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Showing posts from September, 2012

What I wanted to be when I grew up, a Welfare Queen

I decided as a small child that when I grew up I wanted to be a Welfare Queen.  Influenced probably by my mother, who had us on Welfare after she and dad divorced, I quickly knew that was what I wanted out of life.  However, my mom didn't have the staying power, and caved in to get her RN and then become a CRNA.

In spite of her failure, that medical exposure made me set my sights even higher.  I wanted to be a DOCTOR while still using the welfare system.  It took some real doing.

First, I became as nerdy as I could possibly be.  The better to attract other nerds.  Then, instead of going into English, I chose math.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the aptitude to do computers, physics or engineering, but it put me in close contact with these extremely nerdy folks.  It was obvious that many of them had Autism spectrum disorders, even though I was not aware of the term at the time.

Finally, I met the nerd for me.  He was cute and smart and moderately nerdy.  I was a little concerned…

What is Cancer?

Cancer is when a body tissue grows and has nothing to stop it.

Cells die every day and are replaced.  Skin falls off or is scraped and over a couple days it regrows.  Cells in the intestine fall off (slough off) as poop passes by and are replaced.  Blood cells get old and die after about 21 days and the bone marrow in our bones makes new ones all the time to replace them.  Usually body tissues only grow enough to replace what is lost through normal events. 

Cancer happens when cells keep growing and growing even when there are already too many.

How does that happen?

Genes are the most basic building blocks of the body.  They code for the proteins that make up the cells that make up the various tissues (liver, intestine, heart, lung, et cetera) of our body.  Genes also have start and stop areas that cause protein production to start and stop.  These stop and start areas are called codons.

When genes get damaged one of four things may happen.
     1.  Nothing.  If the gene is not damage…