Cancer and Neuropathy

Andrew Schorr:

Now, we should mention that for a number of years you have been a type II insulin dependent diabetic, and so that brings up a lot of medical issues for anybody going through surgery or having other treatment as well. And I understand that you had some neuropathy already from the diabetes, not uncommon. What did that feel like?

Janice:

Well, it was not as greatly spread as it became after starting my chemotherapy. It was just in my large toes to the bottom and to the outer edge, and then after the chemotherapy it spread further on to the whole bottom of my foot and then part of the top and also my hands.

Andrew Schorr:

Well, let's talk about that. So first with diabetes but not yet the cancer diagnosis and treatment, you had sort of a lack of feeling in your big toes, and then after the chemotherapy it became, it spread into your hands and feet, and I think you previously told me that when you would get in bed at night just pulling up the covers hurt?

Janice:

Oh, absolutely. I would have to uncover my feet and sometimes just hang them off the bed.

Andrew Schorr:

Okay. And what about with your feet or just wearing shoes during the day or taking them off at night?

Janice:

Wearing shoes, I don't know if it was just the tightness or having the pressure on them because I stand a lot, it was okay. I could deal with that, and just, you know, having your mind off of it because you are busy doing other things would kind of eliminate so much of the pain too, but as soon as I would take my shoes off is when I would start feeling the neuropathy more.

Andrew Schorr:

Now, we should mention that neuropathy can affect people in different ways. Now, I think good news for you, Janice, was right as you were coming out of the surgery and recovering from that you met one the M. D. Anderson doctors who is devoted to helping. And that's Dr. Jeong Oh. He is assistant professor of medicine at M. D. Anderson in the general internal medicine department, but he is also in charge of helping people manage the effects of cancer treatment, and there is a whole center there in general internal medicine for that. So he walks in, and then he became a trusted relationship as you managed and managed better with the neuropathy. Do I have that right?

Janice:

That's right.

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