December Update

December Update

It has been a while since I have had an opportunity to post a blog. Mid October I returned to work with limitations working from home. The doctors fear my immune system is suppressed enough that working around a large group of people could eventually be life threatening for me, so work from home it is, and that has worked out very well. My company has been super supportive, moving my whole work environment with multiple monitors, my laptop and docking station to my home and that has really worked out well. I have a home office so I can “Go to work” and “come back home” and I used home automation to shut off my living room lights at 7:30AM and 1PM to give me that nudge it is time to go to work. The automation system also turns the lights on at Noon and 30 minutes before sundown so my lighting is a great reminder that it is time to get to working. 

Resistant as I once was, did I mention that I eventually learned to appreciate the commute? 

I feel quite successful in that following my last hospitalization I have managed to stay out of the hospital. One might think that isn’t something any amount of work contributes to, but you would be surprised. A lot of work goes into keeping me healthy and I cannot take all of the credit, my wife and caretaker Denise, my children, my co-workers, and the good people at Gildas Club have all contributed. 

I was once one that would keep quite busy. I dined out frequently, spent time with my grandchildren, planned large conferences, and spent plenty of time educating myself, 3D printing and even engineering small electronics projects als kept me busy. I had to cut back about 80% to 90% of that activity. 

Even the remaining 20% is HARD for me to do. I have to work about one-third speed and I break often. 

I have kept up with 3D printing and as a result my skills have really improved. I have now conquered two color printing and also converting 2D graphics from the web to a 3D object that I can print. I use a CAD program to design my own parts. 

 

 

I am very happy with how these designs came out and it has upped my 3D printing game. The SSAB logo keychain worked perfectly and easily fit into my keys.

The addition of not just one 3D printers, but two, has left me with a space problem and my Home Office suffered from a space issue to begin with. My office and what we call “the lab” is located below two bedrooms upstairs, and so it is easily divided in half, one half is my Home office where my day work happens and one half is my maker space, or what I call the Fab Lab for fabricating and developing electronics projects both for my own use and to use in electronics projects I teach children.

Last years project was building out a really nice bench space I could use for electronics that was quickly taken over my 3D printers. As with all workbench projects it started out very clean. 

 

Two 3D Printers filled this glorious space up to 80% capacity leaving very little room for its original purpose, so I was left in a pickle. This bench above was constructed by me custom built to meet my exacting needs. It was inexpensive, bright white to help me find lost screws, had plenty of shelf space and lots of plugins, some even monitored for their electrical consumption so I could monitor how much power projects were taking. 

I knew with a recent cancer diagnosis I would not be able to duplicate this design to a second location and also, did i mention that this room is FULL. 

The solution of course came from my wife who is the secret genius in the family. If it were not for her it is hard to say where I would have wound up, but she is my secret weapon. 

First we she solved the space problem,we sold furniture in our family room, and will replace all of that with Billy Bookcases from Ikea. We plan to move all of the books and media from my office out to the new “Library” and that will free exactly enough space for bench #2 that will be dedicated to 3D printing with just a little bonus space, about 3 linear feet of bench space after I fill it with printers. Also this will provide us more space below to move items currently stored on the floor. It will also free up more than half of the lower shelf on the repair and engineering bench. It ends up being a storage boon for us and will fix a lot of issue that we currently have with clutter. 

Second she solved the labor problem. Instead of me building a bench again my wife, extraordinary as she is, located what was short of a miracle, a bench that is 90% of what I would build, almost the perfect design, ready made and off the shelf, and it was not only the perfect design, it was inexpensive, $77 at the Home Depot, which if you have ever looked into purchasing a work bench is TRUELY a  miracle. No not something you take home and assemble, but one you take home, and fold out the legs and you are done. I was shocked. I got help moving it into our basement and the rest I think we can take care of. 

Now it needed a little help. I would have to paint it, and I would have to seal it. White latex paint has made it bright white and I also found two very bright LED lights I plan to hang above it so that I can easily see my work similar to my first bench, but this time I covered the whole bench in light. Secondly since the work surface is a working surface it needs to be sealed to protect the latex paint, so I found some PolyCrylic that she insisted we use because it is being finished in the house and so both the paint and the sealer selected was a water based, easy cleanup, and low odor affair. 

This is all still a work in project but I imagine in January I can post photos of the finished job, both of our new library and my new office. I am really excited to have a good working space. It makes all of the difference in the world to me, lowering my stress and that is important when you are fighting the battle with Cancer. 

All in all things are going well for us. My pain is well controlled, I have had a few issues with nausea but not too terrible, and we are working the plan. Late this month as we near Christmas I will meet with my Myeloma specialist, get a new bone marrow biopsy to see how things are going, get a full body MRI and PET scan and prepare for my transplant we hope to have in January. 

There is certainly a risk that we will be asked to hold off on the transplant and continue my initial therapy, but we will do what the experts tell us. I am told for a transplant that Iowa City is even better than Mayo and I trust my care team. I will do what they tell me, because I hope to be around for a good long time to annoy my co-workers and spend time with my wife, children, grandchildren and other family members. 

I love you all. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. 

/EKA 

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