Thursday, 19 March 2009

Neuropathy & Neutropenia

There are some classic and/or well known side-effects of chemotherapy such as nausea (for which there are several excellent medications to help control this e.g. I'm taking Cyclizine & Ondansetron) and hair-loss (alopecia). So far my hair hasn't started coming out yet although I've had it shaved pretty close to make it less of a thing if/when it does (both for me and Sarah & the boys).

Two things I'm experiencing that are possibly not so well known are Neuropathy and Neutropenia.
  • Neuropathy - specifically Peripheral Neuropathy. Basically as a result of the chemo, there is a constant numbness/dull "pins and needles" in my thumb and fingertips.
    It's really more of an annoyance than anything else but I do need to watch that it doesn't extend further into the hand. From a practical perspective, obviously I'm still able to type but using my phone is getting a little harder because the buttons are obviously smaller, especially on the slide out keyboard.
  • Neutropenia. This one is harder as basically it means my immune defences are really low. I have to be careful what I eat (I'll blog something about that some point soon as it is very important and could be useful to others) and avoid crowded places (like hospitals I guess!) as catching and dying from infection is a genuine risk.
    This of course limits the number of people I can see currently, going out, having a curry or McDonalds(!)
    My last blood count puts me severely neutropenic but the medication I'm on is looking to stave of viral, bacterial and fungal infection and coupled with taking regular temperature checks to make sure all seems normal.
Tech Alert - OK the "gadget-boy" in me cannot control itself anymore. I really like my phone, it's an HTC S710, Windows Mobile device. I've been a huge fan of Windows Mobile right from the days when it was known as Windows CE (unfortunately shortened to WinCE).

Back in what must have been around very late 90's, I was very lucky to win a HP Jornada 540 in a competition and very quickly got introduced to a device that carried my photos, music, Outlook, e-books and notepad in a very compact and actually quite reliable form. It's interesting to see how other companies are only now at last catching up with what Microsoft was able to commercialise way back then. It would be remiss of me though not to mention the Apple Newton at this point which more than likely got the Redmond brigade on the right road.

The phone was from BT - I didn't like their customisation of Windows Mobile so burned in an upgrade that has proved ultra reliable and stable but more importantly allows me to keep in touch through SMS & mobile internet when at the hospital.

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