Friday, August 14, 2015

Low Blood Pressure, Lymphedema of the neck

Some of the issues that are still creeping around with Rich are the Lymphedema of the neck, which he was told was 'normal'.
However it is bothering him and I have done some research on this condition.  I find it surprising that the cancer care providers haven't addressed this issue.

Of course dealing with the VA and looking for some Physical Therapy for this condition could be interesting to say the least.
I've been researching nih.gov and pubmed for information on what is called Head and Neck Lymphedema which is shortened to: HNL.

Less than 50% of HNC [Head Neck Cancer] patients get HNL and sometimes it can be pretty serious.  So I am adding this to the list of things we must see the doctors about.

From The Role of Lyphedema in Head and Neck Cancer
Clinically, the presentation of lymphedema parallels its level of severity. In the earliest stage, HNL may present as “heaviness” or “tightness” without visible edema. As HNL progresses, it is apparent as a barely noticeable fullness without functional detriment, and can progress to pitting edema that may or may not affect function. Although rare in HNC patients, lymphedema can present as grossly disfiguring elephantiasis with severe disability in its final stage.
Similar to other side effects that are associated with the treatment for head and neck tumors, quality of life is often significantly impacted by HNL. The effects of HNL are not simply cosmetic. Significant lymphedema of the face, mouth, and neck can result in substantial functional consequences to communication (speaking, reading, writing, and hearing), alimentation, and respiration

Yesterday Rich's blood pressure dropped from 133/68 to 119/67 within two minutes.  So obviously last week's visit to the clinic eliminated his BP meds but it hasn't resolved that particular issue.

Yesterday I did find a site that showed how to do home physical therapy to drain the damaged lymph nodes.  
The hardest part is to actually insist that Rich sit and do the 5 minutes of massage.  I even bookmarked it on his chromebook so that he can watch and follow along when I am not home.

He did it when I insisted on it yesterday morning, but then brushed it off last night.

Of course he is feeling some extreme fatigue right now and that could have a lot to do with both the low blood pressure and the lymph nodes not properly draining.

I think the biggest problem he is having is that he thought when he was done with chemo and radiation...and things would go back to normal.

Recovery from HNC can take a long time.  With some of his other health issues, it may be a bit of a struggle and I don't think he is mentally handling it very well at this point.

Tuesday we see Dr. Rahim, his oncologist and perhaps we can address these issues.  

So we wait until then.

1 comment:

  1. Nick thought he'd bounce back right away too. It's been almost a year........

    ReplyDelete