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»

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See, I’ll Still Ramble…

I had a good day out of the house yesterday. Well, afternoon anyway… did some “chore” running that I had to do, stopped off at a couple thrift stores, and then went out to visit with Dad for an hour or so before heading back home. πŸ™‚ Did quite a bit, relative to the same time several weeks ago, and it didn’t take too much out of me… but I did fall asleep way too damn early yesterday. πŸ™„πŸ˜ It wasn’t that “drained” type of sleep… I just went back to the bedroom early, figuring I’d watch a couple movies before I sacked out, but I ended up actually falling asleep around 7pm. 😴

Woke back up at midnight, watched the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies (since I watched the first one again a couple days ago), then fell asleep near the end of the last one and didn’t wake up until around 10am this morning. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So it’s 11pm now, I’m in bed, and I’m tired – but not sleepy – so I really have no idea when I’m gonna fall asleep or when I’ll wake up. πŸ€ͺ Luckily the only thing on my agenda tomorrow is going out to see Bri at some point. She’s one of my friends that I didn’t want to see me in as bad of condition as I was for those several weeks, especially considering that she lost her mom to cancer last year. 😟

Two totally different kinds, so any symptoms shouldn’t be compared at all – but I just know that if people saw me during the really bad week or two, they could definitely get the wrong idea about how good or bad I was doing. 😳 But anyway, I’m feeling “better enough” now that I don’t think I come off as “concerning” anymore… at least no more than usual. 😏 So I’m 99% sure I’ll still end up seeing her tomorrow, it’ll probably just be later in the day than I was thinking when I talked to her earlier. She’s great though… and a little frustrated with me at the moment… because like she repeatedly tells me – she’s been through the worst of the worst with her mom, so she doesn’t want me to feel like I have to hide anything from her for her sake. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•

But my little thrifting trip… it was productive as well. I got a couple shirts, picked up some cheap stereo speakers for Cassi’s receiver that she got, and then found this strange, lone drinking glass with the silhouette of just a woman’s black hair and old-school glasses. 🧐😯 It immediately reminded me of Mom… from a few of her photos when she was really young… and when I showed it to Dad, unprompted, he immediately saw the same thing that I did. 😊 So that was kinda neat, and such a random thing for me to have spotted on a shelf where I normally wouldn’t have even been looking. I’ll have to take a better photo of that glass and then find one or two of the pictures of Mom that it resembles. πŸ™‚

Even more random, Genesee was heading back home from a trip she had taken with her family over the long weekend – and at the same time that I spotted that glass, she sent me a photo of an exit sign that they had just passed under, showing that they were only a couple of miles from the Atlantic City Expressway. 😊🎰 So, yeah… even though I think about her every day, it seems like Mom wanted to make sureΒ that she definitely got our attention that day. πŸ™‚Β And it worked…

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…

Hopefully Motivational Rambling

Now I just have to decide how much other stuff I want to do this week. πŸ€” The car has been crying about an oil change for a while now, but it’s because I forgot to tell it (through the computer system settings) that I used synthetic oil last time instead of the typical cheap stuff… so I know it’s fine, but it thinks it isn’t. πŸš—βš οΈ Whether it ends up being important at some point or not – I know that it’s keeping track of all that sorta stuff, so I’d rather just get it done so she can stop whining at me. πŸ™„πŸ˜

And while she’s not ready for a new set just yet, I find myself airing up the tires a few times each month, so I’ll probably actually schedule the oil change with Piper’s service center there by the railroad tracks on Maple. That way they can rotate the tires, check ’em over, and hopefully plug anything that can be plugged. I could try to do all that through the local Ford place, which would also allow me to get any trivial recall shit taken care of – but that sounds like a longer process than I think I’m up for. πŸ˜’ I suppose I could get a rental for a night or two if I really wanted. Meh… again… just thinking out loud. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ For whatever reason, it helps.

The other “gotta do” thing on the list, eventually, is getting into Walmart to get my vision checked and glasses updated. πŸ€“Β I’ll be able to keep the Rx shades I’ve already got for driving 😎 because I don’t think my vision has changed that much, but when it comes to my normal glasses – pretty sure it’s gonna end up being bifocals this time. 😟 I’ve actually been wearing older “backup” glasses since the end of last year, so it’s gonna be like having new eyes whenever I get around to getting this done. Still glad that I did my LASIK all those years ago, it’s just a shame that it’s not a “fix it and forget it” thing that lasts forever. But I’m not gonna push my luck and go under the laser for what would be the third time in total for each eye, because even if they correctly and safely fixed my distance vision again, I’d still have to wear reading glasses.

Of course the garage door still needs attention, but that’ll be based more on Rick’s schedule once I give him the go ahead to come check it out and start, and then after that he’ll be able to start on the shower. 😬 That’s the first thing on my “to do” list that starts making me a little twitchy. He knows what he’s doing, so it’s not that… it’s just the “fuss” of having people here and the bathroom sorta torn up in the process – along with that same type of worry that you also have with car repairs. 🀨 Where you go in for a rattle or whatever, they find the rattle, but then they also find “this, that, and the other” which also could or should be worked on. He’ll be able to handle whatever, it’s just that cringe of not knowing exactly what’s going on behind the tile and hoping there’s not bigger, unknown problems ahead. 😐🀞🏻

I suppose me thinking and talking about this stuff now… it’s all because of how my scan results turned out. Like, in a good way. Before I got the results, there was this subconscious feeling of “Why bother doing (whatever) if…” that I was probably having. Getting mostly positive (good) results from the scan, rather than getting something worse or even an expiration date… it’s allowed my brain to at least start thinking about shit that needs to be done, even if it still takes me a while to actually do it. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

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.

Oh, Hai Knee

Despite all the various stuff I’ve been doing lately, I’ve managed to keep from gimping up my neck, shoulder, and back too much. But while being careful not to aggravate those areas, it seems I wasn’t paying enough attention to my right knee…Β  ‘cuz, oush. 😣 It’s been all sorts of fuckered up since yesterday evening. πŸ₯Ί Can’t even tell you what I did to it, other than just moving around a whole lot more than it’s used to, but whatever it was sure has pissed it off. πŸ˜’ Not really complaining though, because at least it’s not one of my traditional “oush points” getting worse, and also not complaining because I don’t really have any “labor-based plans” for the next couple of days, so with any luck it’ll chill the eff out and get better over the next 48 hours. πŸ€•πŸ€žπŸ»

And it’s funny that just as I’m musing about my gimpy knee, I was reminded that Hamvention is coming up again here soon. πŸ˜ƒ Not this coming weekend, but the next… I think. Now, busted knee or not, what were the odds that I’d have put a Hamvention trip on my to-do list this year? Pretty slim, honestly. 😏 I think the last time that I went was a couple years before they moved it from Hara Arena (just outside of Dayton) to the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia… so yeah, probably at least half-a-decade. (He said, dramatically… heh)

Now I’m wishing I could remember the first year that I went. πŸ€” Dad had been going for years before he talked me into it… I think I was just too young and couldn’t imagine what a “HAM radio flea market” could have to offer me. But that first trip was when I got my first (of eventually many) Commodore computer. 😊 A VIC-20 with cassette drive, tapes, and a bunch of cartridges. I was in junior high, so whatever year that would have been. After that, we continued going each year more often than not, until eventually I was even making trips on my own when Dad wasn’t quite feelin’ it that particular year. But with so many memories of it being there at Hara, with so little changingΒ from year to year, it’s just hard to force myself to make that first trip to the “new” location. 😐 I just imagine it’ll be missing half of the “feels” that make the trips what they were. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh… not gonna rule it out, of course, but you know how that usually goes…Β πŸ˜›

I dunno… I really would like to take some sort of solo road trip this summer. And while Hamvention is always at least on that list of possibilities, I’ve started thinking a little more about researching some of the big ol’ retro arcades that are scattered around the midwest, and maybe finding one or two that seem worth the drive.Β  From what I remember reading about some of them, they generally just have a one-time cover charge to get in and then all the games are set to free play, no “pocket full of quarters” required. πŸ€“πŸ•ΉΒ Heh… but even now, I’m not sure if I’m actually considering it, or if I’m just talking out of my ass ‘cuz it sounds like fun but also kind of a PITA. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜‹