White to Black (Postscript)

I was really not expecting the public response from my last post. In fact, prior to the last entry, post commenting has been on the modest side of late on this site, so I wasn’t sure exactly if people were even stopping by here or whether I had simply lost relevance in a world hungry for the next instagram offering. I had thought that it was possible that I would receive no comments at all to my post, which would not have been rough, but I was accepting of that possibility.

Instead of no comments though, there was a deluge I had no idea so many people had been getting a lot out of my writings, and was stunned at the volume of comments I received. It is overwhelming, in a very nice way. I am not sure if I’m going to be able to muster much to offer a person-by-person response, and not sure how much point there is in trying to find 30 different ways to effusively and personally thank all the commenters. I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. It was very touching.

Coupled with the comments, about the same number of emails have been received. Some people wrote extremely long and detailed mails to me, and again, I feel a bit like I am not going to be able to respond in kind to all of them. I do feel extremely grateful for all the reach out.

People have said so many kind words and let me know this blog really means something to them and it’s news that I find quite humbling.

As I write this, I’m a couple of days down the road from receiving my first round of chemotherapy followed by immunotherapy. I’ll receive this treatment weekly, three weeks on and 1 week off, for the next couple of months, until my next fateful PET scan. We’ll see what happens at that point.

Symptom-wise, things have not improved very much. I weighed myself the other morning and saw that I was just 144 lbs. which was pretty horrifying. I look like Christian Bale in The Machinist film. I have been getting neuropathy in the thumbs and first fingers of both hands, a symptom that showed up three months or so ago and has been slowly getting worse. According to people at Dana Farber, it is likely a delayed side effect from the platinum based chemotherapy drug I last took some 9 months ago. There’s not much that can be done about it apparently; if I am lucky, the tingling will go away eventually, and if not so lucky, it will be permanent.

I also now suffer intermittently from ocular migraines, which, unlike the regular sort of migraines, are not painful. You get a weird distortion of your visual field, sometimes consisting of jagged bright lines, sometimes of blurred out portions as if it were a tv show where they are blurring out a car license plate, and sometimes it is like the lens of my eye has turned to liquid and the surface is rippling in some breeze. These symptoms last for about 20~25 minutes or so, then go away. It comes on completely randomly and infrequently.

And every evening I have been running a fever for about 4~5 hours, starting around 6:00 pm. My temp typically sits around 100˚F (37.7˚C) during the episode, and I can’t eat dinner. I’m not the most useful in terms of helping around the house with all this going on. My wife carries a heavy load, for which I feel guilty.

At this juncture, the chemo and immunotherapy have not had any significant effect yet, nor are they expected to. So, over the next 2~3 weeks symptoms will likely worsen before I notice an improvement. I feel a bit like I am in in some sort of free fall, especially with all the sudden weight loss, and I’m just hoping to be caught by a net before I fall too far.

I saw a flurry of TAJCD essay sales after the last post, some of which were clearly meant in a spirit of support, and for which I am most thankful. I think others though might be worried that this site will be closing down in the near future, and a fear of scarcity may have drove their purchase. I want to let readers know that this site will be kept up and running for the foreseeable future. My wife feels it is important to keep this blog up and running as part of my legacy, so please have no fear about this site disappearing after I pass away.

If I have a positive response to the new treatment, and have more months ahead of me, and who knows, maybe even years, then I will be devoting time to adding new Volumes to the TAJCD set. It’s far from complete.

Project work continues slowly but steadily, and I’m gradually dismantling my shop, a little bit every day. The Hitachi CB100FA resaw is now down the road to Virginia and the Zimmermann PS 1/2 sander is bolted to a pallet and I hope to complete crating in the next several days. It’s going to Half Moon Bay, CA.

I’ve got to figure out what to do with some of my wood. If you live in my vicinity, and are looking for some interesting material, please drop me a line. That’s another way of saying, “local pickup preferred”.

All for this round. Thanks for coming by.

11 Replies to “White to Black (Postscript)”

  1. Hi Chris, thanks for the update, Many people are rooting for you and hoping for a miracle.
    You have touched us all deeply, and our in our thoughts.
    Hang in there.


  2. Hello Chris, It’s good to have you posting, updating your situation, while you fight this menace. We all wish the best for you and your family and for you to win this battle.

  3. Chris,
    I have to admit that, in case it comes to the worst, I have thought about the future of your blog. If you had not mentioned it yourself, it would probably have seemed too irreverent to mention it, but your insights shared over many years and this immense knowledge are far too significant to be lost. Although I wholeheartedly hope that you will be able to add a lot more (and I’m sure you have so much to say), I’m relieved that you and your wife are thinking about preserving. Maybe you should consider a fundraiser to cover the running costs.
    And now I do not want to say another word about a Carpentry Way without new, ever-enlightening posts. Altough you can say Instagram has almost completely displaced the blogs, nothing comes even close. I enjoy each of your insightful entries and hope that many more will follow.

    Keep on fighting!

  4. Hi Chris,

    I miss reading the blogs I like to follow for a week or so and then come across this post. Deeply sorry to hear of all the associated incompetencies adding insult to injury with your treatment. Like many, I have lost family to various forms of cancer and understand the impact and strain. I do hope you can fight your way through this for your own sake and your families. We never know how much time we really have, I know I have to remind myself with a kick up the arse every now and then about how good I have it. Don’t give up mate.


  5. I catch your blog when I can and missed the previous post. Having been to Japan and appreciating fine woodwork, your work has been fascinating to me.

    It’s hard to believe that the majority of the time I’ve followed you, you have been dealing with this. You are truly of strong character to deal with such an ordeal and manage to do all you do.

    While your readers are all sad to hear the news, my heart goes out to your family. When my Mom came down with cancer, it seemed like she handled it the best of all of us. As tough as it is to go through it might be tougher to watch a loved one go through it.

    My best wishes go to you and your family.

  6. Hi Chris,

    My heart goes out to you, fellow craftsman.

    Visiting your website over the years, I am awed by your skills, industriousness, and dedication. You are truly an incredible craftsman. Like so many others, I have learned from and been inspired by your prolific writing. Having started on the internet around the same time as you, I am amazed by your output, knowing the effort it takes to produce quality content. Thank you.

    Here’s hoping that your situation works out much better than it must seem to be at this time for both you and your family. Your strong will to create can have powerful good effects on the body. I’ll say a prayer.


  7. Chris,
    Reading your post was just heartbreaking. My wife and were in tears as we read, hoping somehow it would turn better in the end. But it did not and for that I am truly sorry my friend.
    I met you over 10 years ago when you were moderating on the old Japanese woodworking forum. I knew right away you were a very experienced woodworker and were willing to help other woodworkers improve in their craft. I have been reading your blog since day one and have never missed a post and have gone back and read some over two or three times.
    I have been more and more impressed with your search for knowledge, your quest to improve your understanding of so many aspects of life, architecture, math, joinery, CAD drafting, and so much more and you have taken all of us on that journey with you. You have enriched all our lives beyond description and will continue to do so for all the people that will read what you have written over the decades to come. You have left a legacy in your blog that will go on teaching even after the last entry has been written.
    You have been the most outstanding teacher and craftsman I have ever known, and I have learned so much from you that it will take me years to assimilate it all. I still go back and read old posts and get more out of it each time I read it. Your craftsmanship really has no equal that I have ever seen, it stands out above and beyond anything else out there.
    My wife and I will continue to pray for you and your family. Thanks for all the knowledge you have given us in your writings and know we are all with you in your journey.
    Love you man.

    Charlie and Mary Mastro

  8. I have enjoyed your posts, they have been inspiring, and I have looked forward to them.
    I can only wish you good luck!
    regards from Norway

  9. Chris, I have read your blog for many years. I have passed from aspiring fine woodworker, to admitted wood butcher, to gutbucket wood problem solver, and now I mainly design and 3D print functional parts. But through it all I learned a lot from you about taking the time to do something really right. To make something that deserves, on its own, as an object, to be done correctly. I got to see the Japanese house front in the museum in Boston. Respect, admiration and a feeling of loss. Thank you for putting yourself out there all these years. It was and is valuable.

  10. Chris,

    I’ve been an admirer of your work for close to 10 years. I’ve always considered your work and your writing to be the best in its class. I regret not reaching out to offer praise earlier. I didn’t want to come off as an annoying fan offering praise and little substantive value to the conversation. However you should know that many people hold your work in very high regard.

    Your work made an impression on me at a time when I was new to the craft. I discovered your site in 2009 when I was in my mid 20’s. I was building a set of barn doors with mortise and tenon joinery. It was my first big woodworking project. I stumbled across your blog while looking for information about how to use diagonal braces properly. Your series “Bracing Situation” blew my mind the first time I read it. Your “Tréteau” series still gets me excited, despite it being 10 years old. I also first gained an appreciation for roofs from your writing. In my mind, your work set a standard for joinery, and attention to detail still unmatched by many other writers.

    I’ve been a serious Woodworker for close to 12 years, a “professional” Woodworker for 6 years, and a self employed Woodworker for about 3 years. Over the years, I’ve encountered people who are unwilling to share information. These people believe that keeping “secrets” advances their interest as an individual.

    As a result, I appreciate and respect people who take the time to share their knowledge. I believe that people who teach others contribute to the advancement of the craft as a whole. This is something you should be commended for. I’ve learned more from your blog in a few hours than I’ve learned in several months with lesser Woodworkers/ carpenters.

    I wish you the best going forward. I’m going to follow up in a separate message about purchasing some books.

    Thank you,
    Liam Murphy

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