You Never Get Used To It

(Oh yeah… this is quite a rambling one.Β  Strap in…)

While I was off of my thyroid meds, losing energy with each day that passed, preparing to have my second cancer scan done, as you may remember – I still had to drive over an hour up to NW Columbus, to go to the “Independent Medical Evaluation” initiated at the request of my former employer’s WC insurer. πŸ˜’πŸ€’ For those who haven’t been through it, it’s essentially one of the methods that can be used to try to get medication or treatments disallowed from a claim, based off of a report from a doctor (like in this instance) who has seen you as little as one single time. 🀨 That almost always sets up an Industrial Commission hearing, where (in my case) that report will be compared against the records of my own doctor, who has been treating me consistently for this work injury and disability for well over a decade. 😯

Of course my thoughts were more focused on the upcoming cancer scan at that point, so I went up, had my exam, went back home, and then mostly forgot about it while I dealt with my other medical concerns. But upon collecting my mail from the box a couple of days ago – I saw that enough time had passed for that doctor to have generated his report, which is easily 30-40 pages (if not more), and have copies sent to me, my attorneys, and my own doctor. I waited a few days to open it, because I knew there would be nothing good about it, nor would there be anything that I could do about that fact. 😟 It might as well have been labeled “Envelope Full of Frustration” but I finally made myself open and read it all yesterday.

I’m going to sugar-coat the shit out of this as I continue. πŸ™„πŸ˜ For my second pass through this thick report, I grabbed a yellow highlighter and began to mark and number the areas where more info was needed. 🧐 Whether it was adding context, pointing out inconsistencies, noting conflicting statements within the same report, or bringing attention to things that were implied, inferred, or assumption… I ended up with 48 different sections that required a response. And, unfortunately, there were several things that were simply false. Absolutely false. But still written in this report as if it were fact. 😠 I’m not saying that this doctor just pulled some things straight out of his ass, but it’s a shame how many “inaccuracies” were made by someone that shouldΒ have the presumption of being knowledgeable and accurate, especially given the duty that he’s performing and the way it could affect the future of anyone that he evaluates.

So now my copy of that doctor’s report has 48 highlighted areas, to go along with a numbered “rebuttal report” that I created to address each of those problem areas. So when I give it to my attorneys, they’ll be able to read my comments right along with the numbered and highlighted areas on the original report. πŸ€“ And despite having another doctor appointment at 11am this morning, I was up until after 2am last night… because correcting or clarifying (what I believe to be) inaccurate things in that report is really the only thing that I can do right now when it comes to “defending myself” or possibly helping my attorneys with their argument points. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ž But yeah, once I started, the areas that needed my attention just kept coming, and I wasn’t going to stop and go to sleep until I had addressed everything that I felt needed it.

Of course my doctor will write a rebuttal report… something that he’s done many times before, to the point where he’s often repeating himself – because the facts are the facts, and they don’t change over time. But when there’s a hearing, it’s just expected that the doctor of record will submit a report, so he’s unfortunately stuck in this situation just like I am. πŸ˜• Thankfully, my doctor is awesome. And like me, he’s not a fan of having his words twisted, his knowledge and methods belittled… and he’s definitely not a fan of any claims, implications, or “facts” that seem to be based on little-to-no actual evidence. So not only will he write a truthful and accurate rebuttal based on all of the medical evidence, but it also serves as a way for him to “defend” himself – which is the same feeling that I have, and why I wrote my index of rebuttal points. 🀨

I have a ton of other things that I would like to say about the doctor’s report, but it’s in my best interest to just stop at this point. I’ve covered the basics, and you’re more than welcome to imagine the non-sugar-coated version… but even if you did that, there’d still be some things that would legitimately shock you. So now I can only hope that my rebuttal points will be helpful and useful to whichever attorney ends up representing me at the actual hearing. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ—’οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈΒ (And I’ve always felt the “commission” folks do seem to care as well.)

But the law firm that represents me is great, and we’ve (knock on wood) got a great track record from the beginning through today… so I know that they’ll have already picked apart many of the same things that I’m bringing attention to, but there still might be something that I say here or there that will contribute to the arguments that they use on the day of the hearing. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And at the very least, having more information “straight from the horse’s mouth” will be beneficial in general, since we usually only have about a half hour to sit and quickly discuss the case before the hearing starts.

It would be hard for anyone to find the words to accurately express the feeling and level of frustration that comes along with this situation. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ To have decisions being made by other people, about things that will dramatically affect your future, knowing that “the truth” is the only weapon that you have… it’s such a helpless feeling, especially when you’re already feeling pretty damn helpless most of the time, due to the disability and pain that this whole thing is about in the first place. 😒 So other than the info I’ll be giving my attorneys, it comes down to sitting, waiting, and hoping… and there’s nothing relaxing or reassuring about that. 😞

Any good luck or positive juju that you want to mentally send my way is greatly appreciated. πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ™‚πŸ™πŸ»

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Improving

Went out and did actual grocery shopping yesterday. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone anywhere other than Dollar General or a quicky mart to just stock up on little random amounts of this or that to keep me going. But being run down for a couple of weeks and not making those little trips… I finally burned through pretty much everything in the fridge and cupboards. That’s good, I guess – I mean, that’s what some of the food was… shit that I could eat when I ran out of stuff that I wanted to eat. Well, that’s not exactly right, but you know what I mean. “Four cans of beets? Okay, I guess I’m going to be eating some beets today.”Β πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

It did take some energy out of me, but not like it would have done a week ago, or two weeks ago… so that’s one positive thing, that I’m definitely getting some of my energy back. Shopping is one of my least favorite things to do, so I ended up spending about $250… hopefully getting stuff that will last me a long damn time, other than stopping off for bread or pop or the other stuff that you always need to replenish before “the next shopping trip” wherever.

What’s funny though, is that when Gen and I were messaging last night, she asked me what all I got – and I legit had no idea. πŸ€”πŸ˜ Granted, I was already in bed, so my brain wasn’t trying that hard to remember… but I really think my brain put up a firewall while I was shopping. πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦Β Β βž–πŸ›’πŸ˜βž–Β πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘§πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘§Β  Β Knowing that I was already running on much lower energy, doing something that already causes annoyingly inexplicable anxiety at times, I couldn’t tell you what a single person looked like or did as I passed them in the aisle. No, wait, I remember some lady in the frozen section yelling at her kids for wanting to get the ready-made frozen lasagna – because she had already loaded her cart with all the things to make it from scratch. Oh, and I don’t remember my cashier, but the bagger chick was lightning fast… with all my shit bagged, back in the cart, and her moving on to the next station before my receipt even finished printing. πŸ˜ƒπŸ‘πŸ»

I finally ran out of juice once I got home and unloaded, but I did get all the cold shit put away – which means I have a kitchen floor full of bags waiting for me once I drag my ass out of the bedroom today. πŸ˜’ But it was just being worn out… not that “Oops I fell asleep for three hours” shit that was happening far too often a couple weeks prior. That’s really the only reason I’m posting about what 95% of people don’t even have to think about… a typical “big” shopping trip… because it hasn’t been that long since just walking out into the back yard to spray some weeds would put me out of commission. Just glad to know the thyroid meds are pushing me back in the right direction… and hoping that my uncharacteristic optimism here doesn’t jinx me for my appointment tomorrow. Also, plans for today are very limited… not falling for that “Ahh, I’m better!” shit and then ending up wiping myself out anyway after yesterday’s progress. 😏 Basically gonna take this as another “day off” after I get the rest of the shit put away and the laundry started…

Roll With The Changes

So I tried the Impossible Whopper on my way home from my workers comp doctor appointment today. It’s strange… I don’t know exactly what to say about it. πŸ€” It was different than a normal Whopper, which you’d assume, but not in a way that made it any worse or any better than the traditional kind. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I suppose the only thing that I’d have even noticed, if someone had just brought it to me and let me think it was a regular Whopper, was that it was a little dry / less greasy.

But by the time the cheese, lettuce, mayo, ketchup, etc is added – it’s honestly hard to notice any difference. And if it is legitimately more healthy (or at least less un-healthy)… something which I never bothered to Google… then yeah, I’d probably always order it over the “normal meat” Whopper. I think White Castle has the same kind of “fake meat” in a version of their sliders, so I might have to give those a try sometime as well. I’ve got no problem reducing my meat consumption as long as it tastes basically the same and isn’t detrimental to my health. πŸ„πŸ€ πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

As for my appointment today, again I suppose that I just took for granted that it wouldn’t be much different than any of my other visits with the workers comp doctor. But since it was with his PA (also a “real” doctor, of course) there was a set of “fresh eyes” on all my info. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ”Ž He actually did that because the first time I saw him, many months ago, when I was originally going to be moved mostly to his schedule, I wrote a summary letter for the past decade and said I’d appreciate hearing if anything jumped out at him which may not have been something that me and my original doctor had been addressing.

Be careful what you ask for, though… 😏 It’s nothing bad bad, but having new xrays and scans of the area from fairly recently – he took a good long look at them in comparison to the ones from before / recently after my original surgery, as well as whatever few that have been done between then and now. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ’» It’s nothing that I’ll have to address any time soon, but as always expected… after over a decade of three of my vertebrae being fused, the one above it is just showing signs of eventually needing attention as well. πŸ˜• Nothing horrible, nothing urgent… and since it’s something that I was already aware of as an eventual and likely possibility, having him remark about it honestly just rattled me because it hasn’t been one of the things on my mindΒ lately… not because it’s an “Oh no, a new surprise thing” thing.

But I like this doctor… I mean, time will tell if I like him as much as Dr Walter… but he talked with me a long time today, despite knowing that I’m still somewhat radioactive, and in detail that let me know he’s aware (or at least assumes) that I’m able to understand more than the average patient. πŸ€“Β I think he’s even older than Dr Walter, so I’m not sure why he’s got a PA position there. It could be he does his “real” doctor-in’ on all the other days when he’s not at this particular office. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But yeah, it’s fine… and if anything, I still think the “fresh eyes” are good… especially since he might end up having to write some reports that explain how my original work injury / surgery is what has caused this newer potential issue – because you can bet your ass that I’m going to do everything that I can to get it included into my current claim for wheneverΒ I might have to start doing things that involve it. 🀨

Pace Yourself, Dummy

Felt like I had a little more energy than usual yesterday, so I trimmed my hobo beard here in the living room (with a trimmer that allegedly catches all the trimmed hairs) but then of course I still wanted to vacuum up whatever it didn’t get. Turned it on, but the vacuum wasn’t sucking, and then it just shut itself off. πŸ˜’ Awesome. Didn’t realize how many filters were inside this thing, but they had become clogged with the flea dust that I spread and vacuumed up a couple weeks ago. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ”§ So I had it in pieces, took out and washed all the filters, and that was it for me.

Not that I had anything that I needed to do after that, since the filters needed to dry overnight anyway before I could even try it again… but yeah, went from “okay” to completely whupped without any warning. Took a shower to see if that would jump-start things, but nope… just made me ready for bed. 😏 And yeah, I was thinking about how I’d be missing the meteor shower, but there were enough passing clouds that I didn’t feel too crappy about not having the oomph to stay awake and set up the camera to do things properly. πŸ”­πŸ§ Looks like it might end up even more cloudy tonight, but we’ll see.

But yeah, as I was starting to fear as the time got closer – just a few days of being back on my thyroid meds hasn’t quite done the trick yet. I’m noticing a difference, so that’s good, but I just have to be patient and stop trying to do more than I should. I mean, taking apart the vacuum wasn’t even physically difficult… but yeah, I just gotta keep taking it easy for a while. That’s what I did today, and the most I plan to do tonight or tomorrow is maybe that time-lapse video and then getting through the current stack of mail. πŸ™‚πŸ° No physical stuff, even though I’ve got a basket-and-a-half of somewhat radioactive clothes that I will need to get to sooner than later. (But it’s out of the way and not hurting anybody, so meh…)

Only real obligation tomorrow is my workers comp appointment, which is typically just in and out unless we get chatty… but it’s my doctor’s assistant that will be seeing me tomorrow, so other than letting him know how run down I’ve been for the last month and why, it’s just gonna be getting those meds on track. I’m barely out of the window where I’m technically supposed to be avoiding people for extended periods of time anyway, so I’ll make sure to let everyone in the office know that when I get there, which should also help to keep this visit short and to the point.

And whether this jinxes me or not, I like that I haven’t gotten a call from my thyroid doctor’s office on either of the business days since I had the scan done. πŸ€” Different, unfortunately, from one of my friends who has been having some heart testing done – and she got one of those “Let’s go ahead and get you in here as soon as possible…” calls, which always makes your stomach drop. 😳😟 Can’t dwell though… all this shit is in the doctors’ and God’s hands, and we all just have to hope for the best. πŸ™πŸ»

Little Things

Believe it or not, I actually slept pretty good last night. Fell asleep almost immediately after I vented about the garage door here in the blog, and slept a solid six hours… which is much better than the current usual. I startled myself when I woke up though, glancing at the security cameras and seeing a car sitting in my driveway – forgetting for a moment that it is my car, and not some rando that had just showed up.

Before my brain had a chance to fully wake up and start fighting me, I grabbed my phone and checked the voice mail from my thyroid doctor. My labs showed numbers that will allow the next step to proceed on schedule, so that was a big relief. Not too much longer now. I know that I’m focused more on just being able to take my thyroid meds again, but that’s because it’s the current pressing concern regarding how I feel.

So I’m looking forward to the radiation and scan, but then even though I’ll be back on my meds and on the way to feeling better, that’s when the focus will be what the test results are going to say. I am starting to get really nervous again… and that waiting time between the scan being completed and my followup appointment with my doctor to let me know what they found… time feels like it runs in slow motion.

But the lawn d00ds actually hit the yard (and the rear weed whacking, without me even having to ask) yesterday while I was out, so I’ll have to run in town sometime today to grab some cash for whenever he comes by and pick it up. And Amy, she has adopted an aging “one of those little white dogs with all the teefs” after seeing posts about it just wandering around in Sugar Grove for days, so I’m gonna drop off the extra set of “pet stairs” that I’ve got, so her new critter won’t have as much trouble getting up on the couch with her.

I’m still internally cringing at going back into the garage to look at the damage and take some pics, but I’ll probably go out and do that first. Already been talking to Gen, since they (by choice) had their garage door replaced earlier this year, to start getting ideas of where and how to look for a good place to handle the project, and how much I might be looking at by time it’s done. So, a few small things on the to-do list today, but as long as I take my time none of it should be much trouble.

Creeping Toward The Finish Line

I figured I better get on here and make an entry while I’ve got the juice to do so. I know I said I wouldn’t bitch after doing that weed spraying outside the other night, and I’m not doing this to bitch – just to update… 😏 but cripes, that little bit of work messed me up somethin’ fierce. πŸ˜“

Overheated, energy sucked away, yet even with my full compliment of evening meds I laid awake all night, until about 9am the next morning. πŸ˜’ I got a couple hours sleep at that point, but still feeling exhausted I actually took that day’s evening meds and went to bed at 7pm. πŸ™πŸ»πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Had to be at the hospital for labs the next day, so I didn’t want to take any chances that it would be another sleepless night.

The whole night followed the routine of falling asleep for a couple hours, then waking up for one… lather, rinse, repeat. By the time I was actually able to wake up enough to get my day going the next day, I had spent a total of 15 hours in bed 😳 yet woke up feeling more drained than when I originally went to bed the night before. It’s amazing how screwed up my body has become, from just missing that teeny tiny single thyroid function replacement pill each day, and obviously I haven’t hit the bottom yet.

But I made it to the hospital, got my blood drawn and labs started, and on the way out I actually ran into a friend in one of the hallways. She was on her way to see one of her family members, but I was so out of it I barely even realized when she waved as I passed her. She looked like she wanted to be there about as much as I did, and the way I almost just walked past her, I had to comment that we were like “The Walking Dead” just lumbering past each other. πŸ§Ÿβ€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Not in any sense of the seriousness of why I was there, but more that I was just oblivious and drained and grumbling to myself in my head, to where I passed literally two feet from one of my friends and almost didn’t even notice.

But the past 48 hours have made me toss away (for now, anyway) that urge that I always have… that I need to do something useful or productive each day, no matter how shitty I feel. Yeah, F that. I gotta be realistic, because with this shit there is no “mind over matter” that will allow me to pull energy from some mysterious reserve. πŸ˜• It’s really okay though – because now that it has proven itself to me, that there is no fighting against it or whatever… that’s just how it’s gonna be until I can get back on the thyroid meds. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s still indescribably awful… but like I keep reminding myself… it’s temporary.

But just so people aren’t concerned, I am still able to drive, so if there’s an emergency or I need to get food or whatever – Lancaster has plenty of drive-thru joints that I can go to without leaving the car… and if I really need anything beyond that I can always hit up Toni, or Genesee – who has reminded me that she’s still got plenty of people around here that would be willing to help out if needed. I mean, it won’t come to any of that (at least I don’t think it will) because as long as my labs come back the way they want – I’ll get the radiation dose next week and will only have to make it through that following Thursday.

Heh… how lame. πŸ™„ Sitting here, happy that I had enough mental/physical oomph to write this. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Hands Off The Controls: Autopilot Has Been Engaged

I didn’t get to sleep until almost 6am this morning, and I had posted a somewhat moody blog entry about an hour before that… but I went ahead and deleted it when I woke up, deciding that I should wait until I had a little more sleep, time, and information under my belt before commenting on the stuff I was commenting on.

It was just really bad timing last night… first, forgetting to drag the trash buggy out to the road, so I ended up doing that around 3:00am. And of course since I was out there, I grabbed whatever was in the mailbox from the past couple of days. And the letter on top had to be from my WC attorneys, letting me know that my mandatory “independent” WC exam has been rescheduled. That was the appointment where I got up at dawn to drive to the NW side of Columbus, with my bum knee at the time, and they cancelled on me about five minutes away from their office. 🀨 Yeah, so that’s now rescheduled near the end of the July.

It had actually slipped my mind, since my brain has been in a state of constant anxiousness regarding my lengthy but (hopefully) finalΒ thyroid cancer treatment beginning. So with that and other other crappy stuff on my mind, having had to deal with the kitten situation yesterday, and then just not being able to sleep because of all of it – seeing that envelope pushed me past sad, mad, frustrated, nervous, or whatever… eventually to just numb. 😐 It’s happened before… I’ve simply “felt” to the point of no longer being able to feel. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜• And I don’t know… with the way I’ve been, numb is probably better.

I’ll let my attorneys know that the appointment is just days before I’m due to begin the radiation part of my treatment, so we’ll see if WC still demands that I show up – or if they’ll decide to wait until it’s over and I’m at what they’d consider my “normal” physical self. The latter would give a more accurate representation of how my disability and meds affect me, but who knows what they really want.

The last handful of entries should give you a good idea of where I’m at and where things are heading. I don’t know how much time I’m going to be spending online in the near future, and there’s a good chance that I’m going to be even more difficult to reach than usual. I apologize that I’m probably going to come off as more inconsiderate than typical… but I can’t really do anything for anyone, I can’t see how my presence right now could possibly be a good thing… so I might end up in my bubble for a while. 😐 If anything significant happens though, good or bad, I’ll make sure I at least make a small post – just to keep the people who still care in the loop. Try not to worry about me though. Whatever happens next is all out of our hands.