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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Today I'm going to explain why I needed to change my direction (and my website) along the way.
As I'm writing, I'm wearing this rigid wrist splint. Many moons have passed since I last wore it before the neurosurgery that relieved me of the pain due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my right hand. If you don't know about this disease, go and have a look. Especially, if you are a woman and you are young. I wish I had someone warning me when I was younger... PLEASE BE GENTLE WITH YOUR HANDS!!!!!!!! This will spare you both physical and emotional pain. Trust me.
Rigid splints can prevent the problem limiting wrist flexion, but I suggest you ask your doctor about prevention and cure.

This splint is ambidextrous, so you can use it on both hands. Because, if you had the CTS in one hand, you probably will develop it also in the other one. I'm developing it on the left hand too.

But my right hand, even after neurosurgery, is still hurting at times. Thank goodness it is not countinuous as it was before the surgery, but sometimes it lasts some days (like now) and in any case I cannot do many things I did before... a simple handwritten letter causes me cramps and pain. I have been warned by the surgeon about the use of my hands in the future. Unfortunately, I've used them indiscriminately for too many years, and I early developed (it started in my middle 20s) a severe syndrome. I wanted to sum up in this post what I did with my hands- hundreds  and hundreds of crafts and artworks, thousands of wedding favors when I worked in the Wedding Industry, I sanded and painted big and small pieces of furniture, re-upholstered, completely covered in stucco all the walls of 3 houses (our first and second, my parents'), gardened extensively, and on and on... I couldn't find any picture to describe the ginormous amount of work I've forced my poor hands to do. They have now decided to rebel, and not to cooperate with my craziness anymore, for my well- being.
That's why, after life made me slow down last year, and reconnect with my inner soul at a deep level, I now finally decided to stop making things to sell. I mean, I'm grateful I still can paint and I can take photographs (and these are my greatest passions!), but I MUST let the rest go! I want to keep doing things for my nest (in modest amount), for those I love, to enjoy life at its full, continue creating things to be shared on magazines and on my blog, so, first of all, I need to abandon the stuffing tool as much as I can- keeping it handy for a very few special bears or dolls... 

Before my surgery I wasn't able to sew a single button, to drive, hold the phone with my right hand  or dry my hair by myself anymore... Now I cannot clean my window panes or wash the carpets as I used to do every summer (my DH is so sweet to help me doing these things!)... and, sadly, I cannot sew that much... This is the only pair of hands I've been given, and I struggled with myself for a long time, but then necessarily came to the hard decision to stop making things to sell, and dedicate my efforts to a different kind of business.
I firmly believe that things happen for a reason, I'd have countless examples in my own life to share with you... but surely the reason for this happened is that I had to listen to that small voice that was whispering first, and screaming loud then, her message to me. That I was meant to fly elsewhere. To the life that is just perfect for me. This is scary at times, but I am brave and won't give up.  I want to dedicate the rest of my life to make my dreams (and of my DH) come true, so I will put all my heart and energies in a few project I have in mind. 
I think I will keep something handmade by me in my etsy shop (I need time to update it) at least for some time, to honor those sweet people who believed in me and bought a thing or more from my former shops or those who were saving money for a future purchase because they liked what I create. 
I am so grateful!
Warmly,
Monica x.

35 comments:

  1. I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. You are so talented and artistic. It seems so unfair when things like that happen, but you have a wonderful attitude.
    Glenda

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  2. I am wishing you all the best, dear one! I know this is scary but good things are coming your way!
    You have strong wings and will overcome this too!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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  3. Monica, thanks for your beautiful garden flowers and huge smile !
    It's so brave to share your touching story.
    I can understand it's difficult to stop with things you really liked to do, glad you can still do your greatest passions.
    I realise now you probably forced your hands to create my gorgeous cat-journal, I love it very much, even more !
    Make your dreams come true, Monica, together with your husband and sweet Kim, I wish you the best of luck !
    So glad I got to know you,
    Sylvia

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  4. Monica, CTS was on my mind the last two days. You must have been sending a message to me through the universe. I do believe in synchronicity.

    I want to open an etsy shop and sell my crochet. I started thinking if I get successful, do I need to worry about CTS? Crochet is a very repetitive motion. Because of you, I will do some research on the subject.

    You have my support, no matter where your wings take you.

    Melissa

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  5. Monica, what a time you've had with your hands. I haven't suffered from this as of yet, but I know I must be careful. I, too, have done a great deal with my hands over the years. It seems unfair that working with our hands can cause so much pain.

    I think you're right. Sometimes the universe just takes over and makes us find a new path. I know you will keep creating in some manner.

    xo
    Claudia

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  6. BEAUTIFUL flowers (and photography)!!! You have been listening to your "inner voice" so you cannot go wrong! Take care of yourself, and always abide by common sense! xo

    (PS the brand of splint you have on your wrist is the same brand I had for my ankle!) ;)

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  7. Hi Monica,

    So very sorry, that you are still having trouble with your hands. I have a friend that has the same thing and was so hard for her giving up so many things.
    I do wish you the very best and look forward to seeing your wonderful photographs and paintings and all the beauty you show us.
    May your dreams for you and your husband come true.

    Happy week
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  8. Wishing you all the best. A friend of mine has suffered from this and I know it is absolutely awful. Please do take care of yourself. I am sure the Universe has something wonderful and fabulous waiting for you on your journey.

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  9. Monica, I am so sorry you are going through this, and yes sometimes we have to make a new or condensed plan. I wish you well with your creations. I wish you painless days ahead. hugs to you.

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  10. Hang in there Monica....

    Gina

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  11. Monica, I really am so sorry about your CTS. I suffer from in it in a small degree and try hard to watch the abuse I do to my hands. Gardening can be murder on them as you know, and two years ago I got tendonitis in my elbow from all the pruning and weeding and suffered greatly. I think it is wonderful of you to educate all of us on this. Hopefully many will heed your warning. I hope that you will love the new path that you will follow now with your DH and I know that you will. I want you to know that I wish you the best in it. I so enjoy the beauty that you create and share with all of us and am truly inspired by you.
    hugs

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  12. Monica, I'm very sorry about the CTS and hand surgery/problems. I'll pray that you are granted free movement and lessened pain each day. You are truly a creative person and I feel so blessed to know you!

    Big TX Hugs,
    Stephanie
    Angelic Accents

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  13. Biggg hugs from me ............and for Kim also.......you are the best !! ,............

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  14. Monica, I have been out of town for the weekend, so my blogging was sporadic. Oh, how I hate that you have been hurting and have had to endure Carpal Tunnels Syndrome! You are one of the most talented people I know so I can imagine what this must be like to someone of your abilities! I think you've made a very wise decision, and I'm so glad that you are going to continue to blog. I love to read your blog and have enjoyed seeing all of your beautiful things SO much. Please know I'm thinking of you and hoping that you will feel better with each day's passing. Am praying that you won't be plagued by this and am sending you warm hugs across the miles...

    XO,

    Sheila

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  15. Monica.....you have my love and support no matter which direction you take! You are a gifted artist and your talent shines through in everything you do.......follow your heart and take care of your body.....
    I want only the best for my sweet friend!!! Take care and thank you for being so thoughtful even though you must be in such pain!
    Your photos are always a source of joy, love and artistry!
    Hugs,
    Margaret B

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  16. So sorry about your CTS, I know it is really painful. I wear the wrist splint often too for tendonitis, which is also very painful, and now I have it in my right shoulder too so am in physio for that, all around the time of my move. What can you do?

    I agree that we do, as artists or creative people abuse our hands, wrists, shoulders, and just enjoy what we do, then it hits us when the pain starts and I didn't know about it either until I had my own pain. I had to put my knitting needles away for a couple of years, and now I just knit once in a while and not for too long, if I do, I feel it right away. I was passionate about digital art and over did it I suppose, now I am limited to the time I can be online, the mouse is the worst to bring on my pain, so I only use a touch pad now. We just have to find ways around it:)

    I know you will do the right thing for your body, I pray you will keep on healing :)
    Lynn

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  17. I used to do commercial mural painting and faux finish work, but had to give up that because of issues with my hands. After being in a brace for months and not being able to do anything at all, I was happy to change my lifestyle if it meant I could use my hands again!!

    Good luck.

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  18. I am so sorry to hear this Monica, but I do appreciate that you are warning us all. Hope you are going to be allright, or at least that you can find a modus to be allright, thinking of you!

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  19. Sending you big hugs for being so brave to make some very difficult decisions. I will answer your private email as soon as I can dear friend and I'm thinking of you

    xoxoxo

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  20. Hi Monica,
    I hope all goes well for you-you do create so much beauty with your hands!
    The bouquet is beautiful,
    Carolyn

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  21. So sorry to hear about you having to deal with this and thanks for the warning. I'm new to your blog, stopping over from Flying Lessons. I love all your photography and all the roses (my favorite!)!

    Good luck with your future flights.

    --Anne

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  22. Oh my, I see what you meant about the timing of my post! I am so glad you are facing the fear and listening to that inner voice and seeing this as a beginning and a new way to fly. Your blog is beautiful. I will be following.
    "Bless your hands",
    Pam

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  23. oh my goodness Monica, I am so very sorry you are having to go through this! I am so positive another door, another creative outlet will open up for you... thinking and sending you happy thoughts - Rachaelxo

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  24. Wishing you all the best as you fly with the wind and follow your heart. I taught for many years and then went back to administrative work and all the time at the computer had the area around my shoulder blades pinched in the most uncomfortable way with tingling in my legs from sitting so long. I realized that I needed to get up more and switch gears rather than focusing only on the task at hand. My boss certainly understands my need to stretch my legs and rest my eyes, which is a good thing. Your art, photography is all so beautiful. Love those MOO cards. You will be a success no matter what you do. All the best, Tammy

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  25. Monica,
    I'm a classmate from "Flying Lessons".
    I love your positive attitude even with your set-backs. You will do well in whatever you commit to. You are very talented!

    Jean

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  26. I know how terribly painful this can be - a friend of mine had the surgery and I felt so sorry for him - I'll keep you in my prayers and hope you heal quickly - people are very loving and here for you, me too! Stop and visit sometime....jennsthreegraces Jennifer

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  27. Ah my fellow flyer, like you, I've done all sorts of things including making teddy bears and ended up with CTS in both hands. It was so bad I had to have surgery in both, one month apart. All this happened in late 2006. It took over a year post surgery to get the use of my hands back, and I must say the surgery was a blessing. I no longer have to worry about the pain. I hope that yours come around too and allow you to do everything you want now and always, be it with a little more care than was required in the past!

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  28. Monica, I'm a fellow flyer aswell and just discovered your pretty blog. I'm so very sorry to read that you have CTS and fully appreciate how painful if is. Its hard too realising that you may no longer be able to do the very things that you had previously enjoyed. Its a struggle and really tough at times this 'accepting' thing. I developed voice/throat problems, after a very painful and lengthy infection, and subsequently had to leave primary teaching. So I understand how heart-wrenching this 'transition' time must be.
    But, I completely agree with you, there is no reason at all that you cannot 'fly' again. I believe there is always a reason why things happen and frequently they are an opportunity for new growth and a transformation too. I was given this wonderful quote - it warmed my heart to recieve it and continues to be a rich source of inspiration.
    "I saw a strikingly fragile and handsome Japanese tea bowl that had been broken and pieced together. The image of that bowl made a lasting impression. Instead of trying to hid the flaws, the cracks were emphasised with silver. The bowl was even more precious after it had been mended." (Sue Bender)
    I firmly believe that nothing is ever too damaged, too broken, too abused, that it cannot be transformed into something of real beauty, value and usefulness once again.
    With my warmest wishes for much joy and peace as you begin this next new adventure.
    Hugs Jo xxx

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  29. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing with honesty....you are so brave. I have no doubt that a new world is waiting patiently for you.

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  30. Dearest Monica, you have a very inspiring blog and i just love your words and stories! I am so sorry to hear that you have to go through so much and thank you for sharing your touching story! Each day i always remind myself to be gentle on my hands for i know i wouldn't be able to do the things i love if i didnt have them. Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

    jacqueline
    http://jqlinesocuteithurts.typepad.com/

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  31. HI JUST TO TELL YOU I HAD CTS FOR A YEAR IN BOTH HANDS....I THEN DECIDED TO HAVE BOTH HANDS OPERATED ON AT THE SAME TIME.....MAD I KNOW ....NO USE IN MY HANDS FOR A WEEK ,HUBBY WAS SO GOOD TO ME.IT WAS THE BEST MOVE EVER THOUGH AS MY HANDS HAVE BEEN FANTASTIC SINCE...SO KEEP WELL !!HUGS JACKANNE X

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  32. Jean,
    I couldn't find a blog or email address to reach you...
    Monicax.

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  33. Oh dear one, I know how much CTS hurts! I have it too and have been putting off the surgery. Rest is the best thing for your hands... You are one of the most talented girls I know.
    I find the splits hurt me more so I don't use them, just resting them and 800 Motrin's seems to help. "Rest your Hands".
    Big, Big hugs!
    Elizabeth

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  34. I am so sorry to hear that you are having trouble...I know the feeling!
    You share such a wonderful spirit.

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  35. Not only is your blog beautiful to look at, but your words are lovely to soak into. We're always given chances of letting go, and it seems you're doing it with grace. I'm taking Kelly Rae's ecourse with you, and what a pleasure to have met you through your comments and now your blog. Jill Luigs
    http://jillluigsart.blogspot.com

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