A Lifeline

a-lifeline.jpgAnyone who’s ever read a book they can’t put down, will know exactly what I mean by compulsive reading. The story draws you in and you find yourself totally captivated until the last page is reached. Well, last night I found myself in exactly the same situation only on this occasion it wasn’t a book I was reading. It was blog and it’s stunning!

On looking through my blog stats, I noticed several visits from a referrer called Distant Rambler. I didn’t recognise this name and on investigating further, I couldn’t believe my luck at the blog I’d found. It’s beautifully written, very moving and is totally spell-binding. I can honestly say that of all the blogs I’ve ever read about patients and their medical stories, this one stands out way above the rest.

This inspirational blog is written by Laura, a 28 year old with a PhD, who is presently in hospital undergoing treatment for ALM, an acute form of leukaemia. It is in effect, cancer of the blood. This is not Laura’s first time tackling ALM as she was first diagnosed with leukaemia when aged just 12 years. Her cancer recurred last year but this time she has also had to battle a tumour on her back. She spent her birthday in isolation and also missed out on a family wedding. It takes pure grit and determination to achieve a PhD and these qualities shine through in her approach to her illness. Laura has recently undergone a bone marrow transplant (BMT) and is presently back in isolation, counting down the days until her release. She writes her blog like a diary, detailing all the daily ups and downs of her journey with cancer. Her story is written with such clarity and honesty, it’s quite breath-taking. Put simply, Laura’s life is on the line. She has spent a great deal of time in hospital undergoing intensive chemotherapy and despite suffering many setbacks along the way, she still manages to find humour in her situation. I love her writing – Laura does not beat about the bush, she gives it to you as it is. She is incredibly brave in the face of adversity and deserves huge admiration.

Today is Day 17 post-transplant for Laura – she received her third bone marrow transplant on 29/02/08 and has spent the last 17 days in complete isolation. Today is also St. Patrick’s Day, a day when Irish citizens are celebrating around the world. Laura is too ill to celebrate but through her blog, she still managed to wish everyone else a happy day. Her laptop is her lifeline, her contact with the outside world. Her blog provides her with a welcome breathing space from her illness and continuing treatment. Laura is feeling very low at the moment. Please, could I ask you to drop by her blog and let her know that you are thinking of her. You will be, quite literally, throwing her a lifeline.

I hope tomorrow is a better day, Laura.

21 Responses to A Lifeline

  1. Laura says:

    Wow totally overwhelmed by this kindness… thank you so much.

  2. Steph says:

    Thanks GM – I can’t get my link to work on Laura’s site as it doesn’t allow you to choose an identity other than Google/Blogger so I just include my URL with the comment, as identity.

    Laura – I’m so pleased (and relieved) to hear from you! If my post has helped to lighten up your day even a teeny, weeny bit, then I’m a happy woman 😀

    If I’ve made any errors in the way that I’ve presented your medical situation, please don’t hesitate to let me know and I will update the post according to your wishes. Your wish is my command!

    I had no choice but to write this post for you. I had a strong desire to do something, anything to let you know that your blog is a powerful communicator. I think it’s the ‘isolation’ of your situation that I can identify with most strongly. Any cancer journey is difficult and automatically isolates you from society but the physical isolation you’ve endured on top of everything else, is mind blowing. I’m not in the least bit surprised to see you erupt in anger on your blog, from time to time. I’d be more worried about you if you didn’t feel angry. Your blog is a great way to deal with the frustration you feel when things don’t go well and of course, it’s a good way to celebrate the good times too. My experiences in isolation (due to MRSA infection) pale into insignificance when compared to yours but they have helped me to better understand what you’re going through. How well I remember looking at four bare walls while my mind went into overdrive through frustration and boredom!

    My blog has some very loyal followers who have given me great support and encouragement since I started blogging last year. My fervent hope is that this post will result in you being able to experience an increased level of support from the blogging community. I cannot recommend it enough!

    Thinking of you – Steph x

  3. Roy says:

    My favorite blog , Laura is a real heroine

  4. My best to you Laura. You’re a wonderful inspiration to us all.

    I don’t have a blogger account so I’m not allowed comment on your blog.
    (Hope Steph doesn’t mind me sending you a message here)

  5. Steph says:

    Thanks Roy

    I agree with you totally – and yes, I noticed you were there before me but now I’m put out ‘cos you said you like Laura’s blog better than mine 😦 Only messing!

    Paddy – Welcome! and thanks for visiting Laura. I’m sure she’ll check in here again when she’s well enough to do a bit of ‘site’ seeing.

    You can leave a comment on Laura’s site without having a blogger account. You won’t get linked but you can leave a comment and write your URL below for Laura.

    Update: I just popped over to Laura’s and wanted to add – Ian, thanks for visiting!

  6. Baino says:

    She’s a brave soul alright, makes me realise how lucky I am to have reasonably good health.

  7. Steph says:

    Cheers! Baino

    If you’ve just been over at Laura’s site. you probably already know the update.

    Her brother has left a message saying that Laura was moved to intensive care today as she is suffering from a serious lung infection. She has been fighting graft v host disease (GVH), a complication following bone marrow transplant and at the moment, the GVH is winning the battle. Laura is extremely ill.

    All I can add, is that I’m gutted by this news and we can only hope that she’ll pull through this latest set-back.

  8. Harry says:

    Great find Steph, always interested to read patient blogs (at least when I can find the time!)

  9. Steph says:

    Good for you! Harry

    No better way to learn than ‘real’ medical scenarios.

    On this occasion however, I just wish it could be otherwise for Laura.

  10. I hope she’ll pull through …. her site is offline at the moment.

  11. Steph says:

    I know Paddy, I know…

  12. Roy says:

    I think Laura has deleted her blog???????

  13. Steph says:


    I presume you saw the message from her brother re Laura moving to ICU? If not, you can read the gist of it above in my reply to Baino’s comment.

    Laura’s blog was removed from Blogger yesterday evening. I’m very concerned for her.

  14. Grannymar says:


    I cannot get Laura out of my mind all day today.

  15. Steph says:

    Thank you, GM

    I’m in the same boat.

    I’m not that concerned about her blog being removed but I am worried as to her medical status. We can but live in hope.

  16. Caoimhin says:

    Hi Steph, I too started to read Laura’s blog upon your suggestion and am saddened to see that it is now gone. I cannot imagine that it was deleted on purpose…

  17. Steph says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments on this post.

    I’m delighted to report that Grannymar managed to establish contact with Laura on Good Friday evening – through Twitter. All I heard was that Laura is endeavouring to get her blog reinstated on Blogger but it was still very good to hear that she’s making waves again.

    Hope to hear from you again soon, Laura. We miss you!

  18. Steph says:

    Great news to report everyone!

    Laura in back on the block. She has moved her blog over to WordPress and is now sporting a very flash site with lots of smart features. Pop over and say hello.

    Please note the change of address. I’ve updated the link on the post above and on my blogroll.


  19. Lynn says:

    I am a P.T Assistant working with a young lady {37 yr.) with gvhd due to bone marrow transplants. She does not have access to a computer/internet and is currently homebound. She would appreciate info on connecting with people that may have the same complications she’s dealing with at this time. She lives in the Spokane, washington area and is requesting someone to share/discuss GVHD hopefully in the area. Any Help??

  20. Steph says:

    Thanks for your comment, Lynn

    I’ve just emailed you a reply. Hope this is helpful.

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