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Physical Therapy for GBM patient?

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2010

My mom was dx'd with GBM IV in June 2009. She is 68. The tumor was debulked, leaving a mass approx the size of a walnut near her motor strip. Chemo (Temodar) reduced the tumor to the size of a dime. She is starting her 5th round of Temodar 5/23 today. Her last 3 MRI's have shown no tumor growth and she has done incredibly well up until now. Her bloodwork is good, her speech is excellent and no problems with vision or hearing. Unfortunately, recently I am seeing some signs of decline.

She has fallen twice within the past week, in one case injuring herself severely enough to require stitches. Her gait is becoming kind of "shuffly." She is only taking .5mg of Decadron per day so I do not believe the steroids are affecting her muscle strength but of course I could be wrong. Her arm strength is decreasing - she is having difficulty getting off the toilet (we have a medical raised seat for her) by herself. Does anyone know if her doctor would likely prescribe, and if Medicare would cover having a physical therapist work with her a couple times per week to improve her arm and leg strength? Also, does Medicare cover items such as a cane, walker and portable wheelchair?

I am expecting to hear of tumor progression at her next doctors visits coming up next month. I am trying to be proactive and keep her mobile for as long as possible, as she has indicated she would like to be outside and active. Her primary caregiver (not me) is easily distracted and I am worried mom will experience more falls and injuries. Can anyone offer any suggestions - thank you in advance.


Posts: 11
Joined: Jan 2010

My mother had the same brain cancer. The falling can be part of this cancer. I found Medicare did pay for a lot of things but most you will need doctor request for them. My mother was 75. The toilet issue sounds also much like my mother. My prayers are with you as you go through this with your mother.

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2010

Thank you for your kind reply, Panamagirl.

Posts: 18
Joined: Jan 2010

...or, as my caregiver / wife and I call it, The "Wobblies."

I'm in your mother's place.
66 y/o,... male,... dx'd with a GBM (in fourth grade) a year ago,...
left frontal lobe, with deterioration in right leg and arm, but
no speech nor cognitive deficits, unless you count this really cool hair-do,...
now in round no. 10 of interval chemo, Temodar, 23/5,...
and five-for-five clear and clean on the MRIs.

But now I've got a case of The Wobblies.

And, with the next MRI scheduled in a couple of weeks,... I'm apprehensive,
more so that usual,... wondering if I've turned The Corner?
Your mother may be wondering about that, too.
You may be wondering about that too, too.

Yes, Medicare will cover in-home PT services,
if our Professional Menders make the referral. Please ask.
Likewise, canes and walkers,... although beware of unscrupulous suppliers!
There's a ton of money out there,... U.S.of A. tax dollars,...
and people enough to sell you supplies and services your mother doesn't need.

Finally, have a talk with your mother's caregiver(s),...
let them know that this thing can and will change day-to-day, and rapidly.
Your mother needs to know that her caregiver(s) know how fragile she might be.
Your mother needs to know that you know that, too.

Life with a GBM is quirky. Months, even years,...
but in the end nobody gets out alive.

But that doesn't mean that each and every day can't be a Treasure Hunt in Cancervivorville.


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