Gene’s Health

This post will go into some personal details about my health. It may be a bit of a bummer or include details that may be gross. Don't feel obligated to read everything, this is only if you'd like to know more.


Back on June 2nd, after Kris noticed a new odd mole/aberration on my left earlobe, I contacted Kaiser, my healthcare provider, to ask them what I should do. Kaiser scheduled to have me come in so they could take a photo of the mole. 6 weeks later on July 13th I went in and they took a picture of it to be looked at by a dermatologist. 2 weeks later on July 28th I came in and my dermatologist cut the mole  off in order to biopsy it.

2 weeks after that on August 11th the biopsy results came back as being malignant melanoma, a kind of skin cancer. The skin cancer was of an intermediate risk based on how deep it was. I learned that I would need to have surgery to have my earlobe removed and to have a sentinel lymph node biopsy to determine if the melanoma spread from the initial tumor to the lymph system.

My Initial Response

Learning of this was a very mentally challenging experience. I've not had much mental trauma in my life, haven't had to wrestle with much in the area of losing loved ones. The last bout I can think of would have been relationship trauma (being dumped, that kind of thing) in the late 90's. I feel very fortunate for having been so trauma free.

Upon learning the cancer news I, for some reason, skipped straight ahead to presuming my own death was imminent and struggling to process it. I couldn't focus on anything and just felt like I was in a cyclic state of shock. I wasn't sad, just shocked. I kept thinking about what my dying would mean for Kris and Revelle, what would happen, how they would manage. A minority of the time I found myself both feeling grateful for having had a pretty great 40 years and at the same time feeling very frustrated to get kicked off the ride half way through.

Over the past 2 weeks this mental lock has tempered a bit and my days feel more like when you're driving and the sun is low in the sky and you have to look to the sides of it to not have it blinding you. Part of this looking around it does however prevent any kind of long term thinking. My focus has narrowed to only the things going on right now. I can't really think about anything long term, most likely because I have an underlying sense that I don't have a long term.

Really, I'm just in a waiting state as, until the biopsy of the lymph nodes, I don't really know what situation I'm in.

What Does This Mean

By my understanding there are three categories of outcomes which we'll likely discover in the next week, after the surgery and biopsy. With those results I hope to have some statistics about what I should expect in regards to survivability. My speculation below about survivability is based on generalities that I've read about, not my specific situation. I should have a more accurate sense post biopsy.

Best Case

No cancer is found in the lymph nodes. I lose an earlobe and have it reconstructed through the magic of science. I stay vigilant for a few years to see if I detect any change in the skin or lymph nodes around my ear. This ends up being a bullet dodged and hopefully an inspiration in regards to the fleetingness of life.

Medium Case

Cancer is found in the lymph nodes but through some means it's determined to have stopped there. I have lymph nodes removed  and we see what happens over time. By my understanding, this scenario involves a very real chance that I won't survive.

Worst Case

Cancer is found in the lymph nodes and through some means determined to have moved elsewhere in my body. I undergo immunotherapy (an alternative to chemotherapy) to try to fight it. By my understanding, this scenario is one where I only have a slim chance of survival.

What's Next

I'm going to talk about some details about surgery so feel free to skip if this kind of thing grosses you out.

Day after tomorrow on  August 27th I'll have surgery in which the surgeons will

  • remove my earlobe and lower ear in order to remove any potentially cancerous flesh
  • remove a few lymph nodes for purposes of biopsying

It's possible that in this process they will find indicators of cancer in my neck in which case they may remove more lymph nodes.

If things go well and all they take are the earlobe and sentinel lymph nodes, the facial reconstruction surgeon will also take a small piece of cartilage from my right ear (the good one) and implant it near where my left ear lobe was. He'll do this to get blood vessels to perfuse into the cartilage over the next 6 weeks while I heal. This piece of cartilage will then be used in a subsequent surgery as a framework to rebuild a faux ear lobe using tiny skin grafts from nearby combined with the piece of cartilage.

If things don't go well, they may need to reconstruct an earlobe without cartilage or defer reconstructing it for a month.

I'll then come home and recover from surgery. Then some time after that I'll get word on what they found in the sentinel lymph nodes.

I'll meet with a therapist next week to potentially get some help with the mental side of all of this.

What Do You, The Reader, Do

I imagine people who know me will, upon reading this, be unsure what they should do. I would if I were reading this from a friend of mine. In short, you don't need to do anything. I know my family and friends support me. It's all good. You're welcome to share this news with whoever you wish.

I'll endeavor to post updates on my blog so that folks who are interested can keep abreast of what's going on without me push notifying people through email. If you'd like to get emailed when there are new posts, it looks like you can sign up for a account and configure it to watch the feed for this blog which is

Equitable Partners and the CCPA

October 20th, I got a text message from an unknown number.

Gene, this is Daniel Greenfield with Equitable Advisors. We are a small wealth management firm in SF, reaching out to Mozilla employees to schedule a 10-15 min virtual meeting sometime next week where we can introduce ourselves, and see if there is any value we can bring regarding individual wealth accumulation/ retirement/ or college savings plans/ tax efficient saving/ or just overall financial planning. Please let me know if there is a date and time that works best for you! Have a great day

I felt like I was in Glengarry Glen Ross, it was exciting. At the same time I was bummed out that of the many channels for spam to reach me, text messages were now one (I previously have very rarely if ever gotten text message spam).

I searched for the guy's name and company and found that he was a newly minted stock broker as of October and was apparently cold calling (cold texting?) people, maybe everyone at Mozilla.

I went to his financial companies website and found that, now with the California Consumer Privacy Act in place, Equitable had to tell me where they got my information from, what they had, who they'd sold it to, etc.

I contacted their customer privacy department and asked for this information. I mentioned I was especially surprised to get a commercial cold call from a company I've never dealt with given that my number is on the National Do Not Call Registry and that sending this kind of text message violates the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003.

A few months later and after some back and forth I got this reply today

After analysis we determined the information was collected from a service called Zoom Info which is a data aggregator firm. You can send a request to them to delete your information from future use.

Data that we had about you:

  • Identifiers
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address

We have reviewed our processes and confirmed that the Financial Professional should not have texted you to the number you have listed on the Do Not Call Registry.

We have taken the following actions as a result:

  • Removed your information from that Financial Professional
  • Provided additional training to the Financial Professional to ensure no re-occurrence of this type of contact
  • We are providing a communication to ALL Sales, Financial Professionals to ensure that they understand and adhere to the DNCR exclusion process

We apologize for any concerns or issues this may have caused you.

I went and had zoominfo remove my information and, assuming this works, am glad that the CCPA exists as without it I imagine this process would not have been as straight forward.

IO Cooperative Hardware Sale

Lot of Nema 5-15 C13 power cables

These are a bunch of NEMA 5-15 to C13 cables of varying lengths.

power cables

3 HP Procurve 2650 48 port 10/100 Switches

The ProCurve Switch 2650 is a managed 50-port switch with 48 auto-sensing 10/100 ports and 2 dual-personality ports for 10/100/1000 or mini-GBIC connectivity.

3 procurve switches

Avocent Cyclades ACS 32 Console Server

Cyclades ACS 32

Adtran Netvata 1234 24 port 10/100 Switch

  • Managed 24 port switch
  • 24 x 10/100 + 2 x combo Gigabit SFP + 2 x SFP
  • Netvanta 1234

Adtran Netvata 1234

2 Soekris net6501

2 Soekris Net 6501

2 pairs of rails

2 pairs of rails

Dell PowerEdge 1850

Dell PowerEdge 1850
Dell PowerEdge 1850
Dual power supply
Machine sticker
BIOS boot
Intel Xeon Dual 3.6Ghz
BIOS menu

Dell PowerEdge 2850

  • 6 146GB 10K SCSI disks

1U Supermicro

  • 3 SCSI disks

2U Supermicro

2U Supermicro
6 82GB Disks
Innards 1
Innards 2
Case sticker

APC Switched PDU AP7930

Rack PDU, Switched, Zero U, 20A (16A @ 80%), 120V, (24)5-20

Raritan PDU PX-5802T

  • 20A (16A @ 80%), 120V, (24)5-20
  • Model: PX (PX-5802T)
  • Serial # : PW81100002
  • Control Board Serial # : ADOC050879
  • Board ID : 0c43a701ae4a96e8
  • Input Plug: NEMA 5-20P
  • Input Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Line Current Rating: 16 Amps
  • PDU Power Rating: 1920 VA
  • Outlet Count: 24
  • Outlet Type: NEMA 5-20R (12 Amp Rating)
  • Outlet Voltage: 120 Volts
  • PX Series Version 1.0

3 Rack Shelves

3 rack shelves