Category Archives: on life

Two Weeks of Travel & Stress, But We Made It

I won’t lie – the last two weeks have been hard.  I’ve been having to travel for work and while of course when one hears where I went, they probably think I’m a little bitch because oh boo hoo, I had to go to great places.   But the fact that I had to leave Larry (even though he had amazing support from friends and family while I was out) was ridiculously hard to deal with.  Then the travel was all about work, but when you’re traveling for work, it’s very difficult to not fall behind on the regular work stuff you’re also responsible for doing.  So yeah, it has been a relief to be at this point and know that I am back to a regular kind of schedule.

It wouldn’t be me though if I hadn’t taken pictures while out and about!  So let’s start from long ago and work our way back to drywall.  It’ll make sense once you see the pictures.

Larry started his 4th round of chemo back on Monday, August 27th.  It was another round of the FolFoxIri + Avastin, which is the max approach we can take at this point.   I then was leaving to go to Mexico City on Tuesday.  EEK.  Larry wasn’t on his own though, as my mom was able to help take him on Wednesday for unplugging the chemo port, and Nicki also came by on Tuesday night to keep him company.  It was a relief to know he was in good hands.

I went to Mexico City to help with training up PwC Mexico folks on our code review template and to also, and more specifically why I was there, to give an introductory crash course on COBOL.  Yep, what was my life for 16 months in 2016 and 2017 is now part of what I’m known for here at PwC.  Good times!  🙂  I was slightly nervous about the whole ‘going to Mexico’ thing, but I managed.  Uber is prevalent in Mexico City just like nearly everywhere else in the world; my experiences from Puerto Rico also had me prepared for what to expect, as just like there, there’s plenty of the regular, non-touristy areas where people live as well as the more haute-touty places.   While during the day of Tuesday and Wednesday were spent at PwC Mexico, the evenings were good for enjoying the area.  My coworker who was there with me is Mexican and knew the area, so we had good ideas for where to go.  The first night, we went to a good restaurant right nearby, but on the second/last night, we got to go into historical Mexico City’s Zocalo, the city center.   It’s where you see James Bond in the beginning of Spectre – and it’s pretty damn great.

Mexico City, Aug 28-30, 2018

I was very very happy to get home though – which was Thursday night.    And god bless Global Entry – I was able to get right through customs without much fuss at all.  But leaving LAX on a Thursday evening is awful any time of the year, but worse before a holiday weekend.  I got home finally but I was exhausted.   Obviously Larry wasn’t feeling all that great himself, and in this case, one of the side effects of his chemo was causing him a lot of discomfort.  We had been trying to rig some solutions using OTC medicines but it really wasn’t doing much to help, regrettably.  Spoiler alert:  Larry was able to call the wonderful GI doctor (Dr Fisher) and get prescribed something that has drastically reduced his discomfort.  It’s not entirely gone, but to say that it’s so much better for Larry is entirely accurate.

Anyway, let’s talk Labor Day weekend.  We had originally been going to go to the Hollywood Bowl to see John Williams’ concert, along with my mom.  But Larry’s discomfort basically meant we weren’t going to be leaving home this weekend for that kind of excursion.  It sucked, but Nicki and Rekha reached out to see if we wanted some company so they came over and brought delicious food from All’Acqua (which is a great Italian place in Atwater Village).  That evening, in addition to food, I got them to play Jenga with me, so yay!

Nicki & Rekha Cheer Us Up w/ Jenga, Sat, Sep 1, 2018

On Sunday, we again mostly just hung out at home and watched The Crown and relaxed.  It was nice.

Then on Monday (Labor Day), Nicki & Rekha came back over to enjoy our apartment’s pool complex, which is a very nice thing to have.  We not only enjoyed the pool, but managed to snag one of the cabanas.  It was a nice way to spend the day.

Labor Day Cabana Fun, Mon, Sep 3, 2018

Jetting off yet again on Tuesday, I went to Orlando for PwC’s Risk Assurance leadership conference.  This was a trip that had been scheduled for quite a while, and at one point (pre-diagnosis), I think it was something Larry & I had considered maybe him going on too so we could spend some time at Disney World.  That didn’t happen obviously.  It was a good conference though and I got to spend some time with current friends and connect with new people too.  Always about the networking in this company.  Like I said before, Larry ended up getting some medicine to help with his side effects while I was gone this time, but when I left it was definitely not a resolved issue.  Happily, by Tuesday evening, he was feeling better.  So yay for victories where we can take them.

So while I was in Orlando, we really only got one evening of pretty awesome fun – we were going to get a dinner in EPCOT center and then time to ourselves in the park!  Not a lot of time (<2 hours, actually) but still, this was my first time ever at a Florida Disney park so I was gonna take advantage of it.   Larry gave me the heads up on what rides were worth it in EPCOT so I had my marching orders.  A few others of my friends were on board for this too, so off we went!  Basically from our event space by the UK area of EPCOT, we headed straight to Spaceship Earth, which is within the famous geodesic sphere.   It’s a slow ride that drives you through the world of communication and how it’s evolved over 30k years.  It’s pretty great, to be honest.   It’s also cool to be inside the sphere!   After that, it was over to Test Track, and let’s just say that this ride is the shit.  It’s clearly a forerunner to Radiator Springs Racers in California Adventure, and possibly even more fun?  Finally, we ramped up the intensity for the last ride, Mission: Space, and geeeez, it’s a rough one.  It’s a G-Force simulator and fucking wrecks you.   It’s still a fun experience, but next time, I’ll take the less intense alternatives, which do exist!

PwC & Epcot Center, Wed, Sep 5, 2018

Again, it was wonderful to be back home after this trip, especially knowing it was the last one for hopefully a while.

This weekend has been good – our house has drywall up!!  It’s actually been a few weeks since we heard that process started, so waiting a few weeks means it’s all up now.  It’s very exciting – within the next few weeks, cabinetry will be going in.  Yay!

Drywall!  Sat, Sep 8, 2018

Week One Complete + All Sorts of Other Stuff

Yep, the first week of Larry’s chemotherapy is complete.  It’s been a whirlwind, a rollercoaster, and exhausting, and I don’t recommend it for anyone.  But it’s all in service of the fight that we will be winning, and I am frankly glad to get it started.  No more quarter for these fucking cancer cells in Larry’s liver.  No. More. Quarter.   Get the fuck out.

The beginning of the week was when Larry had to go and sit in the treatment center for about 3 hours hooked up to an IV.  He’s taking the Folfox treatment chemotherapy which is the standard method of treating colorectal cancer.  We didn’t do Avastin this round, which will likely be back for Round 2.   With this therapy regimen, Larry will go every 2 weeks.

On day one of each cycle, he’ll get chemo in the center.  Before he leaves, the staff then attaches an infusion pump that attaches to his port and he carries around with him, which keeps administering the chemo.  He keeps the pump with him for the next 48 hours, and after that, can then go back in and have the pump removed.   His regimen is then over for the next 1.5 weeks.  All things considered, it is something he has to deal with for like a full 2 days, but after that, he can get back to just building his strength and living his life.

Obviously it doesn’t come without side effects.   Neuropathy, nausea, and fatigue are the main ones we experienced, but I don’t think they were too overwhelmingly bad this round.   I don’t know what we can expect as this continues, but I do know the key is to keep him eating, drinking, and exercising.  So that’s what we’ll be doing, dammit.

To prepare for naps and relaxation on the couch, we got some help from Nicki to go to our storage unit and grab the chaise part of the sectional couch.  We’d put it away as our apartment just really wasn’t big enough to have it present…but now it’s like, fuck it, we want to be comfortable!

Honestly, while the walking space was intruded upon, you can still get by.   And it’s amazing to have a full couch again.  You can truly sit a few people there now to watch TV!  And I like having a chaise option to sit in.  Sometimes you don’t want to chill in the chair, right?

On the weekend before chemo, on Saturday, July 14, Larry and I happily made it out to the Hollywood Bowl.  We’d had to miss our first planned show around July 4 as we just weren’t feeling good enough to make it, but Larry’s made huge progress in feeling back to normal, at least as much as he can.  It was a huge happiness to make it to the Bowl this time though, as the performers were Christopher Cross, Kenny Loggins, and Michael McDonald.   Yep, the Kings of Yacht Rock were all together, and the songs and performances were amazing.  AMAZING!  And that place was sold the fuck out, as obviously many are unashamed in their love of smooth pop rock!

Anyway, that concert was a nice thing to have right before heading into chemo.  We got through the week of chemo with its ups and downs, but this isn’t really the place to go into all of that.  Just know that Larry made it like a champ, and he will continue to fight to be free of this cancer.  His youth will be an asset and we’re going to take advantage of that in this fight.

So on Friday night, Mila and Sveta dropped by and it was just a blast.  We had dinner, talked, drank wine (well, Sveta and I did), watched TV (showed Sveta the first episode of Pose, which is one of our favorite recent shows as it’s glorious) and just overall had an amazingly fun evening.

On Saturday morning, Larry & I went for a brisk walk around Glendale, and Brand Blvd was shut down in advance of the annual car thing they do here.   So here are some pics of that:

This weekend, we had yet another Hollywood Bowl concert in store!   On Saturday, July 21, it was a screening of the movie Jaws accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl orchestra.  As a reminder, Jaws is a fantastic movie, and even with it being 40+ years old, it still thrills and kicks ass.  Seeing it with a giant crowd makes it even more fun, as it was clear there were some who weren’t ready for some of the scares.   Chief Brody’s snap to attention when the shark nearly takes his arm off is still fantastic.

And now it’s today!  We just came back from seeing Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! and gotta say…it WAS FANTASTIC.  So much fun, they got some of the deeper ABBA cuts into the song (“Andante, Andante” was a particular delight), the new members of the cast portraying the younger versions were amazing, CHER was wonderful, and the story ended up being very poignant.  The ending scene might have made me cry just a LOT.  But then there were the upbeat numbers to “Waterloo”, “Dancing Queen”, and happily, “Super Trouper” that just made my heart swell with happiness.  ABBA is the fucking best and will always be.  And I’ve heard that Cher is going to release an album of ABBA covers and that just makes me so happy.  Anyway, go see it, you’ll be very happy you did so.

Finally – I have to share that my Daily Double clue from my game way back in 2016 ENDED UP IN THE 2018 JEOPARDY DAILY CALENDAR!!!  And it’s today!   And I’m so stoked.  I had seen my super bestie from the taping (Vicki) had posted a few weeks back in the J! group that her clue had showed up in the calendar.  I had bought the 2017 calendar thinking maybe my clues would be in it, but I think that the production schedules of that never would sync up – so it makes sense our clues wouldn’t show up until 2018.   So I was motivated to find a copy of the calendar (got it on eBay) and quickly flipped through it to find anything that looked familiar…and there it was on July 22!   It’s not correct that it was a Final Jeopardy (I WISH), but still, I’m psyched that my question made it:

This Guy

You may have seen some of the Facebook posts I’ve put up over the last month or so having to do with Larry.   We’re going through what we’ll have to call our “cancer period.”  Yeah, Larry has cancer.  More accurately, he has colorectal cancer which spread from his colon to his liver.   Fortunately, it has not spread beyond the liver.   Spreading to the liver is the typical place that colon cancer travels to if it does spread, so right now we’re dealing with “run of the mill” colon cancer that’s spread.   We obviously are relieved it hasn’t spread further.   There’s lots of emotion right now about the whole situation – some of it is fear, some of it is anger, and a lot of it is hope.  Lots of the latter, honestly, but there are days when the other emotions can threaten to overwhelm hope.   I don’t like those days.

Larry’s going to get his chemotherapy port installed on Tuesday.  A port allows a much more efficient way to administer chemo and take blood without having to destroy a person’s veins.   Also, chemo can’t go directly into veins as it’s toxic.   He’ll then start chemotherapy shortly thereafter.   We have gone to get second opinions at another specialist doctor at UCLA and then another at City of Hope.   We think the therapy will be folfox avastin but City of Hope’s proposal was to do something called folfoxiri avastin.   Basically, it seems that folfox avastin is a ‘doublet’ treatment while folfoxiri avastin is a ‘triplet’ treatment.   You’re getting more drugs injected into you in the triplet and it’s much more aggressive at fighting the lingering cancer in the liver, but of course the toll is greater.   The City of Hope doctor believes Larry’s age will be an asset here and he’d be able to respond well to it.  So we’re currently in that stage of running that information by our current oncologist at UCLA/Burbank to see if he agrees.

All of these things are a lot to deal with.  Some days are better than others, emotionally.  Send out good vibes into the world for Larry, for everyone.  This diagnosis is so fucking messed up – he’s 43 and diagnosed with colon cancer.   You’re not even advised to get a colonoscopy on a regular basis until 50, although we’ve been learning that guidelines were recently changed advising it at 45, and thoughts are that it may even go lower because there are more and more incidents of early colon cancer being observed.

I’ll try to keep updates coming either here or on Facebook – the good vibes do help, as do the stories of people beating this.

A New Home Awaits Us in Summer 2018

Yet again, a few months or so without an update, and I have little in the way of an excuse except much like before, I’ve not been all that motivated to post.  Plenty of pictures have been taken and fun adventures enjoyed, but the days when I thought people read this site are over.   Yet I do enjoy having a log to look back at, and so with that in mind, a big ass life event is occurring:  Larry & I are buying a house!

Yep, we put a deposit down yesterday on a home that is getting built as we speak.  It’s in the community called TheGlenLA – you can visit their website here:   http://www.theglenla.com/.  It’s located in ‘The Valley’ which is a shock to both you and me as I’d never have guessed I’d buy a home there…but, when the price is right, you can get something new and to your liking, and you don’t have to spend a shitton of money to renovate it the way you really want it…it’s hard to sniff.  Happily, Valley Glen is right next to North Hollywood, close to Burbank, and just north of Ventura Boulevard, so there’s lots of cool things for us to do.

We’re buying the “Home Plan #2” version, which suits us really well.  It’s bigger than the #1 plan, but not as big as #3.  Normally I’d be like buy as much as you can afford, but the main variation in #3 is that there are 2 guest bedrooms and a Master on the bedroom floor rather than just one guest room.  For our needs, we really don’t need 2 guest rooms.  Anyway, here are the floor plans from the website:

Floor 1
2nd Floor
3rd Floor
Roof Deck

Here are some videos we took while walking through the model home of Plan #2 as well.  Marvel at how photogenic and magnetic we are on video!

Walking Through the 2nd Floor:

Walking Through the 3rd Floor:

Walking on the Roof Deck:

There is a lot of time between now and when we actually get to move in to the house.  Expectations are that we’ll move in around August 2018, meaning we’ll have to extend our lease at our apartment for another 6 months.  Not the worst thing, I guess.  Also will give us time to continue saving and increase our down payment.   As of now, we look to be able to hit 20% down which is a-freakin’-mazing.

Almost immediately, we will need to make some design decisions too!   That’s the cool part about this whole experience, as we can get it customized to how we want it.  Options of course cost money, but there are some things like flooring and electrical systems that make sense to get done the way we want now before having to rip apart walls later on.  The first appointment, for electrical, is this Friday!  CRAZY.

Anyway, here are some pictures we’ve taken from our various trips to the site.  Expect more pictures as we continue visiting the site and stress unnecessarily about things out of our control!

On to Year 2!

Somewhat shockingly, it’s been a year since our amazing wedding at the Oviatt Penthouse in Downtown LA.  Where’d the time go???  Happily, we’re both still just in love as we were a year ago, and as much as we were when we first met.  I think it helps to be best friends with your partner, and we certainly are.  Anyway, we celebrated our anniversary a day early as who wants to go out on a Sunday night?  So we went to dinner at Cicada, the restaurant on the ground floor of the Oviatt.  It’s a striking art deco restaurant and we’d seen it briefly before when visiting the Penthouse before the wedding.  It was a great idea to go back – and apparently we were one of a few who wanted to be there that night, as the place was kind of empty.  Even the Oviatt Penthouse wasn’t having an event that night.  Kind of surprising, but what can you do?

We had a good time, taking an Uber there, and then indulging in the 5-course menu and enjoying a lot of Montepulciano wine.  We even saw a mid-level celebrity during dinner – Doug Savant – who had a whole bunch of his family there.  Anyway, here are pictures:

Apr 29, 2017 – Anniversary Dinner at Cicada

We had a very wonderful time at the restaurant, the service was great, the food was delicious (Italian-ish for the most part, although my main entree was a filet mignon while Larry had duck), and the ambience was just very nice and relaxed.  A great way to celebrate our wedding a scant 365 days before.

The next day, we had to recover a bit, but then ended up meeting Nicki & Austin at A.O.C., a very popular restaurant and at times, rated one of the Top 10 in LA.  So it was exciting to get to go there for brunch!  Nicki was very sweet and got us flowers and some supercool books by Abbi Jacobson (from Broad City), and also treated us to brunch.  We’re not worthy.

Anniversary Brunch @ A.O.C., April 30, 2017:

Afterwards, it was time to watch Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion and La La Land….ah, bliss.  And then of course the weekend ended and it was back to the grind.  But as a weekend, this one was not bad by any means.  In fact, kind of awesome.