Chemotherapy can cause neuropathy which is nerve damage. It usually affects the hands and feet and may cause them to hurt, tingle, feel numb or weak and even cause an impaired sense of touch.
Some of the symptoms I’ve experienced include … burning, tingling, and prickling. I’ve had sharp shooting pain which kind of feels like an electrical shock ... and that's in both my hands and feet.
I think it’s affected my walking because neuropathy can weaken muscles. In my case, I had trouble with the arch of my foot and had to go to the Chiropractor for him to stretch and strengthen my arch, foot and calves. I picked up some arch supports at the local grocery store which seems to help. Before seeing my Chiro, I used to have really bad feet, they felt like sticks with no feet and I used to flop my foot to the ground instead of stepping with the front of my foot and walking properly. Apparently, neuropathy can affect the reflexes in your feet and therefore can change the way you walk and for me … it did.
So how does neuropathy affect my life … well mostly, I don't feel solid on my feet. I have trouble picking up small objects and feel I’m just a bit clumsier … dropping things and such. I don’t have the strength to open jars, even the flip top to the ketchup container is uncomfortable to open. When I crack an egg and try to pull the shells apart, the pressure on my fingers is definitely felt, I’m very sensitive to heat … so I have to grab a pot holder to take plates out of the microwave and I have to be ever so careful when cutting or chopping food.. When I take my shower, hot water makes my feet burn so I have to turn the temperature down. At night I’m constantly flipping my feet around to find a comfy spot for my feet. The weight of the bed sheets puts pressure on my toes and if I have my feet flat on the bed, the pressure causes a burning sensation. The other night I woke up to burning feet … to get immediate relief, I sure wanted to go outside and run around in the snow but didn't … just ended up uncovering them to cool and waiting for the sensation to pass.
My biggest concern with my feet continues to be dryness and because I can’t feel any sort of pain from cracks in my skin … I do a visual check every day.