Tag Archives: hands

Clumsy Me

Considering how clumsy my hands have been lately, yesterday morning I thought I was functioning pretty normal: no spilled coffee or dropped medicines, no broken dishes while unloading the dishwasher, efficient in time getting ready and typing (finger poke) a few quick emails. By noon, I was on my way down to the basement to start the top portion of a large painting.

I was having no problems getting my paint tubes from their assorted-by-color plastic containers on the floor and only had one jammed lid due to dry paint. The sole reason I forgo getting beauty nails at a salon is that I manage to paint my own nails (and hands for that matter) in a very festive way. I also chip my nails in a very festive way…and as such was my painting morning.

Somewhere along the way in the afternoon, the tides changed and my hands resumed their clumsy status. Of course the cold fingers could also be associated with part of the problem. I am very thankful that I have not done damage to assets like my laptop as I carry it from my room to the kitchen. I drop my cell phone repeatedly, but it has a protective cover–that is now cracked (time for a new one!)

Yesterday before dinner, I asked Mom to carry my laptop for me back to my room–a brilliant request as I was losing my grip on many other things during the evening…in particular, circular objects like my biscuit full of apricot jam and cylinder shaped objects like my Hazelnut creamer as I was pulling it from the refrigerator shelf. It fell to the floor, lid cracked, and about what I would blend in three cups of coffee spilled on the floor. It was the grand finale to my day.

I’ve written blog posts before about my hand history: how the muscle atrophy started, Occupational Therapy sessions, finger splints and other devices to help my function as my hands weaken, and my left ring finger resembling the appearance of a “Gonzo nose.” And although my MRI results since November have reported back as a stable status, there is a continuing message coming from some tumor (unknown) to the brain that blocks the message to the muscles in my hands–specifically fingers and thumbs. Hence, since November, I have experienced a loss of hand function…which means more weakness, more numbness and 7 more fingers that now too are starting to resemble a “Gonzo nose.”

In moments of clumsyness (or flat-out frustration, embarrassment), I sometimes have a moment of humor–where I can smile contrast to grunts or tears. Enter: Yzma.

EP8aT0z http://i.imgur.com/EP8aT0z.png

In Disney’s Emperor’s New Groove, Yzma goes from being Emperor Kuzco’s long-time guardian and advisor to being fired after she plays “Empress” in his absence. In a fury, she devises a plan to rid the empire of Kuzco and reign in his place. All goes well and according to plan until her handyman, Kronk, burns his spinach puffs at a dinner they prepared for the Emperor. Kronk dashes to the kitchen leaving behind the freshly filled cups on the platter, in which one is intended for Emperor Kuzco with poison. Upon returning, Kronk realizes his mistake, takes the platter to the side, blends all the liquids together returning a portion into each cup, and then gestures to Yzma not to drink hers. She quickly throws hers in the plant beside her, turning it too into a llama (but looks more like a horse.)

At the end of the movie, Emperor Kuzco has had an adventure that leaves him with a changed heart and a new friend, Pacha. As these two enter Yzma’s secret lab to retrieve the bottle that would turn Kuzco back into human form, Yzma and Kronk are already there. As Pacha tries to quickly grab the potion, Yzma knocks the shelf so all the bottles land on the floor. “Oops! Clumsy me,” is what she says. 🙂

My hands–as they continue in this weakening and clumsy state–are another part of my journey. I cannot lie that I have had many thoughts about what life will be like in the event I lose complete hand function. “What am I going to do when I can’t use these?” I cried a few months ago in the kitchen holding up my hands for Mom to see. Mom didn’t have any answers; I didn’t expect her to either. I know God holds the answers…to my prayers in all the uncertainties and fears, hopes and dreams. Unlike Yzma, I will never hear Him say, “Oops! Clumsy me.” Because He has promised me forever in the palms of His hands.

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Paintings

These Hands

Today I thought of something funny: VeggieTales’ Larry Boy character has super-suction plunger ears! This thought enlightened my state of frustration as I was stalling between the entrance and outdoors of Target’s entryway trying to grasp my small Starbucks cup and walk at the same time. When I finally made it to my car I decided that I should not get a coffee less I was pushing a cart. These hands no longer grip cups the way the way they should…maybe I should look into gripping gloves.

My whole shopping list at Target consisted of two things: band aids and bathroom cups. The band aids are just for safe keeping as I seem to use them often, but the bathroom cups are a new idea I thought of the other night as I found myself rinsing my mouth after bushing but in the end biting my finger. My fingers no longer make a “cup-like” position as I found out.

My right hand is now entering a stage of numbness where my fingers are very heavy and tingle while the function is draining. I can still use my hand (my left is weak but actually now the stronger of the two hands.) My hand is just slow. Simple things such as holding a drinking cup (unless a mug), I now hold with both hands. I hold my toothbrush and chapstick a certain way between my index/middle finger as I drop them otherwise. I cannot pick things up with just my thumb and index finger, so when I drop anything on the floor, I have to use both hands in a scoop like fashion to try to recover it (while also trying to keep my balance). Zip lock bag days are nearing an end; and opening anything else in the kitchen can usually be done with these gripped circles my mom has or with a trusty pair of scissors. 🙂 I can’t get my hair ties in my hair and just an honest note, even sometimes certain things in dressing myself becomes difficult. And typing is finger poking.

These changes in my hand have happened very quickly over the past two months–it is often hard to see past the downslope of health. Next week will be the end of two months on the Sirolimus chemo treatment. My MRI is this Friday (the 23rd) and doctor check up on Tuesday (the 27th)–between the results of those scans, my current physical state and chemo–there is a lot to think and pray about. Try as I can to remain trusting in the Lord, my mind is often consumed with the “what if” of the unknown future that it consumes me. This happened last week, but it was also largely guilt I placed on myself for getting my chemo doses wrong with the new syringes.

In a conversation with my sister, she mentioned that because I have changed so much physically over the past few months, the mental/emotional part of my body is trying to catch up to speed, resulting in the way I have been over the past few weeks: emotional, distant and when not thinking of health, consuming my thoughts with things like teas, books or movies. I am not content…I have been in need. So when my sister mentioned this equation imbalance, I saw the truth in it. Up until this year, all the side effects in my physical body have been slow progressive. This enabled me to adjust to the changes at a steady pace…whereas these past few months it has seemed to be my whole body and I cannot keep the same pace.

I think often: “How am I going to continue to live like this?” But then I remember that I DO live…and God will be at my right hand until the end (Psalm 121:5).

Madam, when you [come] to the other side of the water, and have set down your foot on the shore of glorious eternity, and look back again to the waters and to your wearisome journey, and shall see in that clear glass of endless glory nearer to the bottom of God’s wisdom, you shall then be forced to say, ‘If God had done otherwise with me than he hath done, I had never come to enjoy of this crown of glory’. It is your part now to believe, and suffer, and hope, and wait on[.]

Samuel Rutherford*

*”4/to Marion M’Naught.” Letters of Samuel Rutherford: A Selection. Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2012. pg. 18.

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies

Trying my take at the Blame Game

I just recopied off a page for my volunteer application…for the third time. Getting a bit annoyed, I am thinking–“Why can’t I just hold the pen and write legibly?” Even writing slow, my handwriting struggles. I could try to blame the lines; I am not one to buy a college ruled notebook. I prefer sticky-notes, letting my handwriting fill the whole square. I could try to blame the pen. But it is a Pilot pen…it writes so smoothly. I could try to blame my hands. Seems most probable, except that I would be blaming God for the condition of my hands. My cramping, curling, numb, weak, slow, shaky hands.

I saw a turtle crossing the road today on my drive home. No joke. I was just as shocked as you are! It did not seem in any hurry to get from one side to another either. Just a stroll across the lane! I tell my mom about the turtle when I get home. “Did it make it across okay?” Her first comment after my story. I said that I figured so…there were no cars in the left lane where it was slowly crossing. I know turtles don’t have thoughts like this–but what if they did? What if they sat down and wrote a blog about how slow they walked–how annoying or inconvenient it feels. Or would they share about how special they are–they may not be fast, but they have a hard shell where they can completely disappear on moments notice of harm. It was designed just for them.

I could sit here and play the blame game. But I ask myself, is it worth the effort? Or can I see uniqueness in these hands…the blessings that I can still use my hands even though they give me challenges continually during the day? It might take some hard thinking…but one blessing comes to mind: I can still paint. God designed that just for me…and I love sharing the blessings with you.

More to come…

DSCN1665

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Random