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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. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Damn, girl, you trying to shove that into my brain? (Crown part 4 and 5)

I am so grumpy about how this whole process has turned out, I don't even have any photos from the past two visits to the dentist.

Okay, so to recap. In NOVEMBER, I started this process.  When we started, I was told I needed a root canal, so I got a root canal. 

I went back a few days later to get fitted for a crown at the beginning of DECEMBER. 

Three weeks (more like four) later, I went in for what should have been the final appointment - to get the final crown installed.  It didn't fit.  So, I had to make another casting, wait three weeks and come back.

Because of life, I had to wait another MONTH to come back in. 

At the end of January, I came back in, hoping that THIS time, the crown would fit.

It was the same thing.

The crown didn't FIT!!!  How the hell can it not FIT!  Dr. S was beyond pissed this time. I think he was ready to pull a me and throw something across the room!  Luckily, he didn't try to waste time with more drilling, filing or fitting. He knew it was wrong, he was pissed it was wrong and just decided to have it remade. Again.

Luckily, my temporary wasn't cracked (like last time), so Cassie was able to put it back on.

I was given an appointment to come back on February 24th (another almost MONTH!), so here I am today.

And now I'm pissed.

Apparently, Dr. S is no longer a dentist here. He left me - my awesome dentist with the bad jokes and cool attitude has left me.

I'm stuck with Dr. H, an older lady with a cool Indian accent and no chair-side manner to speak of.

And to add insult to injury, Cassie isn't here today, so I'm also stuck with a different dental tech, who doesn't quite understand what "gentle touch" means.  I mean, I shouldn't feel pain on a tooth that has no roots, but she's still causing pain!  She pulled off my temporary like she was yanking a cup out of a dispenser.  Hello?! There's a person under here!!!  Chill out a bit.

Once my temporary was off, she started trying to fit the crown, and again, it wasn't going where it needed to go. She began to vocally complain about my gums being in the way. Now, I know that's it's stupid, but it's probably a good idea not to complain about someones body parts WHILE that person is sitting in your chair. I can't control my gums from REGROWING after I was laser-troughed TWO months ago!  If your lab hadn't fucked up, we wouldn't be here today.

So, without telling me what the hell is going on (I mean, seriously, this woman was treating me like a mouth instead of a person), she left to talk to Dr. H.  Upon her return, she began shoving something in my mouth, up in my gums! And, of course, I can't ask, because she's got her hands in my freakin' mouth!

Once she was done, though, I asked her what she was doing, and, after sighing like I was asking to borrow $100, she told me that she was "packing my gums." No other info after that, you know, like why she was doing it. (I Googled it when I got home, and it's to create better margins for the crown. Further Googling told me that the margin is where the crown meets the tooth. Sure would've been nice if she explained that to me!).

After packing my gums, she tried again to seat the crown, and it fit better, so she called in Dr. H and they cemented my crown on, then removed the packing.  They checked my bite, said it looked good and told me to have a nice day.

Basically, this was the shittiest visit out of the whole damn production. I should have been happy that I finally got my crown finished, but I felt like my "team" had abandoned me, and I was pissed about the crappy way I was treated. 

Once I was done, I just paid my bill ($5 for the office visit, since I paid the big $515 back in November) and got the hell out of there.  I just wanted to put this horrible experience behind me, pay off my smoking Care Credit credit card bill, and avoid any more dental visits for a while.

At least I finally have my damn crown!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Crack is Whack (Crown, Part 3)

 Here it is, New Year's Eve, and I'm ready to ring in the new year with a shiny new crown!

Wow, a halfway good selfie...
Cassie came in and bibbed me up, then pulled off my temporary crown. Unfortunately, she yanked it off with such force, she cracked it.  Good thing we don't need it anymore!

Dr. S came in and began fitting on my new crown.

Hmmm, he says.

That's not good, he says.

It's not fitting.

He decided to numb me up and try to file my tooth down just a smidge to see if he can get the crown to fit better.

So, once numbed, he starts working on my tooth, then fitting the crown. Filing, fitting. Filing, fitting. Grumbling. Filing. Fitting. Cussing.

Giving up. 

Tiny little tooth nubbin

Somehow the cast was off, or the lab screwed up or something. Dr. S said he thought that the lab made it wrong. 

So, there's no new tooth for me this year.  I had to have the temporary crown put back on.

Oh, wait, Cassie cracked it!

Fun, I get to do another round of castings for the temporary crown and permanent crown.

Casting it again
Once the temporary was made, Cassie fit it back on, I made an appointment for January 29th and I headed home.

Happy new year everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Nancy Reagan Would be Proud - Say No to Drugs 10k Race Report

(Click on the photo to go to their site)

Back in September, I needed to find a December race to round out my 1-race-per-month schedule.  There wasn't anything really good in my town, but I saw this and decided it looked awesome!  It was close to where I grew up (I may have even played at Coachman Park, it sure sounds familiar anyway...), cheap (I used a promo code to save 20%) and came with a great medal and LS tech tee!

The race was an out-and-back, but what made it special (and challenging) was that it went out-and-back over the Clearwater Memorial Causeway!

10k and 5k Race Map
View of the bridge from my parking spot
So, I left the house around 4am (this was one of the more far away races I've done) to arrive around 7am.  Since I was so early, parking and packet pickup was a breeze.

Packet Pickup - why is the alphabet backwards?

I was able to get a great parking spot, super close to the start/finish lines!

See the tiny red arrow? It's pointing to my car - I got a CLOSE spot!
After getting my bib, I headed back to my car - it was only 48º out this morning, and I was cold!

Brrrrrr (for Florida, anyway)

I stayed in the car as long as I could, but evenually geared up, pinned on my bib and got out of the toasty car.  Unfortunately, my body decided it was now time to pee, so I had to get in the very long pottie lines.  Ugh, I wished I did this an hour ago!

Very long line for potties (which equals very well-used potties)
After that hell, I wandered around, keeping warm, checking out the Park and the tents.  The big tent had 16 lines for pancakes and OJ after the race.  It also had massive amounts of seating at long cafeteria-style tables for eating the aforementioned pancakes, after the race.

All roads lead to pancakes
All roads also lead to orange juice!

I got a picture of the start line and the medals.

Start lines are always so full of promise
Soon, one of you will be mine
At this point, it was time to line up, so as I generally do, I put myself on the left, about 3/4 of the way back.

I can see the start line... WAY up there
This was the group behind me.

This is the only time I'll be in front of you!
Start time kept getting delayed, but I just used the time to get a selfie of myself in my cobbled-together winter running gear.

Still getting used to this cold-weather running thing - fleece head wrap OVER a hat
Gloves under my running jacket; which was over a LS running tee
Soon, though, we were off!  We ran past the Pinellas County Courthouse, which I may or may not have been to before.

We meet again, PCC
We rounded a few more corners, then it was time to begin addressing the crazy - The Clearwater Memorial Causeway. This bridge was finished in 2005, is 2,540 feet long (or just shy of 1/2 mile) and has 74ft. vertical clearance, meaning it's 74 feet above the water.  Not the highest bridge I've run, but it's got a mean elevation to it!

Promo Shot courtesy of Say No to Drugs Holiday Classic
As usual, the pack is thinning out early, and I'm stuck with the "Hey, let's go walk a 5k" girls.  You know the ones, they dress in the cutest workout clothing from Kohl's, Target or Victoria's Secret and wear obnoxious shirts that are glittery and bedazzled. And, of course, walk five across a race route without giving a shit about people behind them.  Yeah, those girls.

Like, Oh My God, Becky, we're walking on a bridge, tee hee!
The view on the downhill is gorgeous, though, so I just ignored the other people.

Hello, Ugly Shorts Man
I tried to take a photo once I was going downhill to give you an idea of the elevation.

She seems to be cold
Once back on solid ground, one lane of the road was open to traffic, and there were big caution signs to tell traffic about traffic delays.

CAUTION: Crazy people giving up a cozy Saturday to run over huge bridges
Wow... Okay, so after I took that photo, the 5k route split from the 10k route.  And apparently, 90% of the people I was walking with were 5k people! All of a sudden, I was a lot more alone!

It's cold out here....

...and there are wolves!
Oh, yay, there's a person!

I just realized, I have no photos of mile markers! I don't think there WERE mile markers, now that I think about it!  (I think this is maybe halfway?) We had to cross another bridge, but it was a very tiny one, and it welcomed you to Clearwater Beach (which is different than just Clearwater, BTW).

This was a tiny bridge compared to the Causeway
We went up a bit on Coronado Drive (which was still 1 lane for us and 1 lane for traffic) on Clearwater Beach before returning back to State Road 60.  We passed the Clearwater Municipal Marina, and at that point, I realized that I was really close to being last.  I tried to put some pep in my step, but I was freezing still, and just wasn't feeling this race.

For some reason, I felt the need to take a photo of the Municipal Marina sign. You're welcome?
Returning back to SR 60, there was a nice paved trail that we could walk on for a large portion of the return, so we didn't need to worry about traffic. 

Tiny Clearwater Beach bridge, now via walking trail
Crossing from Clearwater Beach to Clearwater via pedestrian bridge
It had great views of the waterway, too.

Good morning, sunshine!
The trail led to a nice wide open sidewalk on the Causeway.  I'm sure it was just me, but damn if it didn't seem steeper on this side!

Also, at this point, another runner and I had been pacing each other for a few miles. He was maybe middle-age, and wearing really ugly shorts.  Right before getting on the trail, I passed him (I seriously think he was looking for a bush to pee in, not even kidding).

The Causeway had a cool spiral exit ramp for the sidewalk, so I was able to make up some speed on the downhill.  Unfortunately, so was Ugly Shorts, and he passed me at the end!  Oh, hell, no, man!  He was the ONE runner I thought I was going to beat!

Wheeeeeeeeee! What I wouldn't give for a bike!
Yup, there he goes. 

He was very close to having a wardrobe malfunction; his ding-dong was danglin'
So, now I'm the last runner.  I got a pretty white unmarked cop SUV to accompany me.

What up, PoPo?
Lastie selfie!!

Own it, girl. You're last.
It was the most disheartening 1/4 mile.

Yep, that's what the fuck I did
But, I powered through, actually 'ran' through the chute and finished in a very pathetic 1:45:26. My slowest time ever. 40 seconds slower than the Tacachale Trail Run that I didn't even know was a trail run.  And, I've officially had a DEAD LAST FINISH.

DLF wasn't not nearly as disheartening as I feared
I was so slow, they had already begun tearing down the finish line!  I was able to grab a guy to take my photo. He asked me to take his too, but by the time he was ready, half of the banner was gone!  Sorry random guy!

Where is everybody?  Out of range of the camera, checking results
I got my medal and my bottle of water, then wandered over to the Pancake Tent to get some food and a raffle ticket (one of the big selling points of the race).  Well, as you can imagine, there were no raffle tickets left, but I was able to get food (which NEVER happens!)

I'd say I've made better, but this is what mine look like too
If I do this next year, perhaps I should pay attention to which pancake line to get into. My cakes were made by a 6-year old (no, seriously!).  They weren't all that tasty, nor fluffy, so I didn't eat much of them. I did drink my juice, though.

Enjoying the sunshine, watching the awards presentation
After milling around outside for a few minutes, I decided I just wanted to go.  I headed back to my car, got a fancy pic of my medal with the bridge in the background and took off.

It's not tilted, so it's not artsy
And, as if I wasn't cold enough, it was STILL only 48º outside!

It's Florida, dammit, why isn't it warm?
On my way out, I scored some free samples of Noosa yogurt, one of each flavor. I'm still trying to like yogurt, and while I'm pretty sure I won't like this kind either (spoiler alert: I didn't), it's nice to be able to try them for free.

None of these were good, but you know I have food issues
I changed into better clothes at a local convenience store then headed to Countryside Mall. This was the mall that I spent a LOT of time in as a kid, after Pinellas Square and Seminole.  I always liked this mall because it has an ice rink inside of it!  You could go skating... in a MALL!  I always wanted to do it as a kid, and finally tried it when I was around 10 - and swiftly fell on my ass and broke my hot pink acrylic bangle.  No more ice skating for me after that; I'll stick to quad roller skating at Rainbow Roller Rink, thank you very much!

Anyway, after checking out some stores and grabbing a cute top at JCP, I hit the food court for some protein.  My go to meal, if I can get it, has become Chick-fil-A nuggets and fries. 

Hello, 12 piece combo!  Get in me belly!
While sitting in the food court, I got a text from my mom. She didn't know that I was in town (oops), and she wanted to get together.  I told her I could get to her around 4 and we could do an early dinner.  I finished shopping (I don't think I got anything else), and headed out.  On my way to mom's, I stopped at the Last Chance Thrift Store - another blast from the past - to check it out. I love thrift stores because you never know what you're going to find. Unfortunately, I struck out this time; I only got some nostalgia.  I also passed an Old Time Pottery, which I love, so I popped in for a bit there.

I ended up at mom's a bit earlier than 4 and she buzzed me up (she lives in a retirement condo).

I feel the need to ride my Big Wheel down the hallway
We ended up chilling in her cute little apartment for a while, then just having an early dinner at McDonald's of all places!

I think I left around 5ish, so I could get home at a decent time.  She talked me into going up US-19, rather than go back to the interstate.  I honestly only did it to say that I did it, so she would stop harping on it (she always says I should go that way), but I have to admit, I did like it better.  It takes about the same amount of time, even though you may have to stop for red lights in small towns. It's also nice, just in case you need to stop for gas or munchies. So, yeah, mom was right on this one...

Bear Crossing - a long standing family in-joke.
Okay, mom was right - this way IS easier and more peaceful.
Anyway, I got home around 7:30 or so, had some Publix fried chicken for dinner then passed out in bed. What a long day!!!

The next day, I checked out my goodie bag.

I was pissed, still, that they didn't even have a shirt in my size - I'd had to get a men's large, rather than the x-large I requested when signing up.  It's a great shirt, but it won't fit me for a while.

Long Sleeve tee with a honeycomb pattern to it. Nice, but the boobs don't fit in it.
 The medal was also really cool.  As big as my palm, nice and colorful. 

I really love the medal
 Finally, there were the typical pens, notepads and BioFreeze.  I love when they give out BioFreeze!

So, did I like this race? Kind of. I love the medal. I love the route (even the bridge). I'd love the shirt - IF it fit me. I would have liked the pancakes, if they were made correctly. I was upset that they ran out of shirts in my size, and ran out of raffle tickets. I, obviously, was upset that I finished last. If I'd only done the 5k, I would have beat over 150 people with my shitty 50+ minute time!  But, no... I had to try to be badass and do a 10k.

Would I do it again? Maybe.  I want to do it again, just to not be last. Is it high on my list for 2016? Not really.

Location: Coachman Park, Clearwater, FL
Host: (Who put on the race)The Say No To Drugs Race Team
Race Fee:  $25.00 + 2.50 Race Sign Up – 20% Promo Code
Packet Pickup: Very organized; picked up pre-race
Parking: Arrived very early, got a spot three rows away from the park
Support: (on-course) I only recall two or three water stops. The last water stop was packing up by the time I came by.(Still had water for us though)
After Party:  16 lines for homemade pancakes; prepackaged syrup and butter. Also bananas, oranges and OJ. LOTS of tables for sitting and eating (under tent AND in the sun). Raffle tickets were already gone when I came in. Noosa Yoghurt also giving out samples. Awards going on while I was eating – very loud, but very organized and fast paced. Pancakes (or syrup, couldn’t tell) were gross, so I chucked them after a few bites. Could’ve been me?

HEADACHE NOTES (for reference)
·         Hydration:
o   24oz water while driving
o   20oz PowerAde after packet pickup
o   1/3 of Nathan while running
o   16oz of large PowerAde after race
o   2 Bottles of water (16oz) after race
o   1 Diet Coke with lunch
o   2 Diet Coke with dinner and while driving home
o   24 oz. water with dinner
·         Drove Interstate TO race; drove US 19 home
·         2 Hours at mall. Didn’t try on any clothes, so I didn’t CARRY any clothes
·         No headache by the time I went to bed.
·         10am Sunday, now I have a headache, but could be that I laid in bed for 3 hours watching TV…