Interesting Article on Neuropathy

I want to share an article that a friend shared with me, on neuropathy:  What is Breast Cancer Related Chemo Induced Peripheral Neuropathy?


Before I start, I want to tell you that I post more often on my facebook page.  Shorter things, funny things, links to things I want to share, pictures at medical appointments.  So, if you are on facebook, take a look at my page here:  Living With Stage IV Breast Cancer.  Here, on the blog, I post longer things.  Thought provoking things, my thoughts on living with a terminal illness, this insidious disease.

Here goes:

I've had mild neuropathy since my first chemo treatment, in the form of tingling on the bottoms of my feet.  I've noticed that it's become more pronounced as time goes on.  I've also started noticing it in my hands.  If I clap my hands, for instance, they hurt (so, I golf clap now).  It's affecting my knitting, which is why it takes longer for me to knit things now, and why it's so very important for me to knit for my future grandchildren before I can't do it anymore.
 The article also mentions another symptom of mine, my balance issues: 
"...the use of chemotherapy has “dramatically improved our outcomes in terms of achieving long-term cure in breast cancer,” there’s a “flip side. Many patients experience toxicity from chemotherapy including the commonly encountered chemo-induced neuropathy, which can present as numbness, tingling pain in the fingertips and toes, but also difficulty walking and balance issues.” 
If you've seen me any time in the past year or so, you've seen me using a cane.  I bought the cane after coming to the realization that I had started walking next to walls, or anything I might catch myself on should I lose my balance.  I realized that I would opt to not go places because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to walk as much as was needed, even simply going to the grocery store or to the mall.  Balance and exhaustion both play a part here.  Whenever I was with my boys, I would take their arm to assist me.  With the cane, I could be a little more independent and not rely on them quite so much.  A few months ago, I acquired a rollator, which is a walker with wheels/brakes/seat.  I also received an order from my oncologist for a motorized wheelchair.  Motorized as opposed to manual because I don't have the upper body strength to operate a manual wheelchair.  I received word just yesterday from the medical supply store that my insurance has approved it, so they are ordering the chair.  I should have it here at the end of next week.  The first thing I do, I think, will be to take Benji for a walk around the neighborhood.  😊

My physical therapist thinks that the balance issues are fatigue related.  My oncologist thinks that they are a side effect of one of my medications.  This article shows that there is a third opinion as to the cause.  The good news is this:  the friend who shared the article with me is on the same medications that I am.  We have a lot of the same symptoms, balance being one of them.  Just today, I'm told, our oncologists got together on the phone and are comparing notes and ideas.  She and I are so hopeful that them putting their heads together will spur on a solution.  I am so excited that they're talking with each other.

This is how it's done, my friends. We talk, we compare notes, we share what we learn from each other with our doctors, they do the research and talk with each other, shit gets done.


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