Still Working Through It

I mailed out my rebuttal report yesterday, so today I called my lead attorney to let him know to expect it, leaving a brief message describing what I thought about the doctor’s IME report and explaining that even though I know they’ve got the situation covered – that I hoped the information I provided will help them out. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ€“πŸ—’οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I also told him a return call wasn’t necessary, since I really would like to get this all out of my thoughts, but that he could of course call if he had any questions after he spoke with my doctor. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ

I realized today, though, that even though I supplied all of that extra information for my attorneys to use as they see fit, that it’s going to be hard to stop thinking about it and to stop subconsciously “defending myself” until I’ve really done everything that I can to prepare for the hearing. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ And the Industrial Commission hearings have proved to be a mixed bag for me. It’s a very stressful and anxiety-filled situation to be in, so I don’t remember every detail from every hearing… but I do know that sometimes I’ve been asked questions, sometimes I’ve been asked nothing and basically just sat there, and sometimes I’ve been asked if there was anything in general that I wanted to add.

If they decide to ask me questions, that’s great… because one good thing about my answers, because they’re based on the truth and over a decade of experience, my answers won’t be much different from anything that I’ve said to them, to any of my doctors, or anyone else in the past many years.Β But if they ask if I have anything that I’d like to add, that’s where I now need to focus my thoughts – and figure out the most concise way to convey the most amount of (what I believe is)Β relevant and important information.

I’m literally at the mercy of this “deciding body” when it comes to my future medical treatment, so I can’t afford to stumble over my words or not know what I want to say if given the opportunity to speak. So probably over the next day or two I’ll start jotting down several points, and then turn that into something that will hopefully be effective when delivered. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

When there’s a new doctor that has provided a new report that has all kinds of new claims and allegations, some of which I absolutely disagree with… some of which are simply false (there’s no other way to say it)… that’s a change since the last hearing, so of course any references to that in my comments would also be “all new information” that I’d be responding with. So I think you can see why I’m still feeling anxious, having not yet prepared what will basically be my “closing statement” if it’s asked for. πŸ˜“ So that’s the plan for the weekend.

Even if I’m not asked to speak, even if I end up not using it – obviously I’ll feel much better knowing that I’m prepared rather than not, and I’m hoping that will help me feel a little less nervous about the whole thing while I wait for all of the official paperwork to start pouring in, along with a notification of the date that the hearing will actually happen. πŸ™‚πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™πŸ» (And hopefully I won’t mention any of it for a while after this.)

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You Never Get Used To It

(Oh yeah… this is quite a rambling one.Β  Strap in…)

While I was off of my thyroid meds, losing energy with each day that passed, preparing to have my second cancer scan done, as you may remember – I still had to drive over an hour up to NW Columbus, to go to the “Independent Medical Evaluation” initiated at the request of my former employer’s WC insurer. πŸ˜’πŸ€’ For those who haven’t been through it, it’s essentially one of the methods that can be used to try to get medication or treatments disallowed from a claim, based off of a report from a doctor (like in this instance) who has seen you as little as one single time. 🀨 That almost always sets up an Industrial Commission hearing, where (in my case) that report will be compared against the records of my own doctor, who has been treating me consistently for this work injury and disability for well over a decade. 😯

Of course my thoughts were more focused on the upcoming cancer scan at that point, so I went up, had my exam, went back home, and then mostly forgot about it while I dealt with my other medical concerns. But upon collecting my mail from the box a couple of days ago – I saw that enough time had passed for that doctor to have generated his report, which is easily 30-40 pages (if not more), and have copies sent to me, my attorneys, and my own doctor. I waited a few days to open it, because I knew there would be nothing good about it, nor would there be anything that I could do about that fact. 😟 It might as well have been labeled “Envelope Full of Frustration” but I finally made myself open and read it all yesterday.

I’m going to sugar-coat the shit out of this as I continue. πŸ™„πŸ˜ For my second pass through this thick report, I grabbed a yellow highlighter and began to mark and number the areas where more info was needed. 🧐 Whether it was adding context, pointing out inconsistencies, noting conflicting statements within the same report, or bringing attention to things that were implied, inferred, or assumption… I ended up with 48 different sections that required a response. And, unfortunately, there were several things that were simply false. Absolutely false. But still written in this report as if it were fact. 😠 I’m not saying that this doctor just pulled some things straight out of his ass, but it’s a shame how many “inaccuracies” were made by someone that shouldΒ have the presumption of being knowledgeable and accurate, especially given the duty that he’s performing and the way it could affect the future of anyone that he evaluates.

So now my copy of that doctor’s report has 48 highlighted areas, to go along with a numbered “rebuttal report” that I created to address each of those problem areas. So when I give it to my attorneys, they’ll be able to read my comments right along with the numbered and highlighted areas on the original report. πŸ€“ And despite having another doctor appointment at 11am this morning, I was up until after 2am last night… because correcting or clarifying (what I believe to be) inaccurate things in that report is really the only thing that I can do right now when it comes to “defending myself” or possibly helping my attorneys with their argument points. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ž But yeah, once I started, the areas that needed my attention just kept coming, and I wasn’t going to stop and go to sleep until I had addressed everything that I felt needed it.

Of course my doctor will write a rebuttal report… something that he’s done many times before, to the point where he’s often repeating himself – because the facts are the facts, and they don’t change over time. But when there’s a hearing, it’s just expected that the doctor of record will submit a report, so he’s unfortunately stuck in this situation just like I am. πŸ˜• Thankfully, my doctor is awesome. And like me, he’s not a fan of having his words twisted, his knowledge and methods belittled… and he’s definitely not a fan of any claims, implications, or “facts” that seem to be based on little-to-no actual evidence. So not only will he write a truthful and accurate rebuttal based on all of the medical evidence, but it also serves as a way for him to “defend” himself – which is the same feeling that I have, and why I wrote my index of rebuttal points. 🀨

I have a ton of other things that I would like to say about the doctor’s report, but it’s in my best interest to just stop at this point. I’ve covered the basics, and you’re more than welcome to imagine the non-sugar-coated version… but even if you did that, there’d still be some things that would legitimately shock you. So now I can only hope that my rebuttal points will be helpful and useful to whichever attorney ends up representing me at the actual hearing. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ—’οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈΒ (And I’ve always felt the “commission” folks do seem to care as well.)

But the law firm that represents me is great, and we’ve (knock on wood) got a great track record from the beginning through today… so I know that they’ll have already picked apart many of the same things that I’m bringing attention to, but there still might be something that I say here or there that will contribute to the arguments that they use on the day of the hearing. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And at the very least, having more information “straight from the horse’s mouth” will be beneficial in general, since we usually only have about a half hour to sit and quickly discuss the case before the hearing starts.

It would be hard for anyone to find the words to accurately express the feeling and level of frustration that comes along with this situation. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ To have decisions being made by other people, about things that will dramatically affect your future, knowing that “the truth” is the only weapon that you have… it’s such a helpless feeling, especially when you’re already feeling pretty damn helpless most of the time, due to the disability and pain that this whole thing is about in the first place. 😒 So other than the info I’ll be giving my attorneys, it comes down to sitting, waiting, and hoping… and there’s nothing relaxing or reassuring about that. 😞

Any good luck or positive juju that you want to mentally send my way is greatly appreciated. πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ™‚πŸ™πŸ»

Method To My Madness

You may or may not have noticed, but over the past many weeks – especially in the time right before and after my scan – I’ve been posting a lot more entries to the blog than usual. Even if not in quantity, I’ve definitely been ramblingΒ more than I typically do. Now that I’m most of the way past that phase, I’m probably gonna end up slowing a little with my postings – not necessarily on purpose, but because as things start to feel like they’re returning to normal I have a feeling I just won’t feel like I need to post quite as much.

There’s no way to explain to someone who hasn’t gone through it, how it feels to sit with an unspecified amount of cancer in your body, jumping through all of the hoops for the tests, which includes gradually wearing down your energy levels to nothing, and then just sitting there, not knowing, waiting, worrying, hoping, etc. 😟 There isn’t an emotion that you don’t experience, ranging from hoping that it’s completely gone – to hoping that if it isn’t gone, that you at least get an expiration date… just to finally get rid of the uncertaintyΒ more than anything else. 😞 I suppose I can only speak for myself, but I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t feel most of the things / ways that I’ve felt. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

But my way of dealing with all of that (or distracting myself from all of that) was by posting here. Didn’t necessarily want to talk to anyone about it in person, or in any detail or whatever… but also couldn’t just sit here and stay all bottled up about it. So whether my posts had something to do with my medical stuff or not, it’s been a big reason why I’ve been so active lately. Now, I’m not saying that I’m gonna stop blogging… I mean, rambling is sort of my thing, it’s more that I just wanted to come here and finally explain.

Of course it doesn’t help when in the middle of all that, I get new “neck stuff” (unrelated to cancer) to eventually be concerned about. πŸ˜’ It’s hard to stay positive and try to get back to normal when just as you’re finishing up with one thing, something else fairly big comes along right on the tail of the last thing. And that’s what a lot of my postings have been, whether they seem like it or not… trying to find the silver linings, trying to reassure or even convince myself that I have the ability to take the good for what it is, and work around whatever negatives are left after that. (Bleh… that sounds cheezy.)

I’m still not back to normal, but I’m definitely getting there. I found out, thanks to the festival, that even though my energy levels are a whole lot better – there’s still a wall there to be hit, and I still don’t get a sign when I’m approaching it. I’m assuming that’ll just continue to get better though, because it has so far. I’ve barely been doing anything with friends yet, and still haven’t been on Facebook for over a month now… so I’ve still got a few of those types of hurdles to get over, but it’ll all come in time. πŸ™‚ I’m not setting goals or time-frames or anything like that… just trying to always make sure that I keep moving forward with all of it. And as for the stuff that I’ll have to face in the future, whether it is spine related or cancer related (or something as of yet unforeseen), I can’t let it chew up all my thoughts and actions between now and whenever that will be.

So whether it helps me because I’m just getting stuff out, or because it also helps to reinforce the positive thoughts… whatever it is, it’s just what I’ve needed to do during this more-uncertain time in my life. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But as I continue to get better, it should require less energy (or rambling about it) in order to keep the progress going. I made it up and over the most recent hill, so now I can hopefully start to coast a little more if that’s what I decide to do.

Meh… I could obviously continue with more on this topic, but this basically explains what I wanted to be explained. We’re all works in progress, and I’m no different. And if it’s not one of the issues that I’m currently focused on, there’s always gonna be something else that tries to damage my calm and toss some grenades in my life’s direction. 😟 I’m just hoping that I can take the things that I’ve learned from dealing with the current situations and apply them to those other things when needed. πŸ™‚ Maybe get a little better with the “ups and downs” since we all seem to come with an endless supply.

It Shouldn’t Be This Challenging

Today’s been kind of a flop. I didn’t have anything on the schedule really, but even after not getting much sleep – I still woke up with some motivation to work on one or two of my extra projects around the house. Also, between the lack of sleep and the shitty weather, I knew today wasn’t a car or glasses day either… so I’ve spent most of the day waiting for my upset stomach to go away so I could do a little of the work that I wanted to do without feeling like I was gonna yack. 🀒

It did make for a nice lazy day though, something that I sometimes struggle with allowing. Texted with Dad quite a bit, along with a few other friends, and then finally decided to go in the kitchen to chop up some green peppers to make some tuna salad for sammiches – to hopefully settle my belly, which it did. πŸ™‚ And to be honest, I was glad to just wake up today without my back being screwed up… something that it was showing signs of before I ended up falling asleep early this morning. 😯😬

So it wasn’t really that today was a flop… it was just unremarkable for the most part, so I wasn’t looking at it in the right way. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ And now that I’m feeling better since this afternoon, I know it’ll help my mood to get some more of my “unessential” stuff done before whenever I fall asleep tonight. Normally my lack of productivity would have made me a little twitchy, but I think I’m still riding along on the thyroid med train – still seeming to get back a little more energy with each day that passes. πŸ€’πŸ€žπŸ» I wish I could explain how bad the bad days really were just a few weeks ago, to emphasize how these little improvements are still a big deal.

I think I might go ahead and pull out the 360 cam and charge it up, in case I feel up to shooting any video at the SCF here in a few days. If not that, I plan on taking a lot more regular pictures this year. It’s been a few years since I’ve bothered, especially since last year’s trip was kind of a shit show from the start. πŸ˜’ And with my mood being decent lately (for the most part anyway…) I’m hoping that it’ll also nudge me towards getting interested in my hobbies like video and photography again. 😟

Every now and then Jim will post one of goofy our old videos on Twitter and I’ll come across it, where we were just goofing off and having fun for random Squirtman themed videos, and it makes me realize how long it’s been since I could truly say that I was having fun at anything, or that I was in a good mood for more than a couple hours out of one day. 😞 I’ve gotta start trying to figure out how to get a little more of that back, despite all of the other non-fun stuff I’ll obviously have to be working on (or facing) as well. 🀨 It wasn’t that many years ago that I was a totally different person, and it’d be nice if I could find my way back toward that at least a little bit. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ If my body will just stay physically un-fucked for a while, I might have a shot at it.

Meh… just thinking out loud again I guess…

I Know It’s Weird, But…

I wish my day was ending on a better note. 😞 As you can tell from my couple of previous posts, I was trying to get (or keep) myself in the right frame of mind where I could accomplish various things, hopefully have my plans for the weekend go down without any issues… basically just trying to hang on to the “normal” while I was feeling it. (And believe me… just that in itself is a bigger challenge for me right now than you’d probably think.)

Now, as many of you may already know, one of the “weird” things about me is my near inability to talk on the phone. There’s a logical root reason to how I ended up this way, even if there isn’t as much logic to it now, but it’s something that everyone who knows me is aware of. Unfortunately, I have one family member who is apparently as averse to textingΒ through the phone as I am to speaking on the phone, so there’s obviously gonna be some problems when we need to communicate. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

So even when people do absolutely need to talk to me on the phone, they know to text me first to make sure it’s okay to call. Essentially it’s just giving me a warning that they’re gonna call, which helps my twitchy brain prepare for it, and usually making it something I can do. But over the past two days it’s been cold call after cold call, but at least this last time she left a voice mail saying that she had some good news and that she wanted me to call her.

So even though she knows I’m like this (we talked about it the last time she cold called me… heh), she’s got good news that she wants to share, so it makes me feel bad that this weird part of me won’t let me answer or call back immediately. πŸ™‚πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I have to “save up the oomph” to make a phone call. And yeah, I know that’s a really weird thing… there’s no debating that. I just hate when I’m doing my best to hang on to “normal” for a while, and something like this reminds me that I’ve still got a long way to go…

Of course I’m interested in her news, and I wish that I could just pick up the phone and call back right away, because I don’t want her to think that I don’t care… but now I’ve spent the evening being frustrated by myself, rather than continuing my forward progress. 😟 Dumb. But how many times do you have to tell someone that you don’t talk on the phone, or that if you have to talk to me on the phone – just text me and give me an idea that a call is coming? (Of course this doesn’t apply to anyone who doesn’t have the ability to text me.) I’m not asking people to understand why I’m this way, just that they understand that I am – and that they respect that unfortunate fact and don’t get hurt feelings if it takes me a while to call back.

Gah… okay, I gotta stop dwelling on this. It’s just how I am right now, I’ll talk to her tomorrow, she’ll share her news, everything will be fine… I can’t let my defects erase any of the positives that I’ve been actively working on lately. And I’m gonna keep reminding myself… as hard as it is for me to take or make phone calls, it could be just as hard for her to text – and it could be just a difficult for her to explain as it is for me.

It’s all good… it’ll be fine… I think I just needed to vent.

Pace Yourself, Dummy

Felt like I had a little more energy than usual yesterday, so I trimmed my hobo beard here in the living room (with a trimmer that allegedly catches all the trimmed hairs) but then of course I still wanted to vacuum up whatever it didn’t get. Turned it on, but the vacuum wasn’t sucking, and then it just shut itself off. πŸ˜’ Awesome. Didn’t realize how many filters were inside this thing, but they had become clogged with the flea dust that I spread and vacuumed up a couple weeks ago. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ”§ So I had it in pieces, took out and washed all the filters, and that was it for me.

Not that I had anything that I needed to do after that, since the filters needed to dry overnight anyway before I could even try it again… but yeah, went from “okay” to completely whupped without any warning. Took a shower to see if that would jump-start things, but nope… just made me ready for bed. 😏 And yeah, I was thinking about how I’d be missing the meteor shower, but there were enough passing clouds that I didn’t feel too crappy about not having the oomph to stay awake and set up the camera to do things properly. πŸ”­πŸ§ Looks like it might end up even more cloudy tonight, but we’ll see.

But yeah, as I was starting to fear as the time got closer – just a few days of being back on my thyroid meds hasn’t quite done the trick yet. I’m noticing a difference, so that’s good, but I just have to be patient and stop trying to do more than I should. I mean, taking apart the vacuum wasn’t even physically difficult… but yeah, I just gotta keep taking it easy for a while. That’s what I did today, and the most I plan to do tonight or tomorrow is maybe that time-lapse video and then getting through the current stack of mail. πŸ™‚πŸ° No physical stuff, even though I’ve got a basket-and-a-half of somewhat radioactive clothes that I will need to get to sooner than later. (But it’s out of the way and not hurting anybody, so meh…)

Only real obligation tomorrow is my workers comp appointment, which is typically just in and out unless we get chatty… but it’s my doctor’s assistant that will be seeing me tomorrow, so other than letting him know how run down I’ve been for the last month and why, it’s just gonna be getting those meds on track. I’m barely out of the window where I’m technically supposed to be avoiding people for extended periods of time anyway, so I’ll make sure to let everyone in the office know that when I get there, which should also help to keep this visit short and to the point.

And whether this jinxes me or not, I like that I haven’t gotten a call from my thyroid doctor’s office on either of the business days since I had the scan done. πŸ€” Different, unfortunately, from one of my friends who has been having some heart testing done – and she got one of those “Let’s go ahead and get you in here as soon as possible…” calls, which always makes your stomach drop. 😳😟 Can’t dwell though… all this shit is in the doctors’ and God’s hands, and we all just have to hope for the best. πŸ™πŸ»

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. 😏 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. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈΒ …Β πŸ₯’πŸ’Šβ˜’οΈΒ Β πŸ€’Β It also has the side effect of making it seem like this pill is reallyΒ 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 😏), but I’ve decided to take this as a sign… this was the first song that played (at random)Β in the car as I left the hospital parking lot. (Video Link: Back to Life – Hailee Steinfeld)Β 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. 😌 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. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜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. 🀨 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. πŸ€πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™‚

Unfortunately, I’ll have to avoid stuff likeΒ this until I’m less radioactive. 😟 Wish she could understand.