Titus 2:11-13

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Kneading" Heaven

I never would have guessed that making noodles would make me long for heaven....

If you've been following my blog, you know from previous posts that I LOVE to write. Putting written words together to convey my thoughts is one of the most enjoyable things I do on a daily basis. These days I use a computer for nearly all of my writing, but that hasn't always been the case.

Until about six years ago, I used to hand write letters, papers, notes... and then sometimes rewrite them just for fun. Not only did I love to write, I loved to hand write. I always thought I had pretty penmanship, and making it look just perfect was enjoyable to me.

About six years ago, towards the beginning of my sophomore year of college, something changed. I began to experience a frustrating problem that completely stumped me. I would be sitting in class taking notes or in the library doing homework, and my grip on the pen would suddenly become very uncomfortable to me. I would try different grips, but nothing felt quite right. Before long, the problem advanced to where my pen would suddenly fly out of my hand mid-word, and my wrist would involuntarily bend into an uncomfortable 90-degree angle. I started noticing a gradual decline in the "prettiness" of my penmanship, and handwriting--which had always been easy and enjoyable--began to become laborious and painful.

I started seeing a chiropractor in hopes that maybe my problem was due to a simple misalignment. After a couple months of treatment and no improvement, my chiropractor referred me to a sports medicine doctor. There I had either MRIs or CT scans--I can't remember which--and the results came back normal. They gave me cortisone shots in both wrists (next to childbirth, the most painful thing I've ever experienced) which caused absolutely no change in my mystery condition.

I and those who love me were all distressed by and greatly concerned with what was going on, and we were all praying that God would bring healing or at least give direction in our search for a diagnosis. Then one morning I got a call from my mom. She couldn't sleep the night before, so she had decided to get up and watch TV for a while. Turning to the Discovery Health channel, she stumbled upon the bizarre story of a man suffering from a debilitating condition called dystonia. Throughout the course of the program, she learned that dystonia comes in different forms and degrees; and she felt sure that this was the very thing which was causing my strange problems.

I began to research this disorder called dystonia and soon came to agree that it had to be the answer. I learned that my next course of action was to see a neurologist; and upon doing so, the diagnosis was confirmed: I have a focal point dystonia of the forearm more commonly referred to as (simple) writer's cramp. While the diagnonis brought peace of mind, it did not lead to a cure. With no good treatment options, this was something I would probably deal with for the rest of my life. Praising God for my unaffected left hand (and for computers!), I moved forward by teaching myself to write left-handed and utilizing the computer for as much of my writing needs as possible.

Six years later, I still ask God to remove this thorn from my side; but knowing that He might not, I continue to thank Him that the dystonia has not "jumped" to my left hand (as I have learned it can do) and that He has allowed me to function in spite of it. (Many people tell me that not everyone can learn to write with the opposite hand.)

So when I say I love to write, there is much more passion and pain behind my words than most people realize.

I'm sure you're wondering what all this has to do with making noodles....

While my form of writer's cramp is "simple" (meaning it causes difficulty with only one specific task (i.e. writing)), I have experienced increased weakness and pain in my right wrist which affects and/or is affected by many other tasks. Things as simple as opening jars, carrying my children, and kneading dough cause pain in addition to agitation of the muscles in my forearm.

As I was kneading the dough for my homemade noodles yesterday, the pain it caused made me simultaneously long for heaven and for my new and perfect body. Someday there will be no more pain and suffering; and I guess if it takes pain and suffering to make me long for that day, then I will gladly endure it until the end.


The Surrendered Scribe said...

I saw your dystonia label and looked it up since a dear friend of mine has this. She even blogged about it, and here is the link. http://thesurrenderedscribe.blogspot.com/2008/11/nablopomo-thankful-because-of-dystonia.html

Anonymous said...

Angela for a focal dystonia like writers cramp, botox may help you. It is an injection into the affected area & many have great results with it. You should ask your doctor. It is sad that this still goes undiagnosed. God bless
Shirley Dilks

Angela said...

Thank you for the input, Shirley. I was told about the botox option upon my diagnosis, but I never really looked into it. I just read your story on The Surrendered Scribe blog. May God heal you completely in His time and for His glory!

Tera Joyce said...

Have you thought about seeing a hand specialist? I know very little but have experienced similar issues-however none as severe I don't think. Ask about the radial nerve being pinched or something to that sort as that can cause what is called rist drop and surgery can help depending on situation.

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