September 2009

9.30.09

Things I've learned in grad school:

1) Doing well in undergrad- regardless of what college or university you came from- is not an accurate measure of how well you'll do in graduate school.

2) How to hold back tears in front of professors/how to develop a thick skin.

3) People who got their BA/BS from an ivy league shouldn't necessarily be placed on a pedestal.

4) It's possible to read one to two 200-300 page books a day and still have a nice evening.

5) Grad school is a full time job- it's not "going to school," it's "going to work."

6) In addition to having natural ability in your field, it is absolutely necessary to have ambition and drive since everyone in your department, for the most part, is going to be naturally talented.

7) There are a lot of terrible/manipulative people in the world willing to stab you in the back.

8) There are a lot of bitter/jealous people in the world willing to talk about you behind your back while pretending to be your friend/colleague.

9) Professors are indeed actual people with private lives.

10) Teaching Assistants are actual people with private lives and their own pile of schoolwork (so don't be too hard on them, undergrads).

Jen
9.27.09

I am reading and studying so much (7-9 hours a day) that by the tiem I get home I'm completely wiped out. I'm amazed that I've been able to continue drawing this comic. Then again, it may be one of the few things that's keeping me sane and grounded.

I am EXTREMELY behind on my personal correspondences and affars- I'm going to try to reserve myself a day this week to catch up.

CLV will be on Twitter soon- I'll let you know the link after I've finished setting everything up.

Jen
9.16.09

I got the results from my LEEP procedure back.

First of all, everything seems to have healed up ok. As for the lab results, it seems that there are some abnormal cell growing at the very edges of the pieces that they removed. The doctors couldn't see these abnormal cells in the colposcopy but they're visible under a miscrocope. There is a chance that the abnormal cells have burned off during and after the procedure (yes, pieces of your cervix gets flushed out of your system for the days following your LEEP), which is what I am hoping for.

Anyway, I'm going to have to have a pap every 3 months for the next two years to make sure the cells don't multiply and develop into cancer. After all colposcopies, biopsies, and this recent LEEP, I welcome a plain ol' vanilla pap smear.

My next pap will be in December.

Jen
9.11.09

Now that I live in downtown NY I see the beams of light that mark where the twin towers used to be. Every year, on the anniversary of 9/11, NYC shoots two long beams of light into the sky. I believe they stay lit for about a week.

Seeing them is a bit like seeing a ghost. I'm not sure why I get emotional over it- seeing as how I was still in Los Angeles when it happened- but I guess it comes with living in the city in a way. Anyway, I bet the towers looked really nice from my neighborhood.

I'm glad I got to see them when I visited for my "college tour" in 1999.

Anyway, I'm posting my comic early b/c I have to wake up SUPER EARLY tomorrow for my orientation at the Met and if I don't do it now I won't be able to do it tomorrow morning b/c I'll most likely be rushing out the door.

Jen
9.6.09

Last night I got eaten alive by mosquitoes. I'm seriously beginning to think that I should buy one of those nets that run around your bed b/c every end-of-summer when this happens I have the worst time sleeping and falling asleep. I think I was in bed for about 4 hours scratching the various place these horrible bugs bit me- my arms, my legs, my back, my FACE...

Finally I got up and placed cold towels on the bitten areas, which helped soothe the itching a bit but now I find myself completely exhausted today.

Jen
9.5.09

The pain after the LEEP procedure is fine. Everyone had me worried at first. People were telling me that the doctors should have put me on Codine and a lot of the websites that I read said that the pain after the procedure is horrible. This has not been the case for me. Yes, there have been some times when the pain was a little uncomfortable but I've definitely had worse pain before.

When I was in high school and college, I used to get such horrible monthly cramps and back aches that I would vomit, break into a cold sweat, and almost pass out. At some point I talked to a doctor and gynecologist about this and they told me that I had some rare-ish PMS condition that would make me get actual contractions (you know, the kind people in labor get). Thankfully, this sorta "went away" with age and I haven't had one of these episodes in about 6 years. I'm glad that whatever pain I'm feeling now isn't anything like what I used to experience.

Anyway, I've been busy studying for my oral exams in the meantime. I freaked out a little yesterday, wondering how in the world I'm going to read and retain all of these books come December 8th.

I'm just going to need some more faith in myself.

Jen
9.3.09

I was able to reschedule my LEEP procedure, which was yesterday. I was absolutely terrified but Edouard came with me which made me feel a little bit calmer. He wasn't allowed into the room, however, since they treat it like a regular OR and had it sterilized. The actual procedure itself was not as bad as anticipated though the moments right before they begin are incredibly intimidating. For one, they bring in this scary looking vacuum for the ash to be sucked out (they are burning off parts of your cervix you know). Additionally, there's the "electrocution thingy" as I call it, which does not look fun, and then they put an electrical pad on your butt. It probably didn't help that the nurse told me that the pad was needed so that I don't shock myself- saying this while impersonating someone being electrocuted- and that I recently watched the Green Mile.

Anyway, my doctor is really good so it didn't hurt when he administered the local anesthetic (the part I was most worried about). After I started feeling the numbing I was calm again until the doctor said "Ok we're ready to begin."

Honestly though, the LEEP is scarier on an emotional level. There are weird sounds and it's not comforting to smell your own body tissue burning. Physically, however, it is only mildly uncomfortable. I've definitely had worse pap smears. There was one point when the doctor accidentally nicked an area that wasn't anesthetized but the sensation wasn't horrible and he was very apologetic.

It was all over in a matter of minutes and I was free to go. The residents all thanked me for letting them learn from my LEEP procedure and I went off with Edouard to enjoy the rest of the day, which included lunch, taking a ride on the Staten Island Ferry (I recommend doing this if you want to do a boat ride near the Statue of Liberty but don't want to spend a lot of money- the SI Ferry is free), and going to see Inglourious Basterds. All things considered, it wasn't a bad day.

Anywho, I get the results from my LEEP procedure in two weeks. They will tell me if my condition has stayed the same, gotten better, or has progressed to invasive cancer. Keeping my fingers crossed...

Jen