Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Welcome Back John Hancock!

Well my signature is not as pretty as that of the legendary John Hancock's on the Declaration of Independence but at least I have the ability to handwrite fluently and legibly now. I am right handed and the surgery was for the tumors on the right side of my head. As a result the muscles going down my arm and shoulder and nerves had been weakened. After the surgery it was so incredibly difficult to to write! I just absolutely loathed having to sign my name after a credit card transaction. Fortunately I have a card with my picture ID on it as there is no way my signature appeared anything resembling how it had looked on the card.

Aside from my daily documentation of meds taken and progress for the day for the first weeks after coming home, I did not write anything. I really had to force the pen to paper and it was as equally frustrating as it was exhausting. When I look back at my notes it really does appear as chicken scratch from a very arthritic person. It is amazing I was able to make it legible at all!

What I found is that it takes time and work in strengthening the muscles. One month after surgery I started going back to the gym and doing some light weight lifting. I brought a binder to track my progress in. After doing some weight work on my arms I found writing easier than before I lifted anything. I also did some exercises for my hand and wrist.

Since getting approval to use the weights freely and increase the amount, I have noticed significant improvements. As mentioned earlier in the blog, I have had to be on steroids again as of early December. Thus I have taken advantage of this opportunity to lift hard. (still relatively light for some people; I am not a she hulk person)

There is a slight involuntary quiver in my right shoulder at times in the evening while resting. However, 3 and a half months post surgery I have found my handwriting to return!

I really avoided writing and did not want to so for quite some time. Oddly my typing was not affected on the ergonomic keyboard aside from the days when my fingers felt kinked and hit weird buttons that erased all of what I had just typed. I was able to type out the yearly newsletter but needed to sign our names on the Christmas cards which I totally did not look forward to. Slowly I managed the signatures for the cards we send to people far away and offline and then I made ecards to send via email to those here and online.

After Christmas I wanted to get notes out and I also had thank you notes to write from people who sent flowers and helped out before and after surgery. So if some of you are surprised to get a card from me this month that is why. I just sat down one day a week or so ago and could write! It was so exciting that I wrote them all out in a couple days! The task was no longer daunting!

Also, Thursday was my first appointment at the Casey Eye Center at OHSU in Portland. Because it was a first visit, I was required to fill out the medical history questionaire and form. They had mailed it to me but I forgot to grab it off the table before we left the house. Therefore, we arrived without it and I needed to fill it out there. Prior, the situation I would have as been as enthused to do as I would be about doing wash (I hate doing laundry) but surprisingly my hand just took off completing it in record speed (we were late). Granted it was not the neatest job but the fact that I was able to fill it out so quickly and that it was readable on top of that provided me a secret sense of pride.

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