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Topics - TeaLeaf

It's my Birthday! / Penfield is older!
January 14, 2023, 06:49:03 PM
Happy birthday mate, hope you had a good one.

Sent from my Pixel 7 Pro using Tapatalk
Seriously though ... / Cancer sucks
April 08, 2022, 03:02:45 PM
In March 2021 it was with some emotion that I read Twyst's post about his ongoing battle with cancer.  Little did I know that only a few months later I would find a lump in my own throat and end up swapping treatment stories and experiences with him on Discord.  

I haven't shared my experience until now not because I would not have appreciated your emotional support, but simply because I felt I needed to be able to focus my energy on just getting through each day and the distraction of having to converse about it with multiple people would simply have been too much. When you are going through the treatment life does become a very day to day thing, how to get to this afternoon, how to I make it through to bed time, etc. Now that I am through my treatment and no longer have to do a daily commute to the Churchill hospital in Oxford I have more energy.  In the meantime thank you for allowing me the indulgence of sharing the load via this post.

My experience
In June 2021 I got a sore throat (sort of like you feel when you have a throat cold coming on) and what I thought was an unrelated earache.  This went on for a couple of weeks but the 'throat cold' never arrived and the earache remained.  I had my ear checked and they found nothing, it was perfectly healthy and had no compacted wax.   The throat continued to ache and eventually on 2 July 2021 I figured that perhaps I had a bad ulcer very far towards the rear of my mouth - and so I stuck my finger into my mouth and pushed backwards to see what I could find. As my finger went further into the back of my mouth I sensed I was getting closer to the source of the discomfort, and eventually about two inches down the back of my throat I felt a small 'tip of bullet' shaped lump sticking out of the front wall of my throat into my oesophagus.

After multiple meetings, scans and surgery to complete a biopsy I got diagnosed with a cancer in my neck/throat. The tumour was in the base of my tongue (the base is in your throat not in your mouth) and had also grown into surrounding muscle up towards the left floor of my mouth.  The cancer had also spread to a single lymph node on the left side of my neck. In medical terms the tumour was a T4 N1 M0 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) about 4.5cm long.   And the earache?  Apparently it is a common side-effect of a neck SCC that you suffer 'referred pain' in your ear!

I was prescribed a 6 week course of chemotherapy and simultaneous radiotherapy and because of the likelihood that at some point I would struggle to swallow/eat/drink, I had to have surgery prior to treatment to get a feeding tube fitted (it's a tube that sticks out of your belly and goes direct to your stomach so that you can be hydrated and fed if you cannot eat/drink yourself).

I finished my chemo and radiotherapy on 10th December 2021. It was bloody unpleasant and not something I would wish on my worst enemy.   Much as you hope they don't, the chemo/radiotherapy side-effects eventually kicked in with gusto:  
  • At various points I had little or no voice (as those playing New World might have noticed in November/December).
  • Like Twyst, my beard hair stopped growing in the treated area as the radiation damages/kills the hair follicles - and trust me, a one-quarter goatee is not a cool look! I've added a photo below showing how much beard hair is AWOL and not growing!
  • In mid-November the radiotherapy caused me to lose my taste of anything sweet or salty (that only leaves bitter & sour).  Food tastes of nothing and even water tastes bitter/soapy!
  • Radiotherapy also damaged/killed my saliva glands, so I have 'dry mouth' and need to constantly sip water and drink liquid when eating. Apparently most people have most of their sense of taste and some saliva production return during the first 12 months after treatment - I am 4 months post treatment and desperately waiting for this to happen to some degree or another!
  • At times during and after treatment I struggled to swallow and eat through the mouth (as opposed to using the feeding tube), but forced myself to eat via the mouth with the assistance of morphine and a very carefully chosen slushy/liquid diet.  Radiation ulcers took up residence in my mouth and throat - imagine not one ulcer, but everything being ulcerated.  My '4 worst days' had me taking  90 minutes to finish sipping a 200ml bottle of 'liquid meal' supplied by the hospital.
  • I got an impressive radiation 'sun tan' around my neck.  Radiation dermatitis is a real thing and in the run up to and just after Christmas my skin cracked, opened up and I got a two inch wide open wound (like a garrote) around my neck.  I've added a photo below to show my neck just before the skin melted!
  • Twyst mentioned the fatigue (and headaches) that radiotherapy can cause - they are not a myth and since treatment stopped in December I am sleeping anywhere and anytime.  I can literally have breakfast and then suddenly fatigue hits you and you end up going back to bed to sleep for another 4 hours!  This is now slowly improving, but it is still a factor.
  • I also have fluid retention in my neck as my lymphatic system learns how to drain fluid again from the irradiated area and the radiation also caused fibrosis in my neck/shoulders for which I have daily physio exercises and a weekly 75 minute deep tissue massage (so it's not all bad!).  

Today I am almost 4 months in to the approximately 12 month period they say it takes to recover from the chemo/radio treatment and patiently awaiting the return of taste, saliva, a beard and the ability to turn my neck side to side more than 45 degrees!

The reason for sharing my story today is twofold:

(1) I wanted to let people know that I am happy to share my experience of cancer/radiotherapy/chemo so that if you end up having any similar diagnosis/treatment then you know that you can talk to someone who has gone through a similar situation.   I personally found it hugely helpful to talk to other cancer sufferers who were able to share their experience of chemo and radiotherapy, provide tips on making things more comfortable and generally managing the mental health side of things.  If it happens to you and you feel that talking would help, then please feel free to contact me and I will do whatever I can to help.

(2) I met my consultant this morning and he said that my FDG PET CT scan showed a complete resolution of the tumours. That's as good as it gets in terms of outcomes, so this afternoon I am one greatly relieved individual with an equally relieved wife and family.  My particular cancer has an 85% five year survival rate, but 99% of the unlucky 15% are smokers who usually suffer some reoccurrence in the first two years after treatment.  As I am a non-smoker and had a very good outcome from treatment the signs are good that I will find myself in the 85% not the 15%.

If you needed proof that God has a sense of humour
I took out a large critical illness insurance policy when I was younger and because back then I had planned to retire at 55 I chose age 55 as the policy termination age. I was 55 in February 2021 and got diagnosed with cancer literally a few months after the expiry of the policy.  That sucks!

Something for the garden, sir?
Every life event has a memento. For me it's the mask they made for my radiotherapy.  They use it to bolt (I kid you not) you to the treatment table so that they know they have your neck (and the tumour) in precisely the same spot every day during the six weeks of treatment so that the radiation hits exactly what it should hit and nothing else.  At the end of the treatment you get to keep the mask.   Mine is going into my garden where it will eventually have flowers grown through it as my own personal memento of surviving an annus horribilis.


Thank you for letting me share my experience of cancer.  Writing it has been quite cathartic and hopefully reading it will help someone cope with their own personal battle with cancer.  

I look forward to seeing some of you at the LAN next month and desperately hope that my taste returns beforehand so that I can enjoy some beers with everyone!
New World / New World - Mining
August 21, 2021, 10:19:06 AM
Seriously though ... / Keg Beer at Home
July 29, 2021, 03:31:07 PM
Been looking at these for a while and decided to take the plunge and try one.   Dex and I now have a Philips PerfectDraft to try.  


It's been real simple to set up and the range of kegs available seems really nice with 53 different beers from which to choose.   Chilling the keg in the fridge is essential or you face a long wait 12-15 hour wait to get an unchilled keg down to the ideal 3 degrees centigrade serving temperature.  The machine was very simple to set up and runs silent to my ear.   I got a Hoegaarden and a Tiny Rebel Clwb Tropicana to try.    Currently sipping on the Clwb Tropicana and very nice it is too.

Kegs are about £31 per 6 litre keg, which is about £2.94 per pint.   That seems expensive, but if you buy 3 kegs at the same time you get 10% off and free delivery, plus when you return the empty keg (no charge) they give you £5 credit for another keg.  So on average that reduces the price to about £2.17 per pint.  You can easily beat this price by buying a bunch of cans at the supermarket, but it might be difficult to find some of the 53 beers depending on where you shop.  In addition the poured pint seems to taste a heck of a sight better from the keg than a can.   Something that surprised me, I found I really valued the convenience of having it already chilled and poured to the volume you want (rather than the fixed size of a can).  It is great to just be able to pour a half-pint when that's all you want.  

So far very impressed.  

Value per pint  7/10
Convenience & taste 10/10
After drawing a blank last year with the cancellation,  it's great to be back at Silverstone enjoying some live F1.

Here's a picture of the new 2022 F1 cars lining up for a practice start.

Currently enjoying blue skies, 24 degrees and some great Motorsport whilst sitting on some very comfortable rattan furniture next to the track. Pictures of the view up to Stowe and down towards Vale and Club are attached.

Let me know if a trip in 2022 is of interest!
Technology Section / 34" 3440x1440
June 18, 2021, 09:24:49 AM
I'm on the look out for a new monitor and am looking for suggestions and things to look out for in the hope that Prime Day will provide some purchase opportunities.  

I think I am looking for 3440x1440 (currently I am 30" 2560x1600 and don't want to go smaller).   I'd love HDR600 but yeah, price.  G-sync (or G-sync compatible) and a decent refresh rate 144Hz+ would be nice.   It will be my primary gaming monitor so a good response time, but I'm not looking to spend stupid money.  Probably looking for a flat panel not curved as it is likely to be mounted alongside another flat panel - but that's because I am assuming a flat and a curved don't mount well together?

I saw Ben's suggestion from December, but have also read about a lot of sleep/wake up issues with that model.  Still thinking about it.

If anyone has any suggestions, or spots any good Prime day offers please can you post them here?

Many thanks.
Technology Section / Delidding an Intel 11900K
April 10, 2021, 10:25:48 AM
So it seems delidding is still worthwhile, but damn has the the process got more complicated and difficult! :crazy:  

Back in the day (e.g. i7-4770K) when intel used good old hopeless goop to stick down the IHS the whole delidding process was relatively straightforward.  But this indium solder is just plain nasty to delid.

Humorous gaffs aside, I thought he did an amazing job in maintaining a 73 year marriage and being an absolute rock as consort for Queen Elizabeth II.  

He's the type of person I think almost anyone would have enjoyed a beer with and he will be missed hugely I am sure by the Queen.  He was blunt, to the point and had a wicked sense of humour along with a strong sense of duty.  RIP.
Technology Section / How big is an RTX 3090?
February 11, 2021, 09:21:46 AM
Came across this on Reddit and it made me chuckle.  

The card on the left is the Gigabyte Aorus RTX 3090 Master.
The card being replaced on the right is the Gigabyte 2080 Ti Windforce.


That 3090 is HUGE!!
Technology Section / PSA: NZXT H1 - Fire Risk
January 31, 2021, 04:46:48 PM
If you have one of these, pay attention.

Technology Section / RESOLVED: PC fault diagnosis
January 05, 2021, 01:19:25 PM
Hi folks.  Dex had a whining fan on his PSU which we decided to swap out for a brand new Corsair RM850.  All cables replaced at same time with Corsair's.
PC worked fine with original PSU, it just a noise, but we went with a PSU swap as it might fail RealSoonNow.  The new PSU replaced a very old (circa 9-10 years) Antec 1000W PSU.  PSU requirement calculated at circa 510W, so a Gold 850W should be fine.
Also threw in a new 3TB HDD on a new SATA cable.
It had a ton of dust in it, this was hoovered out gently whilst carefully earthed.

After changes:

Booted PC and it had no picture on monitor (not signal).  Started digging a bit.
Swapped gfx card for older card that I knew was working, no change.  So it seems it is not a gfx problem.
Reseated RAM.  No change.
Reconnected cables.  Reseated.
Disconnected all drives bar the boot SSD.  No change.
Booted without RAM sticks, no help.
No post beep.
All case fans spinning happily, apart from two case fans plugged directly into mobo which are not spinning.   Tried booting without the fans plugged in, no change.   Not sure if these were working or not before the PSU swap.
CPU cooler fan is still spinning (plugged into mobo) on power up.  Mobo power light is on.
Noticed Gfx card fans on original card would momentarily start spinning and immediately stop.  Replacement card we tried spun up the fan no problem at all.   Both used the same 2 x 6+2 PSU cables.
Tried alternative DVI (yeah that's old) sockets on both gfx cards, no change.

So what took a working but whining PC and killed it?  Any suggestions chaps?   I'm currently at the "screw it, we need a new CPU/Mobo/RAM bundle" stage and want to avoid the cost (although Dex says the extra fps from new hardware would be nice!)

Any helpful suggestions gratefully accepted - may involve extra beers at the next available dMw LAN.  :thumbsup:
Technology Section / Big Navi RDNA2
October 28, 2020, 08:28:43 PM
Anyone else watch the launch? Nvidia has done competition finally!  I'll wait for real world tests, but it is looking increasingly likely that the system upgrade will be all AMD.
Technology Section / AMD Zen 3 launch - LIVE
October 08, 2020, 05:00:42 PM
Movies, Music & Books / Dune
September 09, 2020, 06:48:27 PM
I'm a big Dune fan, so I'm looking forward to this - in a scary sort of "they'll either ruin it or make it as good as the book" kind of way!  Either way, I'll go to see it when it comes out.....assuming any cinemas are still open by 18 December 2020.

....but it is just too revealing about the person's state of mind and mental (in)capacity to not watch.  To see someone floundering so badly for this long whilst simultaneously being able to have their finger on the nuclear button......damn scary.


And if you want something much shorter and always wanted to know how NOT to pronounce 'Yosemite' then try this attempt:

so THAT's how NOT to say it! :roflmao:
There's some serious theorycrafting and planning gone into this!