August 31, 2011

Creatures with Confused Genders

Did you know there are animals and insects that are half-male, half-female?  I'm not talking about male seahorses that carry their young in a pouch or frogs that can gender mutate.  Here's an article about creatures that have both male cells and female cells in their bodies, and exhibit a "split" of both traits on the outside.

Meet the gynandromorphs!

(See pictures!)

Being a bearded lady I can't help but be interested in this kind of thing, even though it doesn't occur in humans.  Sure, people are born with both sets of gender characteristics to varying degrees, but we can not be born with one side physically female and the other side male, the way birds and insects can.  Fascinating!  (Or am I just a real big nerd?)

August 25, 2011

Who Gets the Hairy Roomie?

Still waiting on those ultrasound results.  Last time it took about three weeks to hear back, so I know it's a little soon to be expecting news.  To be honest, I've had other things on my mind.

One of those things has been some upcoming travel.  It seems that all my trips this spring and summer will not be for holidays, but that's all right; I like to travel.  My next trip in particular is for work.  They're bringing a random selection of people in my industry in North America down to California for some educational touring.  No complaints there, right?

Thing is, most people in my industry are women.  And they are generally infamous for being catty, party-crazy, and prone to drinking a lot when they have a good time.  In addition, in order to keep costs down (as usually we don't pay for these trips ourselves) we can be expected to be put two women to a room.  Now, I've heard a lot of roommate horror stories over the years from colleagues who have been on trips like this.  Poor hygiene, thunderous snorers, and those who don't come home at all (so you have to keep your deadbolt off your door all night so they can get in when they want).  And I would probably be horrifying to some, actually, because I like to keep the TV on quite late when I'm in an insecure place.

But beyond the natural human differences in sleep habits I might have to compromise on, there's also the worry of morning ablutions.  Let's face it; most hotels have their sink on the outside of the washroom.  I know what I have to do, of course, but I don't like to do it: I can shave by feel in the shower if I have to, but it's never as good of a shave as when I can watch my movements in the mirror.  Just the agonizing question of "Which hotel will we be in, and where will the sink be?" is enough to give me a stomachache... never mind what stranger might witness me shaving my face.

However, I put my hands figuratively on my hips, and told myself quite resolutely that I was not going to give up a free trip because I was scared.  I've waited five years for a perk like this, and I've backed away from plenty of other opportunities because of my extra fur.  Not this time, Al, not this time.

So I RSVPed with my resounding "Heck yes I'm coming!" ...but I didn't stop worrying.

Then I got the itinerary, with this news:  Everyone is getting their own room.  

Practically unheard of!  I cannot believe my fortune.  But it shows that we shouldn't let fear of the unknown rule us.  Not only will you likely not experience the worst case scenario, but sometimes you'll get the best case scenario to boot!

Next bridge to cross is the bathing suit, as there's a beach on the itinerary...

August 19, 2011

Ultrasound; the Sequel

It is against human instinct to leave the house without going to the bathroom first.  I dislike ultrasounds. 

I always drink as much as they ask, which is always way more than I have capacity for.  And then I end up being unable to keep it for the two hours before the appointment, and have to start all over again half an hour before leaving, which means my bladder continues to fill up in the waiting room, even though I’m no longer drinking.

This time when I went, the technician didn’t even ask me to empty my bladder partway, and I know I was as full last time.  I had to lie there in agony, toes cricked and ankles twisting, as she did the sonogram.  And because of that cyst on my ovary, or whatever it is that causes that random severe pain in my lower abdomen, holding it for that long is actually a little painful, especially at the time of the month where I’m somewhat bloated anyway.

Interestingly, she asked me if I would be all right with a trans-vaginal exam.  (Last time, this wasn’t even offered, though I had gone in expecting one.  Obviously they’d found what they were looking for without one.)  I said this would be all right; after all, I'd carefully groomed myself for close quarters.  But when the technician found out I was not and had never been sexually active she said she couldn’t do it.  I was both puzzled and relieved--I mean, if she needed to look at the back sides of the ovaries to ensure I had no other cysts developing, what would it matter what else had been there?

She was, of course, puzzled that I was on birth control although not sexually active, and I surprised myself by saying quite matter-of-factly, “Well, I’m hirsute, so it’s part of my treatment for controlling the hair.  I also take aldactone.”  Maybe I was tired, after being wrung-out about the appointment for so long.  When I get emotional and stressed, I become very frank with people.  She just hmmed like this was a perfectly normal answer, which I actually found vastly reassuring.

When the technician had enough pictures and said I could go to the washroom, I bolted out of there, not even bothering to wipe off the gel.  Then she got me to lie back and began really squishing my abdomen with the transducer.  It wasn’t causing me any pain, but here’s the thing: the monitor on the wall was on, so I could see what she was seeing.  And I’d been having twinges, mere ghosts of that severe pain, all week, radiating from the same spot she kept going over and over, a couple inches under my navel and slightly to the right.  And I could see cross-sections of this dark spot, almost like a hole, as she passed over it again and again, pressing and pushing and trying to get good shots of it.  I was too afraid to ask what it was, because it looked big enough to be an ovary, but... it just didn’t seem to look like one to me.  Was it the cyst?  Did I want to know?

She took the pictures to the radiologist, and then came back saying she needed more.  In the midst of this, my bladder was filling up again from the water I’d downed half an hour ago.  So I had to go take care of that, come back and let her literally dig around some more.  And I just gazed at this mysterious oblong hole on the sonogram on the wall, horrified but intrigued, and oddly pleased that whatever pain I had been experiencing for years, we were looking at the right spot.

But now I have to wait until the endocrinologist calls me with the results, to find out just what that black spot was.

But you think ultrasounds are awkward?  My pharmacy is not too far from the clinic, so I went over to pick up my prescription refills, and as we got into line I was explaining to my mother (who drove me, I would speed like a bat outta hell if I drove myself to an ultrasound on a full bladder) what had happened.  Little did I realize, one of my old friends from high school who I hadn’t seen in eight years was standing right behind me!  She was on her phone, and though she stopped to exchange pleasantries I got no hint that she heard me say “trans-vaginal.”

August 10, 2011

Another Small Triumph

Guys, guys, guys.

I've been wearing a belt.

Why is this a big deal?  Well, I stopped wearing belts in high school, when I realized that having that extra bulk at the waistband encouraged t-shirts to ride up, and I was more likely to expose my lush and luxurious treasure trail.  I would try to pluck, bleach, dissolve, and shave it away, and then wear the belt once the foliage had been culled, but eventually I just gave up and hung all my belts at the end of the closet. 

They've been hanging there for years.  I have one, sugar-pink leather, that I never really had much opportunity to wear.  I bought it at a leather store's closing sale, and the only reason I bought it was because my best friend at the time had been lusting after a red one.  She was very recently feeling low, so I was putting together a care package for her, with books, an oil diffuser, lip gloss... you know, all the things a teenager could want.  As the sale was two-for-one, I got her the red one she wanted, and myself the pink one.  I always thought of her when I thought of wearing it.  And I just could never feel confident enough to wear it.

The other day, I was feeling colorful in the nice weather, and thought of adding that extra splash of brightness via a cinch at the hips.  So I pulled out this neglected belt and slipped it through belt loops I had never used except to yank my jeans up over my hips.  I realized it didn't matter if my shirt rode up that day.  Because the treasure trail was blond, barely noticeable.  Maybe the belt was out of style, but I wore it with pride.

August 5, 2011

Beauty: The Human Face

BBC Series on Beauty - The Human Face (with John Cleese!)  It's a rather light-hearted, slightly irreverent look at what makes a face beautiful.  I found it totally fascinating (and twisted).

Watch it here to automatically be directed to each part when the last one finishes.

Oh my goodness, when they start measuring faces it reminds me of examining cattle or horses for purchase for stud.  *lol*

Thanks, Soph, for sending this to me!