Social Media in 2019

I don’t set resolutions – because calling anything that ensures they won’t be met – but I’m weaning from social media, especially Facebook.  Because it’s tied to our pet sitting business and because too many bands and venues and events and such insist on using Facebook to disseminate information, I want/need to keep my actual account.  For now, anyway.  Since it’s an addiction, my brain keeps conjuring excuses to continue to interact with Facebook.  But as I work my way backwards through my online life, purging my pics and my posts from the site, I’ve discovered unexpected encouragement to see the process through. 

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Giant Cell Tumor – A Year On

My surgery for GCT happened in December of 2017. It’s officially been over a year.

The knee/leg remains problematic. There’s still a significant dead spot due to nerve damage. It’s still prone to becoming sore and tender, and hasn’t the range of movement of its counterpart. It still doesn’t feel normal, like it used to. It doesn’t feel completely right. At this point, a year on, I wonder if this is the new normal. If you’ve read my previous posts, this isn’t news to you.

Over the holidays I spent a couple of weeks helping the in-laws prepare their house for sale, doing frankly quite a bit more manual labor in successive days than I have since the surgery. The area on the outside of my knee, the around the LCL, became painfully sore. This frightened me, because this is the pain I had started experiencing prior to my tumor diagnosis. Weird, since the tumor is on the inside of my leg, but perhaps the irritation came from unconscious favoring or compensating. At any rate, I opted to take a few days and chill on the labor. The pain subsided, but then I went for a mountain bike ride. By the time I’d returned from it the pain was sufficient to effect my walking. My limp was back. That was over a week ago, and while I’m not limping regularly now, it’s still tender. I’m not going down the stairs evenly as I was. Sitting still for any length of time causes it to stiffen up. To be fair, it’s quite cold here now, and that may be contributing to the stiffness.

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TTRSS – Call to undefined function mcrypt_decrypt()

I upgraded my TTRSS installation to PHP 7.2, and suddenly I started seeing this pop up when it would attempt to update certain feeds:

When I’d click on those feeds to try and edit them, I’d get this:

Basically something akin to this:

Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function mcrypt_decrypt() in …/include/crypt.php:12 Stack trace: #0 …/classes/pref/feeds.php(633): decrypt_string(‘+rn7weUKbTMS3Ks…’) #1 …/backend.php(130): Pref_Feeds->editfeed() #2 {main} thrown in …/include/crypt.php on line 12

I did a little digging and discovered that mcrypt is defunct in PHP 7.2. Threads on the TTRSS forum spoke of hitting update.php with an argument via command line, but I don’t have command line access to my installation. I dared not ask on the forum as while I love TTRSS, those on the forum are notoriously self-important and assholey, happier to lambast you for being an idiot than actually help. Instead, I started doing some poking and discovered that all the feeds causing this problem had one thing in common – a populated auth_pass field in the ttrss_feeds table in the database. I ran a simple:

update ttrss_feeds set auth_pass=”

(After doing some testing, of course) and the problems disappeared. The communications warning went away, feeds started updating, and I could successfully open the edit dialogs on all my feeds.

Me, The Internet, and My Favorite Band

I’ve never told the complete story of my involvement with the band Fishbone before.  In the past few years however, I’ve experienced a bit of shade thrown at me, some subtle and some overt, by other people who’ve had involvement with them in the time during and after my own.  Typically this has involved downplaying or minimizing my involvement, sometimes accompanied by humble bragging about involvement of their own. My reaction to this has always been to just keep quiet.  Not only am I not big on what could be construed as tooting my own horn, there was a lot of conflict caught up in that time. But I’m tired of holding my peace, I’m thrilled that the band’s classic lineup is back together, and excited that they seem to be experiencing somewhat of a resurgence.  I figure 20 years is long enough, and I’m allowed to have my say, as best I can recollect it.

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Giant Cell Tumor – 11 Months Post Op

This time last year, I’d just discovered I had a bone tumor in my left tibia.  I’d been scheduled to fly to Florida for surgery to occur a year ago next week – a surgery that would wind up being just a biopsy because the tumor contents would appear atypical.  I’d spend the next two weeks in Florida with a leg brace while my biopsy was shipped to various centers around the United States to try to determine whether or not it was cancerous, and what kind of tumor it was.  It would be in the top 5 longest days, and nights, of my life.

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Giant Cell Tumor – 10 months post-op

Winter is coming.  I can feel it in, well, my knee.

I find myself wondering, still, if it’s ever going to feel ‘normal’ again.  Not stiff.  Not tight.  Not sore.  Not tender.  Not fragile.  Not half numb.  Because as of right now, it’s still all of those things.  It’s almost nonsensical how susceptible it is to pain.  The other day I was moving a cabinet in our garage and its door swung open and hit my knee right where the hardware is – and it was like lightning shooting through my leg.  It was an impact that would have gone unnoticed on my other knee.

In the months immediately following surgery I was frustrated and frightened, wondering if I’d ever be able to walk normally again.  Would I be able to bike?  Hike?  Run?  Walk without a limp?

Huge strides have been made since then.  I can bike and hike, albeit not for as far or as long as I once could.  I still do not run, however, and there are still times when I catch myself limping, subconsciously favoring that leg because it feels stiff or sore or simply because it feels fragile.

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Giant Cell Tumor – Surgery and Hardware

I came across this interesting site talking about surgery and hardware in my researching the issues I’ve been having.  It’s been 9 months since my surgery, and my knee isn’t right.  It’s still slowly improving – I think – but I still have to favor it quite a bit.  I can’t kneel on it with weight, it hasn’t the range of motion it used to, and I have to be very careful not to hit the area where the hardware is against anything, even lightly.  On cold days or after serious exertion it hurts – not just where the tumor was, but down the tibia, where the hardware reaches.

I never before considered that bones – living bones – bend, and hardware like what’s installed after a surgery like GCT treatment means preventing part of the bone from bending, and placing stress on it.  I think that the layman’s assumption about hardware is that it’s supposed to make the area where it’s placed stronger.  And in some ways it does… but in others it makes it in a way weaker too.


Giant Cell Tumor – 9 Months Post-Op

This time around I had to provide x-rays of my lungs as well as the knee, as GCT can metastasize to the lungs.  This proved no small feat, as the facility I go to here in town specializes in orthopedic and decidedly not lungs.  The doc I’ve been seeing from the start – the Doc who diagnosed my tumor – assured me that while they couldn’t evaluate a lung x-ray, they’d be happy to take it.  This is fine, since I send all my x-rays off to the team in Florida who performed my surgery.

Of course this didn’t go as planned.  My normal doc wasn’t in the office the day of my appointment, and everyone else seemed befuddled by the idea that I wanted a lung scan.  An appointment that should have been 10 minutes stretched to over an hour as I refused the knee x-ray without also having the lungs.  Eventually a doc on duty responded to my increasing surliness by actually going through my case notes and discovering that I had indeed been assured they’d do it.

Then, as is par for the course, they send me home with a disc that only held the lung scans – no knee.  Luckily, ever since I had disc lost in the mail I’ve made a point of cutting and ISO before sending them, and this time I noticed the lack of any knee images.  Back up to the office I went to pick up another disc.

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