Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Glimmer of Hope

I have been feeling very tired of late because I have not been sleeping well. Most days, I only managed to fall asleep by 2am. Yesterday evening, I went to the pharmacy and bought the new medication Neurontin 300mg. When the shop assistance saw how I was limping when I walk, she said to me "Are you having a slip disc?" I said "No, my doctor said it is unlikely due but to some other nerve problem." She continued "Yes, I know how the pain is affecting you because I have slip disc."

My doctor has recommended 1 tablet a day at bed time. After dinner last night I was quite tired, I retired to bed at 9.30pm shortly after taking Neurontin. After a while while lying on the bed, I fell asleep. It is most likely due to the drowsiness caused by the drug. I woke up for night urine once and thereafter slept undisturbed for the whole night. I woke up at 8.30am this morning but was still feeling sleepy. It was a good sleep and I have not slept undisturbed for a long time.

As my doctor said Neurontin was a stronger drug, I had expected some pain killing effect but as I soon discovered, my pain has only lessen a bit. Maybe I have been expecting too much from the drug and it was only the first day. The nerve pain has been making me feel miserable for sometime now and I was expecting a little too much hope on the drug. Anyhow, I am planning to take the MRI on my lumbar spine area this Friday or Saturday.

I am meeting my chiropractor this afternoon and will have a discussion with him on what option will be available after I do the MRI scan.

I did some further reading on the lumbar spine to find out the common back and leg pain.

Lumbar Spine Stenosis: A Common Cause of Back and Leg Pain 

The lumbar spine is made up of five vertebral bodies in the lower back. Nerves coming off the spinal cord travel though the spinal canal and exit the canal through small openings on the sides of the vertebral called foramen. Lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back, known as the lumbar area. This narrowing occurs when the growth of bone or tissue or both reduces the size of the openings in the spinal bones. This narrowing can squeeze and irritate the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. It can also squeeze and irritate the spinal cord itself. This may cause pain, numbness, or weakness, most often in the legs, feet, and buttocks.

As we age, the bone in our spines may harden and become overgrown. This can lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal, called stenosis (see picture above). Lumbar spinal stenosis is most often caused by changes in the shape and size of the spinal canal as people age. For example:
  • Connective tissues called ligaments get thicker.
  • Joint disease called osteoarthritis leads to the growth of bony spurs that push on the spinal cord.
  • Discs between the bones may be pushed backward into the spinal canal.
If the spinal cord or nerves become squeezed, symptoms may include:
  • Numbness, weakness, cramping, or pain in the legs, feet, or buttocks. These symptoms get worse when you walk, stand straight, or lean backward. The pain gets better when you sit down or lean forward.
  • Stiffness in the legs and thighs.
  • Low back pain.
  • In severe cases, loss of bladder and bowel control.
Symptoms may be severe at times and less severe at other times. Most people will not be severely disabled. In fact, many people do not have symptoms at all.

You can most likely control mild to moderate symptoms with pain medicines, exercise, and physical therapy. Your doctor may also give you a spinal shot of corticosteroids, a medicine that reduces inflammation.

You may need surgery if your symptoms get worse or if they limit what you can do. In these cases, surgery to remove bone and tissue that are squeezing the spinal cord can help relieve leg pain and allow you to get back to normal activity. But it may not help back pain as much.


  1. Hi I just chanced upon your blog and am amazed at your tenacity to follow the Gerson Therapy. I'm happy for you that you have great results with it. I also want to add that recently there is a shift in mindset re surgery for mets patients. The idea is that cutting off the primary tumour/mets site (eg lungs) will reduce the tumour load and improve survival. It's just a suggestion:) Regards

  2. Thanks for visiting and for your comments.

    I have considered that option before and my most of my doctors did not recommend the surgery. This is because it will be an open surgery and the body will be severely weakened after the surgery. Statistically, according to my doctors, most of their patients who did the surgery (with or without conventional treatment) also did not survive for more than 6 months.

    The kidney tumor will not kill me but will cause me great pain and loss of blood as it grows. There is just too much nodules in my lungs so much so it is not possible to operate. Anyway, the Gerson therapy has been controlling the growth and spread of the tumors. I just continue to rebuild my immune system in the hope that one day it will be able to fight the tumors.

  3. I just hope to highlight that technological advances and research updates may throw up new options eg. surgery/chemo that was not ideal/feasible in the past. It is important to keep asking the oncos for new options available. You might not find following link applicable but it highlights that it might be good to revisit old options - this research shows that surgery may be beneficial for mets patients after all. If finances allow, it might be worthwhile to consider going to neighbouring countries for a periodic second opinion. Just a thought in this marathon:)

  4. Thanks for your suggestion. I will check out the link you gave me.

    Just to let you know, I do keep in touch with new developments of cancer treatment especially for kidney cancer.