Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fat Cells Screaming STOP! First Run After Carpal Tunnel Surgery

I can always tell when I've had a long break from running.  I itch all over when I run.  My thighs, stomach, butt, arms... everything itches. I figure that's due to the fat cells being jiggled, not enjoying it one bit and screaming STOP!

I went for my first run after carpal tunnel surgery and my fat cells got quite comfortable in the 7 day running break and jiggled till they itched.  What didn't itch, hurt or feel numb was my hand.  Prior to surgery after 1.5 miles my right hand felt numb; so my 4 mile run was a good test and there was no numbness.

I knew prior to the surgery I was underestimating the discomfort and I was right, it hurt much more than I expected. I thought I would be able to write with a pen, work on the computer, take pictures and work on my taxes the day after surgery. It took a week before I felt I could actually write and type on the computer (although using the mouse with the left hand is still more comfortable).  I did take pictures over the weekend and took frequent breaks and learned to move the zoom with my left hand instead of the right.

One thing that surprised me and got me lots of compassion is the bruising and the swelling.  The first two days after surgery I had to keep my hand held above my heart to reduce the swelling and blood flowing into the fingers. Even though I followed doctors orders, the fingers still swelled and each day became more purple until it looked like I hadn't washed my hand for a month.
The area above the bandage changed coloring and looks bruised
If you're reading this blog because you're contemplating surgery, here's what I can tell you about post surgery:

  • Running and sleeping is without the numbness. I've heard this from other people that the relief from the discomfort from the carpal tunnel is immediate. It's just the surgery that hurts.
  • It's surgery. Don't fool yourself and think because it's a common surgery it's not going to hurt. It's still surgery and it still hurts.
  • My doctor said I could go back to work the next day or he could give me up to 6 weeks off.  I opted for three weeks off.  There is no way I could have used a computer or written with a pen the day after. After one week I'm feeling well enough to write and can type. Using the mouse is uncomfortable but lower on my arm instead of on the incision. I'm hopeful that after 3 weeks I'll feel relaxed and have some projects and my taxes done. I'll be a new person with a working right hand.
  • Each day there is more movement with the fingers and not too many things aggravate it. I can open doors now( I didn't have the strength or ability to grab a door knob the first 5 days), dressing myself is better but pulling up my pants is still a delicate situation. I have to re-position my hands a lot to prevent discomfort or twisting my hand wrong.  I haven't tried putting my bra on myself yet but will try tomorrow.
  • I kept my bandage till the 8th day and it didn't hurt to take it off. It was so wonderful showering without a plastic bag and rubberband over my hand.
  • The incision area is still going to hurt for awhile.  My doctor said that it'll probably be a couple months before I can do a pushup without feeling it.  Considering I'm not a giant fan of pushups anyways, I'm not heart broken to hold off on them.
  • Milk it for all it's worth.  I haven't had to make dinner or wash the dishes in a week and I think I can get another week out of it.
A big thanks to my sweetie for taking care of me, making my meals, doing the dishes and helping me out.  

Happy Running!


Johann said...

I'm glad to hear everything went well. It is great that you can feel the difference already. Take care!

Emily W said...

Ouch, it does look bad! I am glad you had immediate relief from the numbness, though. I hope the discomfort goes away very quickly.

Stacey 2.0 said...

This has been helpful, even if I am reading it a bit late... Been experiencing a lot of hand & wrist pain lately, but I have the 3TV Half Marathon in a little over 1 month and I don't want to ruin my training... So it looks like I tough it out a bit longer. Hope you are still running. I'm in the area (Glendale) too!