Archive for the ‘Biology’ Category

Two weeks ago I was sitting in a hotel room in Salt Lake City debating on a job offer and the counter offer my current company had given me. The job offer was a job back in Montana and the counter offer involved a transfer to Salt Lake City. Health concerns, job security and happiness and quality of life for me, the husband and the pup were all whirling through my head. And then I had a sudden lurch of panic — I found a lump in my left breast. Holy hell was I mad. I had a fibroadenoma when I was 19 in that same breast and now THIS. The damn thing felt like a square of gum, like the ones in those foil packets that became popular 10 or so years ago. Anyways, I had a monster panic at 11 pm and started google searching and calling my mom. I had my panic rant and then we got down to business — we currently live in Phoenix, which has a MONSTER Mayo Clinic campus. The Mayo Clinic is possibly one of the best places I could go for a diagnosis. Turns out that the Phoenix campus has one of three breast center’s in the country. The others are in Minneapolis and Florida. I filled out the online appointment request form and finally fell asleep. Three days later  when I was visiting with people my phone rang and I spent the next 24 hours trying to get through to the appointment people with the Mayo Clinic. It is apparently a 15-30 min wait to get to their schedulers. THANKFULLY I did get through to someone and made an appointment for that Friday. I wasn’t going to waste ANY time twiddling my thumbs.

One thing a friend told me that week was the goal of taking action. Everything is worse before you take action. The act of movement releases some of the tension and anxiety. You will never move forward and onward without taking action. I would not have slept that night at the hotel if I had not taken action. I would not have felt okay about myself and my health without taking action to call the appointment office back.

So, 8 days ago I went to the Mayo Clinic with my in-laws chauffeuring me and my husband with them too. Support system? Yeah, I have one. And it’s a pretty dang great one too. This isn’t to say my parents wouldn’t have been there, but the in-laws had already planned a vacation to come see us that weekend. Talk about timing. That Friday was a total wash for focusing on anything but this medical potential panic. I met with a great nurse practitioner who pretty much immediately said, “you’re going in for a mammogram and ultrasound.” Well, duh, I could have diagnosed that much, but glad to know we were on the same page. I went out to the schedulers and asked when the next available appointment was for a mammogram — in 1 hour. It was about 15 minutes to the other campus where I’d go for that and away we went. We got there 40 minutes before the appointment but I checked in anyways and was seen 10 minutes later.

I have never had a mammogram. It has been a horrendous fear that as I get older I will need to face the breast squishing agony that women have to go through. I am not well endowed and cleavage is something that is fairly minimal on me. To think that I have to put the little I have on a tray to be squished by a plastic plate is NOT a comforting thought. Well, now I’ve experienced it and I’ve got to say, there are several positions that are uncomfortable and the rest are a full out painful experience. Give me an ultrasound any day of the week, because YIKES.  Both technicians (for the mammogram and ultrasound) were amazing women and I am very grateful for their ease of conversation and attitude towards the procedure.

The end result of all of this is that I have a benign cyst. I’m NOT enthused about this, but I am no longer in full blown panic mode. I was able to have a great weekend at the Grand Canyon and relax. I am still worried that it will need to be drained, but that is a fairly minor procedure compared to what this could have been.

I think the left side of my body is just going to cause trouble . . . door slammed on ring finger when I was 5, left foot broken at 18, fibroadenoma at 19 and now a benign cyst. . . oh, and that endometrioma that had to be drained that I blogged about too.So, dear left side, I don’t know why you need cause so much trouble, but I’d appreciate it if you’d stop getting so dangerously creative. Thanks!





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I wish I had taken pictures, but I failed. . .

Today we had field verification training for those of us Dungeon Dwellers who get out once a summer for field work.  We were in the mountains nearby and saw a fawn (possibly mule deer) who we scared, a very awesome grasshopper (SO BRIGHT GREEN) and some very strange caterpillars. . . .

I do not profess to liking caterpillars very much, but I do like to see how many weird colors and patterns they are.  These looked like the gypsy moth caterpillars my dad used to drown in a bucket (they do bad things to the trees) but they had BRIGHT red feet/legs.  There was even one doing the, “… yes, but WHO.ARE.YOU??” like the Caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland (a coworker pointed this out — I wish I’d thought of it first).

No idea what species it was. . . and google has NOT helped me at all. HARRUMPH. . .  Google did show me awesome pictures of caterpillars though, including some really creepy ones that I might just have bad dreams about.

When I was a toddling little bumpkin (I think my dad termed it the year I spent more time falling into things than walking, i.e. about 3 or 4) we had a HUGE green monstrosity on our porch. It had orange antennae and black dots and bumps and just looked like the biggest hunk of booger someone had sneezed out. It was BEASTLY huge. I was fascinated by it. You could poke at it and it’s orange antennae would probe about angrily and then it would inch a bit. If you touched it, WOW did it squirm.

We were very nice and let it eat our tomato plant leaves in the hopes it would turn into something stunning. Pretty sure it didn’t. . . but I don’t remember. . . For all we know it was eaten by some cat roaming the alley. They did that. . . still do. . .

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Danger: Mammology book found

Today my mom’s friend Peggy came over to give my mom acupuncture.  They were chatting about how Spidge has a wonky tail.  It seems that at some point near the base her tail might have been broken.  So she moves her tail a little funny.  They wanted to see an image of a cat skeleton and we don’t have any books on cat anatomy, but I have my Mammology book from Biology of Mammals.  So I brought it down and there we go, cat skeleton.

Somehow we got onto the topic of bacula.   Fun times with penis bones!  Well it’s what they are.  Most mammals have them, just not humans.  Apparently Great Apes have very small penis bones in relation to their size, but a 65 g Bush Baby can have a 13 mm baculum.  Fun facts huh?

So we’ve been chatting about penis bones and how scary they look.   The ones for Sciuridae  i.e. Squirrels and Marmots have have scary ones with these “scoop” endings with teeth around the edges.  I believe it’s for pulling out sperm plugs.

That’s my fun fact for the day.  I’m relearning my species/genus names.  This is going to be a very fun plane trip to England.   Poor Grant, he’ll have to deal with me going on and on about animals and their species names.

And as a trick, most of my names on WoW are just a species name.  Look it up, I kid you not.  The only ones that aren’t are my two hordies I just made.  And speaking of WoW, I am freezing my account on September 6th.  I am not sure how this will go over, but I think I shall miss a lot of the social aspect of the game and guild I have become friends with.

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