Friday, September 17, 2010

New Pain and Brain Drain... Accepting My Limitations

Since my last blog entry I have started to experience some fairly intense pain in my neck and shoulders.   Vicodin helped, but I started to have some itching episodes and had to switch to a combination of tramadol for pain management and cyclobenzaprine for muscle spasms.   They are helping with the pain, but .  unfortunately they cloud my cognitive functions and make any slightly complex decision making a monumental task.   I was already dealing with the "chemo brain" effects (short term memory lapses and unstable emotions), so this new complication and remedy have made it necessary to accept these new limitations and ask to be relieved from a new project at North Coast.

There was a very good article recently in the newspaper titled "Life after Cancer" that hit  home with me.  Here is some of what it said about two common long term side effects of chemo and radiation therapy:

On Fatigue -  Many people know that chemotherapy treatments can cause profound tiredness, but they may not realize that fatigue can persist in some survivors for years.   "We're not entirely sure, but it may be due to unchecked inflammation in the body," says Dr. Patricia Ganz, a professor at UCLA School of Medicine.  Treatment could possibly push the immune system into overdrive, and in certain patients, the resulting inflammation could increase fatigue "as if the body were fighting off a bad flu," Dr. Alfano adds.

On Pain - Radiation and surgery may also leave a patient with scar tissue, leading to tightening of the skin's surface or internal adhesions. "Many cancer survivors need pain control," Dr. Ganz says.  "They need palliative care like you get at the end of life.  Only here, they're not dying and suffering - they're living and suffering."

I'm hopeful that the fatigue and pain will subside in the not to distant future, but I'm also trying to keep an attitude of acceptance that this may continue on for some time and that I need to take it easier than my nature wants to.

Onward and forward in God's Light, One Day At A Time.