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.

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Tired of This Shit

I’m not sure how this month’s appointment with the WC doctors is gonna go. πŸ˜• I think I’m actually seeing Dr Walter this time, when it was the new guy that I had the in-depth discussion with about the state of my treatment last month. Regardless, since the WC insurer is coming at me with the shenanigans again, the conversation will have to revolve around that rather than the stuff that I started bringing up last month.

I’ve got to be careful, because it almost feels like a “trap” that WC could use against me, but this month I have to start discussing possible alternatives for the meds that I’m taking right now. Because if they are somehow able to weasel out of paying for what I’m currently taking, the cost of two of those medications would simply be too much for me to continue taking them long term. πŸ™ That’s where the “trap” part comes in.

When I start discussing more affordable potential alternatives for the meds I’m currently taking, I want it to be clear with my doctors and in my records that I have no desire or intention to make any changes now… and that the research and discussion is really just to act as my parachute if I get pushed out of the plane. But I can see where my fear of being forced to pay for my own meds, which has made me research cheaper (but likely less effective) alternatives, means that I nowΒ know that there are cheaper alternatives, so they’ll probably think that they have the right to force me to change to them – despite my preference to keep taking the ones that I’ve been taking. 😏 Heh… I know, that sounds a bit convoluted, but it basically make sense, no?

But until I’m able to discuss this with them, I know that I’m just taking barely-educated shots in the dark when it comes to what might or might not be suitable replacements. 🎯😎 I mean, even though I know that Lyrica has very specific actions – at its most basic level I know that it is considered an anti-seizure / anti-convulsant medication… so that’s where I start looking. πŸ€“πŸ“š And now I have four or five medications that I think could be good replacements… but for all I know, even though they’re anti-seizure, they may have totally different actions – and ones that aren’t even close to being applicable to my situation. πŸ˜’

So for now that’s all I can really do… look for “close” meds and make sure there are more positive side effects than negative. Then I’ll just hope that I’m actually on to something, and that information can be put in my back pocket until it is needed. Between now and then I just have to figure out how to condense all of this crap down into a tolerable three to four minutes. πŸ˜³β±πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ Gotta impress the importance of this on him, while also not rambling so much that my point gets lost in the noise. I’m better at that than you’d think, actually… it just doesn’t seem that way here because I know I can go on and on about something and it doesn’t matter, since hardly anyone reads this blog anyway. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

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.

Anxious

I’m not sure how I feel about the weekend falling right before New Year’s Eve. 😟 I think it’s actually going to work out better for me this way, since I’ve already got a January’s worth of medical appointments on my mind, but I can’t even really go about changing my insurance information or anything like that until after the first of the year when the new plan kicks in. 🀨 So I’ll have at least a couple of days to start planning who I need to contact and when, and I might even get a couple days after that since some places might be closed on Monday and/or Tuesday. I’ve just got a lot of upcoming shit… I wanna hit the ground running.

I think I’m gonna have Cassi down for the night tomorrow. She can’t stay on New Year’s Eve since she has to be at work early early, but it would still be nice for her to stay – since not only has it been a little while since she has, but also because it might also be a little while until the next chance – depending on how my month goes and how I’m feeling during any given stretch. πŸ˜”

I’ve also decided that I’m going to let her take my Wii and games back up home with her to give to Junior. I can’t remember the last time that I sat down and played any of my games, let alone any of the games on that system that’s almost a decade old now. I could sell it I guess, but I’d hardly get anything for the lot of it… might as well brighten up a kid’s day a bit, eh? πŸ™‚ I’ll probably wait until she’s here to start finding all the bits and bagging it up… with the way I’ve moved stuff about since I last played, it’s hard to say what’s where.

But like I’ve described regarding my friends before… sometimes it’s just nice to have the company, because not only does it provide time to chill and (hopefully) clear the mind of “the now” for a while – something that’s always needed – but it also helps to encourage a little more productivity, since we’re both essentially able to pat each other on the back for our respective jobs well done. 😏

I’m certainly not looking forward to 2019, so a couple more days of “nothing” and some company to distract is probably exactly what I need. So I guess I do know how I’m feeling about it.

Grumble

I had Bri around for a few days. I hadn’t been able to spend much time with her since Christina passed, partly due to schedules, partly due to my radiation stuff still going on… but yeah, the last few days have been nice with her around. I don’t need to entertain her, there was plenty of Netflix, Plex, and YouTube, and we were both probably more productive with whatever stuff we needed to work on than had we not been each other’s company. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

Had to wake up before the sun rose this morning, to make sure I’d make it to my 8-o-fucking-clock doctor appointment, and I’m still in a shit mood about it. 😠 I’ve never been excited about any type of mental health care… heh… and I suppose it shows sometimes, but yeah, this was my first real session with a shrink shrink, and getting medications that he thinks will help me be less twitchy. Meh… I’m trying to not even think about it much right now and I’m gonna just see how it goes.

I can’t be bothered with all that stuff right now though because, yet again, I’m doing the monthly fight to get my workers comp medications. 🀬 You know, the same medication that I’m apparently being accused of not getting filled and not picking up like I should. Is that what they’re trying to use against me? That they force me to completely run out and sometimes have to wait days before the next prescription is finally approved? Are they holding that “delay” against me? Yeah, I don’t feel like talking about that right now. πŸ˜’

I swear though, next month’s calendar is already peppered with doctor and other appointments. Half of them are actually still related to the thyroid cancer treatment, but now there’s PCP appt, workers comp doc appt, thyroid stuff, talky shrink, pill shrink… bleh… it’s making me tired just looking at it. Gonna try to continue to make some changes at my next WC appointment as well, which might not go easily… I’m just tired of going to a pain management place while still being in pain each day. πŸ˜– Something obviously isn’t working quite right and I deserve to have it changed in order to improve my treatment and my condition.

Yeah… already done with today, man…

Awesome Timing, Thanks

I went and saw the new “physician’s assistant” fella yesterday. He first confirmed that Dr Walter is still my doctor of record and that everything will still go through him… but hopefully after this initial “getting to know each other” appointment (for which I’m sure he’ll have to confer with Dr Walter at least this time) he’ll be able to handle most everything while leaving Dr Walter’s time free to help patients that can actually still be helped, patched up, or even repaired. That’s where his time should go.

Thankfully though, I really like this guy. Dr Walter and I have a decade of history from me going to that clinic for the same problem… so, obviously, even starting to get new guy on the same page as us would be impossible in one visit. But that didn’t stop him from intently listening to everything I said, as well as already offering his preliminary thoughts and ideas about my condition and treatment. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but the positive vibes were a pleasant surprise. I mean, it was really a crap shoot (what type of doctor I could have ended up with) but I should have known that their office wouldn’t hire a jackass when not a single one of them already there acts that way.

Okay, so that was the good part of the visit. Nothing has changed yet, but I told him that I appreciated having “new eyes” looking at the situation, and letting him know that I am willing to try changing some things up if he, Dr Walter, and I think that it could help with the problems which have slowly been getting worse over the months and years. I then began the walk to the front of the office to make my next appointment and hit the road, when I was told that Laura, the workers’ comp “saint” of the practice, needed to see me before I left.

She told me that my case manager contacted them and told them that I was non-compliant with my scheduled appointments, and that I was also non-compliant with getting my medications filled each month. Now, Laura has been there since the beginning with me, so she (like me) knew that what the case worker was saying was complete bunk. Before I could even say anything, Laura told me that she had already faxed more than sixty pages worth of documentation to them, to let them know that they are either full of crap and are trying to jerk me around again, or that they are incompetent. (My words, not hers.)Β I mean, how many times have I bitched here myself about how nearly every damn monthΒ I have to make multipleΒ calls, multiple visits to the pharmacy, and often still I’m not “allowed” my medications until days after they’ve forced me to run out?

Based on what they are claiming, they are now only willing to pay for one doctor visit every three months – while certain medications that I take require me to be seen every thirty days. (And it sure sounds like their eventual goal may be to straight up “kick me out” or void their obligation to me.) So, this is what I have to deal with now. And I really need some dumb shit like this, right now, when my plate is already overflowing with stuff that is pushing my health and emotions to their limits.

But that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow, gathering up all of the current information about whoever is my acting case manager, figuring out which of my attorneys handles this type of issue, and probably trying to figure out how to get records from my pharmacy – and maybe a statement from the pharmacy techs who know how I regularly get the runaround – and get everything in some kind of order, to where I can start making calls on Friday.

I had a good day today, and I do want to blog about it at some point, but I’m still furious about this. Yes, it’s all easily, easily refutable… and there’s absolutely no way that I won’t win if this gets forced into another IC hearing or actual court case… but the fact that I have to do it at all, and that theyΒ stillΒ seem determined to deny me as much of my treatment as they can. I don’t understand how any human could or would take a job like that, where if they complete their task or reach their goal, a person’s life is ruined.

If I keep talking about it I’m not going to be able to sleep again tonight, but that’s the gist of how my Wednesday went. I’m glad Genesee is still in town, because today I had to just pretend that yesterday didn’t happen… just for this one day, so that my brain wouldn’t have a meltdown from immediately trying to fix all of this. I already spent the entirety of Tuesday night through dawn on Wednesday wide-awake, sitting in bed with my phone, looking up countless things regarding my case and treatment, and sending them to the printer so I could compile and highlight them later.

When there is a reliable, well-documented, years-long pattern of delaying or denying a patient’s medication or treatment, when multiple hearings and court cases have already made it clear that the patient is legally entitled to all of it… even if it’s done in a way that technically isn’t in violation of their obligation – you’d still think it might reach a point where a judge would see that it’s nothing less than harassment, and I have to believe that one of that patient’s litigating attorneys would smell blood in the water at that point, so to speak. I’m not a squeaky wheel. Why do they want to push it to that point?

(Okay, tomorrow’s entry will be a positive one. I just had to let this out, for better or worse.)

Checking In

Haven’t been able to shake this funk.Β πŸ˜• Started with that shitty low-iodine diet, then the self-imposed house arrest so I wouldn’t unintentionally expose anyone to radiation, and even now after the scan the other day I’m having a hard time bouncing back. And I was only hoping to bounce back to “meh” rather than “okay” or “good” since I know those two options are unavailable to my brain right now.Β πŸ˜”

It’s not even really about my own stuff… it’s just tough knowing that Mom has been having bad days recently, and knowing where things are eventually headed. 😟 It’s not even a conscious choice… but I have a hard time attempting a good mood when I know Mom’s going through things that certainly won’t allow her mood to be that great. And like I’ve mentioned, it’s not just her… my friend Christina just passed, another couple of friends are still fighting different types of cancer as well, dealing with my stuff, worrying about Mom and Dad… it’s just hard to break out of the “bleh” that I feel for all of those things, even though I know nobody would want me to be “bleh” on their behalf. 😏

But anyway… my scan… I think I may have mentioned that I really didn’t know the details before I went in, although all of my assumptions were correct. I don’t dare google anything about thyroid cancer, because I’m sure that I’d accidentally expose myself to horror stories that would make me stress more than I already am. 😳 But the imaging machine looked like an open MRI for the most part, although not only did it scan in that traditional method, but there were parts during the process where the entire thing would slowly rotate all around me as I was lying there. 😬

I didn’t have to get into a gown, and only needed to remove my keys, wallet, belt, ring, etc. The most difficult thing was lying flat on my back for an hour. 😣 Whether I’m sitting (usually on the floor) or sleeping (either flopping around or in one specific “good” position) I rarely maintain a posture where I’m completely straightened out and flat. Thankfully the machine made little noise, and nothing even close to the anxiety inducing buzzes and thunks of a damn MRI machine. So all-in-all it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

But it sounds like the scan was just a scan, since all of the current treatment had been ongoing since the week prior – as the radioiodine 131 was flowing through me and into any stray, dying thyroid bits that remained after the surgery.Β πŸ€• The scan basically just documents any little glowing specks… at least I hope that specks are all that’s left… then in several months I’ll have to do it all over again, and the results then will be compared with the scan from the other day.Β πŸ™πŸ»

I do have another appointment scheduled with the endocrinologist in a little more than a month, where I’ll have to do all my bloodwork again so they can check all of the various levels that indicate how good of a job they’ve all done to this point.Β πŸ˜·πŸ’‰πŸ˜ It’s difficult knowing that there isn’t really an “Okay, we’re done. You’re good.” with this.Β πŸ˜” They’re not able to tell me that I’m cancer free, because even if the scans show zero specks, it’s just one of those things that a person has to live with, have regular tests for, and if specks are found again in the next scan… then the cycle will start all over again. 😟

I’d say that I get a break from worrying about all of this for a while, but I don’t know if there could be something in the recent scan that would make my doctors go “Ahh, shit…” and require me to come in for something else before my already scheduled followup.Β πŸ˜’ Next on the agenda, though, is my first full appointment with the new shrink on Monday.Β πŸ™„ I’ll certainly have a variety of things to tell her about, which make me the way that I am right now.