update on the hands/wrists

After a very difficult weekend pain wise I packed myself off to the hospital on Tuesday for a set of ultrasound scans on my hands and wrists.  Unfortunately I wasn’t as half as bad as I had been just 24 hours before, but these things happen.  The scans were done with a little mobile type unit, and it was fascinating to ‘see’ inside my own body.

The Dr doing the scans was very helpful, and explained a lot of what was going on (particularly once we had established I’m relatively intelligent).   While I don’t have copies of the files to show photos here, we managed to prove that

a) I don’t have any babies in my hands 😉 and
b) I *categorically* don’t have any type of arthritis.

Now, while *I* knew that, it’s nice to have medical conclusive proof of that.

It was once we moved onto my wrists that things got interesting – or “odd” in the words of the doctor.  What she discovered was signs of blood underneath/behind the Extensor carpi ulnaris tendon.  Don’t panic – blood at this point could just be a sign of inflammation in the syvonium (that is to say  the ligaments that hold the tendons of my wrist in place).  The extensor carpi ulnaris is responsible for moving the wrist to the side (towards the little finger) – the Dr says this could be a sign of Tenosynovitis.  This would be the cause of the pain in both wrists and my thumbs – but doesn’t explain the different pain I’m getting in my fingers and palms.

However, due to the equipment being used she couldn’t be sure, so she has gone to my official consultant and is recommending I’m referred to the Radiology department for a ‘better’ scan (I don’t know if that is an Ultrasound or an MRI) – however she did say that with the better equipment if they see anything they can give me a corticosteroid injection on the spot to see if that targets the inflammation and helps with the pain management.

On which note I’ve stopped taking the drugs – I didn’t see much point loading my body with strong drugs with an impressive range of side effects if they weren’t doing anything.  Today I’m having the best day I’ve had in a LONG time 😉

Thanks to everyone for all your messages of support on this, it means a lot even if I can’t always type to reply!

Olympic Efforts

While I got a few days of what currently constitutes ‘normal’ for my hands last week, this week they have been particularly difficult.  I’ve got a date for my scans though – next Tuesday evening, so I’m hoping something comes from those.

The Olympics got off to a very British start, being very eccentric, but Danny Boyle gets points for:
a) getting the Queen involved (she’s a good sport isn’t she?) and
b) the  pure *genius* that was the Olympic Flame Flower.

Ravthlete BadgeRavelry is having it’s own simultaneous competition, in which individuals challenge themselves in a variety of fun events.  For myself I leapt into the lead during the opening ceremony by entering the Frogging Trampoline and finally frogging my beaded cape which had been lying since March 2011 look at me accusingly.  I loved the pattern, but I’ve finally had to conceed that the yarn I was using didn’t want to be that project. I’ve already got my medal for that!

I’m also trying to finish my ‘Jan Sweater’ (as part of the WiP Wrestling, or I could put it in for the Sweater Triathalon though the yarn itself is about a week too young to qualify for the Syncronised stash busting as I bought it at KnitNation last year).

Jan sweater

A jumper for all seasons?

I’m thinking of renaming the project from ‘August Sweater’ to ‘Calendar sweater’ as I have now being working on it longer than a year!  This is the sweater I’m doing in the Portuguese method of knitting (which is great for my hands) and I’m really enjoy it.  I particuarly love the fact that every time I pick it up I am reminded of the meeting I gatecrashed to meet a fabulous group of people – including strikstrik who taught me the method, V (who has been mentioned previously) and *the* Stephen West!

I’m also trying to design, make, write up and publish a ‘shawl’ in the three weeks of the olympics.  It’s going to be more of a ‘receipe’ than a ‘stitch by stitich’ pattern.  The inspiration for this is the lack of relatively easy ‘confident beginner’ patterns that aren’t rafts of SC or DC.  I wanted something that had a bit of interest (visually and mentally), that was unisex and could be easily modified without being too hung up on the ‘precision’.  I’ll be entering this in the Shawl Sailing, Single Skien Sprint and possibly Balance Beads. I’m using a ball of Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball in fuchsienbeet that Needlemania (who I met for KnitNation 2011) sent me at Christmas.  I’ve made a reasonable start…

preview of shawl

sneak peak..

Gosh, I’ve just realised how involved KnitNation 2011 is in my choices – the yarn, the techniques, the people!


An Artists Hands..

Wednesday was my hospital appointment with a consultant about the mystery pain in my hands and wrists.  After an entertaining morning in which I gained 4.5lbs on the hospital scales, and had to have my blood pressure (107/72 if you are interested) taken 4 times before the machine worked I was finally ushered into the consultant.

Once we had established that the pain had lasted longer than a month (what her note said) and that my doctor hadn’t sent through the blood test results or my x-rays she prodded me a bit, I said ‘ouch’ a bit, and gave her my ‘pain diary’ for the last 3 months.

Eventually she referred me for a scan at somepoint in the next 3-4 weeks, with a follow up appointment 7-8 weeks from now. With lots of bloods to be taken now.

She said she thought the wrist pain and the hand pain were unrelated and that it was possible the wrist pain is tendonosis (not tendinitis).  She also told me that when she had tendonosis she had to wear wrist splints every day, all day, for two years.  Oh yes, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear.  I’m not inclined to agree with the two seperate things diagnosis, purely because it would be just too coincidental to have things go wrong in both wrists and both hands within days of each other.

It’s about this point that I dug my heels in about the drugs that I am currently on not working, and that that 8 weeks at least before getting drugs that do work was unacceptable.  The consultant suggested I try diclophenic – which I pointed out I had already tried and couldn’t take because of the side effects.  She then suggested I try paracetamol.  Yes, you read that right.  Paracetamol.  I can’t get dressed in the mornings, can’t ride my bike, can’t brush my own hair and the NHS’s best suggestion is paracetamol.  I may have pulled a good face at this point, because she then suggested that I take the paracetamol in conjunction with the current tablets (naproxen) as sometimes the two work together to be more effective, and then she wrote me a prescription for tremadol (morphine) to use if my hands are particularly bad.  It’s only 14 days worth of morphine, and I have at least eight weeks to wait, but it’s a start.

Yesterday the trick of taking paracetamol and naproxen worked to take my hands to ‘almost normal’l – which was nice.  Then I realised I’d be running out of naproxen in the next 7 days, so I tried to get a prescription from my GP.  I have to have an appointment (it can’t just be a repeat) and the next appointment is, wait for it (cos I am), the 24th July.

So, long story short.  We still don’t know.  We have no idea and it will be at least 8 weeks before we get any further.  Unless my blood tests show up something insane.

Meeting myself coming back

I’m so far behind with myself it’s not funny anymore, so heres a bit of a catch up post.

first up, after another visit to my GP to get stronger drugs, my consultant appointment was suddenly and unexpectedly moved up by a month – so I now only have to wait 3 weeks before the mystery pain in my hands and wrists starts a proper treatment (and maybe a name!)  In the meantime however it was gradually getting worse and worse, resulting in about 15 minutes of crafting a week!  The new drugs however are very impressive so maybe I’ll be getting some more crafting in the next few weeks.

Back in April I had some friends come stay with me, the lovely V and his partner G.  I have long admired V’s beautiful knitting, his colourwork leaves me awestruck and his cabled sweaters bring me out in a sweat just thinking about the hours involved. Under the unwritten knitter’s code, V naturally turned up carrying yarn, and what yarn.  Some of my readers will have heard about La droguerie in France – the luxury yarn store that sells off the cone and has it’s own ranges of alpaca.  This yarn has definitely bumped up my next visit to France!  So thanks to V and G’s generosity I now have yarn in my stash that I am overwhelmed with options – want a peek?

left to right: plumette, alpaga and holst garn.

plumettePlumette, the softest lightest beautiful mohair.  This colourway (gris tourterelle) is the softest grey around a core of palest lilac.  I have plans for these nearly 500yards, once I get over my fear of them – possibly involving my estonian lace pattern book.

The Alpaga is a colourway called Avec lamen du Nord and is a 4ply alpaga in the most beautiful mix of soft browns and teals – I’m told an approximation of the translation of the colourway is ‘with the north sea’, and it captures perfectly the colours of the sea on an overcast stormy day.  I love this so much that it’s going to take me a while to come up with the perfect pattern.  This one might be crocheted.

finally is this gorgeous Holst garn, a 2 strand yarn, one strand bright navy blue and the other black resulting in a sort of tweed effect.  This one is 100% wool and is very soft.  I’m closest to working this one up – I’m designing as I type!

Aren’t I a lucky, lucky girl?

oh, and if you want to catch up with V’s yarn adventures you can here.

The instructions are there for a reason

Welcome to May, I can’t believe how fast this year is spinning by!  2012 has become the year of minor, but frustrating, injuries for me.  February resulted in ‘interesting’ times after I broke the middle finger of my right hand – I’m left handed, so other than the (continuing) numbness it wasn’t the end of the world.  Four weeks ago however I was getting a pain in my left thumb joint – it’s amazing how much you use your thumb when you realise you can’t – and that put a serious crimp in crafting time.  Over the next couple of weeks it got worse and worse – resulting in a trip to the GP to try and find out what the problem was.  I’m still awaiting results of the tests, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime I’ve slowly worked back up to 15 minutes of crafting every other evening.  I was surprised to discover how much I took ‘doing something’ while ‘watching’ something for granted, and how strange it was to actually have to ‘watch’ something (as opposed to having a film or DvD series on ‘in the background’) – and how bad many of these shows are!

However, there is a point (unusually for me).  I’ve been working on the beautiful Honeymeade shawl, which combines crochet and tunisian stitches, for several months.  The pattern and I are having something of a battle – the first two yarns I picked for the project didn’t want to be the shawl and I’ve frogged and restarted more times than I care to count.  Finally though I got hold of some beautiful fyperspates sparkle sock which doesn’t pool horribly and I can see the stitches and everything has been going swimmingly since.

I finally managed to get out to the first ‘major’ charted pattern repeat, on Easter weekend when i was away.  I’m a confident crocheter, and a little bit impetuous, and I glanced at the chart, worked out what I (thought I) needed to do and away I went.  FOUR weeks of slow work later I finally finished that single row and returned to the pattern to find out what to do next.  At which point I discovered that I had non-read part of the instruction for the previous row.  Gah.  Ripping out what I knew to be 4 weeks work was soul destroying.  Ok, realistically it’s only about 4 hours work, but when crafting time is as limited as it is now 4 hours is a lot!

One of these days I’m going to learn to READ a pattern.  I do not know ‘better’ than the designer, I cannot ‘guess’ the next stage and the whole thing goes so much quicker if I take those 30 seconds to read the d*mn instructions!