Sing, Sing A Song

My injury that resulted in the c5-c7 disk removal / spinal fusion over a decade ago… it stole so much from my life.ย ๐Ÿ˜ž Not the surgery itself so much, but the resulting nerve damage that made my left arm rather useless. There are still days when I’m surprised by the discovery of something else “new” that I’m no longer able to do.ย ๐Ÿ™ I should have kept a running list… but boy would that have been depressing to have everything I’ve lost, all in one handy notebook.

Well, my most recent neck “thing” seems determined to steal something from me as well. I’m still in the middle of the whole “cancer treatment” thing, with the first step having been the removal of the thyroid… and now while I’m waiting for the radioactive iodine treatment in a couple of weeks, in the mean time I can’t help but be a little bitter about a particular side effect of this surgery.ย ๐Ÿ˜ 

I dunno… for all I know, this might not be something permanent – but considering that I’m about a month and a half out from the surgery, it’s probably gonna stick. You may or may not know, but music is everythingย to me.ย ๐Ÿคจ Whether listening to it, playing it on a keyboard, crafting it via Amiga / PC tracker programs, or just singing in the car or even at karaoke back in the day. Well I’ve lost a big chunk of that passion, because I can no longer sing.ย ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ At least in no way that I used to.

At first I just couldn’t hit the notes at all. Songs that I’ve sung out loud or in my head a thousand times… I now sound like any other shlub that might try to sing it at karaoke somewhere, to the cringes of the peanut gallery.ย ๐Ÿ˜’ With a conscious effort, thankfully I’ve been able to get someย of my “pitch” ability back – but I’ve lost a huge amount of my higher range.ย ๐Ÿ˜ข I’m not sure if it’s because things got tightened up inside my neck, the same way the skin has on the outside (due to the new incision and stitches), but during those moments when I’m not hitting the higher notes – I can actually feel it pulling.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฃ It’s a difficult sensation to describe without the listener having experienced it themselves.

And yeah, I know… considering that I lost some of my range as a side effect of trying to free my body of cancer… I know that it probably sounds silly or greedy for me to be complaining about something that many people would see as frivolous, given the situation.ย ๐Ÿ™„ But seriously, when so much has already been taken from me, and singing was one of the few things that I just endlessly enjoyed, whether by myself or in front of people… it’s just another kick in the nuts that life has decided to send my way.ย ๐Ÿ˜ก “So… that one thing you’ve always loved doing? Yeah, well that’s about enough of all that.”ย Fucking awesome.

Meh… it’s not gonna stop me from singing, at least not when I’m by myself, so maybe, hopefully, things may continue healing in a way where I can get a little more of my voice back. If I would have known this was coming my way, I definitely would have recorded as many songs as I could before going under the knife. Years ago I recorded enough songs to fill 3 CDs, which I then shared with Mom and Dad and a few other people… but I never thought those would be all that I’d ever do, at least not until now.ย ๐Ÿ™

I’ve never claimed to be a great singer. I’ve never even really claimed to be a good singer. It was more that I was good enough, and I recorded the songs that I did because I just love singing, and trying to sound like I love singing.ย ๐Ÿ˜ I wanted people to be able to hear me doing something I loved, because of how it made me feel. Meh… it sounds dumb when I try to put my thoughts about it to words.ย ๐Ÿ˜• Oh, and I don’t care if anyone thinks that this is all self-pity… because it is, and I think I’ve earned it.

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What’s This?

Only got a couple hours sleep last night and then still had to wake up at 8am to get ready for my monthly appointment with Dr Walter. ๐Ÿ˜’ I don’t know how he does it, but he always seems to be in a good mood no matter what the time of day. If nothing else, he’s got a great “game face” for when it comes to dealing with patients. ๐Ÿ˜ I told him how my left arm was literally like a limp noodle the day that I came home after my surgery, but how since then I haven’t really had any pain – thanks to the temporarily increased meds.

So it was a good visit, with nothing for me to really complain about. Like I mentioned to him, I think that sometimes the amount of pain that I’m feeling in my shoulder and in my neck is relative. When that’s the only thing that I’ve got to focus on, there’s a good chance I’ll notice it more and feel genuinely worse – but when I’m barely two weeks out from a major surgery, my old injury is the last thing on my mind as long as it’s staying at that moderate level of pain where it’s usually at.

I filled him in about the next steps that I’ll be taking with all of that, and we agreed that next month would probably be better for evaluating any changes, since I’ll have had plenty of time to heal from the surgery. I had to leave there and head directly downstairs to have more blood drawn for a thyroid panel, but I still left in a surprisingly good mood.

It’s weird… I haven’t had much to feel good about in a while, and in a way I still don’t… so having those hints of “good mood” just felt weird, since it then caused me to sit here waiting for something or someone to come along and ruin it. ๐Ÿ˜ž Like Charlie Brown said, “I think I’m afraid to be happy… because whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens.”

But with that little boost of positive energy, I did go ahead and throw the Insta360 One camera out there on a tripod in the front yard, set to time-lapse mode. One frame every five seconds, and I had one lens directly facing the setting sun, with the lens on the other side obviously completely shielded from the sunlight. ๐Ÿ˜Ž I wanted to not only do a time-lapse, but to see how bad the stitching is when there’s such an exposure difference between the two lenses. In practice, it would probably be better to turn the camera 90 degrees, where both lenses would get a similar amount of bright light on them. ๐Ÿคจ

Meh… I’ve gotta recharge the camera before I can hook it up to the phone and export the video, so I’ll just drop it in here later once it’s done. In the mean time I’m gonna get a notepad and start documenting all the medical bill stuff, and try to figure out what I wanna cover at my PCP appointment tomorrow. Oy… too many doctors this week, eh? And it ain’t over yet…

Pass The Baton / Kick The Can

I didn’t do my bills last night, but I’m doing them now. ๐Ÿ˜’ They’re enough of a pain in the ass that I think I deserve an intermission, so I figured I’d jump over here and drop a few paragraphs. I knocked out the easy ones… gas, electric, internet, etc… but all of the fun medical related ones are starting to come in, and I want to pay closer attention as they nickel and dime me. ๐Ÿคจ Mostly just to make sure that they don’t nickel and dime me over the same test, scan, procedure, or person twice.

My appointment today? Well, I guess it was okay. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ He said that the pathology reports on the tissue removed during my surgery was exactly what the pre-surgery biopsy had suggested, and that it’s the most common and most treatable type of thyroid cancer. ๐Ÿ˜ Bleh… I don’t like using that word, so don’t expect to see it get used much here. ๐Ÿ˜ท So, it was a good follow-up, with the labs at least not coming back with something scarier than already thought. And I really pushed him for his true opinion. I told him not to bullshit me, and asked him if he had any “gasp” moments during the surgery.

Like I told him, before I was able to get workers comp to pay for my C5-C7 fusion surgery, I had to get an MRI done – with several doctors and medical assistant folks looking at the results, which showed some pretty severe damage. ๐Ÿง And each one that didย look at it… it gave them a “gasp” moment. ๐Ÿ˜ง

Where even a trained medical professional was like Wow. ๐Ÿ˜ณ or Damn. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ or Holy shit. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I explained how that helped me in thatย previousย situation, as it got everything approved and moving much more quickly… but that a “gasp” moment now isn’t something that I was hoping for, but that I still wanted him to tell me if it happened to him while he was digging around inside my neck. ๐Ÿ˜ His reply seemed genuine (as usual) when he said that nothing was any more concerning to him once he was in there than when he was anticipating how it would look and how it would go. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

He explained that there was inflammation, but no more than he was expecting. He said that nothing gave him any kind of pause, that the surgery went as well as he could have hoped for, and that I don’t need to worry so much at this point. (Easier said than done, pal… ๐Ÿ˜) I’m getting more blood drawn tomorrow, and he’s referring me to an endocrinologist in the same building that will hopefully help get my screwed up levels straightened out, as well as likely doing (or scheduling) this marker/radiation pill dealย  – which will hopefully be a one time thing followed by close monitoring. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป

I figure I’ll save the questions about if/when I’ll have to see an oncologist, although I’m guessingย that’sย gonna be the doctor that would be doing the marker/radiation pill deal that I just mentioned, now that I think about it. ๐Ÿค” It’s a little frustrating to be handed off from specialist to specialist, but better to have a whole bunch of different eyes on the situation than just one d00d who might not know what he’s doing, right?

So today’s follow-up… I’ll take it as a positive outcome. ๐Ÿ™‚ Didn’t really learn anything new, but learning that the labs confirmed what the initial tests suggested, and nothing worse… that’s sure better than the alternative. Also, having the whole “Don’t BS me, doc.” conversation, with the way he replied… it did actually make me feel a little more comfortable with the whole thing in my head. And so it goes…

Wringer

Pardon the length of this entry, but yesterday was kinda tough, basically as I anticipated. Anxiety had me up most of the night, so I ended up doing all this stuff on only three hours of sleep – but at least that meant I was awake at dawn, so I could just hop up and start getting ready instead of grumbling at my multiple alarms squawking at me every two minutes until I rise and shine.

From 8am until 12.5pm I was doing “something medical.” ๐Ÿ˜ Starting with my monthly neck doctor appointment, where we also covered my upcoming surgery, some of the medications that I might have to start taking because of it, and how they should or shouldn’t react with whatever meds I’m getting from him for my fusion spot, nerve damage, and grumpy muscles in the area. ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ

Next was another blood draw for multiple panels of testing. ๐Ÿ’‰ I already had this done a little over a month ago, but they not only wanted to get the most current results, but there were also specific tests that they needed that weren’t in my other test. I volunteered my right arm, and the girl did her best… I mean, she hit the biggest vein available there, but for some reason it was only spitting a little bit of blood – and it was definitely not enough to fill the three vials needed. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ My left arm ended up being successful, and of course now I look like a junkie with two big bruises on each elbow-pit. ๐Ÿ˜

Next was theย electrocardiogram, which actually didn’t take that long due to it (thankfully) not including stress testing or anything like that. Just the normal dozen-or-so electrical leads, a few minutes of holding really still, and on to the next. ๐Ÿ™‚ But the next thing was where it started to get shitty. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Since they’re going to have to manipulate my head quite a bit while they’re working on my neck, and since they’re aware of the C5-C7 fusion, they had to take a crapload of x-rays while my head and neck were in extremely stretched, compressed, or otherwise super-uncomfortable positions. โ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ฃ I do my best each day to not move my head in all of the ways that I had to do for those x-rays, so my neck was fucked after everything was said and done. ๐Ÿ™‡๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ So not only will my surgery site be painful, but the ways they are gonna have to move my huge lump-of-a-head around while I’m under anesthesia… let’s just say that I’m really not looking forward to how that area’s gonna be feeling when I wake up.

I almost wasn’t able to complete all the scans that they needed, since one of them (while standing) was given with the instructions of “Put both of your arms straight up, directly over your head.” ๐Ÿ˜ง If there was a bar or something above my head I could have done it with little issue, but the only way I could do it without my left arm shaking was to get the arm up there, then actually lean against the plate/target of the x-ray machine to basically jam it up there in that position. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ The fella doing it was really patient and understanding, and after reviewing them he said that the results should be fine, including that one which I thought would be pretty uncertain.

And I know, to a healthy person that all probably doesn’t sound like much… but man was I worn out after everything was done. ๐Ÿ˜“ Between the lack of sleep, the multiple stops, the blood loss… heh, the painful x-rays, and then my leg jumping around between “fine” and “omg stop” heh… I was just thankful that I was able to knock all of that stuff out in one day, along with being able to just go home and recover at my own pace. ๐Ÿ˜” It’s all good though… all of this stuff is now done with a couple weeks to spare, so I’m just happy to keep everything on track.

I Am The Eye In The Sky

Had a bit of a setback with my back yesterday. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ The pain woke me up around 4am, and a quick trip to the bathroom made me realize that the strength/ability in my right leg wasn’t really there. I probably just slept on something wrong, but rather than dwell on it and get upset about it, I decided to devote the first half of the day to staying in bed, watching movies, and eating a few boxes of that ready-to-make chicken salad and crackers. ๐Ÿ– I could still find certain ways to lay that would alleviate the pain, so I just did that and totally plucked myself from what would have been my “normal” routine, and plopped myself into this “being a potato in bed” zone that was outside of my normal timeline. ๐Ÿง™๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ My weird way of trying to explain it anyway… but it worked… that half day of removing myself from everything but Netflix and the cat actually helped – and I was able to get up and around by the early afternoon.

As I was lying there though, I started pondering my various aches, pains, and disabilities… wondering which ones will get better, if any of them are starting to just stayย with me, and how I’m gonna be as I get older and have to deal with compounding issues like this. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ Like I told Dad, I ended up coming to the conclusion that I’m only complaining as much as I have been because I still feel like I can recover or at least improve. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ If the “bleh” feels temporary, it’s easy to bitch about it when it’s slow going… but honestly, and my neck is proof of this, I can learn to live with pain and disability – to the point where eventually it’s “just there”, sucking, but something I can compartmentalize for the most part. ๐Ÿ˜ For the most part… ‘cuz there’s always super painful exceptions. Summarized, my bitching will eventually slow. ๐Ÿ˜

In the evening I went in town to deliver those two Yi security cameras to my cousin. I’m obviously more excited about any kind of A/V tech than they would be, but I could still tell that she was having fun playing around with the one as she went through the setup process. ๐Ÿ“น๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿป Matt’s already running through the possible installation locations, so as soon as they get a couple little memory cards they’ll be ready to roll. It’s crazy how even just five or ten years ago, creating any kind of home video security system was expensive and a pain in the ass. There’s no way that Yi makes any money off of these cameras. ๐Ÿคจ I’m guessing they’re banking on people like me to sign up for the monthly cloud storage fee – which I don’t mind doing at all.

So anyway, despite feeling pretty rotten for the first half, it actually wasn’t that bad of a day overall – and it definitely made me happy to gift those cameras to Toni and Matt. โ˜บ I really hope that they never have any bad reason that they’ll need any of the footage that they record… but I’m glad that they’ll have those cameras just in case they do.

Hurt, Heal, Push, Hurt, Heal, Push…

Yesterday evening ended up being bad. Normally you do some sort of physical activity, it’ll work up your muscles a bit, then as the day and night progresses – the pain or stiffness gradually goes away. Not last night. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ๐Ÿ˜  I left PT feeling awful and it continued to get worse all the way until I somehow fell asleep despite it. And even today, as soon as I effing woke up – neck is stiff, head and eyeballs are pounding with a headache still… heh… I really wasn’t anticipating it being this bad, considering the relatively limited movement that I allowed my bad arm and shoulder yesterday. ๐Ÿ˜’ Even being actively aware of and discussing it as I was going through exercises with the physical therapist, I still allowed myself to get this effed up. ๐Ÿคฌ

I got wrapped up in that “authority figure” syndrome thing. ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿซ๐Ÿ‘ฎ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€โš–๏ธ Where you’re talking to a cop or doctor or teacher or whatever… and because you see them as an authority figure, you’re more likely to just do what they say, or give their words more weight than compared to a “normal” person. ๐Ÿ™„ I wanted to do the exercises that they have determined should help me, and in “trying to do my best” (like always) I really messed myself up. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ But anyway – I’ve already decided that I’m barely going to do any of that shit during the next visit – or at home, where I’m also supposed to continue the exercises.

I’m not gonna give up on trying to get my back to heal properly and train it for a little more endurance, but I’m not gonna be able to do it the way a completely functional human would. ๐Ÿค• Tomorrow is supposed to be my last appointment with them anyway, so it’ll be up to me to make the choices about how I’m gonna keep things moving in the right direction. Heh… I can’t explain how angry this pain makes me… it’s a combination of the actual pain, the resentment regarding the original injury that has made me this fragile, feeling like “taking the initiative” to push myself to heal just results in punishment, spending every other day hurting and recovering… meh… I’m just gonna basically drop the extensive PT and do what I can, because prior to this I was actually healing and feeling pretty good.

It’s just one of those days where as soon as I woke up I was already done with this day. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ Gonna try to make this headache go away and hopefully do something that can flip my mood. Apologies to anyone who has messaged me or sent e-mails and haven’t gotten a reply yet. I’m gonna try to get at all that before the afternoon is over. It’s hard to put on “happy, socializing face” when I’m feeling like this…

And I’m gonna find something positive to post about later too. Tired of being miserable.

Holy Crapola

Check out the classic consoles and games that are available in this auction tomorrow in Columbus. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I feel like someone with real money is gonna swoop in there and make sure they buy every last damn game though, so I’m not feeling too bad about not going… but man, look at the pictures. And yeah, even though I don’t play the shit that much anymore, boy would it be awesome to be the new owner of a shit-ton of systems, games, controllers, etc. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคจ There’s still probably a 5% chance that I’ll somehow talk myself into going up there. I’m just feelin’ whupped right now, after physical therapy and chiropractor sessions earlier today.

I knew I was going to be doing exercises to continue working on my back, but unfortunately the folks in that office don’t understand the scope of the disability around my neck and left shoulder. ๐Ÿ˜’ And even though it’s not like work is really being done on my upper back – just rolling around on the big inflatable ball, balancing, stretching, etc… it royally effed up my neck. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ And in a way where I didn’t even realize it was happening as I was doing those exercises. So we’re going to have to make some modifications to the way I’m expected to do things. I might have to go so far as to make it “Let’s just pretend that I don’t even have a left arm.” ๐Ÿ˜ I’m not gonna suffer like this in the spirit of making my back as strong as possible… not when I’ve actually been feeling around 90% with things. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ