OK so I’m ashamed to say that it’s been quite a long time since I last posted. It’s not that nothing has been happening—quite the opposite—it’s just that I haven’t felt up to posting much these last few months.
Since January I’ve been having a problem with my hand, specifically my thumb and wrist. It has been put down to a repetitive strain injury or overuse injury to the Extensor Pollicis Longus (EPL) tendon, one of the tendons responsible for extending or lifting your thumb.
It gradually got more and more sore, and has required me to have a medical certificate and only able to perform modified duties at work. Read: no lab work, minimal computer work, nothing repetitive with my right thumb. Yep, the thumb on my dominant hand!
To begin with it was OK, my hand therapist made me a splint for my hand which stopped me using my thumb, but still allowed me to move my fingers. Great, I thought, this’ll sort it out and I can still at least do things using my fingers. Wrong! By doing too much with my fingers I ended up with a strain of the intrinsic muscles around my index finger and thumb, requiring extra treatment and making typing difficult. Months later, I now have a variety of splints, knobbly massagers, silly putty and hand shaped wheat bags, and I still have a sore hand! Plus I’ve spent the majority of the year moping around, not being fully able to do the things I enjoy doing and only barely getting by at work.
Recently this all came to a head after we returned from our trip to the UK and Europe, I thought taking a break would be a good thing and I’d return relaxed and rejuvenated ready to start work again. But no. Soon after returning my hand was feeling sore again, and demands were starting to build up at work for various reasons. I was finding it harder and harder to get into work each day, arriving later and later, and feeling generally useless.
Now this isn’t supposed to be whining post of self-pity, I full appreciate that many thousands of people around the world have it much worse than myself. Nor is it an excuse, but perhaps an explanation of sorts as to why I haven’t added to my blog for a while.
Through this process I’ve realised how important it is to take care of yourself and to be kind to yourself. I’m also surprised at how much not being able to do my job has affected me – I hadn’t realised how much I have previously defined myself by my job! I’m trying to acknowledge how I’ve been feeling and to harness these feelings and this energy to make positive changes.
So from tomorrow for two weeks I’ll be working part time as a trial to see if the extra rest benefits my hand, and am seeing a hand specialist soon to see what the next step is. As well as seriously resting my hand, I’m planning to take time for myself to look after my health and fitness, do some fun things I’ve been wanting to do for a while but always put on the back burner, and also to work on opening up my options for my career going forward.
At the moment I’m excited and looking forward to taking control of my life again, to getting off my bum and looking after the things that are important to me. Part of that means writing more blog posts, I have a list of ideas that has been building up for a while and whilst my one-handed (or one-and-a-half handed) typing might be a bit slow, I’m looking forward to diving in!