I left the seaside town that day feeling utterly exhilarated. I had walked. I felt wonderful. I was not going to be in a wheelchair any more. I was going to walk. Little did I know, however, what was just around the corner. I continued to attempt to walk with just two sticks. Sometimes I could manage it but sometimes I couldn’t. My balance seemed to have gone, and I was beginning to feel a little wary of walking any more. Sometimes my legs just would not go, and I felt as if I was about to fall. In consternation I visited my doctor. He looked at my body and told me that my muscles had atrophied. After asking me some questions and examinng me further he diagnosed neuropathy. It had, he said, affected my motor nerves. This was why I was unable to walk. It was a side effect of one of my chemotherapy drugs – vinblastine. He printed off a sheet for me giving me all the information on the condition. He then said he was going to find a Specialist for me, preferably one who specialised in chemotherapy damage. He said that there may not be one locally, but that somewhere in the U.K. there would be one. He may have to send me away.

I did not know what to make of this news, but I must say that I felt glad that there was a recognised reason for why I could not walk. It wasn’t my imagination, and it wasn’t because I was not trying hard enough.

In the end the doctor could not find a Specialist with experience in what he called peripheral polyneuropathy that had been chemotherapy induced. Instead, he referred me to the Medical Rehabilitation Consultant. When I went for the appointment, the Consultant asked me to get out of my wheelchair and walk some steps unaided. With my very first step I fell against the wall of the room, and he darted forwards to catch me. He was shocked by the extent of the damage. He told me never to try and walk, but to remain in a wheelchair always. It was too dangerous for me to attempt to walk.

I have to say that I was shocked at that appointment, for that was not all that he had to say. It was progressive. It would not stop here. He asked if I could swallow and, thankfully I was able to say that I could, though fear gripped me that in time I would not be able to swallow. Was this what was in store for me? Indeed, the muscles in my face and particularly around my mouth has been affected. My face was changing. Peripheral polyneropathy causes the muscles to die, and this had happened all over my body. My digestive system was damaged too and this was not going to get any better either. When all of this was put together with the lung damage that I had suffered at the hands of one of the other chemotherapy drugs – bleomycin – making breathing difficult, I did not exactly feel good when I left that appointment. On top of that, of course, was the growing blindness. My future was not exactly looking good.

How did I respond to all of this? At this stage I responded by saying that I would overcome it all. However, eventually some bad days were to come, and at times a deep depression and blackness set in. This is still true today. I have my moments. But I was to continue and try to defy the doctor and I did in fact walk again for a while, with two sticks.

13 thoughts on “PART 7 of MY STORY OF GOING BLIND

  1. blindzanygirl

    That is true S(eree. Most people get some damage but I was unlucky enough to get everything that possibly can happen. But the good news is that I fought it and still do try to. Also, much of it came from my own GP who failed to pick up the obvious signs of cancer before it too me almost to death’s door. That meant that large doses of the drugs had to be given. But yes you are right, as we too have said it iscshocking. Hey ho, we have tonlive with it! We do our cery best. Smiles.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a friend who gave up on treatment for bowel cancer many years ago. She stopped taking everything, and died within months. When I went to see her in hospital during her last days, she told me “The treatment is worse than the disease”. I could not argue with her of course.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The effects of the diseases and medicines you cope with seems overwhelming. But then the blows you have taken in those moments when you receive worse news on top of the already bad news…that seems so devastating that I cannot even imagine it. Your writing throughout your ordeals and obstacles is all the more astounding, Lorraine.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I agree with all of the other commenters. This line stood out to me: “It wasn’t my imagination, and it wasn’t because I was not trying hard enough.” I think many people can relate to this, when they finally get a diagnosis.


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