A Taste Of What’s To Come

We got our first hint of winter today. Well, at least where I was. It may not have been the same here at home, but up on the north side of Columbus it was a couple hours of rain, sleet, and snow.Β Nothing was sticking, but it was sure making the driving unpleasant. πŸ˜• But Cassi recently cracked a toof 😣 and this particular dentist was the only one that could get her in anytime soon. Having experienced that myself, I couldn’t let her miss that appointment and just “deal with it” until whenever the next chance would have been.

My tire pressure light came on during the drive up there, so rather than waiting in the parking lot until she got done, I went to the closest gas station to air up my tires. Then to the next closest one… and the next closest one after that… 😠 I had to go to four different places before I found one with a working air machine. To be honest, it’s probably time to get some new shoes for my car anyway – since two of my tires have predictable, slow leaks, and the tread is getting worn enough where I at least think that I feel a difference when I’m driving on wet or otherwise slick roads. πŸ€¨πŸ€”

It was a couple weeks ago, right after it had rained, but I was taking a circular type exit ramp (at a normal speed) and I could feel her pushing just a little bit as I was taking the turn. It may have just been that another vehicle had put down some fluid that my car was reacting to, but at 60k miles… it’s probably better to be safe than sorry. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Especially since “snow or not” I’m still gonna have regular doctor appointments and workers comp crap that I won’t be able to avoid all through this winter, and I don’t wanna have to make each of those trips with my butt in a constant state of pucker. πŸ˜―πŸ˜…

But yeah, considering that all of this was unplanned, it wasn’t that bad of a day. They’re gonna need to do a root canal and crown on her damaged toof, but at least they were able to provide a temporary fix so she’s not miserable until then. 😟 But I’m gonna take my evening meds and try to sack out early tonight, ‘cuz I can still feel today’s drive in my shoulder – and I really don’t wanna wake up tomorrow morning feeling the same way.

Ray of Sunshine

No updates this past week because there hasn’t really been that much worth talking about. I did go to my first appointment with the WC doctor at the new facilities. About a month ago they moved to the brand new FMC-connected health care center / emergency room building, from the older medical center directly next door. It’s quite the upgrade. Big open waiting room areas with tall ceilings and tall windows, many more rooms to see patients, and even a few new doctors on the payroll.

But, especially right now, anything revolving around my workers comp case kinda has me anxious – so I did the typical thing the night before, where I couldn’t fall asleep at a reasonable hour and then I also woke up way too early. πŸ˜’ The appointment went fine… they always do… but it also involved going over some things about the rebuttal report that he’s going to be writing for the upcoming IC hearing – and to say that I’m tired of thinking about, talking about, and working on that topic… that would be an understatement.

After not getting enough sleep that night, it managed to shift my schedule to where I’m falling asleep around 8p each night, and then waking up around 3a… while also getting interrupted throughout the night by shitty, stress-themed dreams. (Of which I can’t even usually remember the details.)Β πŸ˜• I’m hoping I can shake things up this weekend and get out of thatΒ rut. Several people I know haven’t been feeling good, a couple friends got some crappy news that they didn’t need, my knee and shoulder are still meh… it’s just been one of those weeks for a bunch of us. 😟 Crossing fingers that next week will bring some positive change.

So, yeah… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ that’s about it. I mean, there’s been positive things this past week too… got a new mailbox (that I’ve yet to try and install), the little ring of grass around the light post is actually growing, I got the trash cleaned out of my car, completed some random light chores around the house, etc. But yeah, like I said, not stuff that’s really worth blogging about. (I know… when have I ever let that stop me… heh) 😏

It’s Nice When They Go Well

I was anxious as I drove to my appointment today. 😐 Even after I had checked in and was walking down the hallway to his office, I still wasn’t sure if I was going to decide to stop seeing him or not. But once I got to sit down and talk with him, it made my decision to continue going there an easy one. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ™‚ I explained how the IME doctor’s report made it seem like my treatment there should be something that demands great concern, with all of the “scary” things that were implied, and (even though we obviously continued our conversation) his reaction told me all that I needed to know. 😏 In a good way.

One of the first things he said, was that it was absolutelyΒ fine if I decided to no longer continue my appointments with him. Not only because my primary care doctor could prescribe the same relatively run-of-the-mill meds that he currently does, but also because he wouldn’t want it to cause me any unnecessary problems with my WC case, as ridiculous as the questioning of my mental health may be. 😎 See, that’s how a doctor should be… giving me his blessing to stop going there, even though he’d be losing a paying client, because he wants to do what is best for me.

That in itself made me decide to schedule at least one more appointment with him, about two months from now… not only so he could follow up on me, but so I could also follow up with him and let him know how the (yet to be scheduled) hearing went. He also said that he’d be happy to write a rebuttal report as well, setting the record straight when it comes to my treatment, as well as correcting other facts that the report got undeniably wrong. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€“ Because, as you’d expect, having another doctor doing things that serve to further the stigma of mental health care… 😟 I don’t think he appreciated it. 😏

So I felt much better leavingΒ that appointment than I did when I arrived, and to let my thoughts stay on that positive path – I took most of the rest of the day off when it came to checking messages, watching the news, or doing anything else that could possibly subject me to negative stuff. πŸ™ˆπŸ™‰πŸ™ŠπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And now that I have started catching up on the news tonight… 😯 Goodness. I think I made the right choice in avoiding it for the better part of the day. Our government is a mess, man…

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.)

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…