Archive for May, 2014

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Results of My Treatments: Part Deux

May 30, 2014

Hello, my name is Mike, and I don’t brush my teeth. Well, that’s a lie. I do brush them every couple of weeks or so. Combine that with the gum chewing effects associated with years of dipping a can of Skoal Straight Long Cut everyday in those younger dumber days with my soon to start six months of chemo and I was a bit concerned about losing those front four teeth that so valiantly helped squeeze every ounce of nicotine from my dear, delicious, smokeless tobacco.

On Tuesday I had appointments with four different doctors. I was poked twice. And had my head banged around by powerful magnetic waves.

Bang bang machine

Bang bang machine

 

The morning started out with an 8:30 MRI appointment. Following the hospital’s favorite form of passive aggressive torture, having my head caged to a table, I was glided into the noisy cylindrical chamber. If you’ve never had an MRI done it’s a bit noisy in there. They give you headphones for ear protection, though. On an even nicer note they do pump Pandora through them! I wasn’t too much of a man to ask for Björk to be played in my headphones. Sorry. Poke number one was a contrast agent shot into my arm allowing the machine to differentiate between good brain (the one I’ve worked so hard on) and bad brain (the treacherous Brainadict Arnold).

They’re ain’t nothing wrong with a 35 year old man who may or may not have a crush on an Icelandic experimental trip-hop singer.

They’re ain’t nothing wrong with a 35 year old man who may or may not have a crush on an Icelandic experimental trip-hop singer.

After the MRI I got jabbed in my other arm. It was the obligatory blood drawing appointment. Not too bad really. I do have a few tattoos if some of you haven’t noticed.

There are three options ranging from “not-so-good,” to “as expected,” to “oh my!” The first would be that the radiation and chemo had done nothing and my tumor continued to stubbornly grow while being bombarded with poisons. This was one of my worries. If I had faired so well during treatments Brainadict Arnold (aka, Bwian) may have faired just as well. There are no guarantees. The second option, “as expected,” would be that the treatments had stopped the tumor in its tracks and halted any further growth. That’s all the treatment is supposed to do, ergo all that can be expected. The third, “oh, my!” is the treatments went one step further and not only stopped tumor growth, but caused the tumor to recede. This option is where the treatments is killing and shrinking the tumor.

Following my blood letting session was finding out the results of my MRI. We meet with all three of my doctors in succession. Dr. Litofsky, my neurosurgeon, was the first up and broke the news to us. “Oh, my!” Well he didn’t really give us the George Takei, but he was about as giddy as I had ever seen the guy. My medical oncologist was next. He was also ecstatic. My radiologist was last in line. He called me remarkable. I admit to being a badass, but being called remarkable, well, that just made me blush.

So, too sum it up, Holly and I had a good day on Tuesday! Not to mention we had a friend in town (a Mr. John Talcott) that we got to have a couple of celebratory drinks with afterward, at least until the cancer-kid started getting all sleepy and grumpy. Come on! It was a long weekend of anticipation and probably a longer day!

And just to bring it back around and end the day with a bigger smile, the kid with the brain cancer who never brushes and chewed more than a cow, was told his teeth, gums, and oral bone structure were some of the healthiest the oral surgeon (4th doctor) had ever seen! I may have cancer but I got a fine set of chompers!

(Please ignore the inordinate amount of inappropriate references that could be made from the above sentence.)

Toofers

Toofers

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Results of My Treatments

May 26, 2014

Tomorrow we go in to find out if my previous chemo and radiation treatments are working as they should. Though six more months of chemo is guaranteed, I’m really hoping for no more radiation for a long time!

(RT Visual tour!)

So much radiation that the size of the lead vest it would take to protect the rest of my body would crush me.

Creates so much radiation that the size of the lead vest it would take to protect the rest of my body would crush me. Which would be a bit counterproductive.

Comfy in my "pillow."

Comfy in my “pillow.”

Caging my face in to keep me from wiggling around while they're shooting my brain.

Caging my face in to keep me from wiggling around while they’re shooting my brain.

Il machina!

BZZZZT!!!

Where big brother keeps an eye on me.

Where big brother keeps an eye on me.

Angry cuz I got a waffleface...

Angry cuz I got a waffleface…

My Very Important Cancer Patient (VICP) card. Hopefully everything worked as planned and I won't need this again for a while.

My Very Important Cancer Patient (VICP) card. Hopefully everything worked as planned and I won’t need this again for a while.

 

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Ad Baculum, Racism & Sexism

May 10, 2014

Fallacy of Fear

A Philosopher's Blog

Opposition poster for the 1866 election. Geary... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was asked to write a post about the ad baculum in the context of sexism and racism. To start things off, an ad baculum is a common fallacy that, like most common fallacies, goes by a variety of names. This particular fallacy is also known as appeal to fear, appeal to force and scare tactics. The basic idea is quite straightforward and the fallacy has a simple form:

Premise: Y is presented (a claim that is intended to produce fear).

Conclusion:  Therefore claim X is true (a claim that is generally, but need not be, related to Y in some manner).

This line of “reasoning” is fallacious because creating fear in people (or threatening them) does not constitute evidence that a claim is true. This tactic can be rather effective as a persuasive device since fear can be an effective motivator for belief. But, there is…

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Why is the Universe the Way it Is?

May 3, 2014

A Philosopher's Blog

Galaxies are so large that stars can be consid... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the fundamental questions shared by science, philosophy and theology is the question of why the universe is the way it is. Over the centuries, the answers have fallen into two broad camps. The first is that of teleology. This is the view that the universe is the way it is because it has a purpose, goal or end for which it aims. The second is the non-teleological camp, which is the denial of the teleological view. Members of this camp often embrace purposeless chance as the “reason” why things are as they are.

Both camps agree on many basic matters, such as the view that the universe seems to be finely tuned. Theorists vary a bit in their views on what a less finely tuned universe would be like. On some views, the universe would just be slightly different while on other views small differences…

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“One More Thing I Know About the Negro”

May 3, 2014

A Philosopher's Blog

Seanhannitykingofprussia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the election and re-election of President Obama, some Americans seriously considered the notion that America had become a post-racial country. Seemingly acting in accord with this notion, the Supreme Court of the United States has made rulings based on an assumption that racism is no longer a significant factor in America. Things seemed good, at least in that perception of reality. And then Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling started talking.

Cliven Bundy originally gained national fame when the federal government decided to seize his cattle in response to his illegally grazing his cattle on federal land for decades. Some conservative politicians, Fox News personalities and armed militia rushed to his defense—to stand between law enforcement and someone accused of stealing from the government.

Not surprisingly, some critics pointed out that Bundy seemed to be engaged in all that conservatives profess to hate, namely sponging off the…

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