Life is never certain. No matter how farsighted or detailed the plan is, life can throw us a curveball we didn't expect. What we do with this realization defines us and our future. As of today, I find another obstacle presented before me.
Part of my job involves office work. I analyze data, write reports, and help management decide on various activities. Whether refueling a nuclear reactor or performing industrial radiography, desk work is as essential as fieldwork.
One day I'm typing a set of equations that helps me determine the projected radiation exposure of multiple jobs. At some point, I started feeling a stinging sensation in my right hand during this activity. "Well, that's crappy," I thought to myself. I reported the issue to my supervisor, who sent me straight to the medical facility. After speaking with a doctor there, she told me that the symptoms I was experiencing were classic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Yet, there was more to this story I didn't expect.
Life happens. When an event disrupts your bubble, you have a couple of options. First, you can ignore the problem. If it isn't significant enough, you might be able to ignore it. Your will to endure could be of sufficient strength to help you forget your problem.
Second, you could despair. Let the weight of your problem overcome you. Allow yourself the luxury to wallow in self-pity. Perhaps my thoughts are too strong on this matter. Sometimes, people get sad about their predicament before they take action. Maybe I have too many mouths to feed. I don't have the time to worry. I have to act to achieve new stability.
While I was at the medical facility, I noticed that I had lumps in my right hand. The doctor there stated it was a benign cyst. I thought it odd that she called it benign, as it bothered me since I started feeling a stinging sensation. What the doctor meant was that it was likely not cancerous.
My meeting with the facility doctor led me to an appointment with my primary care physician. His prognosis was that I had a snapped tendon in my right hand and that surgery was the only option to repair it. The doctor then referred me to a hand surgeon for further investigation.
My appointment with the hand surgeon came and went. She diagnosed me with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and Dupuytren's Contracture (DC). I received a cortisol shot at the base of my wrist to alleviate the issues with CTS since it was at its beginning stages. Unfortunately, there seemed to be nothing I could do to deal with DC.
What is the origin of Dupuytren's Contracture?
Dupuytren's Contracture is a form of arthritis that affects the connective tissue of the palm. A nodule of connective tissue forms beneath the skin and travels along the length of the palm. Eventually, the fingers of the palm get forced toward the palm itself, rendering the hand non-functional.
The National Institue of Health describes Dupuytren's Contracture as "an ancient affliction of unknown origin". Legend has it, however, that the disease started as an ancient curse in 16th century Scotland.
The Curse of the MacCrimmons
Gangs associated with the Scottish clan MacCrimmons murdered a window's son. The MacCrimmons were the official pipers to the clan MacCleod in Dunvegan. In the widow's grief and despair, she cursed the clan MacCrimmons so their hands would crimp to the point of non-function. The result would be that the MacCrimmons could not be the official pipers of the MacCleods. The malady cursed upon the MacCrimmons would then force them to leave the isle of Skye.
Dupuytren's disease was also present among the Vikings. In the 8th century, they landed on England's east coast to make a home for themselves. And with them came the same illness of the hands described by medical documents. As the Viking's settled across the land so then did the disease spread among ancient Europeans.
Ultimately, no one really knows how the disease started, but there are records detailing the condition since about the 8th century. Interestingly enough, genetic studies involving Dupuytren's is narrowing down the specifics on how the disease is both caused and develops.
Who does the disease affect?
The illness seems to affect those of Northern European descent primarily. Southern Europeans are marginally affected, and the disease is rare everywhere else. It's an interesting observation, as even though I was born in Puerto Rico and my family was raised there, it suggests that my lineage came from Europe.
How do you treat the disease?
There is no clear-cut cause of the illness, and no cure exists to cure the problem or prevent its recurrence. Eventually, I will need surgery to allow my hands to move again once they stop functioning.
Fortunately, though, there are treatments available that can at least slow its progression.
Doctors can inject a collagenase solution into the hardened parts of the tissue building up in your palms. The enzyme will act to break down that tissue allowing a doctor to stretch the fingers back into a normal position.
Doctors can direct low-energy X-rays onto the hardened nodules that form under your palm. Results of radiation therapy seem to have a positive impact on the progression of the disease. I'm pretty impressed with its results and plan on discussing this with my doctor when I next see her.
Needling is a minimally invasive procedure where a doctor uses a needle to break apart the connective tissue in your palm. It's the treatment option you take before full-blown surgery. For some reason, I'm not too happy about this option. I don't like the idea of having surgery on my hands.
Psyber X Approaches
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Thank you for reading and following on throughout my Hive journey. I'm curious if anyone else has the same condition as I do. How has it impacted your life? Has anyone gotten surgery or any other treatment? If so, how were the results?
My right hand feels like it's constantly being pinched in the palm. Icing it helps and seems to bring down any swelling that occurs. I'm waiting on approval to get a nerve study done on my hand. After the study is complete, I'll meet up again with the surgeon to discuss some of the treatment I mentioned.
If you like this article, please consider reblogging, upvoting, and following @scholaris!