So the end of last year I was having problems with my hand. It ached when I held things, I was having trouble dead lifting and it just hurt in general. I assumed I was being a sook and because it was a busy time of year at work (being a chef is all about your hands) I was just doing a lot. Then one day I woke up in a lot of pain and couldn’t hold a coffee cup. I took the day off, went to get the x ray my doctor had been bugging me about for weeks. That came back and I was immediately shuffled off to a specialist who said I in fact had osteoarthritis in my left hand (I’m right handed go figure) . The specialist said give up any idea of continuing being a chef, start another career path. He also said that eventually I will have to have a full join replacement in my thumb where everything is completely cactus and they’ll also fix my carpal tunnel at the same time.
This gave me butt load more question than I had answers for and came with a nice fat dose of cortisone. That only really worked for a week and it almost made me pass out. No, lifting at the gym didn’t do it. In my case it was shitty genetics mostly. Turns out I have a family history of arthritis I didn’t really know about. I just made lifestyle choices that helped it along at an alarming rate. That’s the deal with osteoarthritis. It’s wear and tear on your joint. The cartilage gets worn down and eventually causes the bone to crumble and everything gets a bit yuck on the inside. Muscle loss and shit ligaments are whole part and parcel of the whole arthritis gig. Hooray!
Speaking of lifestyle, boy howdy did that have to change. I take anti inflammatories now to stop the pain in my hand. I wear a sexy hand brace too, and I even have a heavy duty one for the gym. Speaking of the gym I can go, but no heavy lifting. Defiantly no dead lifts or benching, and no squats without a safety bar with handles. I felt gutted because I could now longer do something that I really loved. Essentially everything I do now has to be changed so I don’t put any stress on my thumb. Every now and then I sneak half an Endone if the pain is bad even though my doctor says no (sorry Dr Sri) because bipolar something something tendency to self medicate blah blah blah. I’m not usually for ignoring my GP but when you want to cut your hand off, the pain makes you cry, or irrationally angry you do what you can do.
Now I’m in customer service rather than kitchens. It’s been a blessing because I’m far less stressed than I used to be. Some days I can do a lot and some days I cant. It’s one thing I can say is that having arthritis has taught me is to slow down and do as much as I can do. It also has taught me to ask for help more if I can’t do something rather than muscle through like I’m indestructible.