A Book Party in Dublin + A Lesson in Healthcare

We really didn’t want to come back, nine days in Dublin wasn’t enough. The book party and other press events my husband did went over really great. Even our new favorite Dublin chef and one of our cab drivers bought books on the spot! And for those that had missed the party, my husband even arranged to meet people for coffee to sign/sell them books. He’s all about customer service. We had some stressful issues going on during the trip like a medical emergency and having our money cut-off, but we still managed to have a lot of fun. I think it’s a good sign when you do things that aren’t at all in the vein of a vacation and still really like a city. The post office, the bank, the hospital. Adult stuff.

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Our last trip to Ireland was in 2011 and a lot of things have gotten better it seems. We stayed this time at Albany House which gave us an amazing suite, was in the middle of everything, and didn’t up-charge during the web conference going on like so many other hotels who now got in trouble for doing so. It was right across the street from a few nightclub which made people watching quite amazing! I’ve never seen girls in short skirts and no underwear crying so much and falling down. So much black mascara. We were told that was normal for a Tuesday night. But, speaking of the web conference, I saw lots of poor souls off to team building exercises and panels with matching shirts that say, “178% faster loading” or “Ask me how to auto-enhance your Adwords” Also, do people still use/buy banner ads?! Because that seems super 1999 to me.

While standing in St. Michan’s graveyard where Bram Stoker’s mother is buried, I had a conversation with a retired priest about burial practices in New Orleans, a conversation with an American priest who lived in Bejing and would see punk shows there, and listened to the amazing tour guide and crypt keeper go on a tear about how the Rock Hall in Cleveland sucks because Todd Rundgren isn’t in it. My husband touched the finger of an 800 year-old crusader mummy for good luck, and we got to see the burial and death mask of Wolfe Tone.

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I learned you should always look put together when leaving to go out in public, even to the record store, because you might run into “Lord Baelish” — he is a lot taller and handsome in person than I imagined. He looks so short on The Wire!

An American told me that Dublin sort of sucks because there is, “No culture. All people do is go to the pub, eat, and see gigs” and I’m like… this is a problem? This is all I’ve done for 20 years + art shows, across multiple US cities! Yes Dublin was sort of lacking in real art galleries, but there was plenty else to do it seemed. A couple of gigs at Whelan’s, I got a tattoo, Ben had a mini birthday party with cake at Dice Bar, and I probably would have done a lot more had it not been for some of my health issues that came up. There were other things I noticed this time around that I hadn’t on my last trip. The parents who discipline their children in public no matter how young; in the US they let them run wild while muttering “quit it”. The lack of sports jerseys worn by grown men — even at a pub during a huge match. The overall fashion is less casual and men’s suits actually fit them properly! No pajama bottoms or yoga pants in public, except in front of the needle exchange.

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A lot of a restaurants we steered toward were doing a bit of a New Orleans theme, though some may not have totally realized it. My new favorite place is Porndog, Catch 22 had blue cheese grits with their fish (omg), the cocktail speakeasy VCC was great, and I even found a coffee shop that is the Dublin equivalent of Hivolt in New Orleans! Honestly, I didn’t get to a lot of places on my list because our credit card got hacked on day 3 and we then just started eating takeaway and late night pizza or burgers. For the record Rick’s is like eating at In-N-Out in Los Angeles and that’s right up my alley.

The big experience for me was when I ended up needing to see a doctor and then had to go to the public hospital. Something had gone horribly wrong with my leg where fluid was starting collect in new places. Not only was there a clinic two blocks from me where I paid $60 to see someone within an hour, but he gave me a letter to take to St. James’s Hospital — where all my care was free. Now, you have to understand, I had gotten used to the bureaucratic and almost glossed over Soviet-like manner in which Cleveland Clinic conducts itself — especially in the ER. Not only did St. James’s not even ask for identification or a passport (they didn’t care), but I had intake, an assigned nurse, x-rays, and blood tests done and was out of there in less than 6 hours! They even give you soup and sandwiches while you wait. I actually would have been out of there in 4 hours had it not been for the blood testing taking a while. The front desk even called me a cab when I was done.

I ended up seeing my new favorite doctor again after my back went out — due to now needing the cane and it screwed me up — and was amazed I could just walk into a pharmacy and get codeine pain meds over the counter. Again, I am used to being carded for buying Sudafed (because you know, I might go make meth) and being carded for nail polish remover. This was like, “oh? your back went out and you are going on a long flight? Here! Would you like a glass of water to take one right now?” I mean, I couldn’t believe it. I had to scream at a nurse to prescribe me Xanax after kidney failure WHILE I WAS IN THE HOSPITAL and she had to get it approved in case I became an addict, so it’s amazing the difference in how all that is viewed. Then again, the U.S. is the only place where we see direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical commercials. It’s also a place where I DON’T get carded for buying bullets for 3 different types of guns. It’s funny because everyone in Ireland complains about their system and how much it sucks, but I have to tell you, it was more efficient than the supposed bestest place for medical care ever in the universe, and more to the point, it was free to a non-citizen like myself.

By the way, I’ve been back in the U.S. for a week and I am still waiting to see my surgeon! I had a nice argument with 3 different people there and his office; they wanted me to fax my documents from Dublin over to prove I wasn’t lying. And still, no one in this massive organization in this massive department is calling me back. I’ve been a patient there for over 5 years and I can’t get anyone to see me or schedule an x-ray until Christmas Eve. They actually told me to go to the ER if I was in such a hurry. I’m not kidding.

I feel like I’ve been trapped from moving on and leaving to go to another city because of my health issues and the fact that I was supposedly in the city with the best care. My husband has talked about leaving the U.S. for a long time, and now, it was proved to us that I would actually be ok going anywhere. In the meantime, I have decided at the end of the year I am leaving Cleveland Clinic. My surgeon retires soon, his son will probably not be part of the organization, and frankly I’ve been told many times over to defect and become a patient at the other major hospital system here in town. I don’t care how great your art collection is, or how many new glass buildings or meditation gardens you build on the campus, all while laying off and re-hiring your administrative staff. I can’t get anyone on the phone quickly when things go wrong, because they are to busy vetting my health insurance information. When I spend 40 minutes (yes, I timed it) and get to the point of tears when trying to schedule after care for cancer-related issues that have been a major problem for 5+ years? It’s time to leave.

 

Winners + Thanks

Thank you so much to those of who donated (aka purchased) my sketches and color studies for my flash fundraiser! I’m glad these originals are going to some good homes and I’ll be getting them out over the next few weeks to everyone.

Congrats to Margaret McCartney, you won the framed acrylic/watercolor of “Hoodlum” and congrats to Melissa Mrazek, you won the catalog and sticker set!

I even sold some original oil paintings, so I can put a huge payment down to get the Cleveland Clinic off my back (how do you like that for transparency?). Oh, speaking of medical institutions, here’s a little article of me getting sassy about the unfortunate surgery from 6 months ago, while also promoting the sale and my upcoming little reception during 3rd Fridays at Toast. If you haven’t had a cocktail or the desserts from Toast, you should come even just for that! I’ll be there from 6-10pm. I’m a very social person, so when I get cooped up in the hospital or my apartment for too long against my will I go nuts, and therefore, make up for lost time in a big way.

Hoping to start maybe moving supplies back to the studio, although with this weather I’m not sure. Here is a funny photo of my current dining room table studio, sans the cats walking into everything…

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Everyone needs a Sabertooth skull and a shit list, right?

 

Bionic Leg

I had the rod put in from my hip to my knee. It has sucked and I’m still on a walker. It appears I had two fractures as a result from the radiation weakening my femur; one was right at the hip and it is a good thing it was caught. This time I had both my main squeeze surgeon and his son work on me.

For the first 9 hours after surgery I couldn’t stop throwing up. I’ll say nausea is worse than metal rod pain and knee reconfiguration. It appears morphine is like aspirin to me; I need 2-3x more than normal people and am super chatty and coherent if just on normal dosage. Maybe next time I can get Rhino tranquilizer?

I almost killed two of the three hospital roommates I had. If you ever want motivation to not be a fat piece of crap who guzzles tapioca pudding straight out of surgery, then hang out in an orthopedic recovery hospital floor for a day. Again, I was the only non-diabetic who hadn’t had my joints done multiple times over. I cried when I had to move to the edge of the bed the first time, but I was getting up (it took ages but I did it) to use the bathroom by day 2 because I wasn’t going to be humiliated by a bed pan production. Not these people! They wouldn’t even sit up! Or eat a vegetable. Or stop asking for butter. Or pudding. When one roommate was out for tests, her own family sat in her hospital bed eating her crap food (complaining about it, but still eating it) and watched “Cugo” on the TV at full blast while I was attempting sleep, until my husband got up and told them to shut the fuck up. It was a far cry from my Donatella Versace suite from 6 months ago. A lesson learned? Get surgery early in the week! The A-team nurse staff and weekend staff are two different experiences. Maybe 6 months ago I wouldn’t have almost died from kidney failure if my surgery had been done on a Monday.

Various family and friends drove and flew in. My husband is a bit exhausted from these things that keep happening so it was nice for him to not have to do EVERYTHING and then go to work on top of it while I can’t move much. My cats liked all the action, too. Thanks to those that sent gifts and made contributions, it has made me smile in-between my catatonic derpy state of being awake or asleep or reading.

Here’s some photos. I spared any hip photos because they are gross and bloody. FYI, this dry shampoo is a must! Nurses kept asking how my hair looked so good after all that time….

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This better do the trick!

Only One Leg To Stand On

I’ve been told I need yet another surgery. This time, a rod is to be put through from my ball socket of the femur down through to almost the knee. It appears my leg is about to break in pieces and the radiation I withstood to soften the cancer has taken its toll. I’m of a small percentage where people with radiation like that never recover. I was going to x-rays every 3 months, then 6 months, and this was my first one in a year. I thought it was all going to be fine since I got pushed to a yearly check-up after the last biopsy and MRI. But no. It’s so bad I’m supposed to be on crutches right now until the rod gets put in.

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A few people have asked and I need to clear some things up:

No, I’m not going somewhere other than Cleveland Clinic. I have my oncology surgeon who did my leg originally; my botched surgery 6 months ago was a whole other department and team. And really, that fiasco was down to shitty nurses who didn’t listen.

No, I’m not going out of state to another medical center. How on earth does anyone think I will get home with limited mobility, let alone the paperwork nightmare and the fact insurance doesn’t cover you out of network? Where will my husband stay? I had to cancel a DRIVING vacation to Canada because I couldn’t afford it this summer, ferchrisake. I mean, come on.

No, calcium and drinking milk won’t make it better.

No, the bone won’t heal itself (that’s kind of the whole point) and radiation after effects complicates the situation when metal gets involved.

Femur fractures are somewhat common, so this isn’t a dodgy operation like my first leg surgery was.

No, this has nothing to do with my knee or my missing muscles; this isn’t going to make me walk “better” it is just reinforcement to make sure the bone doesn’t shatter inside, because if it does, that means the leg gets amputated.

I know people have good intentions, but don’t you dare send me any related articles, WebMD posts, or lecture me about an all-natural organic hippie diet.

To be honest, I know I handle this crap with humor most of the time, but I’m tired. There are more things I’m getting checked up on in December and this came out of nowhere disrupting everything. I’m done. I don’t even know what to say anymore. I guess I shouldn’t have thrown out my walker last year.

Art in Medical Arts: Show It, Don’t Tell It

Studying anatomy was never something that I took seriously or practiced much in art school. In fact, I kind of sucked at it. So as a result I’ve gone with a very mannerist approach with distorting anatomy of my figures here and there.  It is all very strange, considering my new fascination the last four years is with detailed and gorgeous medical illustrations of the 17th and 18th centuries. They reveal what fragile beings we truly are, and yet the macabre and gruesome nature of the subject is surrounded by baroque columns and fussy drapery worthy of an aristocratic country house. Although they might be gorgeous, these illustrations were meant only for an elite set of physicians, not the patient. Today, technology has made it easier for patients to have a doctor show them what is happening, not just tell them. This is especially helpful for someone like myself, who thinks in pictures, not words.

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My work changed drastically in two ways in 2010. The first was when I found myself creating surreal biomorphic organisms. Although I started from a place of abstraction, they became filled with strange hybrids of flowers, cells, and symbols that appeared like organisms from another planet. It was only later that I found out I had a tumor that had grown tentacles crawling through my body at an alarming rate. When my doctor showed me the scans, it looked almost identical to what I had been painting – tentacles and all. In the process of being treated for what was a rare and aggressive cancer, I wondered what it would have been like to endure the cures and surgeries of the past — especially as a women. Here at Cleveland Clinic I got used to being poked, prodded, getting naked, and having fingers in…well, all the places you could imagine! But, a few centuries ago if I were a woman of means, doctors wouldn’t dare do such things except a very superficial examination. Modesty over accuracy.

After having a chunk of my leg removed — as well as some interesting restructuring– my work changed a second way. I began researching medicine from the Middle Ages onward; finding paintings that showed even the “cure” for my particular cancer was still amputation. Artwork depicting Saints Cosmas and Damian were the first I came upon, and none of it was reassuring. This all bred a series which I called “Ephemeral Antidotes” was a good way for me to work out my anger and be even more thankful that what I was going through is nothing compared to old remedies and techniques. It makes one wonder which medical practices today will be viewed as cruel and obscene to future generations. Will we be lambasted in 20 years for chemotherapy? It is injecting poison directly into a person’s veins, after all, so how is that different from the doses of mercury people took for syphilis? The emotional content was too much to resist.

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Both series bring together a new interest in medical illustration, microbiology, disease, and the evolution of cells. I explore the particular roles that organisms, medicine, DNA, and hybrids play, all while creating from my own imagination and instinct. I have since painted yet more tissues and masses that resemble what is found to be growing inside me; perhaps this is a bizarre way of attempting to control the cells and viruses in my body.

Transforming those emotional impressions and having it stare back at me on an MRI has been quite an experience and highlights the importance of images for both medical professionals and patients. What the patient says is the truth, might not be what the body reveals as the truth. Perhaps this is why more medical schools are looking at applicants with artistic skills such as drawing and painting? Medical illustration has enlightened us that the human body is a machine; enzymes, cells, viruses, and tissues. I don’t know if each of these entities has a mind of its own, but I have learned to look objectively and be slightly detached when it comes to the viewing of human bodies and their inner workings; it lessens the rage I feel at times whenever my health takes a bad turn (a regular occurance these days), and helps me to understand my own body better. This is especially useful when I come upon an imaging tech who assumes I don’t know what I’m looking at. In fact, these days I’m often asked if I work in radiology, or am a nurse myself.

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A new section of my library is forming.

Once my surgeons and oncologists learned I was an artist, they steered away from saying in words what was happening to me in too much detail. Instead, they say, “Come over I want to show you these images because I know you’ll understand.” And it is true, it will be something I spot right away but would have been difficult to explain over the phone.

By the way, after all these years painting people and looking at medical art, I still suck at anatomy.

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Cancer Is Just Slightly Annoying

So as some of you may know, I’ve gotten sick again, and only now finally after almost 2 months is it being taken care of in full. I’m having 3 surgeries done at once (possibly 4 in the worst case scenario, and it’s a really bad one so I don’t even wanna think about it), and I’m hoping that will be the end of it. Sure, I’m going to have annoying side effects for some years to come, but I’ll gladly take them right now.

Despite the “greatest healthcare system” in the world, it still took the initiative of ordering my own ultrasound to find out I was in serious trouble even though I’m not even 4 years out of having cancer the last time. I’ve had 3 doctors more scared I would sue them than the fact I can’t stand up straight + am carrying a growing mass the size of a baseball in my gut; 2 oncologists; tests that were never ordered; scans that got delayed; scans that were read wrong; consent forms that went missing; orders not put in because someone went on vacation; surprise tubes shoved up my butt at 9am; giving my entire family medical history for the 6th time to a guy who was texting and getting snarky with me about the proper name of my syndrome; and having to fight to even get a prescription for the baby sissy Xanax when I freaked out crying in my car — and I’m not a crier.

Oh, did I mention I have more tests next week I have to do, and my surgery isn’t until the 28th now because someone forgot to book it? And, I was told not to pay attention to the online MyChart as for directions and schedules because it is “not accurate” and “kind of messed up” as opposed to what I’ll be getting via UPS from the actual surgical team. Man, when Cleveland Clinic can’t even have a reliable website, that’s kind of screwy!

ANYWAY, thank you all for the encouragement and mutual outrage you’ve been feeling along with me as I’ve been dealing with this bureaucratic nightmare. I don’t understand it; this has been an experience that is almost the opposite of when I had the liposarcoma. Mercury retrograde? Shitty start to the year?  Who knows? It’s actually been a really crappy 2 months for just about all of my friends. The running joke — although I’m serious about it — is for us all to take a Xanax, have a Botox party, and then go to a crappy dive in Cleveland for karaoke. That’s my idea of fun right now.

In the meantime, I’m just going to do what I need to do for my art shows and my husband’s book tour, and read some of these books. I’m so paralyzed by anxiety, anger, and a general “I Don’t Care About Anything Anymore!!!” feeling that the best I can do is just be like a catatonic 19th Century British aristocrat, and get on with it. I knew this disease wasn’t done with me the second I awoke after the surgery on my leg — I just knew it! I didn’t think I’d be back into the mix so soon, though.

Welcome to Hell, I’ll Be Your Tour Guide!

I’ve clocked in over 60 trips to the Cleveland Clinic Main Campus since June of last year. I find it horrifying that there are patients who have done even more than that! Most people have to travel a lot further than me — some from other states, or countries. When you have to go there often, and for many different things, you get to know the place really well. It has become routine, and it’s almost like a part-time job. The cruel irony is that I applied for a job in the art department — the whack-ass online system probably didn’t even register my resume, I doubt — and this was right before I got diagnosed!

Being that I still have to go there for the foreseeable future, I wish I could get a job with them that was like being an information desk tailored for grumpy people who are all, “oh fuck this being sick shit, I can’t believe I have to be here!“. You know, people like me who swear a lot and just want the real info, but with some surly humor, and maybe a little less of that fake compassion I encounter. I know the place too well, and being that it is laid out almost like a city, I think people would appreciate it.

You want diagnostic radiology? There it is, go see those motherfuckers, don’t bother locking up those lockers from 1977, they stick and you’ll never get your clothes back.

You want sushi? Go down to this floor by the valet dudes, it’s next to the fancy bathrooms that aren’t crowded. Oh, you want expensive sushi? There’s the fancy-ass restaurant. Maybe you’ll see a sheik, or Oprah in that bitch.

Want radiation? You want the old ass part of the complex on the 2nd floor. They’re real nice, they have the good magazines and some of the better art.

Parking that isn’t a bitch? You are shit out of luck on that one buddy, and all the handicapped spaces are taken with fatties who need a walker because they ate too much pie. But the parking garage on 100th street ain’t bad by the 3rd floor.

You need an MRI? here’s the fastest way to get there, those bitches are in the basement across the street and it’s all complicated to get down there. The TV doesn’t work in the waiting room. Bring an iPod too.

Need your eyes looked over? There’s the Cole Eye Institute across that street there, take the skyway!

Need a scented candle? The gift shop by the big Starbucks’s has all that holistic and organic bullshit.

Don’t bother going to the main Starbuck’s around noon, the line will be out the door.

Want to see droids in action? Go down to the basement of the Miller Building where you get the CT scans done; they got those fuckers hauling medical equipment and shit! They take corners and everything! Don’t get in the way, they might run over your foot.

Need to drop a deuce in a quiet area? There’s a tiny bathroom en route to the Taussig Cancer Institute, right by the creaky elevator, and the Andrea Joki artwork.

Wanna excellent view of the city? Go to the top of the Miller Pavilion, it’s fucking beautiful…for a rust belt town.

Wanna look at some photos of puppies in sweaters? In the main lobby by the electric tree — you can’t miss it!

Dying for a copy of Arthritis Magazine? Desk A41 waiting area has tons!

Need to park your RV? There’s a whole lot just for you off Chester Ave! You can BBQ and swap road stories with other RVing bitches who hang out at the clinic.

Need a cane?  go to the pharmacy hidden inside the Euclid Ave parking garage. They tend to be surly at that one, so watch out for those bitches.

Farmer’s Market? Yup they have one on the lawns in front of the Crile building. Go buy some blueberries or some other anti-oxident shit.

Getting surgery done? There’s a parking for the Surgical Center, it’s all hidden, and make sure your family members or spouse get a pager, because God knows the nurses won’t actually call their cell phone when you’ve been out of surgery for hours. FYI all the food is from Stouffer’s, and don’t get the pizza — that shit is tiny.

Wanna take a nap between appointments? Do it in the big ass lobby by the electric tree, the leather chairs are comfy; that’s where most people nap anyways, so don’t be a dick and talk all loud on your cell phone.

You want a banana? The Au Bon Pain in the Crile Building has tons. Go eat one of those motherfuckers.

Need a massage? Reflexology? A gym? Need to test your sperm? Chemo? A bone scan? Chest x-ray? Need your veins looked at? A good glass of wine? I know where you do all of that!

See, I think people need to know these things. Ask me where anything is, I’m like a damn rolodex of information and bitchy sarcasm when it comes to the clinic. Would you have it any other way?

Getting Butchered

Not that I want to use this blog to be Captain Bring-Down about my situation, but it appears many people are using it to follow what is happening with my cancer bullshit — so here’s the new scoop.

After 8+ hours of testing this week, it was determined my tumor was more aggressive than expected, and has already begun to gain ground after only a few weeks off of radiation. It is an asshole. Chemo will not work for my type of cancer, so I was told the solution: they are cutting away half of my outer thigh, all the way into my femur.

I knew that some muscle and tissue would be taken, but I was not prepared for how much. This was the first time I ever started to cry in front of a medical staff and I am not a weepy chick at all. I was told the tumor will just keep coming back over my lifetime if they don’t remove everything around it as far out as they can. The tissue will never grow back because of the radiation, either. Needless to say I’ve been freaking out about this and am more wondering what it would look like after it is healed. Maybe it won’t be as large an area as I think? Maybe I can have reconstructive surgery within a year? If I will have a limp or trouble walking for the rest of my life remains to be seen until I find out how my other muscles compensate. If I am unable to wear high heels ever again, I will be pissed!

The concern at the clinic right now is how my skin will heal and how long it will take because of the radiation. I have an ace orthopedic surgeon working on me, so I’m just going to let him do his thing. I never thought it would come to this.

My Tumor Is Prettier Than Yours

For a while a had a big bump sticking out of the side of my thigh. I ignored it for a good month or more until finally realizing it wasn’t going away. Got an MRI, bla bla bla. My doctor called on my birthday last Friday to tell me it was in fact a tumor. Who gets a tumor in their leg? It appears, I do. Happy frickin’ birthday to me!

After crying about it and freaking out, I decided to have a sense of humor, since my doctors at Cleveland Clinic seem very puzzled by the nature of this thing inside me that is about the size of a worn down bar of Dove soap. So, I decided either I could charge people a $1.00 to poke my tumor as a circus side show act (suggested by my friend and a good way to pay medical bills), or, have a “Bedazzle and Decorate Arabella’s Tumor” happy hour fun-time party. I went with the bedazzling.

Yesterday I had my biopsy done so the bandage actually worked to our advantage as far as gluing things on my leg. First we looked at the beast on the MRI scans, which when I saw it, it totally looked like Gloop and Gleep from the cartoon The Herculoids

Except mine is a perfect oval, like, crazy perfect in shape. Also, my ass and thighs look really hot in MRI pictures, so I guess doing those lunges are paying off. So then I got taken to a room where they had me lounge like the dying buddha…

and proceeded to make with the biopsy after feeling me up a lot, and squeezing, and poking, and prodding my tumor. I thought it was a quick needle and then I’d be on my merry way, but hurts a lot more than you expect it would, so take the option where you get put to sleep! I feel awful for women who need it done for breast lumps! It is like a body builder took his thumb and pushed all of his weight onto you — the pressure it the worst. Anyways, after my doctors deduced rightly that I’m a bit weird after telling them what I had planned later in the evening, I was off to get drunk on some Wild Turkey and beers.

My friend Elle got started. She had some devious plans for this thing. She is a make-up artiste after all!

Mallorie brought not only Alice in Wonderland stickers, but an actual sign from the Progressive Art Collection (because it appears their employees like to touch art they shouldn’t be touching!)

Now we’re getting somewhere. Shannon had other ideas, like getting a third eye…

Pretty tumor and biopsy bandage!

Just keep the tacky glue away from the tacos when they arrive. I wonder if this could serve as inspiration for a challenge on the show “Work Of Art”, hmm?

Later we went to a new Gastro Pub, or whatever, and they had bubbles on the bar! So Gina blew some bubbles to add to the ambiance of pretty-princess-sparkle-tumor-land.

It also appears that my husband took me to The Beer Engine for a late night hot dog and beer. I actually had no recollection of this even happening until I saw the photo this morning (hey it’s ‘Beer Bob’ in the background!). Wild Turkey will do that to you I guess, as it also appears I kept sticking this thing in people’s faces, and asked if they wanted to add to it — they probably looked at me like what Ben is doing in this photo.

And that, was the “happy frickin’ birthday” re-do evening. The rhinestones and stickers are still in tact, I may keep the bandage for a while just to look cute.