December 11, 2012

NEUROPATHY

I am not a fan of this new chemo.  I am apparently one of the few lucky people that develop neuropathy within 72 hours of my first treatment.  It is normal to develop neuropathy, but not normally until about 6 weeks in to treatment. Mine has gotten so bad over the past few days that my step-dad had to go get me a walker today.   According to cancer.org, the symptoms of neuropathy are:

 

The symptoms or signs of CIPN depend mostly on which nerves are involved. The most common symptoms are:

 

  • Pain (may be there all the time or come and go, like shooting or stabbing pain)
  • Burning
  • Tingling (“pins and needles” feeling)
  • Loss of feeling (can be numbness or just less ability to sense pressure, touch, heat, or cold)
  • Trouble using your fingers to pick up or hold things; dropping things
  • Balance problems
  • Trouble with tripping or stumbling while walking
  • Pressure or temperature may hurt more than usual (mostly cold; this is called cold sensitivity)
  • Shrinking muscles
  • Muscle weakness

 

CIPN can cause severe pain and can affect your ability to do things like walk, write, button your shirt, or pick up a coin.

I am experiencing a lot of pain and numbness in my feet.  I know that sounds strange (pain AND numbness) but it is a very strange feeling.  My feet feel numb, yet at the same time I have sharp, shooting pain in my feet and my toenails hurt bad.  It is hard to keep my balance because of the numbness and stairs are very difficult.  In addition to my feet hurting, I have muscle weakness in my lower legs.  My fingertips are also numb.  They don’t hurt like my feet, but I do have tingling in the tips and under my fingernails.  I could not unbutton my pajama top this morning and my mom had to do it for me.  It is hard to hold a pen to write, and it is hard to type.  You don’t want to know how many typos I keep having to correct while typing this.

I keep reminding myself that this is all temporary.

Tomorrow I have an appointment at Hardin Memorial with their radiation oncologist.  I have not fully decided that I am going to have my radiation done at HMH, but it would really make it more convenient if I can have the radiation done here in E-Town since I would have to go 5 days a week for however many weeks they prescribe.  So I decided to go in for a consult to see what the doctor down here recommends.  I will also see the doctor in Louisville at Brown Cancer Center.  If the two doctors are recommending treatments that are similar or the same, I will have my treatment done in E-Town.  If they recommend something totally different, I will be going with the doctor in Louisville.  I wish that the doctor in Louisville could oversee my treatment and let me have the radiation done in E-Town, but when I asked the doctors office about that I was told that they don’t do that.

I will update tomorrow what Dr. Seither recommends for radiation.

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