Jay Lake: Writer

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[Cancer]

[cancer] Hand, hand, fingers, thumb

My oncologist had warned me that even as I was recovering, my peripheral neuropathy might get worse. Apparently the nerve damage associated with PN is slow to occur, and slower to heal. As in, something between years and lifetime, for some patients.

My cold sensitivity has mildly improved, which is a related issue. I no longer get the bone-in-throat sense of choking from foods or fluids at refrigerator temperatures. Ice cream and other freezer temperature foods are still very difficult, mostly because my back teeth and lower jaw still retain their painful sensitivity. In other words, I can consume cold foods if I don’t have to masticate them with my molars. Thankfully, my overall ability to taste has largely (but not fully) returned, and my mouth sensitivity is receding rapidly.

Likewise, my sense of my core temperature is improving a bit. My body simply doesn’t feel as cold, and I’m starting to notice when I’m warm. My feet have not improved, but neither have they worsened. Still cold and numb, still have a bit of trouble balancing and walking.

But my hands. Ah, my hands. They have continued to degrade. The sense of being freezing cold is very nearly constant, unless I have them under running hot water. My fine motor control has gotten fairly poor. I make an incredible number of typos from simply not hitting the key I intended. I have to try two or three times to dial telephone numbers, especially conference calls with entry codes, because my finger doesn’t hit the right phone buttons. I click on the wrong icons on both the Mac and the PC, launching unwanted applications because my mouse control is increasingly lousy. Also finger and hand strength has faded, a lot. I can no longer open jars except with significant difficulty, nor can I manage flip-tops on toothpaste and lotion tubes.

I’m still typing, which is the most critical thing, but this loss of hand functionality is starting to make me batty. Everything else is either holding the line or improving, but hands are going to hell in their own private handbasket. And it’s damned icy there.

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