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Friday, February 22, 2008

Topic of the day: Peripheral neuropathy

I have been treated for neuropathic pain since after radiation ended back in the fall of 2oo6. Damage to nerves on the left side of my head and neck either happened because of surgery, or the radiation, or a combination of both, and the drug they had prescribed, amitriptyline, was doing the trick. However, it doesn't play well with the medication I take for a long-standing hypothyroid condition, so I have been off of it for roughly a week, waiting for the next visit to the doctor to figure out what might be prescribed instead. This has not been a fun week. Not much over the counter helps with cutting the pain, so I have been sleeping only a few hours a night, waking up and then waiting around until it is time to go to work again. This reminds me of the years before surgery, when I would be up due to the pain in my cheek, never knowing how bad it really was until after the tumor was removed. I know that one of the choices I have will be to not take any medication - but after this week, I don't know if I will sign up for that option. I really miss sleeping through the night!

If you have been treated for cancer, be sure and discuss neuropathy with your doctor, if the topic hasn't come up before. There is a page of more information on peripheral neuropathy at


Jeanne said...

Oh, Teri, I'm so sorry. This is really the pits. Can you get in to see your doctor sooner rather than later?

I know what you mean about not realizing how much pain you were in until the pain stops--I've been in that situation a couple of times with bone pain, which, knock wood, is gone now.

This is not the time to hang tough, this is a time to scream loud and long (in my opinion, feel free to disregard).


Teresa Hartman said...

Thanks, Jeanne - I called the nurse case manager today to let her know what was going on. Not really anything they can do before I see them on Tuesday (he only sees patients on Tuesday). I just wanted to let her know that I will be one pain medicine-seeking person on Tuesday when I see them. I came home this afternoon early - I am pretty ok in the mornings, but by afternoon I am wiped out.

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