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

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.

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 daysΒ of mostly gray beard that needs to get gone. πŸ§”πŸ» 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. πŸ˜…)

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…)Β 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. 🌯🍩🍞πŸ₯€ 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. πŸ˜ƒπŸ§Ÿ 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. πŸ€” Hmm, note to self, don’t put all these envelopes out in the mailbox until Monday night.

Behind The Mask

So it’s been a week since the surgery, and while the incision site seems to be healing well, I can’t say that I’m too impressed with how my body is acting. I’m anxious to talk to the doctor again about this, so I can find out exactly what’s going to be done to get me back closer to “right” again.

Each day I’ve tried to do this or that, to see how I feel… and I feel stuck at about ten minutes of activity before it starts to affect me. The energy just isn’t there, and I get overheated when trying to do pretty much anything. Again, like I’ve said before, I know that there will be adjustments to my medication that should hopefully help with this – but it’s just frustrating how I’ve kinda been “waiting out” this first week to see if things would just gradually get better, when it seems like they’re not going to.

I’m gonna take a shower today though, while keeping my neck out of the water, because these cat baths aren’t cutting it – and I haven’t washed my hair since last Wednesday, so I’m far overdue. I haven’t shaved either, since I’m nervous about getting the area around my stitches, so I’m looking rather homeless right now… and that doesn’t help to make me feel any better when I look in the mirror.

Meh… it’s just been a long week and I’m feeling pretty miserable.