I thought I would share this little bit of my adventure and perhaps you can have a bit of a laugh at me.. Yes, I said at !!
After diagnosis the first and most important thing that happened to me was chemotherapy. It was the attempt at blasting my cancer back to whatever rock it crawled out from under. I don’t mind telling you that after my not so awesome experience of chemo back in 2005 I was totally not looking forward to it and my Oncologist was quite careful in the one she chose.. You see I first had AC (Adriamycin/Cyclophosphainde) – Given in a three week cycle for six cycles as a “just in case” scenario. Well I was one week in hospital, one week on the couch unable to function and then was at work for the last week and only just functioning.. Seriously, I needed post it notes attached to my forehead just to remember to breathe !!!.
So there I was starting my first dose of Abraxane and to my surprise it went really quite well. Not sick at all. Yes problems with the steriods and anti-nausea medications but generally I was OK with it.. Well each week I would arrive to be “plugged in” and each week 20 questions.. One of which was “Are your feet or hands numb?”. I as amused by this as they were not.. Whoops, spoke too soon. After the 3rd dose it started and very quickly my feet went from tingly to toes gone, arches gone, heel gone. Before I knew it, within the week it had crept up my right leg to my knee and my left foot was out to it as well.
As you are reading this, it all seems pretty simple. Numb feet – be careful .. Yep, really, really simple. But no.. Nothing is ever that simple.
I did not worry too much as nothing so far with the chemotherapy had seemed as dramatic as the illness that I coped with back in 2005 and I was extremely happy that I was getting around it and functioning in a very slow but OK manner. Each week, one of the questions was relating to exercise. How much and how often?? These questions were designed to see how we were coping with the treatment and depending on the answers , alterations to the treatment were decided upon as required.
After my first experience with treatment I was determined to just keep on moving. So I began to walk as my exercise as the pool was out due to the huge amount of germs that hang out there having a wonderful time. I did this on a daily basis and quickly got up to around 2km.. Not too much but on chemo it was a great effort. I was feeling pretty good about it too.
Oh ohhh.. as you can see. Writing about it now seems to be so direct and so simple.. Who would have thought I could make it so difficult ?
Chemotherapy ended a little early as each week I had slowly became more and more affected by each dose and by dose eight my body had decided that functioning was actually an option (no signed off instructions from me though) , it had had enough and it was decided that I needed scans. The scans showed that there was a vast improvement in the spread and that I could have six months off to see how it all went.
I continued to walk and even though by now I was feeling less than ordinary, I knew it was extremely important to keep on moving..
But, and there is always a but….. one day, without any warning my feet began to wake up. Strangely I had not missed them too much.. I had been able to walk places in bare feet that I would never have tried before.. Handy !!!!.. I found myself in excruciating pain in the right foot and it felt as though my left ankle wanted to break. (I had sprained the left ankle in the previous August and figured I may have injured it again).
I could not work it out at all. I had been so very careful. I had worn supportive shoes. I had watched each step to ensure my feet placed well while walking (and no, I did not walk into many things because I was not looking where I was walking). I suddenly was wishing that the stage before waking up was back !!! It was like when your feet are asleep and just before they go into pins and needles is where mine were living.. Not nice, but way better than where I was right at this point. If I stopped, they were better. As soon as I got up and started to walk again, it would take up to 50 steps to settle and even then not so good.
But being the determined person I am, I kept on walking. (I know, not the smartest tool in the chest at this point). But really, as I got going, the pain subsided and only came back if I walked too far.
Eventually, the podiatrist got the ball rolling. my feet were suffering from “stoopid thought syndrome”. I was really so off the mark that I sit here as I write this and laugh at myself. So obvious.
Rule No 1 – If you have chemotherapy, walk and walk and walk – moving is extremely important
Rule No 2 – If you have chemotherapy and “peripheral neuropathy” arrives at your door and steals your feet – DO NOT walk and walk and walk
Rule No 3 – If rule number 2 arrives at your door and you are suffering from undiagnosed “chemo brain” then you are likely to have no idea what you are on about and continue with rule no1
There is nothing in the world like that “light blub moment” where your feet are hurting so much and you are wondering what indeed has gone wrong and it comes to you.. Simple and concise. Walking when you muscles and tendons are asleep and paying to attention to the boss on where they should be placed whilst you are working hard on rule no 1 is priceless.