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Thursday, May 26, 2016

If You're Going to San Fran-CYST-o...

A  few years ago, at a dermatology appointment, I pointed out to the doctor that I had a weird bump on my chest. They deemed it normal, and nothing else was said about it. 

Fast forward to June 3, 2015.

I woke up and felt more than saw that the weird bump was bigger. It was tender to the touch, but there were no outward signs of any issue. Just in case I needed to go to the doctor, I decided to take a photo of it - I even circled it with eyeliner (all I had in the bathroom!) so I could show the doctor where the issue was. You know, just in case it was cancer or something.

All the cysty ladies... all the cysty ladies

I kept an eye on it, and over the next week, it got a bit bigger. By June 10, there was a large red, angry area, but the actual bump was smaller than a quarter.

What's red and smaller than a quarter?

Boob cyst!
When I woke up on June 11, it was slightly bigger than that quarter. I hadn't been doing anything to it, because I wasn't quite sure what was going on. By now, however, I assumed that it was some sort of cyst. I've had cysts before (including a wonderful one on my tailbone!), and I knew that they were painful and nasty. 

Also at this point, it was EXTREMELY noticeable at all times, so I covered it up with a bandage while at work (I was getting tired of questions).

Is that a cyst in your pocket or are you happy to see me?
On June 12, I woke up to ONE ANGRY bump! It was so distended, the skin was shiny and it hurt SO much! I needed to take some pain relievers to deal with it.  Sleeping was hard, too, because putting any pressure on a cyst causes some horrid pains. 

Either it's a cyst, or there's one angry alien in there trying to get out
On June 13th, a teeny, tiny head appeared on the cyst, which meant the infection had worked it's way up to the skin. 

A cyst is similar to a zit; an overly-large, puss-filled zit. 

What happens with zits? Well, they pop.  

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm showing lots of photos. 

I tell stories with photos better than words. 

You know, that whole "A picture is worth a thousand words" and all that....

If you don't like gross photos, go away now!  

I mean it. 

It gets worse from here. 


Why are you still here?

No turning back now. 

Grossness is going to happen. 

Okay, here we go. 


Once this happens, you have to pop it in a sterile environment, because otherwise, it will pop and drain somewhere else and, well, I don't want that nastiness on my clothing. 

So, I popped it. 

Not a lot came out, and it hurt like hell to do it, but once it was open, I slathered on some Neosporin, hoping that the antibiotic would take care of some of it. Additionally, I would put my heating pad on the area - I'd been told that warm compresses were helpful.  I also called and set up an appointment with my doctor to get some oral antibiotics to try to kill it off (again, if I'd known last week what this was, I would have taken care of it much earlier... oh well, lesson learned). 

A slapped another bandage on that bad boy and went off to work. 

Waking up on June 14th, it was still leaking and looking really gross. Like, purple skin gross.  Like, I have a flesh-eating disease gross. The skin all around it was still angry, too, from having to wear bandages so much. It really hurt!

I look like I have a flesh-eating disease
I squeezed it again, and dear God, it spurted like a pastry bag.  I halfway expected some sort of SPLAT sound when it hit the mirror.  It dripped down my chest and soaked in to my nightgown.

Skin shouldn't be grey
June 15th was an especially gross day, when I woke up to see how disgusting the bandage was when I pulled it off.

Can they make maxipads that soak up this much? I mean seriously!
However, that meant that the cyst was continuing to drain, and the heat and Neosporin were working. 

My poor skin
More squeezing, more splatting.

Finally, on June 16th, I was able to see the doctor, who was just a cute little baby doc.  I showed him the photos on my phone (everything above) and he got a laugh out of the circle photo.  He tried to "express" (squeeze) some of the infection, but was unable to do any damage, so he called in the Boss Doctor, who suggested they cut it open just a teensy bit.  After I said go for it, they sprayed me with some Medicinal-Grade Keyboard Air Cleaner (seriously, it was freezing air in a can), then they made a tiny slit and tried to "express" more of the cyst.  They didn't have much luck either, but now I had a bigger hole, so they sent me on my way with some more bandages and a prescription for oral antibiotics. With those, I could fight the cyst from the inside and the outside! One, two, punch! And also, I was supposed to keep up with warm compresses to the area.

You can see where they sliced me open
On June 18th, after 2 days of oral antibiotics, real fun started happening. The pus and the blood had abated somewhat, but that was because FIRM stuff was coming out. Like, white chunky FIRM stuff.

I had to pull some of this out with tweezers
Different view so you can see how BIG these chunks are

Now, I watch surgeries on TV. I love seeing gastric bypasses. Brain surgery is awesome. 

This. Was. Disgusting. 

It was also painful as shit.  I basically had to hold my breath, gird my loins and SQUEEZE!!!! until I couldn't take the pain anymore.  

I discovered the next day that I bit my lip so hard, while dealing with the squeezing pain, that I had a blood blister!  Ouch. 

Horrid photo of a big blister
By June 26th, 10 days after seeing the doctor, and the last day of oral antibiotics, most of the ick was out, and the wound was healing.  There wasn't much seepage or anything pussy like that.

Looks like a really bad bug bite
It was even smaller by June 28th. 

I'm shrinking!
A few weeks later, June 7th, it was mostly healed and just looked like a scar. 

Almost gone
So, why am I writing about something that happened LAST YEAR?  Well, I wanted to give it plenty of time to heal so that I could show you what it looks like now. I know it's there, and I can see it in the mirror, but when you see me out and about, you may not even see it. 

Free boob shot for perverts!!!  Also, spot the scar!
The original bump is still there, and I don't think the cyst was related to that bump at all, but just an unfortunate bystander in the whole game. The bump is smaller, though. There is a slight pink tinge to the area that you can't see very well in the crappy photo. There isn't any scar tissue from being sliced, which is good - I slathered myself up with cocoa butter lotion every night, massaging the skin in all four directions to ensure that the tissue wouldn't bunch up.  

                    Before: When the Head Showed Up                                                  After: Eleven Months Later
All in all, this was a really crappy, month-long shit fest that I had to deal with. It made work hard. It made running hard. It made sleeping VERY hard. I went through a whole bottle of Aleve because of the pain. But, now that I know what this is, if I see it again, I can 'head' it off at the pass. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Running Injured for the First Time! Best Damn Race 10k Orlando 2016 Race Report

Pro tip - don't sign up for a race if you don't know what time it starts.  When preparing for this race last night, the Kiddo asked what time we were leaving.  I was assuming I'd leave around 4:30ish, get down to the race around 7am.  Well, I decided to double check the race start time, and boy am I glad I did!  This race started at like 7! I don't know why I thought it started later, but I'm sure glad I double-checked.

So, we left way too damn early in the morning, but since it was so early, traffic was nonexistant.  We arrived by 5:45am and scored a great parking space at the Library garage (for only $2 an hour). We chilled out in the car for a while, while I drank a can of Coke (I think the caffeine helps) and ate a cup of peanut butter.

Eventually, I got out and geared up; my Nathan, sadly, was still frozen (I'd put it in the freezer last night and expected it to melt on the way down), so I took a seperate water bottle.

Packet pickup was very busy and disorganized. First, you had to go get your bib, and then get in line for your shirt (I guess 10k folks don't get a bag or any sort of goodies?).  Many people in the shirt line thought it was the bib line, causing the line to be much longer and slower than it needed to be. To be fair, I thought it was the bib line too, until a nice person in front of me pointed me in the right direction.

After I got my stuff, I hit the potties.  Many of them had no TP in them, but there was a lady, who had finished her pottying, who gave me a baggie with some flushable wipes in it. They came in handy, so thanks, Wipe Lady!

After that, we had some time to kill, so I had hubby take a pic of me on the Winner's steps.

The only time I'll be up here

Okay, so you're asking... what's up with the calf sleeves? I thought you didn't need those anymore!  Well, generally I don't. BUT... Over the past month or so, I'd been taking RAD classes with coworkers (it was just for our department).  The first class was bookwork and lectures. The second class was practicing basic moves (nut punches, gut kicks, etc).  Our third class, which should have been in January with the first two classes, had to be pushed back, due to scheduling issues and didn't happen until the week after Gasparilla (end of February).  This was affectionaly called "Fight Night."  You were put in full combat gear (head gear, elbow/knee pads, chest plate, the whole deal) and taken into a room with three large dudes in full red suits.

We wore all the black gear while kicking the ass of the guys in the red gear
There were three scenarios you had to escape from. First was walking across a 'parking lot' or other empty area, and you were grabbed from behind by the arm.  Okay, that wasn't bad.  Second was getting money from an ATM machine at night and you were grabbed from behind, bear-hug style. Okay, that was a little more intense - one dude picked me up and plopped onto the ground with me (like, he was a turtle shell and I was the turtle on top).  Finally, the psychological one:  You had to stand in the middle of the room with your eyes closed (you were led in with them shut so you didn't know where you were in the room, which direction you were facing and which direction to run to 'safety'), while the three guys stood right next to you, in your personal space, yelling, screaming or just saying plain nasty-ass things to you. And you COULD NOT move until one of them touched you.  I really enjoyed this one!  The first guy came behind me and tried to bear-hug me again (we saw how that went last time), but I remembered to squat, so he couldn't pick me up. I kicked his ass and began to run away, but was caught by another guy, between me and the door. I began kicking him in the stomach (imagine kicking open a door's bar handle with your leg).  After about 2 kicks, I felt something pull in my left calf and I had to "safety word" myself out of the situation. I took a moment, settled myself and tried to kick his ass again, but my leg said otherwise. I wanted to keep going, but the trainer said we were done.  Dammit!  I was fake-raped!  So, for the past week, I'd been babying my pulled calf muscle because I knew this race was coming up; but more importantly GATE was up next week and I didn't want to hurt myself and not be able to do that race at all.

Anyway, back to the race. I got hugs and kisses then went to the start line. Of course got a Start Line Selfie!

Everyone else seems so 'runner' and I'm over here with bedazzled sunglasses!

I noticed that the start line was very quiet - no blaring music to pump everyone up, no loud DJs, not even the National Anthem? What the hell? (I learned later from Hubby that this part of Orlando has a city Noise Ordinance that was in effect until 7:00am).

I like that BDR has flags at least, if no corrals
We started on a brick road, which was not what I was hoping for.  Uneven roadways can wreak havoc on calf muscles... I forgot I still had my jacket, but I was able to toss my jacket to hubby as I passed by.

Action Shot!
I settled into doing 1/1 intervals, but I could tell my leg was hurting. It wasn't painful, per se, but I was aware of it and I knew that if I pushed too hard, I would hurt myself.  

Depite lots of brick roads, the area is a very pretty place to run in.

Yuck, bricks.
Random lake
I made it to Mile 1 and I could feel my leg loosening up a bit, so that made me happy!

Yay, Mile 1
We were also off the brick roads and onto plain asphalt by then, so maybe that was helping? My leg was basically numb at this point, so I decided to just keep going until it started hurting again.

Yay, MORE brick
Soon, the course broke off from the half-marathon course (they'd not even started the race yet), and we got more brick road.  Grr. Luckily, there wasn't much of it, and we soon were done with it.

Can we be done with this brick yet?
As we moved onto a larger road, I got stuck (more than once) between these obnoxious women who were walking four abreast and refused to move for anyone.  I had to wait for them to mosey one way or another (they weren't walking in straight lines), or wait for no traffic to go around them.

I don't care if you're at the back, don't block the route!
But, we got to Mile 2 - we're 1/3 of the way done!

Yay, Mile 2! Cute flamingos
We passed the TG Lee plant and I thougt they were missing a huge opportunity to have people out here (or even at the after-party) with samples! I would've loved a little bottle of chocolate milk at this point!

You got any more of that tasty chocolate milk?
I was also passed by the first 1/2 marathoner right around this time, too.  (I think they started their race at 7:30 or so.)

Bye, speedy
Mile 3 was on the other side of the TG Lee plant, and I still wanted some milk.  I was able to get away from the foursome for a while though, so it was a bit more peaceful.

Mile 3 - still feeling pretty good
Hmmm, milk or slurpee?

As we're about in the middle of the race, I decided it was time for some fuel. However, all I had were some Frozen-themed gummy snacks. I wanted to see if these were as beneficial as chews.  Honestly, they weren't bad...

Do you wanna eat some fruit snacks? It doesn't have to be some fruit snacks.... okay bye.
We turned at this point onto a large thoroughfare. I'm glad to see lots of bodies still in front of me!

Slow people coming, expect delays
Also, my camera died again. Yes, I know I need to buy a new camera.  Sorry for the shitty phone pix from here on out.

We encountered more brick roads, but my leg was still feeling numb, so I was still running.  I missed the Mile 4 marker, but nothing fun happened, so here we are at Mile 5!

Pretend there's two signs - one for Mile 4 and one for Mile 5
Ironic - He pulled out of the race on this day

At one point before the race, I had mentioned to the family that they could come and spectate at about Mile 5.5.  There was a straight road that ran between the street I was running on and the street the finish line was on. Well, when I got to this area, I saw no family. I began to worry, because I didn't know if I'd missed them, if they'd missed me or if they got lost! Oh well, I just kept on sloggin' on.  I'm almost done!

Around the corner was Mile 6 and the finish line was within sight!

I like when race directors put out the final mile sign, even if you CAN see the finish right ahead of you
Hubby was able to get a pic of me actually crossing the finish line!

I almost look like I'm running!
And another after I got my medal.

Girl, those calf sleeves do you no beauty favors
My official time was 1:44:58. Not a PR, but I didn't expect one, not with my bum leg. I still ended up beating a total of 41 people, so I wasn't anywhere near last.

Official Results

We headed over to the Best Damn Post Race Party and wandered for a quick bit. I got a Dunkin' Donuts donut hole and some water, but I don't think we did anything else (Hubby's not much of a wanderer).

Not a bad turnout of vendors
Um,  uh, okay.
That's.... not hot. I've seen Deadpool, and you sir, are no Deadpool.

We headed back to the parking garage and headed out; our total was $8 to park for the 3+ hours we were there.

My plan for lunch was Long John Silver's. I'd discovered there was one on Michigan, so we drove over there, but right before we pulled in, I realized... It's only 9:30 in the a.m.!  They won't be open yet for at least another half-hour, or more.  We sat in the parking lot for a bit, trying to figure out what we wanted to do (skip it, get breakfast, eat at Disney, etc). Every five minutes or so, a short blonde-haired lady would walk past the front doors and give us the stink-eye. I don't know who she was, or what her problem was, but if she was some sort of management, it was pretty unprofessional - don't alienate your clientele by making faces at them out the window!

So, I decided to waste some time by going to WaWa and changing out of my running clothes (what I would have done at LJS, had they been open).

I popped into WaWa, changed my clothes, and, of course, made a courtesy purchase as a thank you.

Best candy ever?  Quite possibly.

Once finished at WaWa, we headed back to the LJS on Michigan, thinking that they would be open (I'm pretty sure the sign on the door said they opened at 10:30).We pulled into the same parking spot we had before and walked up to the doors...

Can I come in? I have money and would like fast food fish
Which were still locked!  We walked to other doors. All were locked.  We waited in the car until about 10:45 - never saw anyone come to open the doors, so we said fuck this shit and left (there will be nasty online reviews for sure!).

We found another LJS on John Young Parkway, so we went to that one instead. It also is a shared space with KFC and that was to our detriment.

There was no one there but us, and it's Saturday at 11:30.  Hmmm.

I got the LJS Sampler, the kiddo got popcorn shrimp and hubby got chicken.  We had to get KFC wedges since they didn't carry LJS fries.  Which sucked, because the wedges tasted weird.  The proteins were all tasty, though. I ended up saving my chicken for later because I was so full.

Fish, Chicken, Shrimp, Hush Puppies. KFC wedges on top.

Once we were done stuffing ourselves silly (well, mostly me and the Kiddo; Hubby's not a fan of LJS and didn't think until later that he could have gotten KFC food!), we powered up the Garmin to figure out how to get us to Epcot.  First, it tried to take us to Downtown Disney. Then it tried to send us into the back door of Epcot, so we gave up on the Garmin. Somehow, we ended up getting to the MK parking lot without going through the parking plaza!  Hope I don't get towed!

We decided to just park at the TTC and mono over to Epcot.  Epcot currently had Flower & Garden Festival in full swing, and I love this time of year - Epcot is always extra beautiful! (Seriously, I took 743 photos - not counting the ones that got deleted!  I love this!)

Feels crowded
Flower beds around the lagoon
Obligatory Geodesic Sphere Photos
 We stopped by Club Cool for a lovely, free, beverage.

The floor is never NOT sticky in here
After that, I started taking some photos of the topiaries Epcot is famous for creating for the festival. 

Sorcerer Mickey from Fantasia
Closer Shot


Dancing Ostriches

I'm so pretty

We walked through the Butterfly House, which is always a let-down. I think, though, that's because where we live, we have a Butterfly Rainforest at a local museum that is hand's down, 100x better than this!

Random Butterfly

Random Purple Flower that Butterflys Like
More Lagoon Flower Beds


More Artsy, with creepy Butterfly Topiaries in the background

Chip and Dale Topiaries

Dale Topiary
Chip Topiary

Wilderness Explorer Mickey
Then, of course we had to take a ride on Test Track!  We love doing Single Rider.  You get through the line much quicker that way.

This way to the ride!

So trippy
Unfortunately, my stomach can only handle one or two go-rounds before it begins to complain, so left the family there to ride repeatedly; I was off to take more photos! (I promise not to upload all 743!)

Floating thingies in the lagoon

Phineas and Ferb Topiaries

Random Blue Flowers

To Infinity... And Beyond!

Lt. Dan needs me!

Cool little things that most Disney guests don't slow down to appreciate

I met the family outside of Test Track and we made our way out of the park, back on the monorail to the TTC and eventually, of course, to Wawa!  Potty, gas, food, then home. It's been a long day!

Location: Downtown Orlando
Host: (Who put on the race) Best Damn Race
Race Fee:
Packet Pickup:
Parking: Library Parking Garage, 4 Hours, $8 total (5:45 am to 9:18am)
Support: (on-course)
After Party: