Predicting the Weather

When I broke my arm a couple of years ago, my aunt told me that I might be able to predict when it rains because it will suddenly start to hurt where the bone broke. Well, that never happened. Today I had such awful pain in my leg where the screws are in my bone and I started to wonder if I was walking too much.

I took the dog outside and saw a neighbor named Pal. He asked how my leg was doing and I told him it was fine until today, and that it’s been hurting really bad. He told me that he broke his leg a couple decades ago and he has 3 screws and a pin. He said there are certain molecules in the air that just before it rains, it acts like a magnet and gravitates to your screws and gives you a headache like pain in your bone where the screws are. He told me that it will be like that until cartilage grows around the screws, which could take a couple or few years.

So that’s not good news lol. I mean, it would be nice to be warned that it’s going to rain just before I go to the gym on the trike, because if I’m having pain in my leg, then I won’t go. Other than the gym, I don’t see how this is going to help me if it just causes me headache like pain in my leg bone. It just sounds like a nightmare to me lol.

I’m all for having super powers, but couldn’t I have the power to heal rather than having the power to be in agony? It just seems unfair. Like my life isn’t bad enough, now I have to walk with a limp and scream in pain when it rains? Gee, thanks.

Crafting Pains

I am a crafter. I think I was born a crafter because I love making things with my hands from raw materials. Everyone loves something that was made specifically for them to enjoy.

When I was 9 years old in the Cub Scouts, I learned to make keychains with 2 strands of Rexlace, or as some people call it “Gimp”. I made a few here and there at that age, but never went further with the craft until I was in my early 30’s when I remembered how fun it was to make, so I decided I wanted to learn all over again. I played around with the 2 strand keychains, but still didn’t know how to finish them, so I did what we did as kids, we burned the strands to melt them together with a lighter. That of course was the wrong way to do it.

Fast forward 10 years to a couple of years ago when I broke my arm and decided I wanted to make keychains again, but this time I learned how to properly finish them. I also learned how to make keychains with more than just 2 strands and in many patterns. I went overboard and opened an Etsy shop to sell my keychains. I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, but it was fun.

I recently had an order for 200 mini DNA red and white keychains. Unfortunately my carpal tunnel syndrome got in the way, and I was only able to complete half of the order before I was forced to take a break. I shipped out the first 100 in the first week of October, and I just finished the second 100 and am going to ship those out in the morning.

This is a casual business for me. I’m not living on the profits, in fact, when I do get an order, which is very rare, it helps me buy some groceries, or it may help me pay for a new video game, or jewelry that I wanted to buy. I never intended on huge bulk orders like this. It’s nice that someone thinks highly of my work that they want a huge order, but my hands can’t handle the constant torture from pulling strands of plastic lace.

My hands are in so much pain that I wake up every morning in agony. When I go to the gym, if I have my hands up on the bars or on the top of the treadmill, the pain in my thumb is excruciating and I have to bring my arms down to swing.

As of right now, I’m retired from making anything in bulk. I don’t mind making up to 10 keychains,  10 mini or 5 regular size, but that’s it. I’m going to have to just stop the torture on my poor hands. I love the work, and appreciate the groceries and winter cycling gear I was able to buy, but it’s just not worth permanent damage to my hands.

Actually, as of right now I am on vacation from my Etsy shop lol. I honestly don’t even want to think about making keychains and earrings, or even the Friendship bracelets or anything that is repetitive.

Come to think of it, my hands are killing me from typing this blog post. I have to rest my right hand from typing every few minutes, so I’m just going to stop typing and get in bed.

Copper Hands

20150924_153331

Carpal tunnel syndrome sucks, I know, I’ve had it for a decade. I got it from crocheting for more than 20 years and doing other crafts. When I found out that I had carpal tunnel syndrome, I was told by the doctor to just stop doing crafts, which was actually harder than you think. Crafting for some people is an addiction, and as far as I know, there are no rehab centers or crafters anonymous meetings in my town. I did manage to stay away from crafting for about 7 or 8 years. I got the bug back a couple of years ago with keychains and opened a Etsy store so I could sell a keychain or a pair of earrings here and there, but it was never meant to be anything big.

Recently there have been people asking for bulk orders. One company asked me to make tassels for their Ensenada bags, and that was an interesting experience. When their bags sold out, they came back for another order, then another, and that was fine because they didn’t order a lot, but it was still painful after so many tassels.

Someone asked me last month if I would be willing to make 100 mini DNA keychains, and I said I could do it, and I don’t mind making 100, but then he raised it to 150, then when he placed his order it was for 200. My hands are in agony, and I’ve only made 80.

Today I called Michael’s craft store and asked them if they had compression gloves for people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and they told me they have the “As Seen On TV” gloves called “Copper Hands.” I saw those at Walgreens, but I didn’t buy them because it says on the back that they are NOT for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Another guy was at Michael’s buying the same exact thing this morning. He told me that he has Carpal Tunnel from crocheting.

When I came home and tried the first glove on, it was so tight that I thought for sure I got the wrong size. I bought L/XL which was the highest size they had. I checked the size chart on the side of the box and my hand was the perfect fit for L/XL, so I knew I had the correct size. I finally got the glove on and put the other glove on. They were very tight, but that’s what compression implies, right?

20150925_001830

They are so tight that the seams are splitting, literally. I’ve only had them one day and I’m already seeing wear and tear. I’m pretty sure this isn’t supposed to happen.

I am so disappointed in these gloves. Not just because they are splitting at the seams, but because they don’t help me at all. I know, they’re not for carpal tunnel syndrome, but aren’t they supposed to help stop pain? They are so tight that they actually cause pain and my hands go numb. And what the hell is the copper for? Or is that just a gimmick?

I’m just in so much agony and I almost feel defeated. I have 80 out of 200 keychains made. How am I ever going to make 120 more keychains with this much pain? Why the hell did I agree to this?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

20140722_090228_Android

I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in 2007 after 20 years of crocheting started to take its toll on my hands. I didn’t just have it in one hand, I have it in both hands. I was given wrist splints to wear at night when I went to bed. I was told I didn’t have to wear them during the day, that they should help me when I sleep. Okay, no problem. I’ve worn them every night since then up until last year when I stopped using my bipap machine for my sleep apnea because I didn’t need it anymore because I had lost 70lbs. Wearing the bipap mask became uncomfortable because suddenly the pressure was too high.

I wore these wrist splints faithfully for 6 years from 2007 to 2013. They did help and last year I started making keychains and opened an Etsy shop. Since then I have added dangle, hoop and stud earrings and hemp and friendship bracelets. I received an order for 8 tassels for a company who makes purses, then they placed another order for 34 tassels and that took a huge toll on my hands. Someone else ordered 60 rainbow keychains. I made 36 of those and had to stop because it was hurting too much. She wanted them for her June wedding which apparently has been pushed back to November. That gives me more time to finish the rest of them, but I’m not quite sure they will follow through with buying them from me. I’ve had several people place a custom order and then not pay for it.

I’ve been working day and night making friendship bracelets over the last week. I really love making things. I don’t know if it is a gift or a curse. A gift that I can make something wonderful out of raw material with just my hands, but a curse that something I love to do can cause so much pain.

The pain is just too much on my hands. I wake up every morning with painfully numb hands and this morning my right hand was still numb for an hour after I woke up, and it was extremely painful. I put my wrist splint on and the pain and numbness eventually went away, but I am going to continue wearing the wrist splint for the rest of the day and perhaps wear it every day and night while I take a rest. I hope that helps.

Here are just a few things that I’ve been making. I am very proud of the hard work that have been doing that is ruining my hands lol.

20140715_180536_Android20140721_143540_Android20140721_190501_Android

I had all these plans for the camouflage bracelets. I bought the different colors to make a red version and a blue version. I also had planned on buying the different shades of brown to make a brown one. People have suggested I go with a complete rainbow and make orange, yellow and purple camouflage bracelets. I can’t see that happening now.

The rainbow braid bracelet on the bottom is actually a bracelet I wanted to make for a very long time for a specific person. I actually wanted to make 2 of them, and I made this yesterday and last night I started a second one. I listed it just because it was very easy to make and if someone ordered it, well I could make another one. But now I’m not so sure about that. I do still plan on giving this one and the other one away to the specific people just because I like to give people gifts.

Well, that’s all for now I guess. Today is the first day of my new vacation from crafting. I love what I do, so I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to stay away from it. It’s addicting for sure lol. I will try though, because my hands are more important to me than making something that no one will appreciate or even buy even though they asked for it.

The nerve of some people

nerves-facial-morris

The subject of this blog is not a complaint about someone’s character, rather a discussion on nerves, more particularly the nerves in my face since my Parotidectomy surgery in November.

You can read the details of my surgery in the link in the previous paragraph, or I can give you the cliff notes version.  I had a stone growing in my saliva gland and it had to be removed because it was causing a massive amount of pain.  It was removed by a surgeon at the Kern Medical Center on November 20th 2013.  It left me with a huge scar and a golf ball sized chunk taken out of my face.  It has been numb ever since, but the feeling is coming back, more importantly pain is coming back.

You see all those nerves in the diagram above?  Everything is connected.  Even though most of my face is numb, I can feel electrical impulses when I touch certain parts of my face.  If I touch my jaw line near my chin, I can feel electrical impulses in my earlobe.  If I touch anywhere near the incision area, I can also feel it all the way up my ear.  If I touch my earlobe, I can feel it in the spot on my jaw line near my chin from before.  There are certain areas that even the slightest touch can cause pain from the electrical impulses.  Even blowing on my skin can cause the feeling and possibly pain.

I’m not bothered by it as much as I probably should be because I know that my face is still healing.  The numbness is still there, but it is going away.  It’s like that pins and needles feeling you get when you sit on your foot for too long and your foot goes numb and then you get the pins and needles, although the pins and needles only shows up when I touch my face, and it doesn’t show up in the exact spot that I touch.  It’s a very strange feeling, but I am getting used to it.

The other day my partner touched my face and I recoiled in pain and he was a bit shocked at my overreaction, but he didn’t understand what I am feeling.  Heck, I didn’t quite understand it until now.

My last appointment with the surgeon at KMC was yesterday and he told me that there are more stones growing in the saliva gland on the left side of my face so eventually that will need to be taken care of like the right side, but that may take years to happen.  I am not going to worry about that until the pain comes from that.

Speaking of pain from nerves, am I having massive tooth pain and need to visit the dentist in May when my dental insurance kicks in again.  Right now all they will cover is emergency extractions and right now I am having an emergency in 3 or 4 teeth and I would much rather have fillings than more extractions.  I am using a sensitive toothpaste, but it doesn’t seem to be helping me very much.  I’ve flossed and flossed and that only makes it worse and my teeth are so jagged that they cut the floss in half and I can never get the floss out of between my teeth.  The Listerine helps numb the pain when I finish brushing, and sometimes I just swish with it just to numb the pain 3 or 4 times per day.

It seems I am always in pain.  I feel like I was the worst person in the history of humanity in a previous lifetime and I am paying for the bad karma in this lifetime.  I sometimes feel like I am earning some of my karma back by being a good person, but it doesn’t help at all.  I wonder who I was and what I did to deserve this.  Oh well, it doesn’t do any good dwelling on the past, especially a past I don’t have any memory of.

Anyway, I am looking forward for my next round of pain to end at least before my birthday lol.

Until next time…

Parotidectomy Surgery Complications

glands

It has been 3 weeks since I had my surgery and everything seems to be healing well.  My scar isn’t red and it isn’t too noticeable, except for the scar from the hole from where the tube was draining the fluid for 2 weeks which is quite visible, but disappears with a Band-Aid.

My face and ear are still numb, although the feeling is coming back slowly, but it is coming back.  But it still feels very strange.

The only thing that seems to have gone wrong is that I still have a saliva gland that seems to still be producing saliva with nowhere to go.  According to the image, there are three glands.  Parotid, which was removed, Submandibular and Sublingual.  The Sublingual gland is under the tongue, no problem.  The gland that is still producing saliva is my Submandibular gland which is below where the Parotid gland used to be.  It is still producing saliva, but it is not releasing into my mouth.  Instead of releasing into my mouth, it stores the saliva.

This is a really big issue because that is what my Parotid gland was doing.  It wasn’t releasing the saliva, so I was having to push (or milk) it out of the gland and into my mouth.  I have been trying to do that with this gland, but it is not releasing into my mouth, instead, I can feel it releasing under my skin.  I can tell because it tingles.  I don’t want it to release saliva inside of my body, but if it doesn’t get milked, it just gets bigger and bigger and next thing you know I will be rushed to the emergency room because of how painful it is.

The surgeon told me when I came back last week to have the tube removed that it was just some saliva that will be absorbed by my body, but I had no idea it was still producing more saliva.  I only know it is producing more saliva because I could feel it getting bigger and under more pressure when I ate some chocolate the other day.  Sweet and tangy are what seem to generate a lot of saliva for me, which over the years has been a major issue for me because when I start generating a lot of saliva after drinking orange juice, my saliva gland would get backed up and it wouldn’t release the saliva into my mouth.  That’s what I was trying to get surgery for, forget the stone, I want my saliva to be able to release into my mouth as it normally would without me having to milk it.

I can live without orange juice, which I have lived without for years because I know that sour causes this issue.  The one thing I don’t think I can live without is sweet, because I have a sweet tooth.  I love sweet flavors, such as sweet tea, or sweet coffee, or sweet oatmeal.  I can live without chocolate and cookies and so on, but I can’t avoid other sweet flavors because there is almost always something sweet.

My next appointment with the surgeon isn’t until March, but my next appointment with my regular doctor is next month and he will advise me on what to do.  I just hope by then it isn’t too painful.

I was hoping that my last post on this issue was my very last post.  I guess I jinxed myself by saying it was my last post.  This seems to be a pattern with me though.  I say I will never have to worry about something again, but then it comes back and I have to worry about it some more.  It’s a “if it can go wrong, it will” type of thing.  Murphy’s Law.  Why does Murphy seem to always be hiding in the shadows cursing me?  Darn you Murphy!

I will certainly update this issue if it becomes too unbearable and I end up in the ER or when I see my doctor in January, whichever comes first.

No More Tube!

tube removed december 6th

We went to the surgery clinic at Kern Medical Center today to have the tube removed from my neck.  It would have been removed last week if it weren’t for the fact that my surgeon is only there on Fridays, and that was the day after Thanksgiving.  I honestly did not mind having the tube for that extra week because there was still more fluids draining, so I feel the extra week was warranted.

I don’t have very much swelling anymore, thank goodness.  When I did have swelling, it felt like my stitches were going to pop so I used ice to help bring the swelling down.  I think the swelling was what hurt the most, besides of course having a tube inside my neck, which hurt like hell every time I accidentally yanked on it.

Without me even having to ask, my surgeon Dr. Trang told me that they tested the stone that was in my parotid gland and they did not find any traces of cancer.  I didn’t think there would be, but it’s good to know that there isn’t cancer anyway.  I do have more stones growing in my left parotid gland, so there is a good chance that I will have to go through this all over again in a few years.  Hopefully not, but if it happens then it happens.

You can’t even see the stitches along my ear, but you can see it behind my ear and along my neck.  You can’t see my neck in the picture above, but it’s there.  I’m not too worried about scarring.  If I have a bad scar then I will buy some scar cream, if I don’t have a scar then yea for me lol.  It really doesn’t phase me one way or the other.  I’m just glad I don’t have a stone in my parotid gland, well, I don’t have a parotid gland anymore either.

There is a mushy lump on my face down near my jaw near my ear, but Dr. Trang told me that it is just saliva that has collected in that spot and it should absorb into my body.  It will go away on its own.

The thing that I am most happy about is that it is all finished and I can move on with my life pain-free, well, until my back starts hurting again, or some other thing causes issues lol.  I know it’s going to happen, it always does.  You know the saying, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another.  That’s how life is for me.  It sucks, but I think it is why I am such a patient person.  That has too meanings lol.  Get it?  I’m patient as in not impatient and I am a patient as in going to the doctor’s office lol.  I thought it was funny.

If you have no clue what I am talking about, please read this post: Parotidectomy Surgery

Anyway, this is hopefully the last thing I have to say about this issue.  It’s all good!