Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Adding An Insult To An Injury

I have to go back to 2007, for the last time that I visited a doctor for anything not related to my Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and treatment past. Since April of 2008, it seems that all of my appointments following my emergency heart surgery, have had some sort of tie to what I had been exposed to.

My health history prior to me having cancer back in 1988 and the time between the end of my treatments in 1990 and April of 2008 could not be any more simple. I had only three primary care doctors. One died still practicing in his eighties. Another retired. And then the current doctor I still have, now well over thirty years. The most challenging thing I usually gave them, was a seasonal allergy that resulted in a steroid injection to get through the Spring. Other than that, if they saw me in the office, it is if everyone was put on red alert, something had to be seriously wrong. Like the time I got into some poison sumac (I will spare you the pictures), way worse than dealing with poison ivy let me tell you. My medical record could not really be more than maybe a half an inch thick.

Even my battle with cancer did not change the size of my file too much with my personal physician. Cancer records would be kept with my oncologist. But once it was determined that I was dealing with issues related to my treatments, and that multiple disciplines of medicine would be followed, I needed to have a central advocate for my care, the main communicator between them all, and that was my primary care doctor.

It was not long before I would have more frequent communications and visits with her, coordinating everything from all the specialists that I would eventually see. Soon, my file grew to two inches thick, and then a second folder would be started. Today, with everything being digitalized, I am happy to see that a tree will no longer be sacrificed for my record keeping.

As I said, it has been a long time since I had a “normal” doctor visit, not related to my Hodgkin’s past. The last injury that I had to deal with was back in 2003, a tear of my left triangular fibro cartilage in my wrist.

Concern over carpel tunnel was eliminated because that would have occurred on the other side of the wrist. I was performing a function at work, that caused a “jerking” of the wrist, hence tearing that cartilage. The workers compensation process was a major thorn in the side as I was originally denied the claim, went through the legal process of appeal, and it was determined that this type of injury only occurs at someone’s employment.

With one caveat. Apparently, as you approach your middle ages, forty-ish, this cartilage begins to deteriorate until you have none according to my understanding. I was in my early thirties at the time, so this was not the issue. The injury was determined to be work related.

Seventeen years later, I found myself in need to seek medical help for the first time, something not related to my Hodgkin’s.

I had a huge pain in my foot. I tolerate pain fairly well, so it is often quite a time before I do anything about it. But with levels reaching between 7 and 9, and a well pronounced limp, and given my history of high dose prednisone during my chemo treatments, leading to one of my many late side effects, osteopenia, I have a higher risk of bone breakage. For the life of me, I could not recall when or where the pain first started, but I was concerned that I could have had some sort of stress fracture in my foot.

Now used to all of my medical appointments beginning with me explaining my cancer history and where I am healthwise today, I was cut short by the PA and I quickly realized, this was not an appointment having to do with my cancer past, well, as far as they were concerned. But because I did emphasize my osteopenia, to which I was immediately questioned how I knew, they opened the door, and I explained briefly, a word not often used with me, a DEXA scan confirmed it due to my chemo past. And with that, an x-ray was ordered. Fortunately, no break was found.

But as the PA ran her finger underneath my foot, from the ball of my heel, towards my large toe, my pain level shot through the roof.

I am not sure how, as I am not overly active, more than a daily walk, but I ended up with what is called Plantar Fasciitis. The tendons under my foot were angry, very angry. So, I was given a list of things to do to help the healing and recovery for a common ailment for many, concerned friends and family inquired to my diagnosis.

It is one thing to have to deal with this injury, but as one of my “concerned” friends promptly pointed out, while this kind of thing is common, it is also associated with getting older. Thirty-one years out from my cancer, I have gotten to that stage in my life, I did not think I would see, getting older. But having done so, not only do I have my cancer issues to deal with, but now I get to add “getting older,” adding insult to injury.

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