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Using acupunture to assist in treating chemo side effects, especially Peripheral Neuropathy

Home Discovery, the Diagnoses Brain Surgery Recovery Begins MRI head scans Funeral Postponement Party Peripheral neuropathy
GammaKnife, tumor #2 Tumor #3, the lung Chemotherapy Blood test results Living after chemo, part 1 Living after chemo, part 2 Living after chemo, part 3 My cancer "cure"

Purpose: My purpose in making these pages is to help people. My hope is that seeing how cancer treatments (brain surgery, radiation, and chemo and even some alternative treatments) can go in the year 2009 and 2010, will ease minds and give some hope, comfort and success. I went through the first three, although not as far as they wanted with the chemo, but far enough to know what it's like. Now it's time to go in other directions.

This is my personal experience, David Luckenbach, diagnosed with brain and lung cancer on May 13, 2009. A sailing instructor who smoked and drank, and almost died, saved by friends and angels and given another chance. Odd fellow I am, always ready to help other people, and neglected myself.

12/27/09 My last chemo dose was August 18, 2009, after a total of 8 "treatments" over 10 weeks. I've been off the chemo "treatments" for over 2 months now. The chemo side effects are different for different people of course, thank God I didn't notice them all happening to me. The side effects can last a long time, or be permanent, as chemo can cause a lot of damage besides just to the tumors.

Video of acupunture treatment 5, 45MB
click for video

After my short chemo regimen was discontinued on August 18, I continued to get the side effects. Lately, in December 2009, I developed peripheral neuropathy in my legs, nerve damage which has interferred with my ability to walk well, and causes numbness and pain. It is not uncommon for this to develop well after the chemo, often from 3 1/2 go 5 months after. Cure is difficult, the nerves must be rebuilt and the muscle tone reconditioned. I have a ways to go with this, if we can cure it it may take months or years for me to get my legs back, if at all. Not everyone recovers from it.

I'm seeing Dr. Fritz, and she wanted to try some acupunture to assist the healing. I've always been skeptical of accupunture, never had any before this cancer thing, and I thought it could be painful itself. I agreed to try it though.

I've had 6 treatments now, today was the 6th, 1/17/10. In the second treatment, I could feel fluid flowing in my lower legs, quite distinctly, but not in the 1st, 3rd or 4th. The 5th treatment, 1/8/10, I felt fluid flowing in my legs again. Dr. Fritz stimulated my legs, lower abdomen, hands and the crown of my head with acupunture. I felt little pain with it, sometimes I'll feel a needle go in, but I usually don't. I rested with the needles in, and actually fell asleep and snored! That was the best treatment so far, I woke feeling rested and refreshed, with more energy, and I felt I could walk a little better.

Also see ORES
ORES, more about neuropathy, including treatment with acupuncture.

1/10/2010. My neuropathy is worse. I can walk, but I hold onto things and am slow. More pain and my feet want to swell. I notice loss of pointing toes up in right foot. Apparantly, I send a signal to the foot to contract the muscles, and the muscle is ok, and it just doesn't move. Perhaps the signal is not getting all the way through the damaged nerve. So I need to regrow the nerves, I wonder how we're going to do that?

I had my 5th acupuncture treatment last week, and it seems to help sometimes. Enough that I'm going back for more acupunture.

The "cure ?" for Neuropathy. Many people get neuropathy, chemo patients, diabetics and others. I am not diabetic, but I was on chemo. During the "normal" peak time, 3 1/2 to 5 months AFTER chemo, I developed peripheral neuropathy, and it got worse. Quite painful, I took oxycontin for a few weeks just so I could sleep some at night. My neuropathy started with my left foot going numb, and spread up my legs. The normal cause is nerve damage, and I gradually lost the ability to walk well, losing some control of my legs. I used a cane for a week or so, which helped me to not fall down too much. Nerve damage caused a lack of feedback from my feet, and this caused a loss of balance. Nerve damage also caused a loss of my ability to control my fee and legs, so I am unsteady on my feet. A loss of strength also occured, possibly because I could not exercise my legs without all the nerves working.

1/18/2010 - I began acupunture with Dr. Fritz in December 2009, 6 treatments so far, one today. This is to "stimulate" the nerves and reduce pain, and twice I perceived a noticeable improvement and lessening of pain, which could have been assisted by the acupuncture. In early January 2010 we learned that a combination of B6 and folic acid can provide the materials I need to rebuild the damaged nerves. This combination must avoid my stomach or be destroyed, and Alison found Unique B12 at our Atkins pharmacy, which contains B6 and folic acid AND is sublingual (meaning it dissolves under my tounge and avoids my stomach. To repair the nerves it is also necessary I be in good health and have all systems working, so I try. I had lost a particular movement in my right leg, seemed like loss of a nerve, the foot just would not move that way. After the 5th acupuncture, the foot began to move again, under my command. I don't have much movement in it yet, but to have any at all this soon is a very good sign indeed. I had another blood test today, to learn more about what is going on inside me, should get the results soon.

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