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Arline F A Miraculous Recovery

A force of nature when she was in the New Jersey General Assembly, Arline Friscia, now retired, refused to let peripheral neuropathy slow her down as she recovered from cancer.

A force of nature when she was in the New Jersey General Assembly, Arline Friscia, now retired, refused to let peripheral neuropathy slow her down as she recovered from cancer.

MS. FRISCIA KNEW that something wasn’t quite right with her body when she noticed blood in her urine in 2013. Consultations with a urologist and obstetrician/gynecologist confirmed that Ms. Friscia had nodules in her uterus, and those nodules were cancerous.

To treat the condition, physicians removed the cancerous tissue and administered chemotherapy and radiation treatments. But the chemotherapy proved to be very hard on Ms. Friscia, who was 79 years old at the time of her diagnosis.

“The chemo was causing neuropathy,” she says. “I was supposed to have eight sessions of treatment, but we had to stop at seven.”

The main issue caused by the chemotherapy was numbness and pain in the feet, characteristic of peripheral neuropathy.

“I felt like I had no feet, and I was having trouble walking,” Ms. Friscia says. “It was as if my feet were two inches off of the ground, never touching it.”

NEXT STEPS

Ms. Friscia and her oncologist, Richard Schuman, MD, tirelessly searched for answers. One afternoon, Dr. Schuman read an article about MicroVas treatment being conducted at RWJ Rahway under the supervision of Paul Abend, DO, FAAPMR, Medical Director of Rehabilitation Services at RWJ Rahway.

Ms. Friscia did not need much convincing.

“I would try anything,” she says. “I went to see Dr. Abend, and a technician tested me to determine if my nerves were treatable, which they were. Once I started the MicroVas treatments, I could feel results almost immediately as sensation returned to my toes.”

“I was astonished at Ms. Friscia’s progress,” Dr. Abend says. “I had never seen someone recover that quickly after chemotherapy treatment.”

Under the direction of Dr. Abend, RWJ Rahway physical therapist Jung Kim administered MicroVas therapy to Ms. Friscia three times per week for 45 minutes. MicroVas uses electrical currents to stimulate circulation in the capillaries. Mr. Kim also guided Ms. Friscia through exercise sessions to develop her balance and stretch and strengthen her muscles. After 36 sessions, Ms. Friscia’s condition had significantly improved.

“She is the best that I’ve ever seen,” Mr. Kim says. “The burning sensations she felt in her legs are gone completely, and the numbness is resolved everywhere except for in her forefoot. Her experience is an inspiration to people suffering from peripheral neuropathy after chemotherapy. There are options for a fuller recovery.”

“I’ve been active all my life and was afraid I would not walk normally again,” Ms. Friscia says. “Now, I can feel the difference. I’m thrilled!”