The Other Stuff

TRIGGER WARNING: This entry is gonna cover some of the other depressing shit that has also been filling my thoughts and influencing my mood recently. But I think it’ll help to explain why when it did hit me, about Mom being gone gone… why it was so easy for it to knock me down and keep me there.

About a year ago my best friend Jim lost his mom to cancer. At the end of last year, Brianna, another of my closest friends, lost her mom to cancer. And Christina was more than just “Bri’s mom” to me… she treated me like family. Rick, a classmate of mine, has been fighting cancer for two years now, and rarely posts to Facebook anymore, which seems like a bad sign. Then on the first of this month, anotherΒ school friend, Stephanie, died in her sleep from unknown and absolutely unexpected causes. Her oldest son turned 18 just two days later. And then today, my “cousin-in-law” Gloria lost her sister Wanda to cancer as well.

Jim’s mom was in her early 70s, but Christina was only in her early 40s, Rick is my age, Stephanie was only two years older than me, and I think Wanda may have been barely into her 50s. And Mom’s best friend through the entirety of her adulthood, Cecil… she passed away within the year as well. I’m actually sitting here afraid that I’ve neglected to mention someone, because it seems like every direction that I turn – sickness and death is what I see, and in many cases – in people far, far too young for most to even think it’s a possibility.

(Oof… this is gonna be a downer of an entry, that’s for sure…)

And of course, having cancer myself… or at least having had cancer (fingers crossed)… all of the stuff mentioned above doesn’t exactly do a lot to put my mind at ease. A long life before passing… that is something that hurts, but we understand it. People dying at my age or younger, from things like lung cancer when they were very vocal non-smokers… those are the ones where it starts to make less sense. And then ones like Stephanie that are there one day, making posts about her dog and her son’s upcoming birthday, then *poof* … simply gone the next. No rhyme or reason, and I’m not good when it comes to shit like that.

But for my stuff, I did get another appointment with my family doctor at the beginning of this week, tried to sum up all of the things I’ve been talking about here, and told her that I’m not really comfortable with what (to me) feels like a lack of concern or urgency once my thyroid removal and radiation treatment was completed. I’m not being neglected or anything… but after the surgery, radiation, and scan – other than the thyroid guy getting my levels right via medication, nothing else has happened or was scheduled to happen until July. I realized that I’m not okay with that. “You have cancer. We cut the cancer thing out. We think we got all the cancer. See you in half-a-year.”Β Christina also got the “we think we got it all” speech after her first surgery as well (I was there) so… umm… no. Not good enough.

It would be another thing if I honestly just felt great, and all these other things were just spooking me, but that’s not the case. Without going into details, there are things that just feel “wrong” for lack of a better term, and since I’ve gone with the “flashy” insurance this year I would be dumb to not metaphorically pound my fist on the table and ask for a little more. So that’s where I’m at now… the start of “a little more” phase. Tomorrow I’m seeing someone regarding my come-and-go, sometimes excruciatingly painful back problem… and, thankfully, with the lab being in the same building, my primary care provider has ordered an assload of blood and urine tests to not only hit on the regular “physical” type stuff, but cancer indicators as well… so I’ll do those right after the back guy.

So yeah… I’ll admit that with all of this stuff on my mind, I’ve essentially disappeared as far as my friends would describe it. At least in person, I mean. One, it’s hard to want to go out and do anything fun or visit with anyone when my brain is so full of this shit… and two, more than half of the time I just physically feel too crappy to even consider it. Now that it’s going to be looked into with a little more detail, I’m hoping that with good or at least encouraging results I’ll be more likely to spend at least a few days trying to act like everything is fine, and hopefully trying to start living my life again.

I’ve been out to see Dad a few times in the past month and a half, but when it’s hard to make myself get up and do anything even on good days – I know that I’ve not been visiting as much as I should or as much as I want. It’s hard to explain “I just can’t.” to someone, when it’s hard for you to even understand yourself. I can’t remember the last time I’ve opened my e-mail app, but I’m gonna try to at least start doing that again. My biggest problem is that I’m not exactly some cheery ray of sunshine right now, and I’ll probably struggle to come up with e-mails to Dad that are any less depressing than this particular blog entry. I guess that’ll force me to really think about each day, or couple of days, to find the little good (or at least “okay”) moments that I’m sure are there. But yeah, that’s the plan for now…

(And I’ll try to limit the depressing topics here in the blog for a while after today’s posts. Wish me luck.)

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Blank Slate

With the way my past few days had gone, and then getting suckered in by that early evening nap yesterday, I sure didn’t expect to get a decent night of sleep last night anyway and then wake up feeling as good as I do. Keep in mind, it’s always “relatively speaking” when I talk about how I feel… but yup, not too tired, aches and pains aren’t too bad, and whatever ick I’ve been slowly fighting off seems like it may finally be gone.

It’s even fairly warm outside, so I’m gonna go ahead and open up the house to blow some stink out, and maybe do a little of this and that around the house as I watch the race. (Even though, honestly, I probably won’t even really be watching it. I’ve lost so much buzz for NASCAR over the past couple of years.)Β The only mandatory thing for the day is getting the mail opened and bills caught up, but I have a feeling that this will be the first day in a while where I’ll be able to be a little more productive than that without it taking some sort of toll on me. πŸ™‚ It feels silly to be kinda excited about that, but that speaks to how crappy I feel most days.

And when I was at Walgreens to pick up Dad’s prints the other day, I also went ahead and grabbed what will be a purpose-specific little notebook so I can continue to get my shit together. Sure, I could do it on my phone, but I’ve just been wanting a notebook where (all in one place) I can start listing out all my doctors, addresses, phone numbers, meds prescribed by each one, etc… and in another part I’ll do the same with my lawn guy, potential other handyman/repair/service/etc type people or companies. Just wanting to inject a little more order into my sometimes aimless life. Even if doing all that is almost just for a placebo effect, it’s gonna make my brain happier if I do this and then have all of that information right there at hand whenever I need it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Meh… guess I should stop rambling and get to enjoyin’ the day, eh? 😏 It could be a one-off…Β  heh

Whirlwind

The past few days have been rough… starting off with some sort of 36-hour bug that had me down for the count. I can’t remember the last time that I felt that bad and threw up that much. It was awful. For 24 hours I didn’t even leave my bed, unless it was to go to the bathroom, but by yesterday morning I could tell that I was starting to get back to decent. Not completely better, but with as miserable as I was feeling, man did I feel blessed to feel at least as good as I was feeling. (I appreciated Gen keeping me “company” through an always-open message screen… ‘cuz man does it suck to feel alone when you’re that sick.)

But later that evening I got a few messages from my friend Bri, telling me about some concerns she was having regarding her pregnancy… and that she was advised to go to the hospital to have a couple tests done, but she wasn’t able to find anyone that could give her a ride. Her sister and brother-in-law both had the same bug as me, so I totally understood their inability to drive her there and wait – so I ended up being her last resort, and luckily I was just good enough to be able to go in and take her.

Everything ended up being fine but the whole ordeal didn’t wrap up until after 1am, and then I didn’t manage to get to sleep until after 4am. I had made plans with Aunt Sharon to go visit Dad today, but that was before I knew I’d have my late night at the hospital. (I had a bunch of old slide scans of him, Mom, me, and others turned into prints that I definitely at least wanted to drop off – even if I wasn’t feeling good enough to stay long.) So a few hours sleep and I was back up and at ’em. Sort of. Took me forever to get moving, because I could (and can still) tell that I haven’t quite shaken whatever had me laid out.

The visit was really good, and I finally ate some real food, but almost immediately when I got home I sacked out for a three hour nap. Not really what I wanted to do, risking losing a normal sleep schedule, but I didn’t get much say in the matter. I think I’m still good though… and between wearing a mask the whole time at the hospital, and then hopefully being over it by today, hopefully I won’t end up getting anyone else sick. Whatever it is is really going around though, so everyone’s kinda watching out for it.

I don’t know how I didn’t manage to jinx myself today. During that “Ahh!” period of feeling better after a couple days of puking, that’s when I made the plans to go see Dad… so I’m lucky that I didn’t end up overdoing it or setting myself back with the lack of sleep and end up having to cancel. For once my body didn’t betray me… let’s all hope that I can still get some good sleep tonight in a few hours though. Still staying optimistic, cuz any improvement over a couple days ago is worth being happy about. And maybe it was good to get one more day before I try to throw myself back into “getting some things done around here” – albeit slowly. Still trying to get myself back on track from this past month…

The Opposite Of Reassuring

This is the first time I’ve experienced this, probably because I was rarely sick when I was younger, so I don’t think I ever had more than one doctor that I would have regular appointments with… but regarding some of the things with my current condition, I’m getting conflicting diagnosis/treatment advice from two of my doctors. πŸ€”πŸ˜ In more ways than this I’m still a kid, so when I go to a doctor I listen to what they say and take their word as gospel… assuming that they truly know what they’re talking about, and are offering me what is definitely the best diagnosis and treatment plan. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ But I guess as with almost anything, people often end up with differing opinions. Sometimes differing quite a bit. πŸ˜•

Things have been less than ideal with me for a couple of weeks now, and this week I went back in for a couple of different appointments to discuss it. I tend not to bitch about it unless it’s really bad, but these past few days… on Wednesday I woke up early, took a short nap in the afternoon, and after waking up I wasn’t able to go back to sleep for 30 fucking hours. 😳 Doctor appointment number one wasn’t much fun, going in at the 24 hour point… I mean, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna be able to make it there and back… but at least it wasn’t like when you take your car to the shop so they can fix a rattle, but the rattle doesn’t happen. πŸ˜’ So at least Doc got to see when it can be really bad, and in a way I appreciate when that happens.

I dunno… I’m being kind of vague because I don’t really like talking about it in a lot of ways, so back to the point – I’ve got two doctors who essentially completely disagree with what the other is saying and doing, and I’m not sure exactly what to do with that. 😟 First reaction is to trust and believe that doctor who isn’t saying the scary things, but that may be the doctor who isn’t holding anything back. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Then I try to think about “what’s in it” for each of them, and even that doesn’t really help.

But in the next couple of days I’ll have to decide who I want to roll with, and that will decide how potentially fucked up my next few months could end up being. 😐 Gah… I know… vague. I don’t want people to worry.

Gap

I know it’s been a good chunk of time since my last entry, but I’m not even gonna bother going back to catch up on what I’ve already written… because honestly not a whole hell of a lot has been different, so I don’t have that much to write about. We’ve had a couple decent snow storms, and a couple days where the temps were in the negativesΒ in the morning, so that’s managed to keep me at home just as much as my normal anxiety issues usually do. 😏

One out of the ordinary thing… I did take a trip to ‘Da Boat with Bri for two nights last week. 😊 We’ve talked about it for months, and have had it in the planning stages for the past several weeks – so we were relieved to have pulled it off, considering that both of us have any number of things that could have popped up to wreck the plan. 😳 Last time she was down there with me was years ago when Dezzy also came along, and they couldn’t even get onto the boat back then.

So of course that’s why we were really looking forward to this trip, since she could see and do everything along with me this time. We took a bunch of outfits and props and shit, just in case we decided to do baby belly photos, but it was too easy to just be lazy in the room or going up to the boat to have fun… so very few pics were actually taken, and that was absolutely fine with us. πŸ˜‹ Our luck would come and go, but it was good enough at times that I could actively see the gambling bug taking hold of her brain right before my very eyes. πŸ˜… Heh… it wasn’t really like that, but she did have a good time and played enough to where she developed favorite machines and everything.

This past week or so has been nice… not having any appointments, not forcing myself to worry about any responsibility stuff. 😐 Heh… that sounds bad. I just mean that I let myself take a break from all of the adulting for a while, although I’m picking back up where I left off here in a bit. (Catching up on the bills that have been stacking up in the mean time) Oh… I do have another “since our last episode” story that I almost forgot about. It’ll be coming up a bit later, if I manage to get through all the bills this evening…

But this trip… I dunno… the more that I think about my medical stuff, the more that I want to do stuff with my friends while I still can. πŸ€’ I have no reason to think that I won’t be able to do things for years to come – but just in case, ya know? Even Dad, a while back, reiterated that point to me a few times… that I need to stop worrying so much, and sometimes just do the fun thing while not worrying about anything else. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

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.

Getting By

Heh… I don’t really visit my own site, so I had to chuckle when I clicked over and was reminded that the title of the last entry was “Tired Of This Shit” because I was like, “Yeah, that sounds about right.” 😏

Things have been rough this past week too, because why wouldn’t they be, eh? πŸ™„ Gah… I’m trying not to bitch even more than I already have been, but this week was loaded with appointments – so of course I had to start it all off by being sick. 🀒 You know, I’m not even gonna cover how this week was… I’d rather just be thankful that the week is over, and that I think I’m about back to 100%. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Or at least what passes for 100% for me these days.

Only appointment I had to cancel was the dentist, and that’s because it was the first appointment of the week – right when I was feeling my worst, and in the midst of a shitty 36 hours of not being able to sleep. Great way to start the week. I guess there wasn’t anything remarkable about any of the other appointments… if anything, they went pretty good… it’s just been a little exhausting being sick, not being able to sleep, but still getting up around dawn each day to make it to this place or that place.

Today wasn’t bad though. I knew I felt good enough to eat something, even though nothing sounded good, but then since we were out that way we decided to stop at Frisch’s Big Boy for lunch. πŸ™‚ Our eyes were both a little bigger than our stomachs, but at least that meant goodies to take home. Plus we had the nicest, most genuine waitress that I can remember having for a long time.

So now it’s a couple days off before another appointment Monday, and then the follow-up with the endocrinologist later in the week. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ Four tubes of blood for several different tests, information from the scan at the hospital a while back… this will be my first appointment since then and, believe me, good or bad, waiting for info like this isn’t easy. πŸ™Β That’s probably part of the reason that I’m having even more trouble sleeping than usual.