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 doΒ 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.

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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.

Unique Blog Entry Title

A month or two ago, Dad asked me if I’ve ever had moments where for no real reason, you just get a “content” or unexplained happy feeling that comes over you. πŸ€” At the time I said no, but I think that how I’ve been feeling these past couple of days is what he was talking about. No real reason to be in a good mood, but here it is… for me to not exactly know what to do with it. 😏 Genesee keeps telling me to not dwell on it and just let it be, which is obviously the correct answer. 😁

After all of my appointments this week, I agreed with myself that today should be a day off. I did that with the intention of tricking myself though, because whatever I actually do accomplish by the end of the day – it’s now all just “bonus” stuff. 😊 So that’s been today… staying at home, inside my bubble (so nothing can accidentally crap up my mood), while working on office/organizational type things. πŸ€“ No need for details because I’ve already covered it in recent entries.

My PCP appointment yesterday was a mix of good and bad, which is what I expected. πŸ˜• And rather than doing the referral to the psychiatrist (that I never got around to from the last visit) I told her that I’d compromise and set up some appointments with a therapist. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’Ό I already had plenty of stuff that I could have talked about, and that was before learning about my whammy medical condition. But I’ve always liked therapy, the handful of times that I’ve gone… so why not.

If my mood maintains I might go for a walk around Alley or Rising Park tomorrow. I need to stop doing an impersonation of a potato every day… so I’m gonna try to find my misplaced passion for photography/videography and maybe use that as an excuse to leave the house. Oh, and every damn human that I encountered while out doing my runnin’ this week… they’ve been nice, polite, friendly, jokey, etc. 😯 Local society acting so welcoming that I almost felt “normal” being out among them.

Oh, and the hospital finally called today to let me know that they read my letter, and that they’ve talked about it with the people involved. 😳 That’s good enough for me. Acknowledgement. Being heard. I’m hoping that they did take my concerns seriously, but not so seriously that anyone got hollered at or suspended or worse. I ended the call by joking with her, saying that I don’t wanna end upΒ “The Patient with The Scarlet Letter” though, should I ever have to return there for another procedure. πŸ˜…

So between feeling a little accomplished today, and then hopefully doing something distracting over the weekend, I should have a few good days before I have to field calls from the two new doctors’ offices that are supposed to be setting up appointments for me. 😬☎ I really hope that the next steps don’t interfere with the fair and Phil Collins concert. I could live without going to the fair, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna miss that concert. 😠 Especially since Jim got my ticket as a “no particular reason” gift.

Okay, time to find something good on Netflix and get back to work, but not.

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…

Bad, But Not Bad Bad

Well, “Doctor Visit #1” is out of the way. Going in, I definitely didn’t know what to expect. I know what I feelΒ (and hear) inside my neck, but I wasn’t sure if the MRI was going to accurately reflect that. πŸ˜• And… it did but it didn’t. πŸ€” Comparing it to an MRI from years ago, he could see more damage directly above the fusion area – but not so much that it requires more surgery. So I guess I got my wish… not that I want to hurt, but that I wanted it to show why I hurt, because I do. (Oh, and I actually have C5, C6, and C7 fused. I thought, for some reason, that it was only C5 and C6.)

It gets tricky now though, because my WC claim only allows for very specific parts of my body to be included. And even though any doctor that you’d ask would know that fused areas often end up with increased damage either above or below the fusion point, because that area isn’t specifically allowed by my claimΒ it may be a fight to get anything done in that regard. 😠 So, even though there’s a suggested course of action, if WC won’t concede that the damage is related to an area within my claim, there’s probably gonna be a delay. πŸ™„ Again.

First of all, he said there doesn’t appear to be much stenosis… a word that I’ve learned to fear from my mom’s own experience with it. 😳 But after spending a little more time than usual trying to describe the where/when/why/how of my current pain, he suggested that we try a steroid injection directly into my spinal cord area. 😯 I guess he’d inject some contrast dye first, and then while under some sort of scan – he would carefully puncture the right areas and inject the steroid, while being careful not to puncture the wrong areas. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ’‰ A bit unnerving, yes, but I have to do something.

Like I told him… I can’t even explain how much this injury and surgery have stolen from me over the past decade. πŸ˜” Who I am now is not who I was back then, and I don’t hesitate to put a lot of the blame on this disability. But to have my life changed so greatly, yet still be experiencing this kind of pain on a daily basis… frustration doesn’t begin to explain it. πŸ˜‘ But anyway, he’s doing what he can, and he doesn’t like the fight against WC any more than I do, but it’s just how things have to be done. So we’ll see over the next week if it’s allowed or if I’ll have to figure it out some other way.

Little Things Mean A Lot

It’s a handy thing to remember that when I talk about negative things or depression or whatever, it’s quite likely that what I’m feeling is actually considerably stronger than what I’m putting out for public consumption. However, the same can be said for the positive things. Even though most of the time I’d compare waking up, existing for the day, and then falling asleep to slogging through an endless waist-high bog of mud right now – I absolutely have good moments, and sometimes they’re actually really good moments. They’re just so hard to hang on to anymore.

I’m knocking out several blog entries today, after a week of relative silence, because I’m having one of those good moments. For the reasons that I’ve mentioned in the other posts below, but also because Cassi stayed last night, is probably gonna come back after her errands of the day to stay again, and even though we’ve “been there, done that” with our phase as a couple – we’re still managing to stay close, and we’re still quite important to each other. And I know, people could go down a list of oil/water things about us, but it doesn’t matter… sometimes time spent with each other, even if it’s just silently in the same room, watching the same shows on Netflix that we’ve already watched together multiple times, sometimes that time is more important than someone would ever think.

Even though being alone in my bubble is nice when I’m experiencing a span of less-than-great, sometimes letting one significant other person into the bubble as well can be a good thing. Because what often starts off as a “misery loves company” thing, almost always ends up turning away from the negative and letting us find some happy… at least for the time we’re together.

And it’s so difficult, even for myself, to understand how despite being able to spend a couple days with her around me nearly 24/7, it would be almost impossible for me to go in town and have even a short visit with nearly anyone else that I know, even if inside I really wanted to. I wish I could understand it, because I’d give anything to be able to explain it to the people that I care about, so that they could understand that even though my absence probably (understandably) feels personal – it’s not meant that way at all. It’s just one of the ways I’m damaged. 😞 Meh… I need to stop sweating this, and just accept that it’s an unfortunate situation that is unable to be changed so I need to quit mentally pushing against that wall.

Believe it or not, that’s something that Christina was trying to help me better understand the other day. She had made a post on FB about going through shit, getting back up, dusting yourself off, and continuing on while giving no shits about whatever the initial problem was. And for her to be able to be filled with that type of optimism was inspiring to me, because she just went through her first round of chemotherapy just a couple days ago. 😟 Yet here she was, saying “shit happens” and somehow being able to shake it off enough to continue on with whatever’s next, without letting it weigh her down. And she’s not really a gushy, inspirational-quote-spewing type of person… which made the little exchange even more meaningful to me. And she probably doesn’t even know it.