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. πŸ˜• 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. πŸ”¬πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈΒ 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. πŸ˜’

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. 😏 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. 😳 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. ☒️🀒☒️ 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 offΒ 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. πŸ˜’ 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… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

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New Rule

I have to stop letting how I feel when I wake up each day be an indicator of how I’m going to feel for the rest of the day. 🀨 Especially since I usually have the luxury of waiting it out… taking my morning meds, giving it a little time, and eventually feeling at least somewhat better. And yeah, I know that this is such a “Yeah, no shit.” thing for normal people, so of course my brain just instinctively resists the idea. πŸ™„

I’m gonna be so bad at getting older and more broken if I don’t keep trying to recognize my flawed ways of thinking and trying to change them. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦³ The other thing that I have to work on is learning to accept that some of the physical things just aren’t going to get better. What’s that Garth Brooks song? Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old) 😏 Heh… I really hate that my blog is like 90% “bitching about things” these days though… like today, it was only four hours of sleep, waking up because I could feel my pulse in my friggin’ jaw, and then (when I got up to go to the bathroom)Β discovering that my back is trying to re-fuck itself.

I swear, there’s an invisible hat in my house somewhere, filled with bits of paper listing all of my various potential ailments or irritants for the day, and some unseen force just grabs three or four of them at random and there ya go. πŸ€•πŸ€’πŸ˜–πŸ˜·πŸ˜ŸπŸ€’πŸ˜“β™Ώ The unending uncertainty of each day is such shit… so waking up depressed or mad is understandable, but I gotta stop letting it stick… especially if that’s the only thing that seems to be triggering it on that particular day.

But it’s been a few hours now since I woke up, my meds are kicking in, things are sucking a bit less, but I’m still gonna take it easy today. I’ve got another appointment tomorrow, plus I need to build up some positive juju because I wanna get back in to see Dad again next week, Bri is gonna be induced and have her baby next week as well – starting at 6 friggin’ AM, then on Saturday Jim’s going to Buckeye Lake to meet up with his dad, brother, and Adam at Pizza Cottage and I’ve also been invited. I’ve missed the last couple of hang-outs with them, so I really wanna try to make it this time. πŸ˜”πŸ€žπŸ»

And that leads me back to the new rule. Well, let’s call it a guideline, since I know that I’m going to fail at it at least as often as I succeed…. but without being able to “shake off” how I feel when I wake up, none of that fun stuff on my potential to-do list will be possible. History has proven that more times than I’d like to admit. πŸ˜’ Trying to adjust my attitude each day will let me hopefully be less flakey to my friends and family, and being less flakey to my friends and family in itself will help keep my mood going in the right direction. I just have to hope that my meds decide to start pulling their weight again soon too.

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

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.

This Is Not Where I Belong

I guess my cousin Shannon and her hubby are hosting an extended family reunion out at their place this afternoon. She’s texted me about it a couple times in the past few days, as has Toni, but I’m afraid I that have to disappoint yet again by letting them know that I won’t be going. 😞 Being depressed enough as it is, going out there and seeing everyone that I haven’t seen in forever would unfortunately and unintentionally just make it worse.

Think about it. Every interaction that I’d get involved in, it would likely start with “Hey, how have you been?” “What have you been up to?” “How’s your mom and dad doin?” or some other friendly inquiry to which I don’t have a positive answer. 😟 And I lack the ability at the moment to just “fake it” and reply with a convincingΒ “Pretty good, how ’bout you?” “Ahh, not much. Not much.”Β or “You know how it is, about as good as can be expected.”

I can just see a situation where if I wasn’t careful, I could end up being an absolute buzzkill to the get-together by blurting out detailed truthful answers –Β and that’s no good for anyone. Β (Plus, when people ask how you’ve been, they usually don’t really wanna know how you’ve actually been.)Β So the best choice is to send my apologies, thank her for inviting me anyway, and just stay away so they can have their happy gathering.

How Did You Get Here

Regarding the entry below, I said “of course” I’d have to run in to those things that I did, because lately I’ve been subconsciously evaluating the people that I’m connected to on Facebook and noticing how they affect my mood. It’s called a “friends list” but I wouldn’t go that far. I do have a handful of actual friends on there, and a handful more that I consider friends even though we haven’t met… but then there’s that fringe area of people I only somewhat know, or only connected with due to mutual friends at the time.

I’m probably going to start weeding my list a bit. I mean, everyone that I’m connected to on there… they do have redeeming qualities, but there are quite a few that probably have more “con” than “pro” to them at this point. Excessively trashy people, ignorant yet mouthy people, superficial and petty people… the longer you have anyone on your list, the more you discover what they’re really like over time. And sometimes those people just don’t mesh with your vibe.

It’s cheezy, but there was an NCIS episode where there was a jumper on the edge of a building, and Jimmy Palmer was out on the ledge with him, trying to talk him down… and one of the things he said, when the would-be jumper was talking about all of the bad in the world, was to “Stop looking for it!” The whole episode was trying to be motivational or inspirational in that sort of way, even though it’s not quite that easy… but basically, weeding out the negative people in my list will be my way of “not looking for it” when it comes to the stuff that brings me down.