Archive for April, 2013

#def finance = value

April 29, 2013


ou might be wondering the peculiar way I stated the title “def finance=value”.  I have been taking an introductory online course on Python coding.  I am taking it at Coursera.  Ok, let me explain.

Coursera is among the massive open online courses (MOOC) offered out in the web.  MOOCs are different from other online courses: they are interactive, course materials are delivered via the web, and are mostly delivered by professors in prestigious universities.  My course is taught by four professors from Rice University.  Oh, by the way, did I mentioned that courses are free. There are many MOOCs out there, I just prefer Coursera.

Python?  It is not a snake.  It is a programming language or computer language used to create computer programs.  There are many programming language out there, but Python is the most common or preferred way create a programs by software developers/engineers.  It is named after the 70’s British television comedy sketch, Mothy Python.  Bear with me for a moment.

I also enrolled in a course on Introductory Finance, taught by a nerdy professor from University of Michigan.  So what’s with the sudden renaissance for knowledge?  For one, it will more than satisfy the continued educational requirements at work, and the other it feeds my curiosity (it is also a way to shake off the cobweb in my chemo-soaked brain).  I am curious about big data, a current buzz word today.  I needed a stronger way to parse through massive amounts of data beyond what Excel can give me, thus Python.  I am an auditor, exposed to finance, and believe in strong basic foundation, thus the Finance course.

pointTo the point: I have come to realize that finance, data, and life are inter-related.  The world of finance is not limited to Wall Street; finance is about valuation.  Finance = value: The value we put on important things e.g. ladies purse,  money, time, car, education or life.  There is data behind the valuation on each of things we value and it differs among us.  Many would put value or put importance in having education (to succeed) or car (to go around), while others do not.  Aware or not, we have assigned certain metric to the value of things important to us and we live by them.  It constantly change as we mature or experience an awakening event, like cancer.

You have followed me as my life was touched by cancer.  It changed my outlook in life; its valuation.  I put a high premium on each borrowed day given to me because I was close to facing death and will never out run this disease.  I know how to read the data and its value.  I could quit my job, not study, or stop blogging my experience, but instead I chose to continue and make the best of my current situation.  They are also valuable activities for me because data shows that I am able to make a difference in you: I inspire you to change your valuation of life.

Additionally, I put more value in relationships rather than things.  Relationships are more lasting and can transcends life itself.  It is possible to remember somebody who have passed based on the relationship we had with them.  I like that.   So put more value in relationships; they keep.


P.S. Tomorrow, April 30, is my PET scan to re-stage my cancer.  I have been through this before.  It gives you hope that you have survived this round with cancer, but it does not mean you are cured.  Nonetheless, I am hoping for a clean scan.

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E’s World: It’s my birthday

April 24, 2013

Ethan with shadesIt’s my birthday tomorrow.  Woohoo.  I made it to two-years old with minor bruises.  It’s my birthday…it’s my birthday…it’s my birthday.  They are going to throw a party for me this weekend and I am all excited… because of the gifts.  Hehe.

It is all about the gifts, ya kno.  The party will be at Chuckee Cheese and you are all invited.  Just make sure you bring gift.  Ha!  My mom tells me I am growing fast.  I am not sure about that because she gets mad if I pee without telling her.  Freedom!

Ampa (my grandfather aka Bo) is doing fine and is getting strong.  I know, because he is able to keep up with me in my little trike.  He gets a kick out of it when I show him new tricks that I have learned; whether dancing to “Gangnam Style” or mimicking his action.  He is so easy to please.

Hey, have you notice the spread of baby ads in TV and the web.  There’s the Kia Space babies, eTrade babies, Pepsi Next babies, and lately Evian babies, which is the bomb.  Why can’t I get a gig like them, bro?  Maybe that’s why my party is going to be held at Chuckee Cheese!

Here is the latest viral video circulating.  Enjoy.


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Boston Marathon: Unity Shattered

April 16, 2013


he editorial of the New York Times wrote “a marathon is the most unifying of sporting event.”  Yesterday, it was shattered by an explosive that took away the life of three people and maimed several others.  Such a despicable act.

I had dreams of running Boston.  It is the marathon of marathons that every serious runner dream about  Because of my medical condition, I have accepted the fact I will not be running Boston but have considered going there to watch the event.  Boston is one of the five major marathon that my wife and I was trying to complete.  We did Chicago and Berlin, have guaranteed entries to NYC for 2014, then there’s Boston and London.  It will have to wait.

We had friends reaching out to say they were glad we were not at Boston, since we are avid runners.  I too am glad I was not there but sad such a tragic event would change how future marathons are held.  I mourn for the casualties of yesterdays event and shattered unity that brings a city, runners, and family together.

From here on the unifying spirit of marathons would be referred to pre-Boston, much like the birth of a new word called pre-911.  Why?


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April 14, 2013


ast Thursday, April 11, I had my abdomen drained again of fluids.  They took out another 2.1 liters, that’s a total of 12.7 liters since February 1st.  I really must stop drinking water (joke).

Somebody had asked me once, how do they do they drain the fluids (or do the paracentesis)?  Well I tell ‘ya.  First, using an ultra scan they search my abdomen for pockets of water concentrated in one area.  In my case, they normally find this pocket below the belly button line and right of it, near the appendix area.

The doctor would then marks the spot, sterilize the area, and inject local anesthesia.  Once the area is numbed, a small incision is made and then a long needle is inserted to puncture the peritoneal cavity.  Once the cavity is accessed the end of the probe is attached to a vacuum pump which sucks the fluids into a container.

There’s nothing to do but keep still while the container gets filled.  Sometimes the doctor would ask you to move so the fluids would find the needle.  After it is done, there is relief and lightness from carrying that much extra fluids in the body.  Ahhh….


Suction pump and container for fluids

What is causing the build up still gives me concern.  My doctors are aware of my periodic fluid drains but I know they are more focused on my cancer treatments.  As long as the fluids does not indicate malignancy or show blood in the drainage, I am ok.

Last chemo.

Tuesday, April 16, will be my last chemo to complete the six-cycle regiment.  Completing this six cycle has been most challenging.  It is also the most stressful because of my allergic reaction to the chemo drug Oxalyplatin.  I wish I had a choice of not taking it but I don’t.  That’s one thing about living with cancer, your choices are limited.  I am use to it and have accepted that fact.  It has given me a different perspective in life and gave a full appreciation of what I have.

My laughter is fuller and each encounter with friends and family are more endearing.  I am grateful for the gifts of love, intelligence, and wisdom.  I will continue my journey ready to embrace all the challenges that come my way.  Just bring it on…


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Spring time: A Season of Renewal

April 8, 2013

YYesterday was the running of the 8K Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago, the largest 8K race with about 40,000 runners.  Philip Reid won it for the mens in 23:08 minutes, while Lisa Uhl took it for the female in 25:54 minutes

This race kicks off the running season here in Chicago.  Normally, I would have run it but these are not normal times for me.  In fact, I don’t I will be entering any races this year; much less any walks.  My ascites (build up of fluids in the peritoneal cavity or abdomen) is preventing me from  running or doing long walks.

Last April 1st, I had paracentesis procedure done to remove the fluids and they took out 2.3 liters.  So if you can imagine me carrying two 1.0 liter of Coke while running or walking, after a while it gets pretty heavy.  My exercise is limited to stationary biking at the gym and yoga.

So Spring is upon us.  Spring is also a season of renewal: new flowers blooming, the air is fresh, and you hear the birds chirping again in the morning.  However, each renewal is different from the previous one.  This time last year, my wife and I would have entered in races we would like to run in the coming months, including the finale of a Fall marathon.  This year no races, but I still want to make the most of what is given.  I cannot turn back time, I just have to move forward.

I busy myself with work and Ethan, my grandson.  He will be two-years old this April 25 and has grown big.  He is a bundle of joy with all his gibberish words he spits out which only makes sense to him.  He likes riding his bicycle trailer as he gets pulled along.  Go…go…go, he would shout from behind.  Oh, the simple joys of spring.  Make your renewal and start enjoying spring.  I can only hope that next year will be different for me, nonetheless, I am happy where I am.

Roger Ebert, Film Critic

He passed April 4 after a long battle with cancer.  Somehow I could relate to him and his journey because he refused to give up.  He writes a blog too and on bad days he writes about his struggles and the limitations brought about by cancer.  He is prolific writer while he battles cancer.  His thumbs-up or thumbs-down movie rating can have a significant impact in the box office.  He did not stop working until the very end.  God bless you, Roger.

He inspires me to move forward inspite of setbacks.  Speaking of which, I had an allergic reaction again from my last treatment (5th) March 28th.  More steroids save the day for me but it made me retain more water.  This week is suppose to be chemo week again but I asked my doctor if I can postpone it for next week.  My body needs time to recover and enjoy my time with E-boy.


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