You Never Get Used To It

(Oh yeah… this is quite a rambling one.Β  Strap in…)

While I was off of my thyroid meds, losing energy with each day that passed, preparing to have my second cancer scan done, as you may remember – I still had to drive over an hour up to NW Columbus, to go to the “Independent Medical Evaluation” initiated at the request of my former employer’s WC insurer. πŸ˜’πŸ€’ For those who haven’t been through it, it’s essentially one of the methods that can be used to try to get medication or treatments disallowed from a claim, based off of a report from a doctor (like in this instance) who has seen you as little as one single time. 🀨 That almost always sets up an Industrial Commission hearing, where (in my case) that report will be compared against the records of my own doctor, who has been treating me consistently for this work injury and disability for well over a decade. 😯

Of course my thoughts were more focused on the upcoming cancer scan at that point, so I went up, had my exam, went back home, and then mostly forgot about it while I dealt with my other medical concerns. But upon collecting my mail from the box a couple of days ago – I saw that enough time had passed for that doctor to have generated his report, which is easily 30-40 pages (if not more), and have copies sent to me, my attorneys, and my own doctor. I waited a few days to open it, because I knew there would be nothing good about it, nor would there be anything that I could do about that fact. 😟 It might as well have been labeled “Envelope Full of Frustration” but I finally made myself open and read it all yesterday.

I’m going to sugar-coat the shit out of this as I continue. πŸ™„πŸ˜ For my second pass through this thick report, I grabbed a yellow highlighter and began to mark and number the areas where more info was needed. 🧐 Whether it was adding context, pointing out inconsistencies, noting conflicting statements within the same report, or bringing attention to things that were implied, inferred, or assumption… I ended up with 48 different sections that required a response. And, unfortunately, there were several things that were simply false. Absolutely false. But still written in this report as if it were fact. 😠 I’m not saying that this doctor just pulled some things straight out of his ass, but it’s a shame how many “inaccuracies” were made by someone that shouldΒ have the presumption of being knowledgeable and accurate, especially given the duty that he’s performing and the way it could affect the future of anyone that he evaluates.

So now my copy of that doctor’s report has 48 highlighted areas, to go along with a numbered “rebuttal report” that I created to address each of those problem areas. So when I give it to my attorneys, they’ll be able to read my comments right along with the numbered and highlighted areas on the original report. πŸ€“ And despite having another doctor appointment at 11am this morning, I was up until after 2am last night… because correcting or clarifying (what I believe to be) inaccurate things in that report is really the only thing that I can do right now when it comes to “defending myself” or possibly helping my attorneys with their argument points. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ž But yeah, once I started, the areas that needed my attention just kept coming, and I wasn’t going to stop and go to sleep until I had addressed everything that I felt needed it.

Of course my doctor will write a rebuttal report… something that he’s done many times before, to the point where he’s often repeating himself – because the facts are the facts, and they don’t change over time. But when there’s a hearing, it’s just expected that the doctor of record will submit a report, so he’s unfortunately stuck in this situation just like I am. πŸ˜• Thankfully, my doctor is awesome. And like me, he’s not a fan of having his words twisted, his knowledge and methods belittled… and he’s definitely not a fan of any claims, implications, or “facts” that seem to be based on little-to-no actual evidence. So not only will he write a truthful and accurate rebuttal based on all of the medical evidence, but it also serves as a way for him to “defend” himself – which is the same feeling that I have, and why I wrote my index of rebuttal points. 🀨

I have a ton of other things that I would like to say about the doctor’s report, but it’s in my best interest to just stop at this point. I’ve covered the basics, and you’re more than welcome to imagine the non-sugar-coated version… but even if you did that, there’d still be some things that would legitimately shock you. So now I can only hope that my rebuttal points will be helpful and useful to whichever attorney ends up representing me at the actual hearing. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ—’οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš–οΈΒ (And I’ve always felt the “commission” folks do seem to care as well.)

But the law firm that represents me is great, and we’ve (knock on wood) got a great track record from the beginning through today… so I know that they’ll have already picked apart many of the same things that I’m bringing attention to, but there still might be something that I say here or there that will contribute to the arguments that they use on the day of the hearing. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And at the very least, having more information “straight from the horse’s mouth” will be beneficial in general, since we usually only have about a half hour to sit and quickly discuss the case before the hearing starts.

It would be hard for anyone to find the words to accurately express the feeling and level of frustration that comes along with this situation. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ To have decisions being made by other people, about things that will dramatically affect your future, knowing that “the truth” is the only weapon that you have… it’s such a helpless feeling, especially when you’re already feeling pretty damn helpless most of the time, due to the disability and pain that this whole thing is about in the first place. 😒 So other than the info I’ll be giving my attorneys, it comes down to sitting, waiting, and hoping… and there’s nothing relaxing or reassuring about that. 😞

Any good luck or positive juju that you want to mentally send my way is greatly appreciated. πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ™‚πŸ™πŸ»

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Weekend Ramble

Went over to Bri’s for a while the other day. Got to see all the work she has done on the apartment since moving in several months ago. She’s really got the place looking good, with the boys’ room having an Avengers theme – plus she’s getting ready to put up a bunch of glow in the dark stars to go with the blacklight. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ I definitely see her mom’s decorating style in what she’s done… most people’s first apartments don’t start off as nice as she’s got hers so far. It’s nice to see her happy and proud of what she’s been able to accomplish.

Brantley was with his grandma, but he did make a FaceTime call to Bri while I was there. Now, when he was a newborn, baby, then toddler I was around him a lot. But when he went to live with his dad… I’m not sure how long it has been, but he’s in kindergarten now – and last time I had seen him, other than his birthday a few months ago, he still wasn’t even talking yet. But her phone was almost dead at that point, so I went to grab the charger so she didn’t have to get up, and Brantley caught what couldn’t have been more than a second or two of me in the background of the image, but he smiled and said “Hey, what’s Bobby doing there?” 😊

So that was pretty neat, especially since I’m not even used to him carrying on conversations quite yet – and since it’s been so long since I’ve been around him. So whether he remembered me mostly from the birthday party, or from his younger years of being around the house, it’s nice to know that I’ve got a somewhat-permanent spot in his little brain somehow. πŸ™‚ It’ll be nice once they get their custody stuff ironed out a little better, where we can all actually do stuff more regularly again, hopefully.

Like I’ve mentioned plenty of times, my energy is coming back – but I’ve still got a surplus of twitchy when it comes to my social energy. πŸ˜’ That’s not related to my thyroid, but more just how I’ve always been… or at least how I’ve become over the past several years. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So even if she gets him a lot more often, and even though I love spending time with them, it still uses up my batteries a heck of a lot faster than if I was just at home by myself. 😏 Hey, what can I say, I’m just an old fart that’s getting more set in his ways… it happens.

So this weekend I’m gonna take it easy for the most part. I’ve got plenty of NASCAR stuff to watch, gonna do a little of this and that like usual, and then Monday I think Cassi and her new possible-boyfriend are gonna come down for a bit. He’s already gotta be in town for something, so I figured between the two of them they can get the heavy-ass old mirror out of my bathroom closet and up to her place to hang in the hallway. It’s the one that was in my living room forever, but I took it down months ago when I thought I was getting close to being ready to have the place painted. Heh… that didn’t happen, but that’s okay – it doesn’t bother me, really, and I’ll get to it at some point – and meanwhile that mirror can live on and be appreciated and actually used.

I like when I can gift something (that has meaning / history) to someone that actually knows the history, understands the relative importance, etc… whether it’s Bri’s bed, which was actually Grandpa’s bed… or like with Genesee, her and Sarah have a nicely decorated home, including a nice curio cabinet where they stick “special” or particularly “pretty” stuff. So about a month ago, before my scan, I actually sent her “The Candy Dish” to be added to the cabinet. It’s funny… to anyone else it’s just a regular glass candy dish with a lid.

But it’s definitely a “Batina thing” because it’s been around since I was little, and the whole “thing” was that you weren’t allowed to take a piece of candy from it unless you could lift and replace the glass lid without it making any clinking noise whatsoever. 😁 Now, once her nieces and nephews are old enough, she’s going to carry on that tradition / game with them… and that makes me happy, versus it just sitting here and not living its full purpose anymore.

So yeah, gonna try to keep my weekend light… a few doctor appointments coming up next week, along with whatever other stuff that I didn’t accomplish this past week, so it actually makes sense to treat the weekend like an actual weekend in this case. Might try to do something fun / hobby related… like, I still have fireworks from a couple of years ago that I’ve wanted to shoot in slow motion – might try to do something like that. Or I might do nothin’…Β  who knows. πŸ˜‹πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Method To My Madness

You may or may not have noticed, but over the past many weeks – especially in the time right before and after my scan – I’ve been posting a lot more entries to the blog than usual. Even if not in quantity, I’ve definitely been ramblingΒ more than I typically do. Now that I’m most of the way past that phase, I’m probably gonna end up slowing a little with my postings – not necessarily on purpose, but because as things start to feel like they’re returning to normal I have a feeling I just won’t feel like I need to post quite as much.

There’s no way to explain to someone who hasn’t gone through it, how it feels to sit with an unspecified amount of cancer in your body, jumping through all of the hoops for the tests, which includes gradually wearing down your energy levels to nothing, and then just sitting there, not knowing, waiting, worrying, hoping, etc. 😟 There isn’t an emotion that you don’t experience, ranging from hoping that it’s completely gone – to hoping that if it isn’t gone, that you at least get an expiration date… just to finally get rid of the uncertaintyΒ more than anything else. 😞 I suppose I can only speak for myself, but I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t feel most of the things / ways that I’ve felt. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

But my way of dealing with all of that (or distracting myself from all of that) was by posting here. Didn’t necessarily want to talk to anyone about it in person, or in any detail or whatever… but also couldn’t just sit here and stay all bottled up about it. So whether my posts had something to do with my medical stuff or not, it’s been a big reason why I’ve been so active lately. Now, I’m not saying that I’m gonna stop blogging… I mean, rambling is sort of my thing, it’s more that I just wanted to come here and finally explain.

Of course it doesn’t help when in the middle of all that, I get new “neck stuff” (unrelated to cancer) to eventually be concerned about. πŸ˜’ It’s hard to stay positive and try to get back to normal when just as you’re finishing up with one thing, something else fairly big comes along right on the tail of the last thing. And that’s what a lot of my postings have been, whether they seem like it or not… trying to find the silver linings, trying to reassure or even convince myself that I have the ability to take the good for what it is, and work around whatever negatives are left after that. (Bleh… that sounds cheezy.)

I’m still not back to normal, but I’m definitely getting there. I found out, thanks to the festival, that even though my energy levels are a whole lot better – there’s still a wall there to be hit, and I still don’t get a sign when I’m approaching it. I’m assuming that’ll just continue to get better though, because it has so far. I’ve barely been doing anything with friends yet, and still haven’t been on Facebook for over a month now… so I’ve still got a few of those types of hurdles to get over, but it’ll all come in time. πŸ™‚ I’m not setting goals or time-frames or anything like that… just trying to always make sure that I keep moving forward with all of it. And as for the stuff that I’ll have to face in the future, whether it is spine related or cancer related (or something as of yet unforeseen), I can’t let it chew up all my thoughts and actions between now and whenever that will be.

So whether it helps me because I’m just getting stuff out, or because it also helps to reinforce the positive thoughts… whatever it is, it’s just what I’ve needed to do during this more-uncertain time in my life. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But as I continue to get better, it should require less energy (or rambling about it) in order to keep the progress going. I made it up and over the most recent hill, so now I can hopefully start to coast a little more if that’s what I decide to do.

Meh… I could obviously continue with more on this topic, but this basically explains what I wanted to be explained. We’re all works in progress, and I’m no different. And if it’s not one of the issues that I’m currently focused on, there’s always gonna be something else that tries to damage my calm and toss some grenades in my life’s direction. 😟 I’m just hoping that I can take the things that I’ve learned from dealing with the current situations and apply them to those other things when needed. πŸ™‚ Maybe get a little better with the “ups and downs” since we all seem to come with an endless supply.

Predicted? Or Jinxed…

Stayed up late last night, not only trying to get some pics of the lightning, but also watching the delayed Southern 500 which didn’t finish until 2am. I had a feeling… wasn’t really sleepy even at that hour, my neck was feeling different, so I didn’t end up falling asleep for good until around 4a – and at that, it was with the idea of trying to “sleep carefully” so I didn’t wake up with my neck feeling even worse. πŸ˜’ It worked, but only because every time I would stir in my sleep, I’d wake up a little too much – making sure that I wasn’t being rough on my neck. Meh… so five hours of not-so-solid sleep… not in the greatest mood today.

And even using a “lightning capture” app to cheat a bit, I still wasn’t able to capture a single decent photo last night. If I didn’t have the ISO and exposure either too high or too low, resulting in images that were too dark or too blown out – the other problem was just the thickness and multiple layers of the clouds. πŸ˜‘ When the lightning wasn’t bright enough it was just obscured by the clouds, and when it was bright enough – it was like a strobe light going off in the middle of a huge ball of cotton. Just no definition.

So I think today I’ll do the bills, catch up on laundry, just general meh stuff around the house. Once the week actually starts tomorrow, that’s when I’ll have to start worrying about oil changes, glasses, haircuts, and all the other “out and dealing with people” stuff… so keeping to myself and just getting some minor chores done around here actually sounds like the most appealing way to spend my time today, believe it or not. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜•

I’m sure as my morning meds kick in I’ll start to feel better, along with mentally feeling better about getting some random shit done around here. πŸ™‚ I’m just never good when I first wake up, especially when I basically predicted last night that my neck would be an issue and that I’d be glad that today was still part of the 3-day weekend. πŸ™„ Just gonna tune the world out as much as possible, put on some music, and do my thing.

I Know It’s Weird, But…

I wish my day was ending on a better note. 😞 As you can tell from my couple of previous posts, I was trying to get (or keep) myself in the right frame of mind where I could accomplish various things, hopefully have my plans for the weekend go down without any issues… basically just trying to hang on to the “normal” while I was feeling it. (And believe me… just that in itself is a bigger challenge for me right now than you’d probably think.)

Now, as many of you may already know, one of the “weird” things about me is my near inability to talk on the phone. There’s a logical root reason to how I ended up this way, even if there isn’t as much logic to it now, but it’s something that everyone who knows me is aware of. Unfortunately, I have one family member who is apparently as averse to textingΒ through the phone as I am to speaking on the phone, so there’s obviously gonna be some problems when we need to communicate. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

So even when people do absolutely need to talk to me on the phone, they know to text me first to make sure it’s okay to call. Essentially it’s just giving me a warning that they’re gonna call, which helps my twitchy brain prepare for it, and usually making it something I can do. But over the past two days it’s been cold call after cold call, but at least this last time she left a voice mail saying that she had some good news and that she wanted me to call her.

So even though she knows I’m like this (we talked about it the last time she cold called me… heh), she’s got good news that she wants to share, so it makes me feel bad that this weird part of me won’t let me answer or call back immediately. πŸ™‚πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I have to “save up the oomph” to make a phone call. And yeah, I know that’s a really weird thing… there’s no debating that. I just hate when I’m doing my best to hang on to “normal” for a while, and something like this reminds me that I’ve still got a long way to go…

Of course I’m interested in her news, and I wish that I could just pick up the phone and call back right away, because I don’t want her to think that I don’t care… but now I’ve spent the evening being frustrated by myself, rather than continuing my forward progress. 😟 Dumb. But how many times do you have to tell someone that you don’t talk on the phone, or that if you have to talk to me on the phone – just text me and give me an idea that a call is coming? (Of course this doesn’t apply to anyone who doesn’t have the ability to text me.) I’m not asking people to understand why I’m this way, just that they understand that I am – and that they respect that unfortunate fact and don’t get hurt feelings if it takes me a while to call back.

Gah… okay, I gotta stop dwelling on this. It’s just how I am right now, I’ll talk to her tomorrow, she’ll share her news, everything will be fine… I can’t let my defects erase any of the positives that I’ve been actively working on lately. And I’m gonna keep reminding myself… as hard as it is for me to take or make phone calls, it could be just as hard for her to text – and it could be just a difficult for her to explain as it is for me.

It’s all good… it’ll be fine… I think I just needed to vent.

Roll With The Changes

So I tried the Impossible Whopper on my way home from my workers comp doctor appointment today. It’s strange… I don’t know exactly what to say about it. πŸ€” It was different than a normal Whopper, which you’d assume, but not in a way that made it any worse or any better than the traditional kind. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I suppose the only thing that I’d have even noticed, if someone had just brought it to me and let me think it was a regular Whopper, was that it was a little dry / less greasy.

But by the time the cheese, lettuce, mayo, ketchup, etc is added – it’s honestly hard to notice any difference. And if it is legitimately more healthy (or at least less un-healthy)… something which I never bothered to Google… then yeah, I’d probably always order it over the “normal meat” Whopper. I think White Castle has the same kind of “fake meat” in a version of their sliders, so I might have to give those a try sometime as well. I’ve got no problem reducing my meat consumption as long as it tastes basically the same and isn’t detrimental to my health. πŸ„πŸ€ πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

As for my appointment today, again I suppose that I just took for granted that it wouldn’t be much different than any of my other visits with the workers comp doctor. But since it was with his PA (also a “real” doctor, of course) there was a set of “fresh eyes” on all my info. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ”Ž He actually did that because the first time I saw him, many months ago, when I was originally going to be moved mostly to his schedule, I wrote a summary letter for the past decade and said I’d appreciate hearing if anything jumped out at him which may not have been something that me and my original doctor had been addressing.

Be careful what you ask for, though… 😏 It’s nothing bad bad, but having new xrays and scans of the area from fairly recently – he took a good long look at them in comparison to the ones from before / recently after my original surgery, as well as whatever few that have been done between then and now. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ’» It’s nothing that I’ll have to address any time soon, but as always expected… after over a decade of three of my vertebrae being fused, the one above it is just showing signs of eventually needing attention as well. πŸ˜• Nothing horrible, nothing urgent… and since it’s something that I was already aware of as an eventual and likely possibility, having him remark about it honestly just rattled me because it hasn’t been one of the things on my mindΒ lately… not because it’s an “Oh no, a new surprise thing” thing.

But I like this doctor… I mean, time will tell if I like him as much as Dr Walter… but he talked with me a long time today, despite knowing that I’m still somewhat radioactive, and in detail that let me know he’s aware (or at least assumes) that I’m able to understand more than the average patient. πŸ€“Β I think he’s even older than Dr Walter, so I’m not sure why he’s got a PA position there. It could be he does his “real” doctor-in’ on all the other days when he’s not at this particular office. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But yeah, it’s fine… and if anything, I still think the “fresh eyes” are good… especially since he might end up having to write some reports that explain how my original work injury / surgery is what has caused this newer potential issue – because you can bet your ass that I’m going to do everything that I can to get it included into my current claim for wheneverΒ I might have to start doing things that involve it. 🀨

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.