Inescapable

My brain and body have definitely been on pause today. Thursday night into Friday afternoon was a rough chunk of time… going over to say goodbye to my friend Christina with a ton of family around, then a couple hours sleep before heading to the hospital at 6.5a for the radioactive iodine treatment, and shortly after I got back home I learned that Christina was gone. 😔

We knew it was coming, and we were all there the night before because we honestly thought it would happen that evening – but she held on for one more day. It was so nice to be around all the family, many of whom I hadn’t seen in a good while, and I even met her biological dad… who was a really kewl old d00d. We all tried to keep the vibe as positive as possible for each other, but of course it was still really sad. I wasn’t even going to go over, feeling like it wasn’t my place, but Bri reminded me that I’m just as good as family – and that of course I was welcome and wanted there.

Meh… I don’t really wanna talk about that anymore. My thing at the hospital took over two hours, although most of that was pre-treatment lab work, having three pages of precautions read to me, and of course the signing of all sorts of documents. Once they opened the lead-lined container and used tongs to get the pill out to hand it to me, it was literally a minute until they were shuffling me to the door. They really want you to just gtfo once you’ve got the radioactive vibe.

The lady that did it all, you could tell that she was used to it… because even before the pill was in the area, she would still do things like asking me to place my ID on the tray table so she could grab it, rather than me handing it directly to her and risking actually touching her. And boy, once that pill was out and in my hand, she backed across the room until I took it – and as she guided me to the quickest way out of the building she reminded me to stay at least six feet away from her. Good stuff, eh?

I didn’t have any nausea or sickness as side effects, but it did make me have a funny taste in my mouth… and I unintentionally fell asleep that afternoon from about 4p until midnight – but that was as much from the lack of sleep the night before as it was the medication. I have to stay on this low iodine diet for a few more days, I’m supposed to not be around kids or pregnant people at all for a week, and six feet away from anyone else… and poor Maven, when she wants to sit on me or lay next to me, I have to put her down on the floor at the base of the recliner – but I make her a little nest in the blanket and share the space heater with her, so she’s okay as long as she’s close to me. She hasn’t left my side since I got home… pretty sure she senses the “bleh” I’m giving off.

Just hoping I don’t irradiate her too much until it’s out of my system.

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The Rest of My Month Looks Fun

  • Pharmacy  /  monthly visit to jump through hoops for meds
  • Psychiatrist  /  intake appointment
  • Dentist  /  temp crown removal and permanent crown installation
  • Endocrinologist  /  injection #1 prior to 131 treatment
  • Endocrinologist  /  injection #2 prior to 131 treatment
  • FMC  /  nuclear medicine department for radioactive iodine (131) treatment
  • Home  /  (one week of isolating myself from the humans)
  • FMC  /  full body scan 7 days after 131 treatment
  • Psychologist  /  first “real” counseling session
  • Rehab/Pain  /  monthly WC appointment

Spent most of this morning on the phone, trying to wrangle all of my other appointments around the iodine treatment schedule – since that’s the one that is the most important, and the one that effectively removes a week of possible scheduling time from my life. 😒

EDIT: Just got off of another call with Dr Walter’s office. We’re now trying to figure out how much of a pain in the ass it’s going to cause… me being seen by his PA rather than directly by him, because Dr Walter is my “physician of record” when it comes to anything related to my workers comp claim – and they love finding any reason that they can to deny me treatment or medication. 😠 This sounds like it will be a work in progress, and we probably won’t know what the negative side effects are until they happen.

Sing, Sing A Song

My injury that resulted in the c5-c7 disk removal / spinal fusion over a decade ago… it stole so much from my life. 😞 Not the surgery itself so much, but the resulting nerve damage that made my left arm rather useless. There are still days when I’m surprised by the discovery of something else “new” that I’m no longer able to do. 🙁 I should have kept a running list… but boy would that have been depressing to have everything I’ve lost, all in one handy notebook.

Well, my most recent neck “thing” seems determined to steal something from me as well. I’m still in the middle of the whole “cancer treatment” thing, with the first step having been the removal of the thyroid… and now while I’m waiting for the radioactive iodine treatment in a couple of weeks, in the mean time I can’t help but be a little bitter about a particular side effect of this surgery. 😠

I dunno… for all I know, this might not be something permanent – but considering that I’m about a month and a half out from the surgery, it’s probably gonna stick. You may or may not know, but music is everything to me. 🤨 Whether listening to it, playing it on a keyboard, crafting it via Amiga / PC tracker programs, or just singing in the car or even at karaoke back in the day. Well I’ve lost a big chunk of that passion, because I can no longer sing. 😟 At least in no way that I used to.

At first I just couldn’t hit the notes at all. Songs that I’ve sung out loud or in my head a thousand times… I now sound like any other shlub that might try to sing it at karaoke somewhere, to the cringes of the peanut gallery. 😒 With a conscious effort, thankfully I’ve been able to get some of my “pitch” ability back – but I’ve lost a huge amount of my higher range. 😢 I’m not sure if it’s because things got tightened up inside my neck, the same way the skin has on the outside (due to the new incision and stitches), but during those moments when I’m not hitting the higher notes – I can actually feel it pulling. 😣 It’s a difficult sensation to describe without the listener having experienced it themselves.

And yeah, I know… considering that I lost some of my range as a side effect of trying to free my body of cancer… I know that it probably sounds silly or greedy for me to be complaining about something that many people would see as frivolous, given the situation. 🙄 But seriously, when so much has already been taken from me, and singing was one of the few things that I just endlessly enjoyed, whether by myself or in front of people… it’s just another kick in the nuts that life has decided to send my way. 😡 “So… that one thing you’ve always loved doing? Yeah, well that’s about enough of all that.” Fucking awesome.

Meh… it’s not gonna stop me from singing, at least not when I’m by myself, so maybe, hopefully, things may continue healing in a way where I can get a little more of my voice back. If I would have known this was coming my way, I definitely would have recorded as many songs as I could before going under the knife. Years ago I recorded enough songs to fill 3 CDs, which I then shared with Mom and Dad and a few other people… but I never thought those would be all that I’d ever do, at least not until now. 🙁

I’ve never claimed to be a great singer. I’ve never even really claimed to be a good singer. It was more that I was good enough, and I recorded the songs that I did because I just love singing, and trying to sound like I love singing. 😏 I wanted people to be able to hear me doing something I loved, because of how it made me feel. Meh… it sounds dumb when I try to put my thoughts about it to words. 😕 Oh, and I don’t care if anyone thinks that this is all self-pity… because it is, and I think I’ve earned it.

I’m Tired, Boss

Nothing much going on around here… at least nothing good…

Went back to the dentist to get the last bit of my root canal done and was fitted with a temporary crown. A temporary crown which feels like it’s squeezing the life out of the little nub of tooth that it was mounted on. 😒 Jaw aches… head aches… I’m just hoping that the final version ends up fitting more comfortably than this one is. I’ve got to wait about  a week and a half to find out.

Shortly after that it’ll be time for the radioactive iodine treatment. That means in the next couple of days I’ll need to start my low iodine diet. I guess the thyroid tends to attract all the iodine that enters your body, so you basically want to starve it for a couple of weeks so when the radioactive stuff is introduced – if there are any thyroid / cancer cells left, in theory they’ll be destroyed. 😐 I’ve chosen not to google too much about all of this, so I’m not sure exactly how the full scan will go afterwards, or how nervous I should be.

But in preparation for that I went grocery shopping today and picked out some things that are on the “okay” list. I don’t really eat much anyway, and the stuff that I’ll be allowed to eat isn’t that bad… just different from the normal canned or boxed stuff that I usually eat. Fresh meat, salads, fresh vegetables, meh… it’ll be fine. Just more dishes than usual.

My friend that was diagnosed with lung cancer a little less than three years ago… she entered hospice care over the weekend. 😕 She actually had to go into ICU for a bit, but they got her stabilized enough to return back home. It just is what it is. And what it is, is scary… seeing what has happened to someone that was “fine” and just went to the doctor for a cough three years ago, having never smoked, having never had any serious health problems… and yeah… fast forward to today, three years later. 😞

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.

Now We’re Cookin’

Another long day of medical stuff. Nothing really new or concerning. So, so much data from all the labs and pathology and whatever… some of the most recent stuff hadn’t even been interpreted so it was presented in its pure data form, but there was still enough “plain english” stuff for him to form his opinion and explain things very clearly. It turns out that not only was the cancer in my left lymph node, but they also found (after the fact) that there was a “micro-tumor” in the right one as well… so it’s good that they sliced them both out to be safe.

The thing that made the overall picture slightly better today is that they also tested the nearby lymph node and the results showed no cancer cells there. So, yeah, it’s just a test, it’s hard to say how accurate it really is, but I’ll take the good news… so we’re gonna go with that for now. Defective thyroid removed, and no cancer in the nearby lymph node. He also made some adjustments to my meds which should help me battle the lack of energy and accidental naps, and I’ll start taking those tomorrow.

The other positive thing from this appointment is that one of the bigger balls is now in motion. I do have to go through the radioactive iodine treatment, which is meant to catch any random cancer cells that may still be hiding out, but there’s not a huge urgency to it – so I won’t start until this time next month. It had to be that way due to my other appointments and schedule, because there’s a 7-day period where I’m supposed to remain isolated so I don’t contaminate the unwashed public by my presence… so of course I wouldn’t wanna see Dr Walter and Nicole during that time.

The process will begin with me getting some sort of injection (to mask the effect of the thyroid medication) on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the actual radiation stuff on Wednesday. After that part is completed I then have to go for a full body scan. I think that’s the next thing that I’m actually nervous about. It’s meant to see if anything was missed, anywhere, and to have a scan to use as a (hopefully) successful baseline for another full scan six months after that. So yeah, it’s quite the glob of activity coming up here soon.

One More Day

I’m taking one more day, tomorrow, and then I plan on doing my best to return to society and engage with the humans again when necessary. 😐 I already know that I have a crapload of phone calls to make and take, but I’m actually talking about not looking like a hobo anymore, and actually leaving the house more than once a week. See, I haven’t shaved since the day before my surgery, so that means I’ve got 18 days of mostly gray beard that needs to get gone. 🧔🏻 I haven’t shaved through this point because I didn’t want to risk mowing over my stitches and ripping the incision open. 🚜😯

Being somewhat laid up, unable and/or unwilling to go out in public… it’s been grand. 😊 It’s selfish, yes, but “me doing me” for the better part of two weeks, even though I’ve been physically “bleh” for most of it, has done wonders for my mood. 😏 And discussing with friends, when I noted my unusually “okay” mood lately, they suggested that maybe my thyroid was actually causing some of the “mood disorders” – and now that it’s out and its function is being replaced by medication, it’s a possibility that it could be easier for me to maintain an okay mood because of it all. (There’s also a good chance the whole idea is psychological trickery, and I’m psyching myself into a decent mood under false pretenses. 😅)

I did get a ton of shit done yesterday. 🤨 Pretty sure I’m completely caught up on medical, mail, and bills… and it’s a good thing that I’m going through the medical stuff in such detail, because I’ve already caught a fraudulent bill for over $100 – for services that I know I shouldn’t have been charged for. (That’s one of the folks on the list of Tuesday calls…) The side effect is that my living room floor, where I do my work, is covered with various piles of paperwork, pens, envelopes, receipts, file folders, etc. 😯 I”ll take care of that tonight though, so tomorrow can be reserved for just laundry and a shave.

I’ll probably make sure the Insta360 is charged up tonight. Oh… yeah, I didn’t go out today – except for a quick trip to the truck stop down the highway for foodstuffs. 🌯🍩🍞🥤 But I’m gonna have that cam charged in case I wanna try anything, and then there’s also the Dover NASCAR race, the premiere episode of Series 11 of Doctor Who, and then I think the new season of The Walking Dead airs tomorrow evening as well. 😃🧟 Haven’t yet decided what I’m gonna do with my Monday though. When I made that “Three Day Weekend” post, I was only joking – because I was treating Friday as part of the weekend… and I didn’t even realize that there actually was a legitimate holiday this Monday. 🤔 Hmm, note to self, don’t put all these envelopes out in the mailbox until Monday night.