I’ve just completed 12 treatments of Scrambler Therapy for the peripheral neuropathy that I’ve had ever since I completed chemo treatments 3 1/2 years ago. Twelve trips to Mayo/Rochester in three weeks, and I’m now ready to ‘live with this’ for a few months and see how it goes. I was part of a clinical trial this Spring using this treatment, but it wasn’t successful. So the doctor conducting the trial referred me to the Pain Clinic where I could receive more extensive therapy than what was available through the clinical trial. So…here’s my report!
First the negative stuff—let’s get that out of the way. Although I had been optimistic (perhaps overly so!) that I might be able to get rid of all my symptoms, and have normal feet again, that did not happen. I continue to have a continual ‘buzz’ in my feet. I’ve described it as the type of sensation one would have it they hung onto a low voltage electric fence, and never let go. It’s not a sharp jolt…it just always buzzes. So, that remains, but the voltage meter has gone down considerably (oh wait—that’s positive, and this paragraph its strictly negative! ha!) I also continue to have numbness, and at the end of the day, I have tired feet. I know, I know…we all have tired feet at the end of the day! I’m talking about something beyond the normal level of tiredness.
But…enough negative stuff, because as of the last couple of days, I have a lot of positive things to report. (Had I written this at the end of last week, the negative paragraph would have been much longer, and this positive paragraph would have been mighty ‘thin’!!) Although the recommended length of treatment is 10 sessions (at about 45 minutes/session), I let it be known that I really wanted to go beyond 10, and they were fine with that. I actually could have gone more than 12, but for several reasons, I capped it at 12.
What has changed? The most painful symptom I had was shooting pains going up my legs. Although it didn’t happen often, and it was usually when I forgot to take my meds at night, it was a wakeup call in more ways than one. I have had no occurrences in the past 3 weeks.
Secondly in the lineup was the “rocks in the shoes”. This occurred almost daily, and made walking quite painful. If I always wore good tennis shoes with orthotic inserts and padded socks, it was more tolerable…but it still was not a fun experience. Well…the rocks have only shown up twice in the past week, and then it was short lived. This is a HUGE relief! It even makes me think I can ditch my tennis shoes a little more often…time will tell!
Thirdly, my feet felt very stiff and very achy, especially at night/overnight. My sister Mona and I used to compare our neuropathy symptoms. (It’s one of those macabre things cancer patients do for fun!) We both described this as feeling like we were hauling around wooden blocks (or sometimes cement blocks) on the ends of our legs—stiff and heavy. This symptom has also lightened up a lot. It’s still there, but it has appreciably diminished in both stiffness and heaviness. Much more comfortable to have lighter feet!
I was asked today to give a percentage of how much improvement I have, compared to when I started treatment. Conservatively, I’d say 65% improvement. It may be more than that, but I need a little more time to figure out where it will all settle.
This is not expected to last forever. Most people make it for 3-6 months before some symptoms begin to creep back in…some make it longer than that. When any symptom starts to show up again, I can go back for booster treatments…or alternatively, I could go every few months just to make sure that my progress is maintained. This is the ONLY treatment that has been shown to be effective with chemo-induced neuropathy, so I am SO thankful that I found out about it, and that it was available so close to home.
If you are interested in learning more, feel free to contact me. Many people suffer from nerve pain, and this is a therapy that can bring relief!
Thank you for the thoughts and prayers that have come my way/been said on my behalf. It was more of an emotional experience than I expected it to be, as well as more physically tiring than I expected. But…onward with living with these ‘new feet’!!