Yesterday I went to the doctor. So what’s new right?! Well, this visit was to my family doctor. You see, ever since my surgery, I have been suffering from bad nerve pain in my legs. It started off with just some tingling and a bit of burning in one thigh but has now progressed to intense pain in both legs that bothers me through the day but escalates at night. A good night’s sleep has become a thing of the past. I don’t remember the last time I slept well or woke up refreshed. I still sleep propped up due to the discomfort of the tissue expanders and now with the added prickling and burning in my legs there is just no chance for a restful sleep or any sleep to be honest. I’m lucky if I get two hours a night. I have mentioned this new ailment to all three of my surgeons .The surgical oncologist and the reconstructive surgeon both listened and said speak to your family doctor. Last week, when I saw my back surgeon for my epidural injections, he said to make an appointment to see him in six weeks. Unfortunately his schedule is so busy, I couldn’t get an appointment for three months! I decided not to wait and made an appointment with my family doctor who I found out is on extended leave so I was going to see someone else. No matter, I just wanted some relief.
A nurse came into the waiting room and called my name. I followed her through the office as she led me into an examination room.
” So what brings you here today,” she asked with a big smile.
“Well” I said, ” June 13th I underwent a bilateral mastectomy. Since then, I have been suffering with severe nerve pain in my legs. I was hoping the doctor could help me.”
The poor nurse. Her smiling face and chipper demeanor had now disappeared and had been replaced with sadness and concern.
“Oh god, I’m so so sorry” she said sheepishly.
“Oh, not to worry. My prognosis is great. All my cancer was removed with my surgery so no chemo and no radiation. It’s great news!” I tried to be as upbeat as possible to reassure her, that I was in fact fine.
She looked at me with great concern, took my hand in hers and said ” I am so glad you are still with us.” Holy crap. Still with us? Wow, that came out of left field.
“That makes two of us” I said, and tried to laugh. I mean, I appreciate the concern but talk about a downer. She patted my hand and quietly said that the Doctor would be with me momentarily. I waited in silence still absorbing her comment when the Doctor knocked and entered. He was young and very well dressed. We shook hands and he sat down in front of the computer to call up my file. I explained to him what I had been through and how I was suffering from. He explained that given my history of back problems, the surgery, being confined to a bed for days and then having limited movement, in all likelihood something is out of alignment and probably pinching a nerve. He said that even during surgery you can get kind of banged up. I knew that for a fact as a day after surgery my left hip and thigh were black and blue from where I had been transferred… obviously not too delicately from operating table to stretcher to bed.
The Doctor examined me to see what kind of mobility I had in my legs. “Do you have any numbness” he asked.
“Yes, some tingling plus the pins and needles and of course the burning sensation in my thighs.”
“Do you have trouble pooing or peeing?” Pooing? What am I two? I assured him that I had no problems in that department. He said he was going to order an MRI and would give me a prescription for Lyrica, a drug that is supposed to help with nerve pain.
“Lyrica has been very effective with nerve pain but can cause extreme nausea. How are you with nausea?”
“Is any one good with nausea?” I asked. He laughed and clarified that he meant do I get easily nauseous. I said I don’t like roller coasters or rides that go backwards but other than that I’m pretty good. He said that he would titrate the medication, which means he would give me a three sets of pills that would start at a low dose and would slowly build to triple the strength in order to let my body adjust. Lord, the last thing I needed was a pill that made me hurl. Just the thought made my expanders contract and spasm.
“Now, have you had an MRI before? Oh, yes I see here in your file you have. Hmm, one at Joe Brant, one at McMaster and two at St. Joseph’s. You’ve been through a lot. Do you have a preference?” I felt like I had become the poster child for the Hamilton Health Sciences. Preferences for the hospital I wanted. Coffee, tea…MRI?!
He sent off the MRI requisition and handed me the prescription. “Now, please make an appointment to see me in three weeks to see how you’re doing. In the meantime, If you lose bladder or bowel control please come back right away.”
“Fu#k” I blurted,”Seriously? What a shit show!”
For a second, we both looked stunned that I had just dropped the F bomb, but then he started to laugh. “You have a great attitude. Good for you.”
Yep, good for me. Good to have doctors that care. Good to be getting some help. Good to be cancer free and really good to still be here!
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.