I’m usually a pretty private person – I don’t tend to post a lot of super personal things on the internets. Last year my annual exam turned up a lump in my breast which the diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound confirmed was solid. Next followed the needle biopsy and the verification it was non-cancerous but a fibroadenoma, large enough and still growing so we decided to remove it. I talked about it with very few people and really didn’t know much about it going in. It wasn’t until afterwards that I found out how many women I know have had lumps biopsied or removed and realized how little we talk about these things that can be so terrifying but affect so many of us.

Earlier this month, I found another lump in the same breast but an entirely different location.  The mammogram and ultrasound yesterday confirmed that it too was solid.  Which lead to today’s needle biopsy and my waiting for the results to come.

I’m glad that I have a fantastic OB-GYN who actively assists the speedy initiation of this process and helps move it along.  But I do have one complaint about this desire to assist me in a quick diagnosis and that is that both last year and this year I felt distinctly railroaded into taking action quicker than I was prepared to given my level of information and the time I’d had to process the info I had.  Last year I went from a Monday annual where I was told I had a lump, to a Tuesday mammogram that confirmed it and finally a Wednesday appointment to get a needle biopsy.  This year was very similar.

By the time I’ve wrapped up the diagnostic ultrasound everyone is ready to schedule me for the biopsy with all due speed –  “We have an opening tomorrow at 9am”.  The problem with this method of rapid scheduling  is I’m still mentally processing the fact that I have a lump in my breast and the implications of that and I’m being asked to immediately jump to scheduling.  I’m being asked to choose between the radiologist doing the biopsy, or the surgeon my OB-GYN is recommending since if it has to come out later this allows me to have an already established relationship.  Last year, I wasn’t even fully clear on what a needle biopsy actually meant or what the post biopsy procedures were and how it might affect my ability to be at work.  I’m not asked if my partner is available to be there for support or if I need time to consider my options.  I felt railroaded and overwhelmed in spite of their desire to help me.

In spite of that, this year I chose the radiologist over the surgeon to do the biopsy after speaking with the nurse about how their office does the procedure.  I chose to call my partner and speak with him before scheduling.  This year I chose to give myself a bit more breathing room, and a bottle of xanax to deal with the stress and anxiety around it.  This year I chose to not try to just power through it and pretend like nothing was wrong. And I’m pleased with the choices I made.

I’m posting it here for all the women who will have their own experiences. You are not alone. Many women have gone through this and we are all here to provide sympathy, understanding and support.  You can ask for more time and more information.  You can ask for a day to consider your options before making a decision.  The medical professionals have a lot of knowledge and the good ones will not only help you but will understand if you need the time to make the right choices for you.

Thank you to all the people in my life who supported me last time and I know will do so again.  And thank you to my wonderful partner for all his love and understanding.

The Doubleclicks are a couple of delightfully talented geeky ladies who travel around performing and bringing their music to nerds everywhere. But being a couple of women, they’ve been subjected to the haters who had to point out that since they lack a penis, they could not possibly be real geeks.

They had enough of that and enough of hearing the other women in our space who get treated the same way so they wrote a new song called Nothing To Prove and asked all their fans to submit pictures of themselves with a sign stating why they are just as much of a geek as anyone else.

The video they put together has me so happy and so weepy I just have no words. Thank you ladies so much for creating something so beautiful with a message that hits right at home.

Video  —  Posted: July 23, 2013 in Geek Culture, Gender Bias
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Saw this one today in an article on The Mary Sue which can be found here: Little Girls Engineer Their Own Toys to Take Over The Pink Aisle In This Goldie Blox Ad

For years now when legos and erector sets, chemistry sets and tool sets have been advertised and marketed it is the little boys they’ve targetted with their message.  You are the builders, the makers and the ones who can change the future.  Little girls get fashion and makeup in pink boxes.  Goldie Blox is trying to change that.  They are trying to get the message out that little girls have a lot more to offer the world than just how they look.  We are thinkers and doers and makers.

I’ll admit it – I teared up while watching this.  To all the little girls in my life you need to believe that anything is possible.  You can do and be whomever you want.

They [Don’t] Know Us So Well

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Gaming, Gender Bias
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I stumbled across this article last week:

5 Things Every Game Company Gets Wrong About Gamers

I have to say, I think they did a fantastic job of pointing out the things about the newest games and gamesystems that piss me off the most.  The fact that Gaming has forgotten about why it exists – the Gamers.  Slick, flashy cinematics are edging out actual gameplay within these new titles giving us less and less to do.  Apparently they think that gamers have gotten resistant to having to move their digits to actually cause things to occur on screen?

I think part of the reason it struck such a note with me was that in spite of the media buzz around the new Tomb Raider and it’s leanings towards  rape as motivator , I wanted to play the game.  I was in fact excited to play the game.  And then I got it home, popped it in and watched through the endless opening cinematic.  Eventually, cinematic ends and I think “great, lets get playing”.  Only, not.  you do a little moving, a little button pressing and I think “okay, we’re in the tutorial”.  Then I’m back in a cinematic but I’m being asked to wiggle the controller at a specific time.  Or press the button right…now! Or I have to sit through it again and again.  My guy nailed it on the head – it felt exactly like Dragon’s Lair.  Shiny, glossy and completely controlled.  As is pointed out in the article at the top of my post, not everyone enjoys watching a cinematic.  Some folks take that time to grab a glass of water, check their email or what have you.  Only in Tomb Raider, if I chose the wrong time to do that, I end up starting the damned cinematic all over again.  And if I’m 3/4 of the way through one of these transitional sequences and press a button slightly too late – back I go to the beginning.  This doesn’t feel challenging to me, it feels suffocating.  It’s game play for dummies.  I want a certain amount of challenge.  I want to feel I’ve earned the abilities my character has in game.  But I don’t want to be pressured in to this sort of over-stressed situation where a microsecond mistiming means the tedium of attempting a thing over and over.

I won’t go into the entire article point by point, though I do think they all hit home with me in a similar fashion.  But it’s definitely worth a read.

http://www.collegehumor.com/embed/6879795/axis-of-awesome-you-like-got-i-read-the-fcking-books

Caught this one thanks to a quick post on The Mary Sue and it just gave me a warm smile of amusement.

This is something that lovers of geek fandom have been complaining about for some time now and I have to admit that I’m of two minds about it.

On the one hand those of us who read Lord of the Rings, or Game of Thrones or enjoyed any of the numerous comics over the years feel that due to our long standing love of these things before they were cool or cash cows for Hollywood we are better, smarter and somehow deeper human beings than those who just stumbled on whatever was showing at the cineplex or being hyped on tv. We suffered the years of name calling and exclusion and we turned to our books for comfort. They were things to be read, discussed and re-read for missed meaning. How dare these popular kids who refused to see the value in our bibliophilia try to hop on this bandwagon now just because someone somewhere found the right shiny package to put it in. It’s understandable when you look at it that way that those who feel that they suffered for their love would be angry that these usurpers could just come in and claim ownership.

On the other hand though without the mass excitement of those who ignored the previous incarnations of our beloved fandom, some fantastic geeky movies would never have been made. It’s unfortunate but true that if Avengers had only appealed to geeks it probably would have been nothing more than a dusty script on a shelf. And HBO wouldn’t have made GoT if they didn’t think they could sell it to people who would never have even considered reading the books previously.

One question though – what about the folks who couldn’t stomach being so uncool as to visit a comic book shop before seeing Dark Knight Returns but who now have decided maybe it’s worth while? Those who after seeing Harry Potter decide to pick up the books and give fantasy fiction a chance? Does expanding our geek population dilute us as fans? Are these people the fake geeks that everyone accuses them of being? We all had to find our way to it somehow, there was a day for all of us before we found our geek loves. Maybe we should consider giving them a chance.

Video  —  Posted: June 5, 2013 in Geek Culture
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This tumblr post was brought to my attention today and I have to say that it is truly beautiful. A touchingly private moment shared between two people in a public space.

“After thanking him I asked him “Besides acting, what are you most proud of that you have done in you life (that you are willing to share with us)?”. Sir Patrick told us about how he couldn’t protect his mother from abuse in his household growing up and so in her name works with an organization called Refuge for safe houses for women and children to escape from abusive house holds. Sir Patrick Stewart learned only last year that his father had actually been suffering from PTSD after he returned from the military and was never properly treated. In his father’s name he works with an organization called Combat Stress to help those soldiers who are suffering from PTSD.”

The video above was linked in a Gawker post about the same interaction.

Video  —  Posted: May 30, 2013 in Geek Culture, Heartwarming
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Posted on FB by a friend today, I have to say I really enjoyed watching this particular TED talk. He talks in a very engaging manner about the differences and similarities between The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars. It is the only time I can honestly recall hearing a man talk about the Bechdel Test.

I think what impressed me the most about this talk is that though he is speaking about women’s issues he is focusing on how those issues impact or should impact not just his daughter but his son as well. I love that he makes that leap.

It is a great watch, and very thought provoking.

Video  —  Posted: May 30, 2013 in Gender Bias
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