Category Archives: Hand Pain

Sleeping in Splints


First off, Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll write a post about Turkey Day later! Yesterday, I met with my Rheumy for a check-up on how the meds are going, how I’ve been feeling, ailments, etc. As I suspected, I had to get more blood taken to do updated tests and see if the meds are helping at all. I did not pass out and I didn’t even black out! This time the nurse put a piece of paper with some writing on the ceiling and had me try to figure out what it said. Pretty nice of her to do and it did the trick.

As you may remember, I mentioned a few posts ago that I am having more pain and tenderness and weakness in my wrists and fingers. I brought this up to my Rheumy and he did a few tests that included questions, tapping on my wrists, and then holding them face-down in a 90 degree angle (if that makes sense) and seeing what happens. I felt pain and pins and needles. His conclusion was that I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. He prescribed me wrist splints which I’m supposed to wear whenever I am not typing. I am also to wear them when I am sleeping. They basically wrap around your thumb and wrists and velcro in the back. Pretty shnazzy… they also have metal bars in the section which runs from your wrist down your fore arm for stability. If this doesn’t help improve the pain/tingling then they can do a full nerve test as well as cortizone shots. I am hoping that the splints will do the trick!

Along with the blood tests and wrist splints, I was also told to increase my nambumetone dosages. I have been taking 500mg twice a day. I am now increased to 750mg twice a day. The Enbrel seems to be helping at least most of the time… other than the random flare ups that I have been experiencing. My Rheumy said that we should see full effects in about 3 months time so I’m hoping that it improves.

As for my swollen ankles, he said it could be a result of the AS but if it continues, it may be worth a trip back to the orthopedist who did my ankle surgery to get it checked out to make sure that everything is good to go and there aren’t any healing issues.

So, I suppose all in all not a terrible follow-up appointment. Being diagnosed with carpal tunnel is annoying and the wrist splints aren’t particularly fun, but it could always be worse and that’s what I keep reminding myself of… so I’ll stick with icing most nights (maybe increase to every night), continue wearing my wrist splints, taking my nambumetone, and injecting myself on Friday mornings. We’ll get there yet!

Tomorrow will be dedicated to term papers, presentations, and figuring out an exercise plan so I can start seriously training for my half marathon. I’ll keep a close watch on my heels and Achilles as they have been acting up and sometime waking me up at night. Always something interesting!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to EVERYONE!



Today I Ran a Half Mile


Yes, you read correctly. Today, I ran one half mile. No, it’s not as glorious as a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or heaven forbid, a full marathon, but it was progress and I’ll take it. At my one month mark of being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, I proclaimed that I will be running the Rock N Roll Half Marathon next February in Pasadena, CA. Well, I have to start somewhere and today, that start was one half a mile.

For those of you who have ever completed a marathon, first off props to you- it is a great feeling to be in that special group of 26.2-ers. Someday, perhaps I will get back there again. Regardless, remember that feeling you get around oh mile 21? That oh my god, I am literally dieing there is no way I can put my left foot in front of my right foot again- every muscle is tearing and my bones are gone feeling? Well, that is what I had during my one half mile sojourn today. Now, don’t get me wrong, part of that is due to the fact that I haven’t trained in months. The other part of course, is my near and dear friend, AS. But such is life.

Tonight I lay in my bed with aching wrists, ankles, knees, hips, heels and a lower back. My body feels like I was accosted by a group of people with baseball bats. I voiced to Andrew that I hate the feeling of feeling like crap and I feel so frustrated sometimes and just like my body is completely giving up on life. And yet, as I sit here typing this post, I can’t help but smile knowing that today, not only did I get to go on a 7 mile walk with the love of my life and our bestest dog, Franklin, but I actually ran (ok, jogged, whatever) a half a mile.

I am well on my way. Today was a great Fall day and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.

Work and Grad School


The picture at right is my view for the next two days straight… and probably many more, too. I’m getting into crunch time. I have less than a month left in my first semester of Grad School at Johns Hopkins! I am excited, stressed out, and exhausted all at once. I absolutely love my courses (Water Resources Planning and Smart Growth/Urban Revitalization), but whoever even thought about working full-time and going to grad school part-time should be smacked. It’s impossible. My days are constantly consumed by working all day and feeling guilty about leaving work on time and then working at night and feeling guilty about stopping to go to bed or eat dinner or heaven forbid, do nothing. Any free time that I find I constantly feel guilty and like I am wasting that time that could otherwise be put to good use.

This begs the question… did I make the wrong decision to go back to school right now? No. I am glad that I did. As I mentioned before, I love my classes; they are interesting and I’m learning a lot. Do I think that writing 3 papers a week for one class is a little excessive, yes, I do. But, that’s life. The crunch time now is spent attempting to write and edit my term papers. They aren’t really long, but they require even more work because there is a page limit. I often think to myself, one more month and I’m done. I’m free. Then it kicks in. Calculus II. I still have to finish Calculus II.

Before I started this blog, I signed up for Calculus II as a requirement for my grad school program. I have to finish it before the Spring semester begins. I worked on it here and there when I first started it out– I made progress. slowly. Now I am at a point where I am wondering how I am going to finish it. It is a mastery course that consists of about 128 assignments (including 4 exams). As a mastery course, you have to continuously revise your homework until you get 100% on it. The idea is that you walk away really understanding the program. Great in theory, but I am on about assignment #25 and I have a few corrections to make to a handful of previous assignments. My fear is that if I wait until my classes end to re-focus on Calc, I will NEVER have enough time to finish everything including a final proctored exam in time for Spring classes.

Of course in the midst of this funness of work and school I am stuck wondering if medicines will work on my AS and if my pain will decrease and my exhaustion will be squelched (hehe I like that word). In the past two weeks I’ve had an increasingly hard time using my fingers and wrists- they seem to get extremely sore and tight… to the point where I was spraying a spray bottle of cleaner and had to stop because it hurt so much and I felt like I didn’t have the strength. It sucked. It makes me wonder if this will be a re-occurring issue that I will be facing and if so, I will need to figure out a way to handle it; much of my job and certainly the majority of my schooling revolves around typing so that is a must. Guess we’ll see what the Rheumy says at my follow-up appointment next week!

I supposed I will close with this; this is a HUGE shout out to anyone who is working and going to grad school at the same time- I feel your pain.

~Stress is waking up screaming only to realize that you haven’t been sleeping~