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Sudden, inexplicable back pain


LexieCat

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I woke up Friday morning with lower back pain. I hadn't done anything (that I could think of) to cause it, so I figured I'd just "slept funny" and that it would let up as the day went on..  

Well, it continued all day yesterday, too, and I could hardly sleep last night. I could not find a comfortable position--even when it felt better momentarily, the pain would come back. One odd thing is that it's only on the right side. During the day, I got a bit of relief from ibuprofen and a moist heat pack, but I can't sleep with the heat pack--too bulky.

Of course, my brain goes to the possibility of bone metastasis. The pain, though, is way above the sacrum, where the one lesion was identified. It's just below my waist on the right side.  And, of course, I have osteoporosis and some spinal issues anyway (which haven't bothered me in terms of pain--at least not yet). This week I have my CT scans (Tues), followed by visit with oncologist (Thurs). I'm gonna put a note in the patient portal letting them know what's going on, in case they need any further imaging. I'll also reach out to the palliative care team to see if they have anything that can help--a pain med, something to help me sleep. 

Ugh.

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Huh, I just looked up side effects of Zometa (zoledronic acid for bones, which we started at the last infusion) and one of the "more common" side effects was lower back or side pain.  So maybe that's the culprit (let's hope--better than the alternative). According the the Mayo Clinic website, that may be a temporary side effect. 

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It’s always something, isn’t it?  This whole cancer journey has been just one unexpected blip after another.  Sigh.  Hope they can come up with something to help you sleep!

We’re leaving today for our 16-day stay at Duke and late yesterday I turned up with ever worsening diarrhea 🙄  No idea why, but thinking it might be another round of colitis.  The worst of it is that Andy thinks I bring all these little ‘disasters’ on myself - that if I read about side effects, I’ll have them.  After 4 Imodium, I’ve been ok for a few hours, but afraid to eat or drink anything.....
 

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Oh, I'm sorry--that's a bummer. Glad the immodium is helping--though I don't blame you for being cautious! Can you postpone your trip for a day or two to make sure it's gone?

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It looks like there is no easy way out and hurdles appear when you least expect them. I am scheduled for a visit with a thyroid specialist tomorrow because the radiologist thinks one of them is cancerous. I was doing so well with the triplet and now this.

Well this is not the time for all of us to get discouraged. We need to get into a new gear and plow ahead. I wish you ladies quick recovery and return to normal. 

 

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Good Morning Guys, 

I hear everything you all are saying!  I really wish there was some kind of manual along the lines of "what to expect" with lung cancer..  my phone buddy passed along some very sage wisdom- the first year is a really wild ride while working through the treatment side effects.  Off cycle imaging seems to come along with the territory.  I also had unexplained back pain which earned me a nice long MRI.   Back Bain was a common side effect of my treatment as well.   Better safe than sorry I suppose.  

Susan- I want to say straight up that you do not ever bring this onto yourself--as we speak my mom who is taking a targeted therapy and immunotherapy for a different cancer is having a horrible time with diarrhea.  She couldn't receive her Keytruda infusion last week.  For me personally, I don't know who ever came up with the term cancer journey but in my book, this ain't no journey.   

Gary- you've got the right attitude- keep going forward.  My phone buddy also had some very wacky things happen to her thyroid and ended up with a specialist.  I really hope it's not a secondary cancer.   

Carry on.. 

Michelle 

 

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56 minutes ago, Rower Michelle said:

For me personally, I don't know who ever came up with the term cancer journey but in my book, this ain't no journey.   

Agreed! For me, that is right up there with "fighting" cancer. People can certainly use whatever expressions/metaphors they find helpful to describe their own experiences, but those are two that set my teeth on edge.

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Ditto to that too!!   Somehow "fighting" implies we have some kind of control over this... there is some hope.  I met with the CEO of ALA last week and she said, I know that I'm not supposed to call this a journey but what am I supposed to say... I alternatively suggested, tell me your story or what's been your experience.  What was that song- this ain't no party, this ain't no disco, and we're not fooling around?  

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Life During Wartime--Talking Heads. One of my favorite bands--I saw David Byrne twice a couple of years ago.

For me, "ordeal" describes it pretty well. If anyone here was a GoT fan, it bears a marked resemblance to the trials by ordeal--I believe all of those characters had to rely on the skill and luck of their champion--nobody was fighting their own ordeal.

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Instead of journey, how about Goat Rodeo (see definition below)? I learned this term yesterday. 😁 Ordeal is good too. 

Hope everyone starts to feel better soon. 

20201205_185654.jpg

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Started in the Army, charlie foxtrot is indeed the appropriate characterization.

I recall others taking Zometa reporting lower back pain. I do hope that is the cause, but the effect indeed is charlie foxtrot! Back pain--whisky tango foxtrot oscar!

Sierra tango charlie!

Tom

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Could barely sleep last night--had to get up at 4 am to sleep another hour and a half or so, while sitting up on sofa with neck pillow.

My CTs are scheduled for this morning and I had no idea how I was going to lie on my back for them--that position is excruciating right now, even with a pillow underneath. So I messaged my NP and she called in a script for oxycodone (which generally makes me nauseous but she said just to take one of my anti nausea meds). She's also gonna see what she can do about getting an MRI of my back scheduled this morning or at least very soon.

Hopefully I can manage the scans. Just took a pill and my appt. is in 45 minutes.

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I hear what you’re saying- sitting in the car can even be painful.   If you get there with too much pain ask if it’s possible for light sedation (is your daughter still there?).  If you go through a scan with severe pain, it can cause slight movements which screws up the scans.  May the force be with you...

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Thanks--I'll tell ya, this pain took my mind off worrying about what the scans will show. At least this time I didn't self-inflict any injury! The oxy worked great--I was able to lie on the table with no pain--and I know I could not have done that unmedicated. I have a couple of back MRIs scheduled for next week.

I do have another weird thing going on. I've had a bit more edema this round than I usually do. Yesterday morning my right ankle felt like there was a scrape on it or something. When I looked at it later, there was a huge red bruise-type mark on it--though I don't remember hurting it. My daughter freaked out a bit because she thought it looked like a spider bite. She took a pic and I sent it to my NP, who also thought it looked like a bite (to me, it just looks like a small round scrape/scab. The NP wanted to know if it felt warm or whether I had a fever. No to both, so she told me just to keep an eye on it for any spread of the redness. Today it seems pretty much the same and isn't bothering me particularly. So I'll just have the doc look at it on Thurs. when I go in for my appointment.

Just another Foxtrot to add to the Charlie...

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Hi Lexi: I hope for good results from the scans. Hopefully it is just a bruise from hitting or leaning on something but if you also have swelling in the area  you should ask about the possibility of blood clots.

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Lexie,

Wow, you have really had some stuff (I use the term loosely) happening to you.  I sure hope that the back pain eases up and if it is a side-effect that it fades and doesn't return...I remember once waking up and my hand was sore, right between my right thumb and pointer finger.  I figured it was from a splinter or something I did when working in the yard.  A day or so later it really got red and hurt quite a bit.  So, in my case, it did turn out to be a spider bite of some kind.  It hurt for a few days and slowly went down on it's own (can't remember if I was told to take Benadryl or not) so they can be painful and get worse before they get better.  Yours doesn't sound like it is doing that, so I'm happy if you don't go through that..

So far, I've been blessed not having to take chemo, but I sure read and listen to all of you who do and really respect how well you have dealt with this.  I don't know how I would handle all the different things you put up with.  Personally, I wish none of us ever had to face chemo.

Anyway, I hope you feel better soon.

Lou

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Thanks, guys. I actually feel like I've had it lucky compared to a lot of folks. Most of the things that have happened are either non-cancer-related (or only peripherally related) and not severe in themselves. And/or they have resolved by appropriate use of medications. But of course, when you're already feeling a bit weakened from the chemo, any effects sort of get magnified in terms of feeling crappy or out of control. I did take one more pain med this afternoon and had a nice long sleep on the sofa. I'll take another one an hour or so before bedtime, and bring one up to my room so if I wake up I can get back to sleep. Having the pain med does make me feel more in control--all I could think about last night and this morning was how awful I felt and wondering how I'd make it through the scan.

I'm SO lucky to have such a great NP. Every once in a while during one of our visits she'll ask if she can have a moment to type a quick response to another patient. My response is always--absolutely! I know how much I appreciate it when you get right back to ME. I always figure the other person probably has a pressing issue and I'm happy to share a few minutes so she can respond.

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