Firewalking is the act of walking barefoot over a bed of hot embers or stones. Firewalking has been practiced by many people and cultures in all parts of the world, with the earliest known reference dating back to the Iron Age of India c. 1200 BC. Cultures across the globe use firewalking for rites of healing, initiation, and faith.

And apparently, it’s a right of passage for many chemo patients, but not by choice. As I dig into Day 36 of my chemo (Day 9 of round 3), I’ve been initiated to a new kind of firewalking – chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). CIPN is characterized by peripheral neuropathy that affects the hands and/or feet. In my case, it’s the feet. The pain is intense and consistent. Every step feels like I’m walking over sharp, white-hot coals. Ice therapy throughout the day provides minor temporary relief, but the relief fades as soon as these fire feet separate from the ice.

I’ll be meeting with my oncologist soon, while many chemo pain symptoms are transient and resolve after chemotherapy, CIPN may require a dose reduction or delay. I hate to think this may cause a slowdown in my treatment plan, but it’s equally as hard to imagine living with this pain for the next several months.

Firewalking as a religious ceremony is still practiced in many parts of the world today. In such ceremonies, it is believed that only those who lack faith will suffer from injuries from fire, while the faithful are spared. My faith runs deep, may I please be spared the pain?

Thanks for walking through the fire with me. More to come soon.

7 Replies to “CHEMO DAY 36 (ROUND 3 DAY 9)”

  1. Amy Provost says:

    I hope this firewalk won’t be too long, but no matter what you know that you will get to the other end. Keep breathing! Sending you much love-Amy, Keith, and Kai

  2. Joe Lewis says:

    Many many prayers coming from the east coast! There is no one stronger than you

  3. Kim Pfefer says:

    Ugh, that sounds absolutely terrible. Hopefully a bump in the road as you kick this thing’s ass!

  4. Daniel says:

    I feel for you. Bev. Quite literally. When I was a kiddo (12, I think) I was a burn victim — bottoms of my feet. Couldn’t walk for 2 or 3 months. All I really remember that day was that I could not. stop. screaming.

    After that, uhhhh… “level set”, other things — like broken bones, were bad, definitely bad, but bearable. In other words, I could still talk enough to say “that REALLY effing-hurts”.

    When I think about you tonight, I’ll try to have my feet send “healing waves” over to your feet!

  5. Nancy Hiser says:

    ay yay yay! Firewalking sounds horrible. Nerve pain is awful. The indigenous people in the north of Russia wore asbestos on their feet but that didn’t turn out to be such a good idea. Tried icy packs strapped to your feet? (I am sure you have thought of more brilliant fixes than that.) I remember a kitchen burn that left me sleeping with my arm in ice water for a night. I am sure hoping you can find some treatment or a workaround soon. This is just adding insult to injury, right? God, how I love your honesty though. You are in my thoughts daily, Beven, and I am always encouraged reading about all those who are supporting you. I am keeping Greg B in the loop. He misses you greatly and was so glad to hear of the shrinking tumor size. Love, N

  6. wordynerd22 says:

    Beven, I am so sorry! I will be praying for relief from this latest affliction!

    “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
    Isaiah 43:2, New International Version

  7. Ken says:

    You are truly amazing! Stay strong. Reading about your journey is an inspiration! Love you

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