So Glad That I Prepared

What a morning. Felt like crap yesterday, went to bed early, got up early, drove my ass all the way up to Sawmill Rd, and about five minutes away from arriving at the doctor’s office – someone from my attorney’s office calls me to tell me that he just got an email from the doctor, and that my appointment had to be postponed. πŸ˜• I didn’t recognize the caller, and just wanted to confirm that nobody was trying to pull any BS on me, so since I was basically right there – I just continued on to the office and spoke with the receptionist, who confirmed it for me. Nice lady, super apologetic… but still… what a bunch of crap. 😠

I forget how it was worded in the letter that I got, but in no unclear terms it said that if I missed that appointment, my case would essentially be dropped and they’d no longer cover anything regarding my injury / disability. πŸ˜’ Granted, I was up there early, but I’m still pretty sure that if I called them a half hour before I was supposed to be there and said that I couldn’t make it – that “call off” or rescheduling wouldn’t fly. Not sure why there was a sudden change of plans, but I suppose I’ll just wait until the next phone call or letter to find out when I have to make that trip again.

So yeah, that two hours in the car was awesome for my knee. That’s unfortunately one of the bad positions for it, that “in between” bend that you’ve got in the car for the brake and gas. Cruise helped a little, but people don’t know how to drive, so even that I could only use for a couple of miles at a time while I gave my leg a rest.

Got home and decided to check in on FB real quick… and my buddy that lost his mom last month… it seems that his dad passed away last night. 😞 Some people might say, “Boy, maybe you shouldn’t use FB if so much stuff is sucking for people.” but to that I would say that if I didn’t get on Facebook to make the rarer-than-usual post or scroll through and “like” or respond to folks on there – I honestly wouldn’t have any communication with hardly anyone. πŸ™ And not everything is bad for everyone… and passive communications seems to be the only thing working for me right now, so… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Looking at the silver lining for my morning though… yeah, my knee is kinda screwed again, but at least I didn’t have to go through the “don’t do anything that will hurt yourself” tests, which inevitably cause me to hurt myself in order to demonstrate my defect and disability. πŸ™„ Maybe the reschedule date will be in a little over a month, when I’ll be glowing with radiation again. 😏

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Your Warranty Has Expired

I wish that I felt more capable of adjusting to whatever illness or injury that might be affecting me at any given time. πŸ˜’ I don’t usually complain directly to anyone about such things, instead saving it for shouting into the void here, so I dunno… maybe everyone else has just as hard of a time adjusting to certain things like I do. But for example, the better part of the last couple of weeks have been really good – and then out of nowhere my knee just decides that it’s going to hurt. Hurt hurt. 😣 And my past couple of days have been mentally, physically, and socially fucked up because of it.

It makes sense that physical pain, along with losing some ability and motion, would also trigger my twitchy… I just hate that I don’t have any more control over it than what I do. 😠 But after a few days of hobbling around, and a few nights of long but often-interrupted sleep due to feeling the pain throughout the night, I wish I could just say “Well, I guess I’ll just take it easy and stay off my feet today.” but instead I let it fuck up my day, being irritated about being so irritated about it.

One problem, almost all of my friends (for a long time now) tend to be younger than me. It keeps my mind young, but my body doesn’t get that memo. So I’m not surrounded by similarly aged people with similar aches and pains. 😏 Another problem, with my work injury happening to me as young as I was, I’ve been dealing with that pain / disability for over a decade now… and it is pain that I feel like I didn’t really earn. πŸ˜•

I’ve joked with my cousin Matt and Dad about how “At least I was never in great shape when I was young…” compared to Matt, who loves / loved playing basketball, and Dad who is a Marine and served during Vietnam. In a way it’s a joke, but you’d also like to think it would be true… if you were never in great shape when you were young, it should be less of a deal when parts start to get defective when you get older. That’s turning out not to be the case. Now it’s more like “Dammit, I didn’t use myself up when I was young, so I shouldn’t be breaking down like this already.” πŸ™„

And I’m not making this entry to complain… it’s actually something I’ve thought about as I’ve faced various things, and it has also made me wonder how I’m gonna handle things when it inevitably gets worse as I get older. πŸ€” Like my Aunt Carol, she was in all kinds of awful shape, but she didn’t bitch about it or let it slow her down – let alone stop her. πŸ™‚ I just hope I can eventually become more like that. Everybody gets old, everybody sooner or later starts feeling worse and worse, and I just don’t want to end up a grouchy old recluse because I’m still struggling to handle the changes that every other human just seems to handle.

One thing I’ve noticed though, even my younger friends don’t give me shit about it – when either my neck and shoulder are extra screwed, or when my back or knee just randomly decides to go to shit for a while. I think it’s that insecurity of (in most ways)Β being on the same page as someone regardless of our ages, and worrying that if I have to hobble around or use a cane for a few days that they’re gonna look at me like “Oh my gosh… I forgot how old he is.” Heh… but so far that’s not been an issue, and if anything it just ends up being something that we joke about rather than it being some eye-opening revelation… heh… as if they don’t know my age until a physical sign appears. πŸ™„πŸ˜„

Meh… it’s just a gimpy knee, it’s not gonna be permanent, I’m gonna be fine, and I’ll surely have plenty of otherΒ “fun” new things like this to deal with in the future. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Gotta figure out how to just start sucking it up.

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. 😁

Absorbing Someone’s Happy

Had to get up early, but for good reason. πŸ™‚ I took Bri to sign the lease for her new apartment and do the walk through with her. It’s an amazing little apartment. I’m literally jealous of the nice carpet, huge windows, tiny modern kitchen… she’s on cloud nine, and I can’t help but absorb a bunch of her “happy” as we went throughout the process. It’s crazy how many of her “big events” I’ve been a part of in one way or another. 😏

We’re hoping that Ryan can come out here with the big van tomorrow to pick up the bed, a couple little tables and stands, a lamp, etc… just that extra stuff that not only was she happy to get, but I was happy to get rid of. But if Ryan and Bub come tomorrow, we should be able to get it all moved in over there in the one day… just in time for Bri’s next surgery on her foot. 😟

That girl has been, and is stillΒ going through so much shit… but she’s facing it head on and is so far winning. 😊 Birthed a baby a week ago, got an apartment today, getting surgery on her foot two days from now… and she’s less twitchy about all of it than I would be on my very best day. πŸ™„πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So proud to see how far she’s come and how much she’s taking care of without even flinching.

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.

What’s This?

Only got a couple hours sleep last night and then still had to wake up at 8am to get ready for my monthly appointment with Dr Walter. πŸ˜’ I don’t know how he does it, but he always seems to be in a good mood no matter what the time of day. If nothing else, he’s got a great “game face” for when it comes to dealing with patients. 😏 I told him how my left arm was literally like a limp noodle the day that I came home after my surgery, but how since then I haven’t really had any pain – thanks to the temporarily increased meds.

So it was a good visit, with nothing for me to really complain about. Like I mentioned to him, I think that sometimes the amount of pain that I’m feeling in my shoulder and in my neck is relative. When that’s the only thing that I’ve got to focus on, there’s a good chance I’ll notice it more and feel genuinely worse – but when I’m barely two weeks out from a major surgery, my old injury is the last thing on my mind as long as it’s staying at that moderate level of pain where it’s usually at.

I filled him in about the next steps that I’ll be taking with all of that, and we agreed that next month would probably be better for evaluating any changes, since I’ll have had plenty of time to heal from the surgery. I had to leave there and head directly downstairs to have more blood drawn for a thyroid panel, but I still left in a surprisingly good mood.

It’s weird… I haven’t had much to feel good about in a while, and in a way I still don’t… so having those hints of “good mood” just felt weird, since it then caused me to sit here waiting for something or someone to come along and ruin it. 😞 Like Charlie Brown said, “I think I’m afraid to be happy… because whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens.”

But with that little boost of positive energy, I did go ahead and throw the Insta360 One camera out there on a tripod in the front yard, set to time-lapse mode. One frame every five seconds, and I had one lens directly facing the setting sun, with the lens on the other side obviously completely shielded from the sunlight. 😎 I wanted to not only do a time-lapse, but to see how bad the stitching is when there’s such an exposure difference between the two lenses. In practice, it would probably be better to turn the camera 90 degrees, where both lenses would get a similar amount of bright light on them. 🀨

Meh… I’ve gotta recharge the camera before I can hook it up to the phone and export the video, so I’ll just drop it in here later once it’s done. In the mean time I’m gonna get a notepad and start documenting all the medical bill stuff, and try to figure out what I wanna cover at my PCP appointment tomorrow. Oy… too many doctors this week, eh? And it ain’t over yet…

Pass The Baton / Kick The Can

I didn’t do my bills last night, but I’m doing them now. πŸ˜’ They’re enough of a pain in the ass that I think I deserve an intermission, so I figured I’d jump over here and drop a few paragraphs. I knocked out the easy ones… gas, electric, internet, etc… but all of the fun medical related ones are starting to come in, and I want to pay closer attention as they nickel and dime me. 🀨 Mostly just to make sure that they don’t nickel and dime me over the same test, scan, procedure, or person twice.

My appointment today? Well, I guess it was okay. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He said that the pathology reports on the tissue removed during my surgery was exactly what the pre-surgery biopsy had suggested, and that it’s the most common and most treatable type of thyroid cancer. 😐 Bleh… I don’t like using that word, so don’t expect to see it get used much here. 😷 So, it was a good follow-up, with the labs at least not coming back with something scarier than already thought. And I really pushed him for his true opinion. I told him not to bullshit me, and asked him if he had any “gasp” moments during the surgery.

Like I told him, before I was able to get workers comp to pay for my C5-C7 fusion surgery, I had to get an MRI done – with several doctors and medical assistant folks looking at the results, which showed some pretty severe damage. 🧐 And each one that didΒ look at it… it gave them a “gasp” moment. 😧

Where even a trained medical professional was like Wow. 😳 or Damn. 😯 or Holy shit. 😱

I explained how that helped me in thatΒ previousΒ situation, as it got everything approved and moving much more quickly… but that a “gasp” moment now isn’t something that I was hoping for, but that I still wanted him to tell me if it happened to him while he was digging around inside my neck. 😐 His reply seemed genuine (as usual) when he said that nothing was any more concerning to him once he was in there than when he was anticipating how it would look and how it would go. πŸ‘πŸ»

He explained that there was inflammation, but no more than he was expecting. He said that nothing gave him any kind of pause, that the surgery went as well as he could have hoped for, and that I don’t need to worry so much at this point. (Easier said than done, pal… 😏) I’m getting more blood drawn tomorrow, and he’s referring me to an endocrinologist in the same building that will hopefully help get my screwed up levels straightened out, as well as likely doing (or scheduling) this marker/radiation pill dealΒ  – which will hopefully be a one time thing followed by close monitoring. 🀞🏻

I figure I’ll save the questions about if/when I’ll have to see an oncologist, although I’m guessingΒ that’sΒ gonna be the doctor that would be doing the marker/radiation pill deal that I just mentioned, now that I think about it. πŸ€” It’s a little frustrating to be handed off from specialist to specialist, but better to have a whole bunch of different eyes on the situation than just one d00d who might not know what he’s doing, right?

So today’s follow-up… I’ll take it as a positive outcome. πŸ™‚ Didn’t really learn anything new, but learning that the labs confirmed what the initial tests suggested, and nothing worse… that’s sure better than the alternative. Also, having the whole “Don’t BS me, doc.” conversation, with the way he replied… it did actually make me feel a little more comfortable with the whole thing in my head. And so it goes…