Sunday, January 24, 2010

Obsessing over my hands

Lately I have been obsessing over the ulnar deviation (swanning) in my hands. As you can see from the photo above - the index and middle finger sway to the right. To the casual observer, this may not look like much - however, I am not a casual observer of my hands. I see them all day, every day and wonder what they will look like in to 10, 20, 30 years. I've seen seniors who have hands they can barely used because of deformities, and I worry that will happen to me. I know this will not happen today, tomorrow or the next day, but I know it will.

RA can be a tricky disease. One day you're fine and then changes slowly creep in, and next thing you know, it's 5 years later and your list of "what I used to be able to do" is gaining equilibrium with the list of things you can do. Scary. Just sorta sneaks up on you and taps you on the shoulder and says "Boo!"

I've had RA for 18 years - I've had it for more of my life than not, and when I take stock of what damage I've had so far, I know there is more to come. I'm not pessimistic, I'm realistic. I don't want to stick my head in the sand and pretend it isn't happening. I'm trying to prevent further damage, which includes taking an honest inventory of what could happen, and then planning for it. One more item to add to my list for my next rheumatology visit...


Living It, Loving It said...

Of course, you have to be real. I was only diagnosed two years ago. So many people is my life telling me that accepting the disease means giving up. However, I do not see it that. For me, acceptance means I have stopped grieving and I have moved on. I have educated myself enough to know what RA is capable of and I have decided that I still have a long life to live. RA is with me whether I accept it or not so accepting it makes life easier.

Helen said...

I worry about my hands, too. The fingers of my left hand are crooked, and my right hand is significantly smaller than the left. I was always quite ashamed of them when I was younger, though I've gotten better recently.

You are right; it may get worse, and accepting that is a whole lot easier than worrying about something I can't change.