Still Stalling

It’s late in the evening on Sunday, and I find myself still staring at all of the unopened envelopes from Medicare, CMS, Workers Comp, Social Security… 😳πŸ₯Ί ‘cuz c’mon, there’s no way that all of this stuff could be good news for me. I did get all of my laundry done up, and I’ve just gotta fold the last basket here in a few minutes – so I’ll be doing that while the NASCAR race from today plays, since with all of the weather delays and stuff I’ve just started watching and am on about lap 30. Lots of good racing so far, but two delays for lightning. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I guess there’s a few people in the stands for this one.

But all this mail… πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ž I just have a feeling that some of it is going to be PITA revolving around workers comp and my insurance not agreeing which meds they’re each willing to pay for, and then I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re ready to put me through my paces again to prove that I’m broken enough to count as officially disabled. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦½ I’ve been banged up for a long, long time now… and with each month that passes I get a little bit worse, so man do I not feel like jumping through their hoops yet again. 😠 I’m sure it’ll stop at some point, but probably not until my age is more in line with my shitty condition.

I can’t complain too much about this weekend though. πŸ™‚ I had two nights of decent sleep, I got a little bit of my “to do” stuff done, so that was nice, plus I got the entire living room tidied up and vacuumed so I can bring out the new cat tree that Genesee got me for the girls. 😺😁😼 Doctor appointments coming up this week though, and I should probably go ahead and schedule that cancer followup that I was supposed to do sometime around late spring / early summer, since technically we’re there. πŸ˜’ Sure not looking forward to that either. 😟 It’ll be even less fun dealing with that crap if I’ve got a bunch of SS/WC/Med/Ins stuff on my plate as well. Man… I would be so fucked if I somehow got booted from the system. (I have a feeling that my mental defect of having so much anxiety that I’m unable to talk on the phone and often am too stressed to open mail or emails… that could at least add points to my “crazy” meter… heh)

I guess I’ll know more here before the night ends…

A Different Ramble

Yay. Made it to the weekend. 😐 This past week had been a big ol’ MEH for me personally, even though there wasn’t anything particularly horrible… just not a whole lot that was good, either. Getting to the weekend allows me to mentally switch gears, which is silly – since “weekday” or “weekend” doesn’t really have any functional difference in my position, but it just helps me to push aside the “meh” of last week and prepare to work on some different “meh” with a bit less on my mind. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Some good stuff from the past week… I had a friend come over and bail me out when my lawn had gotten overgrown and I hadn’t seen or heard from my normal mowing crew in two weeks. 🀨 Got my orders of paper masks and hand sanitizer from Amazon. It had been hard to find in stock for a while, so I went ahead and got the pack of 50 masks and a friggin’ case of a dozen 8oz bottles of gel. But having that much, that allowed me to take some up to a couple different friends in Columbus who are as cautious (paranoid?) as me, so they wouldn’t have to go searching for it in stores. 😳😷 Oh, and I did pick up a load of groceries for Dad, using Kroger’s curbside pickup, but unfortunately wasn’t able to stay and visit. 😟 Should be soon, though.

And I don’t know yet if this will turn out to be a good thing or a bad thing, but since the start of last week – all the way up through yesterday – I’ve gotten pieces of mail of various thickness and sizes from the Center for Medicare Services, my Medicare insurer, the Social Security Administration, and I think there may have been one in there from my WC attorneys as well. πŸ˜³πŸ˜‘ If it’s all just stuff to help finish up the settlement phase of my case, then great… I’ll grit my teefs and get through it. But something just tells me that there’s gonna be at least a couple things in this pile of mail that are waiting to be a pain in my ass.

I’ll hold back on my complaining about the lawn situation too much, since it was mostly a misunderstanding. I ended up having a friend mow my lawn in the evening of the 14th day since my normal guys had been here, because the prior week I had contacted them to let them know that part of the yard was getting overgrown with weeds and new bush growth from where they had missed it before. πŸ˜• Yet five days later I still hadn’t even gotten a reply, never mind anyone actually showing up to mow. He said it was because I was down for “every two weeks” even though I thought it was every ten days or so, but like I said… if he’d have replied I’d have at least known that they would be coming eventually, and when I told him five days prior that the yard was already getting out of control – you’d think they’d wanna take care of that sooner than later. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜’

And I’ve been watching the news, reading the articles, paying attention to the numbers all week… and I’ve decided that I can’t go to my cousin’s graduation party this evening. πŸ˜” There’s been a noticeable increase in COVID-19 cases which comes from people’s Memorial Day activity, and then all these protests… woo… it should be about another week before we start seeing the increases from those. 😬 That’ll be the first big “experiment” that may relax some of my fears. If things don’t really pop off after all of the people rubbing up against each other in all of the protest cities, then maybe I can let up on my concern just a bit. But yeah, I can’t go and mix it up with a bunch of folks who’ve been who-knows-where doing who-knows what… especially if I’m gonna be spending time with Dad soon. I hope nothing bad comes from the gathering, because she’d probably feel awful if any of the family members get sick (or worse) just to go to her grad party. 😟

Okay, I’ve gotta run down to the quicky mart to gas up and grab some pop, chips, bread, etc. It’s really the only “store” I’ve been in for months now, so thankfully they have all the small essentials to keep me going – even if it costs a little more than at a regular store. But they’re good at keeping customer numbers in the store low, the doors all open with the breeze blowing, and plenty of space while standing in line. Only once or twice did I see everyone there (as customers) wearing a mask, and last time I was the only one… but yeah, I’m comfortable enough with that place that I don’t have an instant panic attack as I park and prepare to exit my car. 😳

So the plans for tonight include grabbing gas station goodies, hitting BK a little further down the road for dinner, getting back here to the house to then start the laundry, finish the dishes, and face whatever fresh hell all of this mail is waiting to bestow upon me. 😠 I tried to do that last part a couple times this week but couldn’t make myself do it – but I can’t stall anymore since the stuff is probably time sensitive. πŸ˜’ Fun Fun.

I’ve Got Too Much *clap clap* Time On My Hay-unds

I’ll do this and that on any given day, but overall, my life feels like it has been on pause for a long time now. πŸ˜” Three big things are much of the reason behind it. Getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years back and then surgery to have that removed, my workers comp situation that’s been going on for well over a decade, and then waiting while my lawyers try to hammer out an agreement for the medical portion of my WC claim. 😐 So, technically, it’s guess it’s just two “big” things that have me on pause. πŸ€”

I mean, like everyone else, I’ve got a billion other little bitty tiny things that will pop up and add to the stress or anxiety whenever they feel like it, but it’s those things mentioned above that feel like they’ve put the brakes on “who I was” the most. πŸ˜• This entry isn’t about getting into the finer details of how or why… even though it’s relatively obvious, at least on the face value things, how it would make life different for anybody if they had to deal with them as well.

I’ve got a “checkup” ultrasound scan that I’m supposed to schedule sometime around the end of spring / beginning of summer, and I’m not super excited for that. 😬 My yearly check up last fall, which included a second dose of radiation and a gamma scan, went fine… in so far that there wasn’t anything to be immediately worried about. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But of course with something like this it’ll take a few return trips before anyone’s gonna be so bold as to declare me cancer free… and it’s hard not to be anxious about your future with that just floating out there. (It is a good sign that I’m only getting an ultrasound vs the whole other shpeal.)

And then the workers comp stuff, which (considering the above) should feel smaller than it does… but it’s another thing that’s been hanging over my head for what feels like forever, and as some of you may know – it has a way of being a thorn in my side almost every month, so it’s something that once it’s “solved” that month – I immediately start thinking about next month and what dumb shit I’ll have to deal with then. It’s just another “always there” thing. 😠 It’s a shame what a pain in the ass it all is, considering how great my doctor is. And it’s been the same d00d for all this time… πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ™‚ I’m lucky, there.

Even though I probably won’t, I could say that I’m gonna start tomorrow… trying to change whatever it is that needs to be changed in order for me to feel like I’m restarting things. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Granted, not the best time, given the stay-at-home stuff goin’ on… but still, I’m gonna at least give it a little more of a shot. Tomorrow, the next day, the day after that… while allowing myself to have days where it’s just not working, but without letting those days totally sink the idea of getting myself headed in the right direction. πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ™‚

I gotta get out of this trap, where just because I know that some big shit is gonna go down soon regarding my WC settlement talks, it ends up causing me to waste most of my days as I sit there just waiting and wondering when “the next thing” is gonna happen. πŸ˜’ I miss so much of each day because my brain is looking too far ahead, fearing the worst. I suppose that applies to both of the examples that I mentioned in the first paragraph.

It’s not that I’m feeling sorry for myself or anything like that. I look around, I watch the news, I read the articles, and I know that I’m extremely lucky compared to a whole bunch of people. That’s all the more reason that I need to figure out how to stop being so affected by my stuff in the way that I am. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜” Meh… so yeah, this has been bouncing around in my head all day… figured I better put it in print so someone can remind me about this post and rightfully wag their finger at me if it seems I’m not doing what I said. πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ»

One Day at A Time

Fox Sports did a great job with the “virtual” race that they put on today. I forget what the official name was, but it was an eNASCAR / iRacing / Invitational / Exhibition race… that they somehow managed to get on TV with an impressive presentation. Sure, there were more wrecks than in a real race, and a few glitches here and there… but overall, if you were just walking in and out of the living room, only half paying attention, you wouldn’t have even noticed that we were all watching a video game.

A nice little escape for a couple of hours today. Back in reality, Mike DeWine declared that Ohio will have a stay-at-home order starting on Monday. We’re all basically doing that already, but I think this may actually affect folks who were still wanting and trying to work. Only certain jobs are on the approved list, so here’s hoping that the government comes through with unemployment or another form of relief quickly – ‘cuz as if the virus itself doesn’t cause enough anxiety, now people are gonna have to worry about utilities, rent, car payments, food, etc.

The problem is, the way they’ve worded things, the way they’re going to enforce this order… it’s way, way too soft – and the people who want to be out, or just don’t want to be told what to do, they’re gonna find and use all the loopholes. I’d give it a week or two before DeWine gets fed up with the lack of cooperation and puts something stronger in place. But right now, you can still go out to the park, walk around, walk your dog, drive to shop, visit family, go to doctor appointments… I mean, I don’t know what the right amount of “enforcement” would be, so maybe that’s why it’s starting off light.

I didn’t watch Trump’s press briefing today, and I’m probably a whole lot better for it. I’ve seen a couple clips, and have read things that he said or did… and yeah, as many, many people and journalists are starting to say on Twitter – there’s no reason that these things should be carried live, since there is so much misinformation that causes fear and anxiety. So my day was a bit better than I was feeling last night. Honestly, I don’t really know how I feel at the moment… it’s almost like anticipation… not knowing how I should feel until we start seeing things happening closer to home each day.

I’m probably still right on the edge of that same anxiety that I had last night, so after I get off of here I’m gonna seek out Airplane! (the movie) so I can kick back and absorb some stupid, clever, dumb comedy as I hopefully get sleepy. I hope everyone out there made it through the day as uneventfully as I did today.

Pretty Good Evening

Forced myself out of the house for the second half of the day. Had a bit of normal running (grocery/bank/etc) to do, but for a change I also hit some thrift stores while I was out. πŸ™‚ Helped to calm my nerves as I was out among the humans, as well as keep my thoughts free of any of the “bleh” I’ve been dealing with lately.

Found an OSU shirt for me, along with a couple of big bowls for salads or cereal or whatever, and then saw a white poofy coat with a fur-lined hood and “sparkle” along the seams / pockets – so I grabbed that for Cassi, since I knew she’d have liked it if she was there. 😊 I also found something for Genesee. With her being a Snoopy fan / collector, I went ahead and grabbed this giant Pez dispenser with a Snoopy head. 😳😯 Figured it would make good decoration for a shelf somewhere if nothin’ else. 😁

Stopped by and saw Dad on the way home, and ended up staying there longer than I thought I would. He had the Roku fired up so I was able to introduce him to Daily Dose of Internet and the benefits of the YouTube app. πŸ€“πŸ‘πŸ» I only recently discovered that channel myself, but we ended up watching an hour-long compilation followed by the better part of an hour-and-a-half one that followed. πŸ˜… It was nice though… and like I said to him, there’s all kinds of awful stuff we could have been watching or talking about, but these little videos just kinda “take you away” from everything in the real world while you’re watching. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Œ

It’s funny… as I was getting up to leave, Dad mentioned something about the WC stuff, and I had actually totally forgotten about it at the time. πŸ™„πŸ˜„ But I did wanna update him on everything that was going on, so I’m glad he reminded me. It’s a lot to take in all at one, but I think I got him up to speed, and he’s on the same page as me when it comes to what seems fair and what doesn’t. 🀨😏 It worked out good though, being able to get all the info across without accidentally having spent the entire visit talking about it.

I Ain’t As Good As I Once Was…

This has been on my mind, so I’mma ramble. πŸ™‚ If we’re able to come to a settlement agreement regarding the medical portion of my claim, I wonder if I’ll be able to eventually undo all of the damage that’s been done. πŸ€”πŸ˜Ÿ Not the physical stuff, of course, since that’ll slowly continue to get worse over the years… but the way the whole process has mentally changed me, especially over the past several years. 😞

It’s just that I’m guaranteed that one week out of every month will be filled with anxiety and stress, simply because I have to get my medications filled. 😐 The meds are required to be covered by my claim, and many years ago I could pick them up without issue – even being able to get them a few days early at times. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Then the problems started. πŸ˜’ Short delays turned into long delays, and long delays became even longer. Eventually the delays were so long that I’d have to pay out-of-pocket just so I didn’t go without, and then wait and hope that I’d get paid back. πŸ˜• If my doctor prescribes a new medication, it can be denied pending an IC hearing. Even when a prescription doesn’t change they can still sometimes deny coverage pending an IC hearing to prove that it’s still necessary. (Which, after a decade, it obviously will be.)

Three weeks of “tolerable” pain at best, followed by a week of worrying, fussing, and fighting just to get the meds that they’re legally required to provide. 😠 Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat… πŸ™„πŸ˜ž Combine that stress with fluctuating pain and lack of ability, and eventually it consumed so much of my thoughts and time that I started backing away from everything else.

(Don’t mind my rambling… like I said, this blog sometimes acts as my therapy…)

When I can’t guess how I’ll physically feel, and I can’t even count on having (or being able to get) my meds to help… things became too unpredictable to continue like I had been. πŸ™ A couple of years ago I had a long phase where I couldn’t do anything if it meant someone “counting on me” for something. Family started getting shut out, friends definitely got shut out, all because I never knew how I’d feel when I woke up that day nor if I’d be facing (or getting pulled into) another hearing or lengthy process with the pharmacy.

That hasn’t changed. 😐 The concern and worry, that is. πŸ˜’ Along with my family and friends’ understanding, I’ve been able to make some adjustments that has kept me from totally isolating myself these days… but lemme tell ya, sometimes it feels easier to just remove myself from people’s lives than to disappoint them over and over again when things are bad. πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜ž And that leads me back to my original question… how long does it take for a person to escape that mindset, if that 1/4 of each month no longer has that anxiety and stress from the fight? 😐

The stress now, for better or worse, is making sure the settlement (whether an annuity or lump sum) is truly enough to cover the things that it will need to cover. If not, I’ll just be trading the stress of fighting for meds each month for the stress of not being able to take the same meds, because I won’t have the funds to pay for them. πŸ˜’ Medicare is technically supposed to step in at that point, but they’ll require all kinds of proof that I spent the settlement money only on applicable things, and the more expensive meds still might not be covered. πŸ˜– So as you can see, there truly is “always something.”

Kinda makes all the “You’re so lucky that you don’t have to work anymore!” folks reconsider, eh? 😏

Learn To Relax

I know it’s only Thursday, but I think I’m gonna mentally start my weekend now. Had all kinds of horrible nightmares last night, even though I can’t tell you a damn thing regarding what they were about. 😟 I just know that multiple times throughout the night I’d wake up in a sweat from whatever I was dreaming about… I dunno, maybe bits will come back to me throughout the day as dreams sometimes do. Just takes hearing the right word or seeing the right image on TV and stuff can start coming back into view.

So, not much sleep, headache when I finally woke up for good… although at least it’s a normal headache and doesn’t seem related to my neck, so hopefully some Aleve will be able to help with that. I think it’s just the stuff that has been occupying my thoughts for the first part of the week kinda building up… worrying about my friend’s surgery, thinking about and helping out another friend who has a custody hearing today… and then despite doing pretty good at keeping my WC stuff out of my thoughts, struggling while shopping yesterday agitated my frustration – by barely being able to handle a few relatively small bags of dirt and gravel – I think my brain just got a little full, and last night’s dreams may have been a product of that. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Regardless, I’m gonna take it easy today, stay relatively disconnected from the digital world, and probably do a little work around the house. Lawn guys were here yesterday, bills and paperwork have been handled, no appointments to worry about, no calls to make or people to see… so I can just chill here in my bubble and not worry about any of the stuff that might stress me out. 😌 I mean, I’m definitely interested in politics and all of the “goings on” when it comes to all that, but I’m even gonna try to avoid that today… and today sounds like it could be pretty “big” when it comes to potential news. (I’m sure I’ll catch Maddow later, though… I just like the long-form way that she sums up the day’s biggest stories.)

But yeah, just figured I’d go ahead and get some “me time” before the weekend gets here. It’s funny, even though I don’t have a traditional Monday-thru-Friday type schedule since I don’t work anymore, I still feel like I have to justify it to myself if I wanna take a “day off” during the week. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Hell, even at that, I’m still gonna do some laundry, put away the groceries from yesterday, other light misc chores… and I’ve gotta learn to give myself credit, even for small crap like that, when I’m not feeling great. So, yeah, I’ll probably be a little slower at reading and responding to any messages today… it’s not you, it’s me. 😏

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.