On Using a Cane....

I did it. I bought a cane.

I have balance issues. I can't walk up/down even a curb without holding onto something for balance. I've found myself at work walking next to the wall in case I need to reach out to steady myself. Whenever I'm standing, I find the nearest thing to lean on. Whenever I walk with my husband or sons, they automatically put out their arm for me to hold on to.  I'm going to physical therapy for my balance issues, in addition to the muscle cramping. They think that it's fatigue driven.  I think they're right.  I am working on pushing through the fatigue, but wow, it's hard. So, I had been mulling around about getting myself a cane. Not to help me walk, but just to help me keep my balance. Hopefully I will be carrying it mostly and just using it to lean on when there's not a wall or a post handy.   In that aspect, I think it would be very helpful.  On the other hand, I worry that I will become dependent on it.

When I mentioned it to my physical therapist the other night, she said that, after watching me walk out last week, she was going to suggest it. It's just for balance, I won't need it all the time, and she doesn't think I'll become dependent on it.  She also thinks that it will help with my exhaustion.  She says that with the cane, I can relax when I walk, and not expend energy looking for something to hold on to or to lean on.  Yesterday I used the cane at work for the first time.  I still have mixed feelings about it.

I think I resisted it because I'm so afraid that it means that I'm deteriorating, not getting better.  So
many times since my diagnosis two years ago I've logged on to facebook to see that someone in one of my cancer support groups has died.  Most of the time, I'm finding, the deterioration happens
quickly.  They were doing so well, advocating, making memories with their families -- living!  Sometimes a family member will post that so-and-so has entered hospice, or is in the hospital again.  Maybe a week to two goes by and that same family member will let us know that our friend has died.  Sometimes it's much quicker.  About a month ago, I was seeing this particular woman post photos of a herself and others filming a documentary.  A few hours later, I started to see condolences pop up on her page.  It was that quick.  That's why so many of us in the metastatic cancer community live in varying degrees of fear.  Fear the cancer has come back.  Fear that the medication isn't working anymore.  Fear that there aren't any other medications that will work.  Fear of entering hospice, because we know that means the end for us.  So, it is with trepidation that I use the cane.  I fear that it is the beginning of the end.  I understand that this fear is most likely unfounded, but it's still there, hiding in the back of my mind....

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