How Many More Days Until Spring?

This polar vortex can just take itself right back up to Canada. I’m sitting here at my office wrapped in two blankets and I’m still freezing!

Which leads into something that hasn’t happened in 18 months – my hot flashes. They have been non-existant during the day for the past three days. Nothing…nada…zip. Now, the night sweats have been horrible (guess it’s making up for the day), but the regular day time hot flashes seem to be getting fewer and far between.

Menopause sucks. In so many ways. My mood swings now are worse than they ever were when I had regular periods. Of course, what doesn’t help is that I’ve been off buspar for a full week thanks to my stupid mail order prescription plan. It came in last night, but takes a few days to get into my system. I’m snapping at everyone. Ugh.

I finally got around to my MRI yesterday. Now, I’ve had MRIs before, but this time, it was an all hands on deck freakout by the woman administering the MRI because I have had Radiation and Chemo in the past 12 months. She didn’t know if she was still allowed to administer the MRI and had to call to get my doctor’s ok. I had given them all this information ahead of time, so I’m not sure why we had to wait until five minutes before my appointment to freak out, but we did. Thankfully, my oncologists were both available at that hour of the morning. They were like, “Why are you calling me on this?” So they went ahead and did the MRI and I will finally find out this coming Monday what they are going to do about my knee.

In the meantime, my hip flexor is jacked up. I’m sure it is because of damage they did at PT last week. I went on Monday to the therapist and she shook her head and told me my body was sending out an all points “something’s wrong” bulletin. She was actually worried about my hip pain and asked me 90 bajillion questions about the type of pain I had when I had cancer and my hysterectomy. I explained to her that the pain I felt then (soft tissue pain) was different than what I was feeling now (my tendons are jacked up – causing joint pain in my back, hip, and knee). This is joint specific pain as opposed to soft tissue pain where there was no point of origin. That calmed her out a bit.

I’m kind of tired of everything wrong with me leading back to “OMG IS IT CANCER?” No – I’m 41, and spent years fat and damaging my poor joints. Let’s fix this!

So, there’s the update. Will probably update again Monday when I find out what they are going to do about more surgery.

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Thank You Thank You Thank You!!!

For the chicken swinging, inside out pj wearing, good thoughts, prayers, voodoo or whatever it was you did…

So, here’s the news I couldn’t talk about (didn’t want to jinx anything)…

After 6 and a half years of semi-successful self-employment, on February 4th, my honey will be gainfully employed with a full-time, honest to goodness, no contract, regular paycheck, government job!!!

No more wondering when or if another contract is coming down the pike…

No more having to supplement with DJing at crappy bars and weddings…

My honey is going to be a tax assessor for the county in which we live.

Amen and Hallelujah!

I’m so excited, and I know he feels better about himself. The type of tax he consulted on in MD doesn’t exist in DE, so the past nine months have been horrible…he took a temp job over the holidays at Amazon, which nearly killed him. No one wants to be walking 13 miles per day at 57 years old.

I’m so freaking proud of my husband. This has been a long time coming. He was really starting to get down on himself. He literally sent out hundreds of resumes a month with no response. Finally, he’s in with a government position. I told him to get in there, and grab on like there’s no tomorrow.

Finally a little ray of sunshine!

Seriously?

I’m kind of at my wit’s end with my health care providers today. Not necessarily the doctors, but the idiots who run the customer services units leave a lot to be desired.

My MRI was rescheduled because I had to have a pre-authorization for the scan. OK, no problem. Never had to have a pre-auth for ANYTHING with BlueCross before, but my provider changed from Empire Blue Cross to Anthem Blue Cross this year when I moved to Delaware, so that could be why. So, I rescheduled my MRI for this Tuesday, called my ortho’s office, made sure they had my NEW insurance information, and asked them to take care of it. Those guys are fantastic.

An hour or so ago, during my work day, where I am on the phone 90% of the time, my cell phone rings with a number I don’t know. I was on a conference call so I let it go to voice mail. I had an automated message with someone who gave me this number and asked me to call them back regarding my Health Plan. WTF? Who are you? So when I finally had some time with my lunch I call them back. This girl answers, does NOT identify who she is working with, and I tell her that I got a message and was asked to call back. She says, “Ok.” Then proceeds to ask me for my date of birth and social security number. Uh, no. I said, “I’m not going to give you that…I don’t know who you are.” She says, “You called us.” I said, “No, I returned YOUR call.” Oh – well we’re Anthem Blue Cross. Then why didn’t you answer the freaking PHONE that way?

So I give them the information they referenced and they let me know that my MRI had been authorized. Then she goes on to tell me she wants to help me schedule it. Uh, no. It’s already scheduled. She says, “Well, I can save you some money.” Ok. Then she says, “We want you to have the MRI done at Upper Chesapeake Facility in Bel Air, MD…it will save you $15 on the total cost of the MRI.” Uh, no. Nope. NO. I said, “Why would I want to drive an 80 mile round trip which will cost me $40 in gas to save $15 on my MRI?” Well, this facility will cost you less.

No…no it won’t. It will cost me more, and I can’t charge my GAS to my flex account for medical expenses. I asked her if there was a problem with the facility I had chosen (which is a MILE from my house). No…but it will cost you $15 to $20 more to have it there.

I lost my sh*t. See, I had already been on a call this morning with Express Scripts to find out why in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks they don’t give me a full month script on my anti-anxiety meds. I take 3-a-day. 3-a-day for 30 days is 90 pills. EASY MATH. So why do they proceed to send me 20 every month and then tell me that I can’t get them refilled until the next month? The girl I spoke to there was a moron too. I asked her to READ the SCRIPT from the doctor. OH…well, you should be getting 90 pills. YOU THINK?

Sigh.

So back to Little Miss Anthem….who tells me in the FUTURE I should order my procedures though them.

NO – if I have determined that the facility I’m using is IN NETWORK, then I’m going to make the most convenient appointment for me. NOT FOR YOU. She tells me, “Well, your doctor is in MD.” Yeah, because he’s the BEST. And the ONLY doctor who will do this surgery in the Mid-Atlantic area. I also tell her, “My knee hurts. I need surgery. The only way you people will pay for the surgery is if I go to PT which is making my knee WORSE and then having an MRI…I’m following your rules. I pay a lot on a monthly basis for you people to WORK FOR ME.” Then I hung up.

Yup, lost my sh*t.

It’s a good thing I didn’t have to deal with this during cancer treatments. Because I think I would have elected to just stand in front of a microwave and hope the radiation worked.

Stupid Snow and Random Post is Random

We got hammered with snow…over a foot, although I think the official numbers from the Wilmington Airport are 11.3. It was more than that in the backyard this morning when I let Mia out to potty. It is also 0 degrees with a negative 10 windchill. Can you say “Brrr?”

I’m taking another snow day here at home. They say the main roads are ok, and our building is open, but we had to dig out (and by we, I mean Bob) and since I do have the luxery of working from home, when it came down to bundling up over dress clothes or sitting here on my bed with my kitties, my pup and my sweats…well, you know where that went.

I’m looking out the window now and the wind keeps blowing the snow around. It almost looks as if it is still snowing. And no, it’s not pretty. It was, however, hysterical watching Mia play in the snow this morning. My huskey mix LOVES the snow. She loves to run in it, and play in it, and burry her head in the snow. She loves it if one of us goes out with her, and last night, Bob went out on the patio with her to shovel a path to the trashcans. He threw snow on her and she was going nuts, biting at it, and trying to “sneak up” on it. Goofy pup. She definitely has Siberian Huskey in her. My little sled dog in training.

Me, on the other hand…not so fond of this cold. Last night my arthritis was so bad I literally took to bed with a heating pad on my back. I had great intentions of sitting there and watching TV until I konked out exactly five minutes after getting comfy. I fell asleep at 7:30. I woke up again 2 hours later, and watched about an hour of TV with Bob, until he put on Justified. I don’t care for it so I went back to sleep. Tuesdays are a big TV night for me – I love The Biggest Loser, and Face-Off. I DVR’ed them both and will try to catch up later today.

I’m getting ready for a big exam at work, and have been working this morning on the project requirements and logistics for the exam, which will take place in Chicago. I’m so glad I don’t have to go to the opening meeting…makes me really enjoy my job – I get everything ready and then hand it off to another project manager who works on the actual exam and issues. It’s not like any of our exams would be in places I WANT to visit – our facilities are in Sioux Falls, or Chicago, or Grey, TN. Now, if we had a facility in Florida, I’d be fighting for that opening meeting. 🙂

My cancer awareness tattoo is making it’s rounds on Pinterest. People have been pinning it left and right. I’m actually kind of proud of it. And sadly, and now addicted to tattoos. I am getting another one (although, I haven’t told Bob yet). I’m going to have the word “fearless” tattooed somewhere in my own handwriting. I’m not sure where though…I’m thinking on my wrist, although I do have to be careful with visible tats because of my job. Maybe in the middle of my upper back. I would like to see it though. Decisions decisions.

No cancer-y news here, aside from the arthritis damage. I get my MRI tomorrow. I’m wondering if it will be a problem since I’m supposed to limit my exposure to radiation. Oh well, I have to get this knee taken care of and if that means an MRI then so be it.

Stay warm y’all.

Plugging Along

Sadly, I still can not disclose any information on our (fingers crossed) good news…thanks to a long weekend and now a snow day that has shut down government, I’m sure we won’t hear anything until later this week. But please, continue to send some good juju our way. We could use it. And no, I’m not pregnant. Not adopting. Just some good news finally coming our way. 🙂

So, this weekend, I decided to bite the bullet and change my eTools membership with Weight Watchers to an actual in person Monthly Pass. I got up Saturday morning, bright and early, and took myself to my first meeting in I don’t know how long. Since before gastric bypass. I am still up from the cancer diagnosis, but I enjoyed the meeting, and honestly, the Simple Start program is easy peasy – no counting, no special food…just eat from a list of “approved foods” and add in an indulgence once in a while (you can count up to 7 points per day) and it is something I’m loving because I don’t like thinking about it. The recipes are pretty good as well, although I’m twisting them my own way with seasonings and flavors. We’ll see how it all comes out this Saturday at my first “official” weigh in.

It’s snowing here. Again. This has been the worst freaking winter. Normally I really don’t mind the snow all that much, and I do have the ability to work from home as I need to now without an act of God from my supervisor and a guilt trip from hell. I was supposed to work from home today anyway, as I had a dentist appointment this morning, so hey, it worked out. I really don’t like the cold or snow because of what it is doing to my knee and other assorted arthritic joints.

That kinds of leads me into my next bit of news. Surgery is 100% in my future. I saw my ortho yesterday for a knee check. He told me that the amount of damage in my left knee is extensive, and this time around, he can not even guarantee he can do a de novo graft (the surgery I had on my right leg in 2011). He thinks the damage to the underside of the knee cap (where he would graft the new cells) might be too much to guarantee adhesion. We discussed other options…the one that frequently came out of his mouth was full knee replacement. OK, folks, this freaks me the hell out. First, I’m only 41. Which means without a doubt, I will have to put myself in this position again in 20 to 25 years if I get the full knee. It’s a big surgery, and my system isn’t making me any guarantees between the diabetes and the cancer. Additionally, due to my age, getting my insurance to pay for a full knee replacement now might be a crap shoot. I told him this option was the LEAST appealing option to me.

We also discussed doing another scope and clean out, and when he does that, he’ll realign my knee cap. The whole reason I’m having issues with this knee was not because I was over weight (although that had a lot to do with the EXTENT of damage) but because I disclocated my knee in highschool. It was never properly set. Five years ago, I had a microfracture on this knee, and a lateral release done on the knee cap to move it from the side of my leg back to the center. In the past five years, the knee cap has become like Mae West…she used to be Snow White, but she drifted. This sugery is 100% in my future at the very least.

Finally, we talked about trying the de novo graft (they graft young cartlidge cells to the back of my knee cap to encourage new growth). He’s IS willing to try it because I told him I didn’t want to hobble around for the next 20 years, or dive right into a total knee replacement without exhausting everything else first. What he did tell me was that he’s ordered an MRI, and if he gets in the knee, and doesn’t like what he sees, he won’t try it.

Many people would ask why I would pick the de novo over the total knee replacement. Honestly, the total knee replacement is an easier surgery. I’d be up and around that day walking on the knee. It’s not a difficult recovery. But it is a shock to the system, and knee replacements only last 20 to 25 years max now. I don’t want to do this all over again if I don’t have to. The de novo graft is an outpatient sugery, but the recovery sucks. It’s very painful, and I will not be able to bear weight at all on my knee for 8 to 10 weeks. Also, I will be in an immobilizer for 8 to 10 weeks, which means when my knee is ready for PT, it is horrible. But, the sugery can PUT OFF a knee replacement for 15 to 20 years, which buys me a lot of time if it is successful. And that’s what I’m counting on.

So, I see the doctor again in two weeks, and he’ll have my MRI results then, and I think then we’ll figure out what the road map to this is. I can’t keep going on like this – he knows he has to do something, because it is affecting my ankles, my back, and my hips. And hip pain scares the blue purple bejesus out of me since it is what led to my cancer diagnosis.

So, send good thoughts that I can get a de novo done…I’d appreciate it. And keep swinging those chickens for our other good news. 😉

And wish me sanity between now and the Superbowl. The Broncos are in and my husband is riding high. Me, I’m annoyed that my team was one and done and am protesting football until pre-season next August. GO IGGLES!

Normal is Awesome

Although the start of our year was total crap (drama, strep throat, blah blah blah), it’s really shaping up to be quite awesome now.

I’m still going to PT three days a week. I don’t know if I mentioned that before, but my left knee is crap – all bone on bone, and the knee cap, which I had previously moved via a lateral release in 2008, has eeked its way back over to the left side. So, PT on that. Plus, I have tendonitis in my left elbow which they have been treating. My left side is essentially crap. I’m sensing another surgery in my future, but it is what it is. Aside from the PT, I feel good. Finally feel good.

Things are turning around for us financially. Again, can’t say anything UNTIL we get official word, but we finally may have some good news coming our way.

And, we can afford to take our annual vacation to Colorado this year. I have booked our rental car and made our hotel reservations. Our plane is going to be $528 round trip for BOTH UF US INCLUDING TAX. Woo hoo! Frontier flies out of Wilmington now with a direct flight to Denver.  It’s $95 one way.  We usually fly Southwest, but this price with taxes has Southwest beat by $200 and we don’t have to drive to Philly or Baltimore and pay for parking for a week – Mom can take us.  YAY!  Now to find a dog sitter.

Work is going well.  I have peaks and valleys in my job – sometimes I’m really busy, and sometimes not so much.  Right now is a busy time.  And I love the job.  LOVE IT.

Going back to Weight Watchers meetings starting Saturday, and then Bob and I have a date.  Thanks to Groupon, we’re getting $20 of Italian food at Mrs. Robino’s in Wilmington for $11.  Then thanks to a gift certificate we got for Christmas, we’re going to see The Hobbit at the IMAX downtown.  I am not exactly excited about seeing the Hobbit, but it’s what he wants to see, so…meh.   Lunch and  a movie for $11 for two people.  LOVE ME SOME GROUPON. 

So, essentially, life is getting back to a sense of normal.  And normal, well…it’s spectacular.  🙂

Things Are Turning Around

The strep seems to be over and done wtih in our household.  Bob and I are still on antibiotics for a few days, but we are feeing better and getting back to ourselves.

Thank goodness.

In other news, we got some really good news at the end of last week.  I can’t quite share with you what it is yet, but please send some prayers and good thoughts are way, because we can surely use them.

Not much else to talk about for now…