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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Something Like That

This heatwave that we’re currently going through… it’s a pretty good way to explain how I’ve been feeling over the past few days. Just go outside, walk around your property for about 15 minutes, then stand there a while… and that’s basically how I’ve been feeling each day all day. Again, not bitching, just trying to describe it in a way that people can understand.

Thankfully I’m almost half way through the process, so at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel that I can look forward to. No matter what results I get, at least I can get back on my thyroid meds after the scan has been completed. It makes me feel bad for folks who have suffered with thyroid issues all of their lives, because the constant nausea, overheating, and dizziness… it’s no joke. Not thrilled that it has been made crystal clear that this will indeed be a medication that I’ll be taking for the rest of my life though.

I’m a cheap-ass, so I usually wouldn’t do this, but last night I turned the thermostat all the way down to 68 when I went to bed. I knew I’d be sleeping at least part way into the day and the house would heat up quickly, but despite it staying that cool in the house – I woke up early and completely drenched in sweat again. (Also… gross.) That’s why I mention how far along I am in the process… because if I didn’t know that there was an end to this, it would be some scary shit.

I’ve been drinking a lot more water, so the muscle spasms and dehydration hopefully won’t become an issue. It’s pretty shitty though, that the insurance industry has decided that this is an acceptable thing for patients to go through while preparing for their second radiation dosage. The alternative way, staying on your meds and just getting two injections before the scan… that costs several thousand dollars, so I guess you can’t blame them for trying to find somewhere to cut costs in what has likely been a very expensive surgery.

Again though, knowing that this is a temporary thing for me, it really makes me feel for those folks who don’t have insurance at all, and even for the people that do but have a chronic condition that still isn’t covered by their plan for whatever reason. As with most things like this, it’s something that we don’t think much about until it starts to affect us personally. So, yeah… still feeling super awful… and I feel like it’s continuing to slowly get worse, but I’ll be good as long I just keep reminding myself…

“It’s only temporary. It’s the lack of meds, not anything more scary. You’ll have more answers soon. Just (n) more days and this will all be over. Consider yourself blessed that you’ve made it this far. Plenty of other people have it worse than you, and it’s not temporary for them. Yeah, it sucks… but don’t be a pussy. It’s only temporary.” etc…

I’m trying to stay positive. I need to stay positive.

Rambling Elaboration

Yesterday’s entry was admittedly pretty bleak… but not all of yesterday was completely full of suck, so I figured I should come back in here and sprinkle a little bit of that “good” around – even though I know it won’t really do much to balance out the tone of the blog lately or overall. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜•

Knowing that soon I’ll be runnin’ completely without my thyroid meds, there were a few things inside and outside of the house that I wanted to get to… just in case the next several weeks are as “challenging” as I’m expecting them to be. 😟 The inside stuff was whatever… but the outside stuff, that’s the kind of stuff that kicks my ass even when I’m at my relative best these days. It also didn’t help that it was still 87 degrees in the late afternoon, when I finally went outside, since “waiting for the heat to die down” wasn’t really gonna work unless I intended to do my yard work in the dark.

When they took out my line of bushes, they plucked about a 1/3 of them, and the remaining 2/3 were cut off at the base – as close to the ground as possible. I told Jason that I had plenty of poison spray when they were doing it, and he suggested that after they were done I should probably go out and hit all the remaining “nubs” in the ground, to discourage them from trying to make a comeback – and to hopefully make them brittle enough that anything still above ground will eventually just start breaking off. So, that was mini-project number one, and luckily I didn’t need my cane nor did I have any neighbors eyeballing me as I worked.

I still had juice left in the sprayer when I was done, so I started hitting weeds along the fence, under a bunch of the evergreen bushes, all over the empty-but-weedy spot (where a big bush used to be) beside the garage, and then all around the AC unit just to make sure nothing considers growing up around it. I was sweating balls at this point. Actually, I was sweating balls within the first 10 minutes of being outside… but yeah, it was time for a break in the cool air inside.

It felt nice, but when it became obvious that I wasn’t gonna stop sweating, I sucked it up and went back outside. I’ve got a couple different sprays for spiders, wasps, bees, and ants – so I treated all the areas that needed it. 😷 Front porch got most of the spider attention, back porch had the bees, and then I sprayed what amounts to an “ant barrier” at the bottom and lowers sides of all of the doors that go outside or into the garage. (They’re a fan of Maven’s messy eating habits, usually leaving bits of cat food on the floor for them to sniff out and come after.)Β Bugs don’t really count as “critters” I suppose, but I still hate to be an exterminator. πŸ˜• But when they won’t stay outside, or try to take over certain areas when they do, they’ve gotta go.

Don’t you love how I can take “Sprayed some poison on the bush stumps and weeds, then killed some bugs” and turn it into a multi-paragraph blog entry? This time it’s intended… to make it sound as time-consuming and exhausting as it actually was. πŸ˜“ I ended up sweating so much that the mosquito repellent finally quit working, but I had done everything that I wanted – so it was time for a shower, and to stop friggin’ sweating.

Throughout the process, I learned that I have another mutant ability. πŸ™„ I can work outside for a little less than an hour, come inside into the cold air conditioning, take a shower to get all the stink, grass, and stray poison mist off of me… but I can continue sweating for a full two hours after everything was done and I should have been good. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m guessing it’s a thyroid thing that I just hadn’t discovered yet, since I’m usually too gimpy to work that much outside. But yeah… cool shower, cold air, and two more hours of sitting here with a towel to keep drying myself off.

It’s fine though… because as much as this all might sound like bitching, it felt good to accomplish so many things when there were so many other things trying to mentally or physically discourage me from doing so. Until I started to not be able to do a lot of things, I didn’t realize how important that it could be to be able to do something with purpose. So even though this stuff is probably most people’s typical weekend, it’s my little thing to grab hold of and feel good about. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

And, obviously, I have to take what I get when it comes to stuff like that these days.

Today’s Version

While I used up most of my oomph yesterday, goofy here sure is full of it today. 😼 For some reason she loves the smell of hair product. Turns her into a weirdo. If she’s hyper enough, she’ll even attack your head. πŸ˜…

Ready For The Weekend Again

I’m hoping to do a whole lot of nothin‘ on Saturday. πŸ₯΄ It’s not that I’ve personally been busting much ass, but there’s just been various stuff going on, stuff I’ve been trying to help with, or at least stuff IΒ helped to get help with… heh… and I know that doesn’t make immediate sense. 😏 But yeah, after signing her lease on Wednesday (I think?) Bri was determined to get most of her stuff moved into her new apartment on Thursday – so it was just a matter of getting this person or that person, at various points during the day, with the proper muscles and vehicles for the task, to not only move all of her stuff from Chelsea’s, but to also grab the furniture from here that I had donated to the cause. 😧 Then I was able to follow in my car with all the smaller stuffs.

By the end of the day almost everything had been moved, minus the mattresses which are on hold at a friend’s house until the landlord can inspect them before she moves them in. But you know how it is when you move without any guaranteed labor, guaranteed vehicles, or guaranteed weather… heh… so even just helping with the planning and “figuring out” can make a person tired after a while. I’m glad that all of the things that she’s been dealing with have really been positives, because that’s kept her mood, motivation, and energy always headed in the right direction.

Then, as planned, today she had to be up at Grant for a surgery that had been on hold until she was no longer pregnant. 😬 I had to be up in Columbus a little later in the afternoon as well, so I just left early and took her with me and got her checked in. That way Chelsea didn’t have to sit at the hospital with a newborn Bryson (and possibly her own kids) for several hours, waiting for Bri’s surgery to get done – and instead was just able to go up once the nurse called to let her know the procedure was done and that Bri was in recovery and would soon be able to go back home. πŸ™‚ So despite feeling a little shitty about just leaving her there at the hospital, at least I was able to help out in that way as I moved on to the other stuff I had to do. (But she’s not kiddin’ when she remarks about how many “big moments” in her life that I’ve been involved with in one way or another. 😊 )

Then I spent a good part of the rest of the day with Cassi. πŸ™‚ She’s been working a lot, so she hasn’t been able to come down here much – nor have I been up there to really just visit either. But today was all about multi-tasking, so we went out for a bit, hit a couple thrift stores, then chilled as the sketchy evening clouds threatened to pour down on the city. 😯 It actually did get bad at times, but it was really hit or miss, and luckily it was mostly “miss” wherever I happened to be at any given moment. Columbus drivers do seem to instantly lose about 40 IQ points whenever it rains though… cripes… πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

So yeah, it’s been an off-and-on busy week, including a couple-hour visit with Dad the other day that I might have forgotten to mention, along with all the other stuff that I have mentioned, and plenty that I’veΒ neglected to- topped off with today’s 10am to 10pm “out and about” schedule… so yeah, as much as I’ve been happy to do all the stuff I’ve done this week, I’m sure looking forward to a day of nothing tomorrow. 😁

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.

Oh… My Scan / Blood Tests

I guess I never got back on here to update about my follow-up appointment with the endocrinologist. πŸ€” Before the doctor even came in, the pre-doctor person took my blood pressure and asked me if a student and intern could join the doctor when he came in to talk to me. Meh… what do I care? Sure… all are welcome, all are welcome… 😏 Gotta let the young people learn so they can fix the old people like me in the future.

He’s an interesting guy… doesn’t seem bothered to convert “data” into user friendly word blurbs for the average schmo to understand, but that’s actually okay with me. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ I’d much rather have a shitload of numbers and charts than a generic “You seem fine.” or whatever. πŸ€“ And with four tubes of blood, and more than four different comprehensive tests – I was surprised to hear him read off all of the numbers while also saying that almost all of them fall within the appropriate range for someone who is getting better. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

And then the full-body scan, which looked for glowing remnants of thyroid tissue that had absorbed all of the radioiodine 131 or whatever it was… this one is more subjective than objective, since it’s looking at an image rather than something that produces numbers against a chart. πŸ€” But on the scan, he said that he saw nothing that indicated that there were any stray thyroid cells left in my neck, which also means that if the cancer truly started in the thyroid and hasn’t spread to anywhere else… then it’s pretty good news, eh? πŸ™‚

He did make sure that I understood that even though the results of the scan seemed ideal, that it doesn’t mean “Woohoo! Cancer free!” of course. But it does mean that as of right now I’m in pretty good shape, so when I go through my next round of treatment in about five months, I’m starting off in a better position than a lot of folks that have had the same surgery as me. But yeah… five months from now… 😳

This next round of treatment is actually going to be worse than the first. Something to do with having the thyroid medication in my body for so long, so I’ll have to actually stop taking it for at least three weeks before they can even consider moving on to the next step. πŸ˜’ Several more blood draws, another round of radioactive iodine treatment, another full scan… and at that point, if the results are the same as this last one, they can feel pretty confident about saying that I’m cancer free. I mean, as much as anyone, even a doctor, can really “declare” something like that. πŸ˜•

I’m sure it’ll be one of those deals where if I’m good on the next one, then we’ll probably wait a year until we do it all over again… I dunno, I’m just assuming at this point, but you’d figure that each time all this fuss comes back as “Looks good.” they’d let me wait a decent bit longer before we start at the beginning with the treatment and testing. So, yeah, pretty good news… I just wish I physically felt better than what I do. 😟 Seriously, the way I’ve been feeling over the past few months, I’d have put money on the results coming back with something concerning. But I’ll take the good news and try not to dwell on it too much. I’ll just put this one behind me, and when it’s time to worry about round two, that’s when I’ll start worrying about it.