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What Living With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Is Like for Me

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I sit in front of my laptop ready to type my life away. I love writing. As I start typing up this sentence, I already feel the ache and stiffness in my right hand. I know if I don’t use my time right, I won’t be able to type for much longer. Yes, I’m just at the third sentence!

This is what carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is like for me. The inability to use my hand(s) to my liking. Not only will it ache but it will go cold then stiff and finally it’ll numb on me. I can’t cut up the veggies for lunch because I might accidentally stab myself with the knife. I won’t be able to text or scroll down good ol’ boring Facebook. And if I really overuse my hand, I might have trouble holding the steering wheel and driving. My hand will also become heavy and numb at night. I might wake up in excruciating pain or in fear that I’ll never be able to shake the numbness out of my hand.

According to the American College of Rheumatology, some 4 to 10 million Americans have this treatable syndrome. “Middle-aged to older individuals are more likely to develop the syndrome than younger persons, and females three times more frequently than males,” the American College of Rheumatology states. Treatments include placing splints on the affected wrists. Surgery may also be recommended or needed.

I had surgery last year at 28 years old. I pushed the date so my second child would be potty-trained. (I now know it would have been impossible to change a diaper post-surgery.) I had to take six weeks off work because I need my hands fully functional to work at my job. My hand never got better. I just had nerve conduction studies and EMG (electromyogram) tests. Both of my hands are worse, and I’m going back for surgery on both. They say a second surgery has even less chances of working, but if it doesn’t work, what else is there?

I’ve reached my writing capacity threshold now, so I will conclude with this: I might just be an isolated case or there may be other attributing factors as well. All I know is there should be more support available for people with CTS. There are Facebook support groups, but I haven’t seen too many people with recurrent CTS. It may not seem like much, and maybe that’s why I’m not finding much on coping with CTS, but to me it’s my life.

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Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: January 12, 2017
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