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Weakness in lower body, pain when standing from sitting position.

SurvivorSuzanne444
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2017

Hello Ladies,  I'm new to this Discussion Board...and have a question with regard to the stiffness, sore muscles and very weak legs and ankles I'm experiencing lately.  I had utertine cancer in May, 2016 with a total hysterectomy that August and treatment beginning that September.  I had Stage 1b, grade 3 and the 6 lymph nodes were clear of any cancer as well as the wide margins.  I was told I needed 6 rounds of chemo...starting off with 3, then 25 exterior radiation treatments followed by 3 internal radiation and finally 3 more chemo treatments...I quit taking chemo after the 5th one having gotten so sick after the 4th one, I ended up in the ER twice and then admiited overnight to restore my fluids and magnesium level.

I'm just wondering if this pain I am in...the weakness in my lower body and the struggles I have getting up and down...and my ankles are so weakened now...is common amongst cancer patients who've had radiation in the pelvic area...and of course chemo throughout their entire body.

I read symptoms of fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis and they both could be the culprit but I wanted to rule out the treatments first...or at least see if anyone else has any suggestions as to what it could be.  I see my radiation oncologist next week and I'm prepared to ask about it and what I can be doing or taking to ease my discomfort.  I can't afford physical therapy right now...but I am trying to do stretches and muslce building exercises to try and ease the stiffness.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Suzanne In NEPA

 

 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2544
Joined: Mar 2013

Welcome SurvivorSunzanne.  

For me, I think my body is different than it was before cancer and all the subsequent treatment, and am always looking for ways on how I can continue to heal my body.  I think you are on the right track to question your radiologist and look to find exercises to ease your stiffness and build your strength.  Maybe yoga, which helps with stretching, relaxation, and balance will help.  I think you can find videos online or pickup a DVD or something to 'coach' you.  

Since everyone has their own health concerns, I think it might be hard to find a one size fits all 'help'.  Again, welcome and may you thrive.

SurvivorSuzanne444
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2017

Thank you very much NoTimeForCancer.  I appreciate your kind words.  I've considered yogo but wondered if I could get UP off the floor once I got down there!  LOL

jofran49
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2018

Hi, SurvivorSuzanne444....I just finished my chemo and radiation treatment in March and was starting to feel pretty good again and getting back to "normal".  Then at the beginning of June, I had excruciating pain in both hips, and pain radiating down my legs.  Knees felt weak and I had numbness and tingling in my toes.  After doing some research I discovered that "chemo induced neuropathy" is common and can start 3-9 months after the end of treatment.   It was like someone set an alarm for 3 months!  BAM...within 2 weeks I was unable to stand up from sitting and could not get down to look in the bottom cupboards in the kitchen, etc. cause there was no way I was going to be able to get up again.  I've started physical therapy for the neuropathy but the pain my hips and weakness is causing me a lot of distress.  I now have to walk with a cane, can't step up or down a curb, have to be careful where I walk, etc.  Doctor is ordering en EMG to determine if it's muscle, bone or nerve related.  I will let you know what they find out and keep you up to date on the treatment and whether it helps or not.  Yesterday, at our July 4 picnic I couldn't get up from the chair I was sitting in and it took 2 strong men on either side of me to haul me up to a standing position....embarrassing.  Hopefully, there is a treatment that will work for us.....hang in there.

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1504
Joined: Jun 2015

Welcome Suzanne444.  I don't have a lot to offer in the way of advice except to walk. I found that walking everyday helped build my strength and get me back to my new normal. I hope your doctor can give you something to help relive your pain.  I agree with NoTime's response on the yoga as well!

Please come back and let us know how you are doing.

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

SurvivorSuzanne444
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2017

Cindi...Thank you for your suggestion....I plan to walk once the weather improves.  I had some issues with weak ankles...but I may have improved since the FALL when I fell three times.

I got new Nike sneakers...and hope to put them to good use once the ground is green beneath my feet.  I'll keep you posted.  Thanks for your input.

 

Armywife's picture
Armywife
Posts: 266
Joined: Feb 2018

I'm very, very weak physically as well - finished chemo 5 months ago but I wasn't strong even before it.  I am taking aqua therapy classes and LOVING them.  The heated pool is gentle on the joints, and I can tell I'm starting to get stronger already.  I highly recommend!

SurvivorSuzanne444
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2017

Thank you Armywife.  That does sound like a great idea.  I live so far out in the country...that there is nowhere within 30+ miles that offers a communcity pool...and certainly not aqua therapy classes.  I wish there were some... Thank you for the suggestion...and I'm glad to know they are helping you.

Suzanne

Armywife's picture
Armywife
Posts: 266
Joined: Feb 2018

I'm very, very weak physically as well - finished chemo 5 months ago but I wasn't strong even before it.  I am taking aqua therapy classes and LOVING them.  The heated pool is gentle on the joints, and I can tell I'm starting to get stronger already.  I highly recommend!

Northwoodsgirl
Posts: 506
Joined: Oct 2009

Welcome to this discussion board. By chance do you have neuropathy? Doing yoga, walking, streching, Aqua exercise all may help. It may just be part of general reconditioning. Is your magnesium level still low? Do you take magnesium supplements? 

Lori

SurvivorSuzanne444
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2017

Northwoodsgirl, Yes, I do have neuropathy in my left thigh...from hip to knee...both feet and slight tingling in the fingers.  Feet are 50% numb during the day...moreso at night.  I don't know if my magnesium is low now...haven't had blood drawn but will be getting it done this Friday...before seeing my radiation oncologist.  Got snowed in last week when I was supposed to see him.  When I started taking magnesium supplements on my own...my cancer oncologist told me NOT to do that...so I quit taking it.

I'd just like to be able to get up from a sitting position without the assistance of a table or armchair to get UP...I'm so stiff and sore...and my balance is always off...I don't trust myself to walk without looking for something to grab on to...some days.  Going up and down stairs requires holding on to the railing and either pulling myself up...or steadying myself going down.  Ugh...it's sad not to feel 100% anymore...

EZLiving66's picture
EZLiving66
Posts: 1319
Joined: Oct 2015

I only had three chemos, no radiation, and I suffer from moderate to severe neuropathy.  Two and half years later I have balance problems, numb feet and toes with shooting pains in my left leg, two numb fingers with it getting worse at night.  I went from a wheel chair to a walker to a cane to now when I can walk on my own (carefully because my left foot drops). But, if I walk too far my hip starts to ache like it's bone on bone.  My eyes were also damaged from the chemo and my sight constantly changes - six different prescriptions in two years.

I was low on magnesium and am down to one table a week per my doctor's order. I also don't make my own vitamin D anymore so have to take that every day. Prior to chemo I took one pill a day - synthroid for my non-working thyroid.  I now take 18 pills a day (four of them are metformin) - oh yeah, this week it's 20 because I have a persistant UTI and I'm on cipro which can make neuropathy worse but I've tried two other antibiotics that didn't work.

You are right, it sucks not to be back to 100% but, I figure I'm about 60-70% and I guess that's better than being 0% and dead.  I went from being an active 63 year old to an 80 year old but I'm going to be a spunky 80 year old - LOLOL!!!

All my best!!!!

Love,

Eldri

SurvivorSuzanne444
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2017

Thank you Eldri.  I went from being a fulltime caregiver for my then 94 yr old father...to needing a caregiver some days for myself at age 66.  It's hard to determine what is causing all these newfound ailments...the aging process brought on by the treatments or the treatments themselves!  I too have thyroid issues...a multi nodule goiter...which requires me to take Synthroid every day also.  I have issues with my eyes now...not sure if it's dehydration or what...but double vision has caused me great alarm...especially since I live alone and drive myself everywhere.  Very hard to see fifteen feet in front of my car some days...There are two cars in my vision when actually there is only one!  My balance is really off.  I can't close my eyes to shower or even wash my hair in the sink..without toppling...I teeter around like some crazy old fool.  Wink  I fell three times in a short span of time last Fall...spraining both ankles and fracturing one...all as a result of the same fall...The left leg with the neuropathy in the thigh...was injured...I wore a cast on my leg for four weeks...and I still have issues with both ankles being stiff, sore and cramping at the slightest bend in them. 

I'm sorry you have so many issues as a result of only THREE chemo treatments and NO radiation.  I quit after 5 chemo's...my oncologist was not happy with me skipping the 6th one but now in hindsight...I'm glad I did.  The damage would have probably been even worse...especially the neuropathy portion of my side affects from treatmets.  "They" made it sound like the neuropathy would eventually go away...but now that I'm at the one year mark since my last treatment, I realize it probably won't ever go away.  Like you, I'm grateful to be alive...but I sure was a lot more agile and active before this treatment business took over my life... Best of luck and continued good health to you Eldri...and thank you for your input.  Hugs,  Suzanne

janaes
Posts: 739
Joined: May 2016

I dont know if this is what you have.  Shortly after i finished my first of 6 chemo treatments i got the wirdest feelings in my legs. I couldnt describe it other than i felt like i was crippled in my legs. I remember worrying about going back to work an carrying things. I had to practice to see if i could. I was able too but it still felt crippling. I still have the feeling a year and a half after treatments.

I didnt do external radiation only did bracytherapy so for me the pain has nothing to do with radiation.

When i described my pain to my GP she thought i was describing arthritus. I never had that before cancer.  I still believe it was caused by chemo. Of by the wat it is very hatd to get up from sitting down. Especially when sittinng a long time.  My balance is off.

SurvivorSuzanne444
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2017

Thank you Janaes...for your input.  No...that is not what I experienced altho I try to distinguish my sore and stiff legs, especially knees...between whether it's arthritis or aging joints...or results from chemo.  I may never know.  My balance is definitely off and wasn't before treatments...so that I can attribute to the treatments.  

The getting up from a sitting position after sitting more than 10 minutes is a real struggle some days.  I've gained weight too which doesn't help matters with weakened ankles and stiff knees.  

I hope your cancer is gone...and you are feeling much better in the days ahead.  Thank you again for your contribution to my cause.  Suzanne

Donna Faye's picture
Donna Faye
Posts: 215
Joined: Jan 2017

SS444, keep moving! Do something every 2 hours that gets you moving as much as you can. I am 78, so I have found that getting down on my knees is almost impossible and getting up is worse, but I do it. I am careful to have something to pull up on or lean on. I also do water exercise as some have suggested as water is kind to old and sore joints. I have been in cancer treatment since Jan. 2017, but just got my first NED report so am now getting these old bones ready for a horseback ride as soon as the weather cools down. I use elastic bands, 10 minute walks, bends and squats and walking up and down stairs. I will have to use a mounting block to get on the horse but after that I am ready to ride.  Push throught the pain.

Susie2's picture
Susie2
Posts: 15
Joined: Nov 2017

Welcome to this board, Suzanne444. I'm glad you posted your concerns, as I've been feeling the same. I ended all treatments in April (chemo and brachy). Within the last 2 weeks, I'm suddenly having increased stiffness and soreness in my ankles and knees. Two days ago I also awoke to a numb feeling through my whole leg. I'm an avid walker, so exercise is not the issue. I am thinking this is a result of the chemo, and hoping it can heal. I have a 3 month check-in soon, so I will definitely mention this and get back to you if I get an answer. In the meantime, I hope your soreness subsides. I love the suggestions from the other ladies for yoga and swimming. I think the key is to move, although it would be nice to know that it won't last forever. 

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