Sunday, July 26, 2009


I've been trying to explain the importance of your cylinder heads. The subject is fairly complex and I've found the explanation difficult, having to stop and start over each time I came to a point that I assumed was common knowledge. Along the way a couple of my Mystery Followers checked in
. I didn't know if there was a secret handshake or password or some other Googleistic requirement. There wasn't. The 'Followers' were just guys who wanted to know each time I posted something to the blog. Fair enough, except for the fact I have been virtually unable to post anything anywhere for the past couple of weeks.

It's called neuropathy.

I get a basic blood test every week and a complete work-up every month. The doctors use the information from the blood tests to tailor my cancer treatment, altering my medications as needed to keep the tumor in check. With multiple myeloma the tumor isn't a single mass at one site, but distributed inside my bones at a number of sites. Which means they can't go in and cut it out. But the right combination of medications can limit its activity, keeping me alive a little longer. Unfortunately, some of the medications trigger side-effects, such as making your fingers 'tingle' to the point where you can't do much with your hands. And that includes TYPING.

So the answer to the several messages wondering about my lack of activity on the blog is 'neuropathy.' Which is the medical term for having your fingers tingle. Especially when they 'tingle' so badly as to prevent using your hands for a lot of things. In my case, one of the things I couldn't do very well was typing.


As for it being all about heads, it really is -- so long as we are talking about Volkswagens. And since it's about heads, it is also about the various TOOLS needed to work on your heads, such as a tool to compress the valve springs so you can remove your valves. You also need a tool to measure the strength of your valve springs when they are compressed to a standard height. Then there is the need for tools to cc your combustion chambers. And a tool to measure the amount of play in your valve guides.

A lot of the articles I've written have been to show you how you can MAKE those tools, saving yourself hundreds of dollars.


As of last Wednesday I've been taking a medication that is different from the one that triggered the neuropathy ( nerve pain ). My fingers still tingle a little bit but nothing like before, when it got so bad I couldn't type. If my scores on this weeks blood tests show the new medication to be as effective as the old, then the problem will hopefully go away and I can get back to explaining what has to be done to a set of heads and why. So... fingers crossed.