Where you at?

You might have noticed that I have been MIA for a while now– my last, close-to-substantive post was on January 5. Fittingly, the topic of that post was the lumbar puncture I had had the day before and it was one of the many things with which I’ve been busy. As I may have posted in the the past few months, life has ben filled with visits to the doctor, medical tests, more frequent and increasingly severe headaches/migraines, and general malaise that worsens from time to time. Add to all this to the sudden increase in pain in my wrists and hands (from repetitive stress) and development of numbness and tingling in my hands, all the way through to all the fingers– both being so severe sometimes that they wake me up at night, keep me from falling back to sleep, and make it hard to do everyday tasks, like handwrite or get ready in the mornings, from gripping and turning faucet handles to blow drying my hair. I had some tendonitis from repetitive stress years ago when I first started working, but was able to treat it effectively through physical therapy, stretching and exercise, a more ergonomic work setup, frequent breaks, and the rest of the RSI rigamarole, managing to become relatively free of truly problematic symptoms.

However, the tendonitis suddenly became very severe a few months ago and is now accompanied by numbness and tingling that are certainly more annoying than the pain. The irony is that these “sudden” RSI symptoms started and worsened when I had actually reduced my work hours (only 40 hours per week!)– like most departments at Stanford do for significant cost savings, my office closes for a few weeks at the end of the year and aside from taking the long break (and even managing to avoid doing work despite being on-call), I even left for the break a week early. Since then, I’ve been out of the office more than usual due to illness (it’s largely a crapshoot everyday how I’ll be feeling) and a slightly ridiculous number of doctor and physical therapy appointments. I’m pretty sure I’m being punished for a life of playing piano and typing.

As of now, almost all of my test results are normal and one thing we’re pretty sure about is that it’s NOT lupus. So, for the most part, we’ve managed to rule out a number of things and otherwise, we’re back to the drawing board and I just need to suck it up while we figure things out. At the end of the day, I having basically decided that if I was a superhero, my powers would be tolerance of prescription drugs and the ability to stay relatively high-functioning despite constant pain.

In any case, I’m slowly starting to improve and get back to a somewhat normal life, including maintaining my offline social life and my online presence. Look forward to more frequent posting soon.