So now is probably a good time to share something else “wrong with me” – because if I don’t, you won’t be understanding anything else I post up! I wanted to share my “hand” issues, so atleast then, people can start to understand some other problems I have.
Back when i was waiting for the school bus one day, I happened to look down at my right arm and thought, em why is that blue? And I don’t mean pale blue, I mean, purple blue. That was the start of things to come. Apparently it was a “trapped nerve”. It never did it again, but it did scare the bejesus out of me!
When I first started working, full time work, I ended up with hand problems again, mainly my right hand. And sure enough first diagnosis from everyone was “repetitive strain” or “carpal tunnel”. I mean it’s logical right? I typed all day, so therefore it’s definately one of those.
That was until my right hand decided to close up. And I mean close. My fingers (apart from my thumb and index finger) curled up right in to the palm of my hand, almost looking like I was continuously making a fist. It was so painful. Straightening them out was like trying to straighten a coiled spring, it was never going to happen.
To cut a very long story short, I had every test you could think of, MRI’s, dye injection X-rays, X-rays, nerve conduction tests and some intense Physio. Nothing seemed to work, and nothing gave any answers either.
But my surgeon, in his wisdom, ended up operating on my wrist, as he thought there was a small fragment of bone that had been floating around my body and lodged in my hand stopping any fluid etc getting to the hand and fingers. So operation done and 6 little scars later, my hand eventually returned to something like normal, with some intense Physio and possibly a lot of brute force on my part, I was slowly able to use it more and more, sure it was weak but I was gaining use again.
Fast forward 6 months – BOOM! Fingers curled up again. The operation was then classed as failed. More Physio, daily exercises, more forcing my hand to open, not much seemed to work. But through time it got a little better, no where near perfect, but it was opening but I had to do it, I had no strength to do it myself.
I pretty much gave up, so did the doctors and surgeon, as they had no answers for it. So… I just got on with it, adapted, not being able to do much with my right hand, it was fine, I learned to live with it. That was until February 2009. My hand closed again, and that had been years since the last “closing episode”. Problem was, I was getting married in 18 months time.
As we had moved in to our first house, I had a different doctor and surgery, so along I went and he said I think you have severe chronic tennis and golfers elbow which has affected your fingers being such a bad case. Em ok!! Anyway, I got steroid injections in to each side of my elbow, which certainly did help the arm pain, but did nothing for the fingers at all. But as there had been so much damage caused, I wasnt to expect miracles.
So now I was facing an even more useless hand and a wedding.
I was so paranoid and self aware that this hand was going to appear in my wedding photos, and these photos would be with me for life. At our pre-meeting with the photographer, I asked if it was ok if she didn’t focus on my right hand, and try to keep it out of the limelight. I was determined to hide it as best I could, using my bouquet – genius!
7 years on, and it’s not any better. I haven’t had a “curling” episode since that one, but it is sometimes hard dealing with it daily. I have quite a lot of muscle wastage in my right hand and arm, and not a lot of strength either. But so far, I still have the use of my thumb and index finger, which bear the brunt of everything I do.
Looking at me, you would have no idea. I get a lot of people saying “oh really, it just looks normal” – till I point it out and then they realise, “oh yes actually now you come to mention it”.
So, life with 7 working fingers, is not as easy as it sounds, but I have adapted so much, most of the time it doesn’t bother me too much. You will probably see me pick things up with what looks like my whole hand, but what you won’t realise is its actually only my 2 fingers doing the work. I only type with 7 fingers, use the mouse with 2 fingers, hold cutlery with 2 fingers, hold a pen in a different way, basically everything you do in a day, I do to, but with limited use and adapted ways.
Life is what you make it……