Doing The Things

Haven’t had the energy to spend much time online the past week or so… gettin’ shit done, as required. Saw my primary care provider, saw specialist for my back, got labs done for my PCP, got scans done for the back specialist, then did my normal workers comp deal yesterday. Also went to the dentist’s office and scheduled what is technically the third part of a four part plan that started like a year ago… but with the cancer scare, Mom stuff, etc… it kinda got put on the back burner. But that appointment is now made as well.

Next couple of things I’m hoping to do today or tomorrow is making an eye appointment for some new glasses, taking some pics of my semi-broken HVAC unit outside and making a couple calls about getting the AC compressor replaced, and then I need to figure out what I want to have done outside regarding all the growing shit – and touch base with my lawn guy so we can get this spring and summer’s plan in action soon,

Bri is also super duper pregnant… I think she’s approaching 36 weeks here in a few days… so I’ll probably be taking her to one of her OB appointments, plus she’s been on the ball as well and will soon be moving into her first apartment – so I’m making available some different furniture from here in the house if she needs some stuff to fill her new place until she’s able or decides to get what she really wants. So yeah, it’s just been mostly mentally busy – and when my brain isn’t doing that type of processing, it’s preferred to have been doing none.

Had to be in Columbus the other day and caught my first crash on the dashcam. I’m lucky that I wasn’t just one car in front of where I was, because whatever happened to this d00d – he ended up slamming into an old lady and nearly pushing her car into the intersection. All from a dead stop, while appearing to have his foot on the brake the entire time. I saw them get out and they were both fine, and there’s no ambiguity when it comes to fault, so I didn’t stick around… plus I had somewhere I needed to be anyway.

Sometime today I’ve also gotta get into my e-mail and messages… Aunt Sharon and Dad are probably both waiting to hear from me about some things, and I’m still working on getting my brain to get used to using e-mail again.

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The Other Stuff

TRIGGER WARNING: This entry is gonna cover some of the other depressing shit that has also been filling my thoughts and influencing my mood recently. But I think it’ll help to explain why when it did hit me, about Mom being gone gone… why it was so easy for it to knock me down and keep me there.

About a year ago my best friend Jim lost his mom to cancer. At the end of last year, Brianna, another of my closest friends, lost her mom to cancer. And Christina was more than just “Bri’s mom” to me… she treated me like family. Rick, a classmate of mine, has been fighting cancer for two years now, and rarely posts to Facebook anymore, which seems like a bad sign. Then on the first of this month, anotherΒ school friend, Stephanie, died in her sleep from unknown and absolutely unexpected causes. Her oldest son turned 18 just two days later. And then today, my “cousin-in-law” Gloria lost her sister Wanda to cancer as well.

Jim’s mom was in her early 70s, but Christina was only in her early 40s, Rick is my age, Stephanie was only two years older than me, and I think Wanda may have been barely into her 50s. And Mom’s best friend through the entirety of her adulthood, Cecil… she passed away within the year as well. I’m actually sitting here afraid that I’ve neglected to mention someone, because it seems like every direction that I turn – sickness and death is what I see, and in many cases – in people far, far too young for most to even think it’s a possibility.

(Oof… this is gonna be a downer of an entry, that’s for sure…)

And of course, having cancer myself… or at least having had cancer (fingers crossed)… all of the stuff mentioned above doesn’t exactly do a lot to put my mind at ease. A long life before passing… that is something that hurts, but we understand it. People dying at my age or younger, from things like lung cancer when they were very vocal non-smokers… those are the ones where it starts to make less sense. And then ones like Stephanie that are there one day, making posts about her dog and her son’s upcoming birthday, then *poof* … simply gone the next. No rhyme or reason, and I’m not good when it comes to shit like that.

But for my stuff, I did get another appointment with my family doctor at the beginning of this week, tried to sum up all of the things I’ve been talking about here, and told her that I’m not really comfortable with what (to me) feels like a lack of concern or urgency once my thyroid removal and radiation treatment was completed. I’m not being neglected or anything… but after the surgery, radiation, and scan – other than the thyroid guy getting my levels right via medication, nothing else has happened or was scheduled to happen until July. I realized that I’m not okay with that. “You have cancer. We cut the cancer thing out. We think we got all the cancer. See you in half-a-year.”Β Christina also got the “we think we got it all” speech after her first surgery as well (I was there) so… umm… no. Not good enough.

It would be another thing if I honestly just felt great, and all these other things were just spooking me, but that’s not the case. Without going into details, there are things that just feel “wrong” for lack of a better term, and since I’ve gone with the “flashy” insurance this year I would be dumb to not metaphorically pound my fist on the table and ask for a little more. So that’s where I’m at now… the start of “a little more” phase. Tomorrow I’m seeing someone regarding my come-and-go, sometimes excruciatingly painful back problem… and, thankfully, with the lab being in the same building, my primary care provider has ordered an assload of blood and urine tests to not only hit on the regular “physical” type stuff, but cancer indicators as well… so I’ll do those right after the back guy.

So yeah… I’ll admit that with all of this stuff on my mind, I’ve essentially disappeared as far as my friends would describe it. At least in person, I mean. One, it’s hard to want to go out and do anything fun or visit with anyone when my brain is so full of this shit… and two, more than half of the time I just physically feel too crappy to even consider it. Now that it’s going to be looked into with a little more detail, I’m hoping that with good or at least encouraging results I’ll be more likely to spend at least a few days trying to act like everything is fine, and hopefully trying to start living my life again.

I’ve been out to see Dad a few times in the past month and a half, but when it’s hard to make myself get up and do anything even on good days – I know that I’ve not been visiting as much as I should or as much as I want. It’s hard to explain “I just can’t.” to someone, when it’s hard for you to even understand yourself. I can’t remember the last time I’ve opened my e-mail app, but I’m gonna try to at least start doing that again. My biggest problem is that I’m not exactly some cheery ray of sunshine right now, and I’ll probably struggle to come up with e-mails to Dad that are any less depressing than this particular blog entry. I guess that’ll force me to really think about each day, or couple of days, to find the little good (or at least “okay”) moments that I’m sure are there. But yeah, that’s the plan for now…

(And I’ll try to limit the depressing topics here in the blog for a while after today’s posts. Wish me luck.)

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.

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.

Buncha Nothin’

While I’m technically ready to start doing all of the adulting that I’ve got planned for the first couple of weeks of the new year, I am glad that today was essentially a “paused” day… where even if I wanted to, nothing significant could really be accomplished. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ I didn’t go out last night, nor did I have any company over, but I still didn’t fall asleep until around 3am. And of course I woke up too damn early, so my brain is thankful that the only real work that I’ll be doing today will be the stuff that I can address by mail. Which leaves all of the phone calls for tomorrow. 😳 Yay. 😟

Last night wasn’t totally lonely though. Brianna also stayed at home, although she was also babysitting for her sisters, so we ended up keeping each other company via messages up until the ball dropped at midnight and then a while after. β˜ΊπŸŽ‰ I think my adulting may be rubbing off on her, because a lot of what we talked about was both of our growing lists of “Shit We Gotta Do” in the next week or two. 😏 I mean, nobody is really a fan of responsibility, but I think it made her feel good (the same way it does me) to spend some of her evening coming up with a game plan of her own. πŸ“’πŸ–ŠπŸ‘§πŸ»

I wish that I didn’t have to take Cassi back home earlier last night, but she did end up staying later than we originally planned. It was a rough, dark, rainy, stressful drive up to Columbus in that horrible weather – with 80% of the traffic still breaking the speed limit, and the other 20% either scared, creeping slowly, or completely stopped along side of the highway as they waited for the rain to stop. β˜πŸŒ§πŸ˜―πŸ˜£πŸ˜§πŸ™ˆβ›ˆπŸŒ§ While she was here though, we started watching a new Korean rom/com/dram called Strong Girl Bong-soon. It’s strange how easily I take to Korean songs and shows now that I’ve been doing it for a bit. πŸ˜πŸ‡°πŸ‡·

But yeah… this is kind of a rambling post since it’s been a leisurely kind of day for the most part. All of my upcoming doctor appointments are still heavy in my mind though… I’m just trying to not let them bother me today. 😟 I will say this though. I haven’t been feeling great for the past couple of weeks. 😐 Not awful, but not how I normally feel either. So while I’m not gonna try to predict anything when it comes to my upcoming tests, I think I’m subconsciously getting myself ready for some potentially bad news. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

It doesn’t help that I’ve been having a lot of anxiety filled dreams lately as well. 😳 Not exactly nightmares, but dreams that definitely had a negative feel. And twice now I’ve had dreams where I died. πŸ˜• One was strange… I had already passed away, but I was still around to console people and to help with all of the arrangements needed in that sort of circumstance. 😬 But the bad dreams, the specific “not feeling well” things… right now I am choosing to attribute it all to the Wellbutrin that one of my docs put me on. πŸ€’

I haven’t felt this mentally and physically shitty in a long while. πŸ˜” And it’s so much so that I’m going to stop taking that new med until my next appointment with that doctor, so I can let him know the side effects that I’ve been experiencing. Over the years I’ve probably tried half-a-dozen different meds to help with depression or anxiety, and never have I made it past a month or two before the side effects outweighed the potential benefits – and I’m pretty sure this one will be the same way. 🀨 I’ve also got something more immediate for anxiety, but I haven’t noticed any bad side effects from that one, so perhaps I’ll be able to keep one-out-of-two in my rotation this time.

Alrighty then… time for some football. πŸ™‚πŸˆ Ready to push the scary thoughts to the back again for now.

Crusty

I really wasn’t looking forward to changing my bandages, consider the way my neck hole leaked that one evening… but one side of the band-aid underneath the gauze started coming off, so I figured now was the time. With the way everything was soaked with dried blood, you’d have thought that someone stabbed me or something. The doctor did right by removing my drain, because it was down to 2.5cc in 8hrs… so it was just a matter of something in there that needed to let go, and it apparently did.

The actual site where the drain was though, it looks surprisingly good. For there and the main incision site, at least as of right now there’s no concerning redness or swelling – so I just cleaned everything up, applied the anti-bacterial spooge, and taped on some new gauze. I’m hoping to not have to mess with it further until the stitches come out.

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.