Back to primary school
Since 10 days, I am back in the hospital, more or less as scheduled.
An ‘interesting’ development is that I’ve lost most fine grained perception and control in my hands and legs. That’s apparently not that exceptional. It was a bit worrisome at some point, because I had experienced this numbness for months at the very top of my toes and fingers. And then, about two weeks ago, it suddenly progressed very fast, especially upwards from my legs, to the extent that I worried I would be more or less paralysed a few days later.
Since then, the situation is pretty stable. It feels like my lower legs and upper fingers are sleeping. But it’s not getting worse. In fact, it may be slowly getting better.
I mentioned that this is an ‘interesting’ experience, because I more or less had to learn again quite a few things I’ve been able to do for 45 or 50 years, like for instance how to walk. I have lost most sensory feedback from my lower legs, and now steer my movements much more on sight. In physiotherapy, in some situations, I just fall over when I close my eyes. (Don’t worry: I only do those exercises when there’s a professional physiotherapist right next to me.) Much of my treatment for this side effect of my chemo treatment centers around compensating the old way (sensory feedback) of doing things with a new way of doing the same (focus visually on where my feet should land). I like the fact that human bodies have that flexibility.
My hand problems are also ‘interesting’: it now takes me about 7 minutes to button my shirt. And I can no longer write, or, when I do, nobody can read it – not even me. Thank God for keyboards! But no worries, I look forward to going back to primary school and learning to write my name.
Apart from this ‘interesting’ experience, I’m doing kind of fine. I just finished 6 days of intensive chemo. The idea is that my blood will deteriorate in the coming days, because a lot of red and white blood cells are destroyed as a kind of ‘collateral damage’ in this chemo war I’m fighting. When the levels of these cells are back to somewhere near normal, probably in 2-3 weeks from now, I’m allowed to go back home. About three weeks later, I’ll be back in the hospital for my final (I hope) session with the stem cell transplant.
I do hope you’re having plenty of interesting experiences too, though I also hope they involve less “let’s re-learn how to walk”!