THE MAGIC OF GIVING BACK

Early morning.  Five o’clock.  I am alone in a small room.    I stare at the wall facing my bed.    Chipped and battered from beds being pushed in and out.  The only decoration a faded cork board and a sign advising one how to wash your hands. Nothing beautiful to look at.  Nothing to bring me up from the black abyss.  I am alone with various tubes attached to my body.  I  weep tears of utter despair. A few years ago my breast cancer returned.  The first encounter I had a right breast lumpectomy.  This time a mastectomy in the other breast.     I am alone.    Feeling so sorry for myself when my nurse enters my room with a gift  wrapped package.  Pillows!  Soft, comfortable pillows covered in a happy flowered pattern.  Pillows to give me under the arm and breast protection.    In that moment the sun came out.

I’m smiling.  I’m not alone.

The package contained  pillows hand sewn by a group of woman who are members of the Delta Hospital Auxiliary.   The hospital is located in Ladner, British Columbia.   They are post-operative pillows tailored for post mastectomy surgery.    The pillows are a gift from the Delta Hospital Auxiliary.    These amazing women known as THE PILLOW PALS  cut, sew, stuff and package these pillows.  A thoughtful card with encouraging words are enclosed with the pillows.

I am giving back.

I am a proud member of the Delta Hospital Auxiliary.   I search for wonderful fabrics to be sewn into pillows by dedicated woman known with great affection as THE PILLOW PALS.

I am giving back.

 

 

 

 

 

Living with chemotherapy induced Peripheral Neuropathy

 

Three years ago I was diagnosed once again with breast cancer.  I had a mastectomy.  After surgery my treatment was oral  Exemestene – an anti-cancer hormone treatment not normally given to woman over eighty years old.      Two years of Exemestene and  the many serious  side-effects of this drug became so debilitating, the quality of my life so miserable,  I made the choice to stop treatment.

One of the unpleasant  side effects was painful burning and numbness in my feet and legs at night.  My feet became numb and I was having trouble walking, climbing stairs, anything relating to balance.  It was diagnosed as peripheral neuropathy.   I received little help from the oncology neurologist other than  suggesting  adding a B Multiple supplement  to the vitamin supplements I was taking.   This was the beginning of my extensive research on treatment of chemotherapy induced peripheral sensory neuropathy.

Courtesy Google I researched many North American  sites reporting positive results treating  people with  type two Diabetes with large amounts of Vitamin B 12 and Alpha laporic acid (an antioxidant, ) but little information on chemotherapy induced neuropathy.    The information I required was found  on Dutch and German medical sites.    I discussed the decision to add  vitamin B12 and alpha laporic acid to my supplement regime  with my family doctor and my nephrologist.

It has been just three months since I started taking B12 and alpha laporic acid and  I have been able to sleep with less burning pain.   Physiotherapists  gave me exercises to strength my feet and legs and  improve my balance.  Periperal Neuropathy weakens the muscles.   I’ve made major changes in my diet with  emphases on fresh fruits and vegetables and protein.     The  Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy is an excellent source of information.  But, it is important to be your own advocate.    Do extensive research and question everything.  And most important to discuss your choices with your family doctor and not self diagnose.

On the most positive note  –  my research has improved the quality of life for my younger sister.  She has type two diabetes and  had never been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.  She discussed treatment with her physician and after adding vitamin B 12 and alpha laporic acid to her vitamin supplements  she ended years of suffering and has  absolutely no burning night pain in  her feet.

It is not my nature to be so open about something so intensely  personal.   Cancer has been my unwanted companion for eleven years.  If this experience helps just one person  that is what this post is about, and I will have made a difference for some one.

https://www.foundationforpn.org/

https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/peripheral-neuropathy-risk-factors-symptoms#1