Sunday, August 8, 2010

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Some of you who know me on FB (thank you for your comments, advice and links) would know I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What probably isn't known to you is that I have had this for many years; at least 7 constantly and more if you include the times I have had it when I was pregnant.

It used to be I would get it during the pregnancy and for a short time afterwards. Gradually this increased in time so that it would be gone for only short times between pregnancies.

After Myffwyn was born it was extremely painful both day and night and I was sent to see a specialist about this. At this time and during the pregnancy with Myffy we were building our house. Now for some people building a house means contractors doing the work and supervising the work being done. For us it meant doing all the manual labour. I was very involved in this process and can claim (not necessarily a good claim)to have shifted 6m long gyprock sheets from the garage up a ramp into the house and then fixing them to the walls with our oldest sons.
The specialist after some testing gave me some diuretics and sent me on my way. Soon after I was expecting Corbyn and stopped taking them. I have tried B6 but worried about the long term side effects (as said on the bottle) due to the fact I was often pregnant. The same with the Bio Magnesium that I would take during pregnancy (it contains B6 as well) as this helped with the cramps in my legs, mostly.
After much leaving it hoping it would get better I went to the doctor last week after asking for others opinions on FB and how others have treated it.
The Doctor suggested that I go to a surgeon and have Endoscopic surgery. I must admit this is extremely scary for me.
I am torn between having this surgery and easing the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the risks involved.
I also think that I have left it too late for other types of treatment - this is very upsetting for me as I am sure it would have been easier and simpler to treat had I started treatment earlier. However our family and financial situation having been in the past what it was, I just didn't have the emotional ability or support to follow this up.

The fact is I not only have numbness, tingling and pain in my hand as in this diagram
but I have the continuing pain etc right up my arm to my elbow region in my left arm mostly but also in my right arm too. Even as I type now I can feel it and am conscious of it constantly.

I never have a night when I am not disturbed by the numbness and pain of this. I have very interrupted sleep and it is hard to get back to sleep and to find a comfortable position to sleep in.
Lately I have been falling asleep with the baby as I am tired from these disturbed nights.
I also am in a quandary knowing that when I am asleep I will be wakened by this and so if I can I try not to go to bed too early, this does not happen often,
I find that typing is harder if I spend too long on it at once. So my blog posts aren't as frequent as I would like and partly because I fall asleep early. I also type up our children's lessons and I find that visiting all my favourite blogs is harder too, let alone leaving comments just due to the fact I get tired. I never would have believed this could cause me to tire so easily.... but it does.

I have loss of strength in my arms and hands. I used to be able to unscrew those hard jars and bottles that no one else was able to do. I find holding our children for long periods of time difficult and it causes weakness and pain. This makes me so upset and sad as I have always been a hands on Mummy.
Due to all these syptoms, and although I have read about alternative practices, I feel I have no other alternative but surgery.
I am afraid by leaving it longer will also lead to more loss long term that I will never get back.
However I am also concerned, well frankly frightened that the surgery will not go well and I will lose the ability to do those things I love to do.

You know - all the crafts (especially those unfinished ones and so many others I have planned) and cooking and making things..... I love to do these they are a part of my life and part of who I am. I am worried that doing simple family things with my husband and children will never be the same again.
I usually am a very optimistic person but surgery has always left me with a big .... what if question.

I know that my dear husband and children will help tremendously but the recovery time is very slow from my understanding and each arm needs to be done separately. I am pretty sure the doctor told me that the nerve re-growth is about a month for each 1cm or 1 inch (not sure which he said) but given the length of my arm to the elbow it is fairly significant.

Finally I would advise that anyone who has even pregnancy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to not be complacent about it but to check it out and keep a tight monitor on it.

Reading back I think this is a fairly pessimistic post but I do want to share the realness of our life and also I think it so important that others who may have this to really be aware of the long term effects.



Leanne said...

Oh Gae, Its hard isn't it. But a huge thank you for your total honesty. I am thinking and praying for courage and healing,

Mom2Seven said...

Years ago when I worked at a bank and was on a computer all day long, I had to wear braces on my hands/wrists when I slept at night. After leaving the bank, it got worse temporarily (I think because the constant repetitive motion came to an abrupt stop.) I have also had trouble while pregnant. Thankfully, though, nothing like you have described... although, I do not have the strength in my hands that I used to and my hands tire easily if I write too much, etc. You will be in my prayers. I hope that you find relief... God bless you. +JMJ+

P.S. I bought the braces for my hands/wrists at a sporting goods store at the advice of my doctor to avoid the expense. They really did help at night while sleeping. Just a thought.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Know people who have had the surgery and found relief, I pray the same for you! Cathy

Anonymous said...

Hi. My daughter does a lot of house painting and suffered terribly with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Eventually she had the surgery. I was with her. It was a day job, not too painful and she has full use of her hands now. She had to have both of them freed up. My advice would be to have the surgery and trust God that He will guide the surgeon. I do understand your fears, but as far as the surgeons are concerned, CT is not a difficult operation. I am praying for you, Gae. Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Dear Gae,
I'm so sorry to hear this. Surgery is a big decision, and I will be praying that all will go well with you. I know a couple people who have had the surgery for this and it has turned out very good. You will have many, many people praying for you and the Lord will take care of you.
Blessings to you,

Autumn said...

Dear Mummy,
I love you . You are so brave .
You just need to have Faith. Faith that this is the right thing to do , Faith that everything will go well, Faith that the recovery will be speedy and sucsesful. I am here for you 24/7.
I love you my brave sweet Mummy.

Anonymous said...

I'll be praying for you Gae!

Katie said...

Praying for you! God knows what you need to live your vocation with love and joy and He will grant you all that you need. Blessings!

Vellvin said...

Dear Mummy,
I want to tell you that I am with yopu every step of thwe way. And so is God. Pray to your Gaurdian Angel Mummy. Everything will be fine Mummy. I love you and shall help you along the way after the surgery. Helping all the time.
I love you and I shall always love you.
Love you Mummy,

Kim said...

Oh Gae! My heart hurts for you! Your sadness is so evident in your words! I will storm Heaven for you. God will heal you in His way and on His clock. God bless you!

Gardenia said...

oh your heart ! and the beautiful comments from your children, showing support. I will put you on my prayer list right now! I had this issue too with both hands, and the right one went up to the elbow. i had cortisone shots in both elbows. pain worsens after the shots b/c the nerve endings get mad, but that pain goes away after three days or so, then the pain disappeared completely. the left never returned. the right returned and I got another shot about 6 months after the first (they say you can get shots every quarter) and the pain went away and never returned. If you have not tried the cortisone shots you may want to give them a chance -- if nothing more it may diminish your pain for a good 3-6 months. they say the shots sometimes cure the problem, sometimes only make the problem fade away for a while. BUT I also know several people who have had the surgery on both hands and all went well. One person had them both dome at the same time -- lessened the recovery time to 4 weeks, instead of 4 weeks for one hand and then another 4 weeks for second hand) -- of course he had a wife who got him dressed and waited on him all day! blessings and prayers, and don't worry about commenting on blogs -- take care and get yourself well.

Unknown said...

Am praying for you in this! My mother had it, and had surgery and has been great ever since. I know it is scary to think of though. I worry about myself getting it through all my typing and writing letters that I have been doing for so long! I will keep you in my prayers dear friend!


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