You Never Get Used To It

(Oh yeah… this is quite a rambling one.Β  Strap in…)

While I was off of my thyroid meds, losing energy with each day that passed, preparing to have my second cancer scan done, as you may remember – I still had to drive over an hour up to NW Columbus, to go to the “Independent Medical Evaluation” initiated at the request of my former employer’s WC insurer. πŸ˜’πŸ€’ For those who haven’t been through it, it’s essentially one of the methods that can be used to try to get medication or treatments disallowed from a claim, based off of a report from a doctor (like in this instance) who has seen you as little as one single time. 🀨 That almost always sets up an Industrial Commission hearing, where (in my case) that report will be compared against the records of my own doctor, who has been treating me consistently for this work injury and disability for well over a decade. 😯

Of course my thoughts were more focused on the upcoming cancer scan at that point, so I went up, had my exam, went back home, and then mostly forgot about it while I dealt with my other medical concerns. But upon collecting my mail from the box a couple of days ago – I saw that enough time had passed for that doctor to have generated his report, which is easily 30-40 pages (if not more), and have copies sent to me, my attorneys, and my own doctor. I waited a few days to open it, because I knew there would be nothing good about it, nor would there be anything that I could do about that fact. 😟 It might as well have been labeled “Envelope Full of Frustration” but I finally made myself open and read it all yesterday.

I’m going to sugar-coat the shit out of this as I continue. πŸ™„πŸ˜ For my second pass through this thick report, I grabbed a yellow highlighter and began to mark and number the areas where more info was needed. 🧐 Whether it was adding context, pointing out inconsistencies, noting conflicting statements within the same report, or bringing attention to things that were implied, inferred, or assumption… I ended up with 48 different sections that required a response. And, unfortunately, there were several things that were simply false. Absolutely false. But still written in this report as if it were fact. 😠 I’m not saying that this doctor just pulled some things straight out of his ass, but it’s a shame how many “inaccuracies” were made by someone that shouldΒ have the presumption of being knowledgeable and accurate, especially given the duty that he’s performing and the way it could affect the future of anyone that he evaluates.

So now my copy of that doctor’s report has 48 highlighted areas, to go along with a numbered “rebuttal report” that I created to address each of those problem areas. So when I give it to my attorneys, they’ll be able to read my comments right along with the numbered and highlighted areas on the original report. πŸ€“ And despite having another doctor appointment at 11am this morning, I was up until after 2am last night… because correcting or clarifying (what I believe to be) inaccurate things in that report is really the only thing that I can do right now when it comes to “defending myself” or possibly helping my attorneys with their argument points. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ž But yeah, once I started, the areas that needed my attention just kept coming, and I wasn’t going to stop and go to sleep until I had addressed everything that I felt needed it.

Of course my doctor will write a rebuttal report… something that he’s done many times before, to the point where he’s often repeating himself – because the facts are the facts, and they don’t change over time. But when there’s a hearing, it’s just expected that the doctor of record will submit a report, so he’s unfortunately stuck in this situation just like I am. πŸ˜• Thankfully, my doctor is awesome. And like me, he’s not a fan of having his words twisted, his knowledge and methods belittled… and he’s definitely not a fan of any claims, implications, or “facts” that seem to be based on little-to-no actual evidence. So not only will he write a truthful and accurate rebuttal based on all of the medical evidence, but it also serves as a way for him to “defend” himself – which is the same feeling that I have, and why I wrote my index of rebuttal points. 🀨

I have a ton of other things that I would like to say about the doctor’s report, but it’s in my best interest to just stop at this point. I’ve covered the basics, and you’re more than welcome to imagine the non-sugar-coated version… but even if you did that, there’d still be some things that would legitimately shock you. So now I can only hope that my rebuttal points will be helpful and useful to whichever attorney ends up representing me at the actual hearing. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ—’οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈΒ (And I’ve always felt the “commission” folks do seem to care as well.)

But the law firm that represents me is great, and we’ve (knock on wood) got a great track record from the beginning through today… so I know that they’ll have already picked apart many of the same things that I’m bringing attention to, but there still might be something that I say here or there that will contribute to the arguments that they use on the day of the hearing. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And at the very least, having more information “straight from the horse’s mouth” will be beneficial in general, since we usually only have about a half hour to sit and quickly discuss the case before the hearing starts.

It would be hard for anyone to find the words to accurately express the feeling and level of frustration that comes along with this situation. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ To have decisions being made by other people, about things that will dramatically affect your future, knowing that “the truth” is the only weapon that you have… it’s such a helpless feeling, especially when you’re already feeling pretty damn helpless most of the time, due to the disability and pain that this whole thing is about in the first place. 😒 So other than the info I’ll be giving my attorneys, it comes down to sitting, waiting, and hoping… and there’s nothing relaxing or reassuring about that. 😞

Any good luck or positive juju that you want to mentally send my way is greatly appreciated. πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ™‚πŸ™πŸ»

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It Shouldn’t Be This Challenging

Today’s been kind of a flop. I didn’t have anything on the schedule really, but even after not getting much sleep – I still woke up with some motivation to work on one or two of my extra projects around the house. Also, between the lack of sleep and the shitty weather, I knew today wasn’t a car or glasses day either… so I’ve spent most of the day waiting for my upset stomach to go away so I could do a little of the work that I wanted to do without feeling like I was gonna yack. 🀒

It did make for a nice lazy day though, something that I sometimes struggle with allowing. Texted with Dad quite a bit, along with a few other friends, and then finally decided to go in the kitchen to chop up some green peppers to make some tuna salad for sammiches – to hopefully settle my belly, which it did. πŸ™‚ And to be honest, I was glad to just wake up today without my back being screwed up… something that it was showing signs of before I ended up falling asleep early this morning. 😯😬

So it wasn’t really that today was a flop… it was just unremarkable for the most part, so I wasn’t looking at it in the right way. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ And now that I’m feeling better since this afternoon, I know it’ll help my mood to get some more of my “unessential” stuff done before whenever I fall asleep tonight. Normally my lack of productivity would have made me a little twitchy, but I think I’m still riding along on the thyroid med train – still seeming to get back a little more energy with each day that passes. πŸ€’πŸ€žπŸ» I wish I could explain how bad the bad days really were just a few weeks ago, to emphasize how these little improvements are still a big deal.

I think I might go ahead and pull out the 360 cam and charge it up, in case I feel up to shooting any video at the SCF here in a few days. If not that, I plan on taking a lot more regular pictures this year. It’s been a few years since I’ve bothered, especially since last year’s trip was kind of a shit show from the start. πŸ˜’ And with my mood being decent lately (for the most part anyway…) I’m hoping that it’ll also nudge me towards getting interested in my hobbies like video and photography again. 😟

Every now and then Jim will post one of goofy our old videos on Twitter and I’ll come across it, where we were just goofing off and having fun for random Squirtman themed videos, and it makes me realize how long it’s been since I could truly say that I was having fun at anything, or that I was in a good mood for more than a couple hours out of one day. 😞 I’ve gotta start trying to figure out how to get a little more of that back, despite all of the other non-fun stuff I’ll obviously have to be working on (or facing) as well. 🀨 It wasn’t that many years ago that I was a totally different person, and it’d be nice if I could find my way back toward that at least a little bit. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ If my body will just stay physically un-fucked for a while, I might have a shot at it.

Meh… just thinking out loud again I guess…

I Know It’s Weird, But…

I wish my day was ending on a better note. 😞 As you can tell from my couple of previous posts, I was trying to get (or keep) myself in the right frame of mind where I could accomplish various things, hopefully have my plans for the weekend go down without any issues… basically just trying to hang on to the “normal” while I was feeling it. (And believe me… just that in itself is a bigger challenge for me right now than you’d probably think.)

Now, as many of you may already know, one of the “weird” things about me is my near inability to talk on the phone. There’s a logical root reason to how I ended up this way, even if there isn’t as much logic to it now, but it’s something that everyone who knows me is aware of. Unfortunately, I have one family member who is apparently as averse to textingΒ through the phone as I am to speaking on the phone, so there’s obviously gonna be some problems when we need to communicate. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

So even when people do absolutely need to talk to me on the phone, they know to text me first to make sure it’s okay to call. Essentially it’s just giving me a warning that they’re gonna call, which helps my twitchy brain prepare for it, and usually making it something I can do. But over the past two days it’s been cold call after cold call, but at least this last time she left a voice mail saying that she had some good news and that she wanted me to call her.

So even though she knows I’m like this (we talked about it the last time she cold called me… heh), she’s got good news that she wants to share, so it makes me feel bad that this weird part of me won’t let me answer or call back immediately. πŸ™‚πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I have to “save up the oomph” to make a phone call. And yeah, I know that’s a really weird thing… there’s no debating that. I just hate when I’m doing my best to hang on to “normal” for a while, and something like this reminds me that I’ve still got a long way to go…

Of course I’m interested in her news, and I wish that I could just pick up the phone and call back right away, because I don’t want her to think that I don’t care… but now I’ve spent the evening being frustrated by myself, rather than continuing my forward progress. 😟 Dumb. But how many times do you have to tell someone that you don’t talk on the phone, or that if you have to talk to me on the phone – just text me and give me an idea that a call is coming? (Of course this doesn’t apply to anyone who doesn’t have the ability to text me.) I’m not asking people to understand why I’m this way, just that they understand that I am – and that they respect that unfortunate fact and don’t get hurt feelings if it takes me a while to call back.

Gah… okay, I gotta stop dwelling on this. It’s just how I am right now, I’ll talk to her tomorrow, she’ll share her news, everything will be fine… I can’t let my defects erase any of the positives that I’ve been actively working on lately. And I’m gonna keep reminding myself… as hard as it is for me to take or make phone calls, it could be just as hard for her to text – and it could be just a difficult for her to explain as it is for me.

It’s all good… it’ll be fine… I think I just needed to vent.

Improving

Went out and did actual grocery shopping yesterday. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone anywhere other than Dollar General or a quicky mart to just stock up on little random amounts of this or that to keep me going. But being run down for a couple of weeks and not making those little trips… I finally burned through pretty much everything in the fridge and cupboards. That’s good, I guess – I mean, that’s what some of the food was… shit that I could eat when I ran out of stuff that I wanted to eat. Well, that’s not exactly right, but you know what I mean. “Four cans of beets? Okay, I guess I’m going to be eating some beets today.”Β πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

It did take some energy out of me, but not like it would have done a week ago, or two weeks ago… so that’s one positive thing, that I’m definitely getting some of my energy back. Shopping is one of my least favorite things to do, so I ended up spending about $250… hopefully getting stuff that will last me a long damn time, other than stopping off for bread or pop or the other stuff that you always need to replenish before “the next shopping trip” wherever.

What’s funny though, is that when Gen and I were messaging last night, she asked me what all I got – and I legit had no idea. πŸ€”πŸ˜ Granted, I was already in bed, so my brain wasn’t trying that hard to remember… but I really think my brain put up a firewall while I was shopping. πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦Β Β βž–πŸ›’πŸ˜βž–Β πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘§πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘§Β  Β Knowing that I was already running on much lower energy, doing something that already causes annoyingly inexplicable anxiety at times, I couldn’t tell you what a single person looked like or did as I passed them in the aisle. No, wait, I remember some lady in the frozen section yelling at her kids for wanting to get the ready-made frozen lasagna – because she had already loaded her cart with all the things to make it from scratch. Oh, and I don’t remember my cashier, but the bagger chick was lightning fast… with all my shit bagged, back in the cart, and her moving on to the next station before my receipt even finished printing. πŸ˜ƒπŸ‘πŸ»

I finally ran out of juice once I got home and unloaded, but I did get all the cold shit put away – which means I have a kitchen floor full of bags waiting for me once I drag my ass out of the bedroom today. πŸ˜’ But it was just being worn out… not that “Oops I fell asleep for three hours” shit that was happening far too often a couple weeks prior. That’s really the only reason I’m posting about what 95% of people don’t even have to think about… a typical “big” shopping trip… because it hasn’t been that long since just walking out into the back yard to spray some weeds would put me out of commission. Just glad to know the thyroid meds are pushing me back in the right direction… and hoping that my uncharacteristic optimism here doesn’t jinx me for my appointment tomorrow. Also, plans for today are very limited… not falling for that “Ahh, I’m better!” shit and then ending up wiping myself out anyway after yesterday’s progress. 😏 Basically gonna take this as another “day off” after I get the rest of the shit put away and the laundry started…

Oh? How So?

Went to my mandated WC evaluation today. πŸ˜’ Similar to what I’ve been through before, but different. He doesn’t read the medical reports of any of the people he will be seeing until after he talks to them. He also goes over all of people’s current medical conditions, even ones not under the “allowed conditions” of the claim. He said it was his job to evaluate all of the meds and how they may interact with each other, good or bad. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m not sure why WC would want him to do that, and I’ll admit that it kept me trying to figure out which angles he might possibly consider using to “get me” like other doctors have tried before. 🀨

He was an older guy, and was like 90% friendly and fine, with the last 10% feeling like there was “something else” behind it. πŸ€” I just know that it’s in both of our interests to be friendly, cooperative… just “how a person should act” with any other person. So in general, it was honestly fine. He repeated it a few times, and he stuck to it – saying that he wouldn’t ask me to do anything that would hurt. Now, they all say that, but in order to effectively demonstrate the “broken” – the side effect is that it usually requires additional pain.

He had me list all of the meds I’m currently taking, regardless of which doctor prescribed it. But with each one, he did want to know why it was being prescribed to me… which also seems reasonable. When we got to the meds that my shrink is currently prescribing, and what he has prescribed in the past and is possibly considering in the future… I explained that it’s really only the current two that seem beneficial to me, and that I didn’t care to try a bunch of new med combinations while dealing with thyroid / cancer issues, that I’ve experienced bad side effects, etc. 😐 Β Just continuing the story like I had been…

Somewhere around that point he says, “I think you’re trying to be clever.”Β  πŸ˜’Β  Umm… excuse me???

My inner voice immediately shouted “And what the fuck is THAT supposed to mean exactly?” because it definitely felt like a random shitty comment that didn’t have any place in the current conversation. 😠 I was truthfully answering all the shit he was asking, so I don’t know what made him say that. But whatever other question he asked as he said that, I answered it – but in the same breath followed it up with “…and what do you mean, I’m being clever. 😠 Strongly encouraging him to elaborate. (Thank you, brain, for allowing an on-the-fly, split-second, non-“fuck”-containing translation from thought to words.)

He questioned why my shrink would be prescribing this or that script (the same way I questioned it) so I don’t know if he thought I was making excuses or what… but I explained, “People look at doctors as an authority figure. I try to trust my doctors. So when my primary care says I should give counseling a try, I did. When the counselor suggested that I give the ‘pill shrink’ a try, I did. But when he started or wanted to prescribe me things that didn’t seem to fit with any symptoms I was having, I made the choice to not take them. Or if I did try one that I thought could help, I tried to wait out the side effects and wasn’t able to.”

Keep in mind… none of this has anything to do with my workers comp claim. And when someone is happily cooperating and truthfully volunteering their entire current medical history, that’s not when a doctor should reply with something that sounds like a vague negative accusation of something. πŸ˜• And for what it’s worth, I am clever… heh… but that’s neither here nor there. Thankfully that ended up being the only really out-of-place thing that he said, as he moved on to taking various measurements.

Ended up being there for an hour and a half. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ Rehashing how the original injury happened for the umpteenth time, talking about the tests, PT, and treatment before and after the surgery… everything that’s already in my file… but whatever, if that’s how he wants to gain the info. And about my knee hurting, my neck / shoulder slowly getting worse, he asked if there was something specific that happened to cause them to hurt more… which is a fair question… so it felt like “No, there’s wasn’t anything that happened to trigger it, but I wish I knew.” wasn’t a helpful answer to him, and definitely not a helpful answer for my case. But that’s how shit works sometimes, and he (and everyone else) knows that… injury / surgery sites will get worse over time, and sometimes knees and backs are fine one day and fucked the next. No inciting incident required.

I didn’t let his “clever” comment change how I answered or did anything, but it did change my mood about the whole thing and made my nausea instantly worse. 😟 Reminded me that this is just part of the game where everyone smiles, does what they’re supposed to, and then goes their own way – likely to never encounter each other again. But like I said, compared to others, he was fine. Unless he ends up writing a shitty report that screws me over – because I truly didn’t get the feeling that he had any problems with my current WC-related treatment. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ (But if that does happen, and I have to see him again, that’s when he mayΒ actually get to see me “thinking that I’m clever” – because at that point, why not?) 😏 Guess I’ll know how this visit went a few weeks from now, when I randomly check the mail and find another Industrial Commission Hearing notice. πŸ™„

It’s just starting to feel like it’s about time for more of that nonsense.

Something Like That

This heatwave that we’re currently going through… it’s a pretty good way to explain how I’ve been feeling over the past few days. Just go outside, walk around your property for about 15 minutes, then stand there a while… and that’s basically how I’ve been feeling each day all day. Again, not bitching, just trying to describe it in a way that people can understand.

Thankfully I’m almost half way through the process, so at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel that I can look forward to. No matter what results I get, at least I can get back on my thyroid meds after the scan has been completed. It makes me feel bad for folks who have suffered with thyroid issues all of their lives, because the constant nausea, overheating, and dizziness… it’s no joke. Not thrilled that it has been made crystal clear that this will indeed be a medication that I’ll be taking for the rest of my life though.

I’m a cheap-ass, so I usually wouldn’t do this, but last night I turned the thermostat all the way down to 68 when I went to bed. I knew I’d be sleeping at least part way into the day and the house would heat up quickly, but despite it staying that cool in the house – I woke up early and completely drenched in sweat again. (Also… gross.) That’s why I mention how far along I am in the process… because if I didn’t know that there was an end to this, it would be some scary shit.

I’ve been drinking a lot more water, so the muscle spasms and dehydration hopefully won’t become an issue. It’s pretty shitty though, that the insurance industry has decided that this is an acceptable thing for patients to go through while preparing for their second radiation dosage. The alternative way, staying on your meds and just getting two injections before the scan… that costs several thousand dollars, so I guess you can’t blame them for trying to find somewhere to cut costs in what has likely been a very expensive surgery.

Again though, knowing that this is a temporary thing for me, it really makes me feel for those folks who don’t have insurance at all, and even for the people that do but have a chronic condition that still isn’t covered by their plan for whatever reason. As with most things like this, it’s something that we don’t think much about until it starts to affect us personally. So, yeah… still feeling super awful… and I feel like it’s continuing to slowly get worse, but I’ll be good as long I just keep reminding myself…

“It’s only temporary. It’s the lack of meds, not anything more scary. You’ll have more answers soon. Just (n) more days and this will all be over. Consider yourself blessed that you’ve made it this far. Plenty of other people have it worse than you, and it’s not temporary for them. Yeah, it sucks… but don’t be a pussy. It’s only temporary.” etc…

I’m trying to stay positive. I need to stay positive.

Nerves

As of my last post, I was feeling the then-immediate relief of not having to learn of the plan for my next session of treatment that day. I thought that might make my weekend a little more relaxed, but with each hour closer that Monday gets – the more my nerves started messing with me. 😐 I’m still good, but knowing that tomorrow I’ll be getting the call, it did change what I ended up doing with my weekend.

I’m aware that I could be making a bigger deal out of this than it’s going to end up being, but the alternate is also true… so the best course of action, one that starts me out on better footing before whatever’s next, was to use these two days to get the house nice. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I don’t know if it’d be this way for everyone, but if I’m really negatively affected by stopping my thyroid meds (and most everything that I’ve heard so far is that I will be) then it’s important that the house is clean, laundry is done, dishes done up, etc.

It’s simple… feeling shitty feels shitty, but feeling shitty while also being stuck in a dirty house, with unwashed dishes taunting me, baskets of laundry waiting on me… that would just be so much more shitty for me. πŸ˜₯ Like I said, it might not be something that would bother other folks, but it would bother me more than you can even imagine. 😣 One bit of good news, and I’ll give partial credit to the way I’ve tried to keep moving, but I’m finally walking completely without a cane again. πŸ™‚ There’s still some pain, and I can still feel the unpredictable weakness… but it’s good that I’m off the meds I had a bad reaction to, and that I’m getting along much better when it comes to my knee. (Which is surprising, honestly, the way that I pretty much killed it the night that I was in Columbus several days ago.) See, it’s not always bad news around here… 😏

I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to visit a couple people that I had put on the “possibility” list for the weekend if I was feeling alright, but I’m staying hopeful that this next session of treatment will be able to conclusively “clear” me. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ₯ΊπŸ™πŸ» Then I can hopefully work at getting my head in a better place again, eventually feeling more like a previous version of me, and potentially more able to make random trips out of the house without the anxiety stopping me before I even make it to the door. πŸ˜‘ As much as I want friends and family to “get me” when it comes to all my twitchy problems, they shouldn’t have to put up with the way that I am as much as they do. 😟 “Clean bill of health” (at least when it comes to my thyroid stuff) could do wonders for snapping me back to something more close to normal. πŸ€•Β That’s the hope anyway…