August 2009


 

Todd Bertolotti and I stood back and just looked………….

  
Details Baby!........Details!

Details Baby!........Details!

 “Did you ever think that when we were drawing it up that it would look this good?”……..he says to me.

“No”….I said

“But now that it’s finally painted,…you can bring your clients by to take a look at your work”……..I continued.

He laughed……. (Todd was the architect that designed the wicked remodel)

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 “Hi there!……we’re Val’s Mom and Dad….Nice to meet you…….”

“Don’t mind us”………( we’re just here to volunteer to paint your house the next four days.)

 

“Wa,wa,wa…….What????????”……”

“Aaaaaa………….OK?….”,

“Who are these people?”………….I said to myself in disbelief.

“Oh….Hi Val,…………I just met your parents???”

 

“Cool”……….she says, and goes about her business.

Val and Mom (Sylvia)

Val and Mom (Sylvia)

The Donlin’s have arguably the nicest house in the neighborhood.

Although, now that my house has been painted……IMHO…that is no longer the case.

I haven’t known the Donlin’s that long……..but I have been invited to a few parties they have thrown. Good Times. Their children pop in from time to time to see what Nate is up to.

They both work in the Healthcare industry and I’m sure they have their opinions about “Healthcare reform” but they are not the type to voice an opinion one way or another.  They are more about being nice, neighborly and relationships.

Tom and I had talked the last few years and he was always the jokester. Always laughing and having a good time.  Val and I had a few conversations and she always seemed to be more:  “down to earth”.  Not that there was anything wrong w/ Tom………but I think that you can now buy his personality at every 7-11 across the country………it comes in a little bottle……..”Five hour energy”

Sadly, we have to pay for it…….Tom doesn’t……That guy could go 24/7…”Wide open/full throttle baby!!!!”  

"Hey Todd.......Do I have any butt left?.......or did I work it all off here this weekend?"

"Hey Todd.......Do I have any butt left?.......or did I work it all off here this weekend?"

After dad had cleaned the house exterior top to bottom earlier in the week …Val showed up Thursday with her parents.  I had never met them. Bill and Sylvia would spend the next 4 days at the house prepping and painting along w/Tom and Val.

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What motivates these people?

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Richard and Anne have been our neighbors for the last few years.  They were recently married and bought their first home.  Richard is now in the process of doing the same thing to his first house as Julie and I did here.  I’ve seen Richard’s remodel work and the guy knows what he’s doing.  He is in the business with his family and they like to build one custom house a year.

"I guess I owe you a beer........Man your a cheap date!"

"I guess I owe you a beer........Man your a cheap date!"

Richard, for the last several years, has traveled w/ his dad and brothers to do relief work rebuilding places devastated by hurricane Katrina and recently work in Iowa after the floods had left people homeless.

Richard brought his dad and brother to help out in the painting for the weekend.  If all of the relief workers worked as hard as Richard and crew………New Orleans would now be fully restored and now one of the largest cities in America.

“Mooks” and Richard handled most of the dangerous work high up on the house where others just stood back, looked in amazement and held their breath.  Thank you Thank you guys.  You make something very, very difficult look so easy. I’m sure it wasn’t though.

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What motivates these people?

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Brian has wanted to paint my house the last couple of years.  He knew that the money has been tight with all of my medical stuff.  He offered to work w/ me on the payment side but I still couldn’t come up with the cash.  I called and told him what was going on this last weekend.  “I’ll be right over”…..he said.  Brian doesn’t paint house’s anymore.  He own’s his own comapany and is always out bidding jobs and finding new business for his workers.  He kind of set the order of operations for this huge project and made sure that the supply’s being donated…..were top notch.  When there was a sticking point in the project (high ladder work)……he was there to help move things along.

"Okay if you don't paint houses anymore........then what the hell are you doing on that ladder?"

"Okay if you don't paint houses anymore........then what the hell are you doing on that ladder?"

What motivates these people?

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You can easily see whats wrong in the world today……..……..

Just turn on the TV or pick up a paper……..its an ugly site sometimes……..

And then……..

One day…………..

Beauty just shows up on your doorstep………….and paints your house?

Very humbling.

Thanks guys, much love,

Todd

 

You’re much, much,…MUCH……more than that.

 

OK......so I was having a bad hair day

OK......so I was having a bad hair day

 

I remember the day I met Michelle……….February 12, 1983

 I was a freshman in high school, and I had (sorta kinda) a girl friend at the time………(minor detail)

…..that issue was “small potato’s” and this paticular Saturday night was going to be “way cooler!!”………….

 

Think about it……….

I had just turned 15…..and a freshman in high school…..

This “super hot”, “upper-class-mate” (junior) “Girl”,……..was going to pick me up at my house……

Drive us (ALONE)….to this “State Swim Meet”…………..

aaaaaaa……just one little problem………she was “Ed’s girlfriend”…..
whoops…. 

 

That’s OK……I still looked good just standing next to her.

We waited outside in the rain on a cold night to get into “The Jungle” (The Boy’s State Swim Meet Finals) on a Saturday night.  The place was packed. And once in the much crowed swim arena……I quickly forgot who I was with……

…..All I could think about was….what it would take to get back here as a participant…and win this thing………Another story. Another time.

 

That was the summary of our brief introduction……we cheered for Ed who ended up getting second that night to some Saudi Arabian dude from the eastside…..I think?….. (He’ll kill me for saying it that way)…..LOL

 

Anyhoo………Julie (my wife) and Michelle had grown up childhood friends…..the families were close….. and little did I know then,.that in 25+ years I would be raving about her beauty again.

 

I knew her father a little bit…….he had retired from the police department, had a few health issues.  I had gone fishing with him once.  Tom was a great guy whose friends really had a lot of respect for him. We lost Tom some years ago.

 

Michelle’s Mother,……….”Julie”…….I think of often……. 

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Michelle in 2004 informed us that there was a house next to her mothers that was for sale……..it was an old Grandma house……two bedroom…..It was nothing that Julie (the wife) and I cared for (style and updates wise).  Come to find out……The old grandma was the original owner of the house  (she bought it the day of Pearl Harbor 12/07/41).  “Grandma” had raised a family there.  She had spent her last days there.  The house had shown it’s age and wear.  I had stood on the roof while looking to buy it and liked what I saw……A great view of Elliot bay and downtown Seattle. This was going to be my dream house.

 We would buy the house and never move in.  The massive remodel had now started……..

My wife looked at me the day we signed the paper’s………”Isn’t this exciting!!!!!”…….she said looking at me………………

 “What?”……..

 “You don’t look that excited”…………..?…….she says

 

I thought for a moment………

 

 “Do you realize how MUCH (Bleeping) WORK THIS GOING TO BE!!!!!!!”………I not so calmly said.

 

I was laid off from a machinist job at Boeing.  I had just sold my house and made good financially. One problem.  IT TOOK ME eight years to finish the previous remodel. 

This “little project” would end up being the hardest thing that I had ever done in my life.  I had limited funds, limited time, limited knowledge………

Sure………….”bring it on!”……”why not”….I thought.

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Michelle’s mother was a retired nurse.  She DX’ed a celulitis condition that had burned two very serious holes in the back of my arms as a result of a new MS medication that I was trying in 2003.

Her orders: “Get your ASS TO THE NEURO NOW!!!!”

Ok….Julie

 

 “Hmmmmmm………..this nurse thing may come in handy”………I thought to myself when we first bought the house next to her.  

The remodel started and I was now seeing “Michelle’s mom” pretty much every day.  Michelle would stop in from time to time and always be positive. Her Mom and I became very close that year.  She always had time to chat…….she would always have an ear for my latest “build crisis”.  Always a sounding board for my frustrations. A watchdog,… so to speak,… of the property.  (Valuable Tools and supply’s all over the place).

She even helped me build the place. When standing at every side of the building I can show you where she helped me. Multiple times w/ multiple things.

 

“Hey Julie”……”can you come hold this for me”.  

 

Poof……like magic……her and  “Domino” (her dog) would be right over and kept things going for me. 

We lost her that year………..and I cried like a baby at her funeral.  I didn’t care. To me it was a tragedy.  She had become a great friend.

Michelle had been dealt a very cruel hand……..I thought to myself.

Although I have never seen those feelings from her. I’m sure she must feel that way sometimes?  What I always see is…. a rock solid individual that was obviously raised right. A great friend whom I have much respect for.  Always have. She knows what she wants and always delivers. A great working mom with rock solid kids. My door is always open to her and her great family.  Michelle talks…….I listen.  She’s “U-ber” smart.

aaaaa…….Ed……your just ……”OK”…..LOL

Michelle and the Wardians have been another family that has been with us every step of the way with this MS stuff.  I got word that she was in charge of gathering people to paint the house…….

Well……. I knew at least people would show up.  She’s all about taking charge……and that she did.

 All weekend long………

 

“Hey Todd……there was some people just standing around so were going to get that “half built shed” out of your basement and build it.”…..”OK?”

 

“aaaa……….ok…….Michelle”

 

“Hey Todd……I had everyone sign this waver so if they fall off your house…..they can’t sue the pants off you”……OK?”

 

“aaaa………ok………Michelle”

 

 You see…………every “I” was dotted and every “T” was crossed.  All paint and supplies donated……Thanks to Michelle and Alki Lumber.

 I don’t think she stopped all weekend.

 

The place is beautiful Michelle……..almost as beautiful as you and your family.

 

Unbelievable what you pulled off.

Much Love and Be Well

Todd

Thank you Glenn at PLM for the Link

Thank You Daniel and Stanford University

 

I haven’t confirmed this with the Doctor just yet………..but Julie will testify……

……what Daniel first holds up under the black cloth in this video is exactly what we saw as we walked out of the clinic on 6/30/09 in Israel. Between 400-500ml of bone marrow we were told.

Link:

http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kraft_invents_a_better_way_to_harvest_bone_marrow.html

Be Well

Todd

Yes……..you are correct…….you see: July 10, 2009 and think: “This is old news!!!”………..

……………but what is so fascinatingabout this piece is that with 4 minutes to go………he accurately predicts what we are seeing in the media RIGHT NOW!

Spin, Spin,Spin………people will believe any “mis-information” put out there by any Government official on TV who just happens to be a  “Doctor/Insurance/Big phama” expert.

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National Health Care Reform Information

July 10, 2009– With almost 20 years inside the health insurance industry, Wendell Potter saw for-profit insurers hijack our health care system and put profits before patients. Now, he speaks with Bill Moyers about how those companies are standing in the way of health care reform.
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07102009/watch2.html
Click the link above to watch the Interview. (30 mins but real and informative)

Questions and Answers to common questions and misinformation –
The White House Reality Check Web Site
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq

Be Well,

Todd

 

“Stupid Striker’s”………..

“Bunch of overpaid,……” LAZY B”….. people!!!!!!”………

“They are lucky to even have a job in this economy”…………

“Unions are bad!”……….

“Boeing should move because the union goes on strike every three years”……….

I hear it all the time………….I’m tired of defending my job and my peers work to the un-educated “white collar know it all econnomic people” that I converse with over this issue.

Read the following and then return to me with the following on why this company will now be so better off:

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“The Everett Herald”….newspaper


Published: Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Boeing enjoys profitable model here in Puget Sound

 

By John Burbank

 

Boeing’s second quarter profit was $998 million. That’s $46 million more than a year ago. How does this work, with the 787 sucking up billions of dollars in development and mistakes? The answer is embedded in Boeing’s tried-and-true, decades-old business model.

Boeing made more than $800 million from its commercial airline production this past spring. Every workday Boeing completes another 737. Each plane brings in gross revenues of $60 million to $70 million. Unionized workers supply the skills to build these planes from the ground up. Each plane is a custom-built, complex piece of machinery, with slightly different tolerances, set-ups and even lengths, as requested by the carriers, built to fly hundreds of people across thousands of miles.

So how about that outsourced 787? Last month Boeing engineers discovered that the 787 wing-box to fuselage attachment is compromised, so that the wing made by Mitsubishi and the center wing box made by Fuji don’t work together as they should. A fix will push out the first flight into 2010, more than two years behind schedule. Boeing has now lost 5 percent of its orders for the 787. With each delay, Airbus gains orders for its competing A350.

Another 787 innovation is to shift production to non-union states. But if you start with an unskilled workforce and add in the lack of technical infrastructure, no matter how little you pay workers, you still are not going to get a flawless airplane. And that’s what you need when you are going up into the sky.

So one business model makes money — the Washington state unionized business model — and subsidizes the emerging business model, which is sucking up money and showing nothing but delay.

An outraged reader responded to my last column by huffing that “overhead crane operators at Boeing … are paid in excess of $35 per hour.” He’s right. These workers operate overhead cranes in the high bays of aircraft production. A highly skilled job, with a lot of negative consequences if you do it wrong, such as the destruction of airplanes, workplace accidents, and on-the-job injuries and fatalities. Seems like the task deserves this compensation, especially if you are appreciating its benefits 35,000 feet in the air.

The contract between the Machinists and Boeing enables profits and productivity, work and advancement. You can start as a typist or a sander at $12 an hour (that’s a little less than $25,000 a year). You can advance to a sand blast operator, and onto an automatic fusion welding machine operator. Aircraft and engine mechanics start at $21 an hour. Senior electronic technicians for aircraft systems are paid between $22 and $37. The pay schedule tops out at about $77,000 for Machinists on the first shift at Boeing. This looks like a bargain, considering the product they build and in which we trust our lives.

When you go to work at Boeing, you have health coverage, a pension when you retire, and paid leave for vacation and when you are sick. You can get into an apprenticeship program to increase your job skills. And you know you are making the best and most profitable planes in the world, especially if you are working on the 737.

Why would Boeing destroy this business model and depart for South Carolina, a state that only knows aircraft as they fly overhead? Boeing’s own second quarter report shows that this has nothing to do with profitability. The answer lies with the front-page photograph that appears every three years when Boeing and the Machinists or the engineers sit down to negotiate their next contracts. The photograph shows two sides, an equality of interest and reasonableness between management and workers. But if you want unilateral control, you don’t want unions voicing the concerns of workers and elbowing their way to a contract that sets a high bar for the company.

This is now Boeing’s dilemma, because that model of employer-union cooperation has yielded the company and its shareholders great profits. If the company sees a union-free environment as its No. 1 objective, then it has to leave behind the talent and the workers who helped to create the sweet spot for Boeing profits. That’s a heavy price for an ideological agenda, a price that would be paid by Boeing, by its current employees, and by this great community here in Washington that Boeing has helped to build.

John Burbank is executive director of the Economic Opportunity Institute in Seattle. He can be reached at john@eoionline.org.
© 2009The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA

Shah’s Update 3 Months Post Transplant

Hi,
weeks 11 and 12 have been about continued improvements in left leg and new improvements in stomach muscles. I had almost lost the ability to tighten my stomach muscles as of 6 months ago, and as of week 11 i’ve noticed that I’m able to do this again . It’s very difficult for the physical therapist to make me lose my seated balance by pushing my shoulders. Left leg has improved further in knee and hip flexion, reducing the effects of left foot frop by far. During week 11 I’ve also managed to try out Bioness L300 on both legs concurrently which was a success. At this point, the biggest remaining issue is foot drop (about 30% on the left and 50% on the right) which will hopefully continue to improve during the following months, while L300 will assist in stimulating the nerves and improving the walking form. All previous improvements have sustained,

Regards,
Shah

I know, I know……everybody is different…(Eyes wide open to those thoughts)…..
 
Be Well
Todd

 

Update:  8 weeks post aspiration and all is well…………….

 

Scratch that………..things are great!!!!!!!!!!…….

 

I didn’t update last Friday…………But I could have…….and probably should have……..but I had fund raiser stuff all weekend.  Forgive.

My new team here in Seattle continues to deliver……….There were some questions last week when I left you guys……..

“Would Tysabri interfer with cell migration?”……………well……….you be the judge………

My care team seems to think:………

…………….. All systems are go…………

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Dr. Kita writes:

 

Dear Dr. Slavin,
Thank you for your thoughtful reply.  The two prospects you mention are
highly intriguing.  I will await their development with great interest.
Based on your reply, we will make no changes in his MS regimen around
the time of the transplant.  We plan to embark on an aggressive rehab
program post-transplant.  I am trying to set Todd up with some regular
time on a lokomat machine in Portland.  The lokomat combined with other
tools such as his external ant-tib stimulator may help with enhancing
his function.

It also sounds as though we do not need to do any specific bloodwork.
His hemogram cam back essentially within normal limits but all
parameters were lower than we typically see with patients on Tysabri by
a factor of about 0.5.  His absolute lymphocyte count was 1700s which
while normal, is low for our Tysabri patients.  Cd4 and Cd8 counts
“within normal” with a CD4/CD8 ratio of 2.2, but the absolute numbers
were again about half of what we see in Tysabri patients.  I am not sure
why he is feeling the need for Tysabri sooner.

Thanks again.  I will be in contact again as we approach the transplant
time.  I will cc Todd on my reply so that he is aware we are
communicating.

Best,
Mariko

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Then we covered some other stuff……….Dr. Kita says last week:

 

Dear Todd,

 As you know I have been in contact with Dr. Slavin and we have exchanged a few e-mails now.  We have that road paved now and as time goes on we will keep communicating with each other.

 I would like to include another person in your team of providers.  Dr. David Yu, a physical medicine and rehab specialist, who has a special interest in neuro-robotics, neuro-regeneration and neuro-rehabilitation, at VM.  He knows of your transplant and I want him to be a part of your rehabilitation program. He is very excited about what you are undertaking.   Perhaps we could arrange for an appointment in the next several weeks?

 

Slavin does not think MSCs express integrin so does not think it will interfere with migration and would prefer not to make any big changes in your regimen.

 

I will talk to one of our hematologists to see if they want also to be a part of your care team, even if it is just a brief “hello, how are you” to keep them in the background if we need them.  If they think it is a good idea I will set up a visit.                                                                                                                         

 Dr Kita

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My response:

 

Dear Dr Kita,

 It’s funny how you have successfully “read the patient” in reference to your “get some rest” and “not to burn the candle at both ends”.  I am constantly reminded of how I always like to bite of more than I can chew.

 Going forward I would like to revisit to potential for this treatment to turn on the “JC virus” and the risk of PML.  Was any of this discussed w/ Dr. Slavin?

Todd

 

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 Her reply:

 

Dear Todd,

 I don’t know that the transplant itself has any impact on your risk of

PML necessarily.  Your bloodwork supports this presumption.  The risk

has much more to do with the Tysabri.

Dr Kita

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Now today she comments:

 

Dear Todd,

 I got an e-mail back from the hematologist.  Here is what he had

to say:

 “Hi Mariko, Fascinating protocol!   From a clinical standpoint,

since he is not receiving conditioning chemotherapy or have an

underlying marrow disorder and this is an auto transplant, I doubt he

will have significant hematologic issues.  Toxicities may be more in the

area of autoimmunity and neurologic issues. I’d be glad to see him but

would prefer on an “as needed” basis. Thanks, Henry”

************** 

So there you have it.  He knows about you and is on board if we should

need him, but only if we should need him.

Dr. Kita

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 My response today: 

 

Dear Dr. Kita,

 Wow……Don’t take this the wrong way but……”I like you”.  You will slowly find out about me that I am so committed to this.  I so appreciate the hand holding and communication.

 This is going to work.

 Be Well

Todd

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To be continued……………………

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