At the beginning of this year I made some very specific goals. One was to finish the second draft of my newest novel by the end of February. In my mind, I figured I could finish and send it out to beta readers, making it so I would get edits/input back by the end of March. This would ensure that I could edit and send it out to more beta readers by May, get it back by June, and edit again. All in plenty of time to then send it out to professionals and, hopefully, hear back by the end of the year.
I finished the second draft on time. I power housed it. I sat on my bed and focused like crazy over the weekend making it so I reached my goal. It felt great. However, that high didn’t last long. Literally the next day, my right hand began giving me problems. By the end of the week both of my hands hurt. I couldn’t use them. But it was not only my hands, I’d feel a pain going all the way up to my elbows and sometimes in my upper arms.
I rested for over a month. No cleaning and no cooking. I had people tell me that it must be wonderful to have a break, and “don’t tell my wife that” etc. Each time I tried to explain to them that it’s really not as great as it sounds. I couldn’t do the necessities (which I wanted to do in the sense that I wanted to take care of my family), but I also couldn’t do things I enjoyed. I couldn’t hike, or even go on a walk since the sway of my arms was enough to hurt my hands. I couldn’t read since holding a book open would start aches that grew quickly into pain. Most importantly, I couldn’t type, so the new novel that I was planning on starting while beta readers were busy, didn’t get underway. Many a day I laid in bed, distraught. My job was to rest. That and administer ice packs on both my hands on a regular basis.
My hands didn’t seem to be getting better and they hurt in different places depending on what I was doing. So, I took the plunge and after a month I went to the doctor. I did two in-office carpal tunnel tests. After those, he agreed with what we thought it must be. *Tendinitis. This meant all the resting I’d done was exactly what I should have been doing. So, I continued on trusting that if I took good care of them, my hands would feel better in a few months. I didn’t do anything except drive my kids to and from school, all while wearing braces to help support my wrists.
Months later, I was still having issues. I went to the doctor again and he sent me to a specialist. The specialist told me my symptoms “SOUND like tendinitis, but LOOK like **carpal tunnel.” This made him send me in for a nerve test.
The day of the nerve test came. The result… MILD carpal tunnel. Mild? It didn’t feel mild. Basically he said there might be more wrong with me, but a good start would be surgery in both my hands. I decided I should rule out a couple things, just in case, since so many things can be related. I went back to my regular doctor for blood work. It all came back normal. Surgery it is.
The plus side is that because it is “mild” I should be able to have this surgery and not have a problem for the rest of my life. This is a huge relief. Another benefit is that the recovery isn’t even bad. It will be same day surgery and I’ll be able to use my hands quickly afterward; and yes, I did ask how soon it would be before I could type. He said I could technically start that day, but waiting a couple days wouldn’t be a bad idea.
I’ll be having surgery before the end of the year is through. Until then, the answer the doctor gave me was to pop some ibuprofen and use my hands despite the pain. Not exactly ideal, but so much better than being told not to work.
I did discover a few things that have been helpful on this journey that I’ll be sharing in another post. For now, I’m just thrilled to be editing again.
* Tendinitis is the condition where the tissue connecting muscle to bone is inflamed.
** Carpal tunnel is when you have a pinched nerve in the wrist causing your hand/arm to have a numbness or tingling sensation.
I am not a medical professional so if you have any symptoms or concerns make sure to check with your doctor.
Photo by Sabine van Straaten on Unsplash