Checking In

Haven’t been able to shake this funk.ย ๐Ÿ˜• 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.ย ๐Ÿ˜”

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.ย ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ 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.ย ๐Ÿ˜

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.ย ๐Ÿ˜ณ 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.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

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.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฃ 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.ย ๐Ÿค• 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.ย ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

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.ย ๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿ’‰๐Ÿ˜ It’s difficult knowing that there isn’t really an “Okay, we’re done. You’re good.” with this.ย ๐Ÿ˜” 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.ย ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

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.ย ๐Ÿ˜’ Next on the agenda, though, is my first full appointment with the new shrink on Monday.ย ๐Ÿ™„ I’ll certainly have a variety of things to tell her about, which make me the way that I am right now.

Advertisements

Inescapable

My brain and body have definitely been on pause today. Thursday night into Friday afternoon was a rough chunk of time… going over to say goodbye to my friend Christina with a ton of family around, then a couple hours sleep before heading to the hospital at 6.5a for the radioactive iodine treatment, and shortly after I got backย home I learned that Christina was gone. ๐Ÿ˜”

We knew it was coming, and we were all there the night before because we honestly thought it would happen that evening – but she held on for one more day. It was so nice to be around all the family, many of whom I hadn’t seen in a good while, and I even met her biological dad… who was a really kewl old d00d. We all tried to keep the vibe as positive as possible for each other, but of course it was still really sad. I wasn’t even going to go over, feeling like it wasn’t my place, but Bri reminded me that I’m just as good as family – and that of course I was welcome and wanted there.

Meh… I don’t really wanna talk about that anymore. My thing at the hospital took over two hours, although most of that was pre-treatment lab work, having three pages of precautions read to me, and of course the signing of all sorts of documents. Once they opened the lead-lined container and used tongs to get the pill out to hand it to me, it was literally a minute until they were shuffling me to the door. They really want you to just gtfo once you’ve got the radioactive vibe.

The lady that did it all, you could tell that she was used to it… because even before the pill was in the area, she would still do things like asking me to place my ID on the tray table so she could grab it, rather than me handing it directly to her and risking actually touching her. And boy, once that pill was out and in my hand, she backed across the room until I took it – and as she guided me to the quickest way out of the building she reminded me to stay at least six feet away from her. Good stuff, eh?

I didn’t have any nausea or sickness as side effects, but it did make me have a funny taste in my mouth… and I unintentionally fell asleep that afternoon from about 4p until midnight – but that was as much from the lack of sleep the night before as it was the medication. I have to stay on this low iodine diet for a few more days, I’m supposed to not be around kids or pregnant people at all for a week, and six feet away from anyone else… and poor Maven, when she wants to sit on me or lay next to me, I have to put her down on the floor at the base of the recliner – but I make her a little nest in the blanket and share the space heater with her, so she’s okay as long as she’s close to me. She hasn’t left my side since I got home… pretty sure she senses the “bleh” I’m giving off.

Just hoping I don’t irradiate her too much until it’s out of my system.

The Rest of My Month Looks Fun

  • ใ€ฐPharmacyย  /ย  monthly visit to jump through hoops for meds
  • ใ€ฐPsychiatristย  /ย ย intake appointment
  • ใ€ฐDentistย  /ย  temp crown removal and permanent crown installation
  • ใ€ฐEndocrinologistย  /ย  injection #1 prior to 131 treatment
  • ใ€ฐEndocrinologistย  /ย  injection #2 prior to 131 treatment
  • ใ€ฐFMCย  /ย  nuclear medicine department for radioactive iodine (131) treatment
  • ใ€ฐHomeย  /ย  (one week of isolating myself from the humans)
  • ใ€ฐFMCย  /ย  full body scan 7 days after 131 treatment
  • ใ€ฐPsychologistย  /ย  first “real” counseling session
  • ใ€ฐRehab/Painย  /ย ย monthly WC appointment

Spent most of this morning on the phone, trying to wrangle all of my other appointments around the iodine treatment schedule – since that’s the one that is the most important, and the one that effectively removes a week of possible scheduling time from my life.ย ๐Ÿ˜’

EDIT: Just got off of another call with Dr Walter’s office. We’re now trying to figure out how much of a pain in the ass it’s going to cause… me being seen by his PA rather than directly by him, because Dr Walter is my “physician of record” when it comes to anything related to my workers comp claim – and they loveย finding any reason that they can to deny me treatment or medication.ย ๐Ÿ˜  This sounds like it will be a work in progress, and we probably won’t know what the negative side effects are until they happen.

“Customer Service”

Might as well continue my bitching into Tuesday.ย ๐Ÿ˜’ Had to get up really early for my appointment with Dr Walter… and everything was routine until he asked me if I would be willing to be seen by a new physicians’ assistant that they have added to the office.ย ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜Ÿย I think they actually added two other doctors as well… but like he and I were discussing, ever since the big changes that were made about six months ago they’ve been struggling to try and keep up with appointments, paperwork, insurance stuff, medicare stuff, workers comp stuff, etc.

So while I’m glad (for them) to see that they’ve added some auxiliary people that will help evenly distribute the workload, it’ll definitely take a while to get used to the new guy.ย ๐Ÿ™ Dr Walter isn’t going anywhere, so if my condition changes he’ll be able to handle it, but that was his point… my condition has been relatively stable for a long time now, so my appointments are really just about prescription refills rather than treatment.ย ๐Ÿค• That’s why he felt like I was a good candidate to go to the new guy – freeing up Dr Walter (someone with a lot of seniority) to choose appointments with patients he still has a chance of repairing.ย ๐Ÿ˜ And to be honest, it could be interesting to bounce ideas off of new guy – since on most days I still struggle to just reach “okay” … so fresh ears and eyes couldย help me in the long run.

After that, I didn’t really feel like going to the Social Security office to handle my insurance enrollment issues… so as soon as I got home I was on the phone again.ย ๐Ÿ˜ I’m not sure why it took as long as it did, but just enrolling in the dental part of my Medicare Advantage plan took over a half hour. And for me, someone who gets super twitchy if I have to be on the phone for more than a few minutes, it may as well have been three or four hours.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

I ended up calling it a day around 3pm, even though there was still stuff that I couldย (should?) have made calls about. Couldn’t get through to the hospital again, despite definitely calling during business hours, and so far they haven’t returned my calls.ย ๐Ÿ˜  That’s fine though… I’m fine just sitting here and waiting until another notice for those bills arrive, and another, and another. I mean, I’ll call again, but if they don’t seem interested in dealing with it, then I’m not gonna be terribly interested either.ย ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Strangely, despite twitching out over the obscene amount of time that I spent on the phone today, I’m still feeling enough of a burst of energy that I’m gonna try to work on a few things around the house. I’ve got a couple of friends who have been hinting heavily that they’d like to come over, so I feel kind of obliged to make it look less like the house of a single guy and his white cat that’s in the process of being groomed.ย ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿฑ But mostly I’m doing this stuff for myself, because the more organized and calm this place is, the more organized and calm it makes me.ย ๐Ÿ˜Œ

But after these crap days starting the week, I think tomorrow I’ll take at least half of the day off… maybe get my cameras organized and charged up, get the C64 Mini all updated, set-up, and hooked up. I dunno… Monday and Tuesday have me pretty grrr, so I really need to make tomorrow different.

Tedious Ramblin’

Doing my typical weekend thing, being half-productive / half-bum.ย ๐Ÿ˜ Last week wasn’t too bad… got a few of my “must do” things done, while adding in a couple new things on the fly – and whatever wasn’t accomplished last week will just be added to the list of stuff for the upcoming week.ย ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ I guess I got just enough of last week’s stuff done that it’s not really stressing me out today like it normally might.

Dealing with the misc “bill stuff” last week was tedious.ย ๐Ÿ˜’ My check for an bill that I had gotten was returned to me, with a note that said no balance was due. That same day, I got a second bill for that same amount… and it took talking to someone in person to get them to acknowledge that I was handing them a check for the amount due, at least according to their file.ย ๐Ÿ˜  Not a big deal, just annoying.

Then I got a bill from one of Dad’s nurses or doctors, for an “at home visit” which I obviously don’t get here at my own home. I called and explained that our names are similar but not identical, but she still couldn’t tell me why the bill came to me, in my name.ย ๐Ÿคจ She assured me that she fixed it in the system and that I won’t have to worry about it. It was for only ten bucks, but still… annoying.

Tried to call the hospital about some additional bill stuff on Friday afternoon, but even though it wasn’t that late in the day – apparently everyone with any authority had already left the building for the weekend. In theory, the financial assistance should absorb some bills as they’re generated, so there’s a good chance that the ones I’m calling about will have already been affected (or perhaps eliminated) by the time I actually speak to someone about them.

Everything that I ordered for Maven finally came in. There were issues because of the package being damaged in transit, then automatically refunded, then the order was automatically re-orderedย – despite me doing that same thing manually… just nonsense that had to be worked out before everything was good.ย ๐Ÿ™„ But she’s feeling better, isย mostly flea-free… so basically I’m handling a few things at the same time with her, like I’ve been doing appointments with myself for a few months now.

Oh, and then the “on the fly” thing that I mentioned having to make room for last week… it was an intake appointment that my PCP had made for me, to start seeing a therapist and psychiatrist.ย ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โš•๏ธ The last two PCP appointments I mentioned that I’d like to do that eventually, but that I wasn’t ready to throw it in with all of the rest of the things I’m dealing with quite yet… but my PCP apparently (and accurately) figured that I really did want to get started with the psych side of things, and that I just needed the nudge of having an appointment straight-up scheduled without any input from me.ย ๐Ÿ˜

The first person I saw (and the only person, until next week) was the therapist lady, and I think I’m going to like her.ย ๐Ÿง I got the typical hour-long intake visit with generic questions to start sizing me up… and I think I’ll like her not only because we share political and social views (it came up while talking about insurance and pre-existing conditions), but also because I think she’s aware that I’m relatively smart – and she seems pretty sharp herself. I always like therapy better when there seems to be a “fun” but somewhat adversarial type relationship – where we each know that what we both say will likely have merit.

Not much talk about meds yet, since that will fall under the umbrella of what the actual psychiatrist will be handling for me… so, I dunno, it may seem weird but I’ve always liked counseling for some reason. Even if it’s just because I can rant to a disconnected party for almost an hour and then just go home.ย ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t have to consider any “solutions” that they think might make me “better” compared to what I usually am. I mean, I’m open to suggestions… but do I have any specific goals or methods that I’m particularly interested in? Not really. Hey… I’m not the one who actually made this appointment.

Unique Blog Entry Title

A month or two ago, Dad asked me if I’ve ever had moments where for no real reason, you just get a “content” or unexplained happy feeling that comes over you. ๐Ÿค” At the time I said no, but I think that how I’ve been feeling these past couple of days is what he was talking about. No real reason to be in a good mood, but here it is… for me to not exactly know what to do with it. ๐Ÿ˜ Genesee keeps telling me to not dwell on it and just let it be, which is obviously the correct answer. ๐Ÿ˜

After all of my appointments this week, I agreed with myself that today should be a day off. I did that with the intention of tricking myself though, because whatever I actually do accomplish by the end of the day – it’s now all just “bonus” stuff. ๐Ÿ˜Š So that’s been today… staying at home, inside my bubble (so nothing can accidentally crap up my mood), while working on office/organizational type things. ๐Ÿค“ No need for details because I’ve already covered it in recent entries.

My PCP appointment yesterday was a mix of good and bad, which is what I expected. ๐Ÿ˜• And rather than doing the referral to the psychiatrist (that I never got around to from the last visit) I told her that I’d compromise and set up some appointments with a therapist. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ผ I already had plenty of stuff that I could have talked about, and that was before learning about my whammy medical condition. But I’ve always liked therapy, the handful of times that I’ve gone… so why not.

If my mood maintains I might go for a walk around Alley or Rising Park tomorrow. I need to stop doing an impersonation of a potato every day… so I’m gonna try to find my misplaced passion for photography/videography and maybe use that as an excuse to leave the house. Oh, and every damn human that I encountered while out doing my runnin’ this week… they’ve been nice, polite, friendly, jokey, etc. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Local society acting so welcoming that I almost felt “normal” being out among them.

Oh, and the hospital finally called today to let me know that they read my letter, and that they’ve talked about it with the people involved. ๐Ÿ˜ณ That’s good enough for me. Acknowledgement. Being heard. I’m hoping that they did take my concerns seriously, but not so seriously that anyone got hollered at or suspended or worse. I ended the call by joking with her, saying that I don’t wanna end upย “The Patient with The Scarlet Letter” though, should I ever have to return there for another procedure. ๐Ÿ˜…

So between feeling a little accomplished today, and then hopefully doing something distracting over the weekend, I should have a few good days before I have to field calls from the two new doctors’ offices that are supposed to be setting up appointments for me. ๐Ÿ˜ฌโ˜Ž I really hope that the next steps don’t interfere with the fair and Phil Collins concert. I could live without going to the fair, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna miss that concert. ๐Ÿ˜  Especially since Jim got my ticket as a “no particular reason” gift.

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

Compressed

Made the mistake of sleeping in my bed last night. Originally I thought that the cushion of the mattress would help, but after waking up worse this morning – I’m pretty sure it’s because my butt sinks down into the mattress (like it’s supposed to) but that means there’s also constant pressure on the area where that nerve is acting up. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ Sitting on the hard floor, which you’d think would be bad, is the one way that I can get the pain to stop… so I’ve gotta think about how I wanna try to sleep tonight. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜”

Haven’t decided what I’m going to do with my day today, but I’m 99% sure that not only will I not be going anywhere, but I’ll also probably spend most of my time on my ass, on the floor, in the living room. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ I’m gonna give this until Thursday morning to show some improvement, and if it hasn’t by then I’ll probably go ahead and go to the ER. Gawd I hate the ER… ๐Ÿ˜’