ellestra: (telamon)
I was gone for the long while. My dad got really sick and I was too stressed and sad to care to write my thoughts down - even about things I was really excited about. But now he's better. He's been getting steadily better in past few weeks but this last week it finally felt like normally talking to him - no problems, no memory gaps. He has new meds and is still on leave and still needs to do some more tests (some things that got buried by the big problem need to be dealt with too) but it's no longer emergency level - 'might need to fly back to Poland at any moment' kind of thing. It feels like I can breathe a little easier.

So hi again. I have some things I need to talk about - Pluto, Mr. Robot, Syfy's Fridays and some movies - all coming soon.
ellestra: (tiger)
So it has started. The spring is truly here and I'm hanging by a thread. The first hit is always the hardest. This sudden switch from being normal person who can go for long walks and even run to someone who gets sore muscles after walking up few flights of stairs too fast (or at least without panting). I knew it's getting really bad. At first the spring comes gradually and I almost imperceptibly get worse but then comes a tipping point and I crash. And by crash I mean I wasn't present for most of Monday. I woke up at 9:30 only because a phone call (I usually wake up by myself - no alarms needed). I tried to get up and go to work but I could barely keep my head up to write an email that I won't make it. And then I went back to bed and when I woke up again it was late afternoon. And normally I can't even fall asleep during the day.

I have 1-2 days like that every spring. They mean that my symptoms are about to get worse. I wake up in a world where it's harder to breathe and I remember why asthma sucks. And why the spring, especially here, is so awful, especially on beautiful days like today. It's easy to forget in good seasons. So I hope you enjoy your warm, sunny days while I dream of rain. And autumn.
ellestra: (cosima)
So I woke up with a cold today. Just as my stomach went back to normal. I haven't been sick this often since I left Poland. If this winter is like the ones I used to have I will keep getting sick till summer. All I really want to do is sleep but there are so many other things I should be doing. And some of them are urgent. And some of those I can do at home. Or can I? I'm I really able to go through 3 hour online training in one go? I'll have to try and see.

So the rumour was false and Tatiana Maslany won't be the lead in Star Wars spin-off. It's official now - the role went to Felicity Jones. She sure will be awesome in this but I will miss all the horrible Clone Wars puns.

Another DC TV show is coming. It almost feels like soon TV will contain nothing else. Or at least every channel not affiliated with Disney will have to have one of those. The newest one is coming to TNT and it's going to be based on Teen Titans and this version of the team is to be mostly female. Did that ever happened to a mixed team before?

There is also old Sherlock Holmes movie with Ian McKellen coming out this summer. Here's the trailer


Now I'm going back to bed.
ellestra: (root and shaw)
It was another snowpocalypse up north but here it just rained all night. I know because I got the stomach bug that fell half of the lab Sunday afternoon and I spent the night between waking up to go to the bathroom. I only puked once and that was the best part (I felt better for a little bit but vomiting doesn't come easy to me). I also slept through most of the Monday while the wind howled and the weather rapidly switched between sun and rain. Or maybe that was just that my moments of conciousness were so far apart. But it rapidly got better today and I'm almost got to normal just in time to go to party to say farewell to half my lab friends who either change jobs or move back to their countries. The party was great but I'm already missing them. Especially the Swede as so many of our experiences were similar so we got the whole America experience together. And since HR is slower than glaciers we still don't have replacements for people who are leaving so we are going to be seriously understaffed for few next weeks.

So at least Person of Interest delivered some distraction. SHAW IS ALIVE!!1!! I never actually expected them to admit to that. At least not this year. After all Sarah Shahi is pregnant with twins and noone knows when she'll be able to come back. I was resigned to them just stringing this on until they know if she wants to come back. But they didn't. She's alive. I also loved the Machine breaking Root's heart. Her faith was to blind. She needed to have her goals crash against those of Machine to see who she really is. Now I can worry what Samaritan is going to do to Sameen. With it's brain implants and human experimentation.

Agent Carter however made a very little sense today. I hope that that Russian they brought back is a plant otherwise this whole thing with Leviathan inviting them to their lair only to have it empty and almost unsecured and letting their most important assets escape makes absolutely no sense. Also making sure we got Dottie was a Leviathan spy was a little heavy handed. We got it even without the handcuffs.
ellestra: (slingers)
It turns out the strangest thing about black holes isn't the event horizon that nothing, not even light, can escape. It's not their mass. It's their density. It turns out that adding mass to a black whole doesn't work the same as normal matter. When you add mass to black holes the radius of the black hole grows at the same rate and that means the volume gets bigger to the 3rd power which means the density become less by the cubic root. A black hole with the mass of 387 million of our suns would have the average density of water. So Interstellar was right to pick a gargantuan black hole. Not only you don't get spagettified (pulled apart when you are falling into it) but you may also find inside like a big swimming pool.

The first flexible brain implants are being developed to replace metal ones. They will not only be able to deliver electric impulses but also drugs and record brain activity at the same time. This is how the Matrix starts.

What makes biology work is sequence - just like DNA's ATGC - that codes the information and structure - the 3D folding. It's important for DNA as it influences whether the information in it can be used or not (the inactive parts are folded and inaccessible) but it's most important for the enzymatic activity. Ribosomal and transfer RNA can only produce proteins when they are folded into right shapes. Proteins can work the same even with sequence change (amino acid substitutions) if the shape (and catalytic centre) stay the same. Temperature destroys that shape and many proteins cannot go back to the same shape. This is why fever above 42oC is so dangerous. This is what happens to boiled eggs. But now a way to unboil egg whites has been developed by liquefying the whites with urea (main ingredient of pee) and then use vortex fluid device to make them fold back to right shape. The most important part is that it can be used for many other proteins. Like the ones used in medicine.

Disneyland became a ground zero for a measles outbreak in California and it's due to the rising numbers of unvaccinated children that serve as repositories of the disease. It can than spread to people with lowered immunity, too young to be vaccinated and the ones who lost their immunity - like elderly as it lowers with time. A lot of those populations are particularly susceptible to complications. There is certain level of disgust I feel for people who are wilfully ignorant and defend their ignorance even at the cost of other people health and lives. And they defend it as a safe choice and protecting their children. Even though they really endanger them. But if it was just them and their children it'd be just wrong. The despicable thing is the part there they also endanger others - all the people who would otherwise never got sick. This is one thing I wish people who do this could be sued for endangering society and costs of healthcare.

It's not only El Niños that is going to happen more frequently now but also La Niña. The Pacific hot/cold water oscillation leads to extreme weather patterns all over the Pacific basin and influences global weather patterns so they are going to become even more unpredictable than they already are.
ellestra: (aeryn)
I was planning to go and see Hobbit 3 today but between my consumption-like cough and the weather I decided to stay inside. Unfortunately for me when I'm sick like this I the cough and phlegm it dislodges last weeks after the initial infection (in Polish dense phlegm like that can be referred by the world that also means crude oil so my mother used to joke I'm an undiscovered deposit). When I was a kid I was constantly sick like that and usually it was at least a two weeks affair (if I went to American school I would fail to move to next grade on absences alone - luckily for me Polish schools only care about grades and mine were good). So I'm trying to just get to a state that wouldn't make people look at me like I'm plague ridden (I'm no longer contagious I just sound like it).

Weather today was also not cooperating - it actually snowed (all my family and friends in Poland were extremely jealous - it's too warm even for frost there) in the morning for little over half an hour before it turned into rain and the maximum temperature outside reached the hight of 3 degrees Celsius. So I also scraped my shopping plans - the cold may not get one sick but it makes my sinuses hurt more. It's supposed to get warmer (19 oC on Christmas Eve!) and still rainy so, hopefully, it be good both for my asthma and my whatever this is at this stage.

So since I'm not seeing any new movies this weekend here are the films I saw this year but haven't written about because of various breaks in the reporting.

Lucy - I liked the general idea and the visuals were very cool but the whole "we only use 10% of the brain" thing has to die. I was so concentrated on ignoring this I think I missed some of the plot, especially Morgan Freeman part as he kept repeating this nonsense ad nauseum. Seriously, they could've replaced it with the drug making more synapses. Not that it'd give you superpowers but is not as offensively stupid and it would've made more sense in the context - drug explanation would actually work better with it. But I thing Besson just wanted to count up to 100%. It was also hard not to notice it's his movie as he used his favourite trope of woman saviour/special chosen being that has to be protected and guided to her great destiny by lesser men (and defended by them which was especially ridiculous in this case as she has shown being able to just kill them with her mind). As women tropes go it's not bad (there's a reason we love his heroines so much) but it means that the only other female characters are in the film for like 5 minuets total (roommate and I think a flight attendant) and it only passes Bechdel test because of a conversations that barely even a dialogue. Everyone else, gangsters, policemen, scientists are all men. I did however like the multinational feel of the film from Korean gangsters in Taiwan to Americans in Paris. I also loved the lack of love story (or even the reverse of it - the boyfriend was waste of air and she only said professed love to her parents) and how the plot was all about Lucy's doing everything to reach her full potential. She's not there to save or revenge anybody, she just wants to improve herself and see what's at the end of the road, and everything else is just a background noise. The effects were beautiful, Besson always had an eye for incredible visuals, and, once I got over the 10%, the story was very engaging too.

The Guardians of the Galaxy - I loved it as everyone else including the fact that it began and ended with dancing. The only thing that bothered me was that Gamorra should've kicked Peter's ass and didn't need rescuing and generally wasn't badass enough for the most feared assassin and Thanos daughter but it might be just me projecting Aeryn Sun on her. This is unfortunate consequence of all the obvious Farscape similarities. This is why before I saw it I tried to ignore the obvious comparisons to Farscape to try to let it stand on it's own but I had to give up and just accept it basically Farscape the Movie (it was the plan that broke me, that was such a typical Crichton plan). But in all the film is a thing of beauty and I can't believe we still don't have dancing baby Groot.

The Theory of Everything - For a film about a progression of the disease this one have very little medical dram - there are only two doctors - the one who gives the diagnosis and the one who does the intubation but everything else is about the relationship between Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane. Everyone else is background families, kids, friends. It could've easily been a film about the disease or about the triumph of genius mind over the disease but that also is a background. It's the story of living a life with the disease both for the man affected by it and the the one taking care of him with all the hardship and pain and humiliation that comes with it but also that there are still good parts and there is still fun (the Dalek impersonation slew me). Friend I saw it with said it's great there were all the comedic moments or it would've been too much and I think that that was very important to show it wasn't all tragedy. I loved that they were not condemning that in the end it was too much and they grew apart and divorced as . I loved that they shown both Hawking atheism (and that he stayed atheist all the way through) and his wife faith without condemning either. However, I felt that the film kipped through and glossed over their life. All we got were snapshots of the events that were told from the future when we already know that he lived to be 72 and the bitterness over divorce is long over so everything - from betrayals to indignities - is just a memory and everyone is so understanding. But that's just a minor consequences of making movie about living people you like. A little trivia - Kip Thorn (Penthouse bet guy) is the physics consultant for Interstellar who modelled the blackhole in the movie.
ellestra: (charlie jade)
So I'm sick.

It all started three weeks ago with an itch. My first I thought it was just strands of the hair touching my neck. Then I thought it was an allergic reaction - mostly because I started to also get asthma symptoms and that even with me taking all my drugs. So I went to see a doctor and it turned out I wasn't having asthma exacerbation because something I touched or ate that also caused a rash. My throat was itching because I my asthma was so bad. So I got nebulizer treatment (and it stopped the itching so ) and went on highest dose of all drugs. I was hoping to avoid the worst - oral steroid. But unfortunately it only got worse. I got the first dose of steroid in the injection and that really hurt. I also got a cramp and couldn't sit for a while. Then I spent the next week on the oral steroid. I sincerely have no idea how anyone would take steroids from their own volition. It seems like a complete insanity to me as I always beg not to do it. But I get all the side effects and then some.

I go with it and suffer through all of that because it beats not breathing. The truth is - steroids help with asthma. They make symptoms go away. So when I was back to be able to walk a little faster then slow and run few meters without feeling like my lungs are about to burn inside I stopped taking them.

Of course by then I had the full spectrum of side effects. I got all the usual stuff like hunger attacks when you feel sudden, painful hunger that twists your stomach even when you've just eaten and are completely full. That's a really weird feeling to be full and hungry at the same time. And of course it resulted in weight gain too. There's also trouble with sleeping because of elevated heart rate and also in my case also elevated temperature (which means normal human body temperature as mine is normally lower). And dry mouth. And also the some less known side effects like eye problems - I have trouble with accommodation when I take it for too long. I can't wait for diabetes and/or glaucoma. Why would anyone do it voluntarily escapes me.

One more side effect is suppressing immune system so two days after I got all clear for asthma and stopped taking the corticosteroid I got sick. Like normal, viral infection sick this time. Just in time for the weekend. So now I sit home with fever (37.8 - doesn't happen that often too me) and sore throat and aching ears and something disgusting, almost solid and super sticky coming out of my nose. I was supposed to be finally fine and then this happened. Even the doctor's first reaction to seeing me again was "oh no, not you again". We even exchanged Holiday wishes last week - we didn't expect to see each other again this year.

And I don't even know why it all happened as I usually don't have asthma symptoms this time of year.

16 years

Nov. 27th, 2014 03:47 pm
ellestra: (telamon)
My cat started to feel unwell after the summer. As always he spent most of it outside. One of my uncles inherited my grandparents farm but they gave all the other kids a little piece of land each and we always spent there weekends and vacations. So whenever my mother stayed there for a week or two she would take the cat with her. Years ago I did that during vacations. The cat always loved it.

He had his best friend there - my uncle's cat. It was always fun to watch them walk everywhere together. They would fight, play and groom each other. They would sleep together in the attic. They both are black so it was sometimes hard to tell where one cat started and the other one ended. When they where tumbling together it looked like a strange creature with eight legs and two heads. They would follow each other recreating the deja vu moment from Matrix. But the funniest was when they defended their territory. No cat or dog dared to come to close. I saw my cat chase another cat up a tree and then sit below it waiting to attack it again (I had to take him away so the other cat could escape). He also attacked dogs even much, much larger than him. He once jumped on my uncle's dog (pointer/lab mix) head with claws out and chased him until the dog hid behind my uncle (I had to take the cat inside so he couldn't see the dog). He loved it there.

But this summer he just wanted to go home. And then he got sick. At first looked just like he was scratched by some other cat and one of the wounds got infected but he still had problem with eating even after the antibiotics took care of the infection. He lost a lot of weight but then started to gain it again after the problem with his back teeth was solved. Most of his teeth had to be removed. It happens to cats with age. Some of the teeth can even break off on their own.

So he got better for a little while. Then he got worse again and my parents noticed blood in his urine. It turned out to be bladder cancer. My dad just told me they had to put him to sleep - he was in too much pain.

He was 16.5 years old and he was with us for exactly 16 years - my brother brought him from the pound underneath his parka on a November evening. Back then we both lived with our parents. Now he has his own family and I'm on the other side of an ocean. I wish I could've been there. I wish he was here and I could pet him and he would sleep on me (he was always a very cuddly cat). So I'm sitting here at my friend's Thanksgiving dinner trying not to cry every time I see her cat.
ellestra: (tiger)
Everyone you know and a lot of people you don't have been doing the ice bucket challenge for ALS. That includes some billionaires, our favourite celebrities and even writers. It almost feels like everyone poured ice water on themselves. But this is nothing*. Here's a guy pouring liquid nitrogen on himself. It works because of the Leidenfrost effect - skin is so hot compared to liquid nitrogen that it turns into gas instantly so the liquid never touches the skin. Still - not something to try at home.
EDIT: The original video is down so here's another version


*I didn't mean it like that. ALS is one of those terrifying neurodegenerative diseases I talked about earlier. It's almost the exact opposite of the things like Alzheimer's but is equally horrifying. You're not loosing your mind but it becomes trapped inside your unresponsive body - still there inside, unable to do anything. As I said - these are the kind of things that horrify me. Anything that helps to make it better is awesome.

EDIT: And since I'm adding things to this - here is Stephen Hawking version
ellestra: (telamon)
I have long weekend now and we suddenly have all the summer weather this summer was missing so far (it's humid and hot and it is to be even hotter - up to 36oC on Tuesday) so I'm wasting my time this weekend on shopping, swimming and cat videos. I caught up on Simon's Cat today - I have tendency to binge watch channels and then forget them for a while (like months or even longer) and then binge watch again. So I was surprised how many adventures of Simon's Cat I missed. Like this one - hard to believe it hasn't been done till this year


I also missed their Indiegogo campaign to make a Simon's Cat movie - Off to the Vet. Even the little bits they show in this are so true - especially the thermometer reaction. It's always the most difficult part. My cat was pretty sick recently - my dad says he's still just skin and bones - so he had a very unpleasant vet visit and nothing went as badly as the enema. Not even hydrogen peroxide washing off the abscess. My dad says he was very grateful for the gloves the vet gave him*. I, of course wish I could've been there - to pet my cat and make sure he's OK (but also because I find procedures like that fascinating - I always ask to watch when they cut me). My dad says he's eating again so it seems everything is going to be OK. The vet told my dad that besides that infection he's in a very good shape for 16 year old cat.


*I recently learned that in US the vets just take the animal somewhere in the back and just treat it with their staff. In Poland, and apparently in UK too, you are with the animal the whole time and in most cases are responsible for holding it and carrying it around. Unless, it's an operation with full sedation obviously.
ellestra: (charlie jade)
I haven't been posting for a while because I was sick and work took all the strength I got (I think I've never did so much day sleeping - even as a kid). It took about 3 weeks to my insides go back to near normal state (I don't think anyone spent so much time and then I first twisted my thumb in bizarre accident that's very hard to explain without visual aids (I hit the two first fingers but the shockwave somehow damaged the thumb joint by the wrist) and then a week later I fell and twisted my ankle (just very slightly - I have a lot of experience in this and this is nothing but seriously). I'm just so fed up with this but at least I'm almost done with the big projects and today I was OK enough (and it was warm enough) that I could go swimming - first time in over a month.

I tried to write about stuff during all this time as things happened but I usually gave up in the middle so I have all these half finished posts that I will try to finish. I'm planing to repost them along with the new posts. This post is really first of them as I tried to write about this before.

17 July 2014
A week ago I got a stomach problem. I still don't know if it was a virus or food poisoning but it was bad. I spent to days on a toilet dehydrating rapidly (2 kg lost in a little over a day) even though I tried to drink whenever I had a moment in between. This was basically all I have put inside - mint tea and Coke (it is a phosphate buffer buffer so it really does make it a little better). After my intestines emptied I could again function in society but I still haven't eaten properly. I get hungry but then I feel full after few bites and then I feel nauseous and then it still doesn't come out properly but at least without water any more.

I went to the doctor again today and got some more test. I've never had stomach problems this long (I almost never vomit, have no motion sickness and usually can eat whatever I want without any problems). This is so wrong and I don't even know what to do about it. I have no fever (my body temperature today is standard 36 oC - yes, I have low body temp). It doesn't really hurt (except for a little bit at the beginning radiating from the autonomous nervous system - from solar plexus to the back between the shoulder blades). I just feel bad and bloated and I have this weird taste in my mouth. And my poop is very yellow (this at least indicated that is bile related).

And I get tired doing simple things because I haven't eaten properly in a week but I'm trying to catch up. I have all those half written posts that I will try to finish and post together before I move them to their rightful spots. Just so to remember some stuff.


So I still am not sure what it was - the only thing they managed to find was a little elevated liver enzymes. The USG didn't show anything - there was suspicion of gallbladder stones - but they didn't see any. As the enzymes got lower (in subsequent blood tests) I felt better (my poop is now solid and brown not fluid and yellow so success) and now it's basically back to normal. YAY!
ellestra: (tiger)
So my asthma got really bad again. As I write this I'm sitting before my computer both very sleepy from all the nights that I just never seem to wake up rested just out of breath and jittery from all the drugs they make me take. There is something permanently stuck in my throat and I can't get it out and it feels like choking - like the opening is not wide enough and I just am tittering on the edge of panic like I cant breathe. I even have problems to swallow - to make that swallowing movement - and that makes the choking feeling even more pronounced. There is tightness in my chest that never truly goes away and I'm running out of breath when I talk.

I kept postponing going to a doctor because I was busy at work but mostly because I knew what they solution would be. I wasn't wrong I was given more steroids. The oral steroid helped a little when I started it but now that I tapered it off it's bad again and I'm stuck with side effects. And even with the initial dose lower that last year I still have all the side effects. I have a weird eye accommodation problem. I have the weird sudden bouts of hunger - I feel so hungry I'm nauseous - even if I ate not so long ago. But the worst is when I can't fall asleep because I'm so pumped up by all the drugs. I stayed up till 5 am on Sunday night and then felt dizzy the whole Monday from lack of sleep.

And the weather doesn't make it any easier - it's been 36oC most of this week. It's still not as humid as it can get here and the fireflies are pretty and I spent most of my time in air conditioned spaces but for me heat always makes my symptoms more pronounced. I miss the cool nights. And I hope that the storm they keep threatening us with tonight will come and wash some of this away. I'm sorry to all the people dealing with broken trees but I just need that atmosphere clean-up.
ellestra: (tiger)
This was taken from lungs of a woman:


She has asthma and her lungs produce white stringy phlegm with a consistency between goat’s cheese and chewing gum. This appears connected to crystalline structures typical of calcium deposits and cells containing lipid particles shown by electron microscopy. This is one of my nightmares as I too had recurrent respiratory infections since childhood and the phlegm produced in my body during the asthma season is so dense I can fully remove it and it sticks on my voice cords and my voice disappears in random moments (if you never experienced pulling phlegm out of your body like a string because it so sticky it never breaks I hope you never will). I keep taking steroids even though they do bad things to my body weight (and beta agonists may quicken the arrival of glaucoma) because they help me breathe. But I none of my skin tests or IgE level measurements has ever given any clue to what I'm allergic too. One doctor mentioned my lungs may just be super sensitive to small particles - so problems during spring and with dust during building and renovation and other things like that.I haven't had any recurring respiratory infections for few years but this part really got me worried:

Treating a presumed but not proven diagnosis can lead to serious side effects aggravating the patient’s symptoms. Both a weight gain of >30 kg and the development of pulmonary tuberculosis is likely to be related to long-term steroid therapy.


And this is how a spiral into hypochondria starts. Dum, dum, dum.

Hurt

Sep. 24th, 2013 11:18 pm
ellestra: (lightning)
I'm not sure what it is.I'm sleepy all the time and can't get up in the morning and then develop a headache in the evening. And my hair is falling out like crazy. Being sleepy started first and became so bad I started to suspect diabetes until I met with a friend on Saturday and she said she had exactly the same thing (including diabetes suspicions). So now I'm starting to thing that maybe there is something to that equinox thing and I'm taking it really badly this year. Or maybe it's the weather changing as it's barely above 20oC during the day and it changes between rain and cool, sunny days. And nights are cold. And I'm allergic to something now. And I'm complaining to the internet because I'm never at home when my family can talk and I need to whine to someone or at least feel like I do. It is hard to concentrate now. I'm so glad I have DVR because things are starting (and sometimes ending) and I'm not up to it.
ellestra: (muppets)
A new version of sir Terry's book - The Carpet People is being published with illustrations by the author and here's a trailer:


Terry Pratchett also has written the inaugural blog post which launches the Alzheimer’s Research UK Blog today - Dementia Blog, what’s the point of it all?

And Raising Steam is coming to both sides of Atlantic on 7th of November.

I forgot to make it public again. I'm overworked and constant need to explain stuff to people really takes me to my social interaction limit which makes me even more tired and forgetful. I'm tempted to start to avoid people to not being forced to talk to them. I used to do it as a kid - my brother and cousins joked I had a word limit per day and couldn't speak after reaching it. I bet I'd be diagnosed on a autistic spectrum if I was kid now.
ellestra: (lightning)
It keeps being unseasonably cool (certainly the coldest June I remember here and people who live here for over a decade say the same) with temperatures barely going above 30oC and it seems to be connected to unusually high amounts of rain. It's nowhere near the disaster level like in Central Europe earlier this month but with streams of rain water coming down the streets regularly there is no drought water shortage danger in whole state. There were couple of days without rain last week but before that there were days when it rained most of the day. The forecast for this week and the next one says we can expect rain every day and so far it's true. This means it pretty cloudy too (and very humid which makes any advantages of lower temperatures disappear) and the clouds seem to be responsible for the lack of truly hot weather. It feels more like Polish summer. The Polish humid hot version (we also have humid cold and hot dry and they come randomly) which is not as bad as humid hot normally here so I cans till stand being outside and when there's a little bit of wing it's even pleasant. So I hope it stays like this but just because the alternative is much worse. The 80-90% humidity it's easier to bare with temperatures below 30 then above 30 (or even, pink unicorn forbid, 40). If I got to decide we would keep the temperature and drop the humidity.

I usually don't care much about LJ changes. I even like some of them (new entry editor). However, the new main page lost all the features I used - comments, birthdays, store. Instead it's been replaced with some useless junk (why would I care about statistics about most popular journals and communities - it's not like they change often and don't contain anything new and most popular post are, unsurprisingly, all ontd). And the help that shows up every time you go to that page tells you all the obvious stuff about what is there (it's not that hard to figure out that Top Journals pane shows most popular journals) but is no help in trying to find out where all the personal stuff went. Does birthdays and comment links even exist any more? Does anyone know how to find them?

I pulled a muscle or got a cramp in my back. But in a very weird place. Not in the neck or lower back or even anywhere near the spine which is usually the most painful and movement restricting. It's on the side of my back. and it doesn't hurt bad and doesn't restrict movement. It's just located right under bra band and pressuring a nerve there so it gets worse and worse during the day. I cannot walk around without (very solid) bra. I just want this to go away. My Swedish friend says Swedes use a mat with spikes for pains like these ans she says laying on it it only hurts for a little while.I'm almost tempted to try but for now I'm just trying a heating mat. And magnesium/potassium/zinc supplements.
ellestra: (lightning)
We started having moments of good weather. Previous weekend. This Saturday. Today. Sunny and warm. Very warm even. And then it gets cold again. Today it was 19oC, tomorrow 13 and on Thursday just 7 and -4 at night. Of course compared to home this is spring in full bloom. Poland is still covered in snow and there is -11 in the forecast for Saturday night. All everyone does when I talk to them is complaining about winter and why the spring hasn't come yet. And not just in Poland but even in here as both places have unseasonably cold weather for the season. But at least here it looks like spring as everything is blooming, including the trees so my asthma is going crazy and that drives my doctor to overdrive because she cannot stop hearing weezing in my lungs.

It was only 4oC during the day yesterday. And cloudy with drizzle and wind. One good thing about it was that was the day I got my got my follow up on asthma and an ophthalmologist visit. And the cloudy weather weather helped with the diluted irises (although my vision was still crazy blurry - I couldn't see my own signature but waiting for it to go away gave me time to listen to Neverwhere). The oral steroids they gave me for the lung inflammation caused some weird things to my vision (I got a little problem with focusing - seems to happen slower then it should). After hour and half of questions and tests I learned I have a good sight, my eyes are in very good condition but the steroids can cause redistribution of liquid in the eye that can lead to swelling of the lens and focusing problems. Just another fun addition to the asthma related problems. It's supposed to go away after I stop taking prednisone (it is already little better as I'm tapering off the drug). So fun. Tomorrow, another follow-up.
ellestra: (winged)
[livejournal.com profile] jaylake, whose books, you might've read, has cancer. Really bad, aggressive, not-responding to treatment cancer. In last resort they will try whole genome sequencing hoping to find out what kind of mutations are fuelling his cancer and if there is a better treatment associated with that specific types of mutated genes. It still might not work but it is a chance. However, it is also very expensive.

I mostly forget how expensive it still is. I do it everyday (mostly not clinical but research so we are less time oriented but still a lot of it is people and some of that is cancer) and you cannot think of the money involved all the time because it would be too distracting but it is very expensive. We are preparing for new, faster, cheaper technologies but not yet. And time is also crucial here. The whole procedure to prepare the sample, test it and sequence enough to get the whole data. And then waiting for the sequencing to finish and then for data analysis means it also takes time. A lot of time.

I keep wondering whether in his case exome sequencing wouldn't be better than WGS. Exomes are only those parts of genome that actually code protein - without all the spacers and other structural junk. It's much smaller subset of the whole DNA so it would be cheaper (and depending on the method used for sequencing might be also faster) butt there is of course some information lost that way. This is probably way they want everything - no time to redo if the results are inconclusive.

So it will take time and money (and money to buy time and speed things up) there is a foundraiser set up to finance the sequencing. A lot of Jay Lake fellow SF&F writers are donating an "Act of Whimsy" - a thing, a project they will do if certain fundraising goals will be met. It's already over 38K so a lot of "Acts of Whimsy" have been unlocked. It also created a small problem when the donations were submitted to Jay's PayPal account and PayPal promptly froze them suspecting fraud due to sudden influx of money. The thing was quickly resolved due to all those famous (or at least having a lot of followers, including those in tech world) friends who complained all over social media but it was an unwanted delay in a process that was all about speed.

The "Acts of Whimsy" are out there to enjoy and more will be coming and they are awesome. You can still donate to see more of them and help Jay or at least some future scientists and patients who can benefit from the knowledge gained from sequencing his cancer.
ellestra: (lightning)
My cold doesn't want to go away and I didn't have the luxury of postponing family because I'm leaving on Friday so now I'm speechless. I spent last two days taking with family, playing with kids and visiting my grandmother (for the last time, I'm afraid) and by the time I came home last evening I my larynx felt like it was on fire and I could only whisper. The pain subsided by I still can't talk. However, the only other symptom is running nose so two more day at home should make me plane ready.

I also went to see town fireworks with my parents and took some pictures. Then we went to 24h pharmacy.

My cat didn't appreciate the explosions. He is not very afraid - doesn't hide or panic but he doesn't like to be alone when they happen. However, I wanted to go and see it because I missed proper fireworks with snow (from the artificial skating rink) and people drinking champagne(-like) all around me.

So lets welcome 2013 properly - with noise and fire.

Happy New Year





ellestra: (lightning)
As you, probably, noticed the world didn't end (again), the Holidays are over and the New Year is almost here. I'm still kind of drowsy after all the food and all the family meetings but also from the cold I managed to catch. It's not bad but it's my first since I went to US and got sick right after I got there. So I went home and caught something just like half of the country it seems. I wonder if it's higher population density or the weather but I never managed to avoid winter sickness in Poland even when I'm inoculated against the flu like now. Or maybe I'm more resistant to illnesses from people who are not as closely related to me and therefore have different immune systems. But most likely it's because I don't meet children in US - those incubators of the worst plagues (I know I was one of them).

Anyway, I was fine for the first week when it first snowed and then got really cold. It was -10 or below during the day and the world was covered in snow or finely powdered ice:










Then the weather changed just before Christmas laughing at our faces for thinking it was going to be the white one. temperatures rose above 0 on Christmas Eve and the rain dealt got rid of the rest of the snow. It was +7 on Christmas and all that was left was some remnants of ice because the ground was frozen. Now the world is made of mud. In other words typical Polish winter.

Luckily I went to see the Christmas decorations on Warsaw's Royal Route when the snow was still there and it looked pretty - Nowy Świat i Krakowskie Przedmieście:




I like those glass bolls hanging from lamp posts best:

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