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.

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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.

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…

New 360 Cam Tests

Not gonna lie, I’ve felt miserable ever since the surgery. Zero energy. I’ve only been out of the house a couple times. Once to go through the drive thru to get some pop, and then another time to stop at the BK and gas station near Rockbridge to pick up some essentials and a Whopper meal. Not a big fan of everyone staring at the huge stitched gash across my neck… but the stitches come out tomorrow, and I’ll hopefully get the news about how bad it is or isn’t. I suppose it’s a positive sign that I didn’t get an early call from my surgeon before my appointment tomorrow, but I don’t wanna get ahead of myself.

But while I was in Rockbridge I took my new Insta360 One camera for a test drive. It’s a 360 camera like the last one I had, but it also has software that allows you to “control the camera view” after you’ve recorded – since it sees and records in all directions. This creates a standard HD video, but the “movement” of the camera has been dictated by either control points that you select yourself or automatic focused tracking. I’ve only done the editing on my phone so far, and there are some glitches, but at least I had the energy to try it the other day.

I haven’t had the oomph to go out and shoot a traditional 360 degree video that the viewer can control, but maybe I’ll set it up out in the front yard in time lapse mode and cover that type of test as well. So far I’m impressed, even though I really don’t know what I’m doing with the software yet, and I like how it erases the selfie stick – making it almost look like you have a drone that’s following you rather than a camera on a stick. And their stabilization algorithms are amazing from what I can tell so far.

Fun Facts: Since the surgery I’ve essentially done nothing due to the lack of energy. And there’s only been one day where I haven’t accidentally fallen asleep in my chair at least one time. Feeling tired, but not sleepy, but ploop… I’m out. It hasn’t affected my sleep much, thankfully, because it seems I can’t get enough of it. I also haven’t shaved, so I look like a hobo… being worried about shaving around my incision and slicing up all the stitches. That’s on the docket for tomorrow evening though.

Meh… that’s all I’ve got really. Just wanted to check in and drop this test footage. I don’t even have the oomph to go back through and insert emojis… heh