October 31, 2017

Beyond Awareness

image via
I could not let this month close without publishing a post on Breast Cancer Awareness, something I am a very strong advocate for.

I recently heard from a coworker that when her daughter in law turned 40 yrs old, she decided to invest in her health a little more.  She scheduled an appointment for her very first mammogram and was found to have stage IV breast cancer. I can not imagine the wild whirlwind her life has taken on in the last month or so going from diagnosis to quickly undergoing an aggressive course of treatment. My heart aches for her and her family. 

Sadly, this is not a standalone case. There are many people who go to the doctor for a routine visit and leave with a life changing diagnosis; sometimes because they overlooked that spot, or that odd pain. The point I am trying to make is that we need to take care of ourselves. Sometimes we get so caught up in our busy schedules, or we just coast along because we’ve felt relatively healthy "all our lives", and we fail to take care of this body that takes us through those busy schedules.

Do not neglect your self.

Make time for those routine check-ups.

If something in your body does not seem right, get it checked out. It is better to have a routine check-up now when that pain is just a tiny nuisance than to have it progress later on.  

I understand that we are beyond awareness now, in regards to Breast and other types of cancers, but I still wanted to highlight the need for vigilance.  There are many things in this world that can contribute to that dreaded cancer diagnosis and there is no miracle drug that can prevent it. I honestly believe it is just the luck of the draw these days. However, I implore you to make those routine appointments and to do your self-checks, so that if you are ill, it may at least be diagnosed at an earlier stage.

September 27, 2017

The Getting

In 2015, I moved from the idea of creating New Year's Resolutions to setting goals. I wrote a checklist of dreams and desires for myself in the back of my planner and intermittently checked the status of them throughout the year. It wasn't a long list by any means, but it included aspirations that I have had for a while. Big item things that I would have really liked to accomplish at some point in life (ie. near future). By the end of the year, I think all but two things were checked off. I thought that was impressive, but not good enough. Not having those last two items checked off felt like a failure to me (because sadly, I have a severe misconception about the the goodness of my life most times). 

This evening as I drove home from work, my mind drifted into deep thought as it normally does. I don't remember the sequence in which my thoughts came, but I ended with the realization that I had achieved one of the last goals on that list. I had the job title that I was seeking for some time now. And though the position is nothing like what I had imagined, it is what I wanted, and what I researched endlessly, and what I prayed for. I wanted this, and I got it. Granted, it's not what I thought it would be in terms of salary and perks and the like, but this was it. I got so caught up in what it lacked, and how it didn't make me feel, and how it was in comparison to other titles, that I lost sight of the fact that it was actually in my possession.

How thankless we are sometimes! -- or, at least I know I am. We are always on the hunt for the next level, the next best thing, and we forget to appreciate what we have now. We forget to see and acknowledge the blessing (for lack of a better term) that we have before us. 

As I try to work through this revelation, for the remainder of the week or however long it takes to chew and digest all of this, my one hope is that I don't forget the humble beginnings. I hope I don't forget the journey that got me to whatever milestone I reach. I want to remember the wanting, because it was the wanting that leads to the getting.

August 26, 2017

Zelda Pig


We adopted a little guinea, called Zelda, one year ago. There was a pair of them (the other was called "Link"... haha). They were under the care of a bioinformatic postdoc at the hospital who inherited them from a friend who moved to California. But because he travels to India every year for an extended period of time, he was looking to give them up to someone who could take care of them. During the long inquiry process (where I was doing research and trying to decide if I really wanted to take on caring for guinea pigs), I was notified that Link developed a lower body issue that made it difficult for her to move, and so the vet had her euthanized. The postdoc was very honest with me about this during this time, and that allowed me to trust him through the rest of the adoption process. I also met with him during tea time one afternoon to discuss care and essentials, and that also eased my worries.

So, on August 24, 2016, I took Zelda home with a cage, a pigloo, and full bag of baby carrots (her fave). She was very nervous during her first days with us... months even. She was very clean, but her nails was super long! It almost seemed like she was neglected. Our first order of business was getting her nails clipped. I did research, watched a couple youtube videos, and tried to do it myself, but she was very frightened, and very fast. We could not catch her to cut her nails ourselves or even to take her to a vet for them to cut it. It got overwhelming very quickly. I remember reaching out to one of my college friends who recently got two guinea pigs to ask for advice on overall guinea  pig care. She mentioned going to an animal shelter to  get a friend to replace Link since guinea pigs are social and Zelda would most likely get lonely. Friends, hearing that, the only thing on my mind was bringing Zelda to a shelter so that I could give her up for adoption. It had not even been 4 days since we had her and I was thinking about giving her away (how horrible). It just seemed like too much work at the time.  I'm glad we didn't give her up, however. I did research on these animal shelters and read that most guinea pigs would not make it because they're so overcrowded. I could not do that to this sweet piggie who had already lost a friend.

As the weeks went by, we decided to keep Zelda, and I'm so glad that we did. She brought some adventure to our mundane lives. Almost immediately, we weren't just worrying about ourselves anymore. And even though people mostly say that after having babies, it can also be said about a pet. She makes us laugh at her greediness, and curiosity, and gives us a great stretch/workout when trying to catch her to clean her cage. I think the greatest change is how hubs has warmed up to her. He is not a fan of pets at all. He was more than apprehensive about us getting one, but has warmed up to her over time. I actually think he's her favorite. He spoils her with all the treats, and ear rubs, and she is very responsive to his voice.


I am not sure how much time she has left with us. She was said to be 2.5 to 3 years old  (lifespan: 4-8 years) when we adopted her. I've thought about getting her a companion for some time now, but all of the ones in the pet stores are very young (6 months). I don't want to start the never ending cycle of bringing in a new guinea pig every time one passes away. That cycle can go on for years, and we are not here for it! I think after Zelda pig passes on, that will be our first and last pet for a time. We enjoy the company and the bits of joy that having one brings, but we're not too fond of the responsibility, especially in regards to care when away on vacation.

We love our Zelda pig though, and are very glad that she's in our lives. 
She doesn't even have a clue. 
We're just food providers.


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