As I sit here typing this, I don't even know if it has registered in my mind that I am pain free in my right wrist. Today I am 48 days post-op from a major surgery- complete fusion of the right wrist which is my dominant hand, which consisted of removal of bone, 2 titanium plates, and 8 screws. This is the destruction from rheumatoid arthritis, this is the arthritis that I was stricken with 11 years ago. The disease shattered my wrist and after 5 surgeries, my only option was to have it fused. Everyone sees me as strong, but my joint had gotten so bad that I was unable to do the simple things in life that most of us take for granted. The pain was not only in my wrist, but because the swelling affects the tendons and ligaments, it was preventing me from having use of my fingers and causing pain in my elbow joint as well. I couldn't hold a tooth brush in my hand or squeeze toothpaste from the tube, I could not brush my hair, I could not turn on water faucets, I could no longer turn the ignition in my car, or open things as simple as a bottle top. I was in excruciating pain everyday for over 2 years. After countless doctor visits, from Mobile to the Mayo clinic in Rochester, and putting off the inevitable wrist fusion, I decided in Jan. 2011 that I no longer could live in the agony that I had suffered with for so long.. Every twist, turn, softest touch absolutely was horrific pain that I didn't even realize had become my normality. When the doctors ask you, "what is your pain level on a scale of 1-10", mine stayed between 8-9 for two years. This pain was sucking the life out of me and I didn't like the person I had turned into. Especially to my husband, you always take out your pain and frustration on those closest to you. I can honestly say, he is amazing for putting up with me.. I love you Jason, and thank you for all those mornings and nights for putting toothpaste on my toothbrush!
Yesterday I got my cast off, it was like waking up on Christmas morning as a kid.. I was so excited! The surgery that I had dreaded for so long, gave me my quality of life back. Yes I still take chemotherapy twice a week to preserve my other joints and it helps keep them under control, but to be able to use my hand and get back to a since of normality that most of us take for granted is a true and wonderful blessing. Today is a celebration that I get some of my independence back from this disease that I had lost for such a long time and I am pain free! Thanks to my doctors and all the people in my life that gave me all the get well wishes and support!
I may not be able to do hand commercials or ever be able to flex up and down or side to side, but my scar screams freedom from hurting and that is a very beautiful thing!
Cindy Lane Ross