I need a cummulative brain pick

shilty(6)January 23, 2012

I'm asking permission to pick your brains to learn if any of you have ever, ever heard of chemo damage to nerves to the point of loss of use of limbs...

Is it treatable, and how long might it take.

the condition is compounded by neuropathy.

My one and only son, age 44 years old, had chemo and radiation for cancer of the throat. He has suffered

such nerve damage he has all but lost the use of arms and hands, shoulders, and swallowing.

I am decamped to help him take meds, get to therapy,and do the tube feeding... but I feel lost in that I've never heard of this and am swirling in a world of unknowns.

any input you can provide would be most welcome.


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This is a bad situation. How much damage will be repaired and how much is permanant will depend on whether the nerves were destroyed or merely damaged.

Physical Therapy can help restore some use of the limbs by encouraging the use of what's left and training other nerves to take over. Only time will tell. You may have a long road ahead of you. A lot will depend on his attitude about it. If he just "gives up", he may never recover any use of those nerves.

Talk to his doctor. See what his/her opinion is as to the possibilities. Then, it's up to your son as to whether or not the outcome is worth the effort.

I am curious about one thing. Did his doctor discuss the possible side effects of the chemo? Was your son aware that this could happen?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 11:46AM
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As a remnant of my chemo I also have neuropathy. In the beginning I had trouble with hands, arms, lips and of course my feet. Gradually it improved and the only remaining problem are the soles of my feet, but not enough to impair me. This most likely is permanent, since I also got since then diabetes 2 which also may cause neuropathy. For about a year I ran around with a couple of squishy balls which I used while walking, watching TV etc. I never heard of loss of the use of limbs. Is it possible to have your son seen by a Neurologist? Oh, if he has trouble walking, make him wiggle his toes as much as possible while sitting, I do this to this day and my doctor says it has a lot to do with the fact that I still can walk as fast and much as I do.
Hope he feels better soon.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 12:05PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

It's likely the radiation caused the inability to move his limbs, and the chemo the neuropathy.
As aggie said....talk to the docs.
And prayers to your son and blessings to you for helping.....ain't easy!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 12:07PM
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(((Shilty and son)))) I agree with all that's been said. I will add, chemo is different for everyone. What affects one, may not affect another. Don't give up!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 12:50PM
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Shilty, I can't offer any advice or suggestions, but please know that your son and you are in my prayers.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 2:06PM
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gandle(4 NE)

I too have severe periphal neuropathy caused by chemo. I have regained about 85% use of my hands but the motor nerves in the lower legs are destroyed. It is amazing how the body learns to compensate from the damage. The particular drug that caused the damage was vincristine although it was the one that saved my life. We are praying that your son will be able to recover from most of the nerve damage.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 2:32PM
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