Friday, June 22, 2012

...and another thing.....

Secondary lymph edema
June 22, 2012
by sherry

A lot has been going on this week.  Major increased levels of pain followed by major increased doses of  morphine to manage it (which it has somewhat helped) and now something new; Terence told me that he is having more and more difficulty walking more than 40 yards because his legs feel like they are 'freezing up'- he can't lift them.

This is most likely cause od 'secondary lymph edema' in his lower extremities which was (most likely) cause by the chemotherapy. 
Secondary lymphedema is a condition where the lymphatic system has been damaged. The main job of this system is to move excess through and out of our bodies. When it becomes damaged or impaired, it is no longer able to accomplish this function and these fluids (lymph fluids) collect in the interstitial tissues of our legs. This causes leg swelling.  Another important function of the lymph system is to help our bodies fight infections. With lymphedema, this ability is also weakened and the patient becomes more susceptible to infections.

Terence only told me yesterday,  " My legs have almost quit on me twice lately. I was trying to help put groceries away. I had to lean heavily on the counters and get to a chair and sit.  Sometimes I can't stand long enough to make a cup of coffee.  I can not walk very far now. Going from the car into the store is a scary thing....  I feel like my legs will freeze up, or worse, give out in the middle of the parking lot" .

 As I type this, he is getting a lymphatic massage from his physical therapist. He's been receiving one twice a week for about three weeks now.   It's working to the degree that it seems to have  reduced the lymphedema swelling in the groin area.   Today Terence has one more Oxygen Therapy (in the hydrobaric chamber) - I am hoping it will not only help with pain reduction but also help with the lymph edema.  His HBOT therapy on Weds. seemed to give him energy (which was a problem because he felt well enough and stayed on his feet- he was able to direct the yard work crew (Royce and Gabe, LOL), and he wanted to help me around the house (because for the first time a long time he felt he could).  But by the time evening came around, his legs were swollen and stiff.  

Terence shared with me his scripture reading today: "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:9 .
He shared this because he has always told me he's not afraid of death...but the wasting away and loss of dignity and independence has bothered him greatly and he finds comfort in this scripture.   Little by little his independence is being whittled away-  I can't imagine the feeling of walking in public somewhere and all of sudden my legs freezing up and needing help. 

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you" 1 Pet. 1:13.  

This is our plan (besides prayer):
1. Action: seek out therapies that will help,
2. Be self controlled (Not to allow fear to creep in and lose it),
3. Continue to hope,
4. Rely on God's grace (it's sufficient for us).


  1. I haven't stopped praying. Won't.
    Love you guys.