Oh… My Scan / Blood Tests

I guess I never got back on here to update about my follow-up appointment with the endocrinologist. πŸ€” Before the doctor even came in, the pre-doctor person took my blood pressure and asked me if a student and intern could join the doctor when he came in to talk to me. Meh… what do I care? Sure… all are welcome, all are welcome… 😏 Gotta let the young people learn so they can fix the old people like me in the future.

He’s an interesting guy… doesn’t seem bothered to convert “data” into user friendly word blurbs for the average schmo to understand, but that’s actually okay with me. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ I’d much rather have a shitload of numbers and charts than a generic “You seem fine.” or whatever. πŸ€“ And with four tubes of blood, and more than four different comprehensive tests – I was surprised to hear him read off all of the numbers while also saying that almost all of them fall within the appropriate range for someone who is getting better. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

And then the full-body scan, which looked for glowing remnants of thyroid tissue that had absorbed all of the radioiodine 131 or whatever it was… this one is more subjective than objective, since it’s looking at an image rather than something that produces numbers against a chart. πŸ€” But on the scan, he said that he saw nothing that indicated that there were any stray thyroid cells left in my neck, which also means that if the cancer truly started in the thyroid and hasn’t spread to anywhere else… then it’s pretty good news, eh? πŸ™‚

He did make sure that I understood that even though the results of the scan seemed ideal, that it doesn’t mean “Woohoo! Cancer free!” of course. But it does mean that as of right now I’m in pretty good shape, so when I go through my next round of treatment in about five months, I’m starting off in a better position than a lot of folks that have had the same surgery as me. But yeah… five months from now… 😳

This next round of treatment is actually going to be worse than the first. Something to do with having the thyroid medication in my body for so long, so I’ll have to actually stop taking it for at least three weeks before they can even consider moving on to the next step. πŸ˜’ Several more blood draws, another round of radioactive iodine treatment, another full scan… and at that point, if the results are the same as this last one, they can feel pretty confident about saying that I’m cancer free. I mean, as much as anyone, even a doctor, can really “declare” something like that. πŸ˜•

I’m sure it’ll be one of those deals where if I’m good on the next one, then we’ll probably wait a year until we do it all over again… I dunno, I’m just assuming at this point, but you’d figure that each time all this fuss comes back as “Looks good.” they’d let me wait a decent bit longer before we start at the beginning with the treatment and testing. So, yeah, pretty good news… I just wish I physically felt better than what I do. 😟 Seriously, the way I’ve been feeling over the past few months, I’d have put money on the results coming back with something concerning. But I’ll take the good news and try not to dwell on it too much. I’ll just put this one behind me, and when it’s time to worry about round two, that’s when I’ll start worrying about it.

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Clearer

Tried to get some video and photos of the eclipse last night, but I just couldn’t get the settings right on either the camcorder or my dSLR. Tonight, however, with the moon straight out my front yard and just over the horizon… definitely better results. You can even look at the edge and see the various contours, peaks, valleys. It’s not perfect, but it’s still pretty neat.

 

Ahh, There It Is

All week the news has been telling us about this horrible snowstorm that we were supposed to have starting today. (Technically yesterday, but you know what I mean.) But as today progressed, it brought nothing more than rain… at least until almost midnight. But once it got here, boy did it get here.

After much debate with myself earlier in the evening, I decided to go in town to pick up Brianna and Ariel so we could go meet up with some of their and Christina’s friends – to celebrate what would have been Christina’s 44th birthday today. I warned them that I planned to bail when the weather turned – but even though I headed pretty much directly home with them… once they were dropped off and I was on the way to my house, it was a legitimate white-out situation on most of the road that leads to my house.

It was fun hanging out with everyone, but I sure wish I left about 15 minutes earlier than I did… because that drive home made my butt pucker. Luckily I’m familiar with the road, but for those that aren’t – there’s probably no way they’d have made it, since the road was completely snow covered, not touched by a plow or salt truck, nor even touched by another car before me… at least as far as I could tell.

So even though I was creeping along, the stress and limited visibility made my eyes hurt, my shoulder hurt, my neck hurt, and then topped it off with a splitting headache just as I made it to my driveway. But, as usual, as long as there weren’t any other cars spinning or driving into my path, I didn’t really have any problem driving. It wasn’t even slippery… just drifts of snow, effectively erasing the roads and making it a “choose your own adventure” drive home.

Getting By

Heh… I don’t really visit my own site, so I had to chuckle when I clicked over and was reminded that the title of the last entry was “Tired Of This Shit” because I was like, “Yeah, that sounds about right.” 😏

Things have been rough this past week too, because why wouldn’t they be, eh? πŸ™„ Gah… I’m trying not to bitch even more than I already have been, but this week was loaded with appointments – so of course I had to start it all off by being sick. 🀒 You know, I’m not even gonna cover how this week was… I’d rather just be thankful that the week is over, and that I think I’m about back to 100%. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Or at least what passes for 100% for me these days.

Only appointment I had to cancel was the dentist, and that’s because it was the first appointment of the week – right when I was feeling my worst, and in the midst of a shitty 36 hours of not being able to sleep. Great way to start the week. I guess there wasn’t anything remarkable about any of the other appointments… if anything, they went pretty good… it’s just been a little exhausting being sick, not being able to sleep, but still getting up around dawn each day to make it to this place or that place.

Today wasn’t bad though. I knew I felt good enough to eat something, even though nothing sounded good, but then since we were out that way we decided to stop at Frisch’s Big Boy for lunch. πŸ™‚ Our eyes were both a little bigger than our stomachs, but at least that meant goodies to take home. Plus we had the nicest, most genuine waitress that I can remember having for a long time.

So now it’s a couple days off before another appointment Monday, and then the follow-up with the endocrinologist later in the week. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ Four tubes of blood for several different tests, information from the scan at the hospital a while back… this will be my first appointment since then and, believe me, good or bad, waiting for info like this isn’t easy. πŸ™Β That’s probably part of the reason that I’m having even more trouble sleeping than usual.

Tired of This Shit

I’m not sure how this month’s appointment with the WC doctors is gonna go. πŸ˜• I think I’m actually seeing Dr Walter this time, when it was the new guy that I had the in-depth discussion with about the state of my treatment last month. Regardless, since the WC insurer is coming at me with the shenanigans again, the conversation will have to revolve around that rather than the stuff that I started bringing up last month.

I’ve got to be careful, because it almost feels like a “trap” that WC could use against me, but this month I have to start discussing possible alternatives for the meds that I’m taking right now. Because if they are somehow able to weasel out of paying for what I’m currently taking, the cost of two of those medications would simply be too much for me to continue taking them long term. πŸ™ That’s where the “trap” part comes in.

When I start discussing more affordable potential alternatives for the meds I’m currently taking, I want it to be clear with my doctors and in my records that I have no desire or intention to make any changes now… and that the research and discussion is really just to act as my parachute if I get pushed out of the plane. But I can see where my fear of being forced to pay for my own meds, which has made me research cheaper (but likely less effective) alternatives, means that I nowΒ know that there are cheaper alternatives, so they’ll probably think that they have the right to force me to change to them – despite my preference to keep taking the ones that I’ve been taking. 😏 Heh… I know, that sounds a bit convoluted, but it basically make sense, no?

But until I’m able to discuss this with them, I know that I’m just taking barely-educated shots in the dark when it comes to what might or might not be suitable replacements. 🎯😎 I mean, even though I know that Lyrica has very specific actions – at its most basic level I know that it is considered an anti-seizure / anti-convulsant medication… so that’s where I start looking. πŸ€“πŸ“š And now I have four or five medications that I think could be good replacements… but for all I know, even though they’re anti-seizure, they may have totally different actions – and ones that aren’t even close to being applicable to my situation. πŸ˜’

So for now that’s all I can really do… look for “close” meds and make sure there are more positive side effects than negative. Then I’ll just hope that I’m actually on to something, and that information can be put in my back pocket until it is needed. Between now and then I just have to figure out how to condense all of this crap down into a tolerable three to four minutes. πŸ˜³β±πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ Gotta impress the importance of this on him, while also not rambling so much that my point gets lost in the noise. I’m better at that than you’d think, actually… it just doesn’t seem that way here because I know I can go on and on about something and it doesn’t matter, since hardly anyone reads this blog anyway. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Mid-Day Rant

I decided to come over here to the blog so I can take a break from the infuriating insurance-related calls I’ve been making this morning. 😠 I still haven’t made it past the first thing on my “to do” list, because what should have been simple turned into a shit show. πŸ˜’ When I originally signed up for my dental plan, the guy on the phone said that both of the dentists in my current dental practice were covered by the plan – but that, for some reason, he wouldn’t be able to have those dentists’ names indicated on my insurance card, so I’d just need to call in once I got my card and they’d update my information in their system. 🀨

So that’s what “item one” was supposed to be today. As is typical with customer service these days, I called in and was immediately connected to a live human… but a live human that I couldn’t effing understand due to her thick accent. πŸ™‡πŸ» I think even she was aware of this though, because she spoke slowly enough that I could barely get enough information to figure out what she was trying to tell me. I told her why I was calling, gave her my information, gave her my dentists’ information, and was put on hold.

When she got back on the phone she told me that she “regretfully” wasn’t able to add those dentists to my coverage, because they were not participants in my plan. I explained to her that I was told, repeatedly, that my dentists were covered by this plan when it was being offered to me – and that I knew those enrollment calls were recorded. 😠 She put me on hold again, then returned saying that she had just spoken to her supervisor and that she was authorized to cancel my plan without any penalty.

Normally, as I was told when I signed up, there’s a minimum contract length of a year once you agree… but this call… it just seemed suspicious. πŸ€” She didn’t seem surprised that my dentist wasn’t entered into their system when I signed up. She didn’t seem surprised that I was told I’d be getting coverage that they would not be able to provide. She didn’t seem bothered when I mentioned the initial recorded call, and that I wanted to speak to someone above her. And the way she (allegedly) spoke to a “supervisor” herself and only a minute later came back to tell me that she would be able to cancel my plan without any penalty… it just really seemed like something she’s been through plenty of times before. And it definitely makes me wonder if that’s Humana Dental’s routine to sucker people in. πŸ˜’Β Signing up people who won’t complain and will just continue to pay for a year of something that’s essentially useless to them.

So, yeah, it’s good that I was able to get out of that plan… but I still ended up getting fucked, because we’re now outside of the Medicare enrollment window – and I can’t make any changes to my plan, including adding a different dental plan, until October of 2019. πŸ™„πŸ˜  In trying to find the positives of this situation… most of my major dental work has already been done, so new coverage wouldn’t make a huge difference at the moment, plus I do still have default preventative dental coverage… so x-rays, cleanings, diagnostic stuff… a lot of that stuff is at least partially (if not fully) covered.

I’m pissed, but totally not surprised. With all of the medical/insurance/legal shit that I’ve had to deal with over the years, my default condition is expecting shit to go south and me, gritting my teeth, trying not to shout at the poor shmuck on the other end of the line. 😐 Okay, I guess it’s time to move on to item number two…