Focusing On The Positives

Went to my follow-up appointment yesterday with the endocrinologist after my full body scan. I dunno, I guess it was mostly good news, but it wasn’t the “all clear” that of course anyone would prefer to hear. ๐Ÿ˜• But honestly, the chances of a doctor saying something like that are probably pretty slim anyway – since the last thing they probably wanna seem like they’re doing is handing out “guarantees” when it comes to something with such serious potential consequences.

The Negative: The scan did show a few tiny areas that lit up, meaning there’s some remaining thyroid cells there – as they had absorbed the iodine radiation and blew their cover during the scan. ๐Ÿ”ฌ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธย Also, there’s no way to determine if those thyroid cells have cancerous cells in them as well… it just confirms that thyroid cells are there, and that we’ll need to periodically keep an eye on them. ๐Ÿ˜’

The Positive: The tiny bits that lit up were where they should be, where my thyroid used to be, meaning that none of those cells had migrated to any other locations where they could cause different kinds of trouble. The radiation that made those cells visible to the scan also serves to continue killing and shrinking those cells, so even over the next month or so they should continue to decrease in their already small size.

You can think of the surgery in the same way as someone trying to carve a hunk of fat off the edge of a steak before grilling it. Someone like me, I’d want to get as much of that fat cut off as possible – but at the same time you don’t wanna accidentally cut away good, non-fat, steak meat. ๐Ÿ˜ Same thing with my surgery. The surgeon tries to cut away all of the thyroid, but not at the expense of accidentally cutting away non-thyroid meat. ๐Ÿ˜ณ I guess it’s not terribly uncommon for tiny bits to be left behind because of that logic.

It won’t be for quite a while, but next year I’ll have to have an ultrasound of that area, to see if those cells appear to have grown. And since thyroids don’t grow back, I’ll assume that would be a bad thing. So at least the next “next step” isn’t stopping my meds and getting dosed with radiation again. โ˜ข๏ธ๐Ÿคขโ˜ข๏ธ That tells me that while there is reason for concern and monitoring, it’s not of the “oh shit” variety where one of the most extreme measures is the first measure taken.

So, like I said, I guess overall it was a good result. I mean, there’s plenty of ways where it obviously could have been worse, but it’s still shitty that my first radiation didn’t kill offย all of the thyroid cells – because there’s no way that this won’t be something that floats around in my thoughts more than I’d like it to. ๐Ÿ˜’ I guess all my other recent lab numbers are good though, and I still feel like I’m gaining back more energy with each day that passes, so there’s that as well. I just wish that was the only thing that was going on with my neck.

So, yeah… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

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Makes Sense

I’m gonna make a non-bleh post today… I just have to work up to having the energy to do it. After getting dosed yesterday and coming back home, I honestly didn’t feel any worse… but my gosh, from yesterday evening on… man, am I feeling physically awful. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿคฎ I didn’t notice many side effects the first time I had this done, but I also hadn’t gone a month without thyroid meds, already having me weak and feeling like shit. So I should have been a little more prepared that things could feel worse than last time. ๐Ÿ˜ž

That’s not why I posted though. Next post is gonna be about me choosing my Korean name. ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜ And I know that sounds bizarre and random and “What are you talking about?” but when I do have the energy to explain it all, how it’s done, why I’m doing it… basically I just wanted to do something to distract my brain for a while yesterday, and later I’ll be able to make a post about it that will help me distract myself again. Hopefully. It’s actually a really interesting process. It’s a shame I don’t know any Korean people personally though, for them to tell me how goofy or old or weird my chosen name sounds. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

But I’m gonna lie back down and hopefully get a short nap to get rid of this headache, but hopefully I’ll be able to get back on here later tonight for all that stuff.

Nuclear Medicine

Had the same lady as last time give me the radioactive iodine dose today. I’m not sure if they all act this way, but she’s fun… not intentionally, but in the way that she makes it feel so dramatic. ๐Ÿ˜ And I get it, she works in that department every day, so a person’s gonna want to keep as far away from all the radioactive stuff as possible, so I don’t blame her. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธย …ย ๐Ÿฅข๐Ÿ’Šโ˜ข๏ธย ย ๐Ÿคขย It also has the side effect of making it seem like this pill is reallyย going to be doing something, whatever that something may be.

Before they even bring the pill in, she had me go through a practice run – having me put my hands exactly where they need to be, telling me how to get the pill out of the container without touching it or anything else, and then how to gtfo while having to pass near as few people as possible. Of course once the lead container is opened and the pill is out, she stays as far away from it and me as possible – but, probably just from habit, that’s mostly how she acts even through all of the tedious paperwork and talking beforehand.

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Don’t mind how dusty my entertainment screen is (or the custom commands ๐Ÿ˜), but I’ve decided to take this as a sign… this was the first song that played (at random)ย in the car as I left the hospital parking lot. (Video Link: Back to Life – Hailee Steinfeld)ย I’ll even give credit to Mom, since I was talking to her on the way in, asking that if she was able to give any help guiding the medicine during the process this morning, that I’d be happy to take it. ๐Ÿ˜Œย Oh, and they remarked how shit my thyroid levels are (in a good way, for the dose/scan anyway) and it’s no wonder I feel like utter shit and fall asleep all the time. So, there’s that. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Still can’t start up my meds until after the scan, and until after the doctor has reviewed the results to make sure that they “came out okay” for lack of a better term. It’s a typical long test where you have to lie still in a tube for about 45 minutes, so there’s always a chance there could be some sort of blur or error or something, to where they’d wanna do it again in a few days or whatever. ๐Ÿคจ But with any luck, by this weekend I’ll be on my way “back to life” at least in as far as my thyroid and energy levels are concerned. ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™‚

Unfortunately, I’ll have to avoid stuff likeย this until I’m less radioactive. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ Wish she could understand.

I Have My Reasons

Still hangin’ in there, still waiting through this process… ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ of which the next step will be Monday, when I’ll get (what should be) my final lab work done before they decide if my levels are where they need to be for the radiation dose the following week. ๐Ÿ’‰๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ“‰ I’m more anxious about the test than I am the dose later, simply because there’s a chance my levels won’t be right – which would mean going even longer without taking my thyroid meds, until they are. ๐Ÿ˜ Without elaborating, I really, really don’t want to have to do this a day longer than I absolutely have to.

Unless it’s unavoidable I’m pretty much just staying at home and trying not to move around too much, to keep from throwing everything even more out of whack. I can’t fake my way through feeling okay right now, so staying at home lets me feel how I feel, protects me from anything that might make it worse, and protects others from having to see me like this, acting how I actually feel. ๐Ÿฅบ My “game face” is out of order. (I haven’t even been on Facebook for days and days, and the last time was to just let everyone know I was okay. I really hate how this has been affecting my interactions (or lack thereof) with friends and family.)

And I don’t blame people for being concerned, or not knowing how to react, when the topic is cancer and there’s still more “unknown” than “you’ll be fine” at the moment. But this current craptacular phase of “bleh” isn’t (likely) caused by anything cancer related, but is actually due to not being able to take the thyroid meds that I need. But to everyone else, I’m sure it looks and feels as if cancer is kicking my ass, which leads to all sorts of difficult and crappy emotions.

Toni and Shannon invited me out for a bonfire last night, and in my heart I wanted to go… but I wouldn’t have been able to conceal how I felt, physically or mentally, and I honestly didn’t want to be a buzzkill on their evening – which is what I likely would have been. ๐Ÿ˜’ If it turns out that the doctors weren’t able to remove all of the cancer, or if it has spread or changed or anything… that’s when I’d be more willing to let people feel bad for me, to treat me differently, etc. I do feel like hell right now, but I would feel like it would come across as “crying wolf” – since even though I know why I’m sick, that’s not how everyone else is gonna see it. I reassure people that I’ll let them know if there comes a time when they truly shouldย be concerned or worried for me, so I hope they know I mean that.

Meh… anyway… see what I mean about my mood? The same way I ramble about it on here now and then, I just didn’t wanna end up doing that to them last night. (Or to anyone, really…) Instead, thanks to Shannon texting me again this morning to let me know, they all had a good evening. Sharing lots of happy memories and stories about Mom, while still commenting on how it doesn’t seem real, how it doesn’t seem fair, and how as we all get older – how it’s getting harder to escape all of this type of bleh. Having me there, in my condition, certainly wouldn’t have helped to change that opinion.

But with any luck I’ll get to be one of those surprise cases in the future, where we’ll all be sitting around together, upset at whatever injustices we’re seeing or experiencing, but then someone will be able to say “But hey, you had cancer and you’re still here and fine now… so there’s always hope…” ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

Checking Off Boxes

Typical “workers comp, beginning of the month, get my scripts filled” day today. Three different calls to the pharmacy, issues with my information in the computer, problems with certain ones not being approved… same bullshit as usual, except due to the incorrect information in their system I even had to stop in myself, with receipts and printouts and crap from last month. The folks that work there are great. It’s never the people there that I have a problem with… and after my visit we think everything is now updated, correct, and in process of being authorized – so maybe sometime today I’ll actually be able to pick them up.

I had to be out today anyway, so stopping in to get all this stuff sorted out wasn’t a big deal. I mean, I actually feel kinda bad for them – with how much of a pain in the ass “my case” is for them each month. It makes me wonder if any pharmacies have ever decided that certain customers’ situations were just too much work, too many calls, and too big of a PITA – and just told them to take their business elsewhere. ‘Cuz I can see how they could feel that way about me, if they weren’t such understanding and helpful folks.

But at my other stops, along with having several vials of blood drawn, we’ve started getting a lot more things set in stone. I’ve now got dates (if not exact times, yet) for the next blood draw, the administration of the radiation dose, how long I’ll need to stay away from people (which included rearranging another unrelated doctor appointment), when the full scan at FMC will be, and then the followup with my main thyroid doctor after all of the results are back and interpreted.

It’s surreal… how this is such a “big deal mind fuck” thing for me as I’m going through it, yet I’m just one of many. There are enough people needing this kind of treatment that once a week, every week, it’s radioactive “dosing day” for thyroid patients at FMC. But for whatever reason, even as you’re out in town, seeing other people doing whatever… it’s easy to feel like you’re the only person going through this shit, while actually we probably pass by people each day who are going through the same thing or worse. Working in nuclear medicine, giving the doses… I can see how that job could start feeling pretty heavy after a short while.

Once More For Good Measure

The bulk of my current thyroid treatment has been set up. Blood draw, three weeks without any thyroid meds, limiting iodine intake in my diet for that whole time, another blood draw… then the hospital (if the results of the second blood test allows it) will schedule a time for me to go there for the iodine radiation pill again, with the full body scan about a week later. Once everything is said and done (and only if there are zero issues along the way) I’ll be spending a little over a month without my thyroid and without the meds that replace its functions. And no, I’ve got no intention of googling to see how bad it might get.

Same as last time, I’ll have a protocol that I will have to follow for the week after I’ve taken the pill. No contact with anyone for the first few days, no contact with kids or pregnant women after that… washing everything I touch, keeping my distance from the cat when possible, using plastic utensils and paper plates… all that sorta fun stuff. Only this time I have no idea how I’ll physically and mentally feel due to being off of the thyroid medicine for so long. The next month or so will be an adventure.

Meh… there was more doctor stuff today, plus I’m likely gonna be radioactive when I’m supposed to have my next WC doctor appointment, so I’ll have to figure that out… but I just don’t have the mental energy to really keep at it this evening. Found out a couple of sad things with some other friends… I dunno, this day just ended up being pretty crappy. I’m gonna try to get some sleep and try to start fresh tomorrow.

I’m glad that at least this stuff is all on track now and we’re moving forward, I guess…

Trying To Not Read In To This

I got a message two days ago from the doctor’s office that is handling my thyroid cancer treatment. My next session with the radioactive iodine treatment, which should be my final session (if everything goes well), was scheduled to start near the end of July… but they now actually want to schedule that as soon as possible. ๐Ÿ˜ They asked me to call in yesterday so we could start making a plan, but to be honest the message had me a little too shook… ๐Ÿ˜ฅ and since I was actually having a decent day yesterday, I didn’t wanna risk nuking that by bringing all of my thoughts back to the “unknown” about what’s remaining inside me, if anything.

That’s also why I took advantage of the day yesterday to get caught up with some things around the house, because I know that this next step is gonna be a bit of a nightmare. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ I have to completely stop taking my thyroid meds for a couple of weeks, and they were clear about how it could have drastic physical and mental side effects. (Also part of the reason that I stopped the Paxil, so I didn’t have one crap thing on top of another.)ย Then once the thyroid medication is completely out of my system, that’s when I’ll go to the hospital for the radioactive pill and another full body scan about a week later. ๐Ÿ˜•

Confession… I didn’t call them back today either. ๐Ÿ˜ž Instead, what I’m going to do is just go into the office tomorrow and talk to them in person. To be sure that I understand the details of the plan, to be sure that everything is scheduled properly… and also to see if I can catch some kind of vibe by the way that they speak with me about it. ๐Ÿง Like I said, I’m trying to not assume that something has gotten worse just because they want to start things sooner. ๐Ÿ˜ณ It could be as simple as being easier on their schedule, and just better for me (or anyone) to do all of this “second phase” stuff sooner rather than later anyway.

So yeah, that’s the next thing on the radar… movin’ in fast. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿย And lemme tell ya’ something. ๐Ÿ˜’ Uncertainty, when it comes to something like this… it’s a special kind of slow, drawn-out torture. I’m ready though. I was doing good at keeping it out of my thoughts up until now – but whether I got that call a couple days ago, or whether we stuck to the original end-of-July starting point… either way the anxiety was gonna come. So I agree… let’s get this shit started. ๐Ÿคจ

Unrelated: I just updated my Windows 10 and all of my emojis now have thick black outlines. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ