Over a year ago my Mom found out that she had a rare disease that causes the bones in her wrist to disintegrate. It causes extreme pain which leads to even more extreme life changes. This disease would cause major impact for anyone’s life — every basic part of our lives involves our hands. From self-care, to cooking and cleaning, to using a computer, talking on the phone, waving hello, holding your grandchildren, everything you do is contingent on having working hands.
In addition to basic life awesome happiness choices get screwed up with the addition of this disease, too. My Mother took up her two greatest passions in earnest when she retired, art and tennis, which both require nimble hand work. In what felt like exceptional cruelty she was stripped of the ability to do either of these activities as she tried treatments for a disease with no known cure, only possible ways to slow its takeover process of her movements.
Today she undergoes a surgical procedure that, while unable to stop the progression of the disintegration of her bones, may give her the best shot possible of being able to live with less pain and potentially regain some of her mobility and strength. She is probably sitting in the prep room right now, nervous but ready to get it over with. The surgery will realign the bones in her wrist and hand so that the bones that will eventually disappear will no longer be actively used, preparing her to undergo therapy to strengthen the rest of her hand to take over for the missing bones.
My Mom has always made choices in life that I am so proud of – she finished her college degree after having three kids, she took back up a sport she was good at in high school and worked at it, moving up in rankings and practicing regularly, she constantly improved her artistic technique with classes. She doesn’t see life as a spectator sport, choosing instead to fill her days with happiness and challenges.
This surgery is an opportunity to show her the best her hand will ever feel. It gives her a new starting point. She can take her new normal and make it her own, start over and build on it. Knowing her, seeing the type of choices she has made every day of her life, I am sure she will be making choices that convince the rest of us to push ourselves a little bit harder, too.