Cancer Journal


Tues., March 22nd:

This year (Aug. 29th, to be exact) marks my six-year Stage III colon cancer diagnosis anniversary. Today, I met my hematologist/oncologist for my first semi-annual post-colon cancer check-up. Doc says my blood work and contrast-CT scan all look great! I had a colonoscopy last year and won't need a colonoscopy until next year -- what used to be done twice-a-year, then annually, is now an every-other-year procedure. There was a note about the liver lesion found on my scan last year -- a very big scare to me because I thought it was cancer re-visited. Yesterday's scan shows the lesion's size decreased. And my CEA count (tumor markers) are very low.

I mentioned my leg/foot problem to the doc toward the end of my appointment. I'm still tripping while walking because I can't feel the ground beneath my feet (especially my left one), and the foot tends to hesitate -- like a spasm -- while mid-air before touching ground. It's an annoyance because my gait doesn't look right and I can't run anymore. I'm stuck to low-to-no incline walks on the treadmill (yes, I also have back arthritis and 2 bulging discs) or outdoors (my preference) or else on the elliptical (my 2nd preference since my feet are stationary on the foot rests). I'll get an MRI scan of my spine along with my blood work and CT scan during my next post-cancer check-up in six months.

I have one of six Mayo Clinic physical therapy sessions left! I will incorporate all of these modified exercises to my regular workouts for the rest of this year. This, according to my orthopedist, should give my body the necessary time to recover from last year's rigorous diet and training sessions.


Tues., July 12th:

CT scan of cervical spine reveals arthritis in my neck and a herniated at C5-C6. This is what is causing my right arm to go numb intermittently. Wonder if it is also the root cause of my tennis elbow which I had to get treated with a cortisone shot? Not fun. I had plans to start free-fall sky-diving last month, but I'll have to put it on the backburner until I get my neck and back issues under control. Never had a back spasm until a few weeks ago and couldn't get off the floor. Called my sis who sent her husband to my house with some muscle relaxers. It helped enough for me to get up off the floor. Pain all day.


Wed., July 27th:

I'm obsessed with finding an answer to my leg/foot problem. Came across a youtube video that explains causes and remedies for foot drop (raise thigh up to get foot up; lack of muscle strength for dorsi flexion). Possible L4-L5 herniated/disc may be compressing on the L5 peroneal nerve. Remedy is to treat or remove the L5 disc. Makes sense. In fact, I do have arthritis in my lower back (lumbar) and bulging discs in L4-L5 area. I'm beginning to think the discs are impeding on a peroneal nerve causing my foot problems. What next?


Wed., Aug. 24th:

I finally got a diagnosis and treatment for my left leg/foot problem! My pain management doctor reviewed my most recent MRI of my back and concluded that I have spinal stenosis -- nerves in the spinal canal are compressed. This can cause lack of lower limb sensation (me!) and lower back pain (me!). I wasn't too far off of my diagnosis with my last entry!

I was at the pain management office today to get an epidural for my neck. I told the doctor that my primary problem area is my lower back and not my neck, so rather than get the epidural in my neck, I got it in my lower back. I thought I would faint from the pain, even though I received anesthesia. In fact, I had to sit down for a few minutes while at the check-out desk. Two hours later, the shot site on my back as well as my lower right abdominal area feel crampy. I go back to pain management in six weeks for another epidural in my back. I will post an update within the next couple of weeks.


Fri., Sept. 23rd:

Today is my semi-annual cancer checkup. I will spend all day at Mayo Clinic for a fasting bloodwork at 9:20 a.m.; CT scan at 11:20 a.m.; Visit with neurologist at 1:00 p.m.; and a visit with oncologist at 4:00 p.m. to get results from the bloodwork and scan. I cheated with a cup of black coffee. Shhhh, don't tell!

Results are in: negative! Yay!


Wed., Sept. 28th:

Physical Therapy (PT) with Chris at Mayo. Videotaped my gate and did several exercises for my left foot/leg. He says I am a conundrum as all of my past appointments with the neurologist and orthopedist do not show anything significant that might cause my leg/foot problem. Chris would like to treat my situation as if it were a left-over learned overcompensated action. We'll see after a few weeks if PT helps.


Mon., Dec. 5th:

My last physical therapy session was last week. Chris, the therapist, noticed only a small improvement. But hey, an improvement is an improvement! He suspects my problem is neurological (I knew that!). Perhaps my situation stems from an aggravation somewhere within the sciatic nerve or the L4 area (low back). He noted these thoughts on my records for future revisits with the physiatrist (not psychiatrist).

My plan is to continue self-rehabilitation twice a week along with my regular workouts until I see the physiatrist again. The appointment will be sometime after the holidays as my family and I are heading to Australia next week for three weeks!

Happy Holidays!

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