Friday, February 6, 2009

Sense of touch

I lost some feeling in my hands and feet due to the various chemotherapy drugs I've taken over the past five years. I also lost my fingerprints thanks to Xeloda, which irritates the palms and soles in a reaction called hand-foot syndrome.

When I went to Disney World in 2007 I found that the entry gates use fingerprint scanners to ensure that the person using an electronic ticket is the same one who registered it. The scanner choked when I tried to register and an attendant had to override it. I bet that enough of the population has similar issues that it's in their training manual. I suppose it also means that people like me are a headache for anyone else trying to use fingerprints for identification.

Some of the numbness is nerve damage, particularly from the platinum-based drugs. The nerves do slowly heal, so I am getting some feeling back. In fact, now that I've been off of systemic chemo for four months I have enough feeling to realize that I lost more than I appreciated. Except for a period after a massive dose in 2005, the numbness hasn't been enough to interfere with tasks like holding a pen or buttoning a shirt. It's just been a dullness of sensation.

Today I learned that there's another explanation. According to research published in Science, fingerprints enhance the sense of touch. The ridges vibrate as they encounter bumps on a surface and transmit stronger signals to the nerve endings. So part of my numbness to texture is not just the nerve damage but the lack of fingerprints. I wonder if they, too, will regrow over time.

1 comment:

convatec said...

Nice Blog Thanks for sharing, ConvaTec is a global medical products and technologies company, We providing Like...urostomy bag ,colostomy surgery ,ostomy bag ,ileostomy bag ,ostomy care,therapeutics, continence and critical care, and infusion devices etc...
ostomy bag
stoma care
ileostomy bag
urostomy bag
ostomy care