First of all, I am so very very sorry for my complete inability to do anything and not let you all know what has been going on the last few months… yes. It’s been months.
So far, this is one of the first things I have been able to accomplish. So… let me try to explain what has been happening in this tiny corner of the world.
And it is tiny. Made even smaller by what’s going on.
My last newsletter explained that I was still sick and struggling. Shortly after I could breathe again, my neck hurt, my head felt attached to my body wrong, and every single nerve from my shoulder down my right arm was on fire.
I have explained before that endometriosis and the pain associated with it along with my allergy to Ibuprofen and NSAIDS has left me with a strange relationship to pain. But this was bad. Even for me.
Worse than the pain, though, was the numbness. My entire right hand was numb. I could move it, but I felt nothing. I’m not going to lie. I was terrified. Not only did I worry about some kind of permanent nerve damage from something I didn’t understand, but I fundamentally didn’t know how to DO anything.
Some people are ambidextrous, some left handed, some are right handed. I am so right handed I only have a left one because the universe was handing them out in pairs the day I got mine.
From one day to the next I one I went from doing all the things, slowly as I was still trying to get better, but making improvements, to unable to do almost anything.
Of course, like most people, I tried to think everything was fine. It was Thursday and I thought, I could baby my neck, do nothing for the weekend, and it would be okay. I told myself I could miss one week’s letter and get back to work.
I was wrong.
By the Monday, I had slept maybe two hours at a time and a total of fourteen hours in the previous days. I made a call to the chiropractor I knew and to the doctor’s office, unsure what this was and what I could do about it.
The chiropractor got me in first.
It was not good news.
|After X-rays, I was informed that I had a teenager’s vertebrae everywhere except my lower cervical spine. For the lower portion of my neck, injuries from childhood have turned into arthritis with ossification of a tendon at the front of my spine in that area, and two bulging discs.
I didn’t think I would have to worry about even pondering the word arthritis in regards to my body for decades, let alone that it would show up this bad and cause this much of a reset to my life.
So, after blood tests to determine I do not have rheumatoid arthritis, which is good, and nerve tests to determine I don’t yet have permanent nerve damage, which is also good, I was still left with limited options.
What they wanted me to do was take NSAIDS, which I can’t. Then they suggested steroids and opioids, which I won’t because one day I will probably need the steroids more as I age, and I don’t want to not have them work as well because I used them now. And I didn’t want to take opioids for obvious reasons.
That left me with the longer, more painful, and much more challenging path.
For the last few months I have been doing physical therapy, traction, adjustments, and changing almost everything about the way I live my day to day life.
A New Reality
|Two of my fingers still go numb a lot. After I get out of the shower because of the heat, when I try to use my hand too much (like making dinner or brushing my hair), and every single time I try to type.
All of the things I have been doing to improve my neck are ongoing, and I am hoping that eventually I will be able to do basic things without worrying about losing feeling in my fingers or dropping more things — I have dropped more things by grabbing them with my right hand out of habit than I ever thought I would.
But it all also means that I will never again be able to sleep the way I have since I was eight — on my stomach, I have had to change my pillow, I have learned about CBD oil for pain, I ice my neck regularly, I have a thing for traction that looks like a torture device in my house, and I have had to change EVERYTHING about books in my life.
One of the things I will never be able to do again is tilt my head just a bit down for the duration of a task that lasts more than a minute.
That means that if I read, I have to hold the book directly in front of my face, if I do anything on my phone (WHY are the buttons so small?) I have to hold it directly in front of my face, and if I try and type on my laptop, I now have to set it up so that I am looking directly at it and have an external, ergonomic keyboard below it and limit my time doing it.
How do I know I need to limit my time? The first thing I tried after having someone set up speech to text for me and epically failing at it, was to write something while my stories were building up in my brain like the pressure from mentos in soda… it was not a good decision.
My hand went numb for a week.
Crossing All The Things
|I will be getting help to post a photo of my X-ray and a short explainer on my social medias, and I will be trying to get caught up with all the things I am so behind on.Editing, writing, communication, literally everything besides healing that I have been not doing.
|I hope this wasn’t too much to dump on all of you and that my typos were at a minimum. No matter what, I know I can do this again, and I will keep everyone posted with my progress and as I get work done.
Thanks everyone, and again, I’m very sorry.