It has been a year post chemo. When I finished chemo and radiation I thought that was it. I was done. In January when I got the PET Scan results that said I was in remission, I was sure I was done. I would start building strength and stamina and I would be back running in no time.
That was the plan.
And then I started having weird symptoms. I would start to go for a run and within a few minutes my left leg refused to work properly and just walking home was a battle with one leg that wouldn’t lift and swing forward. It took all my energy to walk home. After resting for an hour I was fine again. Same thing would happen on long walks.
Remember that I was athletic prior to cancer. I ran 2-3 miles or more almost everyday. I lifted weights 4-5 days a week. I had been involved in tai kwon do to brown belt level. I was an archer, a long distance motorcyclist. I trained hard for my adventures.
So having these symptoms was annoying at best and concerning at worst. I brought it up at one of my follow up appointments in April. My doctor was very concerned and sent me to a neurologist. The neurologist tested my reflexes and found those on my left side are hyper reactive. And she ordered an MRI. Maybe a pinched nerve. I had the MRI at the beginning of June.
The results of the MRI are not great. I have a number of lesions on my brain – areas of demyelination. The neurologist said it could be a few things, but none of them are good. This could be long term after effects of the chemo. This could be a degenerative disease. This could be MS – multiple sclerosis or even Lyme disease. It could be something else. I will need to have another MRI in 6 months to see if there are changes and a lumbar puncture to extract some spinal fluid to see if there are any abnormal cells in the fluid. My doctors say the findings are unclear right now so more evaluation is needed. I don’t have a diagnosis but the possibilities seem less than hopeful.
I am trying to stay positive. None of these possibilities are life ending. They are life altering. Best case is I will have to manage balance and strength issues as well as other symptoms. Worst case is that I continue to degrade.
For now I am doing yoga and core strength training. I am trying not to google my symptoms. I am trying to stay positive.
Yes this feels like a set back, but I am making the most of every day.