I'll get to the topic in a just a minute...I'm currently doing pretty well, though I've been a bit tired this past week. I'm wrapping up all the preliminaries for radiation treatment. If everything goes well, it will be 28 treatments, Monday thru Friday, starting August 5. Thankfully, The James works with your job schedule and I have late afternoon appointments, allowing me to work almost a full day. I'm not quite looking forward to driving from Gahanna to The James every day after work, but given the "Big Fix" construction continuing on 71 North of 104, which is our best route to them, I was not about to try early morning appointments. It will be interesting, to say the least, to see what side effects actually occur for me from the radiation, as everyone is different...which leads me to the topic of this post.
A favorite IT professor in college was fond of saying “The results of processing may be unpredictable”. Computers are still only as “smart” as the accuracy of the data they’ve been given and the skill of the software developer writing the code to mine and present that data. One easy to understand example is when asking for a list of names. Unless you specify that you want them in last name order you may get them in a random order, and you may get them in a different random order every time you ask for them. The computer even must be told to sort them by last name, then first name, otherwise Mary Jones may be listed before Bob Jones. Even with the advances in Artificial Intelligence, this remains true, with facial recognition as one of the worst. If the data from which it's drawing on does not contain enough information about the different races/ethnicities, some very embarrassing mistakes can be made.
In photography, I’ve often found that the techniques I used with processing one photo may not work with what I think is a similar photo. Also, while I usually know when I take the photo if it’s going to be black and white or color (or both), there’s been a handful that have fooled me. Take, for example, the two photos I’ve included in this blog. The first is called “Road to Destruction”. This was taken at a mostly abandoned town in South Dakota. If you want more information about why I chose this title, click here see the blog post from last year. I have turned several sunset photos black and white and planned on doing so with this photo. As I mentioned in the earlier blog, I intended it to be part of a series called “Backroad Conversations”, which is mostly black and white. When I worked on this photo after returning home, I realized I just couldn’t do it. The feeling and the moment of watching that storm come in was lost after the conversion, so it stayed in color.
The second photo you saw in the last blog. I’ve included it this time again because I was asked about the color version…it doesn’t exist. In the color version, sunshine overwhelms the senses and most of the details are lost because the bright yellow-orange sun and the yellow-orange of the hills all blend together. Black and white revealed it, hence the title. The textures and color bands in the hills of the foreground, the subtle rays exploding up into the sky, and the light spilling onto the hills. They shine when color is taken out of the equation. This is why I love black and white!
So as I've been away from chemo for a few weeks and starting radiation soon I've had a bit of time to reflect on the effects of chemo and other medications I've dealt with over the past five months. As in software development and photography, results of processing, this time by our own bodies, can be very unpredictable when it comes to medicine. A drug that many people may have been on for years without any trouble, sent me to the hospital within a week of starting it at the end of April. It’s not a bad drug, it just wasn’t right for me. I was one of the few people who have had an allergic reaction to one of my chemo drugs. I’m experiencing the peripheral neuropathy (tingling and numbness in my hands) with my chemo, but not the metallic taste which many people warned me about.
I have to careful when adding new drugs, prescribed or over-the-counter, to my regime, many times consulting my contacts at OSU pharmacy clinic just to double-check my doctor (or even at the request of my doctor), to avoid bad interactions. Not only that, certain foods, herbs, supplements, and even vitamins can interact in an unpredictable way. The occasional glass of wine or beer I enjoy every so often has to be weighed against the risks of the medications I take. Even with all the testing drugs go through, results of the individual processing of that drug remain somewhat unpredictable. But isn't that way it is for many things in life, so maybe I shouldn't be that surprised.