Keeping My Pants On

...in more ways than one...

Today was my first doctor's appointment in about a year where nobody told me to get undressed from the waist down and cover myself with the sheet.  This was a nice change.

The results were less awesome, though.  After Dr. Kebria confirming last week that my recent severe hand pain is likely NOT long-lasting chemoptherapy side-effect neuropathy related, but more probably a carpal tunnel-y issue, I made an appointment with an Orthopaedic hand specialist and he had no reason to make me take off my pants!  Hooray.

I've had off-and-on hand pain due to how much I use the poor bastards for more than a decade.  Never having been big on listening to my body in the past, however, I just bought some Walgreen's wrist braces, popped a couple of advil, and dealt with the pain.  I also have to say that I have a ridiculously high pain tolerance, so I never really know how to explain my pain levels in ways regular people will understand.  The questions the doctor and his nurse asked me weren't really helpful, either.  None of my symptoms fit neatly into the boxes on their computer screen.  I have no way to know how to explain my issues in terms of "mild, moderate or severe pain".  I can't tell you if my fingers are numb right now because they've been numb for so freaking long that they just feel normal to me - but I know you're supposed to be able to feel something when you press down on the wrong end of a razor blade at work... and I can't remember the last time a cut actually hurt.  So yeah.  I really didn't know how to help them help me.

But whatever.  They did some x-rays (which showed no bone problems) and then he made me fold my hands this way and that, pulled on my thumbs, pushed on my wrists, poked me with a pin, and declared it early stage carpal tunnel and some sort of tendinitis.  I was then given a script for heavy duty anti-inflammatory meds (he said one pill would be the equivalent of taking 15 advil!!) and a set of molded plastic braces which immobilize my wrists and thumbs.  I was told to wear the braces ALL THE TIME for 3 weeks, except when I'm driving or washing.  Wow.  Well, since I had to drive to work after the appointment, I waited til I was there to put those suckers on.  And immediately discovered that I cannot do ANYTHING with them on.  My job relies heavily on my hands being functional and strong.  (This is why I finally thought I'd go look into getting them fixed.  That and the fact that this is hopefully the only time I will have exceeded my astronomical insurance deductible and would be able to "afford" surgery to fix me.)  With the braces on, I literally could not pick up a one inch vinyl eraser - let alone a priceless piece of art bigger than myself in a frame with a highly volatile and fragile finish that required gloves to handle.  I was screwed.

In a complete panic and on the verge of tears, I called the doctor's office back and explained the situation.  He said to just take them off at work, then, and only wear them when I'm not working.  I was vaguely relieved and ripped them off faster than you can spell "orthopaedics".  But then I started to panic.  I don't exactly stop working when I get home.  I do french matting for work from home.  I work on art.  I have various graphic design projects on the computer I am in the middle of.  I blog.  I cook...  aaaaand I end up in sobbing wildly in the bathroom at work because I thought I was doing something that would alleviate some of my stress, and instead, I ended up more stressed than before.

After talking with my friend, Pam, texting with my friend, Rhiannon, and calling Ryan - I calmed down.  Decided to maybe look for a sports medicine doctor who might understand more specifically how my hands are my livelihood.  And that expediency is key because of the insurance issue (oh - and the PAIN).  Anyhow, no solution yet, but I will wear the braces when I can for now (probably only when I sleep - which I'm sure will just end up being ANOTHER factor keeping me FROM sleeping, but whatever.  We will figure something out.

Meanwhile, I am also trying to keep my pants on and not call Dr. Kebria begging to know whether or not he has biopsy results yet.  He said 1-2 weeks and it's officially been one week.  I hate to admit it, but I'm getting antsy.  The biopsy made me start spotting again - nothing like my previous bleeding issues, but still a mixture of VERY minimal amounts of blood and thin silvery gray mucus-y gunk from the silver nitrate - and it's creeping me out.  I don't want to see ANYTHING happening down there after what I went through, you know?  Let alone something utterly new and bizarre.  Waiting is rough and the longer I wait, well, it's not getting easier to keep calm.  Rather the opposite.  The brain wreaks havoc.  Stupid brain.

So yeah.  We'll see what we can do about the hands.  And hope for the best with the cha-cha.  Keep your fingers crossed for me - it hurts too much to cross my own.

Xxo, Phoebe

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