Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Problem


 First, let me thank all for all of your very lovely comments about my grey alpaca flower shawl.  I am always so thankful for all the wonderful people who take the time to comment on my blog.  I feel blessed to have each and everyone of you in my blog life, and I want you to know that you are appreciated.

Now for my problem.  My hand and wrists are not cooperating.  I have recently been feeling tingling in my fingers, and I absolutely know why.  I have been giving myself carpal tunnel syndrome from too much time with a crochet hook or knitting needles. 

Maybe I should have said that I am reactivating the carpal tunnel syndrome I have had on and off for years.  I am pretty ticked off because this is getting in the way of some serious yarn time.  About 13 years ago my Mother had a breast cancer scare.  I flew up to be with my parents as my Mom underwent a mastectomy.  She was cancer free after this and remains so to this day.  But I was a wreck at the time, first I was worried about my parents.  And it was the first time I was away from my kids, who were pretty little at the time.  So what did I do?  I knit like a crazy woman.  I knit on the plane trips and layovers.  I knit on the 1 1/2 hour ride to the hospital and home, everyday.  I knit while waiting at the hospital, and when I got home.  And I gave myself some serious wrist and hand pain.  When I got home I couldn't even pick up my youngest who was 2 1/2 at the time.  Now being an Occupational Therapist I should have known better, but it was a stress reliever and I just couldn't stop.

On and off since that time I have felt a tingle here and there until about 3 years ago.  I was finishing a whole bunch of knitted shawls for Christmas presents.  I loved the simple drop stitch pattern, and of course with my obsessive personality, had to make a million of them.  I had time constraints to get things wrapped and shipped on time, so you guessed it, I did it to myself again.  This time along with numbness, I had sharp pains  into my thumbs on both hands.  I couldn't even touch my thumb to my fingers without wanting to scream.  

So I find myself again seeing the all too familiar signs heading my way.  I am not happy.  Knitting and crocheting are such a big part of my life that I am not quite sure what to do with myself when I can't do them.  I am trying to be a big girl and rest my hands and wrists, but it is so hard.  I can't watch TV without a project in my hands.  It is baseball season and the Rays aren't doing so hot, so at least I don't feel like I am waisting  my time watching them if I am doing something constructive at the same time.  I tried playing with my ipad, and I have been reading a bit more, but I have to tell you I am not a happy camper.
 My wrists and fingers are getting in the way of me trying to figure out how to make my first crochet sweater.  It is a wrap sweater that I had the gauge with initially, but seem to be stitching a lot tighter now.  I will have to work that out.
My wrists and fingers are getting in the way of me working on the knitted dress.  It is my car project and even though the work has been slow, I still can't do anything on it for the time being. 

Obviously I know with all the issues in the world, my wrists and hands are not all that important.  But working with yarn makes me who I am.  And right now I feel a little off kilter.  What do you do when you can't work with yarn, or scrapbook, sew, etc.? 

18 comments:

Grateful4Crochet said...

Meredith, so sorry to hear about your hands. I know exactly what you mean about knitting/crocheting obsessively to alleviate stress.
I really hope this is not a return of carpal tunnel for you, and will be sending lots of good wishes your way that the pain will soon go, and you will be knitting like a lunatic again soon.
and also btw your crochet sweater and knitted dress look great

Lena said...

Oh boy, that's a tough one Meredith. I'm fortunate, because I love to read, so that sees me through many things. I've had some problems in the past though, that have kept me from my crafts, so I do know how hard this is, and painful too. I've been sitting here thinking about what you could do, though, and have to admit to not being very successful just yet. I do think, that given your gift for color, that one thing you might explore, is dyeing yarn. That's not very portable though. I'll keep thinking about it.

I hope, that maybe, if you just hold off on things for a bit longer, that in the long run, you will heal faster, so try to rest as best you can.

Take care.
xo

Susan H. said...

Meredith, I am sorry to hear about your pain. Before I moved down to Florida I used to teach a watercise for the arthritic class which many of the ladies said really helped their hands. Maybe this could be an option?
xx Susan

vagiraffe2 said...

When my hands are acting up...I enjoy making bread. It seems to relax the crampiness and soothe the aches that come from working overtime with my sticks or hook.Kneading uses my whole hand and seems to strengthen my arms and loosen the crinks in my shoulders. I still get that nice centering focused feeling and it is definitely not difficult to find someone to take a loaf of bread or a batch of rolls off of my hands,(so to speak!)

Julia said...

I'm so sorry!! You do such beautfiul work!

Christine said...

Hello, I love your blog and I'm so sorry that you are suffering with your hands. Are you on Ravelry? There is a group called Crafting with Carpal Tunnel which has helpful information and suggests ice dips, just very short but frequent. I did this when I was having elbow problems and definitely saw an improvement. Hope things get better for you soon. Christine

by Teresa said...

Have you considered carpal tunnel surgery? I'm so sorry to hear this as I'd hate to realize that I couldn't do my crochet. Get thyself to a doctor and get some professional advice, my dear.

Hugs to you.. Teresa

Kristen said...

Oh gosh, that's rough. I guess if I couldn't knit or crochet or sew or embroider--you can't do any of those things, at all, without pain? That is pretty woeful--I'd work in my garden. I know, that's not really the same thing at all, but it feels good and I'm always glad when it's done.

What about painting? You could learn to watercolor or something...

You have my sympathies. Best of luck for a very speedy recovery. Putting the yarn aside is not easy, I know.

Sara said...

Oh... I'm so sorry! I have had similar issues in the past and I just hated it. Rest up and hopefully you will be feeling better soon! xo

Claudia said...

I'm sorry, sister. That is so frustrating! But you have to take care of yourself. I am one who has to be doing something while watching television so I understand. Read. Maybe draw/sketch? Gosh, I don't know. The advice about the link in Ravelry sounds like a start. Maybe there are some things you can do to alleviate the pain.

I sometimes get pain and stiffness from crocheting and laptop work. And raking, too.

xoxo
Claudia

Rizzi said...

OH MEREDITH, I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN. I LOVE TO CROCHET, AND DO CRAFTS, AND I LOVE TO EMBROIDER. BUT....BEING 71 YEARS OLD DOESN'T HELP MUCH. I ALSO HAVE PAIN AND NUMBNESS TOO. MY CURE IS TAKE IBPROFIN
AND CROCHET. :) I TRY EMBROIDERY, BUT AT TIMES ITS VERY HARD TO DO. PICKING UP THE NEEDLE, IS NOT EASY AT TIMES. MEREDITH MY FRIEND, THEY ARE YOUR HANDS, I KNOW THEY ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO YOU....TAKE CARE AND I HOPE YOU CAN GET BACK TO YOUR CROCHETING, YOUR WORK IS SO LOVELY. RIZZI

Rizzi said...

IT'S ME AGAIN...RIZZI......
YES, I WANT TO MAKE A TEA COSY, I THINK THEY ARE SO CUTE AND LOVELY, THANKS FOR THE REMINDER. HAVE A GREAT DAY. RIZZI

Teresa said...

Hi Meredith!
I totally understand how the yarn crafts help relax and cope with the stress--it helps me a lot too, it's been my escape these past few months. But you do have to be carefull with your hands!
To start with that Ravelry group sounds like a good start--along with reading, walks etc. And painting, but this does have the negative side of not being very portable.
If it persists, why not go for the surgery? It's relatively simple, from what I've heard and it works...
Hope you feel better soon!
xx
Teresa

mynestofyarnandbuttons said...

Hi Meredith, So sorry to hear about your hands. Have you tried a brace type hand velcro device. I know a few friends who have had to use them and they have helped. Also an anti-inflammatory medication. The brace can, in some cases, allow you to knit or crochet. Just a thought. I'll be thinking of you and hoping you will be feeling better. xoRobin❤

Karen said...

Oh, Meredith, I'm so sorry to hear about your hands. I hope they are healing and I will send good thoughts your way. I love to read, so that would help me in your situation. Either reading or listening to a book. I like the suggestion of kneading bread dough. It just sounds like it would be soothing.

A. Warped, knitter said...

Have you tried stretching exercises for your hands? Years ago a PT gave me some hand and wrist exercises and they have been helpful. There are some on the 'net just for carpal tunnel. I'm a big believer in PT. I weave and there have been a lot of studies (kinesiology?)
on the value of exercise when dealing with repetitive motion injuries.

"Petunia Pill" said...

Hi Meredith, I just saw your comment about "hands" on "The Royal Sisters" and I headed over here to tell you what a beautiful comment that was and how very true it is...we HAVE cared for a lot of people. Once here, I found this post...also about hands. I feel for you. I am obsessive and have just discovered crochet...there are so many things to make and what seems to be so little time! I get pains in my hands after an entire day with the hook and try to ignore it. Your post puts a lump in my throat at the thought of not being able to do it at will. Prior to this new obsession, I had an obsessions with photography and editing my images with Photoshop. As a result of some long term computer issues, I turned to crochet as my new pastime. So, when I don't crochet, I still have an outlet with my photo art. I can sit by the hour with it...but I prefer crochet presently. What are your options? It seems our hands are the very essence of our doing! That fits right into your comment at The Royal Sisters...we care with them, we create with them...we do everything with them...but do we take care of them? Nope, no time for that! LOL Gotta get back to doing...no time for care, eh? If we don't give it to them as needed, they force us to do so with pain I suppose! Sorry for the long comment...Annette

Crochet with Raymond said...

Hello Meredith!
What a post... sorry to hear that you're in pain! I've been suffering from swollen painful finger joints for about 7 years in winter, it is so terrible, but knitting and crochet has seemed to heal that over the last couple of winters! Yay! but on the downside, I have had sore wrists and arms at times and have discovered that the only way for me to deal with it is take my time and knit and crochet slooooooooooooowly! I remind myself that it is not a race and really immerse myself in the stitches instead of cracking along like I normally do. It has realy helped! About 6 months ago, I had a collision with a car when I was out running (totally her fault! I was on the footpath and she opened her door right onto it without checking and I got the corner of the door slamming into my shoulder joint at full running speed!) and it is still affecting me, and is taking a really long time to heal, so it is even more important for me to slow down! I remind myself, I have my whole life to knit, whats the hurry! Since I started doing that, I'm noticing that painful bits do go away and thats good for me!!!
Anyway, Meredith, thats the best advice I can offer! Our bodies are organic, they will wear out, we need to trry to preserve them the best we can!!!!!
Sending you healing thoughts!
Alice XXXXX