Tag Archives: hand weakness

“Writing Letters on the Veranda”

I like to write. Anything from handwritten cards, typing emails, thoughts in a journal or “to do” lists, taking notes during church or blog entries–writing is something I enjoy. I was the odd student that celebrated when term finals was a twenty page research paper or when essays on tests were a major percentage of the grade. When writing I get to think. It is a conversation on paper.

I think writing flows in my blood. My mom is a role model for what I love in writing. I watch her journal at the kitchen table and admire how she is not just writing but adding color and imagery to the text. Every month she writes cards for all the occasions–birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, get well, sympathy, thank you, thinking of you–to all members of the family, extended family, or close friends. And Mom has the prettiest handwriting.

Yesterday was my writing day. I had momentum. First agenda: I finished all my drafts in my email inbox, much to my hand’s delight. I should have paced myself, because by the time I reached Stoney Creek Roasters for an afternoon tea to accompany finishing some snail mail, my right hand was about ready to call it a day.

But it was worth it. It may not have been a “veranda”, but I was able to sit by the window and look out at the luscious greenery by the creek and write.

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My right hand has become very numb. There are things that are getting more difficult to do and holding a pen firm to write is one of them (sometimes just holding a pen in general depending on size). Last fall, we purchased this tool to help me hold a pen and write. At the time I did not essentially need it so I kept it in the cup of other pens on my nightstand. About a month ago, I reorganized my room including the nightstand corner. I was switching the cup to an old souvenir mug and remember taking this pen holder out because it was too big. Last I remember is setting it on my bed with a few books before I put it somewhere I reasoned to be a good spot for later use. And I don’t recall where that spot is. Thus, at the time I need it most, it is lost.

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Probably a combination of my perfectionism with the sloppy handwriting, my “to do” lists or sometimes letters are sent to the trash can as I start over trying to write with more legibility. Last night, my hands were tired but on my way to bed I knew if I did not write down that I needed more orange juice for taking chemo doses that I would forget. I still forgot what it was when I looked at my sticky note this morning. I stood there like I was reading a riddle…”small..”‘–ok, what did I need that was small? It took me a few minutes but then I remembered what it was that was so scribbled. Small OJ. I threw the sticky note in the trash and wrote a different one.

Life can be like a scribbled sticky note of agendas. In trying to write out my story so perfectly of agendas, I see myself crumple the paper and restart the whole process over again…each time attempting to grasp the pen I write with just a little tighter. But my hands grow weak and I have to let go of the pen. It is only when I have complete surrender that God can post His notes to my heart reminding me (again) that my life is worth more than my own scribbled, crumpled sticky notes. It is a novel being tenderly written just for me.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Paintings

Update!!

Hello everyone.

I would like to take a few minutes to update you on my health. My last MRI and appointments brought up a few questions that my doctor felt needed to be address further by a few specialists: 1) the pain in my right hand due to the tumors growing in the palm on the pinky finger side and 2) my vision as I was (had been at that time) seeing colors frequently during the day. Of course we all see colors, but this was like going from being outdoors in the snow on a sunny day with no sunglasses on to going indoors–that funny green color when your eyes are trying to adjust back to the dimmer light. That is the best I could explain it, but they knew what I was talking about. So appointments were set on November 1st to see a doctor on the Pain Management team (for my hands) and a neuro ophthalmologist about my eyes.

The doctor concerning the pain was very nice. He reminded me of Mister Rogers. 🙂 He listened to all my pain problems and the conclusion came to that there is not much that can be done about the tumors in the hand, except keeping the pain down so that way I can still use my hand as normally as possible without cringing in fear of huge pain every time I go to open a door or pull out a chair or squeeze my shampoo bottles. I have already been on a pain medicine for a while now to help with the pain spasms, but I was given another prescription for a different pain medicine to help with these new different pains. The plan is to see how well this new medicine works on helping my pain (I mean it won’t all go away, but if it keeps it down so I can function that is good) and see how tired it makes me (I also don’t want to be a walking zombie. Been there before, not fun!) Next time I have doctor appointments, if I am not satisfied then there are two other pain medicines to try. So that is all very hopeful. 🙂

At my eye appointment, there were several things that we discussed. For one, my eyes were extremely dry and scratched. So I started eye drops to help with that. 🙂 And two, after they dilated my eyes, they found that my optic nerves were swollen. So, considering my case, the doctor said it is a possible many things, but most important: there is extra fluid in my brain and something is putting pressure on my optic nerves. Then it all gets complicated from there…you don’t know what tumor(s) are pressing on the optic nerve–it could be from the any tumors in the brain or if it could be from the tumor in the spine at the C-3 to C-7 area that is causing pressure and maybe blocking the fluid flow…many different causes. The most important thing was to get the excess fluid out so my optic nerves go back to normal and thus, I stop seeing excess floating colors throughout the day.

I started this medicine that helps soak up the extra fluid in the brain. I already notice a big difference! My eyes are doing much better! I have not seen much color since I started it–only one or two times compared to seeing it everyday all day long like before. The main side affects of this medicine is that it would effect the way carbonated drinks taste…they would taste more metallic. I totally forgot that at lunch last week and pulled out a Cherry 7Up to go with my lunch. I took a sip and about spit it out. I was like “Ugh this is so nasty! Tastes like metal!!!” LOL. I had to throw it down the sink and drank chocolate milk instead. Not drinking any carbonated drinks for a while is not that bad for my diet anyway, so no harm done. 🙂 I go back December 5th for an eye check-up.

And lastly, something that has come up that I have not discussed fully yet with doctors, but I am having much tenseness and pain in my neck and shoulder areas of my back. I think it is due to the extra pressure on the spine from the tumor that had more fluid shown in the last MRI. The new pain medicine has been helping relieve some of that pain. I have to watch my posture as I have been bending more like a person with osteoporosis with my neck strained out as standing up straight causes pain. My parents and I sat down and got a few things from different websites to help with different issues I am struggling with in maintaining independence. All these things are for people who live with chronic pain and weakness. Mom found a rice pad jacket, and it has been so helpful. All I had before was a little 4×6 size pad that I used. The jacket helps release some pain and tenseness in my shoulders. It is comforting. We found some silverware to help me for when I have to cut things, as gripping silverware now really hurts my right hand. Dad helped me find soap dispensers that I can use for my shampoo/conditioner when I shower. We found a device that helps me open my gas tank (right now I use a pair of pliers), a device to help me squeeze my eye drop bottle so I can put my own eye drops in, and I found big pens to write with at the Dollar Tree. All these things out there and available to help maintain independence and I never realized it.

I told my mom the other morning that I felt this time with these changes in my body, we did something about it. Not like we didn’t before, but this time, we took action to find ways to help get around the obstacles. And it was exciting. 🙂 And just the thought to know that I am not alone in this. I may be one of few that has NF2 but there are so many different factors and diseases that lead to the same side effects or weaknesses. Someone has been down this road before me, because these things are available for my use. That is such a blessing. My ten years are coming up in just a few days–ten years ago when I first found out the news that I had NF2. And I thought I was going to die. Now I see, God has only made me so much stronger by His strength. I really can’t explain what I am feeling right now about it–I’ll let you know in a few days. 🙂

~

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Hospital Trips