December 29, 2011

More on neuropathy

Although Tuesday was a good, high-energy day, yesterday my feet troubled me even more than at the end of last week's first dose of Taxol. I hobbled to lunch with a friend and tried to wander in a bookstore. After about 30 minutes I simply had to sit down. Getting home and putting my feet up for hours didn't help. By 10 PM I was practically in tears with frustration about the whole thing. I took some lorazepam, got into bed, and tried to forget the situation. Unfortunately, I still woke up with the same level of neuropathy.

Why does this neuropathy bother me so much? It makes me feel helpless when I have trouble moving around the house, much less trying to go out, walk the dog, drive the car, run an errand, cook a meal -- the really simple things in life that can be so easy to take for granted.

Part of my neuropathy experience feels like constant pins-and-needles tingling. That might not sound so bad, but remember, I said "constant." As in, no break: 60 seconds a minute, 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is no escape from this tingling, a relatively low-level annoyance whose inescapability grates hard.

On top of the tingling there's the numbness. Parts of my feet, from the toes, through the ball of the foot and onto the heel, simply have no sensation. That means I need to be extra careful about tripping or losing my balance, since I might not be able to feel the floor beneath me well enough to correct my posture should I stumble. And I can't risk breaking a bone in a fall. This is why my gait is so rough. I lurch around the house from numb spot on one foot to another numb spot on the other foot. As a safety precaution, we've taken up all the floor rugs except one small one. The floors may be cold, but there is less for me to potentially trip over.

I hope that today's acupuncture appointment will bring some relief so that I am more able to live my life. After all, the dog needs a walk, and so do I.


  1. You know Jill, I almost feel stupid saying this. I left your site, and then decided that I should tell you my experience, and let you make up your own mind. My feet are just awful, and I've really sort of made up my mind to simply live w/ it, be grateful it's not cancer, etc.

    I got two pairs of alpaca socks for Christmas. These are the nicest socks I've ever had in my life. My husband said, "Well, I thought they might help your feet." I thought that was sweet, but didn't believe that it could possibly help. Long story short, after three days of alpaca sock wearing, I was midway through my morning routine when it struck me: my feet were okay. Yesterday, we took my husband for his pre-surgical work, and we walked a lot. Know what? I woke up this morning too, and my feet were fine. I don't know why this should be, and it is still early, but it seems to help my feet. I don't know if it is the thick softness of them or the warmth, or maybe both. I feel foolish saying this, but I'm kind of intrigued by this discovery. I feel pretty ridiculous suggesting this, because this might be a coincidence, or maybe just nothing at all.

  2. Debby, its 's odd that you should write about your new socks. I bought some silk/wool socks the other day, thinking that the extra warmth might help the neuropathy in my feet. Plus I am wearing the new wool/shearling fleece slippers around the house all the time instead of my Birkenstocks. Let's keep each other posted!

  3. I am quite curious about how you're doing. I have to say that I am still, unbelievably, pretty much pain free. I had been so worried about clinicals with those awful feet of mine. I am doing fine. At the end of the day, my feet are tingly and burn-y, and I'm ready to get off them, but it is not even close to agony, which, at times, it had been. I don't know if we are dealing with the same thing, but it sure sounds like it. My little cancer center does not deal w/ things like this. They do not look into it. They just tell you to go to the pain clinic. I did go to 'the big city', and they tested, told me it was not cancer. At that point, exhausted of running around, I simply stopped. I decided to live w/ it. (Sometimes, Jill, I am impressed with the fact that your doctors seem to listen when you speak. I just feel ungrateful and pushy.) In any case, I am still going strong. My feet are good. I do not hobble, and that is amazing because the cold exacerbated things. It is winter, and our new house does not at this time have central heat (it had sat vacant and had been improperly winterized. The lovely radiators had all burst. Tim wants the radiator heat, but has not located 16 antique radiators, and so has not decided how he wants to heat the place). But despite this cold, my feet are still good, and I'm telling you Jill. This feels like a miracle. I even walk to work.