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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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.)

Wan

Before I got sick I had been playing around with the latest version of Google Earth Pro desktop, and had a camera path / animation plotted out… so even though I was pretty useless, my laptop spent that same time rendering out this animation. A few glitches here and there, and I didn’t mean the royalty-free music to be so loud and boring… but this actually looks really good on a 4K television. I signed up for access to Google Earth Studio, which will apparently have much better animation and camera options, so hopefully they’ll let me in and I can make a similar-but-better version of this test run.

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.

Depth Perception

I’m not feeling too great, so I’m gonna keep this post short. Today was the day that Jim and his brother were going to the county fair, and he also wanted to drop off the Phil Collins concert ticket that he got me – so I just saved him the extra driving and time and met them at the fair. I wasn’t much fun for the Sweet Corn Festival, and I’m not sure I was a whole lot more fun today, but I did make an appearance. Plus I wanted to get some longer “real-world” footage with the 360 camera and take some “portrait mode” iPhone shots to see what Facebook’s new “3D” algorithm could do with them.

(Wow… vertical video shows up bigger than I expected. Click to make it “screen sized” at bottom of vid.)

It’s a neat little trick that they’ve come up with… something that I wish the phone could do natively… but it’s also something that once everyone and their brother learns how to do it, the motion sickness that it may cause will probably be enough that the peanut gallery starts demanding a button to disable this nerdy new trick entirely. But I’m feeling a little too “off” to fuss with that 360 video right now… not sure when I’ll get around to it, but don’t be surprised if it sits on the back burner for a while.

Turning The Corner

Well, the last day of the three-day weekend went by a little too quickly. πŸ˜• Got some stuff done around the house, but just as importantly, got the number of a repair guy to come look at the AC unit outside. Rick and Amy used them when they had central air installed in their house, and they’re based on Bauman Hill – not too far from where we lived when I was a kid. I can’t believe it’s still been near or in the 80s during the first week of October. πŸ˜“ Thought for sure that I’d be fine waiting…

So tomorrow morning I get to call the AC guy, the pharmacy (of course), the endocrinologist’s office, and Ricart. I have three recalls on my car, including the one that says my steering wheel could fall off, so it’s about time to get all of that looked at. 😧 I might also see about having them repair the cracked plastic around the mirror housing on the driver’s side. But yeah, lots of calls.Β Yay. πŸ™ Oh, and I almost forgot the billing office for my WC doctor, since they accidentally billed me for my last appointment. (As if I haven’t been going there on WC’s dime for over a decade… heh… wth)

Talking with Bri yesterday, she asked if I was going to be going to the fair at all this week. Jim G is already coming down on Friday, so I was planning on at least making an appearance there with him… but now it looks like I might be making a sooner-than-expected trip to the fair tomorrow with her. It’s not a done deal, but if she’s not doing anything else I know she wants to go. And between my stuff, her stuff, her mom’s stuff… we’ve got plenty to catch up on. I just hope I’m up for all the walking.

If I do end up going, I’ll probably take the new camera with me. We were talking about just looking at critters and eating shitty food, but I’m sure I can find something worth covertly recording. 😎 A viewer request has asked for a comparison between “as shot / true 360”, “standard HD with focus points / target tracking”, and “little planet” modes. One of these days I’ll even do the “bullet time” mode, even though I think I’m gonna look goofy. I guess there’s also a hyperlapse mode somewhere in there as well… this camera really is amazing compared to my first 360 camera. πŸ˜ƒ

I dunno… just trying to get back to feeling “normal” and not dwelling on medical stuff each day. 😐 I’m feeling better now that I’ve gotten the house straightened up some and got the bills all done up, so now I’ve just gotta keep doing the normal adulting that’s required and just hang out until I know what the next step’s gonna be. πŸ˜” And whatever “big” stuff that I’ve got to do… I’d rather just get to it. πŸ™„ This waiting isn’t doing my brain any favors.

Harsh 360Β° Exposure Test

This camera definitely prefers to be used on slightly overcast days, or at least out of direct sunlight. And I could have used some big puffy clouds so we’d have something to actually look at in the sky as the hour passed. But still, successful true 360° time-lapse test, with many more tricks left to learn before I try to shoot my first “real” whatever-it-is-that-I’m-gonna-shoot eventually. Click to steer the video.

I think before I shoot any additional test video, I’ll probably go take a handful of still photos to see how the exported resolution looks compared to the old Giroptic cam that I had prior to this one.