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. πŸ˜• 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. πŸ”¬πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈΒ 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. πŸ˜’

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. 😏 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. 😳 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. ☒️🀒☒️ 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 offΒ 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. πŸ˜’ 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… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Advertisements

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. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ 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.Β πŸ™‚Β She basically got three or four entrees from Olive Garden, plus a big salad, slice of pie, and a bunch of cheese sticks. πŸ– 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. πŸ“ΉπŸ˜―Β 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. πŸ€“Β First thing I’ve felt a little bit excited about in a while, so hopefully my energy and the weather cooperates.

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. 😏 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. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈΒ …Β πŸ₯’πŸ’Šβ˜’οΈΒ Β πŸ€’Β It also has the side effect of making it seem like this pill is reallyΒ 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.

img_3525

Don’t mind how dusty my entertainment screen is (or the custom commands 😏), but I’ve decided to take this as a sign… this was the first song that played (at random)Β in the car as I left the hospital parking lot. (Video Link: Back to Life – Hailee Steinfeld)Β 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. 😌 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. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜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. 🀨 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. πŸ€πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™‚

Unfortunately, I’ll have to avoid stuff likeΒ this until I’m less radioactive. 😟 Wish she could understand.

Little Things

Believe it or not, I actually slept pretty good last night. Fell asleep almost immediately after I vented about the garage door here in the blog, and slept a solid six hours… which is much better than the current usual. I startled myself when I woke up though, glancing at the security cameras and seeing a car sitting in my driveway – forgetting for a moment that it is my car, and not some rando that had just showed up.

Before my brain had a chance to fully wake up and start fighting me, I grabbed my phone and checked the voice mail from my thyroid doctor. My labs showed numbers that will allow the next step to proceed on schedule, so that was a big relief. Not too much longer now. I know that I’m focused more on just being able to take my thyroid meds again, but that’s because it’s the current pressing concern regarding how I feel.

So I’m looking forward to the radiation and scan, but then even though I’ll be back on my meds and on the way to feeling better, that’s when the focus will be what the test results are going to say. I am starting to get really nervous again… and that waiting time between the scan being completed and my followup appointment with my doctor to let me know what they found… time feels like it runs in slow motion.

But the lawn d00ds actually hit the yard (and the rear weed whacking, without me even having to ask) yesterday while I was out, so I’ll have to run in town sometime today to grab some cash for whenever he comes by and pick it up. And Amy, she has adopted an aging “one of those little white dogs with all the teefs” after seeing posts about it just wandering around in Sugar Grove for days, so I’m gonna drop off the extra set of “pet stairs” that I’ve got, so her new critter won’t have as much trouble getting up on the couch with her.

I’m still internally cringing at going back into the garage to look at the damage and take some pics, but I’ll probably go out and do that first. Already been talking to Gen, since they (by choice) had their garage door replaced earlier this year, to start getting ideas of where and how to look for a good place to handle the project, and how much I might be looking at by time it’s done. So, a few small things on the to-do list today, but as long as I take my time none of it should be much trouble.

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.

Checking Off Boxes

Typical “workers comp, beginning of the month, get my scripts filled” day today. Three different calls to the pharmacy, issues with my information in the computer, problems with certain ones not being approved… same bullshit as usual, except due to the incorrect information in their system I even had to stop in myself, with receipts and printouts and crap from last month. The folks that work there are great. It’s never the people there that I have a problem with… and after my visit we think everything is now updated, correct, and in process of being authorized – so maybe sometime today I’ll actually be able to pick them up.

I had to be out today anyway, so stopping in to get all this stuff sorted out wasn’t a big deal. I mean, I actually feel kinda bad for them – with how much of a pain in the ass “my case” is for them each month. It makes me wonder if any pharmacies have ever decided that certain customers’ situations were just too much work, too many calls, and too big of a PITA – and just told them to take their business elsewhere. ‘Cuz I can see how they could feel that way about me, if they weren’t such understanding and helpful folks.

But at my other stops, along with having several vials of blood drawn, we’ve started getting a lot more things set in stone. I’ve now got dates (if not exact times, yet) for the next blood draw, the administration of the radiation dose, how long I’ll need to stay away from people (which included rearranging another unrelated doctor appointment), when the full scan at FMC will be, and then the followup with my main thyroid doctor after all of the results are back and interpreted.

It’s surreal… how this is such a “big deal mind fuck” thing for me as I’m going through it, yet I’m just one of many. There are enough people needing this kind of treatment that once a week, every week, it’s radioactive “dosing day” for thyroid patients at FMC. But for whatever reason, even as you’re out in town, seeing other people doing whatever… it’s easy to feel like you’re the only person going through this shit, while actually we probably pass by people each day who are going through the same thing or worse. Working in nuclear medicine, giving the doses… I can see how that job could start feeling pretty heavy after a short while.

Trying To Not Read In To This

I got a message two days ago from the doctor’s office that is handling my thyroid cancer treatment. My next session with the radioactive iodine treatment, which should be my final session (if everything goes well), was scheduled to start near the end of July… but they now actually want to schedule that as soon as possible. 😐 They asked me to call in yesterday so we could start making a plan, but to be honest the message had me a little too shook… πŸ˜₯ and since I was actually having a decent day yesterday, I didn’t wanna risk nuking that by bringing all of my thoughts back to the “unknown” about what’s remaining inside me, if anything.

That’s also why I took advantage of the day yesterday to get caught up with some things around the house, because I know that this next step is gonna be a bit of a nightmare. 😣 I have to completely stop taking my thyroid meds for a couple of weeks, and they were clear about how it could have drastic physical and mental side effects. (Also part of the reason that I stopped the Paxil, so I didn’t have one crap thing on top of another.)Β Then once the thyroid medication is completely out of my system, that’s when I’ll go to the hospital for the radioactive pill and another full body scan about a week later. πŸ˜•

Confession… I didn’t call them back today either. 😞 Instead, what I’m going to do is just go into the office tomorrow and talk to them in person. To be sure that I understand the details of the plan, to be sure that everything is scheduled properly… and also to see if I can catch some kind of vibe by the way that they speak with me about it. 🧐 Like I said, I’m trying to not assume that something has gotten worse just because they want to start things sooner. 😳 It could be as simple as being easier on their schedule, and just better for me (or anyone) to do all of this “second phase” stuff sooner rather than later anyway.

So yeah, that’s the next thing on the radar… movin’ in fast. 😟 And lemme tell ya’ something. πŸ˜’ Uncertainty, when it comes to something like this… it’s a special kind of slow, drawn-out torture. I’m ready though. I was doing good at keeping it out of my thoughts up until now – but whether I got that call a couple days ago, or whether we stuck to the original end-of-July starting point… either way the anxiety was gonna come. So I agree… let’s get this shit started. 🀨

Unrelated: I just updated my Windows 10 and all of my emojis now have thick black outlines. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ