Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Confusing Situation

I was delaying adding a new post until certain things began to clarify themselves, but that just does not seem to be happening, so I guess my only choice is share the chaos.

The symptoms and/or side effects that I am experiencing, resulting either from the chemotherapy or the physical therapy or both, so far include increased fatigue; intermittent joint stiffness/pain in the hands and elbows; pain and muscle spasms in and around the knees; and dehydration.

On Friday, in addition to beginning chemotherapy, I was given a new set of exercises to do, in addition to those I was already doing.

On Saturday, I worked myself pretty hard, doing all the exercises as well as doing plenty of walking.

At around 2 A.M. Sunday morning, I was awakened by painful muscle spasms in both knees. These lasted through most of Sunday, during which time I was confined to bed. It was a very bad day.

I canceled Monday's physical therapy session. I was able to do some limited walking, although it was still painful to apply weight to the knees. An ultrasound carried out on the legs turned up no blood clots, which is a big concern with Revlimid. Later in the day, I was visited by a home health care nurse to help review the situation. Out of the blue, she announced that my blood pressure was what she considered to be dangerously low; and that my heartbeat was irregular. She actually wanted me to go to the hospital emergency room. But since I was not experiencing anything like faintness, dizzyness, shortness of breath, or chest pains, I decided that this was an instance of defensive medicine, and instead set up an appointment with my primary care MD for Tuesday morning to take a look at this.

The situation with the knees did not change very much on Tuesday; maybe a little better, but still painful to walk. My primary care MD thought blood pressure low but still within the acceptable range; and an EKG revealed that the heartbeat irregularity is of a benign form. The oncologist is of course being kept informed of all this, and so far has not registered anything like alarm.

So there you have it. I am still headed down the chemotherapy track as planned. Wednesday's physical therapy session should be an interesting one, since it isn't clear to me how I can make progress from here.

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