Sunday, August 25, 2013

Diabetes, Cancer, Paraneoplastic Neuromyopathy & Neuropathy,Falling and More

As the decades progressed I never stopped doing Isshinryu, Yang Long Fist Tai Chi Chaun and the other arts I practiced and taught, but I was aging (I thought) and slowly stopped directed practice and concentrated on teaching. I suppose I thought it was age catching up to me, so I concentrated on teaching to my students.

Then one day about three years age I felt ill. My doctor had left the area so I turned to Dr. Harper, a friend, surgeon and a black belt who had trained with me for 15 years for a check up. Well a blood test confirmed for him I had developed Diabetes type 2. So he laid down the law, and I received education about eating, my wife modified my diet, and I started slowly walking. Sure that was hard, buI I slowly increased my distance at lunch to several miles. I also started training harder and had the idea I should compete to push myself at an April tournament. I decided to do so and to learn a new form from some notes a friend provided, Tomari Rohai. So my walking progressed, my training moved forward, and then I competed pushing myself as far as I could.

Then Doc wanted me to receive a colonscopy to check, and yes they discovered I had rectal cancer. I had lost 60 pounds by that time, and I was to have surgery to remove a foot or so of my colon. I underwent the surgery, which left me with a tempory ileostomy and needed to wear a pouch. The surgery was successful, I lost another 20 pounds and now I was tied to the temporary system for my bowels. Afterward I continued to walk, train and  teach as I built up my strength. There were a lot of changes to my way of life.

I continued to take Metformin for my Diabetes, and was keeping my blood sugar in the 90’s. As a result of my cancer surgery I was also to under go radiation therapy and chemotherapy. After 3 months I returned to work as I could. Then the radiation therapy was concluded, and I started the second course of chemotherapy. But that Christmas I started having trouble speaking and was feeling weaker. I was sent to a Neurologist and there discovered something was going wrong. Over the next few months, I became unable to clearly speak, was much weaker, was having balance problems so I needed a cane. I also found it much more difficult to type, fine motor control was less capable. Come April I was put on disability and thought it unsafe to drive any longer. Even swallowing posed a choking hazard so I had to include thickener in my drink. Each possible course of treatment they tried was unsuccessful.

As a year had passed, after testing with a PET scan, I was told I was cancer free. A 2nd surgery was set up to reverse my ileostomy. During that time I had some trouble with abdominal bleeding but the surgery was successful and I lost another 20 pounds. I was now a 100 pounds less. My weight was remaining constant through my chemotherapy and the new diet I followed. The walking had made my blood pressure great. So I was in great shape as I continued to deteriorate.

About the time of my surgery my condition finally stabilized. But there was no improvement. I could still do karate, but weaker and slower. Tai Chi became impossible due to my loss of balance. I continued to take Metformin, my blood sugar continued to be good. I walked, trained, helped teach the kids with the help of my cane, taught the adult class. Now much less, I still made my applications work, much to the dismay of my students. Often the was pain with them, my karate continued to work.

On to teams of specialists. More tests , some physical therapy, and found so far more things I didn’t gratefully have (Alzheimer’s, Lou Geri’s Disease, Cancer..etc.) Eventually they named it Paraneoplastic Neuromyopathy & Neuropathy which means they don’t know what it is. And still the blood tests continue.

I had gotten up to 4 mile walks, kata (i.e.. Sanchin, tai chi) getting stronger , so of course I fell from the front steps and broke 3 ribs at July 3rd. Very painful time, over a month just sitting in the reclining chair. Still I directed the adult class in my yard and slowly returned to doing kata (Now painfully slow and week).

Then two weeks ago returned to walking ¼ mile with my wheeled walker. Very tiring.  Slowly covering longer distances. Doing kata, Figured out a way to practice a version of my (drunken weaving) tai chi, and continuing to go forward.

Today 3 miles and not tired. Yerterday assisted picking up branches for a while helping with yard work for the first time. Today I also ran Seiunchin, Seisan, Tomari Rohai, Sanchin, Ying Jow Pai Chi Kung  and Yang Long Fist Tai Chi Chaun before I walked. My blood sugar this morning was 96. So it goes.

Do take the time to see your Doctor. Listen to what they say. It is work, it is hard, but you are better following their advice. Do continue to train, walk and do live.


Jonathan said...

I'm glad you're condition is improving. Hang in there man.

gatita said...

Wonderful story. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Victor
Not a spring chicken myself, I am also still training. I have some health issues too, but thanks to God are able to train, even with younger guys. Your personal struggles and more pertinent, your response to them are an inspiration. But then, years ago I was inspired by your analysis of Isshin-ryu.
Take care
Francis Billy Balie