Now We’re Cookin’

Another long day of medical stuff. Nothing really new or concerning. So, so much data from all the labs and pathology and whatever… some of the most recent stuff hadn’t even been interpreted so it was presented in its pure data form, but there was still enough “plain english” stuff for him to form his opinion and explain things very clearly. It turns out that not only was the cancer in my left lymph node, but they also found (after the fact) that there was a “micro-tumor” in the right one as well… so it’s good that they sliced them both out to be safe.

The thing that made the overall picture slightly better today is that they also tested the nearby lymph node and the results showed no cancer cells there. So, yeah, it’s just a test, it’s hard to say how accurate it really is, but I’ll take the good news… so we’re gonna go with that for now. Defective thyroid removed, and no cancer in the nearby lymph node. He also made some adjustments to my meds which should help me battle the lack of energy and accidental naps, and I’ll start taking those tomorrow.

The other positive thing from this appointment is that one of the bigger balls is now in motion. I doΒ have to go through the radioactive iodine treatment, which is meant to catch any random cancer cells that may still be hiding out, but there’s not a huge urgency to it – so I won’t start until this time next month. It had to be that way due to my other appointments and schedule, because there’s a 7-day period where I’m supposed to remain isolated so I don’t contaminate the unwashed public by my presence… so of course I wouldn’t wanna see Dr Walter and Nicole during that time.

The process will begin with me getting some sort of injection (to mask the effect of the thyroid medication) on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the actual radiation stuff on Wednesday. After that part is completed I then have to go for a full body scan. I think that’s the next thing that I’m actually nervous about. It’s meant to see if anything was missed, anywhere, and to have a scan to use as a (hopefully) successful baseline for another full scan six months after that. So yeah, it’s quite the glob of activity coming up here soon.

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A month or two ago, Dad asked me if I’ve ever had moments where for no real reason, you just get a “content” or unexplained happy feeling that comes over you. πŸ€” At the time I said no, but I think that how I’ve been feeling these past couple of days is what he was talking about. No real reason to be in a good mood, but here it is… for me to not exactly know what to do with it. 😏 Genesee keeps telling me to not dwell on it and just let it be, which is obviously the correct answer. 😁

After all of my appointments this week, I agreed with myself that today should be a day off. I did that with the intention of tricking myself though, because whatever I actually do accomplish by the end of the day – it’s now all just “bonus” stuff. 😊 So that’s been today… staying at home, inside my bubble (so nothing can accidentally crap up my mood), while working on office/organizational type things. πŸ€“ No need for details because I’ve already covered it in recent entries.

My PCP appointment yesterday was a mix of good and bad, which is what I expected. πŸ˜• And rather than doing the referral to the psychiatrist (that I never got around to from the last visit) I told her that I’d compromise and set up some appointments with a therapist. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’Ό I already had plenty of stuff that I could have talked about, and that was before learning about my whammy medical condition. But I’ve always liked therapy, the handful of times that I’ve gone… so why not.

If my mood maintains I might go for a walk around Alley or Rising Park tomorrow. I need to stop doing an impersonation of a potato every day… so I’m gonna try to find my misplaced passion for photography/videography and maybe use that as an excuse to leave the house. Oh, and every damn human that I encountered while out doing my runnin’ this week… they’ve been nice, polite, friendly, jokey, etc. 😯 Local society acting so welcoming that I almost felt “normal” being out among them.

Oh, and the hospital finally called today to let me know that they read my letter, and that they’ve talked about it with the people involved. 😳 That’s good enough for me. Acknowledgement. Being heard. I’m hoping that they did take my concerns seriously, but not so seriously that anyone got hollered at or suspended or worse. I ended the call by joking with her, saying that I don’t wanna end upΒ “The Patient with The Scarlet Letter” though, should I ever have to return there for another procedure. πŸ˜…

So between feeling a little accomplished today, and then hopefully doing something distracting over the weekend, I should have a few good days before I have to field calls from the two new doctors’ offices that are supposed to be setting up appointments for me. 😬☎ I really hope that the next steps don’t interfere with the fair and Phil Collins concert. I could live without going to the fair, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna miss that concert. 😠 Especially since Jim got my ticket as a “no particular reason” gift.

Okay, time to find something good on Netflix and get back to work, but not.

Pass The Baton / Kick The Can

I didn’t do my bills last night, but I’m doing them now. πŸ˜’ They’re enough of a pain in the ass that I think I deserve an intermission, so I figured I’d jump over here and drop a few paragraphs. I knocked out the easy ones… gas, electric, internet, etc… but all of the fun medical related ones are starting to come in, and I want to pay closer attention as they nickel and dime me. 🀨 Mostly just to make sure that they don’t nickel and dime me over the same test, scan, procedure, or person twice.

My appointment today? Well, I guess it was okay. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He said that the pathology reports on the tissue removed during my surgery was exactly what the pre-surgery biopsy had suggested, and that it’s the most common and most treatable type of thyroid cancer. 😐 Bleh… I don’t like using that word, so don’t expect to see it get used much here. 😷 So, it was a good follow-up, with the labs at least not coming back with something scarier than already thought. And I really pushed him for his true opinion. I told him not to bullshit me, and asked him if he had any “gasp” moments during the surgery.

Like I told him, before I was able to get workers comp to pay for my C5-C7 fusion surgery, I had to get an MRI done – with several doctors and medical assistant folks looking at the results, which showed some pretty severe damage. 🧐 And each one that didΒ look at it… it gave them a “gasp” moment. 😧

Where even a trained medical professional was like Wow. 😳 or Damn. 😯 or Holy shit. 😱

I explained how that helped me in thatΒ previousΒ situation, as it got everything approved and moving much more quickly… but that a “gasp” moment now isn’t something that I was hoping for, but that I still wanted him to tell me if it happened to him while he was digging around inside my neck. 😐 His reply seemed genuine (as usual) when he said that nothing was any more concerning to him once he was in there than when he was anticipating how it would look and how it would go. πŸ‘πŸ»

He explained that there was inflammation, but no more than he was expecting. He said that nothing gave him any kind of pause, that the surgery went as well as he could have hoped for, and that I don’t need to worry so much at this point. (Easier said than done, pal… 😏) I’m getting more blood drawn tomorrow, and he’s referring me to an endocrinologist in the same building that will hopefully help get my screwed up levels straightened out, as well as likely doing (or scheduling) this marker/radiation pill dealΒ  – which will hopefully be a one time thing followed by close monitoring. 🀞🏻

I figure I’ll save the questions about if/when I’ll have to see an oncologist, although I’m guessingΒ that’sΒ gonna be the doctor that would be doing the marker/radiation pill deal that I just mentioned, now that I think about it. πŸ€” It’s a little frustrating to be handed off from specialist to specialist, but better to have a whole bunch of different eyes on the situation than just one d00d who might not know what he’s doing, right?

So today’s follow-up… I’ll take it as a positive outcome. πŸ™‚ Didn’t really learn anything new, but learning that the labs confirmed what the initial tests suggested, and nothing worse… that’s sure better than the alternative. Also, having the whole “Don’t BS me, doc.” conversation, with the way he replied… it did actually make me feel a little more comfortable with the whole thing in my head. And so it goes…

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.

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˜„

Hard To Accept

With a lot of stuff going on in my life, I kinda extracted myself from social media and real life friends for the better part of three months now… but after seeing Dez, it convinced me to get back on and start talking to my friends again. I’m just not anxious to figure out how to explain my absence, since it’s a combination of health problems, mental problems… you know… stuff that people always assume other people won’t really understand.

One of the first people that I checked in on was one of my friends who was just starting to go to his doctor for possible cancer related symptoms the last time we spoke. I talked to him today and he confirmed that it’s indeed cancer, and that it’s so bad they’re not trying to cure it. 😒 So he’s terminal, and the chemo is just to give him as much time as possible. He says it could be a couple of years, or it could be a couple of months. 😳 One of those deals where the doctors can’t be much more certain than that. 😞 It’s hard to know what to say to someone when you hear that kind of news.

I also checked in on my buddy Rick, from school, and it looks like his fight against hairy cell leukemia is still going strong. I haven’t spoken to him, but I see he’s posted pics from chemo treatments as well as something regarding bone marrow… so it’s good to see that he’s still got the required fight in him. πŸ‹πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ’ͺ🏻 There’s one more friend that I need to check in on like that, but she’s currently enjoying vacation time with her awesome boyfriend… and the last thing I wanna do is poop on the good mood by asking about her cancer status. 😬

Oh, the video above… it’s just one of my typical Hyperlapse videos, but shot out the side window instead of the windshield. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I don’t know what it is about the movement of the clouds that feels so peaceful. It makes me feel so small, and the beauty of the world feel so big. ☺ I’m hoping that I can get past all of the stuff that’s keeping me down right now, so I can get out and do some video or photos or something somewhere… watching the clouds churn makes me wanna be out among them.

Research

I ended up getting almost 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night, likely thanks to my normal evening meds and a couple Tylenol PMs taken at just the right moment. Sadly, I still woke up tired, at least physically… but my motivation game was strong. I guess this was the right day for that combination though, since it’s the weekend and there really wasn’t much that I could do “out and about” to continue my meager progress from last week.

I’ve looked up a bunch of different doctors and “family practice” offices in Lancaster and nearby cities, so I’ll be able to make some calls and maybe even stop by some of these places on Monday. πŸ™‚ I’ve also researched some urgent care places and narrowed it down to two that may be able to help with the tests that I need. 🀨 That’s my backup plan, should the “find a new doctor that doesn’t have a two month waiting list” thing fail. πŸ˜’ And then on top of that I’ve gotten names and info from our local hospital’s site, so I’m prepared to goΒ there to talk to someone about my predicament if need be.

My main concern (after just getting the “serious stuff” started) is doing this in a way that won’t screw me over when it comes to my insurance and the bills. 😳 I assume it’s always like this, since it’s been this way with any insurance that I’ve ever had, but basically you have to jump through all of the required hoops. πŸ™„ Like, you can’t just go to a heart specialist and ask for an EKG without having been referred to that heart specialist by your “normal” doctor. πŸ€” I mean, I guess you can… but your insurance won’t pay for it without the referral.

So yeah, off and on throughout the day was all of that, and then in the evening I remembered that I needed to make a couple phone calls.Β The first was just returning a call from one of my attorneys regarding their recent court actions on my behalf, and the second was to leave a message for the company that I’ve chosen to trim my hedges and spirea bushes, to let them know that I’m on board.

Tomorrow should be a lazy day. 😏 I can’t think of anything that I’ve forgotten, at least not right now, so hopefully I’ll be able to sleep in for a bit before I go to visit with Mom and Dad in the afternoon. If I don’t get too late of a start, I might even try to hit a couple of thrift stores before returning to Maven, the homestead, and a rapidly-approaching Monday morning.