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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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.

Miserable

What an awful night… and I’m not sure if it’s over yet. I don’t know if it was something specific that I ate, or a combination of the different things that I ate… but yeah, spending every couple of hours in the bathroom yacking was not how I anticipated last night going. And this is a little gross, but the main taste coming back up was the sauce from the meatballs… so I don’t think I’ll be able to eat any more of those.

And of course it had to start right after I decided to message some lady last night on Facebook about a camera that she had listed for sale. I told her I’d come in town as soon as I was up and around the next day, and now I’m all barfy and bleh. 🀒 I think I’ve entered a window of a couple hours where I should be okay again though, so the deal is still on. (My throat feels really effed up now, though… I’m hoping that what I’m feeling isn’t serious or permanent damage around my thyroid surgery area. 😧)

Hopefully it actually works like it’s supposed to… because I’ll probably use it as a camera that I just keep in my car for moments when I need a “better than my cell phone” camera but didn’t realize it until that moment. It’s a Canon SX210, which came out in 2010, but it’s 14MP and it’s got a 14x zoom lens – which is pretty good for a little point and shoot. Can’t beat the price of twenty bucks, though… which is low enough that it outweighs my aversion to interacting with the camera’s human former-owner to get it. 😏

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.

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 backΒ home I learned that Christina was gone. πŸ˜”

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.

Tedious Ramblin’

Doing my typical weekend thing, being half-productive / half-bum. 😐 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.Β πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ 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.Β πŸ˜’ 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. 😠 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. 🀨 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-orderedΒ – despite me doing that same thing manually… just nonsense that had to be worked out before everything was good.Β πŸ™„ But she’s feeling better, isΒ 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.Β πŸ˜³πŸ‘©β€βš•οΈ 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. 😏

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. 🧐 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.Β πŸ™‚ 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.

Hard To Accept

With a lot of stuff going on in my life, I kinda extracted myself from social media and real life friends for the better part of three months now… but after seeing Dez, it convinced me to get back on and start talking to my friends again. I’m just not anxious to figure out how to explain my absence, since it’s a combination of health problems, mental problems… you know… stuff that people always assume other people won’t really understand.

One of the first people that I checked in on was one of my friends who was just starting to go to his doctor for possible cancer related symptoms the last time we spoke. I talked to him today and he confirmed that it’s indeed cancer, and that it’s so bad they’re not trying to cure it. 😒 So he’s terminal, and the chemo is just to give him as much time as possible. He says it could be a couple of years, or it could be a couple of months. 😳 One of those deals where the doctors can’t be much more certain than that. 😞 It’s hard to know what to say to someone when you hear that kind of news.

I also checked in on my buddy Rick, from school, and it looks like his fight against hairy cell leukemia is still going strong. I haven’t spoken to him, but I see he’s posted pics from chemo treatments as well as something regarding bone marrow… so it’s good to see that he’s still got the required fight in him. πŸ‹πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ’ͺ🏻 There’s one more friend that I need to check in on like that, but she’s currently enjoying vacation time with her awesome boyfriend… and the last thing I wanna do is poop on the good mood by asking about her cancer status. 😬

Oh, the video above… it’s just one of my typical Hyperlapse videos, but shot out the side window instead of the windshield. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I don’t know what it is about the movement of the clouds that feels so peaceful. It makes me feel so small, and the beauty of the world feel so big. ☺ I’m hoping that I can get past all of the stuff that’s keeping me down right now, so I can get out and do some video or photos or something somewhere… watching the clouds churn makes me wanna be out among them.