Nervous But Not Worried

One week to go until my surgery (don’t worry, I’m not gonna count down each time I make a post… heh) but I’m trying to make today as “normal” and chill as possible. Trash runs tomorrow, so I’ve gotta fill the buggy and drag it to the road… then I’ve got a small stack of mail that I should probably get to… and then I wanna straighten up the living room, vacuum up all this kitty hair, etc. 😏 Normal.

I’m nervous, but I’m at ease. Nothing about “right now” is how I want it, and I plan to work to change what I can after the surgery and recover time, but the way things are right now should get me through to next Wednesday without any big chance of unintentionally triggering anxiety attacks or whatever. Right now I have to worry about me. (And I know I’ve got all my loved ones’ support, which definitely helps.)

I still haven’t told a majority of my friends. Some have learned about it through the blog here, I’ve told a small handful in a private Facebook group, but I haven’t yet figured out how to tell “everyone” in a way that won’t trigger a huge reaction. I guess that’s the point of friends though… to provide those huge reactions, since it means they care. πŸ™‚ But yeah… not today.

Today I get to pretend that it’s just like any other day.

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Preparation

Yesterday was a strange day. 😐 I feel good, having completed a bunch of stuff that I felt neededΒ completing, but the nature of the stuff left me feeling a little uneasy – and definitely unable to fall asleep at a normal hour. πŸ˜• Despite that, I managed to have some awesome dreams. Awesome enough to have actually woken me up every hour or so – but of course I can’t remember a single detail at the moment. 😠 I’m just lucky that they weren’t about the topic at hand yesterday.

Of course I expect my upcoming surgery to go fine, but being the type of person that I am I’ve gone into “prepare” mode – just in case it doesn’t. 😳 As part of that preparation process, I spent a good amount of time typing out letters to my cousin Jim and my ex-wife Genesee, as they would be the ones handling everything in the event that things need to be handled. Those letters are just my way of easing them into the process. (Since I was the executor for my aunt, I learned a few tips and tricks.)

They won’t even get those letters unless the situation calls for it, so that allowed me to be a little more free with what I said… but for the most part it was just explaining my will, explaining my wishes when it came to my personal belongings, explaining a good deal about how the process will go, and what they will need to do to keep things moving along, hopefully without too many hiccups and at a reasonable pace. 😎 It’s a lot to ask of someone, so I also made sure that my appreciation was made super clear.

But between the several pages that I wrote for Mongo, and then the three pages that I wrote for Gen… I was just doing a whole lot of thinking about a topic that nobody wants to have to think about. It wasn’t all bad… in fact, a lot of the thinking that I did was about good memories, good times, good things with family and friends, etc. 😊 Oh, and I’m up to 19 separate audio recordings when it comes to the little archive of messages that I’m recording for people to have and listen to after I’m gone… which, like I said, I don’t anticipate happening for a good long while. πŸ™‚ I’m actually really enjoying doing that.

Don’t take this the wrong way. 🀨 All of this preparation is just being done out of necessity, and it’s something that any responsible person would want to do before a major surgery. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ It can just really mess with your head when you end up dwelling on the topic for too long. I’m still good though, and I know everyone that loves me has my back. 😏 I’m still optimistic about this surgery, I’m gonna get through it, and then whatever is next is next. One step at a time.

Abundance Of Caution

We’re down to about a week-and-a-half before my surgery. 😳 And let me tell you, I’ve been dealing with some serious anxiety issues since the beginning of this past week – and I’m finding it hard to shake. πŸ˜₯ I’m right on the edge, always, and the slightest thing will push me over into labored breathing, chest pains, dizziness, etc. 😟 So while it might make me “difficult” in some people’s minds between now and my surgery, I’ve got to do whatever it takes to keep my anxiety levels low, or at least unchanged if I’m still managing to hang on to being okay.

It’s kind of embarrassing, but I honestly need to keep myself in a mental health bubble for the next 10 days. πŸ˜’ I don’t want anything to happen that will risk me not being able to have the surgery when scheduled, and going to the ER for a panic attack with severe chest pains probably wouldn’t help that cause. πŸ˜• Now, I am gonna tell the doctors and surgeon everything that I’ve experienced up to that point, before I go in, because I absolutely want them to know… but yeah, right now is not the time for me to deal with anything that I don’t absolutely need to deal with.

Cassi helped with that over the past couple of days. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ I went and got her on Thursday after she got off work, because she had two days off in a row and wanted to spend them here with me. ☺ We never figured out how to make our “couple” relationship work, but boy are we good at being each other’s “person” in times of need. And it’s because neither of us need much… just the distraction from our respective lives that’s somehow provided by just being in each other’s presence.

As for what we did over those two days… there’s really not much to talk about. We just plop down in the living room, turn on Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, and just sit with each other and watch, talk, eat mac and cheese… heh… just “normal” stuff that doesn’t add to the anxiety. The only times it got a little rough for both of us was when one of the episodes would be about thyroids or cancer and the results. Probably shouldn’t have watched those particular episodes, but it’s also good to think about everything realistically, all of the potential outcomes – and letting myself cry a little bit and be scared with her… it was much better than doing that same thing by myself. πŸ™‚

So yeah, the last couple of days were really nice, and really needed… and today, well, I’m calling it “a day off” since I don’t intend to do much (if any) communicating with anyone, and instead focus on things that I just personally need to do before it’s time for my surgery. 😊 The doctors and surgeon haven’t give me any reason to worry about the surgery. None. But you know how it is… you still wanna kinda get things in order, just to give yourself that peace of mind. And doing that sorta thing makes me feel better… makes me feel productive, which is something I always aim for.

Mood is good… I’m hangin’ in there.

Wringer

Pardon the length of this entry, but yesterday was kinda tough, basically as I anticipated. Anxiety had me up most of the night, so I ended up doing all this stuff on only three hours of sleep – but at least that meant I was awake at dawn, so I could just hop up and start getting ready instead of grumbling at my multiple alarms squawking at me every two minutes until I rise and shine.

From 8am until 12.5pm I was doing “something medical.” 😐 Starting with my monthly neck doctor appointment, where we also covered my upcoming surgery, some of the medications that I might have to start taking because of it, and how they should or shouldn’t react with whatever meds I’m getting from him for my fusion spot, nerve damage, and grumpy muscles in the area. πŸ˜³πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ

Next was another blood draw for multiple panels of testing. πŸ’‰ I already had this done a little over a month ago, but they not only wanted to get the most current results, but there were also specific tests that they needed that weren’t in my other test. I volunteered my right arm, and the girl did her best… I mean, she hit the biggest vein available there, but for some reason it was only spitting a little bit of blood – and it was definitely not enough to fill the three vials needed. 😯 My left arm ended up being successful, and of course now I look like a junkie with two big bruises on each elbow-pit. 😏

Next was theΒ electrocardiogram, which actually didn’t take that long due to it (thankfully) not including stress testing or anything like that. Just the normal dozen-or-so electrical leads, a few minutes of holding really still, and on to the next. πŸ™‚ But the next thing was where it started to get shitty. πŸ˜₯

Since they’re going to have to manipulate my head quite a bit while they’re working on my neck, and since they’re aware of the C5-C7 fusion, they had to take a crapload of x-rays while my head and neck were in extremely stretched, compressed, or otherwise super-uncomfortable positions. ☒😣 I do my best each day to not move my head in all of the ways that I had to do for those x-rays, so my neck was fucked after everything was said and done. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So not only will my surgery site be painful, but the ways they are gonna have to move my huge lump-of-a-head around while I’m under anesthesia… let’s just say that I’m really not looking forward to how that area’s gonna be feeling when I wake up.

I almost wasn’t able to complete all the scans that they needed, since one of them (while standing) was given with the instructions of “Put both of your arms straight up, directly over your head.” 😧 If there was a bar or something above my head I could have done it with little issue, but the only way I could do it without my left arm shaking was to get the arm up there, then actually lean against the plate/target of the x-ray machine to basically jam it up there in that position. πŸ˜¬πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ The fella doing it was really patient and understanding, and after reviewing them he said that the results should be fine, including that one which I thought would be pretty uncertain.

And I know, to a healthy person that all probably doesn’t sound like much… but man was I worn out after everything was done. πŸ˜“ Between the lack of sleep, the multiple stops, the blood loss… heh, the painful x-rays, and then my leg jumping around between “fine” and “omg stop” heh… I was just thankful that I was able to knock all of that stuff out in one day, along with being able to just go home and recover at my own pace. πŸ˜” It’s all good though… all of this stuff is now done with a couple weeks to spare, so I’m just happy to keep everything on track.

Oh Yeah? Hmm… Okay

No updates for a while due to various circumstances. Thyroid biopsy was done a little over a week ago, which wasn’t as bad as I expected – but also more serious than I expected. πŸ€”πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ Other than the doctor using a needle rather than actually cutting me open, it was actually a real deal procedure. Hooked up to monitors, in my gown, rolled from the waiting room to the procedure room… and then a couple nurses or technicians dealing with the ultrasound and instruments, while the doctor repeatedly jabbed me in the neck with a thicker-than-I’d-have-preferred needle. πŸ˜―πŸ’‰ It took three different “pokes” to get enough cells for the tests that they needed to run, but the folks were all great, and always spoke in a very calming way that made it not nearly as anxiety inducing as it could have been.

Then on Monday I made it to my first of four dentist appointments. 😳 Rather than attack my whole mouf at once, they figured it would be easier on my face (and at least psychologically, on my wallet) if we split up the work on my teefs. So that appointment was a deep cleaning on the bottom, and then a gum line filling on one of the right rear molars. A little uncomfortable since they had to use a tool to push my gums down until the filling was complete, but I was good and numb so it didn’t really hurt until much later into the day.

Things have been hit and miss with my sciatic issue. Some days it’s almost unnoticeable, and then others there’s a continuous mild pain with some sharp bursts that also come with some weakness. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’ve got a followup appointment with my chiropractor in the first week of next month, and I guess I’m still gonna go see him – just so I can update him in case I have my doctor doctor contact him for my info, when I ask her to look into this problem for me through whatever avenue she thinks might help.

And then my biopsy results… they came back a day sooner than I was expecting, and I actually got the call from the specialist on my way home from the dentist. πŸ˜’ They can’t really tell you anything definite from a small sample like that, so he says surgery is in my future. 😐 I actually had an appointment with him earlier yesterday, and I left feeling about as optimistic as possible when talking about this sort of thing. Like I had already been doing myself, he pointed out many reasons that I should feel far more optimistic than the average person when it comes to this – especially noting that sometimes people have thyroid defects that grow for years and years, and are never even discovered until they’ve grown to a size where it interferes with a person’s swallowing or breathing. 😧

There’s way too much to the situation to get into real detail, but I’ll just say that his “matter of fact” way (in a good way) of talking about the surgery, the treatment, the positive results that he expects and has gotten many times before in others… it helped provide a little ease to a decidedly uneasy thing to think about. So, it’ll come, we’ll hope for the best, and if that isn’t enough, we’ll just face whatever the next thing is after that. I think that things will be fine, even if not on the first try.

Checked Boxes

I probably shouldn’t feel as relieved as I do right now, considering that I’ve still got biopsy planning to do in a couple of days, but it sure feels nice to be done with the lower back treatments. Even though I’m still having some issues with my neck, tonight feels totally different than the past few nights. πŸ™‚ Just knowing that the “every other day” of at least that particular matter is done with for now… it has taken a surprising weight off of me. Especially because the treatments really did help, and I’m feeling so much better than I did when the symptoms first appeared. I’m not back to normal, but I’m getting closer with each day that passes – and that’s all that I could really hope for.

I’m not pushing my luck, so I’m not going to do anything too physical for a while (and I’m gonna keep easing back into it as I do)Β but I’ve taken my improved mood this evening and did a little picking up around the house, went through my closet and picked out a ton of clothes to donate away, and still plan on getting all of my legal documents sorted, stapled, and ready to sign in front of a notary tomorrow.

And this next stuff… it’s bad news… but it’s not “negative” in the way I was meaning the other day, when I said I didn’t want to post about so much negative stuff. Jim’s ex-girlfriend Alex… I thought her mom had actually passed away a couple of days ago, but it turns out they decided to keep her on life support (brain death) long enough for her to be able to donate organs and tissue to as many people as possible. 😒😊 Heartbreaking for their family, obviously, but it’s good for them to know that even in death their mom was able to keep helping some people. πŸ™πŸ»

And then another friend, who’s actually a little bit younger than me… he unexpectedly lost his son a few days ago. 😟 Losing any relative is hard enough as it is, but I can’t even start to imagine how a parent must feel when their son or daughter dies before them. I mean, it’s just expected that kids will almost always outlive their parents, so it seems that muchΒ more unfair when it doesn’t work like that.

But I’m gonna jump back into this little bit of work that I’m doing, so I can wrap it up and then aim some boiling hot shower water at my neck for a while. πŸ”₯πŸ”₯😳🚿πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ I’m hoping to sleep better tonight than how it’s been over the past few nights, so I won’t feel more beat up than usual when I head into town for a few things tomorrow.

Just Keep Swimming

I’d say I’m at about 80% with my walking right now. 😐 I’ve still got a couple more appointments with Dr Taulbee, then what I’m hoping is my final visit at his office with a physical therapist to complete my evaluation and give me some “homework” to keep things moving in the right direction. Blood panels came back okay, so whatever caused the swelling around my spine is apparently gone. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I dunno… I’ve got so much medical shit going on right now, my brain is kinda refusing to care about or retain the details as long as things are “normal” as they say. πŸ˜’

I had to postpone my monthly WC doctor appointment so I could get in at the new dentist yesterday, where I’m getting ready to start catching up on everything that I’ve neglected for many years now. 😬 I’ve had a filling here and there, and one toof pulled, but we’re actually setting up a plan to take care of everything that needs attention now, before it gets too late. 😳 It’s going to be three different big-ish appointments, where they are gonna focus on one quarter of my mouf at a time. The only toof that’s gonna have to go (at least as it stands right now) is my left lower wisdom, which has chipped and needed to come out anyway. They think everything else should be okay with a bit of fiddlin’ and updating.

I’ve literally had some sort of appointment or testing done every other day for the past three weeks, and it’s basically gonna be the same for at least another two. 😯 It’s my own fault… one, for not keeping up on things I should have kept up on over the years, and two, because I decided to jump back in and start getting everything back up to date all at once. 🀨 When I started scheduling things, having my back suddenly go fucked wasn’t part of the equation, but I suppose if it was gonna happen it might as well be when I’m in “Alright, let’s do this.” mode with the rest of it. Thank gawd that I’ve got both the time and finances to be able to do this though… I know a lot of people aren’t as fortunate in both of those areas.

The only thing I’m kinda nervous about is my upcoming appointment with the ENT, since my PCP referred me to him so that he can order a biopsy on my thyroid. πŸ˜₯ The ultrasound confirmed that it’s a “complex” mass (aka the bad kind) and that it has grown since it was first spotted during an MRI of my spinal fusion site. 😟 So, that’s not great news, but I’m doing my best to put it all out of my mind. Whether it’s my regular doctor, my WC doctor, the chiropractor, the dentist, or this guy… until I get whatever “news” it is that they have to give me, my brain has put up a firewall. Like Nope. Not interested in bouncing this around until we actually know something.” or whatever… 😏

And hey, if they say I’m dying at least I won’t have to blow all that money at the dentist, amiright? πŸ˜„