Side Effect of the Week, Week 2

Sorry for the prolonged absence of this feature. I’ve got some exciting news that is part of the reason for my delays in posting recently – I’ve been invited to be a guest blogger on MD Anderson’s Cancerwise blog! I’ve been working on that blog entry, but I’ve struggled a bit with it. You see, MDA’s fantastic social media coordinator (she’s really great, and good at her job!) found my blog through her search dashboard (anybody that mentions MDA finds themselves on her radar), and she contacted me and asked if I would be interested in contributing a post or two. Of course I was very interested, and I started right away. She said she  wanted “around 600 words,” and I thought, “whew, that sounds like a lot!” And in my first stab at it, I’m up to…2,000 words, and I’m only halfway done! Oops…  So I need to work with her and see if I can do this thing as a series or something.

Anyway, never fear – my work with MDA will not replace my personal blog. They’re very different in nature, and I find I’m expressing myself differently in the MDA world. For one thing, I can’t post stolen internet photos on the MDA blog, so that means I’d have to do actual work to get photos on that site. And I just don’t see that  happening – work is not my strong suit.

The two reasons I was not invited to be part of Men At Work?
1) I don’t like to work
2) I’m unwilling to be in a photograph where 5 men are all touching each other

Now, on to the official business of this post,  this week’s SEW!

PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY

[noo-rop’-uh-thee, nyoo-]

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition wherein damage occurs to nerves of the peripheral nervous system. This damage can be caused by trauma to the nerves, diseases of the nerves, or, as in my case, as a side effect of other systemic illnesses. The damage can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause and severity.

This sounds like a bad deal, and in fact it is for many people. In my particular case I’m fortunate, as my neuropathy seems to be pretty mild, and is allegedly not permanent. I have two manifestations of peripheral neuropathy. The first is

FOOT DROP (or drop foot)

Foot drop is exactly what it sounds like. Well, wait – it’s exactly what it sounds like to normal people. It is NOT, for example when a zombie is moseying along, just looking for a hunk of ripe human flesh to tide him over till dinner, and his foot inconveniently separates from his body. I guess that’s what “foot drop” would sound like to zombie fans, whom I cannot in good conscience categorize as, strictly speaking, “normal.” 🙂

For all you zombiephiles out there, this zombie foot was made by Uncle Scabby on Etsy, who was kind enough to let me use this photo. He has another foot available for sale as of this writing, and has a wide variety you can see in his Sold Items gallery, so click one of the links and check it out, he does great work!

On a side note, I’m 45 years old and it’s 2012, and I’m STILL amazed at what you can find (a zombie foot picture, for example) with a simple search on the internets…

Back to foot drop!

Foot drop is a condition wherein your forefoot literally “drops” lower than the rest of your foot when you lift your foot off the ground. I guess more accurately it’s that when you lift your foot to take a step you can’t lift it fully parallel to the ground anymore.

Foot drop can be caused by several things, including weakness in the ankle and toe muscles, paralysis of those same muscles, and damage to the peroneal nerve. That last one is where I come in. One of the more recent rounds of chemo I had is called “OFAR,” which is just an acronym for the particular cocktail of drugs that represents. (For those keeping score at home, thus far I’ve been subjected over 3.5 years to FCR, RCHOP, hyperCVAD, OFAR, Methatrexate, and most recently, O-EPOCH.) One of the known potential side effects of oxaliplatan (it puts the “O” in OFAR!) is “numbness, pain or tingling in your hands, feet, arms, legs, mouth or throat.” In other words, peripheral neuropathy!

My left foot has been experiencing varying degrees of numbness for the last couple of months. It’s a strange sensation – you know you have to be careful, and you swear you really, really ARE picking your foot up all the way, and next thing you know,

Fortunately I’ve never actually fallen yet. I have, however, been that guy that you’ve all seen, you know the guy I’m talking about – that guy that somehow stumbles far enough forward that he can’t stand up, but not quite far enough to fall down, so he runs forward at an ever-increasing rate, bent 90 degrees at the waist, his torso parallel to the ground, and his arms windmilling about 100 mph as he tries in vain to simultaneously stand up AND not fall down, until inevitably he runs into an immovable object that halts his forward progress at the alarming rate of instantly?

This was me, without the model good looks, the designer clothes, or the audience to catch me. A brick wall caught me, but fortunately no bricks were harmed in the making of my humility.

Yeah – I’ve done that. So, thanks, foot drop.

That’s it for this week’s SEW, I’ll post a Current Status later this weekend. Love you guys!

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9 responses to “Side Effect of the Week, Week 2

  • Michele

    Hi Tony and Deborah: So glad to hear from you. What a great compliment to be asked to blog. I saw Jason this week at school. I think he has outgrown me. I told him to tell you guys hi! Know that you are thought about often. Have a better week this week – in fact, I hope it turns out to be a great week. Michele

  • EY

    You might not be a model, but look at it this way, you weren’t “fashion road kill” like Carrie was in an episode of Sex and the City.
    Very very cool that you’ve got a new gig for MDA. Obviously they know quality when they see it!

    • tonyblissphotography

      If only I could actually get that quality out to them! I’ve got 5000 words in the can, but can’t seem to get that final Bliss polish on it! I keep asking myself, what would fashion roadkill do in a situation like this…? 🙂

  • Lynda Eaton Simmons

    Tony…I stay current on your updates…I catch myself lauging out loud and then feeling a bit guilty for it..but I know you want to have a lighter pts in it. Seeing your writing in the same way I would hear you speak is comforting, I see you smiling that smile as you travel on this journey you are on. Amazed that you have a desire to WANT to write. Thank you Tony for letting us all walk along side you. I will continue to pray for you, your wife and your sons. So grateful you have their support

    • tonyblissphotography

      Thanks, my friend! Sorry for the long delay in my reply, finding energy to write IS a struggle sometimes, but please know that all the comments are eagerly read and tearfully appreciated!

      Glad my written “voice” sounds like me, sometimes it’s hard to tell. I recognize that it may not always be a blessing that it sounds like me, but hey – ya gets what ya pays fer! 🙂

      Hope you and your family are doing great!

  • Michael Daly

    Thanks for this update. Being asked to write a post for the MDA blog is quite an honor, and I hope your words can comfort others.

    Take care,

    Michael

  • Larry Roberts

    Your writing is a real treat. I hope your new blogging gives you an opportunity to express yourself as well as you do on this blog. When your new post gets published on the other blog, please provide a link.

  • panamamama

    Awesome about the MDA blog gig! The zombie foot is gross and I’m not going to let Emily see it or she’ll be on Etsy trying to buy one. Love to you guys.

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