Monday, August 22, 2011

How people with cancer die.

What do people with cancer actually die from? It think it is carelessness. I remember reading a book about leprosy. The main problem is that it causes a peripheral neuropathy which means that the leper has to carefully inspect his skin for cuts that might be come infected.

The complications of my cancer and its treatment that I am suffering from are decreased gut motility, a serious pulmonary embolus, proximal myopathy and a peripheral neuropathy. Yesterday afternoon I was trying to strengthen my legs by taking a walk in the garden. I spotted a large weed and stepped onto the flower bed to uproot it. On stepping back to the path, I overestimated my power to take a long stride and the amount of proprioception I had left in my feet. I tripped over the rockery and belly-flopped onto the shingle bath. My goodness, that hurt. I suppose my distended tummy acted like an air-bag, but I was left with superficial bruising on my abdominal wall and a large bruise/hematoma over my tibia (I am fully anticoagulated). After about 10 minutes screaming my wife picked mt up and put me in a chair.

This morning I am uncomfortable but conscious. I have not ruptured my spleen or sustained a cerebral bleed. No lasting damage seems to have been done. That's twice I could have died of carelessness. Perhaps men show too much bravado and this is the reason that women live longer? Perhaps this is why people who choose palliative care live longer than those who choose chemotherapy in some series?


TruthMill said...

Hi Terry,

So sorry to hear about your troubles and I do hope you are feeling better soon.

Being human isn't for the weak at heart is it?

Take care,

Anonymous said...

The common salutation, "Take care!" seems sadly apt, but you are so valued it is conveyed again with a full heart.
May the spirit do what our simple selves cannot and 'lift you up'.

Anonymous said...

Dr Terry,

It is hard to except new limitations or even to recognise them.

Accidents happen and luckily you can learn from this one and move on. Do not be too hard on yourself.

I pray for your future comfort and safety.

Manu Manickvel said...

One can only do one's best - we are only human; the Red Arrow Jon Egging's crash in Bournemouth after the finish (they'd split up to peel off & land) of a beautifully executed, most skillful & delicate display they put on ( i watched videos of the show & the crash)is just another harsh reminder of how machinery / biology /chemistry or just sheer nature lets us down...

Manu Manickvel said...

Also, i do believe Jon kept the safety of the citizens in mind...almost not ejecting till the end...'til he came down in the one & only field...A True Hero.

Dan Cullen, Westchester, NY said...

Dr. Hamblin, sorry about the misadventure. Thank God your wife was there.

I hope you do not forgo the pleasures of gardens - a place to unwind, to sort things out, to till & putter, to marvel at wonderment, intrinsic satisfaction, to sigh & smile, to imagine.

Despite your unfortunate fall, I'm sure it has provided many therapeutic benefits and will continue to do so.

I guess you have to "take care" and "carry-on" (I loved watching those old funny movies as a child).

By the way, what is a shingle bath?

Chonette said...

I well know how easily one can fall over in the garden. During my years of treatment I fall over once in the garden and once going to pick up the phone, just being careless, I had plenty of large bruises to remind me how careful we have to be.
Please take extra care.

Terry Hamblin said...

shingle path!

Manu Manickvel said...

The spirit is willing, but, alas...the flesh is weak. The spirit is All...that matters...

Anonymous said...

Shingles...seem(s) to be a problem everywhere for everyone!

Brian Koffman said...


Sorry to hear of your mishap.

Cancer and its therapies wear us down and lower our ability to cope. While a metastasis in the wrong place may kill some of us, it is usually that we are ground down, by a weaken marrow or a breached immune barrier or a broken spirit.

We can only do so much to protect ourselves.

Stay strong, my friend.


Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Terry,
You are in my thoughts and prayers. You, like all who live with this disease, are brave. Take heart knowing that others care and appreciate you. Your honesty is a gift to all. Thank you.