Get A Hobby

Bad dreams ended up waking me last night around 3am, and I’ve been up ever since. Kinda doesn’t matter what sleep schedule I keep these days, given that I’m not going anywhere and I didn’t even realize what day it was today. Not meaning April Fools Day, just meaning that I didn’t realize it was Wednesday. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ Point being, anxiety filled sleep, waking up early… it didn’t lead to much of a day for me. I did text with Dad and Genesee a bit, and she got me thinking about playing the keyboard again. ๐Ÿค”๐ŸŽน๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

I forget what she said, but it reminded me that thanks to the YouTube Music app searching my own videos for music to add… I ran across this old video of me playing Don’t Wake Me by Skillet. ๐Ÿ˜Ž And when I did, I realized that if you put that keyboard in front of me now I’d have no idea how to play it. Elton John made a comment on his Melbourne Symphony album, that he was playing some songs that were so old that he had to re-learn them as well for that concert. ๐Ÿ™‚ So that’s one thing I’m gonna try to make time for… “keyboard dickin’ around time” every now and then.

And then thanks to NASCAR and iRacing running these virtual races on the weekend… and apparently a dirt track / winged-car race tonight… that’s got my mind back on video games. ๐Ÿค“๐ŸŽฎ๐Ÿ“บ I’ve got an XBOX One and a Playstation 4, yet it’s probably been at least six months since I’ve even turned either of them on. ๐Ÿ˜• Once I got into a funk a while back, my brain just never seemed interested in reminding me that I’ve got kewl shit that I could play. So I’m gonna go through my games tonight and figure out which system I’ve got the best racing games for, and I’ll probably try to re-familiarize myself with all that. ๐Ÿค” I used to be good. Years ago I was really layin’ ’em down at the road courses, or at least it felt that way. (Wow, that was from 2013…)

I don’t wanna get ahead of myself, since I’ve already got a couple options there, but I’m probably gonna play around with time-lapse and long-exposure phone photography like I usually do each spring… plus I’ve got a couple new photogrammetry apps for creating 3D models from a series of regular digital photos, so that might keep my attention as well. Meh… we’ll see, I guess.

Don’t mind me… just doing a little more “talking out loud” to hopefully burn these ideas into my brain a little more effectively. ๐Ÿคฏ It’s not like I’m making valuable use of my time otherwise, so I might as well be doing something that I used to consider fun, eh? ๐Ÿ˜ All this time stuck in the house might help me figure out where “old me” went. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป

I’ve Got Too Much *clap clap* Time On My Hay-unds

I’ll do this and that on any given day, but overall, my life feels like it has been on pause for a long time now. ๐Ÿ˜” Three big things are much of the reason behind it. Getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years back and then surgery to have that removed, my workers comp situation that’s been going on for well over a decade, and then waiting while my lawyers try to hammer out an agreement for the medical portion of my WC claim. ๐Ÿ˜ So, technically, it’s guess it’s just two “big” things that have me on pause. ๐Ÿค”

I mean, like everyone else, I’ve got a billion other little bitty tiny things that will pop up and add to the stress or anxiety whenever they feel like it, but it’s those things mentioned above that feel like they’ve put the brakes on “who I was” the most. ๐Ÿ˜• This entry isn’t about getting into the finer details of how or why… even though it’s relatively obvious, at least on the face value things, how it would make life different for anybody if they had to deal with them as well.

I’ve got a “checkup” ultrasound scan that I’m supposed to schedule sometime around the end of spring / beginning of summer, and I’m not super excited for that. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ My yearly check up last fall, which included a second dose of radiation and a gamma scan, went fine… in so far that there wasn’t anything to be immediately worried about. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ But of course with something like this it’ll take a few return trips before anyone’s gonna be so bold as to declare me cancer free… and it’s hard not to be anxious about your future with that just floating out there. (It is a good sign that I’m only getting an ultrasound vs the whole other shpeal.)

And then the workers comp stuff, which (considering the above) should feel smaller than it does… but it’s another thing that’s been hanging over my head for what feels like forever, and as some of you may know – it has a way of being a thorn in my side almost every month, so it’s something that once it’s “solved” that month – I immediately start thinking about next month and what dumb shit I’ll have to deal with then. It’s just another “always there” thing. ๐Ÿ˜  It’s a shame what a pain in the ass it all is, considering how great my doctor is. And it’s been the same d00d for all this time… ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m lucky, there.

Even though I probably won’t, I could say that I’m gonna start tomorrow… trying to change whatever it is that needs to be changed in order for me to feel like I’m restarting things. ๐Ÿ˜•๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Granted, not the best time, given the stay-at-home stuff goin’ on… but still, I’m gonna at least give it a little more of a shot. Tomorrow, the next day, the day after that… while allowing myself to have days where it’s just not working, but without letting those days totally sink the idea of getting myself headed in the right direction. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™‚

I gotta get out of this trap, where just because I know that some big shit is gonna go down soon regarding my WC settlement talks, it ends up causing me to waste most of my days as I sit there just waiting and wondering when “the next thing” is gonna happen. ๐Ÿ˜’ I miss so much of each day because my brain is looking too far ahead, fearing the worst. I suppose that applies to both of the examples that I mentioned in the first paragraph.

It’s not that I’m feeling sorry for myself or anything like that. I look around, I watch the news, I read the articles, and I know that I’m extremely lucky compared to a whole bunch of people. That’s all the more reason that I need to figure out how to stop being so affected by my stuff in the way that I am. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜” Meh… so yeah, this has been bouncing around in my head all day… figured I better put it in print so someone can remind me about this post and rightfully wag their finger at me if it seems I’m not doing what I said. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Nothing New

Still haven’t completely bounced back from the weekend, but I have a feeling that the stress of waiting for all of the workers comp stuff to play out is adding to that problem. ๐Ÿคจ Unfortunately there’s no getting around the fact that emotional stress causes a physical reaction, especially when my injury is in my neck and shoulder… because that’s where stress tension often tends to land. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜• Even in folks without other physical defects there, most people definitely feel stress in those areas.

But this was “Day One” of two pretty decent looking days when it comes to the weather forecast. Sun’s out (mostly), I’ve got the windows open, breeze blowing through the house, and was hoping that would help motivate me to do some laundry and whatever… ๐Ÿค” but rather than pushing myself I just took the day off and enjoyed it the best that I could through my picture window. No hurry on the laundry, so why not.

I hate “not doing anything” but I’d also like to make it in town to visit with Dad tomorrow, so I didn’t wanna push my luck. At some point we’re supposed to go on a sight-seeing ride to check out some of the places from our family history, to see what everything is looking like these days compared to back then… so part of me is kinda thinking about that for tomorrow, but if not – a regular visit would still be a success. ๐Ÿ™‚ Waking up each day with different levels of brokenness makes it so it’s better to not necessarily “plan” some things… but rather just “let them happen” if they’re meant to happen.

I never hold my breath on these things, but so far the “take it easy” approach to today seems to have helped with the aches and pains. Now if I can only manage to not “sleep funny” I should be in decent shape for getting out of the house tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜ I’ve been really stressed out the past few days, so I’ve been in hermit mode but still texting back and forth with Dad and Genesee which helps me escape my thoughts throughout the day. Fingers crossed for the continued bounce back to something close to normal…

(I don’t know why I still feel “guilty” or “bad” if I take a day and do absolutely nothing with it. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜• )

Tripped My Breaker

Everything caught up with me in a bad way today. ๐Ÿ˜ž First time in a week and a half that (for no apparent reason) I woke up with my neck frozen – combined with a splitting headache at the base of my skull. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

That’s never fun, but today it was apparently my tipping point. With the mental stress of all the various things getting ready to happen (as well as currently going on) with my workers comp situation, all the work I’ve been doing on it, plus still nervously waiting for my attorneys to call regarding setting up a meeting… waking up feeling utterly miserable along with all of that just flipped a switch. ๐Ÿฅบ

My anxiety about all of it had turned to irritation, anger, and determination over the past couple of days – but that’s when I wasn’t physically suffering at the same time. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ So while I’m not thrilled that I lost the entire day today – after taking my morning meds, letting the hot shower rain on the back of my head, and waiting to see if the pain was going to let up… I nodded back off and ended up sleeping the entire day away. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜•

I would have heard my phone if my attorneys reached out… but, again, the call didn’t come. A couple people texted me, but it’s late now – and I’m honestly in no condition to act like I’m “okay enough” to return messages and hold a conversation. I hate ghosting people, but today has been a bad, bad day. ๐Ÿ˜ž I’ve taken my evening meds though, so I’m hoping that’ll do something… but it’s hard to say if I’ll be back out in an hour or if I’ll end up awake all night due to sleeping all night and day. ๐Ÿ˜’ That’s just how it goes sometimes…

And when I mention this next thing, I’m not looking to be medicated… but when an injured workers is put through the ringer like I’ve been – it should honestly be a requirement that the coverage includes the option of talking to a counselor or therapist. ๐Ÿคจ It’s obvious that mental and emotional stress can affect a person’s physical health, so it would truly be in everyone’s best interest. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ (This blog is usually my therapy.)

Yeah, I’m thinking about my situation, but I’m also thinking about the tens of thousands of other people who’ve been in the fight for years that might not handle it as well as I have, which isn’t always that great. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ It should help once I get the call and the meeting is scheduled, and it’ll help even more once that’s done… no matter how it seems to go. It’s the “unknown” and the waiting that’s really tweaking me right now. ๐Ÿ˜  If this stuff’s gonna take a different course here soon, I’d like to get the show on the road.

So today went straight into the trash, but I’ve got something to look forward to tomorrow. Map of The Soul: Seven (by BTS) is being released, it’ll be available on Spotify, so I’ll have a whole album of new music to listen to and hopefully be distracted by. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Here’s hoping for a better tomorrow.

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. ๐Ÿ˜’ 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… ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ 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. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

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. ๐Ÿค” 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. ๐Ÿ˜  And being used against me by the last person that I would expect to further the stigma surrounding mental health care… another doctor. โ˜น๏ธ

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. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿ˜ž 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. ๐Ÿง 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. ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜  Reading those things in his report was honestly shocking. ๐Ÿฅบ

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 needingย it or seeking it out. And now it has bitten me in the ass. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜’

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. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ 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. ๐Ÿ˜’ 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. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Happy World Mental Health Day 2019. ๐Ÿ˜’๐ŸŽ‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜ 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. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ 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. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ Like I said, it might not be something that would bother other folks, but it would bother me more than you can even imagine. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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… ๐Ÿ˜

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. ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ๐Ÿฅบ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป 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. ๐Ÿ˜‘ 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. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ “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. ๐Ÿค•ย That’s the hope anyway…