You Don’t Know How Much You Miss Something Until…
You don’t know how much you will miss something until it is taken away from you. Two weeks ago something was taken away from me: my ability to walk without assistance.
It all happened without warning. I was watching TV with the family on a Saturday, preparing for the next 3 zaps of ration treatment. I had so far had two. On Monday I was supposed to start the final three and I got up to walk to the refrigerator to get something to drink.
Then something completely unexpected happened.
I walked forward about a few feet and unexpectedly, I lost all sense of balance and fell forward into our (unlit) fireplace. I landed hard on my face, arms and legs – gave myself a good scare I did – but not as good a scare as I realized. I crawled myself up and returned to my recliner chair. I realized that this was the second time in the past few days I had lost all sense of balance but those first times I had thankfully caught myself fully and did not fall.
Thinking back, my loss of balance of been growing but each time I had been able to catch myself… make excuses… of course the midnight frozen pizza hit across the hallway wall was a bit harder to excuse but I found a way – the hallway was dark wasn’t it?
A few hours later, my “growing scabs” were still not growing. It was a side effect of the Avastin I was on. A mental picture entered my head from my oncologist: IF YOU EVER HIT YOUR HEAD HARD WHILE ON AVASTIN, GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM. I texted a good friend of mine, similar age, also with Stage IV CRC and told her: I think I need to go. I no longer think I can walk. Along with the deterioration of my scab making ability there had been a steady deterioration in my walking ability/balance. We knew there was something wrong.
We drove together to the emergency room like two peas in a pod – I was never so glad to have an early onset CRC friend close by!
We got to the emergency room, told them my history and symptoms and they shuttled me away. CT-scans showed no new causes for concern beyond swelling of my brain due to the radiation growing into the area of the brain affecting my balance. This is a known problem to occur due to radiation to the brain. Even though it was not definitive proof, it was circumstantial proof that the radiation was causing my lack of balance. Hopefully once the radiation swelling went away, my balance would return! Loss of balance is a symptom of brain tumors but it can be exacerbated by radiotherapy treatment. I mentally crossed my fingers, a temporary problem!!
Coming home the next morning after the night of observation was rough. To get it through the day (literally) we had to set up 24 hour home health care. I’ll spare you the details but if you count, there is actually an insane number of times you get up in a 24 hour period for various reasons! Adding to that, not getting up started to quickly impact the muscle weakness of my leg and arm muscles…..not fun. On the good side, other symptoms of brain tumors were starting to get better – like the ever so popular spontaneous vomiting! Now that is a party killer if there ever was one! haha.
Overall, it has been a horrible week. Having a week of being helped like a baby. A week of losing all independence. A week that I never saw coming just a week ago. It is amazing how quickly things can change in the Stage IV cancer world. Things were actually getting better until I fell again next to the toilet a few days ago. Restart the clock.
So… if I have been very quiet the past week, that is where I have been. Being helped like a rag doll. A situation I never in a middle of a thousand years ever thought I would find myself in. But a situation I found myself in. Keep in mind, it may just happen to you too… but like me, you can find resolve in the HOPE that the situation is only temporary and that the ship will quickly right itself where it needs to be. As of all data two weeks ago, I assure you, I do not think this is where my ship is supposed to be right now 🙂 Wish me all the vibes and prayers I am right! If I am not correct, I will deal with the new situation as I have always tried to – get back on that horse with grace, humility and the feeling of “this was just meant to be”.
BTW Aside from the small things of having no sense of balance and an inability to walk more than a few feet, I feel fine 🙂