Along with the lymphedema, Matt noticed that a tingling sensation developed in his feet. Most likely this was the result of chemotherapy causing peripheral neuropathy. Identified as chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) this common side effect with certain chemotherapy agents can show up immediately after the start of chemotherapy or even after treatment has been concluded.
Kim is one of the first physical therapists in California to receive the STAR certification for oncology rehabilitation was able to address this issue during Matt’s treatment.
“We were able to reduce some of the tingling feeling Matt experienced with TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), and whirlpool treatments, but it did not fully resolve,” Marshall said. “Fortunately, his symptoms were not severe and were not affecting his balance; a typical side-effect, which can lead to additional problems that need to be addressed.”
Researches are working diligently to understand more about CIPN and develop drugs or delivery methods that can hopefully one day prevent this from happening. Until that time, physical therapist work with patients daily to help these patients improve their quality of life and educate them on exercises and strategies to manage day-to-day activities.
Two years out from cancer treatment, Matt was back for more physical therapy. The good news is it was just a run-of-the-mill orthopedic issue, tendonitis in his elbow, An injury that was not related to his cancer diagnosis.
“My orthopedic surgeon gave me a few choices, surgery which he did not think I needed, a cortisone shot which he didn’t recommend, PRP, which I didn’t want to do, or physical therapy,” Matt said. “The choice was easy. My orthopedists has his own sports medicine practice, but I picked Kim for physical therapy. I feel very comfortable with her. She is extremely knowledgeable and very professional.
“She knows me so well and how to get me to do the things that I don’t necessarily want to do,” he added. “It is like a little family at Progressive Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation and everyone is very encouraging. I can’t image going anywhere else.”