Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Foot Drop

One of our friends asked for more information on Tyler's foot drop, so I thought I would take a minute to post a little bit more information about it. When Tyler went into the hospital last fall, he apparently pinched a nerve while he slept. Normally, an individual would feel the pinch and shift their legs, but Tyler was under the influence of morphine at the time. After much testing, the doctors gave Tyler their best guess on the cause and recovery.

Tyler has experienced very little change in the condition of his foot since then. The chemotherapy and the radiation and the medications he is on now all interfere with the nerve's ability to grow back.

When moving around anywhere (except at home), Tyler wears the brace pictured above to allow his foot to move at a 90 degree angle. If he didn't wear his brace, he would be prone to trip over his own toe, as it drags downward. We avoid uneven ground, as his ankle is locked into position and can't roll to accomodate different angles of ground.

With the foot drop, Tyler lost much of his balance and coordination and actually had to work with a physical therapist to learn how to walk as steadily as possible with it. He begins more physical therapy this week, so we hope to see him building more muscle strength with the exercises that he gets from them.

The pinched nerve also causes significant pain for Tyler all of the time. It's the number one barrier to restful sleep, as the neuropathy makes his leg extremely sensitive. We've got some strategies for working around his foot and leg sensitivity, but I do hope that Tyler notices some improvement in the next 3 months or so.

We hope that his foot drop will improve, but there is no guarantee of that. There is a chance that his body will never be able to recover from the trauma of the transplant AND the pinched nerve. As Tyler is beginning to get weaned off his post transplant medications (at least a few of them), there is hope that we will begin to see signs of progress. There was a short bit of time pre-Transplant that he was actually able to move his toes a little bit again. We are watching for those signs of success again now.

As for now, we'll wear a brace and work with a physical therapist to do all that we can do to improve his muscle's strength and abilities.

1 comment:

  1. First of all, I want to offer my support on your journey. I've been following your blog for the past couple of months and sending good thoughts your way. I am a fellow CMLer and facing a transplant in the very near future myself....(just trying to find a donor).

    Thank you for sharing your experiences so others can learn.