78 degrees in March?!

What’s up everyone?  It’s about that time again…blogging time.  I guess I’ll start off again this time by talking about some of the other health issues that I’ve had lately.  That sort of seems to be a common theme amongst these entries; First, I talk a bit about my health concerns, well, because that’s one of the main reasons why I began writing on this site more than a year ago, and second, I talk about things in my life that are just awesome….so without further ado, let’s begin.

 

A month or so ago, right about the time I wrote my last entry, the doctors began noticing an increased amount of redness in both of my eyes.  Almost everyone can usually attribute something they did to directly cause their eye irritation and discoloration, whether is be heavy sleep deprivation or perhaps flushing out your eyes with a splash or two of bleach.   Over the course of the next week or so, that’s what they began to feel like had happened.  Much like my mouth, my eyes we’re drying up like raisins.  I couldn’t, and still can’t, focus clearly on anything for too long without having to squint and struggle. They are starting to get a bit better, but they’ve been burning, red, itchy, dry…really I think I rather would have not opened my eyes at all when it was at it’s worst. 

 

So, what the heck, why are my eyes burning?  You’ve probably all already guessed it by now, and if you guessed Graft Versus Host Disease, you are correct!  Give yourself a gold star!…yeah, I used to love getting gold stars back in elementary school!  So, GVHD in my eyes!?  Exactly!  There really is no place where GVHD can’t go.  Here’s my best description of what GVHD is and what it does; When someone gets let’s say a kidney or liver transplant, that person needs to take anti-rejection medicine for the rest of their life so that their immune system doesn’t reject the foreign organ and kill it off.  With me, I am having the complete opposite effect.  My immune system was donated from my sister.  Well, it is looking at my entire body all of the time as if it were one huge system of donated organs!  And you might be thinking, “well that doesn’t sound good,” and you would be right!  Another gold star!  Because my immune system, or I should say Lindsey’s immune system, doesn’t mesh absolutely perfectly with my body, it pretty randomly picks where it wants to have a scuffle.  However, the most common areas for the first onset of GVHD just so happens to be the mouth and the eyes…huge surprise there right?   For anyone interested in reading up some more “scientific” material about GVHD, click HERE for a PDF document that is fairly readable. 

 

Your next question I am guessing is, “What can the doctors do for that?”  The only thing they can do is mimic the same treatment that a person would go through if their immune systems were rejecting one of their organs – weaken the heck out of the immune system and get it down to a point where it really isn’t able to fight anything!  Well, that makes logical sense, right?  The immune system is fighting my body.  Therefore, weaken it so it can’t fight anything!  In a perfect world, that makes a lot of sense.  But in a world where bacteria, fungi, and viruses plague our very existence, something like weakening my immune system, which I will add is already severely immature (practically that of a newborn baby with no immunities or resistances), can be very very risky.  There is a lovely double-edged sword effect going on here.  I get the benefit of not having my immune system declare nuclear war against my entire body, but I also have the adverse side-effect of further weakening an already weakened immune system, thus exposing my body to potentially quite harmful amounts of bacterial and viral infections.   It’s a real shit sandwich, but have to keep eating it! …mmmm…delicious!

 

Of course, all of that has made for my days working at Harley all the more interesting.  Sitting at my desk, working on various Harley-Davidson website issues, while having my eyes feel like they are bleeding and on fire, and routinely getting chest infections makes for one hell of an experience!  I’m doing everything I can to get all of my work done in a reasonable amount of time, and think I am doing a fairly respectable job at it.  Every now and then, it gets to the point where I’m just not able to do my job, so I might take a sick day or something if it spurs up during the week to give my body a solid 24 hours of rest.

 

So, I guess it was St. Patrick’s Day yesterday.  That must mean that I went out and drank a whole mess of green beer, right?  Wrong!  Oddly enough, I drank far more green beer last year at this time down in Daytona Florida with my good friends, Jason and Elijah.  For additional reading on that experience and if by chance you haven’t read it yet, please refer to the following journal entry by clicking HERE.  So what did I do yesterday to celebrate?  Well, for one, I’m not Irish, I’m Scottish and Greek, so I don’t feel like it’s a very big perogative for me to get drunk on a Tuesday night.  And yes, I had people asking me at work all day yesterday thinking I was some sort of Irish leprechan with a “Mc” last name, “So McLean, what are you doing for St. Patrick’s Day?!”  So if I didn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like a typical college student does, then what did I do?  Well, earlier in the week I was looking at the weather forecasts for the week and noticed that yesterday (Tuesday) there were quite abnormally high predictions for what the temp was going to be.  Needless to say, as you can probably tell from the very title of this entry, but here in Milwaukee we smashed the previous record high temperature for March 17th.  The previous high temp was 73 degrees and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that we broke the record by 2 degrees with a peak reading of 75 degrees at the General Mitchell Airport, where they take the temperatures for these things for Milwaukee.  As for me, I am setting the record at 78 degrees because that is both what the dashboard in my car said as I was driving home from work and what Google weather was reporting.  And let’s not argue here, Google knows all…so does Facebook, I suppose.

 

Okay, so it’s 78 degrees, if I wasn’t really going to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, then what the heck was I going to do?   I quite calmly, went upstairs to my bedroom, stripped off my jeans and long-sleeve shirt, threw on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, went out on my front porch to soak up some sun, sip back on some suds, and listen to some great 70’s classic rock.

 

 

 

The guy in the picture on the left is one of my roommates and actually a co-worker with me at H-D.  His name is Ivan and we’ve known each other since college at UW-Whitewater.  I was still in work apparel and quickly realized that something needed to be done about that, even though my work apparel is typically jeans and a Harley shirt of some sort.  Busted out the shorts.  As I sat there, it was the best that I had felt in a very long time.  Everything that was somewhat stressing me out lately, just melted away, and all that was left was me, that porch, the sun on my face, and a bottle of brew in my hand.  As the sun began to set, I remembered that I had an earlier commitment to my friend, Jason.  To make a long story short, he recently bought a home in Whitefish Bay and is in the process of fixing it up and moving all of his stuff in.  So, last night I volunteered my services to assist him with moving a bunch of his stuff from his old place to his new place.  Even though the porch time was short lived, I assure you that there will be plenty more porch-sitting, sun-filled, beer consuming adventures as the spring and summer commence. So at the end of the day, even though I may not have been drinking a beer because it was St. Patty’s Day, I believe that it was by far the best beer that I have had…well at least in the past year or so – kind of hard to argue with the beer I was drinking at Daytona Beach on the eve of extremely intense radiation, chemotherapy, and a stem cell transplant!  Laughing  

 

That’s about all I have for now.  The only other thing I can really think about is pictures of me and my bike will be coming very VERY soon.  Every day I see more and more of them on the road.  The problem is, that my bike is still in storage for the winter in Two Rivers at my parents’ place and I don’t have anywhere I can store it here yet.  I ordered a CycleShell enclosure for it, video HERE, but that won’t be here for another week or so…and there is no way I am going to let my bike sit out in the rain until the enclosure arrives.  So, once the enclosure gets here, I’ll head north to Two Rivers to pick up the beast! Oh, and people have been asking me about it so I’ll just clear it up so the rumor mill stops churning, but I am single again, things just did not work out for us for various reasons…we’ll both be better off in the long run.

 

One last note I almost forgot! …Ava is walking!  She took her first steps in confidence just the other day!  She’ll be doing pirouettes around the room in no time!

 

Take care everyone,

Eric

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