White to Black (Update)

On the Battlefront…

Comments continue to accrue, along with emails, regarding the initial post in this series, ‘White to black’, and I continue to be astonished, humbled and grateful for all that people have shared with me.

It’s been three weeks since my last post, and in that time I have completed the first three rounds of chemotherapy and immunotherapy on this new regime. The hope was that I would respond to the immunotherapy drug, Erbitux, by manifesting acne. Well, that has certainly happened. My nose looks like a horror show, and I have itchy red spots on my scalp, upper chest, and starting now on my forehead.

If I am supposed to be jumping for joy as a result of a skin condition, well, not so much. For one thing, this is not really ‘acne’ as such. With acne, as I recall, when a zit appears one can opt to pop it. With this condition I have now, if you pop a pimple it bleeds. In fact the surface of my nose will bleed quite readily with but little prompting. So I have to leave it alone though it is slightly itchy al the time. And it looks like hell, prompting a certain amount of self consciousness in terms of going out into public view. Haven’t had such an experience since I was 14 or so. I’m hardly the sort to be all that concerned with appearance, but there’s something definitely pause-inducing about having dozens of pustules on one’s nose that leeds to a leeriness about being gawked at.

The other elephant in the room, so to speak, is that while it is clear that the Erbitux is doing its job, we still have no idea if my immune system will do its job and get rid of the tissue to which the Erbitux has attached itself. That result will only become known once I have another PET scan in about a month. As noted previously, my life now is defined more or less by PET scans every three months or so, a perpetual game of ‘wait and see’.

Anyway, once the acne appeared I was not clear on how the degree of my response to the Eribitux compared to what might be expected. Was this outbreak about average, or less, or worse than what was typical or desirable? When I saw my oncologist last week however, he indicted my response to the drug was on the more pronounced side, and as a result for that most recent round of infusion we left the Erbitux out and I only received the chemo.

As for chemo, I am managing okay. Still feeling fatigued, but a notch less than last week. New on the scene is that I now have mouth sores, which are starting to irritate a lot, affecting eating, so we’ll see how that battle goes. The bump up in energy level, modest as it may be, is certainly encouraging though.

Project News.

I’ve been chipping away at the ‘Dark Chocolate and Sponge Cake’ cabinet, and have been making nothing but progress, albeit at a modest pace. Brian Holcombe took on some metal work, at my request, to fabricate the hinge plates and pivots out of nickel silver. This took several days of work off my plate and we made a barter arrangement, and his work came out immaculately, which was more or less what I expected from Brian. He also volunteered two day in my shop this past weekend. That was super helpful. Here’s Brian taking a load off from his exertions:

Brian is one of the few people whom I would trust to use my tools and work in my shop. He did an outstanding job and I am forever thankful.

My wife also stopped by on Sunday with our son, who had not been to the shop for some time. He was interested to see how the super surfacer worked:

He finds machine noises a bit alarming, so keeps his distance, but he got to play with a mahogany shaving in the end:

At this stage, the drawer sides and backs are nearly complete, with the drawer fronts and floors already done some time ago. The door stiles have been fitted for their hinge plates, as well as the tops of the door side posts. The framing for the doors and back panel is 75% complete at this point, so a distinct light is appearing at the end of the tunnel. Kinda thinking I could be done by the middle of July. We’ll see how that plays out, as I am ever a chronic under-estimator of project time.

I’ll post up a new entry in that thread soon and share some pictures of the wood butchery that has gone on of late.

Machinery Sale Intrigues.

I mentioned a post of two back that one bright light in the otherwise gloomy situation was that I seemed to have found a buyer for my entire shop. This fellow, from upstate New York, had already purchased my Martin shaper within days of me having listed it, and he seemed like a solid guy. While at my shop he expressed a fair amount of interest in both my Zimmermann milling machine and Wadkin table saw, saying to effect that he would ‘almost certainly’ buy the saw. He also said he knew someone else starting a shop who would ‘very likely’ be interested in the dust collector and other machines. I explained the machines would not be available for a month or two, and he was fine with that.

Come the end of May, after my landlord sent me a letter detailing a significant rent increase, I set a date to move out, namely July 31st. Accordingly, I immediately contacted the fellow who had purchased my shaper and let him know the clock was ticking and that I needed to know his machinery interest, so I could know which other machines I would have to list for sale. Then he asked for yet more info on stuff I had for sale, to get the complete picture.

After some back and forth, and my provision of pricing for everything in my shop – definitely more than an hour or two of work and head-scratching – he indicated in a phone call that he was thinking of buying the entire shop. That certainly would have been very helpful and convenient and I let my hopes get the better of me.

About 10 days later, the story had changed: now he somehow he “couldn’t commit to anything.” From saying he was to buy the whole shop to buying nothing. Poof, 15 days wasted. And he was well aware of my situation with stage IV cancer and that time was not something that generally was on my side. At least he made the call though and told me – most people just go radio silent in such situations.

So, I’ve been listing my machines separately on Woodweb and Craigslist and having to deal with the inevitable circus that results when you list things on the classifieds.

One type of inquiry I get, and this has happened three times already with the Martin T54 jointer, is being sent a message on Woodweb asking ‘Is it still available?”. I reply to these, “yes it is, please get in touch for further info”. Then nothing but silence each time. I’m now thinking I might change my response, and instead of affirming the machine is available, state that “it might be, depending…”. Either that or ignore this type of inquiry.

Then we get the folks with the 97 questions, requests for additional photos, serial numbers, etc., who can talk your ear off on the phone for 45 minutes. Some of them want to talk more about the machines they already have as opposed to the machine you are looking to sell. These fellows almost always, it seems, flake out and go silent, after considerable back and forth, so you end up feeling like your time was truly wasted.

Anyway, I have had some luck so far on the sales front. Besides the Martin shaper, I’ve sold the large Hitachi bandsaw, the small Hitachi bandsaw, the Zimmermann PS 1/2 profile sander, and, as of today, the dust collection system. Some interest at present in my SCMI planer and Zimmermann pattern mill too.

And I sold a small quantity of hand tools to a fellow who has put the check in the mail. And it looks like someone is interested in buying my stash of Port Orford Cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar, and clear Sugar Pine timbers, however they have suddenly become inconsistent on the communication front so I’m now feeling increasing unsure about what will eventuate.

Until the check is in the bank without issue, it’s just a bunch of air coming out of people’s mouths, regardless of how promising the situation might appear otherwise. That’s just the reality of it.

Also look for a book sale here on this site in the next week or so. It’s time I lightened my load a bit and all proceeds go to my family.

All for now – thanks for visiting.