Monthly Archives: May 2005

Back to technology for a moment …

This morning I awoke to find a question from my friend Paul Moor in my email. I was pleased to be able to answer it with what seemed to me remarkably little effort because of knowing how to search for such an answer. I realize many of you may be more adept at this than I, however for those few who might not be, I thought it might prove instructive to lay out the steps (6 of them) I took in finding and providing the answer.

Like many people do, I turned first to Google to find the file extension that Paul was asking about. I recalled from previous searches for this kind of information that there was a site somewhere on the Internet where you could search by file extension to learn what program had created it, but I didn’t recall the URL for that site. So I simply typed in “file extensions” (with the quotes) into Google and allowed it to present me with the choices. As you’ll see in this graphic, the first answer it provided was the one I wanted. So I followed the link.

At the link Google had provided, I used the search facility at that site to type in the extension in question, ZM9, and got these results. Then I followed the link in those results, which took me to the ZoneLabs site, where I used that site’s search facility to look for “MailSafe” and saw this link. Following that link brought me to this page, where I noticed the link I’ve pointed to with the arrow. And that link yielded this clear explanation of what had changed the extension and why. (Here’s the actual link to that explanation.)

Because the link to the page that had the answer was 81 characters long, I decided to convert it, using the very helpful TinyURL site, into a tiny URL, as illustrated by this screen shot, which I then used to send my answer to Paul. My reason for using the TinyURL site was that in some email programs, long URLs are wrapped onto another line which makes them not work when people click on them. As you can tell from the screen shot of the TinyURL site, this service does an excellent job of shortening an 81 character URL into one that is only 24 characters in length.

You may be surprised to learn (or maybe not) that the process I went through to help Paul find the answer to his question is used quite frequently by the employees on the technical support help desks for all kinds of services.

Learning how to search is one of the more important skills one can have in using the Internet.


Incredibly Good News

I’ve just received a phone call from my son, Jeff, who went with Carole this morning to the visits with the doctors. They have just gotten out of the surgeon’s consultation and the results of all this week’s test are negative. They found no other sites that were cancerous.

They are about to begin their visit with the Oncologist who will discuss when we begin the chemotherapy treatments and perhaps provide other information. While it is wonderful news that none of the tests conducted this week have turned up any other cancers, we aren’t out of the woods yet. There are still the debilitating treatments ahead and the concern about the possible delayed return of the disease, but it is certainly a relief to learn there isn’t more bad news to have to deal with at the moment.

Report card day

Do you remember how apprehensive you used to be as a child when you knew you were getting your report card? What? You weren’t apprehensive? Well, lucky you! But if you were like most of us, you would approach that day with some degree of anxiety about finding out the results of the tests you had taken and be on edge to learn if you had passed.

Well, today is such a day. Carole has been taking tests all this week, MRIs, Xrays, etc., and today she goes in to see both the surgeon and the Oncologist for a report on what they found. Because in the initial surgery, during which they removed the lump from her breast, they also removed cancerous lymph nodes from under her left arm, this week has seen her take a battery of tests to determine whether there were other sites to which the cancer had spread. And today she gets some answers. The appointments with her doctors are early in the day, so along about noon or so we should have a better picture of what we are facing and the degree of involvement of other organs or other parts of her body.

When I have some answers, I’ll share them here.

Carole’s visit with the Oncologist

I had a chance to speak with Carole tonight about her visit with the Oncologist, who, as it turns out, went to school with our sons in Stone Mountain many years ago. By the way, Carole said she liked him a lot.

So here’s the schedule. No report yet on the findings from the lymph nodes, except what we had already learned that they were all cancerous. On Monday she goes for a CT Scan of her brain and a chest xray. Tuesday night she goes to a one-hour class for “radiation therapy (or was it chemotherapy) 101,” a sort of introduction to what to expect from her treatment. She’ll go back next Thursday for an examination of her liver and a bone marrow scan, for which she’ll have to drink some kind of dye that will help to reveal whether the cancer has spread to the bone marrow.

She’ll begin a series of 16 chemotherapy treatments soon. She has been advised that she will lose her hair, and she is already making arrangements to obtain a wig. It seems that the hospital also has a wig salon that will help her pick out a good wig to wear after she loses her hair. In fact, they say that they won’t wait for the hair to fall out but will instead shave her head so that she can go ahead and begin wearing the wig.

After she has completed the chemotherapy, she’ll begin a series of 33 radiation treatments, presumably aimed at the breast area where the lump was removed.

As is obvious, this course of treatment amounts to a very aggressive approach to treatments designed to discover what other areas of her body have become involved, if any, and to treat both the site of the original cancer and the systemic manifestations of the disease. Her spirits are good, and at this stage, she is holding up well under the obvious stress of the realization that she has to deal with a really aggressive and virulent enemy.

The latest on Carole’s condition

On Tuesday, Carole met with her surgeon who removed the drainage tube from under her left arm. She also got a referral to an Oncologist with whom she will meet on Thursday. From there we’ll begin to get an idea of the next phase of her treatment, so we are on pins and needles awaiting the word as to what is next. In all likelihood, it will include chemotherapy. Whether radiation therapy is needed too is not yet known. She is committed to an aggressive course of treatment and is bravely facing the next phase. Once I know what is happening, I’ll post the information here.