Thursday, January 27, 2011

Broken Glass

Sometimes I forget that my new readers to the blog have missed out on a year-and-a-half worth of blog posts. Therefore, I periodically get emails like I did the other day wanting to know if my arm problem is related to my cancer. It is not. As a brief synopsis... my arm problem is a separate problem that has its genesis in a childhood injury. I went through a window in which I sustained a severed axillary artery and brachial nerve plexus in my right armpit. It was a severe laceration in which I “bled out” by the time I reached the hospital. Because of the extent of the injury, and the lack of oxygen to my right arm/hand muscles, I ended up with a significant arm impairment. Over the ensuing years, with countless arm surgeries, I regained much of my function. Unbeknownst to anyone, however, my bones were becoming brittle. One day my wrist collapsed, crushing my wrist bones. After several operations, my wrist was fused and I also lost most of the function of the fingers in my right hand. In addition, I sustained a complex neurovascular condition which shuts the blood supply down to my right arm and hand (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy). Although my battle with Gleevec is not pleasant and is a source of great angst and consternation, it pales in comparison to the battle with my right arm. If my Gleevec symptoms ever get as severe, obstinate, and repulsive as my arm, then something will have to change. So, my arm pain is unrelated to my cancer except in my dealing with the cacophony of problems as a whole. By itself though, my arm issues are separate from my cancer. By and large, cancer withstanding, much of my life has been viewed and lived through the pane of broken glass.

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