Friday, April 18, 2014

A New Crisis

Perhaps I'll start with a bit of ancient history. Back in the 1980's (that's ancient to some of you, right?) I used to work as a quality control technician for an asphalt paving company. My job was to assure that the asphalt we made met specification by testing samples of our product three or four times a day. I would take a large sample of the asphalt and break it down into it's component parts and analyze it's composition. To do this, you place the mix in a centrifuge, pour in some solvent, and spin out the asphalt cement (tar) until it's nothing but rocks. Then you cook the solvent saturated rocks until they're dry and run them through a series of graduated screens. Weighing the rocks on each screen and comparing the end result to the original weight of your sample will tell you whether or not it meets state and/or federal specifications.

I did  this for probably three or four years. The solvent was something called "Trichlorethelene." We called it "trichlor." It's a clear liquid that has a very strong chemical odor and evaporates about like rubbing alcohol. That's about all we knew about it for a long time. Then suddenly we were told to stop using trichlor and switch to a natural product made from orange peels called "Orange Sol." It seems that they discovered that the solvent we had been using like water...breathing in the vapor...washing our tools in...even using to clean our hands...causes renal cancer. Cancer of the kidney.

Flash forward thirty years. I've just discovered I may have renal cancer.  Coincidence? I'm thinking no. I'm pretty sure I have it, but I say "may have" because, as of this moment, I still haven't talked to a doctor about the test results that I unceremoniously received in an email. From the reading I've done on renal cancer in the last few days, I'm suspecting I'm at stage 3 or 4.

So that's why I've resurrected this blog. To tell my story, to rant, to blow off steam. To anyone who happens to stumble across it.

No comments: