Click the picture for the story of Calypso, the Three Legged Green Sea Turtle, and why she's my symbol

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Grad School, Jumping, and The Way Forward

Been awhile since I've written anything here so here are the big updates:

I'm currently working on my Masters in Biotechnology. This is a fun field with interesting and challenging opportunities. Most of my teachers have either started Biotech companies of their own or are doing research for the university. I have teachers designing tests for cancer markers and a teacher who runs the Infectious Disease department at a local hospital. As exciting as it is, it's exhausting and complicated. Most days after class I feel like my brain is leaking out my ears.

I know how he feels.

I will be graduating in the spring and from there... who knows! I've been applying to research positions both in academia and in industry. Where ever I end up, I will probably be taking some time to use my microbiology skills in the field instead of going straight into my PhD.

Though this does look SUPER fun...
Physically, things are going well. The pace of my recovery has slowed over the years but I am still regaining small amounts of muscle control in my weak leg. I can fully used my right leg and the left leg I have full control over the muscles above the knee. I use an AFO (ankle foot orthosis) that allows me some ankle movement while still keeping me upright.

 I still get asked why I am wearing one shinguard.

The newest tricks I'm working on are jumping and jogging. Jumping I have a decent handle on when my feet are together, allowing my good leg to do a lot of the work. My therapists are slowly taking this crutch away, working on having both legs do equal amounts of work. Though I won't be winning the Olympic long jump anytime soon, I can now play a decent game of hopscotch.

My friends wonder why I'm so tired after Physical Therapy.

I'm also working on jogging/running. I'm doing this thanks to the wonder of underwater treadmills. Kennedy Krieger's underwater treadmill allows me to practice the motions of running without worrying about pesky gravity. I'm not yet up to running on land but I see it happening in the near future. I do miss being able to run (in the abstract) but to honest I've never liked running. I have no desire to run marathons, but it'd be nice to know that that it was an option.

Even if I did run marathons, the competition is intense.

I still have things to work on, but at the end of the day I'm doing okay. If you've made it this far here is your reward: pictures of my cats and my friend's pet duck.

This is Hobbes. He thinks he's a meerkat 
 This is Terra. She thinks she's an armadillo.
This is Donald. He is a week old and my friend carries him around in a fanny pack.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Some things change

Some things change but some things stay the same. One thing that will always stay the same is that children will ask the questions that people have been conditioned not to ask.

I'm free of the wheelchair but I still have my leg brace. People don't notice the leg brace itself (though I still limp and am slow) when I wear pants and I'm a jeans kind of person. On a lazy Saturday with perfect weather, I wore a pair of basketball shorts. This allowed the leg brace to be visible.

I was walking to my car when I passed a dad and his 7 year old son playing soccer on the lawn of my apartment complex. The son took a look at me and asked "Why are you wearing a shin guard?" The father looked thoroughly annoyed at his son but I just laughed. I told the son I'd been in an accident and now I needed a leg brace for my ankle. The son seemed satisfied though the father still looked annoyed at his son.

The eyeroll is strong in this one.

Some things change and some things stay the same.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

First post of 2014

Sorry about the decline in the number of posts. I've recently started grad school and due to an increase in my work load, any posts have been through my facebook page. A lot has happened over the past few months and here is a quick overview.

1. School
Last fall I started grad school at Johns Hopkins, studying Bioinformatics, which is essentially combining computers and microbiology. I learned a lot that first semester but I feel more comfortable switching to Biotechnology, which had most of the same requirements and cool electives. Biotechnology is more centered around bench work, small in-person labs, and I really enjoyed doing lab work. In class we're going to do bacterial cloning and a bunch of other fun experiments.
Poor billy...
2. Work out
I've actually been fairly faithful to my work out schedule lately. I keep a calendar my sister gave me for Christmas on the wall, writing down whatever exercise I do on that day's square. It's not a perfect system but so far it has worked.

This is from the calendar she got me. 
A cat yoga calendar... you know me so well.

3. Artwork

Pizza... mmm...

Cats in the Moonlight

Full Moon Rising

The Fire Flower

Down the Rabbit Hole