It’s Nice When They Go Well

I was anxious as I drove to my appointment today. 😐 Even after I had checked in and was walking down the hallway to his office, I still wasn’t sure if I was going to decide to stop seeing him or not. But once I got to sit down and talk with him, it made my decision to continue going there an easy one. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ™‚ I explained how the IME doctor’s report made it seem like my treatment there should be something that demands great concern, with all of the “scary” things that were implied, and (even though we obviously continued our conversation) his reaction told me all that I needed to know. 😏 In a good way.

One of the first things he said, was that it was absolutelyΒ fine if I decided to no longer continue my appointments with him. Not only because my primary care doctor could prescribe the same relatively run-of-the-mill meds that he currently does, but also because he wouldn’t want it to cause me any unnecessary problems with my WC case, as ridiculous as the questioning of my mental health may be. 😎 See, that’s how a doctor should be… giving me his blessing to stop going there, even though he’d be losing a paying client, because he wants to do what is best for me.

That in itself made me decide to schedule at least one more appointment with him, about two months from now… not only so he could follow up on me, but so I could also follow up with him and let him know how the (yet to be scheduled) hearing went. He also said that he’d be happy to write a rebuttal report as well, setting the record straight when it comes to my treatment, as well as correcting other facts that the report got undeniably wrong. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€“ Because, as you’d expect, having another doctor doing things that serve to further the stigma of mental health care… 😟 I don’t think he appreciated it. 😏

So I felt much better leavingΒ that appointment than I did when I arrived, and to let my thoughts stay on that positive path – I took most of the rest of the day off when it came to checking messages, watching the news, or doing anything else that could possibly subject me to negative stuff. πŸ™ˆπŸ™‰πŸ™ŠπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And now that I have started catching up on the news tonight… 😯 Goodness. I think I made the right choice in avoiding it for the better part of the day. Our government is a mess, man…

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World Mental Health Day

(Just got done writing this one. Heh… sorry, it turned out way longer than I anticipated, but here we go…)

Any time you get on Twitter and scroll through your feed, you see any number of people posting something because it’s a “National (whatever) Day” of some sort. Usually it’s not… but it gives folks a good excuse to post cute pictures of their cat, dog, kid, or whatever – but after seeing several posts and doing a quick google, it turns out today really is World Mental Health Day.

It’s meant to raise awareness, show support for folks getting or needing mental health care, and to also reduce the stigma that’s sometimes involved. Often involved, actually. πŸ˜’ For example, a while back at one of my primary care doctor appointments I was discussing some of the things in my life that were causing me anxiety. My disability, pain, the (then) newly discovered cancer, Mom being sick and now having passed, other close friends dying from cancer, dealing with workers comp, etc… 😟 like I told her – stuff that would probably cause anyone to feel stressed. I was just telling her so she’d have the full story, but she said she could refer me to a counselor if I wanted to talk to someone about it. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Seemed like a good idea to me. Sometimes just being able to let out your stress or anxiety to someone that’s not involved in your life in any way… it can just take a little bit of the weight off. I saw her like once a month for a few months, and she said she could refer me to their in-house doctor to see if there was any medication that might be able to help. I wasn’t really interested, since I was feeling an appropriate amount of “bleh” in regards to the stuff that was causing it… but I went ahead and took her suggestion.

I now see that doctor about once every six or eight weeks, and I’ve actually got an appointment with him tomorrow where I’ll need to make a decision. πŸ€” Because, despite this feeling like a normal series of doctor visits – just as if I was dealing with a physical health condition – the fact that this doctor gives me medication to help with my anxiety is now being used against me. 😠 And being used against me by the last person that I would expect to further the stigma surrounding mental health care… another doctor. ☹️

And when I say “mental health care” … I don’t even take any type of super serious medication, and I haven’t been diagnosed with any extreme disorders. Until this hiccup happened, I looked at this doctor and my treatment there as “Yeah, I guess it makes me feel a little better maybe… or at least I know it’s not making me feel worse… so I guess I’ll continue going.” Like, in my mind, it was barely a thing, but I continued going since it was now part of my current medical routine.

But when I had to go to the independent medical evaluation for the workers comp system (a week or so before getting that second radioactive iodine dose and scan for my cancer followup) one of the things discussed with that doctor was what medical treatment I was currently getting, and from who. (Regardless if it was related to my WC injury or not, to get a complete picture…) So of course I talked about the cancer doctor and treatment, my WC doctor and treatment, and then my PCP doctor and referral regarding the mental health care.

Now, these exams, they’re initiated by my former employer’s insurer, so of course they’re rarely going to be helpful to my cause. So I expected him to say certain things, but I never expected that being treated by a doctor for occasional anxiety would essentially be “weaponized” and used against me the way that it is. 😟😞 Because this doctor took the names of the two meds I’m prescribed, and picked some of the absolute worst possible reasons that I may be taking them. You know how almost every medication has one “thing” it is known for treating, but then it can also be used for treating a half dozen or more other things?

You could even do this test on yourself. Just grab whatever meds you take, get on WebMD, pick out the most extreme, “worst case scenario” possible uses for each medication, and see how close that sounds – compared to what you’re actually taking them for. 🧐 That’s what this doctor did to me. Taking what is run-of-the-mill, minor anxiety treatment to me, and twisting it into all sorts of implied, speculative, “concerning” mental conditions that could be so severe that they even affect how I interpret / talk about my pain and disability. πŸ˜§πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜  Reading those things in his report was honestly shocking. πŸ₯Ί

The funny thing is, for most people… just the pain that I deal with each day, and the sheer amount of things that I can no longer do due to the disability in my left shoulder and arm… just those things alone are enough reason that a person might want to include anxiety treatment in their normal medical routine. And I was doing it mostly because another doctor suggested it, and it sounded like a “might as well” thing, rather than me desperately needingΒ it or seeking it out. And now it has bitten me in the ass. πŸ™„πŸ˜’

Well, maybe it has bitten me in the ass. (Maybe the commission will see right through it, as they should.) I won’t know how his report will affect my worker comp case until the hearing is scheduled and all of the doctors’ information (from both sides) is reviewed. But now I’m stuck, wondering if tomorrow I should let this doctor know that I no longer need his services. πŸ˜ŸπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He probably helps me a little bit, but it’s certainly something that I could do away with if it’s going to damage the treatment that I get for my work injury. It’s obviously more important (and logical) for me to want to keep the treatment that keeps my pain to a minimum, which also helps keep my stress and anxiety to a minimum.

Yeah, so anyway, it’s a bit of a clusterfuck… and, unfortunately, anyone that reads my story here… anyone that may have been considering seeing a counselor or psychiatrist for the first time… they’ve now got something to add to their mental “nope” list when it comes to the pros and cons of seeking any type of mental health treatment. πŸ˜’ I don’t take it personally, what the “independent” doctor wrote. I understand that his job is to come up with all of the “worst case scenario” stuff that he can, since my doctors will obviously be talking positively about all of the ways that my current treatment is as effective as the WC situation will allow.

I guess I look at those types of doctors the same way that you might look at public attorneys who are appointed to defend obvious criminals in court. They still have to give that defense their maximum effort, even if it goes against what many people would consider to be “right.” That doctor has chosen that job for reasons only he would know… so I can only hope that sometimes he stops to think about the effect that his actions have on us folks who rely on our WC treatment to keep our pain and lives at least tolerable. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ÿ

Happy World Mental Health Day 2019. πŸ˜’πŸŽ‰

The Opposite Of Reassuring

This is the first time I’ve experienced this, probably because I was rarely sick when I was younger, so I don’t think I ever had more than one doctor that I would have regular appointments with… but regarding some of the things with my current condition, I’m getting conflicting diagnosis/treatment advice from two of my doctors. πŸ€”πŸ˜ In more ways than this I’m still a kid, so when I go to a doctor I listen to what they say and take their word as gospel… assuming that they truly know what they’re talking about, and are offering me what is definitely the best diagnosis and treatment plan. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ But I guess as with almost anything, people often end up with differing opinions. Sometimes differing quite a bit. πŸ˜•

Things have been less than ideal with me for a couple of weeks now, and this week I went back in for a couple of different appointments to discuss it. I tend not to bitch about it unless it’s really bad, but these past few days… on Wednesday I woke up early, took a short nap in the afternoon, and after waking up I wasn’t able to go back to sleep for 30 fucking hours. 😳 Doctor appointment number one wasn’t much fun, going in at the 24 hour point… I mean, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna be able to make it there and back… but at least it wasn’t like when you take your car to the shop so they can fix a rattle, but the rattle doesn’t happen. πŸ˜’ So at least Doc got to see when it can be really bad, and in a way I appreciate when that happens.

I dunno… I’m being kind of vague because I don’t really like talking about it in a lot of ways, so back to the point – I’ve got two doctors who essentially completely disagree with what the other is saying and doing, and I’m not sure exactly what to do with that. 😟 First reaction is to trust and believe that doctor who isn’t saying the scary things, but that may be the doctor who isn’t holding anything back. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Then I try to think about “what’s in it” for each of them, and even that doesn’t really help.

But in the next couple of days I’ll have to decide who I want to roll with, and that will decide how potentially fucked up my next few months could end up being. 😐 Gah… I know… vague. I don’t want people to worry.

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.

Better Than A Telemarketer

Heh… should have seen that one coming… the moment I wake up, my phone rings. 😱 Almost like my subconscious knew that a call was coming. πŸ§™πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It was the fella that will be doing the litigation for my court case here soon, responding to the e-mail that I sent him late last night. It was a great conversation though, and he filled me in on all of the stuff that’s been going on lately, along with what his plans are for the upcoming appearance. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ« I can tell he’s a smart guy, and he didn’t dumb things down for me, which I appreciated. (It’s nice to have a conversation about something of importance with someone who absolutely knows what the hell they’re talking about. πŸ˜…)

He also blessed me with the knowledge that I don’t actually have to attend. Almost like I assumed, if I were to go I would end up just having to sit there and listen, which I don’t totally object to – but I’d rather let them do their thing and not put myself through the stress and probable pain of driving up to Columbus in shit traffic and snow, possibly still feeling side effects from the steroid injection two days prior, and then sitting there on my hands for 15 minutes while they bust through their arguments. πŸ˜’ Even just writing about this stokes my stress, which then stokes my pain.

Oh, I think that was the only surprising thing that he told me… the very limited amount of time that each side has to present their argument. 😯 The magistrate will already have all of the paperwork that he really needs regarding my claim though, so oral arguments basically just act as salt and pepper on the main dish. But man, sometimes just the right amount of salt can make bland mashed potatoes taste awesome. 🀀 So, as usual, I’m cautiously optimistic. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He explained in detail the angle that he’ll be going with, and it does sound pretty solid.

Like I was thinking though, the ruling on this case will most likely set a precedent that many, many more cases will eventually rely upon in the future. 😬 I know that it honestly has nothing to do with me personally, but I’m still sitting here hoping that my case doesn’t end up being the one that causes problems for other injured people like me who will come along in the future. πŸ˜” Oh and get this, if the magistrate finds in my favorΒ – my former employer can still elevate this one more time, this time to the Supreme Court of Ohio. πŸ˜§πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈπŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš–οΈ Just typing that sentence seems nuts. That court does have the option of telling them to just piss off though, so I guess there’s that. 😏

This was probably the easiest that I’ve transitioned into “handling unexpected phone call when you can’t even do phone calls” though. πŸ˜₯ Smart attorney who is also personable and is able to relate legal information to shlubs like me… that definitely helped. But between getting my brain topped up again and knowing that I don’t have to physically be in the courthouse for the process this time… that’s a call that I’m glad to have answered.

Other Shit

New Year’s Eve was a big ol’ meh. I can’t even remember my exact mood that day, but I could make a pretty good guess. 😏 Luckily I saw a post on Twitter that said if you started watching “Doctor Who – The End of Time: Part II” at 10:54pm, at exactly midnight it would be at the part where The Doctor visits Cardiff and Rose spots him and wishes him a Happy New Year. It’s just a nice moment – because he’s already traveled with her extensively, and he’s actually dying now, but in this particular moment he has gone back to before they had met – so she didn’t even realize who he was yet. 😒😊 I dunno, you have to be a fan of the show I guess. πŸ€“ But I barely remember it working out just right, she said “Happy New Year!” right at midnight, then *ploop* I was out.

As for a potential “Doctor Visit #2” regarding the “Oh, hey, there’s something on your thyroid.” noted by the technician that ran the MRI for my spine… I’m really not sure what I’m going to do about that yet, if anything. 😐 It doesn’t help that I just watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where a couple of the characters were referring to a family member who had cancer on her thyroid without even knowing it, and died soon after it was detected. πŸ˜• Thinking about that… I dunno, if I really start feeling some sort of effects from whatever it is then I might go see what’s up, but if it’s something bad bad already – I’m not sure I’m interested in finding that out. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Foolish? Probably… but only for someone who isn’t prepared for what “not knowing” could bring next. Meh… I’m still discussing it with friends. It’s hard to say “It’s okay, I’m kinda ready to check out anyway…” without people getting all concerned and up in your business. πŸ˜… But anyway…

It’s still effing frigid here in Ohio. 😬 Waking up to five degrees, or one degree… with the house cracking and popping from enduring the constant sub-freezing temperatures… yeah, this shit is for the birds. 😰 Today, just a couple of miles from home, while trying to thaw their work truck – some poor folks managed to explode the building they were working in… and the sound, even from that far away, jolted me awake by shaking the house. 😨 I honestly looked outside to see if a car had skidded into the house or something, even though the house is like 80′ from the road.

Hopefully now that the holidays are over I’ll start feeling a little more normal, relatively speaking. It’s not that I don’t like Christmas and New Year’s… there’s just a lot of emotions wrapped up in the memories right now, so getting back to boring old crappy “regular” time again is comforting. ☺ I finished shaving the cat, got the living room all vacuumed and straightened up, so I’m gonna slowly build on that progress. In what fashion, I’m not quite sure yet… but just moving forward instead of being frozen here would be an improvement. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

And on Twitter I’ve unfollowed any accounts related to politics and news. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I did it once before but couldn’t make it stick, because it’s in my nature to stay informed… but Donald Trump is a fucking moron, and I can’t keep clicking open that app each day to see him comparing “nuke button” sizes with Kim Jong-un and planning “Presidential Fake News Awards” and other equally insane bullshit. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ People say he’s just trolling the world, that he’s pointing out errors that journalists have made… which is fine… but he’s still a fucking moron, is ridiculously unqualified to be President, and is making the United States a laughing stock and much more hated than we’ve been in a long time. 😣 And my watching it on Twitter isn’t gonna make a lick of difference one way or another… so I’m gonna try to shield myself from the stupid and stupid’s followers.

Saying Goodbye

Yesterday was rough. 😐 I woke up and hit the road shortly after dawn, because I wanted to allow myself plenty of time to compete with rush hour traffic heading towards Columbus. I just wanted to get up there early enough so that I could spend a while with Cassi and Lily before we had to head to the vet’s office. 😞 Once we were there, I couldn’t make myself stay in the room when the time came – but thankfully Cassi was strong enough to stay in there with Lily through all of it. As I sat out in the car waiting for her, I found what I felt was the best way to think about it…

Cassi loves Lily and didn’t want her to go, obviously, but she knew that for Lily’s sake – that’s what needed to happen. And Lily… I like to think that Lily didn’t want to go, but only because she didn’t want her adoptive mommy (and the other kitties in the house) to be sad and miss her. 😒 But Lily herself, I’m sure that if she would have been able to say it, she’d have said that it was time to go.Β  Thinking about it in human terms… as all of us approach our final years, there’s a pretty good chance that we ourselves will go through days, weeks, or maybe even months where we’d probably like to ask God to go ahead take us – due to the discomfort that often comes with that old age. πŸ‘΄πŸ»πŸ˜Ÿ

We were sniffling and sobbing all the way back to the apartment, and she was telling me even more little stories about Lily and some of the other cats that I hadn’t heard before… kind of a rolling “wake” of good kitty memories. πŸ™‚πŸ˜Έ Of course I couldn’t help but start thinking about Maven’s age, wondering how I’m going to be able to face it once that day comes for her… but luckily I’ve got both Cassi and Genesee who said they’re willing (and want) to be there. I wish I could have made myself stay in the room for Cassi, but she understood – and actually said that she never expected me to. 🀨 She basically said it in a way to let me know that she stayed in the room not only for Lily, but also so that I didn’t have to.