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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. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Hula Hustle 5k Race Report

I did this race last year, and I enjoyed it, so I was psyched to see it was happening again. It was at a different location, but that was okay. Still cheap, still had a medal!

I left home around 5:30 and had a nice, uneventful ride to Orange Park.

It's a little foggy this morning

This year the race was at St. John's Day School,  known as a co-educational independent day school.  Also known as an expensive, private school.  How expensive? Well, after I got home, I decided to look online.  For a child to attend from Kindergarten through graduation, it would cost $218,676!  This is tuition, plus ancillary costs (yearbooks and Digital Resource Fee), Building Fee and required Tuition Refund Plan insurance. This doesn't include the cost of textbooks (yeah, you have to buy them here), a required iPad, approved school uniforms (purchased, of course, from an approved school vendor only) and daily lunches. It does include grade level trips to three different locations: Camp Montgomery, Charelston and North Carolina. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a "You're too rich!" hater... if you choose to pay for your child's schooling, more power to you. I, unfortunately, cannot afford it. This is way too rich for my blood!

Anyway, I scored a good spot in a paved lot (rather than closer to the track, which would have been on dirt/grass).  I walked to packet pickup in my flip flops, which was a huge mistake, because I had to walk through a lot of sugar sand.

The other parking area (mine is better!)
Walking towards Packet Pickup - ugh, the sand!
I got my packet and took a quick pic of the finish line, hit up the potties (real potties!) and went back to the car to clean off my feet and change my shoes.

Nice Finisher Arch
I do love a drum line
Once back at the car, and with clean feet, I geared up and headed back towards the start line. I got about 3/4 of the way there before I realized I forgot my bib! 
Many more cars now
So, back I went, grabbed my bib and headed to the start line again. I'm getting really tired of walking through this damn sand!

Pottie Line at 7:30am
Finally, though, I was able to stay at the start line. When I got back there, there was an instructor doing Zumba as a warm-up. After watching for a few minutes, I decided to join in.  Luckily, there is no video of this to prove I joined in!

You can't prove I Zumba'd

Crowds are getting bigger

Pre-Race Selfie

As we got closer to the start time, this nice, young gentleman came out and played the National Anthem on his sax.

It wasn't bad, for sax music

Cool, the pro photog got a pic of me!
Then the race director, and (I guess?) head of Clay County Young Life led us all in prayer, which I thought was wonderful. You don't get a lot of public prayer anymore. 

Please bow your heads
After that, and announcments, we were led by the local high school marching band's drum line to the start line.  

To the start line

However, this turned into a fail because they ended up in our way, and we all had to turn around, because the start line faced the other way (meaning, the fast people - who were in front - were now in the back, and the slow folks were at the front of the pack).

People were passing the drummers because they are impatient

Now, everyone TURN AROUND!
Once that clusterfuck was fixed, we all took off into the beautiful Florida morning.

Here we go!


The first racer passed me before I even got to Mile 1. 

We didn't start on time - he got here in less than 17 minutes

Okay, so.  This girl right here.  Generally, I'm not one to share bad photos of kids because they don't need to be on the internet, but she worked my last nerve.  I was behind her for a lot of the race, and she kept complaining about her clothing.  It's hard to see, but she's wearing a bikini. At a 5k.  Over the bikini she had a nice hula skirt.  Unforntunately, neither the bikini bottom nor the hula skirt fit very well, and I kept seeing pre-pubescent ass cheek.  I was very embarassed for this child, and mad at the mother for dressing her this way. The girl was very uncomfortable in her clothing, and wanted to take off her skirt, but couldn't since she would only be in a bathing suit. I came close to saying something to the mom, when I heard mom say "Well, you chose to wear this, so you need to deal with it!"  I backed off after that, not nearly as mad at mom as I had been. The tone of her voice made me think that she'd argued repeatedly with this child, but the girl was adamant about wearing it, so the mom gave up, and hten today, basically let the girl be miserable to teach her a lesson. Way to go, mom! 

I hope she learned her lesson

Before Mile 1, there was a side road that emptied back into the main course.  This was bad race planning because there were no cones to deliniate where runners should go and I saw multiple fast runners plow into us slow runners at this intersection. Luckily, no one was hurt.

Move, move!

Holy crap, only Mile 1??

Mile 1 only?
Oh, okay, here's Mile 2. Seriously, it's a boring course... Nothing interesting was happening!

Mile 2
At maybe 2.5, we returned to the school, which confused me because we still had a half-mile to run.

I can see the track! Am I done?

Oh, okay.  We had to go up a side road that runs perpendicular to the school track.

Lots of kids drew on the road with chalk before the race

Then we had to cross the large grassy area, near the parking lot.

This isn't bad; I can handle grass

Oh, man!  It's the damn SAND again!!

I. Hate. Sand.

We had to run through the little entrance near the bathroom and then we were on the (really nice rubberized) track at the Day School.  Only 3/4 of a lap to go!

Oh God - gym class flashbacks
Mile 3 was at the 'bottom' of the track.

Yay, Mile 3!

As I came around the final curve, I heard the band director say that they were going to do one more song and then pack up.  While I'm happy that I got a song, it ticked me off - there were still people on the course who would appreciate some finish line music!

Run it in!

Yay, I finished!

Finish Line Selfie!

I stuck around for a bit, grabbed some snacks, but left before the awards.  I went to Chick-fil-A for lunch, walked around the mall, then grabbed 7-Eleven snackage for the road!

I love CFA for post-race lunch - tasty, tasty protein!

And, of course - tasty, tasty carbs! BANANA slurpee!!!!