Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Big Word - Peripheral Neuropathy

Before Ernie was diagnosed with cancer, I had heard this word occasionally from friends who were undergoing chemotherapy. Now we know about it first hand and it's no fun. This is the technical description of what it is:

A disorder of the peripheral nerves - the motor, sensory and autonomic nerves that connect the spinal cord to the muscles, skin and internals organs. It usually affects the hands and feet, causing weakness, numbness, tingling and pain. It's course is variable; it can come and go, slowly progressing over many years, or it can become severe and debilitating. However, if diagnosed early, it can be controlled.

Since being on two particular chemo drugs, Ernie has been experiencing neuropathy in his feet. Thank goodness he hasn't had any trouble with his hands. What makes this particularly difficult is the fact that he still can't "sit upright" comfortably, so he does alot of standing and walking. Not being able to completely "feel" ones feet is a scary proposition and it increases your risk of falling. The neuropathy also makes his feet just plain hurt! Yet, this is the one form or exercise Ernie enjoys, and he is gradually trying to build up how long and how far he walks.

There is a compounded prescription I rub on his feet twice a day (even this can either feel funny or hurt) and it might be helping, but it certainly hasn't made it go away. He is also on Lyrica which helps with the nerve pain. This is still a big prayer request for now. Please pray it subsides. It often wakes him up in the night hurting so badly that he isn't sure he can stand and walk on them until he takes pain medication and waits for them to "settle down". I recently attended a seminar put on by the International Myeloma Foundation and heard about a few other things that might help...Mega B Vitamins and Magnesium supplements. We are going to check in to these for sure! Anyone else have a tip or two for us to try?

In spite of the neuropathy, Ernie will often increase his walking to a mile in the morning and a mile in the afternoon which is awesome! And recently, he has begun taking one or the other of our two dogs along, which they love. It's amazing how they seem to know they have to be careful and not pull!

So, now that you've gotten through all my writing and know another big word, I leave you with a couple pictures of EZ enjoying the Fall weather and once again happily walking the dogs!

Ernie and Abby (sitting nicely and looking at the camera)

Ernie and Milo (refusing to turn when I called him)


  1. I saw something recently about curcumin helping to relieve PN - and I think this lady (I think) had discussed it with her doctor and got the go ahead. I'll try and think where.

    Love the pic of Milo - 'Hey, I said no publicity and I mean it!'

  2. I was going to suggest magnesium, but you've already listed that as something you are going to try.

    I will continue to pray for you two during this time. It's wonderful to see the pictures of Ernie with the dogs. 2 miles of walking a day is impressive!!

  3. 2 miles a day is indeed impressive. Way to go EZ. I see a jacket in the one picture also. We're still in shorts and T's here. Keep up the good work of healing, Ernie. Linda, as care giver. We're praying for both of you.

  4. 2 miles a day dad-- WOW, I need to come walk with you! Love the pictures of you walking the dogs, know they are loving that time with you!

  5. i love the pics with the dogs! Its so funny how dogs have a personalities of their own1

  6. Yes, Dad, we are so proud of you and all the walking you are doing. I still can't believe we walked together at BW Wells yesterday. The kids and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with you and Mom in the beautiful outdoors!

    Continuing to pray for your feet and that the neuropathy will subside. Hopefully some of these new treatments will work!