Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Released & On The Up and Up


I have been super quiet here on the blog and straight across the social media board. Well, ok...maybe I've chirped here and there on Twitter. But you know what I mean. So what's up? Why the radio static? Well, exactly two weeks ago I underwent carpal tunnel release surgery on my left hand. I kept pretty mum about it leading up to the surgery because I was already breathing into a paper bag I was so beyond full of anxiety about the idea of having to cut into my hand that I really couldn't handle hearing any more about either the surgery itself or who has gone through it or what friend of a friend has and how life turned out for them afterwards. My overactive imagination just couldn't handle creating more worse-case scenarios. I was psyching myself up so much that my nerves almost made me vomit in the hours before the surgery.

I really had no idea what to expect and am ever so thankful that I: 
          a) didn't have to watch the procedure being done (much to the Mister's disappointment)
          b) that my surgeon freakin' rocks. She's seriously SO amazing. 
          c) that the whole procedure was insanely fast. Like, I was in and out of that operating room within ten minutes!!

I contemplated about whether or not to say anything in regards to the surgery but I know a fair amount of knitters have been following my CTS journey and that a number of people have also been looking into or will soon be undergoing carpal tunnel release too, and it would be helpful to give another perspective of what to expect. Or should I say, a realistic, I'm-going-through-this-right-now aspect of what to expect. Because to be quite honest, I thought I would bounce back and be back in the saddle within days. Yes, yes, everyone heals differently and at different rates but I've had a few knitters tell me that they were able to knit hours after their surgery. Hours. And I've had people comment about how the whole surgery was a breeze for them and that they were able to return to their regular life the very next day with no problems.

Yeah...no. That's not what happened to me. Yes, the surgery itself was a breeze and I was even able to wiggle my fingers, move my arm, and carry on somewhat normally (as normally as one could whilst being down a hand) for the rest of the day, albeit with a box of fancy donuts! But man...oh man...when the local anesthesia finally wore off...that's when things got real. I can't tell you if I was in pain or not because my discomfort levels were seriously through the roof!! My sleep that first week (and especially that first night!) was intermittent and incredibly uncomfortable. Then there's the things that I didn't expect: the major reduction of hand strength, the limited range of motion, the soreness (oh, the soreness!!), and the extensive bruising.

I don't know why I thought I would waltz out of the operating room with my hand all hunky-dory and roaring to go. I constantly have to remind myself (and so does the Mister) that my hand was operated on. It was sliced open and a ligament was cut. That's no small potatoes!! So imagine my surprise when I couldn't properly pull up my pants (yay for pyjamas pants and sweats!!), put on socks, hold a coffee cup, use a can opener, or even squeeze hand lotion from a tube. I felt useless cause I couldn't do dishes or even peel a carrot, and the Mister had to open my meds and painkiller bottles. Putting my hair into a ponytail caused great discomfort and washing my face just felt weird - one side of my face felt normal but the other felt like I was using a mannequin's hand! Sounds weird, doesn't it? My hand strength is still weak, so no opening cans for me, but at least I can grip certain things now. I've been keeping up with the gentle range-of-motion exercises that I was told to do by my surgeon and can proudly say that I can now make a small fist.

While I was incredibly sore, there surprisingly wasn't much in terms of pain from the incision area. If anything, the soreness and intense discomfort came from the massive bruises that cover my entire palm, inner wrist, and extended halfway up to my elbow. I still have the soreness but it's not that bad anymore, I still have the bruises (watching them change from blurple to grellow to a weird jaundice baby-poop colour has been interesting), I still have the discomfort but it's mainly at night or when I get overly ambitious as to what I can actually physically do, and I still hold my hand close to my upper chest/shoulder area because it seems to prevent unnecessary soreness. Within the last week, I've been experiencing tightness around the incision area (which is normal, as the incision is trying to fuse back together and heal) and itching (which is also a sign of healing). For a while there the tightness felt so bad that I was extremely worried that my stitches to rip open if I were to stretch my hand open. I'm happy to report that that did not happen. 

I'm also happy to report that yesterday I got my stitches removed! It's been a while since I've had to have stitches removed and I have to say, I do not do well when it comes to such medical procedures!! I won't get into it but let's just say that my stomach is not as strong as I thought it was. So overall, aside from the major discomfort that's ebbing, I think my recovery has been going well. Although, that doesn't mean I'm looking forward to when I have to get my other hand, my dominant hand, done. Yes, I've had bouts of depression/boredom from not being able to knit or craft, but I've been spending my recovery time reading (Clara Parkes' Knitlandia and a whole lotta baking books), binge watching Riverdale (I'm obsessed!!) and Big Little Lies (also obsessed!), and attempting to play Minecraft with the Kiddo (hint: I suck at it. I just don't get Minecraft). 

I can't wait until I'm able to start doing "normal" things again, like washing dishes without taking five minutes to wash one mug, type on a keyboard with both hands (this post has taken me, seriously, all day to type out - hence the lack of being online much), and most importantly I can't wait until I can knit again!! I've made a couple of attempts but my hand just isn't ready for it yet. With that said, I've had people come out of the woodwork telling me to take it easy and to not do anything for at least a month, lest I want to cause irreparable damage. Uh, say what? Yeah, I've been told horror stories of hands that didn't heal properly due to not letting time and your body do its magic, a few friends and even a family member have come forward to disclose what happened to them/a loved one when they tried to carry on as per usual that involved the busting open of stitches (gag!), torn muscles, and a permanently destroyed transverse carpal ligament.

Omg.

Trust me, I'll take it easy! 

So that's what's been going on around here. Please bare with me if it gets overly quiet. I was hoping to blog about a bunch of FOs that I haven't gotten around to posting about - like a few shawls, a hoodie, and even the Oracle Space Socks that I managed to finish a few days before my surgery! But alas, resting the palm of my hand on a keyboard currently isn't the best feeling in the world and my hand tires out far too quickly when it comes to holding a DSLR camera (if you can call it holding). But I'm feeling hopeful! 😀

Thank you all for your patience and for sticking around!! ❤️




5 comments:

  1. Oh Melissa!! I hope you heal well. We could always still go for murchies dates! Xoxo

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  2. Get well. I'm sorry healing hasn't been as quick as you would have liked it. I'm trying to avoid CT. I have compression gloves on and some good craft gloves. This is why I took Portuguese style knitting. I'm using it for my sock but still need to knit Continental for my jumper and the tween's.

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  3. Oh wow! Thanks for sharing your experience. I don't have CT, but sometimes I overdo it and force myself to take a break from knitting. I have you to thank for that. Before reading your blog I hadn't really considered CT a big deal, and thought that the only people who got CT were office workers who type all day. Take it easy and try to enjoy your recovery. Binge-watching shows has its pleasures!

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  4. Brave Melissa!! I'm so glad that you got the surgery, I know you have had so much trouble with your carpals for a while, so this is definitely the darkest before the dawn. Rest up!!

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  5. Needing carpal tunnel surgery is my worst fear. Well, that & blindness. I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery. I feel for you being one handed & had to laugh (at myself) while reading your post. Right before Christmas, I removed the center strip of my dominant hand's thumbnail with a cheese grater. A cheese grater! Good grief! The sides of the nail were still attached, sort of, but the center strip was gone. And I couldn't do anything! If I pressed on anything too forcefully (as in, any pressure at all) my thumb would start oozing blood again, so no can openers & no angry typing. The bandage wouldn't fit into the scissors hole, so no wrapping gifts. When I tried to wash dishes or even wash my hair, the water would get under the still somewhat attached part of my nail & it would loosen up & flop around. It was awful and yet, it was just a couple of Bandaids on my thumb that most people didn't notice. I seemed helpless for no reason. It did get me out of a lot of my Christmas to-do list tasks though so at least my timing was good. :) And, I could still knit, I just had to be careful that the bandage didn't catch the yarn.

    Sorry - maybe that was one of those stories you didn't want to hear. Wishing you a speedy recovery anyway. Enjoy the extra time to read.

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