Wednesday, November 19, 2014

98th Percentile for Neanderthal DNA ~ A Link to a Few Initial Thoughts

I captured this in a Hub Pages article prior to looking into what it actually means.  I wanted to have a little fun with it first.  I incorporated photos as well.

I was writing about genetic SNP's and their application to Lyme disease recovery.  But in looking at my genetic results, the 98th percentile aspect of the Neanderthal result caught my attention.

I googled it that way, to see what I might find about people who were in my percentile.  I was so amused with the first blog post I read and the very prideful comments therein that I had to write about it while it was still amusing, and unspoiled by actual knowledge on the topic.

Initial Reflections on My Neanderthal DNA

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Loveliest Little Earthquake ~ Friday Night In Montana

Western Montana has had three earthquakes in the last seven days.  No one I know took note of the first two (each 3.7) but just about everyone in a three town radius felt the 4.5 earthquake Friday night, and many people nearest me (a few miles from the epicenter) heard it as well.

I've experienced earthquakes in a few different states, and at least a few times have felt them when no one else around me did.  I've also felt at least one that I attributed to something else initially, but I would hazard a guess that most of the time when someone is inspired to ask, "was that an earthquake?" there was an earthquake.

Two nights ago was a fairly common Friday night in that I was at home (my blogs about Lyme will illustrate how sadly common this is) and my husband was not (he's a firefighter/paramedic and works a 24-hour shift every third day).

It was uncommon, though in that both of my kids were sleeping in my room, and both in my bed with me.  They have long since grown too wiggly for this, and we seldom attempt it for the sake of all involved.

It is common for us to get sucked into the science channel, but not common that even my youngest is allowed to keep watching until past 11 o'clock (2.5 hours after bedtime).

But we watched just a bit more of just one more show, and as midnight rolled around, a new scuffling round of "move your arm....get off my hair" was beginning just as I was dozing off.

And then the house shook, at first like the trains that pass by our yard, but not quite.  And then the bed shook quite abruptly and unmistakably, but without the walls shaking as much as the trains usually cause.

Bickering and dozing ceased as we all sat straight up, in varying states of wakefulness, and sort of lunged toward a sound we were all hearing while asking, "what was that??"

The unified direction of the lunge, toward a profound rumble that was oddly only beginning as we were lunging, occurred to me only just now.  It's interesting what things you miss that your senses catch.

We all layed back down, and my sons eyes closed the moment his head touched the pillow, and the thought that had been taking shape throughout the event in mind took shape as, "THAT was not a Lyme symptom."  I've been dizzy and off-kilt enough lately that had it not been for my kids, I would have woken up, but assumed I was having yet another weird Lyme moment of many.

It happened just before midnight, and no one else had posted I asked if my town just shook or just my neighborhood.  Then jumped from USGS to all other earthquake data sites I could find, but no mention of it.

I have very smart friends, and by the time I checked my post it was full of comments from fascinated, sleepy, and frightened people, many of who could already say there was no date up anywhere, and were noticing what I was noticing, which was that it had only been a few days since the last earthquake of notable size in our area, and that this one was the third this week, with two more the previous week near Yellowstone (but both rated less than 2 on the richter scale).  Numerous people noticed the rating (4.5) the moment it appeared on various earthquake data sites.

The knowledge that I live in the Yellowstone Caldera, well within the huge area that eventually (in geological terms, so any time between now and thousands of years from now), will be blown to catachlismic smitherenes doesn't scare me any more than knowing that the Hungry Horse Dam will kill us all if it ever breaks.  That many earthquakes did catch my attention, though.

I have perused the sites in the past---as a biologist with an interdisciplinary cadre of geeky colleagues to egg each other on, who all find interesting data as a result of normal day to day distractions and questions---and have been surprised to see just how many earthquakes happen globally on a regular basis.

Still, it did give me a bit of start to check back to see two 6.7 earthquakes today elsewhere in the world.  That's no reason for alarm at all, but I am surprised we've had 20 in western Montana this month and 894 this year!  The next step is obviously to find a few years of data to compare it to (next time I get curious), and a satisfactory map to insert into this post....

Thursday, November 13, 2014

On-Line Identity Crisis: My Long Break From Non-Illness Blogging

Last Spring, following a ridiculous level of workplace stress (predominantly drama-related rather than related to actual job duties, unfortunately, but sadly inescapable) my Lyme symptoms, including reduced facial movement and a lot of pain, started coming back.

I talked to my boss and tried to wrap up projects, but the drama displaced constructive work time, symptoms increased, and project planning got way-layed, so that stepping back from the situation took far longer than I should have let it.

Had I stepped back sooner, I don't think it would have gotten this bad.  But I have been away from work since Spring.

Those details are not the topic of this post, so much as where my writings have taken me since then.

This blog (Montana Momma) was where I posted about the relative sense of normalcy and recovery I thought I was returning to.  So I wanted it to stay relatively separate from illness.  Which it largely did, with overlap increasing once I found out my illness was actually Lyme disease.

Since Montanans need to know that Lyme can be contracted here, despite what doctors and health agencies are telling us, it is a Montana-relevant topic that has warranted some attention here.

Just as I posted less on my former illness blogs as I posted more here and was able to do more and more as I recovered, I stopped posting here entirely once I relapsed this past spring.

Dueling Blogs and Topics

I've just built a page about the various blogs and publicly accessible writing I've done.  I began blogging about illness, and as indicated above, I gradually moved away from it when I was in better health, not wanted the different topic to eclipse each other.  And wanting to keep some places clean and positive.  As I stated on that page (that I just constructed), I've had some on-line writing identity crises over time.  And I've even ventured into freelance writing when health allowed, which I've enjoyed.

I've written (and been paid for, though not a lot, due to health limitations) a wide range of topics so far including Hazardous Materials, Civil Rights, travel, wildlife and garbage, forestry, Lyme disease, public transit, and even rocket science.

Yep, rocket science.  I got paid to write about rocket science.  I can't get any more specific than that because all of the writing I've done has been ghost writing.

Where to Go From Here?

Having been away from this blog for quite some time, and considering venturing into BlogHer, I'm faced with deciding my primary on-line identity, whether I need one, whether I should have one, whether any of my existing ones fit the bill, or whether I need (or want) to construct something new.

Among my many pseudo-epiphanies today, I've decided that it's pretty easy to over-complicate non-complicated issues.  Two more equally non-earth shaking and non-suprising realizations include the following:

  • I'm too tired to decide any of this today, amidst a little flare of symptoms.
  • Thinking and typing too much is giving me a little flare of symptoms.

My final realization is shocking, but shouldn't be at all.  I was just informed by my nine year old that there is no school tomorrow.  So I'd better remove myself from the source of this little flare of symptoms so I can rest up and we can make the most of the coming day my two kids have free from school.


My newness on BlogHer (where I plan to cross-post this) paired with my complete lack of activity on this blog make responses fairly unlikely (no self-deprication here, just a bit of on-line realism), but any thoughts on what I should consider (as far as a new blog as a central location/identity, which blog to focus on for Blog Her, or any other sage or non-sage advice) are MORE than welcome....

Monday, November 3, 2014

Lyme Activism Quick Link ~ Why Patients are Protesting (Hub Pages Article)

I'll be updating more here regarding the trip I took to Philadelphia.  I've posted photos and links on my Lyme blog, Invisibly Lyme Montana, but I may cross-post some of it here, as it pertains to Montana and to me.

I've got other Lyme articles to share and catch up on here as well, though some of my Lyme disease writing is ghost written for clients.

Lyme Disease Activism ~ Why Patients Are Protesting
2014 IDSA IDWeek Lyme Protest was one of many examples of Patients gathering around the world to ask for change.