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.

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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»

Checking Off Boxes

Typical “workers comp, beginning of the month, get my scripts filled” day today. Three different calls to the pharmacy, issues with my information in the computer, problems with certain ones not being approved… same bullshit as usual, except due to the incorrect information in their system I even had to stop in myself, with receipts and printouts and crap from last month. The folks that work there are great. It’s never the people there that I have a problem with… and after my visit we think everything is now updated, correct, and in process of being authorized – so maybe sometime today I’ll actually be able to pick them up.

I had to be out today anyway, so stopping in to get all this stuff sorted out wasn’t a big deal. I mean, I actually feel kinda bad for them – with how much of a pain in the ass “my case” is for them each month. It makes me wonder if any pharmacies have ever decided that certain customers’ situations were just too much work, too many calls, and too big of a PITA – and just told them to take their business elsewhere. ‘Cuz I can see how they could feel that way about me, if they weren’t such understanding and helpful folks.

But at my other stops, along with having several vials of blood drawn, we’ve started getting a lot more things set in stone. I’ve now got dates (if not exact times, yet) for the next blood draw, the administration of the radiation dose, how long I’ll need to stay away from people (which included rearranging another unrelated doctor appointment), when the full scan at FMC will be, and then the followup with my main thyroid doctor after all of the results are back and interpreted.

It’s surreal… how this is such a “big deal mind fuck” thing for me as I’m going through it, yet I’m just one of many. There are enough people needing this kind of treatment that once a week, every week, it’s radioactive “dosing day” for thyroid patients at FMC. But for whatever reason, even as you’re out in town, seeing other people doing whatever… it’s easy to feel like you’re the only person going through this shit, while actually we probably pass by people each day who are going through the same thing or worse. Working in nuclear medicine, giving the doses… I can see how that job could start feeling pretty heavy after a short while.

Hands Off The Controls: Autopilot Has Been Engaged

I didn’t get to sleep until almost 6am this morning, and I had posted a somewhat moody blog entry about an hour before that… but I went ahead and deleted it when I woke up, deciding that I should wait until I had a little more sleep, time, and information under my belt before commenting on the stuff I was commenting on.

It was just really bad timing last night… first, forgetting to drag the trash buggy out to the road, so I ended up doing that around 3:00am. And of course since I was out there, I grabbed whatever was in the mailbox from the past couple of days. And the letter on top had to be from my WC attorneys, letting me know that my mandatory “independent” WC exam has been rescheduled. That was the appointment where I got up at dawn to drive to the NW side of Columbus, with my bum knee at the time, and they cancelled on me about five minutes away from their office. 🀨 Yeah, so that’s now rescheduled near the end of the July.

It had actually slipped my mind, since my brain has been in a state of constant anxiousness regarding my lengthy but (hopefully) finalΒ thyroid cancer treatment beginning. So with that and other other crappy stuff on my mind, having had to deal with the kitten situation yesterday, and then just not being able to sleep because of all of it – seeing that envelope pushed me past sad, mad, frustrated, nervous, or whatever… eventually to just numb. 😐 It’s happened before… I’ve simply “felt” to the point of no longer being able to feel. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜• And I don’t know… with the way I’ve been, numb is probably better.

I’ll let my attorneys know that the appointment is just days before I’m due to begin the radiation part of my treatment, so we’ll see if WC still demands that I show up – or if they’ll decide to wait until it’s over and I’m at what they’d consider my “normal” physical self. The latter would give a more accurate representation of how my disability and meds affect me, but who knows what they really want.

The last handful of entries should give you a good idea of where I’m at and where things are heading. I don’t know how much time I’m going to be spending online in the near future, and there’s a good chance that I’m going to be even more difficult to reach than usual. I apologize that I’m probably going to come off as more inconsiderate than typical… but I can’t really do anything for anyone, I can’t see how my presence right now could possibly be a good thing… so I might end up in my bubble for a while. 😐 If anything significant happens though, good or bad, I’ll make sure I at least make a small post – just to keep the people who still care in the loop. Try not to worry about me though. Whatever happens next is all out of our hands.

Trying To Not Read In To This

I got a message two days ago from the doctor’s office that is handling my thyroid cancer treatment. My next session with the radioactive iodine treatment, which should be my final session (if everything goes well), was scheduled to start near the end of July… but they now actually want to schedule that as soon as possible. 😐 They asked me to call in yesterday so we could start making a plan, but to be honest the message had me a little too shook… πŸ˜₯ and since I was actually having a decent day yesterday, I didn’t wanna risk nuking that by bringing all of my thoughts back to the “unknown” about what’s remaining inside me, if anything.

That’s also why I took advantage of the day yesterday to get caught up with some things around the house, because I know that this next step is gonna be a bit of a nightmare. 😣 I have to completely stop taking my thyroid meds for a couple of weeks, and they were clear about how it could have drastic physical and mental side effects. (Also part of the reason that I stopped the Paxil, so I didn’t have one crap thing on top of another.)Β Then once the thyroid medication is completely out of my system, that’s when I’ll go to the hospital for the radioactive pill and another full body scan about a week later. πŸ˜•

Confession… I didn’t call them back today either. 😞 Instead, what I’m going to do is just go into the office tomorrow and talk to them in person. To be sure that I understand the details of the plan, to be sure that everything is scheduled properly… and also to see if I can catch some kind of vibe by the way that they speak with me about it. 🧐 Like I said, I’m trying to not assume that something has gotten worse just because they want to start things sooner. 😳 It could be as simple as being easier on their schedule, and just better for me (or anyone) to do all of this “second phase” stuff sooner rather than later anyway.

So yeah, that’s the next thing on the radar… movin’ in fast. 😟 And lemme tell ya’ something. πŸ˜’ Uncertainty, when it comes to something like this… it’s a special kind of slow, drawn-out torture. I’m ready though. I was doing good at keeping it out of my thoughts up until now – but whether I got that call a couple days ago, or whether we stuck to the original end-of-July starting point… either way the anxiety was gonna come. So I agree… let’s get this shit started. 🀨

Unrelated: I just updated my Windows 10 and all of my emojis now have thick black outlines. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Unfortunately… Nope

This will be a lengthy entry.Β Β πŸ€”Β  Although, I suppose that’s typical for me and the blog… 😏

A few days after going to my full dose of Paxil, one in the morning and one at night, the side effects that I hoped would go away were actually getting much worse. 😳 So over the past couple of days I’ve weaned myself back off… and today was the first day I started feeling close to my normal “normal.” 😟

The biggest problem was the tremors. Any time I would yawn, which was a lot,Β probably due to the new med… every time I would yawn, my left shoulder and arm would start shaking uncontrollably – sometimes lasting up to 30 seconds before it would calm. 😧 And then it started doing it with my other shoulder as well, to where eventually when I yawned (and even when I wasn’t) I’d honestly compare the tremors to what you would see in a person with Parkinson’sΒ disease. πŸ˜₯ I suppose it makes sense, as the disease is related to dopamine problems and that’s often something that psych meds mess around with as well.

The daily waking up in a near panic attack… that didn’t stop either. And when on the full dose, taking the morning dose was no longer relieving the anxiety when I took it. So, it was waking up with severe anxiety, taking the pill (along with my others) that was supposed to help with anxiety, only to have it then stay around all day. 😣 Awesome. πŸ™„ That was reason enough for me to reconsider if I wanted to continue taking it… and I really did want to give it a chance, to wait out the side effects to see if they’d pass. But you have to remember, after my work injury, the main thing that my doctor and I had to work on for a long time was getting my left shoulder with the nerve damage to stop randomly shaking.

So not only was the new med increasing my anxiety, but it had brought back the uncontrollable shaking in my left shoulder, which always leads to much more pain by the end of each day. πŸ˜’πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So I hope most people would understand why I wasn’t willing to “just keep hoping it’ll pass” while possibly risking it getting worse or even becoming permanent again.

It’s disappointing, but again I’m experiencing the “Ahhh” of just losing all of those awful and scary side effects, and returning to my “normal” self… which now feels like a relief – hopefullyΒ returning just to “how I was” a couple of weeks ago. πŸ™‚Β (The tremors weren’t gone today, but they’ve lessened quite a bit.) And with my thyroid doctor calling today and wanting to accelerate the next step with that issue, I just don’t think I’d be able to do it while essentially fighting against the side effects of the Paxil. The next step with my thyroid stuff is gonna be difficult enough as it is. πŸ€•

More on that when I know more. (Although I’m gonna try to squeeze in a subjectively more positive entry between this one and that one.) But in the mean time, I’m still wondering if sometimes it’s in the doctor’s plans, or at least something that they know can happen – where a medication that is supposed to help makes you feel so awful that when you stop taking it, you actually feel happier and more relieved just to be back to how you were. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€¨ Because boy, that’s been the trend with me, the few times I’ve been prescribed something by a shrink. 😏

  • Just to cover my ass, I’m not saying with any type of certainty that the Paxil definitely caused all of the symptoms that I was experiencing while taking it. It’s possible that all of the things that I considered “side effects” were completely unrelated… this is just my account of how things went while I was taking it.

I Guess It’s My Turn

My sleep’s been a bit affected over the past couple of nights. I did have two or three decent days where I was able to get out and do some small things that I needed to do, but all the driving tweaked my knee enough again that the pain’s got my sleep just a bit screwed. 😴 Not here to complain about that though. I’m starting to get used to it and make concessions the same way I have to do with my left shoulder.

But today, sleep was on and off all night, so I didn’t end up getting up and around until after noon. Before my brain even had a chance to give me a hint about how it was gonna feel about today, I heard knocking on the front door. 😳 Checked the cams to discover that it was some of my lawn guys. 😏 They were here today to trim all the hedges around the house, and then Jason came by a little bit later to lock down the details and prices for the spirea removal and other misc.

And with the bushes around the house all trimmed back, it’s even more obvious that I really need to stop putting it off and have the siding and sidewalk power washed. He gave me a good deal on the trimming today, which made it easier to just apply that savings towards getting all the green, bugs, webs, and bird poop washed off of the house. But yeah, there wasn’t much new to what we discussed (except for that) so it was just a matter of reconfirming everything now that my name’s apparently up on the “next job” list.

Gotta admit, waking up and having to immediately “human” started my day off a little twitchy. πŸ˜•Β I didn’t expect to even be seeing any people, let alone interacting with them… but I’m feeling better now that plans and prices are set, things should start soon, evening is coming, and things are cooling off outside. I mean, just walking around the yard with everyone, pointing out this and that, using my cane and trying not to dick up my knee any more… I was sweating just from that. πŸ˜“ Good on them for being able to work in the heat like they did today. It sure saves lazy and/or broken people such as myself. πŸ™‚

Just hoping to get some good sleep tonight so I can be a little more productive tomorrow. Bills, e-mail, laundry, vacuuming… just little shit… but I’ve had to stay on pause for a couple days, and I’ve learned that if I don’t turn it around quickly it could end up sticking. But hey, like I said, I’ve gotten out of the house to handle a few things and even make it to an appointment up in Columbus – so things are still basically moving in the right direction. Just really looking forward to the couple of doctor appointments for my neck and knee once June gets here… ‘cuz this shit is getting old. Like me, I guess… πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ