September 11, 2017

Field Camp!

You guys! I'm super excited to announce that I will be going to Spain for field camp!  This means a few things:

  1. I get to travel outside the country (bucket list)
  2. I get to go to Spain (also bucket list)
I can't wait.  Just thought I'd share this little happy moment.  I'm definitely looking forward to June! I will keep posting about my adventures on here.  Even though I'm really bad about keeping it up.  Sorry.  

June 19, 2017

Crazy Day Indeed!

Wow ok, so I gotta be honest in writing this post.  Today was quite a day.  To be fair it was a Monday, and that's probably why it was so crazy.
Regardless, its a whole new experience for me to understand the pressure of a project.  Up till now things had been pretty relaxed at work which was great.  But honestly I like being busy more.  While sometimes that involves being frantic, I'm definitely sharper and on my game on those busy days.

However, being busy at a grocery store and being busy with a project that is your own are two different types of busy.  The first is more what you would feel when everyone else is looking to you to be on time which is to be expected with customers.  But being busy and under pressure from your project is more what it feels like when you overbook your calendar... Because everything you planned is still under your control and your success depends on you.  There may be other people at the company expecting results... but when you know you have something due based on your own deadline, there's no body to point fingers at.

While pointing fingers and throwing blame has never been my thing and its not at all what I'm looking for today, it really​ just makes me realize.  I'm in charge of this.  Yes I have the help and support of everyone I'm working with (thank God), yes I am only an intern, but if I want to say I succeeded in my own eyes, it's really up to me.  I guess this applies to a lot of things, but it really hit home today.

Yes, today was insane.  The craziness was a good change of scenery but still not a pleasant experience.  Lots of things went unnecessarily wrong that were outside my control.  There were several people that helped me sort out the kinks and for that I am extremely grateful.  But ultimately this project ​is up to me, and I will be responsible for making it succeed.

I can do this!

June 15, 2017

First Several Weeks at Barrick

Hello again!

Once again I'm consistently bad at writing these posts to keep up with my life.  But of course, now that I've been hit with a cold I have time to sit down and catch up with stuff.

I wanted to play catch up with my first several weeks at Barrick!

The first week was all training.  While the material was for the most part pretty dry stuff and it was a lot of slideshows in a dark room (zzz...), our trainer was an awesome guy who did his best to make it interactive and not boring.  This was very appreciated haha.  The scary stories people told about mining accidents and how easily they happen was probably the worst part... But it makes you think about everything you do.  It makes you realize that something you take for granted that might not immediately affect you, could kill someone else.  And while that is scary to think about not only your life but the lives of friends being in your hands, it is important.  It really fits with their motto, "Everyone going home safe and healthy everyday."

After training we took a tour of the mine.  The mine sits in Golconda, NV, but originally the land around it was part of the tiny town of Getchell.  We toured what remains of the town... there are a total of like 4 buildings, including a school house on Barrick's property.  The mine operation at the Getchell mine started in the 1930's, originally as an open pit gold mine.  When WWII started it was the only gold mine that stayed open, but not for gold purposes.  Because of the geology of the area there are a lot of hydrothermal minerals, including arsenopyrites.  In layman's terms, this means that we have incredible high levels of arsenic in the rock.  Therefore it was used for mining arsenic for the war.  While its no longer mined for this reason, the extreme levels still pose a hazard to all the miners in the form of dust.  Every miner is required to take a urine test for these levels on a regular basis to check if they are too high.

After a while, other companies purchased the area and started the underground operations.  These were very dangerous in those days, not only because of the technology used to mine the area but because of the ground itself.  The area is well known for its very unstable and gravely terrain.  After killing just as many miners in the surface pit as underground (which is a very high statistic), it became known as the 'widowmaker mine.'  Kinda scary right?  Well thanks to modern technology and shotcrete, the underground is a much, much safer place... the surface pit is no longer used because of instability.

Touring the underground was like a giant maze.  Let me just tell you, there are a lotttt of tunnels and headings and station names that I'm still struggling to remember.  As a geologist though, the mine was much less exciting than I thought.  All the walls (ribs) and ceilings (back) are covered with shotcrete to make them stable, so there is not very much real rock for me to look at.  Except at the headings (headings are the ends of the tunnels where they dig the ore out, btw).  The headings are orange and black streaked with white sometimes.  The black is the carbonaceous ore, the orange is orpiment and the red is realgar, while the white is usually dasite which is a granite-y type rock.

My official project this summer is to study and fill in gaps related to the high carbon values in our mine.  Why it is there? We don't really know.

Anyway, hopefully this has been a good catch up! Hope nobody else is fighting a cold during the summer (which, by the way, is the dumbest thing ever).

Stay safe, friends!

(Disclaimer: None of the images belong to me this time.  Rare, I know.)

May 16, 2017

First Day!

Well, today was my first day!  To be honest it was a lot of paperwork and MSHA training.  We got up at 3:45 this morning... Well, I woke up at 2:45, my roommate didn't get any sleep really.  We got ready to go and drove to the parking lot where busses were supposed to pick us up.  We found a line of miners waiting for a bus so we joined the ranks.  A few minutes later we realized that those were the wrong busses... These were going to Elko. That was not where we wanted to go haha.

The real busses were across the parking lot and labeled Barrick.  Funny how that works.  We got on in two of the last seats.  As we started off, a guy from security who had been asleep behind us spoke to us, probably noticing that we were new.  "You can recline the seats if you want, they don't go very far but it might feel better." We took his advice and he promptly went back to sleep.  The ride took about 40 minutes to get us to the mine.  On the way there we saw an amazing sunrise.  The pictures I have, taken through grimy windows, don't do it justice.  There were so many shades or purple and orange, it was beautiful​.

The bus driver told us where to get off and where to go, and as we left the bus the looming mine shaft in the distance rang its bell.  I can't quite describe how I felt just then, a mix of tired, terrified, and thrilled.

We went inside, I said hello to my supervisor, and we were all ushered downstairs.  6 interns in total this round.  There were apparently more coming later.  We started in on one of many talks and slideshows about paperwork and safety, policies and protocols.  Its honestly a little scary hearing all the horror stories and warnings and safety measures we have to remember.  After 9 hours of this we were done for the day.  My supervisor found me in the waiting room and asked me to follow him.

Even though today was filled with essential learning, he gave me a taste of what I would be working with.  Using a program called Vulcan, they had mapped everything about the mine, its grades, ore quality, and more.  It's so interesting to see the bigger picture of geology besides the close up of the individual rocks.  I'm so excited to return.

May 15, 2017

When Do I Start?

Hello again! Over the course of the last few days I haven't done much haha. I saw a lizard and some quails though!

 I caught up on some things I wanted to do and then... Well proceeded to be frustrated with the bad wifi and basically sat around. Let's just say I caught up on a lot of Supernatural haha!

While my parents were here we also drove by the sand dunes.  Did you know there were sand dunes in Nevada?? I did not.   I'm still amazed.

Also, check out this sunset! 

Eventually my roommate got here and got all moved in.  We finally got everything put away and settled the next day.  Then we proceeded to spend the next day sitting around watching more TV. Let's just say we haven't had a chance to figure out Winnemucca yet.  

Anyway, we start tomorrow.  Our first crazy early morning! I'm excited to finally get started! We got this.  Wish us luck haha.

May 10, 2017

Welcome to Winnemucca, NV

Alright! I've made it to Winnemucca!

The drive was very long... 12 hours overall with some stops.  I was exhausted last night haha.  Getting up at 4AM and then driving on four hours of sleep is not the greatest.  We went through Wyoming which was very boring, and then through Utah and Nevada.  I had never been to Utah before, and I have to say I'm very impressed.

The landscape was so mountainous and green, and there was so much cool geology! Also if you've never seen it, the great salt lake is MASSIVE.  It was also really interesting driving by it, there were little messages and pictures traced out in the salt with rocks.  It was cute driving by and seeing "I love you" and peace signs and hearts.  I remember​ seeing something about Trump too.  Gave me something to look at besides just salt.

So far Nevada seems rather dull.  There aren't many trees around here, just dirt and scrubby bushes.  It is the desert after all. Winnemucca is a very, very small town with very little going on except puns and events that make fun of the town name.  You'd be surprised how many ways you can use the word Winnemucca.

When we got to where I'll be living it didn't seem like much, but aside from some minor maintenance fixes, the place where I'm living is pretty darn nice! :)

After unloading my stuff we went out to the Martin Hotel for dinner.  They served a variety of Basque foods and all of it was delicious.  They had the weirdest food combo I've ever tried: salad with beans on top and salt, garlic powder, and pepper on top of that.  It was sooooo good.  Like I would eat it again in a heartbeat.

I also discovered that Winnemucca has some funny street names... They have Melarkey Street, Potato Road, Potato Place, and West Potato Road. There is also Haskel Street for any programmers out there, haha.

I'm planning on meeting my boss for dinner tonight to meet him before the big day next Tuesday!

I am both terrified and excited for everything going on.   Now to unpack my life for the umpteenth time and get settled in.  I'll keep posting updates!

May 09, 2017

And They're Off!

Finally headed out to Nevada! I'll explain more about my internship in about 13 hours.

May 08, 2017

Latest Adventure: Barrick Internship

Hello everyone! I wanted to get back into the habit of making posts, so this is the start of many this summer.  

This year I was offered an internship with the world's top gold producer, Barrick Gold.  I will be in Nevada working on geology underground at the Turquoise Ridge mine! I'm very excited but also very nervous!  Having never been underground before, this will be a very new experience.  I will keep everyone posted on my adventures in this newest chapter of life. :)

May 01, 2017

Thrombosis Awareness Week

Alright guys... it's been quite a while since my last post.  Couldn't even tell you how long its been or which one was last.  However I have several things to update.

This week begins Thrombosis Awareness Week, May 1-6.  But why am I telling you this?

Here goes the story.

In April 2016 I was put on put on birth control for dealing with acne.  For several years prior to this I was told that it was the only way to deal with my horrible cystic acne.  Antibiotics were temporary, creams only worked for a while, but birth control was the way to go... Or so they said.  

Around the end of September and early October 2016, I started noticing that my stamina was decreasing very greatly.  I was finding it very difficult to make it up stairs without running out of breath, I was extremely tired, and overall just felt useless.  My first thought was: wow, this is awful but it must be because of how stressful school has been.  This was quite a reasonable assumption for me to make, as a couple weeks prior I had been pulling really late nights with a lot of stress and homework to get everything done.  I thought I was feeling the after effects of that hell week.  Boy was I wrong.  

At about the same period as this tiredness, I felt a pain in my left calf.  It was an unusual pain, something that felt close to the bone, like a tendon or something similar.  It somehow felt familiar too, like I had had the same kind of pain before, so I simply ignored it.  It usually went away with walking around anyway.

After about a week and a half, the pain in my leg got worse (though I could still walk it off), and so did my breathing.  It was to the point where after one flight of stairs I felt like I was going to pass out on the landing on my way to class.  I couldn't sing in the shower anymore because there simply was not enough oxygen in my lungs to do that and shower.  I was exhausted.  I had filled out WebMD tools and symptom checkers all over the place.  Most of them led to pretty scary conclusions such as stroke or pulmonary embolism.  "Surely it can't be that?" I thought.  After all, the symptoms for those that had been described by my gynecologist were very different.  She said to be wary of 'stabbing pains' and 'swelling' and things like that.  What I was experiencing was nothing of the sort.  I had a slight tickle in my lungs and the pain in my leg was dull.  "Definitely can't be that" I thought.  My mom told me to go to urgent care but I told her the pain wasn't that bad.  It really wasn't, I could deal with it.

I started taking my inhaler thinking maybe my lungs were reacting to something, but it never helped.  I thought it had expired so that was probable cause.

Eventually, on October 4th, I went to the school nurse, asking for an inhaler refill and something to help me breathe.  She talked to me for a while and I described everything that had been going on.  She thought it could either be pulmonary embolism or some kind of pneumonia.  She did her best not to alarm me with her suspicions but told me to go to the ER.  At this point I was like "Cool, ok thanks, I'll drive over there," but no, she wanted to have me driven over there.  She offered to call an ambulance for me.  At this point I started freaking out.  I declined and called my roommate to pick me up.  She drove me to the ER, doing her best to make light of the situation with me, promising that we'd be out of there after the X-Ray the nurse ordered in time to get pizza.

I was admitted pretty quickly because they had phoned ahead, and they started wiring me up.  At one point there were no fewer than 5 different nurses in the small ER room with me at once trying to figure out what was wrong.  They put me on an inhaler to try to open my lungs, they were drawing blood, running tests, trying to get information from me.  It was crazy.  Finally they discovered that my blood was positive for clotting factors and I likely had clots.  I started crying.  The doctor that had broken that news on me basically just left with no more than a pat on my knee.

They soon did a CT scan and found that I had many blood clots in my lungs (explaining my trouble breathing, haha).  They gave me a belly shot of blood thinners and admitted me for the night.  This whole time my roommate stayed by my side and I am forever grateful for this.  And she got other friends to come visit and bring me pizza!  I was not disappointed by that.  Afterward my other roommate came by with my stuff.

My parents drove six hours to make sure I was okay, arriving there at midnight.  Later that night they did an ultrasound and found the mother clot in my calf where the little ones had broken off of.  I was terrified.  I was diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and multiple Pulmonary Embolisms (PEs).  After a terrifying and sleepless night in the hospital they ran another ultrasound on my heart to make sure it wasn't labored under the blood clots, and ran some more tests.  Eventually they found that I didn't have any genetic factors involved, it was only my birth control.

Funny isn't it? The one thing that was supposed to help solve unbalanced hormones and acne almost killed me?

This should not have happened.  For multiple reasons.  Just as a PSA, Gianvi is dangerous, so please consider it before accepting this prescription.  There is an open lawsuit against the maker of this product, it should not be on the shelf.  Secondly, the symptoms of a DVT and PEs are NOT always what they describe them as.  They can be different for everyone, so please be extremely careful of this.  This is an extremely dangerous condition, as it can lead to stroke, heart attack, and death.

Because of my close brush with death, I am now suffering several consequences.  There are certain medications that I will never be able to take.  In the future if I decide to have kids I have to be extremely careful.

Anyway, I've been harboring this story for a long time, and brewing over it.  There's still a lot I'm still dealing with, but I think it's good to get off my chest.

I hope this story is useful for somebody who might be experiencing the same things.  To a lot of the doctors I saw, I was a very unique case because my symptoms didn't match.  They are still amazed that this happened to someone who was only 19.  I hope this helps raise awareness about this very serious condition.  Please keep this in mind, and be safe.  

January 01, 2017

Happy New Year

Dear 2017,

Everybody has been ready for you since about September. Now you are finally here and I'm starting to feel like life is going too fast.  During you, I turn 20. I will have lived two decades. It probably doesn't seem like much, but from my perspective it does.  Right now, things should be picking up.  So much is already being expected of me, and there's more to come.  It is around this time that many things are supposed to happen, and life is supposed to follow a certain path.  My hope for you is that nothing veers too out of line, that new "firsts" will come my way and broaden my horizons.  I hope that you will be filled with good, and happy surprises and blessings.  Every year brings its own sorrows with it, but I hope you show me, and everyone, more love than hate, more good than bad, and always more happiness.

I pray that you will open my mind to greater possibilities, show me how to be more optimistic and positive, and reign in my reactions.  Please also show me how to be a better person, daughter, friend, girlfriend, geologist, granddaughter, and everything else that I am and want to be.

My only new year's resolution is to learn from you; about the world, about life, and about me.

Please teach me. I want to grow.