Sunday, April 29, 2012

Just an update, or rather an "I Meant To Add But Forgot" -date: 

I am certainly not one to embrace all and everything modern medical science has to offer. I can be skeptical, and cautious, and when my rheumatologist first tossed out the idea of Rituxan infusions, I was wary. Especially when I asked about the side effects, and he did happen to mention that occasionally, someone does crap out right then and there while they're being infused! Hey! Doc! That doesn't sound too good to me!

So I went online to the Sjogren's Forum, where I regret to admit, I read but don't contribute. And there were LOTS of Sjogren's sufferers writing in about Rituxan as a "poison," and not to plug into it, and listing all of the other, myriad and multiple medications that they take, instead. Upon reflection, I guess Rituxan is a poison. Its mission: to kill the B cells that are fighting their own neighbors in my body. I even recall one forum writer who had posted a video of herself being infused, and describing how the chemical burned going in, made her horribly ill, etc. How she had to be hospitalized for weeks afterward.

I decided to go through with it anyway. I don't know why. I made sure to tell Handsome and the Offspring and my mother I loved them the night before the big event, because I felt I might not emerge alive.

But I did. More than that, I had no measurable reaction to the infusion whatsoever, aside from the drowsy-drunken hour right after the benadryl goes in, before the actual Rituxin goes in. Oh. And my blood pressure drops into the "are you still alive?" zone--80's over 40's--for the duration of the infusion. But I think that has more to do with my nervousness about an IV. Maybe?

I wish I could say that I get a whole lot of relief from Sjogren's symptoms from the treatment, but I don't think it's been too profound. I'm really trying to take note better, this time.

Maybe in a couple of years, Rituxan will go down as being a big mistake, and I'll regret the treatment. But for now, I don't, and I am crossing my fingers that I'll soon have a little moisture in my mouth, my eyes will be more comfortable, my lungs will be a little clearer and work a little better, I'll have more energy, and all of the other little and big Sjogren's problems will be gone. Well...less troublesome.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rituxan Part Two: a rather boring post

Reflecting upon the week that was, I once again marveled that the four day school week felt just like the five day school week. Fridays off are so much better than Mondays off. Why? Because it's just going along like usual, and then SURPRISE a free day. Kind of like when Offspring XY Physicist was born almost a month early. Expecting another month of pregnancy (which wasn't the joyous, super healthy time for me that is reported to be for some) and then SURPRISE it's over! = SWEET. (Note: and Offspring XY Physicist wasn't so early as to be endangered or even need respiratory assistance. Just a day of incubation.)

Thinking about my Monday "off" reminded me to be watching for any signs that this round of Rituxan made any difference. A week after the second treatment: no, but the doctor has told me that it takes a couple of months to go into effect. It's going to be a bit difficult to notice if the effect, in two months, has been anything at all, because in approximately two months, school, and hours of talking, talking, talking will be eliminated and hence my mouth dryness will naturally be diminished, ditto for general tiredness. I'll try to make note, though. 

Punctal plugs along with Restasis have really made a difference with my eye dryness issues. Not one case of pinkeye this winter! Or maybe that was the Rituxan? Guess I'll just keep doing it all.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Works in Progress

This is the first and only time I'll illustrate a woman using the stippling method. Does it appear that these two have wicked razor burn? And that the woman on the left is somewhat alien? (and not entirely due to stippling.) Tip your head to the side and consider:

One alternative is to use lines similar to the way lines are used in scratchboard illustrations. This piece is unfinished, but at this stage, I like it a lot better than the previous illustration. Her neck looks shaded, not rashified:

I intend to finish her tomorrow, and then try a different method. This is part of my "MFA Program"--that is, to experiment with different ways and media in illustrating similar subjects. I've always been partial to B/W illustrations and maybe it's from my early career as a graphic artist in a (primarily) black and white print shop. I am drawn to pen and ink and scratchboard and block prints. 

But I'm also drawn to color illustrations. I just plain like, adore, admire awesome illustration!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Word A Day Wednesday

Some women make it look so easy. But are the majority of us actually self-conscious about our appearance, our intelligence, our life choices?
I hand it to the woman who can float through the day with grace and elan, who can radiate positivity and confidence, and have it be for real.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Key to Being a Better Artist...

Who Knew!?!

All I need to do now is get up from my drawing board and buy 
a GAS stove/oven/range. I can blame my artistic shortcomings on my old electric stove.  When was the last time you heard someone refer to the RANGE and they weren't discussing cattle?

I do love this old ad. Can't remember where I found it, 
but it was in the files.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A reading recommendation:

A Worthy Attachment, by Cassidy Percoco

If you liked Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility and the like, and if you wish that Jane would sit down at her computer and get writing, already, oh, except for being...well...this is the "Kindle Single" for you. (Just don't try to click to look inside.)

Of course, while you're browsing through the Kindle offerings, don't forget Kismet, by Suzy Frisbee. That's me! While not written in P&P language, it does share some elements with the master. Mistress? Read it and see! (Just don't try to click to look inside.)

Then let me know what you think. About both. About either. Really.