Since about early September or so, I have been having problems with arthritis in my left hand.  I am left handed so it has been, well, rather inconvenient. Slowly it got worse and worse, until sometime in November I lost use of my left thumb.

It was no longer opposable. Just… well… straight.

Pretty much just like the picture above. 24/7. Painful and immovable.

As December came, it just got worse, and the right hand was also starting to show arthritis. Dressing in the morning became a chore, especially putting on my bra, tying my shoes.  Putting on gloves made it worse. Scraping car windows wasn’t pleasant, and pulling on my seatbelt made me want to bite through my lip. There were many mornings where I was crying as I drove to work.

Typing wasn’t too bad as the thumb doesn’t do much but hit the space bar. Writing was very painful, and so no Christmas Cards were sent this year. I had to use pliers to open up my pop bottles!

Finally I gave up and went to the Doctor who prescribed something called Rabumetone which is an anti-inflammatory for arthritis. He also had me go to radiology and have a series of hand pictures taken. The last one, the tech said.. now make an “Okay” sign. When i said I couldn’t do that, she walked over and with some sort of evil smile on her face (not really) she took my hands and made a damn “okay” sign. Ex..cruc..iat… ing. Ahhh.

And the medicine just made it worse. The doctor said a couple of things – give it a good three weeks and don’t take any Aleve or Advil. There were days during the past three weeks when I wanted to sit at my desk at work and cry. Every joint in my body started hurting. I had to have a friend wrap my presents for me. She also had to buckle my seat belt for me on a day we went shopping together (suddenly I was suddenly elderly!)

It all came to a head this past Friday night. I took a nap and woke up, unable to use my hands at all. I tried to cook dinner and could barely stir the pot. I couldn’t use the can opener and to open a little packet of taco seasoning, I needed scissors. I felt like I had no hands at all. Just balls of uselessness stuck at my wrists.

Luckily Saturday the hands were a little better. I decided to go to the gym and swim. I love to swim as often it is just me and a few people, and it is very meditative, just slowly swimming lap after lap. I spent 45 minutes in the pool and got out and did 10 minutes in the whirlpool.

I felt like a new person. My hands felt great. I also made the decision to stop the medication, three days before the 3 week mark. I was done with that.

And an amazing thing happened…

Is that thumb looking all bendy?? Why yes it is! It bends! It moves! No pain!

I can almost make a full fist on both hand too. There is still some tightness in the fingers but no pain and it is so much better. I got dressed today with no pain. I put on my bra, I tied my shoes and I put on my gloves. I scraped my windows and put on my seat belt. No tears!

I went swimming again tonight. And I can’t help but saying it…. I feel A-okay.

And totally opposable!