June 2012

Hello from Limbo!

Robert explained early on, after meeting with one of the top melanoma experts in the country, that it probably will be impossible to stage his melanoma. Here’s the problem with that: treatments are generally decided depending on the stage of the disease. So, how do they know which path of treatment is the best for him? Welcome to Limboland!

Progress at a crawl

I suppose it was unrealistic of me to think I could install Drupal 7 and have it ready to do all that I wanted right away. I really wanted to allow my family and friends to sign up to receive emails whenever I update the melanoma portion of this blog. Whatever was I thinking?!

A frustrating day at WHC

We arrived at Washington Hospital Center in time to be at the check-in desk at the Cancer Center at 1 p.m., the time of our appointment. Our past experience had led us to believe that they always tell you your appointment is about 1/2 hour before they expect you to see the doctor. Don't we wish that was really their system!

Time crawls by

It seems as though life is at a crawl here. However, I expect our tolerance for waiting will increase tomorrow, when Allison and her family arrive! It will be good to have the distractions, and something to engage us while we wait for what comes next.

Update - one day post-surgery

All is relatively normal at the Becker house today. Robert is somewhat uncomfortable under the bandages, but not too grumbly. I was able to get to the gym today, so I am less grumbly than I would have been otherwise! We plan to go out for a short while this evening, so if you try to call but don't get us, please don't assume anything is amiss here. Leave a message on our machine and I'll respond as soon as I can.

Why Drupal?

In responding to one of my earlier posts, Sandy asked why and when to use Drupal. Probably the best answers are those given by Tom Geller in the Lynda.com course “Drupal 7 Essential Training.” On most Lynda courses the first few videos are available even if you don’t have a subscription, so Tom’s answers may be available to anyone who’s interested. I’ll spell out my answers below.


I'm trying to make this website work well enough to keep people informed of Robert's progress on Monday. I don't think I'll succeed.

It's a good time for me to bring some perspective to this effort. True, I would like to avoid countless telephone calls on Monday. I was hoping to have the site built out so that I could ask someone else to post updates for me. That way the burden of updates could be shifted so that anyone who wants one could get it without my having to post them.

Another step

To learn about Drupal 7 I'm going through Tom Geller's course, Drupal 7 Essential Training, on Lynda.com. In the video about creating user accounts, Tom talks about the site developer's need to understand why the site is being created in order to decide what policies to set for new users:

Biding our time

The business of waiting is not one either Robert or I come by naturally - we both "just want to know already" and move on toward doing something about it. From the beginning, this melanoma thing has not cooperated with our need to move things along.

Under his skin, in his words

I started to write all the sordid details about Robert's diagnosis with melanoma because otherwise it feels like starting in the middle. I decided not to write it, though, because his own summary tells the story much better than I could. The following comes from an email that he sent on May 29 to our families and a few friends. 

The best laid plans ...

My journey to proficiency with Drupal 7 took a sharp turn today, when I decided I would add some new features to this blog. I will use the Taxonomy feature, a module in D6 but built into Core in D7, to tag posts so that people who don’t want to read about Drupal can easily avoid those posts. I created the taxonomy, which I named Blog Subjects, and added Drupal, Melanoma, and Journalism as terms. Easy – so far so good!

A new beginning

I was inspired by my BNA colleague John Schappi’s blog, “Aging and Parkinson’s and Me,” to start this blog. Like John’s blog, mine will be a personal website where I will share what’s going on in my head – whether about the health topics that are raging in there right now; or website design and implementation using Drupal, an open-source content management system that is being employed to produce this website; or journalism, retirement, grandparenthood, or any other subject that pops in there from time to time.