life updated.

Well, things often don’t work out the way one expects them to.

I’m not going to Liberia.

5 days before I was scheduled to leave I found out that I would not be medically cleared to go.  I was in the process of packing my bags.

This was a result of my PAP coming back “AS-CUS” in addition to High-Risk HPV being detected (HR-HPV).  They have scheduled me for a colposcopy on September 3rd.  While it’s not a serious condition, and unlikely to cause any serious health concerns in the future, it’s enough for Peace Corps Response to tell me I have to defer my departure for at least 4 months.

A brief introduction to HPV (which I knew nothing about until a week ago)- HPV is a STI that 80% of women will have at some point in their life and has no symptoms.  HPV usually goes away on it’s own within 6 to 20 months of infection in most women with healthy immune systems, and there is no treatment for the HPV. However certain strains of HPV can lead to cervical cancer if undiagnosed and unmonitored.  Pre-cancerous HPV can be treated to prevent cervical cancer, which takes years to develop, hence the importance of monitoring the virus and yearly screenings for women over 30.

There is a vaccine against HR-HPV which I highly recommend for any one under 26.

If you live in Illinois, and are unemployed and uninsured like myself, you should be eligible for free treatment and screenings through one of the following 2 programs –

The Illinois Healthy Women program:

Or the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program:

Of course I will keep everyone updated regarding the results…

But, there is  silver lining to every dark cloud, or something like that, right?

I’m moving to Montreal.

Ticker bought me a one-way plane ticket for September 8th, and I’ll be staying indefintely.

Let’s just hope I find a job!

I’m also still waiting for word about my PhD application, which I’m hoping to start in the spring.

In the meantime, some pictures from my birthday, and Corina’s visit to Chi-town!

the bean
the bean
in chicago trick!
in chicago trick!

nicole turns 30!

Hey pals!  Don’t forget I’ve got the big 3-0 coming up on Monday, the 10th of August!

How did I get so old !??!

Love letters, gifts, cards, giftcards, money, cash, checks, presents, champagne, cake, balloons, flowers are warmly welcomed.

final countdown!

I’m leaving for Liberia on August 22nd!

Hence, I have been quite busy and haven’t had a whole lot of time to post in my blog.  In addition, I haven’t been up to many interesting things.  In fact, mostly I have been busy running around trying to take care of a multitude of medial tests and exams required by Peace Corps Response before they will “clear” me to leave.  This has included the following:

  • HIV Test
  • Hep B Surface Antigen
  • Hep B Core Antibody
  • Hep C
  • G6PD Titer (I don’t even  know what this one is for…)
  • TB test
  • Urinalysis
  • Pap smear
  • CBC
  • Physical exam
  • Dental exam
  • Panorex x-rays
  • Bitewing x-rays
  • Tetanus Vaccine
  • Meningitis Vaccine

What a pain in the ass working for the US Government is !

Still in the process of sorting everything out, and sorting out my PhD application.

So, it’s been a short and busy stay here in North America, and all my plans have been a bit complicated by a certain some one in my life… though not an unwelcome complication!  You’ve probably already heard the news, but if not, and to de-obfuscate any intentionally vague comments I made have made earlier, I will spill all the beans now.  Recently I made the acquaintance of a very special boy and, as cheesy as this may sound, we’re in love!  It’s pretty serious and I’m really unbelievably happy and feel so lucky to have found him.  Logistically it’s a bit complicated with all my globe-trotting adventures, but I’m not worried.  However, this may mean that my adventures around the world will soon be coming to an end… and HOLY MOLY!  I might actually be settling down some time in the near future!!  Who would have ever thought it was possible?