Thursday, February 4, 2010

Getting On With Your Life (continued)

It's a tad difficult to get on with life when something such as walking presents a major obstacle.

One of the side effects/complications which can occur from chemotherapy is referred to as CIPN or Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. This can affect the lower arms and hands or lower legs and feet or both upper and lower extremities.

In my case, it affects my calves and feet. The majority of the time I cannot feel my feet other than the sensation that they are always cold. My calves themselves are painful. It ranges from intense cramp-like pain from the outside to an internal feeling that they are so tight they're going to burst.

The particular chemo which I was given did not have a tendency to cause this issue, but then shortly after starting the chemo I also developed pitting edema in both legs severe enough that an indent remained when pressing my finger against my leg. I also developed more severe side effects than usual according to the oncologist. I always had the 1 in 1,000 symptom or side effect - lucky me.

When simply putting your feet on the floor in the morning is painful it certainly doesn't make for a great start to any day. Medicatilons such as Lyrica or Neurontin which can be helpful with nerve pain were useless. Other pain medications were just as useless.

I find myself using a heating pad which does more to ahift the focus than actually solve the problem. I also sit in bed at night and massage my calves which feels good at the moment but provides no relief upon stopping.

I don't know how long I will suffer from this condition or if it will ever completely go away. In the meantime, this is something that those requiring the administration of chemotherapy to be aware of and bring any such symptoms to your doctors attention.