Don’t go to the ER… So I did.

Since the start of the cancer process one thing has been stressed:

Don’t go to the ER.

This risk especially if my white count is low is infection and bad things happen when you have no immunity and get things of any size, like the common cold. Well Monday – my cancer center sent me to the ER, via Ambulance as my breathing was bad, my counts were tanked, and I was plain not doing good.

So what happened?! They honestly aren’t 100% still but basically my lungs are scarred from the radiation, so some damage which was inflamed it seems, some fluid in the lungs which could be puenomia, poor vitals (o2 low, bp low 80/60, bleeding from the nose, lowish platelets, etc.) I say etc. because I honestly don’t remember the bucket list but by the time we got checked in on Monday they had ordered a chest CT scan to rule out clots and get a better look since my d-dimers were high they were checkecing clotting everywhere from Chest, Legs, Heart, you name it – so by Tuesday I was Mr. Scan. Ultrasound of legs, EKG, Heart Scan, and then results of the CT scan from the night before! No clots, but some funky on the CT so pulmenologist brought in to review.

So long story short, Pumenologist? Kind of repeated previous scans from CT/PET for cancer stuff, doesn’t look good but with additions, scar tissue in how he did his CT was present and causing constriction, making it hard to breathe but possible pueinomia due to fluid in the lungs – but he has since given us more and said the possible “cancer” they said could be in the lungs is likely simply the inflamed scarring from radiation! So its still “a maybe” type setup but I’m praying its that basic.

So scans and such done, day 3 was more or less anti-biotic and monitor day, I’ve managed to actually get myself upright with the help of my mom her years of OT work she’s getting me ready to go home, and with going home being able to stand and not fall over? Pretty important. So I actually completed a stand last night on my own and was super pumped but we are still working on it, and for a bit I’m going to be oxygen dependent but honestly? Takes such a strain off my body its awesome, so hopefully now poast new years we can get a perscription in and get me ready for home with some oxygen!

So overall – still not 100% – but I’m thinking my body was just at its breaking point, we didn’t do Chemo this week due to the low numbers and issues, so my body has had 4 days of hospital and has rested/been anti-biotic’d, sterioided, etc. so hoping nearly a week of medical attention I can go home today, if so be nice to have the benefits of O2 + Steriods to help give my body more rest as needed, but too give it a break from working hard on breathing!

So sorry for the short posts, my wife and my mom both did posts on FB, but honestly just wasn’t there yet myself, feeling a bit more clear today and while not a ton of sleep still woke up early and hope to see my own bed today! Thanks for the prayers and such – better days ahead, maybe even more functional so keep those prayers a-comin!

Manjaro Linux + Google Chrome Remote Desktop (Working from AUR)

So I had been trying to get local remote access, tried all the big boys without much luck, and have had Google Remote Desktop (CRD) working before but it only opened a new Gnome session, which didn’t give me that “remote home” connection – so I began to fiddle and figured I’d writeup this little tutorial for someone lost in the woods like I was!

So first off, installing – use the package manager of your choice and add the CRD package from AUR (if you haven’t enabled AUR, there is no time like the present, but once you search for it, build it.

Now if you just do that you’re not done. Not just yet – in fact, it’s actually nicely already documented on the AUR page for CRD – I highly recommend you read it but the short version is this set of instructions:

Brinsky commented on 2019-12-06 13:58

Here’s how I got this working with the new web app (remotedesktop.google.com):
Build and install the package
run crd --setup
(Optional) Configure execution of your preferred window manager in ~/.chrome-remote-desktop-session
Go to http://remotedesktop.google.com/headless
Click “next” and “authorize” through each instruction
Copy/paste and run the provided “Debian” command, which should look like the following: DISPLAY= /opt/google/chrome-remote-desktop/start-host --code="<UNIQUE_CODE>" --redirect-url="<https://remotedesktop.google.com/_/oauthredirect>" --name=
Set up a name and PIN
Wait for successful output containing “Host ready to receive connections.”
Run crd --start

Now that should get you going fairly well – did for me! But if was not loading the active desktop at all, and in turn, I couldn’t access my desktop like say on a Mac/Windows rig – so reading through the AUR & Google search I found the link to the “Ubunutu” fix for this, which works exactly the same on Manjaro! So off we go to the helpful blog post.

Follow the blog post exactly, in all of this you are not a “terminal” person this guide requires a little leg work in the terminal, don’t let it freak you out, it’s going to be okay! So if you hit this error below like I did:

SyntaxError: Non-ASCII character ‘\xe2’ in file /opt/google/chrome-remote-desktop/chrome-remote-desktop on line 711, but no encoding declared; see http://python.org/dev/peps/pep-0263/ for details

The fix is incredibly easy – edit the quotes if you copy + pasted as I did you might have carried over “special” quotes which look like “ vs ” see the slight slant? In the file on 711 where there are quotes in the editor backspace each one and just makes a plain quote instead and save again and the restart should end with a happier note!

And that should do it! Stuck? Leave a comment. Happy to help debug if I can, I hit some other issues but most for me was “Oh that’s something I can fix” and I just did it so didn’t log every pitfall but the encoding type above was one that I hit and figured others may hit the same issue so hope it saves you a few minutes of research and helps you get free half-decent remote access without cost or too much fuss.

81GB + B2 = $4/yr

So while I have backup servers easily with 81GB of storage I could utilize, I don’t. Many reasons including no sense in putting in my data to a mix which could if found be more “tempting” than my blog for instance. Sure sure I use security galore, keys, hardware security devices like Yubikeys etc. but to top it off, storage isn’t cheap for how I do backups so 81GB if precious.

Enter B2 – for nerdy people like myself, it’s similar to AWS but considerably cheaper – now if you are reading this and saying “Backups… I need those” B2 is part of another company I HIGHLY recommend called Backblaze – B2 is their developer side of things, Backblaze is their amazing backup system – I use it on my Mac’s and it works awesome, even complains if I haven’t used my laptop in a while and it wants a backup! Been a life saver too in issues of deleted files that didn’t make it local.

So why am I use b2? Well, Linux isn’t exactly mainstream and yes there are backup systems you can get – homebrew is my thing lately, trying to find “NORMAL” in life with everything going on and thus since I am familiar with b2, tonight I crafted the command line to basically emulate what I do locally to my backup M.2 drive, sync my home directory so if anything happens here at home? It’s accessible, and I can get a Linux box up and running again even on basic cheap hardware if needed, Manjaro has it covered.

So the plan I have is two-fold:

  • Daily Backups to the M.2 Drive scheduled to run nightly and keep the home-dir up-to-date.
  • Weekly Backups to B2 – this is for an emergency so no sense in daily off-site backups, plus data usage it covers includes things like say a steam game so careful to be mindful of how much I am backing up.

Now I considered just doing Monthly vs. Weekly, but I’m looking for some just in case – but at around $4/yr for all of this storage – yes, please.

There are apps that do automate this but I found them slow. One made an IMAGE file, another tried to create an archive – this literally is just whirring by on my monitor as I type, currently showing 1.1GB of data already moved in less than 30 minutes so needless to say happy with the speed, and the backup process.

If you don’t have backups on your devices this also is related to say your smartphone – consider getting something – most offer basic backups – but both iOS and Android offer backups baked into the operating system, use them. If you are anxious about them having the backups then ask yourself why aren’t anxious they already have 100% access to your device? If it’s important – back it up.

For now, things are in motion, and I’m a bit nauseous so I’m going to go and chill out for a bit, but if interested let me know and I’ll post the scripts & cronjobs if you are a linuxy person – if you are a Windows/Mac user – let me know if you have questions about Backblaze or want to know about any other online type backups I can offer if you’d rather go with “someone you know” and I can get you some basic pricing for options for backup. Till next time? Good night!

The Cancer Update

So here’s the update, it’s been 3 insane days but here’s where we are with things.

Monday we got the results of the PET/CT and it’s a mixed bag:

  • Primary Tumor (Esophagus) – Stable, no growth, no loss – standing still, looking good (honestly I think it’s better as swallowing is INSANELY better) so good stuff.
  • Cancer Markers up, it’s in the system actively and some involvement possibly in the lungs 🙁
  • The Standing Treatment Plan: Not too effective. Basically its doing some good as I see it to hold the current mass at bay, but it’s not doing that “all over” clean up we need.
  • Doc suggests a second set of eyes from City of Hope again to really just tag team it and get us on a new plan based upon maybe something new they know!

So that’s where we ended on Monday, thus Daisy got to work on a 2nd opinion from City of Hope – well she took and called got us an appointment for Thursday, but let’s just say Thursday… well became Tuesday. As yesterday at around noon we left home for a trip down to City of Hope as they were able to see us at 2:45 – which led to the following:

  • New plan called Full Fury (sounds epic right?) same course treatment schedule – every 2 weeks, pump for 3 days, few new drugs in the mix, but only one new side effective which can be managed with drugs.
  • Genetic Testing Started – This can open up some new doors for more targeted treatment – results will be in next Tuesday so that’s neat I think, but warned them as a redhead I am a mutant, but they said it didn’t matter lol
  • Was blessed with decent traffic but a day on 1 hour or so of sleep, plus no meds trying to balance out a little left me well, exhausted.

Enter today, follow up with my oncologist, and he agreed on the plan, so he’s kicking it to insurance, we start Monday.

After a wild day though I crashed for like 6 hours, we have a plan, and I have a week off to recoup, and I needed the sleep, I woke up and ran to my mailbox at the UPS Store, was amazed to find blessings galore, some chocolates from a customer thanking me for help & wishing a merry Christmas, and a church I host sent a gift which is HUGELY a blessing and will help pay for a few medical bills I have that need to be sorted – so in all of this still one truth: God is Good.

Currently battling blood sugar inflation due to the steroid I took earlier today, but going to do some light work around the house as energy allows and sugar burns off – but figured I’d get a bit more detailed update than what I normally post to facebook, but thank you all for your prayers, support, even helping with cravings of even boston baked beans 😀 love the support always, helps me stay positive knowing I’m thought and cared for more than I may know on a day to day basis.

Have a blessed night all, I’m off to burn off some sugar!

Just a sterotypical Monday.

Oi. What a day. I’ll get to the cancer stuff another day, but computer-wise – really?!

So basically what happened is I sat down to test a drive, and when I looked at it – seemed all good… however turns out I have the same M.2 drive – didn’t realize I bought the same one as my primary system drive, and after having an Android phone format the new M.2 portable setup, I thought “why did it do so many partitions?! I just need the single one for storage.” The reason? That partition layout was my main drive.

Thankfully it simply trashed a partition that didn’t contain my primary data, but it screwed up my boot setup so I figured “I tinkered with this install, let’s just rebuild it.”

So a quick run of this:

rsync -azvv --progress /home/cbrown /run/media/cbrown/m2baby/.

I freshly backed up 81GB of data in like 1 hour? Then was able to install Manjaro fresh and clean and shiny, then took a snapshot of my installed apps and restored that, while data restored, then once it was done an hour later (okay an hour and a little change, disk access was a little busy) I rebooted, and I’m 100% good to go, Wavebox, Chrome, etc. all loading up fine even Steam Games.

Never was able to do that with Windows in the olden days, unless I had a good snapshot – it was reinstall like mad, then re-configure, re-everything – but all my apps carried over without issue, only thing left to check is to see if screen savers kick in with Xscreensaver installed we shall see!

But a typical Monday ended in an adjusted backup script to the new M.2 portable stick, but with rsync’ing it 81GB stays fresh and only brings new goodies – so again I could complain, but in the end, it all just worked.

I’ll talk a bit about what’s going on in Cancer land in a few days, as I have no real “solid” answers, to some degree, but in the end more docs to talk to, some good/bad news – but I have a peace, thus why I am not rushing out saying “HIT THOSE KNEES! LET’S PRAY!” now you can always pray – but not looking to worry anything with at some level, unknowns. More soon though!

For now wrapping up the day, nice to have a working station again, tomorrow if I’m up – tuning up the Hackintosh as my new gateway to the network – lots on my head to do, but for now hoping to wind down and sleep soon. Night all.

God Only Knows!

I saw the news of this today earlier when FK&C posted on their Instagram linking to an article which leaked a 30-second clip preview – pretty awesome, but the song lately has really rung true with me, God really is one of the only ones who knows what I’m going through.

I find myself lately just not feeling great, tests pushed back, holding off on work, feeling bad, but in some cases, drugs don’t help – pain has been up a bit, even now I was nearly asleep – then just wham. Can’t get comfortable – I try to explain what I feel, but honestly sometimes I do feel alone in that maybe no one understands it – but then two thoughts hit me: 1) I don’t fully understand why I feel bad, and 2) God knows exactly what is going on – and the last few days I just haven’t really listened to those two things, I know I need to trust God but when the world is just madness around you, and you feel like you can’t accomplish anything – just feel defeated.

Today I got some mixed news, no PET scan but did meet with the oncologist who explained things aren’t reducing quickly, but they aren’t getting worse, and that the road for this isn’t likely to be weeks, but rather 6-12 months – I know this has never been a road that was well defined, but I keep trying to remain hopeful that it will be done soon, but as it stands, unless the PET scan shows a very different picture, the road is a bit longer still.

Hoping for a better day tomorrow. Going to try and get some sleep here soon again, maybe I just need a new bed? Better couch? A fancy massage chair? 😀 I appreciate everyone’s continued prayers, encouragement, and sometimes even just listening to me say I’m going to cheese bomb a place out of frustration (it sounds dangerous, but it’s actually in theory quite delicious, send Ritz Crackers) – but God has a plan for all of this, I don’t know it, I don’t understand it – but just have to keep remembering the promise that He knows.

Compression?

Giving this a try – a bit of an experiment, but I have arm compression and leg compression on + compression socks! So far it has reduced the bone pain a bit, kind of crazy, but at this point, since I can’t do the hardcore drugs (Norco) and the suggested anti-histamine option doesn’t seem to do anything. Compression? Why not!

The last few days have been a bit rough with pain, but trying to decide if its worse than 5 straight days of Neupogen – its annoying since legs and arms hurt at once vs. 5 days legs legs legs legs then arms as the shots wear off, M W F gives it enough time to start wearing off, then it kicks up again, not sure if I like it! But so far, compression seems to help some, so I’m wandering around with arms and legs all covered.

What is Normal?

Honestly, I don’t even know anymore.

For me lately, that’s the thing I’d love to get back is normal. Things keep changing around me – this past week my daughter started KINDERGARTEN! To have a 5 yr old was a big change in all of this, but this year is just flying by and honestly? I don’t even know what the date is some days. Thankfully this digital age has things blinking with the number so I get it after a few hours of waking up.

Pain has been a big deal lately, there was one other thing, but it’s a bit more TMI then I’m prepared to share – but a scare, only to figure out what it was (or what I guess it was) and have some peace, but this week a lot of things go into motion, some shots, some blood work for shots, a CT scan on Friday then next week on Thursday a PET scan, and we’ll know more where we are …. maybe even closer to normal?

Energy has been hit or miss the last few days, even now there’s part of me ready to go go go! Then the other part just wants to lean back and enjoy tunes and not work, but I told a few folks I’d have some things done on Friday, and here we are on Sunday, and things are still not done, and not knowing what is coming Monday (please no Neupogen!) but would like to get a few things done.

The new computer is up and running, nice to have a bit more stability in things, still fine-tuning, one of the monitors I picked up on sale was broken, backlight on the whole left side was dead, so back I go to return it this week – but nice to have things running a lot smoother, and able to get a lot of things done, migrated a site and installed new software tonight.

Normal I will find you. I’ll be back to it soon enough.

Farewell Debt. It wasn’t fun.

Been a few times in my life I used credit cards a wee bit much – expanding the business and needed to extend funds, then the gamble didn’t pay off, then life happened, then it got backed up – but this month I have finished off 2 lines of credit! 2! Both were closed long ago with no further transactions allowed so its just been debt I’ve been slowly chipping away at, but one was so close vs. waiting a few months to knock it down, just killed it. The other was a bit more but I just felt like why keep it hanging its the lowest hanging fruit, and it’s done.

Leaves me with 3 lines of credit left, and adjusted 2 of them today to take the amounts from the other two and increase how quickly they come down, exciting stuff! The 3rd if these two jobs I can wrap up this week may just do a quick lump payment and knock it down a peg but chemo brain is in full effect so might not be the ideal week, but going to try and get these projects wrapped by tomorrow, one does rely on a customer but I think they’ll want to get going sooner than later so shouldn’t be so bad.

Woohoo! Debt-free here I come!

Nerd Update

Cancer is one of those things that’s really taken up most of my time, ya think about it as you are having bone pain, curious if the treatment is helping, but tech wise at home, I’ve come to a conclusion that I want to slowly phase out my primary rig for Linux vs. Mac.

Why Linux?

Why not? Free, secure. I use it nearly every day from the command line as is, and even on my mac using Terminal to do a lot of common tasks – so it seems like the logical option – even looked at an option to virtualize my current Mac possibly set it up on KVM to run it on a second monitor as a dedicated piece of hardware.

Then the old PC thinking of making it into a computer for the girls, something possibly Linux or ChromeOS – haven’t landed on which yet, but keep it simple, clean and secure so Daisy can do her shopping/banking without worry and Lilly can do some ABC Mouse and Reading Eggs etc.

When?

Well I wanted to go AMD Ryzen and chose one with graphics built in, and did some research on how well its supported, basically just have to ensure the kernel is current, but even then as it becomes more primary probably just pull the Radeon RX560 from the Mac and put it in the new Linux box which then also will lead to 2 new monitors as the old Dell 27in’ers I had one died, currently using the TV in the office as monitor 2 but for the linux rig get 2 27 or 32 in monitors for a bit of multi-tasking.

The parts are supposed to be in on Wednesday, so Kindergarten -> Rest -> Errands -> Shot or Pickup Lilly – not sure which but hoping energy holds and we can push back Wednesday’s shot – as Neupogen as it builds up to restore my white count really really makes the bones hurt – and by Friday I may be getting some more meds.

But that’s cancer talk! Parts Wednesday!

What?

As I didn’t want to break the bank, but still have some decent power went Ryzen 5 2400G (3.6Ghz but can scale to 3.9Ghz) should be interesting to see how it stacks up to the Intel i5 3.5Ghz in the Mac – but 16GB of ram, the same case I have now for the Mac, but an NVME drive as the primary, should blow away speed and then some.

Manjaro Linux for the starting flavor, see how it handles the hardware, I don’t have a home Linux rig dedicated at the moment, but some SSH keys to regenerate once thins are stable and running, but if not I have a few thumb drives I can test-run Ubuntu/Fedora/PopOS with as those are my secondary options – but I’ve really enjoyed Manjaro in testing on a Virtual Machine.

Should be fun to work with and get rolling with as a new primary desktop and really just ease into it overall, so we shall see how it all goes. Once it’s setup and running smooth – I’ll post a screenshot and update on performance, but moving forward, I think Linux will give me a bit more stability, vs. Hackintosh which honestly when things go wrong, I just don’t have the time anymore to really dig into it, and the solution of just buying a mac – the new Mac Mini’s are really about as much as I’d spend, however they felt sluggish and not as responsive – so build it, Linux it, something new/old! 😀