Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back to School

Classes resumed on Monday and so I am that much closer to a degree. Financial aid is still up in the air and the gremlins that generate that entity's electronic correspondence are doing their best to bring on a nervous breakdown. GvHD of the skin and scalp have ramped up since I'm regularly in the sun on a daily basis now. As for everything else, there's been little change.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A little GvHD

Yesterday, I noticed that my face was covered in a faint GvHD rash. It happens when I've been exposed to too much sun or heat most of the time. I don't think I can blame the sun for this latest episode, though.

The rash quietly emerged about an hour after I got off the phone with a harried counselor who worked in the financial aid department. Classes start in little more than a week and so these poor counselors are under attack by frantic individuals wanting to know where their money is. I realized this before I picked the phone up. I didn't want to make the call, but the tiny OCD bureaucrat that hides in a tiny compartment of my brain was insisting that I do due diligence. It's been a week since I sent in my appeals package. I wanted to be sure that the powers that be had received it.

I spent 43 minutes on hold waiting to speak to a human being. I was told that my case was still being processed and that the office was receiving such an enormous volume of correspondence that there was no way that the counselor with whom I was speaking could tell me if my paperwork had been received. Instead of insisting that she drop everything and spend the rest of her morning finalizing my case, I thanked her for her time and let her get back to work.

And I told myself that I wasn't stressed and got back to doing whatever it is I do on any given day.

Then the rash made its debut. I applied prescribed unguents and thought no more of it.

This morning, I awoke to a screaming rash on the entirety of my face that reaches back onto my scalp. It stops somewhere behind my crown and on a scale of 1 to 10 it is a constant 5 as far as itchiness is concerned.

Since I know stress over my financial aid situation has been the genesis of this latest round of skin GvHD, I plan on doing incredibly mindless things this weekend in an effort to counteract it. I have topical prescriptions that will help with the rashes and itching, but until I chill out, they won't go away entirely. I've been down this road a few times. If you need me, I'll be on the couch surrounded by diet-blowing snacks. I might even share if you ask nicely.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Little by little, I'm learning that I'm no longer programmed to deal with the regular stresses that confront people every day. Throw some medical drama my way and I flip over to automatic and cruise on through it. I've been handling extraordinary medical situations for too long.

The only drama I'm currently facing is of the generic variety. My financial aid package is in limbo.

I have seven classes left to take at LSU. Five of them are to complete my degree in Construction Management. Two of the classes round out a minor in Business. I'm currently working on two of theses courses via the distance learning program.

What I'm hoping to remember as my last fall semester begins in less than 2 weeks and my status is in a bit of limbo since my financial aid package is under review. Last year, I wasn't able to complete enough hours to satisfy aid requirements. I was only able to complete six hours each semester thanks to GvHD of the liver and lungs. If I'm going to be honest about it, I shouldn't have been able to finish that many. Sheer stubbornness on my part and the understanding of some amazing professors got me through.

And so now I wait. I put my appeal package in the mail yesterday. I will resist the urge to call the poor beleagured employees of the department of financial aid every twenty minutes. I will continue to work on my independent study lessons. I will systematically chew off every one of my finger nails. I will stress out over this very mundane thing that I know will be resolved and all the while, I will not be thinking about cancer. I suppose it's the small victories that matter most.