Books by Lorie Ann Grover

Books by Lorie Ann Grover
Kirkus Starred Review, Firstborn: "A fantasy that reads like a lost history tome and deftly examines issues of gender...An engrossing story with welcome depths."

Monday, August 14, 2017

From My Sketchbook

I've picked up my stylus lately in processing life, and I thought to share occasional imagery that might resonate with others.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Dry Eyes: Solutions, Part Three

So, I had LipiFlow! It's a 12 minute treatment, FDA approved, which uses thermal pulsating heat to open the meibomian glands. There are about 50 glands in the upper lids and 25 in the lower lids. You can read more here.  

Simply: thick, eye, cup-like contacts were inserted, which protected my eyeballs from the upcoming heat. The outer cups then heated the insides of my eyelids to 108.5 degrees. At the same time, exterior "massaging" pressure helped flush the melting meibum out of the glands. Many of mine are already dead, but the effort is to save and support those glands still working. 

Despite FDA approval, the $1,700 treatment isn't covered by insurance. 

It didn't hurt! Although toward the end it was quite warm. The "massage" feels more like pointed pokes, over and over, but I wouldn't call it pain. It's kind of a facial for your eyelids. 

80% of patients don't need it repeated. I fit the profile for the 20% who do. Some yearly.

That's a quick take for LipiFlow. Now that my glands are empty, it will be about 6 weeks of more dryness before they fill and stabilize. More soon. Back to writing! 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dry Eyes: Solutions, Part Two

I have entered into the second stage of the strategy to aid my dry eyes from Sjogren's, Lupus, and RA. I'm sharing in the hope it might help another in a similar predicament.

After drawing 8 vials of blood at a lab in Seattle, a compounding pharmacy then withdrew the red cells and froze the blood serum for me. At $300, not covered by insurance, the supply should last 2 months. Four times a day, I use the drops to aid my sight. Initially, it was psychologically disturbing to add blood to my eyes.

So far, the drops have reduced the amount of artificial tears I use in the day. By nine in the evening, it is difficult to function again, but I've had the day to see.

Regarding the bandage contacts, they've wonderfully removed the pain of blinking as they cover the exposed nerves of the cornea. I am experiencing double-vision in close viewing. My eyes tire from compensating and feel strained. It is better than pain, goggles, and the complete loss of sight I was having earlier though!

Autologous Eye Drop Serum report from Medscape:

Autologous serum (AS) 50% eye drops appear to be safe and effective for dry eye disease in the long term, especially in patients with severe disease refractory to conventional treatment, according to findings of a retrospective cohort study published in the December issue of Cornea.

"Standard treatments for dry eye disease include the use of artificial tears and lubricating ointments, topical cyclosporine 0.05%, topical corticosteroids, and punctal occlusion," write Munira Hussain, MS, CCRP, from the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, W.K. Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, and colleagues. "However, none of these treatments supply epithelium-promoting growth factors or other essential components present in natural tears. Similar to tears, human serum contains immunoglobulins, vitamin A, fibronectin, and growth factors that promote epithelial health."

Thanks to all the researchers and pharmacists! More soon, following the next stage.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dry Eyes: Solutions, Part One

I've found help, so I'm going to share the steps of care for others living with dry eyes, maybe from Lupus and Sjogren's like me. There's hope. Look!

I've been housebound for weeks as my dry eyes flared. My must-haves: portable humidifiers, safety goggles, preservative free eye drops, and Lacrisert eye inserts. The latter didn't work for me due to side effects. (The same for Restasis and Xidra.) There have been periods where I have no sight.


Thanks to my rheumatologist, I've found the west coast expert on dry eyes. And he wears bow ties. He's over an hour north, but treatment has begun. I'll post as we work through the stages. First are bandages for my eyes! Bandage Soft Contact Lenses protect the cornea.

These have been fantastic. I only need goggles to ride in the car, and I may be able to resume driving. My only difficulty is extracting them nightly. They adhere like decals. I'm researching techniques to make it easier than working at it for an hour each evening.

Next up will be autologous serum. They will make eye drops from my blood! More soon. But for now, I see you! Back to writing...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Travel with Lupus and Sjogrens

There is a cost to travel with autoimmune diseases. After my recent trips to Paris and Oman, I've been recovering. I thought to share part of the experience to maybe inform others on the eve of their own jaunt.

Armed with cane, compression socks, scarves, meds, eye drops, eye patch, and goggles, I set out hopeful. On vacation, I take prescription strength NSAIDs which I don't daily take at home. This reduces rheumatoid arthritis joint and lupus tendon inflammation enough to function with more consistency. However, immediately, the airplane flared my Sjogrens, which dried my eyes, despite my safety goggles.

After landing in Paris and acclimating, we were off to tour the city. Hat and scarf and sunglasses were enough to protect me from the sun and wind.  

Eventually, I needed my sun-blocking umbrella, as well.

By the fifth day, my eyes were too dry to function, and my family led me through Montmartre. Apparently, there was graffiti in Sacre Coeur and little quiet dogs in the town. How interesting to listen to the sounds of Paris. 

Thankfully, though, on day six, I had a reprieve and was able to see the Louvre, albeit with my goggles. You do what you have to do.

The next leg of my journey was to Sohar, Oman, where I thought my eyes would recover in the humid desert. They did through the day but dried by night. Thankfully, we found drops at the pharmacy as I couldn't pack enough with the liquid airplane constraint.

I toted my umbrella, swam covered wrist to ankle (there was no chlorine in the pool), and rested on the understanding patience of family and friends.

On my last leg flying home alone, I hoped to be able to see to negotiate the airport. In my goggles, I peeped my way through the Bahrain airport and found I did look like a minion.

I made my way back to Paris and Seattle, but the flight caused a lupus rash on my legs. Thigh high compression socks are now recommended by the doc to fly.

Home again, I'm waiting through the fatigue and lupus flu symptoms, the rash is fading, and I have appointments for my eyes. I'm not able to drive a greater distance, not knowing if I will be able to see when I need to return home. I'm still in goggles and cancelling appointments. There is one new possibility I hope to pursue, which is a scleral contact with refillable chambers. More info here. This will be life changing if I am a candidate.

So that's the physical cost of my last adventure. But I filled my soul and that's true treasure. Here's to your next journey. Prepare, pack, endure the cost, but see what you can when you can. Otherwise, listen. Bon voyage!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

World Poetry Day

May It Be

Waves uncurling gifts
Words upturning from my soul
Beauty from the deep

Lorie Ann Grover, 2017