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. ๐Ÿ˜• 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. ๐Ÿ”ฌ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธย 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. ๐Ÿ˜’

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. ๐Ÿ˜ 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. ๐Ÿ˜ณ 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. โ˜ข๏ธ๐Ÿคขโ˜ข๏ธ 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 offย 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. ๐Ÿ˜’ 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… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Oops…

Obviously didn’t have the oomph for that “korean name” post that I was planning the other evening. It will still be coming… just whenever it decides to come. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Got the gamma scan the other day, and actually felt a little worse afterwards this time. Everything went as planned, I wasn’t ever scolded for not holding still or anything – but 45 minutes to an hour lying in the machine just isn’t pleasant, especially when half of that was with my arms raised above my head, which is a position that my gimp shoulder obviously isn’t a fan of.

But you know how it goes… scan techs can’t tell you anything, other than knowing that they got the images they needed, and then I didn’t get a “next day” phone call from the thyroid doctor, so I’ll take that as a good sign. That way I have just started taking my meds as normal again, and I can get through this weekend without having to think about any of it too much hopefully.

And knowing how bad I’ve been feeling, and how I’m supposed to be avoiding people due to the radioactivity, Genesee had one of her friends drop off a bunch of food for me.ย ๐Ÿ™‚ย She basically got three or four entrees from Olive Garden, plus a big salad, slice of pie, and a bunch of cheese sticks. ๐Ÿ– That’s gonna help a lot, because my appetite is already low, as is my energy to get up and make anything to “make” myself eat, so having all that awesome food just ready to go whenever I want a few bites or more – it’ll last me through the weekend easily.

But yeah, just wanted to check in to report that everything went as planned with the scan, and that I get to treat this weekend like a weekend and not worry about any appointments or cooking or anything… so hopefully I can start to recharge my run-down ass.

Oh, and even though I still haven’t gotten on Facebook, I did see a couple posts through the Google News app, reminding me that the Perseid meteor shower happens over the next couple of nights. ๐Ÿ“น๐Ÿ˜ฏย So I’m gonna put all of the practice I’ve been doing (with planes and cars at night) to use – and hopefully will be awake to capture some of the streaks as they cross the sky. Luckily, my view from the front porch is just about the right direction for viewing. Gonna use ridiculously long exposures, to maintain the light trails despite the video playing at time-lapse speeds. ๐Ÿค“ย First thing I’ve felt a little bit excited about in a while, so hopefully my energy and the weather cooperates.

Makes Sense

I’m gonna make a non-bleh post today… I just have to work up to having the energy to do it. After getting dosed yesterday and coming back home, I honestly didn’t feel any worse… but my gosh, from yesterday evening on… man, am I feeling physically awful. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿคฎ I didn’t notice many side effects the first time I had this done, but I also hadn’t gone a month without thyroid meds, already having me weak and feeling like shit. So I should have been a little more prepared that things could feel worse than last time. ๐Ÿ˜ž

That’s not why I posted though. Next post is gonna be about me choosing my Korean name. ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜ And I know that sounds bizarre and random and “What are you talking about?” but when I do have the energy to explain it all, how it’s done, why I’m doing it… basically I just wanted to do something to distract my brain for a while yesterday, and later I’ll be able to make a post about it that will help me distract myself again. Hopefully. It’s actually a really interesting process. It’s a shame I don’t know any Korean people personally though, for them to tell me how goofy or old or weird my chosen name sounds. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

But I’m gonna lie back down and hopefully get a short nap to get rid of this headache, but hopefully I’ll be able to get back on here later tonight for all that stuff.

Nuclear Medicine

Had the same lady as last time give me the radioactive iodine dose today. I’m not sure if they all act this way, but she’s fun… not intentionally, but in the way that she makes it feel so dramatic. ๐Ÿ˜ And I get it, she works in that department every day, so a person’s gonna want to keep as far away from all the radioactive stuff as possible, so I don’t blame her. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธย …ย ๐Ÿฅข๐Ÿ’Šโ˜ข๏ธย ย ๐Ÿคขย It also has the side effect of making it seem like this pill is reallyย going to be doing something, whatever that something may be.

Before they even bring the pill in, she had me go through a practice run – having me put my hands exactly where they need to be, telling me how to get the pill out of the container without touching it or anything else, and then how to gtfo while having to pass near as few people as possible. Of course once the lead container is opened and the pill is out, she stays as far away from it and me as possible – but, probably just from habit, that’s mostly how she acts even through all of the tedious paperwork and talking beforehand.

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Don’t mind how dusty my entertainment screen is (or the custom commands ๐Ÿ˜), but I’ve decided to take this as a sign… this was the first song that played (at random)ย in the car as I left the hospital parking lot. (Video Link: Back to Life – Hailee Steinfeld)ย I’ll even give credit to Mom, since I was talking to her on the way in, asking that if she was able to give any help guiding the medicine during the process this morning, that I’d be happy to take it. ๐Ÿ˜Œย Oh, and they remarked how shit my thyroid levels are (in a good way, for the dose/scan anyway) and it’s no wonder I feel like utter shit and fall asleep all the time. So, there’s that. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Still can’t start up my meds until after the scan, and until after the doctor has reviewed the results to make sure that they “came out okay” for lack of a better term. It’s a typical long test where you have to lie still in a tube for about 45 minutes, so there’s always a chance there could be some sort of blur or error or something, to where they’d wanna do it again in a few days or whatever. ๐Ÿคจ But with any luck, by this weekend I’ll be on my way “back to life” at least in as far as my thyroid and energy levels are concerned. ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™‚

Unfortunately, I’ll have to avoid stuff likeย this until I’m less radioactive. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ Wish she could understand.

Creeping Toward The Finish Line

I figured I better get on here and make an entry while I’ve got the juice to do so. I know I said I wouldn’t bitch after doing that weed spraying outside the other night, and I’m not doing this to bitch – just to update… ๐Ÿ˜ but cripes, that little bit of work messed me up somethin’ fierce. ๐Ÿ˜“

Overheated, energy sucked away, yet even with my full compliment of evening meds I laid awake all night, until about 9am the next morning. ๐Ÿ˜’ I got a couple hours sleep at that point, but still feeling exhausted I actually took that day’s evening meds and went to bed at 7pm. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Had to be at the hospital for labs the next day, so I didn’t want to take any chances that it would be another sleepless night.

The whole night followed the routine of falling asleep for a couple hours, then waking up for one… lather, rinse, repeat. By the time I was actually able to wake up enough to get my day going the next day, I had spent a total of 15 hours in bed ๐Ÿ˜ณ yet woke up feeling more drained than when I originally went to bed the night before. It’s amazing how screwed up my body has become, from just missing that teeny tiny single thyroid function replacement pill each day, and obviously I haven’t hit the bottom yet.

But I made it to the hospital, got my blood drawn and labs started, and on the way out I actually ran into a friend in one of the hallways. She was on her way to see one of her family members, but I was so out of it I barely even realized when she waved as I passed her. She looked like she wanted to be there about as much as I did, and the way I almost just walked past her, I had to comment that we were like “The Walking Dead” just lumbering past each other. ๐ŸงŸโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ Not in any sense of the seriousness of why I was there, but more that I was just oblivious and drained and grumbling to myself in my head, to where I passed literally two feet from one of my friends and almost didn’t even notice.

But the past 48 hours have made me toss away (for now, anyway) that urge that I always have… that I need to do something useful or productive each day, no matter how shitty I feel. Yeah, F that. I gotta be realistic, because with this shit there is no “mind over matter” that will allow me to pull energy from some mysterious reserve. ๐Ÿ˜• It’s really okay though – because now that it has proven itself to me, that there is no fighting against it or whatever… that’s just how it’s gonna be until I can get back on the thyroid meds. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ It’s still indescribably awful… but like I keep reminding myself… it’s temporary.

But just so people aren’t concerned, I am still able to drive, so if there’s an emergency or I need to get food or whatever – Lancaster has plenty of drive-thru joints that I can go to without leaving the car… and if I really need anything beyond that I can always hit up Toni, or Genesee – who has reminded me that she’s still got plenty of people around here that would be willing to help out if needed. I mean, it won’t come to any of that (at least I don’t think it will) because as long as my labs come back the way they want – I’ll get the radiation dose next week and will only have to make it through that following Thursday.

Heh… how lame. ๐Ÿ™„ Sitting here, happy that I had enough mental/physical oomph to write this. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

I Have My Reasons

Still hangin’ in there, still waiting through this process… ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ of which the next step will be Monday, when I’ll get (what should be) my final lab work done before they decide if my levels are where they need to be for the radiation dose the following week. ๐Ÿ’‰๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ“‰ I’m more anxious about the test than I am the dose later, simply because there’s a chance my levels won’t be right – which would mean going even longer without taking my thyroid meds, until they are. ๐Ÿ˜ Without elaborating, I really, really don’t want to have to do this a day longer than I absolutely have to.

Unless it’s unavoidable I’m pretty much just staying at home and trying not to move around too much, to keep from throwing everything even more out of whack. I can’t fake my way through feeling okay right now, so staying at home lets me feel how I feel, protects me from anything that might make it worse, and protects others from having to see me like this, acting how I actually feel. ๐Ÿฅบ My “game face” is out of order. (I haven’t even been on Facebook for days and days, and the last time was to just let everyone know I was okay. I really hate how this has been affecting my interactions (or lack thereof) with friends and family.)

And I don’t blame people for being concerned, or not knowing how to react, when the topic is cancer and there’s still more “unknown” than “you’ll be fine” at the moment. But this current craptacular phase of “bleh” isn’t (likely) caused by anything cancer related, but is actually due to not being able to take the thyroid meds that I need. But to everyone else, I’m sure it looks and feels as if cancer is kicking my ass, which leads to all sorts of difficult and crappy emotions.

Toni and Shannon invited me out for a bonfire last night, and in my heart I wanted to go… but I wouldn’t have been able to conceal how I felt, physically or mentally, and I honestly didn’t want to be a buzzkill on their evening – which is what I likely would have been. ๐Ÿ˜’ If it turns out that the doctors weren’t able to remove all of the cancer, or if it has spread or changed or anything… that’s when I’d be more willing to let people feel bad for me, to treat me differently, etc. I do feel like hell right now, but I would feel like it would come across as “crying wolf” – since even though I know why I’m sick, that’s not how everyone else is gonna see it. I reassure people that I’ll let them know if there comes a time when they truly shouldย be concerned or worried for me, so I hope they know I mean that.

Meh… anyway… see what I mean about my mood? The same way I ramble about it on here now and then, I just didn’t wanna end up doing that to them last night. (Or to anyone, really…) Instead, thanks to Shannon texting me again this morning to let me know, they all had a good evening. Sharing lots of happy memories and stories about Mom, while still commenting on how it doesn’t seem real, how it doesn’t seem fair, and how as we all get older – how it’s getting harder to escape all of this type of bleh. Having me there, in my condition, certainly wouldn’t have helped to change that opinion.

But with any luck I’ll get to be one of those surprise cases in the future, where we’ll all be sitting around together, upset at whatever injustices we’re seeing or experiencing, but then someone will be able to say “But hey, you had cancer and you’re still here and fine now… so there’s always hope…” ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

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.