Friday, August 13, 2010

The next person who shoves paper in my eyeballs is getting throat punched.

Today can officially go down in history as the longest string of ridiculous experiences known, me. It's a bit poorly written, blame ativan and a SMALL glass of red to help me sleep.

The day was so long (think 7 am appointment to 4:30 pm appointment without a break in between) that I will spare you the minutiae and just post the highlights. So, here's how today went:

7 am blood draw and SURPRISE urine sample (this is a cancer blog, I reserve the right to talk about my pee). I hate when they do this. My mom always taught me to pee before leaving the house and today this habit was my urine sample downfall. Oh well, I'll try harder next time.

8 am- ish CT Scan of the head and neck: I was told to let the tech know that I have a nose ring (read: refused to take it out) so that they wouldn't freak when it showed up on the scan. I tell her, she stares at me, I feel awkward. After the scan, she bursts into the room and yells "DID THAT HURT?!?", I stare at her and shrug and say "Uh yeah, that totally hurt so much"(because I thought she was joking about the scan). Then she starts going on about "Why would you do that to yourself?!" and "It looked like it hurt" and I'm all "WTF". Well, it turns out that when you have in the kind of nose ring that I have (one of those twisty ones that lays flush against the inside of your nose), it looks super crazy on a scan of your noggin'. As in, it looked like the inside of my nose is pierced with a tiny ring. All of the techs and nurses freaked. I felt smug. Also, a lady in the waiting area who had clearly had extensive oral surgery was joking about how beer doesn't taste the same through a syringe to the mouth. You, madame, kick serious ass. Hope you can enjoy a cold brewskie from the bottle soon:)

10 am-ish Ophthamology cluster-fuck. The tech went through your standard eye test stuff: shine this in your eye, read these tiny letter, what color is this and then she chose to say the dumbest thing ever. It sounded something like this:  Her "Do you wear glasses?" Me: "Reading glasses from the drug store, mostly for the computer and for reading for long periods of time." Her: "Oh, you're too young for reading glasses dear" Me: ::blink blink headcock:::"Yeah, they told me I was too young for cancer too but, well, that happened" Her: ::blink:::. Seriously lady, stfu (and maybe sorry, I wasnt' allowed to have coffee this morning before this appointment because of the CT). So theeeeeennnnn, she did something that I think violated the Geneva Convention. When you have a BMT, you're eyes are at risk for damage (dryness, blurry sight, etc) due to Graft Versus Host and the chemotherapy. Before transplant they need a baseline for your eye function, including your tear ducts (i.e. how well do you produce tears). How do they do this, you say? Well, they shove strips of paper, just like this little Ph strips you use in a fish tank, IN YOUR FUCKING EYEBALLS. Yes, IN YOUR FUCKING EYEBALLS. Then, you know what? You have to close your FUCKING EYES over the strips, which are shoved under your EYEBALL in your lower lid and HOLD THEM THERE FOR FIVE MINUTES. Oh, and guess what, you do this TWICE. So this lady tells me about the test, and I kind of ignored her when she said it was like torture, just figuring that she was telling me this was going to suck so afterward I didn't think it sucked so much, and then shoves the paper IN MY FUCKING EYES. Then she starts yammering about her kids (I'm really being harsh on this woman, but hell, you would too!) and I (am in a lot of pain) stop her and ask how long I have to have these things in and she says "OH, five minutes. I don't like to tell people that right away". My reaction was to yell "WHAT?!" much louder than I intended to, which thankfully made her laugh. Then I followed that up with a deep gulp because my next instinct is to string together two words that were not Merry Christmas, but this is the south and ladies don't talk like that, or something. Instead? I say "I'm glad you didn't tell me because I would have punched you in the throat!" and then laugh my ass off (this hurt my eyeballs). She did NOT get my....joke. Meh. Then she pulled out the paper, dilated my eyes and shoved those little friggin' strips right back in there. For the rest of the day my eyes were both bright red and so dilated I looked like a nutbag. (On the topic of dilated eyes, this lady also did not appreciate my joke about other more fun ways to get someone's eyes to dilated. NOT THAT I KNOW ANY MOM OR DAD).

1 pm- ish (Opthamology ran over by an hour and a half. FUCKING EYEBALLS) Dr. de Lima and company. We basically just talked about the treatment protocol, clinical trial, side effects to expect and joked about the heat. This guy is freaking awesome. He's like a brilliant muppet. If muppets were from Brazil and could get ride of my cancer. Some of you may know this, if you know me off of the interwebs, but since I got the phone call saying that the donor was on board, that I've had a feeling that the donor is a man. It just comes out "His collection date is...." "He will be...." so today, I just had to ask. You know what? The donor is a man. SO EERIE. A 35 year old man. When I asked where in the world he is, I was told that he is a resident of earth. Ok then. In one year's time I will (if he consents too) be able to give this hero a big, freaking hug. The coordinator informed me that the donor will be giving marrow, not stem cells, to help prevent GVHD (something about the presence of lymphocytes) meaning that this donor is in for one hell of a painful donation. Thank you, donor, I wish I could hug you right now. My word there is good in the world, and it begins with you, sir.

The day ended with a walk (a one mile round trip walk on a skybridge) to one of the other clinics to learn about my catheter which is being inserted next week and an anesthesia pre-admission interview (have you ever died from being knocked out? no? cool.)

P and I ended the day with a dunk in the hot tub downstairs (there is a story there too, some other time) a veggie pizza (because there is NOTHING in the the medical center area. thanks dad:) ), and a glass of wine.

So, dear reader, I have a question for you: Dr. de Lima offered the advice today that I shave my head BEFORE entering the hospital (again, there is a rant here about why I even needed to ask about my hair and if I could wear a bra with my catheter, another day). His point, and I quite like it, is that then it happens on my terms( I just might be a control freak...). It's less "messy" and far less traumatic. I hadn't planned on doing this but I see his point and quite like it. What are your thoughts? I'm thinking that this is a great idea. I'm also thinking that if I do this, I'm TOTALLY posting a video of it. The plan would be to do it next Thursday night, one week from today. Post your thoughts in the comments! kthnx:)

Thank you all again for your love, support, comments, e-mails, text messages and Facebook posts. You sustain us. Keep 'em coming!!

Much love:)


  1. Do it. It's very smart to make this happen on your own terms, very smart. Empowering too.

  2. SHAVE IT! Sooooooo much easier!!!!!! xo Lisa

  3. Laura
    considering my daughter Annah shaved her head twice,and Mirra once ,I say make the statement and take control where you can.
    Nobody can take away your beauty and wild woman,feistiness.
    Love Andrea

  4. Hello, paper in the eye -- for 5 min -- 2X? OMG. That's just insult to injury. In terms of shaving your head, I think it would be better to do it under your terms and have it happen all at once.

    Your donor kicks serious ass and so does your intuition.


  5. Next time someone tries to put paper in your eyeballs you should punch them in the throat!! And I say shave it if you want:) You will be beautiful with or without hair anyway!

  6. You are so brave and strong. I admire you immensely. My name is Mick Thompson and I am a friend of your Dad's from high school in Upper Darby and heard about your blog from Cliff's Facebook page. I can't believe you went through what you did yesterday and still had the energy to write in your blog (maybe the yoga gets some credit here). So stay strong and know your Dad has a ton of friends sending good thoughts your way. In my book, you are already kicking ass!

  7. Hey Laura I'm down for it! You want a partner on that shave? Hell my hair is pretty damage from all the bleach but I really enjoyed the pink hair again. Maybe when it grows back I will dye it orange....just like a mood ring!

    In solidarity

  8. Laura, girl, for whatever it is worth, my vote is that you shave that beautiful head of yours. I have had VERY short hair an let me tell ya, it is liberating beyond belife. Plus, the rest of us will get to see even more of your amazing bone structure. Love from Greece, Dolly

  9. I would say shave it...your time, your terms! A coworker of my husband lost her hair due to chemo and my then 5 year old son's response to this was "Miss Kathy has more face to kiss now and that's good because kisses make you feel better." Gotta love 5 year old logic!

  10. I vote for the shave. love the video idea. and "he is a resident of earth" had me spitting out my tea. so fucking funny. you are a true spiritual warrior for the paper in the eyes alone! Jeez girl. The inspiration just oozes from you. rock on!

  11. The paper in the eyeballs thing sounds horrible.... I think that you should shave your head yourself, you are beautiful inside and out. xoxo Cullen

  12. OH, MY. I love you. I haven't commented in a while because I read this on my phone, but had to jump in here: SHAVE IT. For the reasons above, and because I honestly can't think of anyone who'd look better bald.

    This blog sustains US, your rabid fans, thinking about you all the time. Thanks for updating under these circumstances. I speak for everyone when I say you are AWESOME, in the truest sense of the word.

    Miss you, brave one. Beautiful one. Keep sassin' the Texans.


  13. I stumbled upon your Blog.
    I am an UDHS alumni ('78)and saw your fathers post on a friend of a friend's facebook wall. I read that he was thankful for the well wishes and prayers being sent your way and to keep them coming and pointed at Houston. He informed others that they could follow your blog for updates.
    At first reading your blog I felt like an intruder, but the more I read of your awesome sprit, your beautiful personality, your love of life and family, and your courageous attitude in this journey, the more I just wanted to reach out and let you know that others are out here saying prayers and sending positive vibes your way.
    I am a true believer of "strength in mind and body" can accomplish and overcome many obstacles in life. And from what I am reading, you are the epitome of such strength! As Mick said above, you are already kicking ass in his book, I say keep up the good work!!
    For what's its worth, I vote for you shaving your head, just because I'd like to think that's what I would do.
    Connie Colvin Auld

  14. Laura-

    I believe the doctor has a point. Us educators need to be in control (I know, not proper English but you get the point). Anyway, this allows you to choose to not have your hair, not the Chemo or other drugs. It is also my understanding that not only is it less traumatic, but also less painful.
    You're a beautiful person and your beauty is always with you regardless of whether your hair is or not!