside of kaiser’s network, so if I get one at UCSF, it’ll be out of my own pocket. But I need to get my lab tests done first because they’ll need it before I get the second opinion. My sister asks the question how the cancer treatment is coordinated at Kaiser, apparently at UCSF, there’s a team that determines the course of action for a patient. At Kaiser, everything goes through the oncologist, and gets coordinated by the oncologist. So getting a second opinion is strongly suggested.

We now start going over some of my symptoms, and I tell the doctor about my heavy itching and scratching constantly, occasional heaviness in the chest, the pressure I feel in my throat, and the now worsening cough. The doctor was somewhat concerned, and wanted to put me on prednisone, a strong steroid, immediately. But the prednisone would screw up the bone marrow biopsy results, so the doctor wanted to do the bone marrow biopsy right now.

I had originally assumed that this appointment would just be a initial visit, and would last just a couple of hours at most. I had planned on going back to work, and start prepping for my big 48 hour downtime project that’s set to happen Friday night at 7pm. I’ve been working on this project for 6 months now, and had to schedule a downtime with the entire company for this weekend. I start going on about my work, and saw that it was still pretty early in the day. I figure I could do the biopsy, get a few hours of rest, work through the effects of the drug, work for a couple more hours until I reach a point where I can let it sit and process overnight and continue on in the morning. So I agree to do the bone marrow biopsy right there and then.

Bone marrow biopsies are not fun. They describe the procedure to me as sticking a big needle in my bone to draw out the bone marrow. I read they may do both sides of the bone marrow, so I ask if they’re going to do both sides, and they said no, they normally don’t do bilateral bone marrow biopsies anymore. Whew, at least it won’t hurt twice as bad.

This is what really happens during a bone marrow biopsy. First they load you up with what I believe was admar, a tranquilizer. Then they give me demeral, a narcotic, then they shoot the affected area with lidocaine to numb things up. Having been shot with lidocaine before, I can tell you each and everytime they use the needle, it hurts. They have you lie on your stomach, and use very big needles, and “drill” into your bone with the big needles far enough to reach the bone marrow. Now needles are not drills, so the drilling motion is more like twist and jack hammer the needle into the bone so it’ll go far enough to extract the bone marrow in the middle. The lidocaine works pretty good when I comes to numbing the flesh, but you can’t really numb the bone, so when they started jackhammering the needle into the bone, it hurts like a mutherfucker. They told me to breate deeply, it won’t hurt as bad. I do my Lamaze type breathing exercises, which do help a bit, but I can still hear the doctor and nurses grunting away as they jackhammer this giant needle, which I’m glad I never got to see, into my tailbone. They eventually get in far enough and draw out some bone marrow fluid. They then tell me they’re going to get a piece of the bone for biopsy as well. Hey, I don’t remember them mentioning this part, or reading this on the web. They then proceeded to jackhammer even harder into my bone, trying to chip a piece of it off. As the doctor was jackhammering she mentioned between deep breaths, how hard my bones were, and that it was a good thing. Maybe not quite such a good thing at that moment in time, as she was really putting a lot of effort into chipping off a piece of the bone. Eventually with a sigh of relief, the doctor said that she got a good sample, then proceeds to start the bone marrow on the other side. By this time I was too groggy to realize that the doctor had initially said they’d only do one side. Back for another round for furious jack hammering and drilling on the other side of the tailbone to get the bone marrow. After the doctor worked up quite a sweat, they decide they’re not going for another bone sample on the other side, and I was quite relieved that it was finally all over.

As I was extremely groggy from all the medication, they sat me upright in a chair, and brought Betty in. Vicky and my parents were outside in the waiting room, probably eating lunch by now, and betty was conversing with me for what I think was a few minutes, but betty said it was about 30 minutes. I then was getting thirsty and asked Betty if she could get me some water. As soon as she stepped out the door, I suddenly started feeling really light headed. I thought to myself “Uh-oh, this isn’t good, I should do someth…..” and I passed out. Betty came back to the room, saw that my eyes had rolled up in the back of my head, and my head was limp on my neck. She freaked out, called the nurse over. All the nurses and doctors freak out. They grabbed the crash cart, the one with the paddles and stuff, and set it outside the room. Apparently the Demerol had made my blood pressure crash, so when they tried to take a blood pressure reading from my arm, I had none. All the blood had pooled into my body. They kept calling my name and and trying to wake me up, but I was unresponsive. They got me flat on my back and kept trying to get me to respond. I remember starting to come to, and noticed there were like 5 nurses and or doctors around me. One person was continually calling my name, one was putting a IV in my arm, I think one of them was hitting my chest because I had a small bruise like thing on my chest, I’m not sure what the other people were doing. They said I may be metabolizing the narcotic too slowly, and started to give me something to counteract the narcotic. Betty asked if this has ever happened before, and one of the nurses said this never happens. Then whaddya know, immediately after me someone else with the exact same procedure had the exact same thing happen to them. Later on the nurse says I can’t believe it, this never happens and then suddenly two in one day! Vicky comes back and find out I've been given 50mg of demerol. She calls her friends at UCSF and they say that they gave me a lot of demerol. That's probably why my blood pressure crashed like that.

I’m still groggy from the narcotic, and they give me some more of the anti-narcotic stuff. I’m slowly trying to fight the grogginess, but it isn’t until almost 4:30pm when they decide I’m fit to leave the hospital. I spent the entire day at the hospital, so prepping for my big downtime wasn’t going to happen. I head back home and spend an hour or two napping on the couch until it was time to start the downtime. I’m still pretty tired, and now I’m in some pain. But I work for a few hours, enough to start the initial processing part where I can let it sit and do it’s thing while I go and sleep.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I have cancer

Let me start this off with the big statement. Yes, I have cancer. More specifically I have been diagnosed with B-cell Lymphoma, commonly known as “Non Hodgkins Disease”. Now while you’re googling that up in another window, I’ll tell my story.

Back in October of 2007, I went on a family vacation to Washington DC. Our first ever family trip. I came back from DC with a rather large swollen bug bite on my left wrist. This bug bite also became quite itchy as you can imagine. But ever since I came back with the bug bite, I started itching in other places other than my wrist. Eventually I started itching almost everywhere. It was getting pretty bad, as I’d scratch through the skin in some places. This went on for about a month or two before I finally gave in and went to the doctor. Doctor simply said I had Excema and told me not to scratch and gave me some steroid cream. He said if I didn’t scratch, my skin will grow back in about a month. Yah, simpler said than done.

A couple of weeks later, around Christmas time, I got a bad flu. I was sick for about a week, and I didn’t see the doctor until I got worse at the end of the first week. Getting off the couch, to the fridge, and back to the couch would totally wind me, finally convinced me to see the doctor. Plus my upcoming trip and cruise with no access to a doctor pretty much said see the doctor now or suffer big time on the cruise. The nurse took a look at me with pity, took a look around, and said I was sick with the flu. She had the doctor prescribe me some inhalers, Q-var and Albuterol, for the asthma like symptoms. I took my dosage, and was feeling better, and got better, except for that cough that would linger on.

Two months later, I’m still coughing. I’m not showing any more flu symptoms, I feel totally fine. But that damn cough is still lingering. But now it just suddenly got a bit worse. I’m just coughing, nothing is coughing out. Ok, enough is enough, time to go back to the doctor. This time, I see my primary physician (I’m with Kaiser) and he goes over me, and says I probably have back to back flus. Not uncommon this year, with the flu vaccine only being effective for about 40% of the flus. Everyone’s getting sick, and it’s probably just lingering from two maybe three different flus. But he ponders for a second and says “But you’ve been sick for a while. I’m going to order you a xray just to be sure”. He also prescribes me some more Q-var and sends me over to radiology for the x-ray. I go get my x-ray done, and said the doctor will know in a couple of days. Oh, I forgot to mention that I’m still itching like mad, decide that I needed to see a dermatologist, and had just came from the dermatologist earlier that day. The dermatologist had also said I had excema gave me more info on it, prescribed me some even stronger steroid cream, some strong antihistamine, similar to benadryl, and told me to take Claritin during the day, and the antihistimines at night to help control my itching. My primary doctor (he had originally prescribed me the first batch of cream) commented that the dermatologist had just prescribed me a different cream when looking at my file on the computer.

The next day, the doctor called me up and told me he says a lump that might be in the lung. Yikes! A lump?! That’s not good!

The doctor says he wants to take a better look at it, so he orders me a CT scan (CAT Scan) They call back and schedule me for an appointment about a week later. Trying not to fear the worse, I think to myself ‘Well no wonder I’m coughing, there’s a freaking lump in my lung”.

I go in for my CT scan, I get to wear one of those funky three armed hospital gowns, sit on a moving table, and get injected with iodine, which makes you all warm inside, but also makes you want to pee. I then go through this big ring with sensors, laser positioning, and spinning things. This only takes a few minutes, and I’m done.

The next day, the doctor calls. Boy I’m hearing a lot from the doctor lately. He says I definitely have a rather large lump. He starts to rattle off a list of things it might be, none of which I got or understood. He then tells me that I need a biopsy and puts in a order for one. My heart sunk a little lower, and now I’m getting a bit more concerned. But at this point it could be anything. But I’m still keeping positive thinking it’s just a lump and probably not cancer.

A few more days pass by (or was it almost a week?) before I go in for my biopsy. This one I needed someone to drive me to the hospital, so I let my parents in on my medical condition. Only a few people knew what was going on, including Betty, my gf. Oh, did I mention we’ve been dating for quite a few months now? Well that’s another blog entry for later. I’ve been updating my oldest sister, Carrie on my medical condition. I haven’t been telling my parents because I didn’t want to worry them. Especially since nobody knows what’s going on yet. But this time I needed them to drive me back from the hospital, so I updated them on what’s going on. I’m not sure they understood 100% because of the lack of reaction I got. I didn’t want to worry them further, or scream “I might have cancer! Sound worried!” If they were in a bit of blissful state of ignorance, I thought it best to leave them there until there was a need to shake them out of it. My second oldest sister, Vicky, had just gone to Asia for vacation when the whole ordeal happened, so she doesn’t have the slightest idea what’s going on. Vicky’s due back home in a couple of days, so I figure I’ll break the news when she gets home. Hopefully I’ll have some good news by then.

I meet the doctor doing the biopsy, and that’s when I learned that the lump wasn’t in my lung like I had thought, but in my chest. He showed me the CT scan I took. He had to point out the lump versus all the other organs including the heart and lungs and stuff. It looked pretty large on the computer monitor, so I asked him how big it was. He measured it on the computer program, came out to be about 100mm x 90mm, or 10cm x 9cm. Yikes! That’s huge, I kept exclaiming. He said it’s not really that big. Since the lump is in my chest and he can’t directly see the lump, he could either do the biopsy with needles and see where he’s going with ultrasound, which was faster, or he could do it with needles and stop every couple of minutes and use the CT scanner, which was slower. He decided it looks easy enough to use ultrasound. He asked if I was nervous, I said “yes!” and he gave me “something to relax”. I have nothing against taking drugs, the more the better. And I haven’t had any bad reactions to any drugs yet. So I’m laying flat on my back, the doc has a ultrasound on my chest, some huge needles waiting. He shoots me up with lidocaine so I don’t feel anything. If I’m not supposed to feel anything, then why does the needle with the lidocaine hurt so much? He then tells me the lump is close to the lung, and when he tells me not to breathe, don’t breathe. Don’t take any big breaths, inhale deeply or anything like that during the entire procedure, or it might cause the needle to move, shift, and possibly poke my lung causing my lung to deflate. After seeing my eyes nearly pop from my head when he said that, he added that he could inflate my lung, but he’d rather not do that. I agreed with that sentiment, and took normal breathes. While I didn’t get to see what was going on with the needles since it was on my chest, and I would have to bend my head forward to see what was going on, I could see his hands working the needles in. I think he used a big needle as a tube, used the ultrasound to guide it to the lump, then used the smaller ones for the sample. He was supposed to get 5 samples, but ended up getting 6 because he said one of them didn’t quite come out right. When he said ok, don’t breathe, I held my breathe, remembering not to inhale, and felt quite a bit of pain when he used sharp repeated jabbing motions. I guess the lidocaine didn’t quite numb everything up because that hurt quite a bit. And that was just the first sample. Eventually he got all the samples he needed, and it was over. They put a band aid over the spot where the needle went, let me rest for a few minutes and said I could go. I inquired when I’ll know of the results, and the doctor told me probably about a week. A week? Damn that seems like a long time.

The next afternoon the doctor calls me again. Whenever the doctor calls you directly, it’s usually not good news. Usually the assistant calls you up telling you everything came out normal, or they just send you a letter in the mail telling you things are normal. But I’m hearing from the doctor quite a bit lately. He says the initial lab results are in, and it’s not final yet, but it looks like I have Hodgkins Disease. WTF is Hodgkins Disease I ask him? I instantly start googling Hodgkins Disease, with the doctor on the phone. He tells me I can look it up on the internet, but I’m already clicking on the first link. First link comes up and says “Cancer of the lymph nodes”. First thing I say while hunched standing over the keyboard is “It’s cancer? Of the lymph nodes?” The doctor then replies back “Yeah, it’s cancer.” My butt suddenly drops, luckily my chair was right beneath me. I’m flabbergasted. I need to know more info about Hodgkins Disease. The doc then proceeds to tell me the success rate is very high, and that I’m young and healthy. He then says that it’s not the final diagnosis yet. But he orders me another cat scan, blood tests, and orders me a visit with the oncology department. He figures I’ll get the final lab results before my appointment with oncology, and they’ll take it from there. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this Hodgkins Disease, so I’m googling like mad and reading everything I can. 90-95% success rate in the early stages, so that’s very promising. But 70% success rate in the advanced stage doesn’t look so great. Chemo and radiation therapy however doesn’t sound so good either. Some of the symptoms, include, ah-ha! Itchy skin! No wonder I’ve been scratching. Now it starts to hit me, “I have cancer”. Morbid thoughts start coming into my head. What if scenarios play through my mind. What if I don’t make it? Oh man, I need to tell people. Betty’s not online, probably in a meeting. I don’t wanna tell my parents yet. Not ready right now to talk to them, I need more info and to explain it to them. I give my oldest sister Carrie a call, and give her the bad news. She, like me, instantly googled Hodgkins Disease. It starts to sink in for her too, emotions start emanating from her voice. It wasn’t that long ago, earlier last year, we had concerns that our parents time was finite, which was one of the main reasons we had our family trip. Now I realize that my own time may be finite.

Betty’s back online, so I call her up and break the news to her. Her voice cracks under the weight of the news. She also immediately googles Hodgkins Disease.

I slowly start telling some of my other friends. A few of them even knew somebody with Hodgkins Disease, and they made it through just fine. Encouraging words, but still worrisome. There’s still a lot of questions I needed answered. How aggressive is it? Has it spread to any other part of my lymph nodes? What treaments? How will they affect me? What about work?

I go in for my second CAT scan, this time I drink 3 bottles of barium dye before I go in, and they inject me with more iodine. The 3 bottles of barium doesn’t quite agree with my stomache, and it’s like I’m lactose intolerant. Large amounts of gas is escaping my body the very loud way, and even more gas is building up pressure in my intestines. It all goes away after about a day, but it made for quite an uncomfortable day.

The doctor calls me back about a week after his last call. Final lab results are in. He says I have B cell lymphoma, or commonly called Non Hodgkins Disease. Oh great, all this time I’ve been doing research on Hodgkins, I’ve seen the reference to Non Hodgkins but didn’t read up on it. Now I’m googling up b cell lymphoma, and getting tons of medical references, but nothing for the layman. The doc then tells me it’s more aggressive than Hodgkins Disease, and treatment will also be more aggressive. I ask him what the success rate is, and he says slightly lower. But I have a good chance being young and healthy. Oh great, slightly lower, just how much lower is slightly lower? Googling non hodgkins gives me better results, but there’s many subtypes, as well as a couple of b cell lymphoma subtypes. But none of the websites are giving me any success rate percentages. All I have to go on is slightly lower.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I'm baaaack!

Wow, my last blog was back in October!

Work got super busy, I didn't even have time to read my favorite blogs nor update my own. Personal life got super busy, video games, hanging out with friends, working on my DSM, and trying to spend time with B. Oh, B & I have become official, though she thought we were official way before we had talked about it.

B has also found an excuse to user her vacation time with me now. So we've been on a few trips already. We've gone to vegas for a few days, she's gone to vegas again by herself, and to vietnam again without me. Which is fine since I don't have as much vacation days as she does, nor quite the $$$ to do everything I want to do. But that hasn't stopped her, as we've booked more trips together burning even more of my vacation days and pocket money.

Though we did just come back from a absolutely great cruise to the caribbeans on board the Princess Caribbean cruise. After reading about Cindy's many cruises, I was quite disappointed to see that I did not get a towel bunny in my room. :( But the rest of the cruise was absolutely great. The food was so good in the dining room. Actually let me back this up a little bit to before the cruise.

About a week and a half before the cruise,I got a bad cold. My sinuses were completely clogged, I felt like crap, etc. This went on for a week. Two days before christmas, My condition worsened as my lung started to hurt when I coughed or breathed hard, and I would get winded getting up off the couch to the fridge and back. Now when we booked our cruise to the caribbeans, leaving from Ft. Lauderdale, we didn't book our flights to / from there yet. B had an idea to stay in chicago for an extra two days since our layover was at chicago, and stay in ft. lauderdale and extra day as well, and then booked the flights without consulting me. I'm all for extending my vacation especially since I'll be using my 2 for 1 PTO time at work, but staying in chicago in the middle of winter did not appeal to me at all. Needless to say when I got even more sick 4 days before I leave for chicago in the middle of winter, I was even less thrilled. For 3 days, I was really sick, and only started to get better the day we leave for chicago. To top it off, Chicago was getting a massive snow storm, and it was about 10 degrees below freezing the day we arrive. In fact we were lucky to make it to chicago at all, as I heard they canceled 300 flights in chicago o'hare airport the day we arrived. Luckily we were going through midway, a much smaller airport, and they had alot less cancellations and delays.

The day we arrived in chicago, it was snowing pretty good, temperatures were below freezing. I had brought some winter clothes, my fleece pullover, a big wool jacket, boots, but that still was not enough for the bitter cold that embraced us. On top of that I was still pretty sick, cold kept finding multiple paths to freeze me to the bone, and we had alot of walking to do outside. We took a cab a few times when the destination was far, away from the train station, but even getting to and from the train station a few blocks away left me cold and very irritable. We stayed at a fairly small boutique type hotel in downtown chicago called the Burnham. It reminded me alot of the boutique hotels in San Francisco. Luckily the heater was working very well, and the beds were amazingly comfy. So comfy in fact that we fell asleep in bed by accident our first night in chicago instead of going out to see the city and night life. Ok, so maybe it wasn't quite by accident, I wanted to take a nap in bed, and dragged B with me under the covers. We both fell asleep for hours until about 3am when I noticed that all the lights are still on, B is asleep next to me, my contacts are still in my eyes, I'm still wearing street clothes, and we didn't even eat dinner yet. I said screw it, I'm still sleepy, took out my contacts, turned the lights out, took off my street clothes, and slid back under the sheets to sleep till morning.

The day we leave for Ft. Lauderdale, the sky clears up and it stops snowing. We have a early morning flight, and we were hoping it wouldn't get cancelled or delayed too much, as we have a 4 hour leeway planned before the boat leaves without us. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, we have a very early flight out of chicago at around 6am. That was actually beneficial to us as it would minimize delays getting out of chicago, but that meant we had to wake up really really early to catch the flight. The flight was only delayed about 40 minutes due to deicing of the plane, and general sluggishness that the cold created with the ground crew. We made it to warm and sunny ft. lauderdale, grabbed a taxi and headed to the cruise ship. Luckily my sister was a veteran of the cruise ship, and gave me tons of pointers and hints, and told me once on board, they will start serving at the buffets. By the time we boarded the cruise ship, it was 2pm, and we were starving, so we headed straight to the buffet.

More about the cruise later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Washington DC Day 1

Our plane to Washington DC was on Jet Blue out of Oakland. This is my first time i ever went on Jet Blue, and had heard they had spacious coach seats. So my sister Vicky and my parents set off to Oakland together. We had planned on meeting my oldest sister Carrie at the airport. I actually have not flown since they enacted the new liquid rule, so I wasn't used to not carrying any liquid or gel or anything on my carry ons. In fact, I totally forgot about the bottle of water I was carrying and gave to my sister right before going through the security check. I was wondering why it took her so long to get through security, until she had told me the bag I gave to her to carry contained a bottle of water. Ooops.

On board Jet Blue, I found that the legroom was quite spacious for my 6 foot tall frame. My legs weren't smashed up against the seat in front of me like they sometimes are. I was also the odd man out, which meant i didn't have to sit next to my parents or sister, and I was in solitary heaven. Well as solitary as you can get in a completely full flight. I did remember to bring my ear plugs, and ended up sleeping a good portion on the plane. What I wasn't used to was the lack of any type of meals on board the plane. No meals were being served, not even for purchase. I didn't know about this, and didn't bring any food with me. They did have unlimited amounts of snacks, but there was only so much cookies and peanuts I can eat.

We finally landed at the Dulles airport, and proceed to the rental car location. During the short trip, I noticed that my mom needed to stop to use the bathroom what seemed like every other minute. This theme would continue throughout our entire trip, in fact me and my sister would joke about this every once in a while. I guess that's what happens when you get older, your bladder shrivels up into the size of a thimble.

At the rental car location, Carrie and I were debating whether or not we should rent the GPS for the $10 a day extra they were asking for. Eventually we caved in, thinking we'll probably kick ourselves if we got lost / made wrong turns if we didn't get it. And boy, am I glad we got it. The freeways around the DC area are confusing as hell. Even with the GPS we still took wrong exits. Thank god we didn't take the wrong exit that put us on a toll road. The GPS was a life saver, although i think sometimes it took us the long way around. It also had a tendency to want to drive into the pentagon parking lot! On our way to the hotel, I was getting really hungry, and wanted to stop off for some food. I got real lucky and spotted a vietnamese deli that served vietnamese sandwiches on the way! Score! It was pretty cheap, and some of the sandwiches were real good, except for the chicken, which was kinda bland. Amazingly enough it was the first time my parents had vietnamese sandwiches, even though all of my sisters, my sister's kids eat them all the time. I know my parents doesn't like to stray outside their comfortable chinese food, except for the american food, but never eating vietnamese sandwiches? I had to introduce them to new food, even if I had to force it upon them, which we basically did by stopping off at the vietnamese deli. This is a theme that I would continue to set throughout the vacation as well. My parents liked some of the sandwiches, and after expressing that with enough enthusiasm that convinced me that they would never purchase vietnamese sandwiches on their own, we head off to our hotel.

Our hotel was the Ritz Carlton at the Pentagon City in Virginia. It was across the river from downtown DC, right next to a metro train station, and connected to a really nice mall. It was also about the same price as other hotels in the area, so we decided what the hell, we might as well stay there if it's gonna be the same price, and see what the Ritz is all about. The hotel looked pretty nice, if a bit small, rooms were average size, not exactly spacious, but the service there was excellent. And the mall attached to it was pretty cool. It had a lot of stores, and a decent food court as well. We got in pretty late, so we called it a night so we cold start our sight seeing the next morning.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Washington DC, day 0

Our flight to Washington DC is scheduled to leave from the Oakland Airport. With the bay bridge closed during labor day weekend, and the fact that everyone is leaving on the same flight, we wanted to all carpool over to the airport together. My parent's first idea was that we'd all carpool to my sister's house in San Ramon, a good 40 minute drive east of the airport. My sister and parents live in San Francisco, which would be about 1 hour and 15 mins away from my oldest sister's. They wanted to sleep over at my sister's house on friday night, and head to the airport saturday morning. One problem with that is my sister's house has only 2 couches (1 sofa and 2 loveseat) and hardwood floors. Two people would have to sleep on the ground, and it's not going to be my parents. I decided to veto that idea, but offered my parents and my younger sister they can sleep over at my place since I have a spare bedroom with bed, and a really comfortable sofa. My plan was to go to tahoe with B on thursday and come back late friday, so I left my keys with my parents to they can get in anytime they wanted.

I come back late friday night (around 1am), find my parents asleep. I also found out my mom washed all my dishes in the sink, took my loaf of bread and put it in the freezer, took some of my leftovers inside tupperware that was sitting in the fridge, and put that in the freezer, including a tupperware containing rice that I was going to throw out. I go upstairs to my room and notice that my mom had put two of my suits in my closet into a plastic garment bag. I remember the conversation a couple of weeks ago with my mom. She said she had a plastic garment bag she wanted to give me. I told her I didn't want it, that I already had one. She then started to go on about how it would protect my suit from dust sitting in my closet for long periods. I then rebutted that I use my suits almost weekly ever since pageant activities started and it doesn't sit in my closet long enough to gather dust. Now I see this garment bag that she got from JC Penny because it was written on it, hanging in my closet with two of my suits in there. Why? Why must she do that? This is what I get for leaving my parents alone in my house unsupervised.

Unexpected treasure

I noticed my guest bathtub was draining real slowly. I was gonna call the plumber to get it unclogged but decided that I'd try to do it myself. Harbor Freight, land of cheap tools (and sometimes too cheap) was also having a sale on the cheapie but powerful impact wrench. I decided to head down there since I missed the last sale they had on the air impact wrench, and noticed they had a plumbing snake on sale as well. The housing was made out of plastic and looked fairly cheap, but it was on sale for $14. I decided to give it a shot, since a plumber would probably charge me close to $100 to unclog the drain. I also bought the impact wrench I wanted which was perfect since I needed to change my brake pads.

I used my impact wrench to take the nuts off the wheels (It's really nice having a impact wrench to do that) and only had enough time to replace the front brakes.

Afterwards, I decided to to try to tackle the drain in the second bathroom. As soon as I unscrewed the drain stopper, I saw a huge amount of hair and some plastic pieces. I was able to pull most of it with just my fingers, and then used the snake to pick up the rest more easily. When it was all pulled out, I had a pile of hair the size of a large rat. Yuck! I also noticed all of the hair is long and blonde, which points straight at my ex-roommate. Although I'm not sure where the two small plastic pieces came from.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Beyonce and Ribs

One of the pageant girls (Julie) invited us up to Tahoe to a Beyonce concert and to party with her before she goes back to China for 2 years. B and I are the only one that went up to see the Beyonce concert. Even Julie, who planned the whole thing couldn't make the concert as she got a beer/liquor promo gig that same night that she couldn't get out of. This was the thursday of Labor Day weekend. During the same weekend in Reno was ribfest. Ribfest is where they invite the top BBQ rib makers to compete for best ribs, best sauce, etc. They also sell literally a ton of ribs to the people all weekend long. Beyonce and ribs it is!

We head up to tahoe on thursday day, and saw the Beyonce concert. This was actually my first concert where I wanted to see the artist. I've been to some other concerts where I wasn't into the artist or knew their songs. So this was a blast for me. Beyonce is an amazing performer. Unfortunately our seats were quite far back, so actually seeing beyonce was a bit difficult. 3/4 through the show, we move up closer to the front and got a better view. One of the cool things about her concert was that her band was all girls. Guess she has some girl power going on in the band. One bad thing was that any of the old songs from Destiny's Child that she sang, she only sang about 30 seconds worth. Not sure if that's because she wanted to promote her own songs on her new album, or didn't have full rights to it.

B and I stayed in Tahoe that night, and headed out to Ribfest in Reno the next morning. I've never been so full from really good ribs. I pretty much ate nothing but rib samplers that I shared with B for $6 for 3 ribs. I do have to say that my favorite ribs was definitely butch's (It's the sauce) followed closely by famous dave's (It's the rub). After lunch, we fell into a food coma in our car, and was napping until the security guard came by and verbally warned us that we couldn't sleep in the parking lot. We walked around some more until we were hungry enough for dinner, grabbed some more ribs, corn on the cob, kettle corn, and fried veggies. Feeling extremely stuffed, we head back home because my flight to Washington DC was early next morning, while B had her flight to vegas the next day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pageant Photos

Here's some pics of various pageant events that I have lying around.
You can click on the pics to see the larger sizes.

Going back in time, Kwik-E-Mart

I was organizing a few of my pictures in picasa and noticed I didn't blog about some of them. So I'm going to go back in time and blogging about it.

Back at the end of July, I was having dinner with B for her birthday. We had dinner at Xanh's in Mountain View, and it was absolutely fabulous in food. It was a modern vietnamese place very similar to the famous Slanted Door in San Francisco, but they give you larger portions. Since we were in mountain view I wanted to visit the 7-11 turned Kwik-E-Mart. Here's some pics that we took in the Kwik-E-Mart

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wow it's been a long time

I know it's been about a month since my last blog entry. Things have been really busy lately. Busy at work, busy on the weekends, and busy in my personal life.

My planned trip with the whole family, including brother in law, niece and nephew to hawaii was canceled due to family indecisiveness. We then decided to go ahead and plan a vacation to Washington DC around labor day weekend. (That's where I am now as I'm writing this)

Pageant week came and went. It was a long week, very little sleep, but really fun and entertaining. I've made a lot of friends during pageant week, both guys and girls. The pageant production itself looked absolutely great. Even my parents and sister came and watched the production. And the winner is.... well I'll let you find out for yourselves by visiting

After the pagaent a bunch of girls and guys went out to go clubbing a few times, having a blast. We've been keeping in touch, getting together for some crazy times and having fun. Even the out of town girls, we've been keeping in touch via facebook. I happen to be doing some traveling for vacation and work, and plan on meeting a few of them while I'm there. In fact, I'm meeting up with one of the girls while I'm out here in Virginia (Near washington DC)

I bet some of you are wondering what's going on in my love life. I guess you can say B and I are now dating, although we're kinda keeping it on the down low. Ok more like B is keeping it on the down low while I'm openly blogging about it. I guess it's one of those things about B, she's very guarded about her personal life.

I'm currently in Virginia (next to washington DC). My family split ways today, my parents off to Philadelphia and atlantic city, while my two sisters head back home. Myself, I'm staying over the weekend and hanging out with one of the girls from the pagaent. More about my Washington DC trip later.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


No, it's not the kind you tie people up with, nor is the kind where you invest money into, I'm talking about bonding with people. The girls, the staff, the other escorts. I was really starting to look forward to spending time with everybody. Especially my regular who I give a ride to for almost every event. I'm having lots of fun hanging out with some of the other guys who I had met before I started the pagaent.

Since my boss has been on vacation for almost a month, I played hookey from work and went go-karting with the guys that I knew previously. I've been karting at this indoor kart place called gokartracer quite a number of times, so I'm fairly fast on the course. One of the guys has been there a couple of times, and the other has never tried it before. I had to school them on the ways of track, but they learn fast. Next week one of the guys convinced his GF to go gokarting too. Her first session was quite frustrating to her due to some of the other guys on the track that kept bumping her and telling the track marshals that she wasn't pulling over, but by the time we did our 2nd & 3rd session, she was really getting the hang of it and was going much faster. The rest of the guys also were getting alot faster. During my 2nd & 3rd session, I got assigned a really slow kart, so slow that I amazingly didn't finish first in my 3rd session, mostly due to one of the other guys that wouldn't yield to the passing flag after I had lapped him. Now that my boss is back from vacation tomorrow, I won't be taking those extended lunches, but I'll still have enough time to get in a couple of sessions during my normal lunch break.

Next week is pagaent week, so I'll be real busy the entire week. I hear that the girls won't be getting much sleep, nor will I.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Dinner after Lemons

We left the Lemons race early, so I decided to call up B to see if she wanted to hang out. We eventually met up, I took her back to my place and tried out a pork tenderloin recipe she had gotten recently. It was actually a pretty good recipe, except we needed to marinate the meat alot longer in the soy sauce and sake based marinade. The marinade wasn't that strong, and we only marinaded it for about an hour so it didn't penetrate very far through the meat. We watched the dvd Happy Feet that she just bought earlier in the day as we waited for food to cook. It was a nice night. There isn't much more going on than being friends right now, though there's definitely interest on both sides. That's how I want things to move right now, slow. Let's just see how long I can keep things slow until basic needs start taking over.

24 hours of Lemons

I'm way behind on my blogs, so I'll start off with the 24 hours of lemons. Drinking heavily the night before for my birthday, I totally forgot that I had said I'd meet my friend at 8am the next morning to go spectate at the 24 hours of lemons over in Tracy, CA. So I got a call at 8am from my friend who exclaimed "What? You're still asleep!". I convinced him to come pick me up, so I got up got ready, drank some more water to try to shake the hangover off. I started feeling alot better, and grabbed a small cooler for some drinks because it was going to be hot, hot, hot in Tracy.

I got to the race around noon, and was amazed at the craziness going on. 80 cars on the track at the same time meant that there was barely any gaps between all the cars running around the track. There were a couple of hilarious cars racing out there, one had a paper mache statue of the pope riding on top of the rear hatch, a hearst, the mitsubishi (a mitsubishi mirage covered in fake fur) and a bunch of others.

The track was alot faster than we though it would be. It looks like the cars were hitting around 75mph in the back stretch. No facilities for gas, so you need to haul it yourself. There were quite a few tire punctures, a couple of car fires, and alot of dents. It looks like it'll be a fun event when we run it in october. Hopefully it won't be as hot as it was today. It was really scorching out there in the July heat.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Friday the 13th

"Today's friday the 13th!", my friend IM's me.
"Huh? It is? Already? Darn, I didn't even notice that today", I reply back.

As I unpack one of the big Dell boxes that has a server in it, a freaking spider literally jumps out at me from the box. So I do what any strong manly man does, I screamed like a little girl then stomped on it. After scraping the bottom of my shoe against another box, I think to myself I would suck if I encountered an alien species that looked different. I'd probably scream like a little girl again, then grab my shotgun and blast it till it stopped moving.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Office Stalkers

I used to have a previous office stalker, a girl who has a crush on me, but she recently left the company. It was very obvious as well, so obvious that my coworkers would joke around whenever her name would pop up. Actually office stalker is a strong word, since she's too shy / busy to come over to my cube to talk to me. I would see her in the hallway or break room and chit chat every so often.

How did I know she had a crush on me? She let it all out one night during my coworker's going away party. After a few drinks, she admitted it to one of my coworker's wife. Unfortunately they were also trying to hook us up together despite my protests, so I felt a bit awkward as I didn't want to hurt her feelings. But I think she got the hint that night.

Recently at my birthday, one of my friends asked me if so-and-so (really, I forgot his name) talked to me at work. I remember saying that I don't know anybody by that name at work, but my friend told me they met him through another friend and he also works at the same company I do. He also knows who I am, and knows I go to the company gym often. This information started creeping me out, since I really can't think of anybody I know with that name, nor has anybody came up and introduced themselves to me recently. And the fact that he knows I go to the gym kinda creeps me out a bit.

Whoever you are, please introduce yourself to me so I can stop imagining that you're some creepy guy.

Though he might have introduced himself to me before, and I forgot, since I'm horrible at remembering people's names.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Birthday Celebration!

Saturday we celebrated my birthday! I made reservations at Cafe Mum's in San Francisco. All you can eat japanese shabu shabu, is always good, but all you can drink beer and sake sealed the deal. Afterwards, I made plans to go to medjool, a bar / restaraunt in the mission that also has a outdoor sky lounge on the roof for those who couldn't make dinner. We had a blast at cafe mum's, beer and sake bombs were done not only by us, but with people that were sitting at the table next to us. A couple of people never had shabu shabu before, so I had to show them how to do it.

1. Take the vegetables (Mushrooms, lettuce, spinach) and noodles and throw it in the pot.

2. Bring pot to a slow boil

3. Pick up thinly sliced ribeye with chopsticks and place in pot.

4. Use your chopstick-fu to defend your meat from rogue meat thieving chopsticks.

5. Retrieve meat from pot and dip in one of two sauces provided. A ponzo type sauce, or a peanut type sauce (sauce and meat on the left)

6. Eat meat and then take a cup full of sake and hold over cup of beer

7. Scream "I say sake, you say bomb! Sake! Bomb! Sake! Bomb!" then drop cup of sake in cup of beer and down your sake bomb.

8. Stare at amazement that you just downed a whole cup of beer and sake at once.

9. Convince your friends that doing sake bombs are fun.

We made it look so fun, the people from the table next to us wanted to have as much fun as we did..

So they decided to join us for a toast.

Afterwards, we stumbled(Ok, really it was just me) out to the car and headed to medjool in the mission. I did a shot of kamakazi which put me from being very buzzed to drunk. Then somebody bought me a AMF (Adios Mother Fucker) which put me from drunk to very drunk. At that point it was time to go home since I had crossed the threshold from being drunk to feeling a bit sick. I made it home without puking, drank lots of water, and went to bed.

Special thanks to Dani and Ryan who made it all the way from San Jose to join me, and for driving us to medjool and back!

Next thing I knew my phone rings at 8am.
Groggily I answer "Hello?"
Other person on the end of the phone in voice of disbelief, "What? You're still asleep? You're supposed to be at my house by now! I'm coming to pick you up now!"

Ugh, I forgot that I was going to the 24 hours of Lemons to observe with my friend Allen. Of all the days I scheduled things. I drag myself outta bed, drink some more water hoping it'll quell the storm in my stomache and head for the shower.

24 hours of Lemons coming up next.

Monday, July 02, 2007

My Birthday

So my birthday came and went yesterday. I'm now 33 years old, single, living alone. Alone, the key word is. How did my day go? B left me a text message wishing me a happy birthday. But she's busy with a wedding all weekend long, so no time to stop by or meet up with me. My friend Danny's in LA this weekend. One of my sister calls me up to wish me a happy birthday. I haven't heard anything from my other sister nor my parents. Which is odd, since my parents usually call me up and wish me a happy birthday. I called up my ex to see if she wanted to go to lunch, but she was busy too, and already had plans to do something. How funny, as I am writing this, my parents just called me up to wish me a happy belated birthday. Most of the day went to doing nothing. I purchased a nice air compressor from sears on friday, and went to harbor freight to pick up some cheap air tools on saturday. Spent a little bit of time hooking up the new air tools to test if they work. Did a few errands. Got a call from my friend Martha wishing me a happy birthday later on at night.

The only day of the year where it's all about me, me, me, me. It literally was just me. It sucks when there isn't anybody around to lavish all their attention to you. Almost as bad as being alone on valentine's day. Actually worse, cause now you're older.

I really shouldn't be complaining, I have a few good friends who care about me, a family that does too. I make good money, have my own place. But this is my first year living alone without a girlfriend. So far I've been through one thanksgiving, one christmas, one new year's, one valentine's, and now one birthday living alone. I guess I've now made it through all the major holidays and annual events. Christmas and thanksgiving isn't too bad since I usually spend time with family, but man, new year's, valentine's and my birthday really sucks without anyone.

But I really shouldn't be complaining, I'm planning on celebrating my birthday this saturday so that most of the people I know can make it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

My ears are burning

Or at least my spider sense tells me when somebody's talking about me. Ok so it's not exactly like my ears actually gets hot, or I have a rash. It's more like I know when somebody's talking about me. Nothing ESP like such as when somebody in another part of the city talks about me. No, it's more like when somebody talks about me in the same room, either in a different language, whispering, or talking to somebody else on the phone. Sometimes you can catch parts of what they're saying if they're whispering, or half of the conversation if they're on the phone.

So how do I do it? It's pretty easy actually, most people tend to look at that person when they start talking about them. The smarter ones won't look at you when they know you're looking at them. But if you're not looking at them, have your head turned away, or focusing on something else, such as a object or another conversation, they'll have a tendency to look at you and talk about you.

Of course if you're not actively deploying your "I'm not paying attention to you" cloaking shields, it's not easy to eavesdrop their conversation, especially if you're wrapped up in another conversation. You'll only get to catch a couple of words, if any. I have a tendency to take those couple of words, and attempt to reconstruct their conversation about me in my head. Take for instance yesterday during another one of the pagaent events, I was walking by and my spider sense was tingling, and I heard what might have been the word "Thai" from two of the girls that was looking at me. I know they don't think I'm Thai, so I think in my head what other word might sound like Thai, and Tall sounds kinda like Thai, which means they were commenting on how Tall I was.

Ok, I know what you're thinking, that's quite a bit of a stretch, but I get these things, and I really think that I'm really close. Even harder are the half of a phone conversation. Yesterday as I was giving one of the girls a ride home, she was on the phone on a conference call with some of her sorority sisters. As a couple of people came online in the conference call, a bit of chit chat goes on until everyone else gets on, like most people do when they know the people they're talking with. As I was driving, I notice her take a quick glance at me and says "Uh... We'll talk about that later." Ding Ding goes my spider senses, and I know that subject was about me, but she didn't want to say anything in front me. Yah I know what you're thinking. She's talking about her meeting, she's not really talking about you. But I'm telling you, my spidey senses were tingling there.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I could also be conceited and think I'm the center of attention and everyone's talking about me.

Open Door Part 2

Ok, so apparently the part of my brain that actually writes these blogs left out a couple of things from my previous blog entry. So a few weeks before Will, B, and I went out to dinner, I had talked to B via IM & phone to try to go out to dinner. First attempt, I called her up and she was busy that weekend. Tried to reschedule for next week, and I was busy. Next attempt she called me up and asked me to dinner, but I was busy. Next time both our schedules were free, and we went to dinner and ended up talking for hours.

Next time I saw B was when B, Will, and I was at dinner together. I had just told Will that I went out to dinner with B a week or two ago, hence the probing by Will, the life stories, the philosophical questions and answers with more background information that I could process that we all participated in.

This sat, I invited B over to dinner at my house. I haven't cooked anything good for a long time, and she got excited when I told her about my method for cooking my vermont maple pork chops. I still needed to clean the house up since I haven't quite fully recovered from my last couple of BBQ's, as well as do my laundry, so I wasn't going anywhere that day. She came by and brought some really good focaccia bread from a small bakery in North Beach. We talked, looked up a new cell phone that she wanted, while the pork chops sat in it's brine. She gave me a hand cooking the pork chops, glazed carrots, and blanched asparagus that I had planned. The pork chops came our pretty good again, and she was thoroughly impressed. It's always good to have at least one or two really good dishes that you can make to impress the ladies. Afterwards, I got her to play a few rounds of Wii tennis. She said that she doesn't like video games, but after a few rounds of tennis, I had to pull her off of the Wii so we could go out and get some chinese desserts in San Mateo.

So yah, she likes me, changed her tune recently. I've still got a open door, but I'm not rushing through, taking things slow and friendly right now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Open door

Oh, I forgot to mention, I went out to dinner with B (a girl who I met on my tahoe trip) about a month ago. We talked for a few hours over dinner, and we continue to talk to each other over IM & on the phone. B's a sweet gal, and we have a few things in common. Funny thing is, on our car ride from Tahoe, I mentioned if she had anything planned over the summer, and she went on this big thing on how she's not ready on a relationship, she needs to concentrate on work, her works takes her to who knows where every few months, etc. Funny thing is I asked that question as a segway to talk about my 24 Hours of Lemons car race I'm planning on running. She thought I was asking her out over the summer or something. I didn't want to embarrass her by mentioning that all I asked if she had anything interesting like a vacation or something planned over the summer. I decided to play it off and tell her she's way over analyzing things right now.

A couple of weeks ago, I went out to dinner with B and my friend Will (Whom I had recently told I went out to dinner with B), and all throughout dinner, Will grilled B on everything from "What do you look for in a man", to hypothetical questions "Who would you rather go out with, someone with looks, or someone with money". Ya know, all the ones that'll make you sweat. B now changed her tune, saying she's ready for other things in her life besides work. She also had said that she's old fashioned and wants the guy to make the first move (ask her out).

That was just a small sampling over many subjects, with alot of information, more than I really wanted to know.

I've got an open door, but I'm hesitating. Not sure why right now.

First in Poker!

Whoo-hoo, Friday was a good night for me. I won my first poker tournament! I won a couple of really good hands in the beginning and was big stack for most of the early part of the tournament. Then lost most of it in some big losses, and was almost out of the game. I staged a late game rally, going all in 3 hands in a row and winning all 3. That put me in a better position, enough for me to see what I can get on the flop, and it seemed like I could make something out of whatever hands I was dealt. I came out eventually in 1st place, took the $128 prize money along with $15 in bounty. It feels good to win!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Andretti Winery in Napa

Saturday, I dropped off my car at the dealership to get my gear oil changed and my vortex generators fixed, since it was loose on one corner. Unfortunately they said it would take all day when I thought it would only take about an hour. So I started calling up people to see if they could hang out and pick me up. Most of the people were busy, but my sister said she was going up to Andretti Winery up in Napa to pick up her wine that she has there because of her wine club membership. That sounded like fun so I told her to pick me up and we'll head down there. So we head to Napa, and since she's a member, she gets free wine tasting for her and a guest. Whoo-hoo! I try out a few wines, but end up really liking the port, so I pick up a bottle. I also heard that Mario Andretti himself will be there on Friday for an open house. I'm seriously considering taking off early friday and heading up there. Tickets are only $20 each, and i get to meet Mario himself! Andretti that is, not the video game character! :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sweating at home

It got warm today, actually it got hot. When I finally got home, it was 80 deg inside the house, and a bit less than 80 outside. I go turn on the A/C, and go about my business. A couple of hours later, I notice it's still hot outside, but my indoor / outdoor temperature gauge said it got colder outside. I start to notice that the a/c is barely putting out cool air. Great, now my less than a year old central a/c that I installed last year doesn't work. And I only used it about 4 times since I got it. And here I am blogging about this while nekkid.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tenga anyone?

I found this link via Danny Choo's blog
Tenga anyone?

Looks like a shampoo or perfume bottle they sell in japan, but inside, well, I'll let you read it for yourself.

Those wacky japanese!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Why I'm not a pet lover

My friend W was flying back from singapore on saturday, and my friend Danny was supposed to pick her up at the airport but couldn't, so he asked me and my other friend T if one of us could pick her up. I said I'd pick her up, and T mentioned that she was glad W was back from her two week trip from singapore because T was sick of taking care of her 4 little dogs. I had thought she was just exaggerating like alot of people do, after all taking care of someone else's dogs isn't such a simple task, especially the hyperactive little white fluffy cottonballs that W has. Now I'm not a pet person, never owned a pet besides goldfish before. I've only taken care of my ex's sister's dog for about a week once. That dog was a really mild mannered dog (she was old) and was probably easier to take care of by far than my friend W's dog, and I almost gagged when I had to go walk the dog and pick up dog poop with a plastic bag. OMG, that stuff smells when it's fresh!

When I met T at W's house, I was not prepared for the carnage that 4 little dogs can inflict in a 24 hour period! T and Danny were tag teaming to clean and feed the dogs twice a day for the two weeks W was gone. So today marked only 24 hours of chaos that went on inside the house. When I got there, I could not believe the amount of poop and pee that 4 little dogs can make. And one of them started tearing up one of their stuffed toy, so white fluff was strewn about everywhere. There were a couple of pads that the dogs used to go on, but that didn't stop them from going in other spots, or just missing the edge of that pad so there's a little pool of surprise when T went to pick up a pad. Luckily she warned me not to take off my shoes when I walked on the hardwood floors. Just another reminder of why I don't have pets, and why I have trouble keeping plants alive.

I rock!

A few weeks ago, my friend Danny picked up a copy of Guitar Hero 2 for the xbox 360, and said I need to come over and try it. Within 5 minutes of playing on it, I knew I needed to get one. And that weekend, I picked one up at Best Buy. I had a 10% off coupon that I had to go argue with the store manager into letting me use since the coupon said it was good on video games, but the computer system rung it up as not a game. And they also gave me a $10 Gift Card as well! Sweet! And I've been hooked on it ever since.! Alot of the songs I've never heard of before, but believe me, I know them by heart now. I've completed all the songs on easy and medium modes, gotten 5 stars on all the song on easy, and working my way on getting 5 stars on medium. I even managed to pass the first 2 sets of songs on hard mode, and boy let me tell you hard mode is really hard! Not only do you have to use the 5th fret, but everything comes at you faster, with more notes. I don't know how the people that can play a real guitar does this stuff!

I've even gotten other people hooked on it. My old coworker that I'm currently tuning his car for, came by so I could help tune his car. I showed him the guitar hero, and several hours later, I had to peel him away from the guitar so we could tune his car like he originally came down to do. I just heard from him that he just bought a xbox 360 just so he could play guitar hero! Haha! Now I feel like a crack dealer!

My neighbor also came by one day to hang out, and he also got addicted to guitar hero. Last weekend, he, his wife, and baby came by to hang out, and got them both addicted to guitar hero and the Wii! Hahaha, no my secret plan to form a video game based rock band is coming to fruition! (Insert evil laugh here)

I now think about going home after work and skipping my workout to play guitar hero!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How to lose at poker

So a few weeks ago, I had another painful stomach ache, and feinted again when I got up to the bathroom. Ever since then, my stomache has been acting up lately, hurting whenever I eat food. Mostly stuff that's not particular healthy for me. So lately I've been trying to eat stuff that's easy on the tummy, including soup, vegetables, and staying away from anything fried, or contains grease. I've been taking pepto bismol, and switced to tums, which I think means I'm just producing alot of acid or something. For a few days last week or two, almost anything I ate would cause me intense pain.

My coworker's roommate, Dub, who I also play video games online with, sets up these poker tournaments every 2 weeks at his house. While I'm not particularly good at poker, I have played a bit off and on over the last couple of years with friends. The buy in was pretty cheap, less than $30, and with a very limited amount of re-buy's 1 or 2 re-buy's per game, means you can't lose very much money. They do their own house rules, which makes it really fun. If you take out somebody (they go all in and losse), you get a $5 bounty in cash. At each game, somebody is randomly marked as double bounty, so the person who takes out the double bounty gets $10 in cash. Each person also gets a "Show me chip", which basically means anybody can use their chip on somebody after the hand has been won, and force them to show their cards to everyone. This makes it so you can see if the other person was bluffing or not, which makes learning everybody's style alot faster. The first tournament I went to involved 20 people and two tables. That night, I ended up playing from 7:00 to almost midnight, and I ended up taking out 4 people, and took fourth place, which is where they started the payout. Not bad for my first time at a poker tournament with seasoned pros! I think I took home close to $90 that night! It was tons of fun, while getting to know some new people. Almost half of the players were girls, which surprised me. I was ecstatic that I made the pay out, and had alot of fun and wanted in on the regular weekly emails for poker. But for me, I'm still learning, so I had to concentrate alot on my cards and everyone else, so it was very tiring at the end. I was barely able to keep my concentration or even keep track of what colors represented what denomination. Luckily everyone there is totally honest and helped me out, while giving me a good amount of ribbing.

Two weeks later, I got in on the second tournament, and also did very well, taking out almost half the table, but ended up losing to a Royal Flush (If you're gonna lose a hand, a Royal Flush is the hand to lose it on) and came out third, just making the payout round. Again I made out with almost $70 that night, and left the place totally drained, not able to add 2 and 2 together.

Two weeks after that, I get in on my third tournament, but this is the day when my stomach is really acting up all week. Part of the buy in also goes towards food, which is pizza. Boy that was a mistake, after eating only two slices, my stomach was hurting so bad, I couldn't think, make any judgements, or anything. I screwed up a few times where I could've have taken a couple of people out, but folded instead. To end the game early, I went All In about 5 times with cards that might work. Each time I went all in, I would make the river (Win with the last card). Everyone at the table could not believe I was so lucky and made the river every time, and would start swearing if they were on the opposite end of that. But I was in no mood for celebration as my stomach was now more like a knife cutting through my midsection. I inquired about some sort of tums, pepto bismol or something to help ease the pain. Like a bad hand, they hand nothing. I had stuff at home, but home is about 5-10 minutes away by car, an eternity considering that if you're not at your seat playing when they're ready to play, you automatically get your hands folded for you. I wanted to win, but I wanted it to be over too. Eventually my luck would not last, and my all in strategy would eventually fail me, taking 4th place, no pay out, and one bounty. Of course, my pains were near mortal at that point, so quickly said goodbye, jumped in my car, headed home, and consumed whatever was left of my pepto bismol. That helped alot, enough for me to go to the store and grab another bottle of pepto bismol and some tums to get me through the rest of the night.