Insufficient Quantities

Another half-work / half-shlubbing-around weekend day. 😐 Cassi had the day off, so I went and got her so I’d have some company (and a helper) and so she could have time away from home. So, like the last time she was here, she’s been working on her stuff a little more and I’ve been working on my stuff more… using that bit of motivation that you get just from having someone hanging out. 😊

A couple different phone calls to the pharmacy this morning and they’re still having problems with getting any of my workers comp related medications approved. 😒 Ten minutes on the phone, then on hold, and then told that they were gonna have to make some calls to get things straightened out.  Haven’t heard anything back from them for the past couple of hours, so I’ll be calling again after I finish this entry. I’m not even trying to get them before last month’s supply ran out. 🤦🏻‍♂️

Heh… and as I’m writing this I got another text notification from the pharmacy saying that one item is on order, another is ready – but with a $12 charge, and no info about the third. 😕 But this confirms the typical problems I have every month… because if there’s a charge on one of these, that meant it was run through my regular insurance instead of the one provided by workers comp. I guess twelve bucks won’t kill me though.

And even though it’s Saturday, I got an actual registered letter that I had to sign for, from that “home care” medical provider that I mentioned a few entries ago. It says that they’re letting me go as a patient (okay?) and that I need to find someone else… despite having never used their services and not knowing who this nurse is that supposedly tended to me a couple times. 😠 So I sent them another email, despite just talking to someone from there on the phone, telling them to knock it off with the bills and the mail. It’ll probably do as much good this time as it did last.

Meh… so that’s been the first half of the day. And yeah, I know that a lot of the entries in the blog lately have just been me bitching about the mundane and trivial, but believe it or not – some people do like keeping tabs on me and knowing how things are going, even people that aren’t relatives or close friends. It’s weird to have made what are essentially digital pen pals, from people who have found the blog and have then messaged me for one reason or another.

But I guess I better throw on some pants and head in town for the one script that I can pick up. 🙄 And like I told Cassi, the reason I go in there most of the time, and deal with this shit in person – it’s because people tend to work a little bit harder when you’re standing right there, telling them exactly how things are supposed to be, and nudging them in the right direction when needed.

Heh… this was quite a ramble for just some medical billing filling bullshit. 😏

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The Rest of My Month Looks Fun

  • Pharmacy  /  monthly visit to jump through hoops for meds
  • Psychiatrist  /  intake appointment
  • Dentist  /  temp crown removal and permanent crown installation
  • Endocrinologist  /  injection #1 prior to 131 treatment
  • Endocrinologist  /  injection #2 prior to 131 treatment
  • FMC  /  nuclear medicine department for radioactive iodine (131) treatment
  • Home  /  (one week of isolating myself from the humans)
  • FMC  /  full body scan 7 days after 131 treatment
  • Psychologist  /  first “real” counseling session
  • Rehab/Pain  /  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. 😒

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 love finding any reason that they can to deny me treatment or medication. 😠 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.

Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet

Last night was concert night in Columbus, seeing Phil Collins with my friends Jim and Adam at Nationwide Arena. 😊 I was already nervous the day before, thinking of the handful of things that could make my day difficult, and despite doing my best to screw it up from the start – waking up at 4am and not being able to fall back to sleep – everything ended up alright and the show was great.

For anyone that’s a fan, it’s common knowledge that Phil is pretty gimped up from a failed back surgery and a “fucked foot” as he put it, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. 😳 But despite remaining seated for almost all of the performance, he seemed to get along reasonably well with a cane, so it didn’t feel as… um… I guess I was just worried that it would feel a little “Wheel the old man out and make him sing.” but that wasn’t the case at all. 🎤👴 It was a relatively long show too, playing his stuff and some Genesis songs, and he seemed to be enjoying it all. (And another “bucket list” concert checked off for me.)

Since he’s unable to play the drums, his son Nic filled in for him. 🥁😎 The kid is pretty amazing… he’s 17 now, he was 16 when the tour started in the UK, which means he was probably learning and perfecting all of his dad’s songs by the time he was 14 years old… knowing that he’d eventually be going on a huge tour like this. 😯 (Oh, and he plays piano too 🙄) It was all the way back in May of 1992 that I saw Genesis in The Shoe at OSU (26 years ago… holy shitballs) but I never thought that I’d get to see him perform his own songs solo, since he swore quite a while ago that he’d never tour again.

Jim’s an awesome friend, surprising me and Adam both by getting us all tickets. 😃 (Five years ago this month we were in Kansas thanks to him as well) And like I told him, I have enough “concerns” about myself that I wouldn’t have even thought about buying a ticket for myself if he hadn’t. The neck and shoulder pain, the thyroid stuff, the random back stuff, the anxiety that comes in times and ways of its own choosing… I don’t think I would have trusted myself to be able to go – but when a friend makes not going not an option, you just put your head down and keep moving forward.

Oh, there were moments that I still wasn’t sure… even up until the point that I was standing in line, waiting to get in… 😳😬👫👬👫👭👫👫👬👫👭 … but I’m absolutely glad that I went.

I’ve been a mess since getting home last night around midnight though. 😕 The “post-concert buzz” ended up keeping me awake until about 5am, and man did I hurt. 😣😢 It’s mostly better now, but between the cold, the sitting, the standing, the singing, the recording of video, the crowds, the traffic… as usual, my body and brain eventually weren’t having any of that nonsense, and they let me know as soon as the show ended. 😟 I think Jim and Adam could see it in me once the lights came up, so we all sat for a bit and let the crowd clear. After we left the arena they walked along at my pace until we parted ways at the parking garage. Luckily Jim gets me though, so he knows that all of that “beat-up old man” stuff doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it all over again. 🙂

Now We’re Cookin’

Another long day of medical stuff. Nothing really new or concerning. So, so much data from all the labs and pathology and whatever… some of the most recent stuff hadn’t even been interpreted so it was presented in its pure data form, but there was still enough “plain english” stuff for him to form his opinion and explain things very clearly. It turns out that not only was the cancer in my left lymph node, but they also found (after the fact) that there was a “micro-tumor” in the right one as well… so it’s good that they sliced them both out to be safe.

The thing that made the overall picture slightly better today is that they also tested the nearby lymph node and the results showed no cancer cells there. So, yeah, it’s just a test, it’s hard to say how accurate it really is, but I’ll take the good news… so we’re gonna go with that for now. Defective thyroid removed, and no cancer in the nearby lymph node. He also made some adjustments to my meds which should help me battle the lack of energy and accidental naps, and I’ll start taking those tomorrow.

The other positive thing from this appointment is that one of the bigger balls is now in motion. I do have to go through the radioactive iodine treatment, which is meant to catch any random cancer cells that may still be hiding out, but there’s not a huge urgency to it – so I won’t start until this time next month. It had to be that way due to my other appointments and schedule, because there’s a 7-day period where I’m supposed to remain isolated so I don’t contaminate the unwashed public by my presence… so of course I wouldn’t wanna see Dr Walter and Nicole during that time.

The process will begin with me getting some sort of injection (to mask the effect of the thyroid medication) on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the actual radiation stuff on Wednesday. After that part is completed I then have to go for a full body scan. I think that’s the next thing that I’m actually nervous about. It’s meant to see if anything was missed, anywhere, and to have a scan to use as a (hopefully) successful baseline for another full scan six months after that. So yeah, it’s quite the glob of activity coming up here soon.

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. 🤔 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. 😏 Genesee keeps telling me to not dwell on it and just let it be, which is obviously the correct answer. 😁

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. 😊 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. 🤓 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. 😕 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. 👩🏻‍💼 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. 😯 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. 😳 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 up “The Patient with The Scarlet Letter” though, should I ever have to return there for another procedure. 😅

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. 😬☎ 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. 😠 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.

Pass The Baton / Kick The Can

I didn’t do my bills last night, but I’m doing them now. 😒 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. 🤨 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. 🤷🏻‍♂️ 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. 😐 Bleh… I don’t like using that word, so don’t expect to see it get used much here. 😷 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. 🧐 And each one that did look at it… it gave them a “gasp” moment. 😧

Where even a trained medical professional was like Wow. 😳 or Damn. 😯 or Holy shit. 😱

I explained how that helped me in that previous 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. 😐 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. 👍🏻

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… 😏) 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 deal  – which will hopefully be a one time thing followed by close monitoring. 🤞🏻

I figure I’ll save the questions about if/when I’ll have to see an oncologist, although I’m guessing that’s gonna be the doctor that would be doing the marker/radiation pill deal that I just mentioned, now that I think about it. 🤔 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. 🙂 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…

Nervous But Not Worried

One week to go until my surgery (don’t worry, I’m not gonna count down each time I make a post… heh) but I’m trying to make today as “normal” and chill as possible. Trash runs tomorrow, so I’ve gotta fill the buggy and drag it to the road… then I’ve got a small stack of mail that I should probably get to… and then I wanna straighten up the living room, vacuum up all this kitty hair, etc. 😏 Normal.

I’m nervous, but I’m at ease. Nothing about “right now” is how I want it, and I plan to work to change what I can after the surgery and recover time, but the way things are right now should get me through to next Wednesday without any big chance of unintentionally triggering anxiety attacks or whatever. Right now I have to worry about me. (And I know I’ve got all my loved ones’ support, which definitely helps.)

I still haven’t told a majority of my friends. Some have learned about it through the blog here, I’ve told a small handful in a private Facebook group, but I haven’t yet figured out how to tell “everyone” in a way that won’t trigger a huge reaction. I guess that’s the point of friends though… to provide those huge reactions, since it means they care. 🙂 But yeah… not today.

Today I get to pretend that it’s just like any other day.