I'm about to call it quits. Sunday I suddenly developed foot-drop - my foot/ankle gave out and I almost fell, and I couldn't control my foot. The top was numb, and I couldn't raise my toes. I've also been having problems with my bladder, not being able to empty it completely. I have a vertabrae that's collapsing - L-3 - and the tumor there is pressing on my sciatic nerve and causing walking to be painful, so I just sit all day. The L-3 nerve compression is what's causing the bladder problem as well. There's no surgery that can help it, and it's already been radiated.
I went to the emergency room, they ran a CT scan and admitted me. I just got out Saturday late afternoon. CT scans done there indicate that I have peritonial and lymph mets in my abdomen now, so that's all new from my scans in January. Plus increase in the spinal tumor pressing on the nerve root. All the tests seem to indicate the new problems are stemming from the nerve issue. They had me on high-dose steroids, which really relieved the pain, but didn't help the bladder issue. I now have a catheter and bag, which looks like it's permanent. The foot drop issue is in all likelyhood permanent as well. So now I can't drive. My husband is legally blind and can't drive either, plus he's starting a new job next week so he'll be gone during the day. So I'm home alone during the day in a 2 story house. I'm having a stair lift installed this week, hopefully. I have to use a walker, and a cane going up and down stairs, which I only do when hubby is around. He works during the week, so I'm alone all day. I'll always have a urine bag strapped to my leg, and it has to be changed at night to a larger bag. Each bag has to be thoroughly cleaned after being switched out, and it takes almost an hour to do this twice a day standing at the sink. There's a high risk for UTI's, and you have to be meticulous.
My onc wanted to start new chemo in the hospital, but I said no. I really wanted to go home and see what I was going to have to deal with. When the back/leg pain returns after the steroids wear off, it's going to get more difficult for me. I can't get out without making arrangements for a driver. My right foot/ankle/leg is too weak to drive the car. I can try driving with my left leg around the neighborhood, I think I could learn that pretty easy. I have a good brace for my right affected leg, so that helps a lot in me getting around. But I'd still need someone to go with me. So I'm pretty much trapped here all the time. I won't be able to enjoy our swimming pool, either, which I was really looking forward to.
It may be hospice/palliative care time for me. One of the oncs in our practice came and saw me on Saturday morning and discussed some things with me. She's involved in hospice, and does a lot of pain management. After seeing my situation, she suggested that I cancel today's appt. and come in a week later and make sure that I have enough time from my onc to discuss things with him. I've made the appt. for later afternoon, so they won't have time to give me chemo. I should have a good feel by the end of the week how this is going to work out. It's been so overwhelming. I feel that I'll go totally crazy and depressed if this is as good as it gets. Chemo would only prolong things, and could make the foot-drop issue, which is peripheral neuropathy, even worse, since I already have a good amount of numbness in my hands/feet as it is. If the other foot developed this, I couldn't take care of myself or get around safely, so what's the point. Plus when the inflamation/swelling comes back around the pinched nerve, I'll have to deal with that, since no meds relieve the pain.
Since I've been thinking about it, I've actually started to feel calmer and more at peace then I have in a long time. For the first time in ages, I've slept through the night - don't have to get up to pee! I'm getting around pretty good between the brace and walker. So we'll see how things go. A couple weeks off chemo won't make any real difference in the long run.
Thank you all for listening to me. This is a good place to discuss these issues.
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Diagnosis: 5/21/2007, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+