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Getting "nerve"-vous about surgery

Has anyone here ever had "nerve decompression surgery" or know someone who has? I'm supposed to have it less than a month from now on my right arm (I'm right-handed) and I'm getting really nervous about it. Specifically, I'm worried that I won't be able to work on my art while I recover so I'm curious what the recovery time could be and if anyone has had personal experience with it. Granted the surgeon put my mind at ease the day I met with him to schedule it and spoke at great lengths with him and his nurse about it but anxiety has set in since then and it won't go away.

Why do I need it? Just a few months ago I developed Cubital Tunnel Syndrome in my right arm. Half my arm and hand went painfully numb. It's hard to type now because I can't feel when my pinky or ring finger hits a key due to them being so numb. Between the numbness and pain and the fact that it's a degenerative condition means I can't back out of the surgery.

BUT, my muse is on a roll!! I've been creating some pretty good artworks lately and I don't want to stop!! I've been trying to get as much work done as I can while I can and stupid me is making the arm pain worse. I need to take it easy but I'm too scared. :(
 

Miss B

Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time
CV-BEE
I've never heard of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome before, and had to look it up. I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and is why I'm only comfortable using my Wacom Tablet and Pen, because all the years I had to use a mouse at work, drove me crazy. I also wear wraps around my wrists for when I'm typing, and/or working out at the gym. They're the only things that help.

That said, I also occasionally suffer from Tennis Elbow, but have a wrap/band for that as well, though usually only use it when at the gym. Typing on the computer doesn't affect it as much as lifting weights, and/or using certain of the machines at the gym.

Here's hoping your surgery, and recovery, go easily as I want to see more of your artwork, that's for sure. ;)

BTW, I'm liking your new Avatar. :D
 

McGyver

Busy Bee
The only nerve decompression surgery I’m familiar with is the type where they remove bone or soft tissue from the spinal canal to widen it when it’s diameter has been reduced by a herniated disc or a bone spur.
It was mentioned to me by a doctor years ago when I found out I had a herniated disc from an accident.
Steroid shots in the spine helped, but occasionally I have assorted nerve issues in my leg... weird stuff... it can be pain that feels like it’s inside the bone, numbness, tingling, or just a general discomfort that hard to pin down.
Is cubital tunnel syndrome related to the elbow nerve?...
I’ve managed to destroy both my elbows over time (being an reckless idiot doesn’t has its consequences) and one of them has a nerve that moves around... I think it’s the ulnar nerve (it’s named after one of the two bones, either the ulnar or the radius)?
It’s not actually as much of a problem as the dents and chips in the bone, since the nerve mostly stays where it should.
Are they doing surgery on your elbow or spine?

I‘ve heard of some surgery for the elbow nerve, the person who had that I haven’t spoken to in ages, but I think it worked out well for them... I think the doctors repositioned the nerve... the issue for that person was caused by a motorcycle accident though and it wasn’t a wear & tear issue, so it might not be the same as what you are having done... Unless yours is from an injury too.

Either way, sorry to not be much help other than to say “I think it worked out well”...

Good luck!
 
Yeah, the cubital tunnel is in the elbow and it's my ulnar nerve that's damaged. As far as I know, I haven't sustained an injury to my elbow (I've forgotten worse things) so I think it's sustained wear and tear? No one is really sure. My hand just suddenly went numb back in June of this year.

They will be doing the surgery on my elbow. They're going to do something to "decompress" the nerve which I forgot the details of. If necessary, they'll reposition the nerve to the front of my elbow as well but they won't know whether to do that or not until they get in there.

Hey, saying "I think it worked out well" is better than "it didn't work out well"! :) At this point, I'll take any silver linings I can get.
 
Have you gotten any physical therapy for the arm? What about acupuncture? I'd even recommend chiropractic, given that the issue could have to do with your spine or joints being out of alignment.

I'd also recommend getting a second opinion from a doctor who specializes in rehabilitative medicine and not surgery, as it can be kinda hard for surgeons to admit that a patient may not, strictly speaking, need surgery, given that surgery is how they make a living. I've had pretty good luck seeing a physiatrist for a variety of nerve (and spine) related issues. (If you can't find a Physiatry department on your insurance, look for something like "Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation").

Many years ago, I developed acute tendonitis in my forearms (the web had just become graphical and I was obsessed with learning to design in raw HTML, which meant regularly typing symbols I'd never used in ordinary writing). I saw several specialists who said carpel tunnel surgery might be necessary, but I wasn't comfortable with that idea, so here's what I did: I stopped using the computer AT ALL for a week. (I didn't even turn it on, to avoid the temptation.) I used ice packs and Advil to help reduce inflammation, and I did some gentle stretches that a physical therapist showed me. And I finally got over my squeamishness about acupuncture and went in for several treatments. That was before acupuncture was officially recognized as a valid treatment for pain, but I was certain of that claim after only two treatments!

But the most important thing I did was change my habits once I started using the computer again, b/c otherwise I was just going to run into the same problem again. Now I have an ergonomic setup that lets me work on the computer, pain free, pretty much all day :) (<- OK, so maybe my lower back isn't happy about that, but as long as I can use my arms, I'm good!)

Even if you may ultimately need surgery, esp. if there's a defect that's only going to get worse, it may still be worth it to try less invasive methods to resolve the issue. Esp. b/c this is a "syndrome" and not, for example, something actually torn, and proposing surgery for anything "syndrome" related sounds potentially questionable.

A few years ago I tore a tendon in my right shoulder while doing yard work, and that produced all kinds of nerve pain. Six months of PT as well as a steroid injection didn't improve the pain at all, so I finally opted for laparoscopic surgery. It was a fairly simple affair and completely resolved the pain, though it took a few months to regain full use of the arm. (I had already become proficient in using verbal commands to control my computer and dictation to write, so that was super helpful during recovery as well, though I don't know how well that would work with something like Poser!)

I'm so sorry that something like this has happened for you right as you're feeling an artistic upswing. But try to remind yourself that if your goal is to enjoy having artistic periods well into the future, you want to make darn certain you make the right decision about what to do now!!
 
Actually, the surgery is kind of the second opinion. It went something like this: I first went to my doctor because I couldn't feel two of my fingers. She sent me to get a nerve study done at the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation building. The doctor who did the nerve study told me I had moderate to severe nerve damage to my ulnar nerve and would probably need surgery but then sent me back to my original doctor and would let her decide the next step. She didn't think I needed surgery as she thought it was ulnar neuropathy. She next sent me to a Physiatrist (back at the same Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation building as where I did the nerve study but completely different doctor) who then looked at my nerve study then looked at me and said "what are you doing here? That nerve is dying, you need surgery ASAP." He's the one who then referred me to the surgeon who could get me in the soonest. The first surgeon he actually referred me to couldn't see me until December. He said, that will be too late. So he next called around to other qualified surgeons and got someone outside of his medical group who could get me in much sooner.

In Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, the cubital tunnel collapses on and squeezes the ulnar nerve, sometimes killing it. My case is moderate to severe. The surgeon said he would have recommended an arm brace to relieve pressure on the nerve to see if that would help as the first step to avoid surgery if the damage hadn't been so severe yet. He figured it was too late for that to make any difference other than causing me to lose the use of my arm while it was in the brace and I wasn't keen on wearing it for that reason if it wasn't going to help anyway. I just try to keep my arm straight as much as I can as often as I can on my own.

The really crazy/spooky part is, no one can quite tell me how this happened. Nerve damage of this type doesn't usually happen to someone as young as I am without sustaining some kind of injury and I can't remember falling on my elbow this summer. It could be computer use related, and probably is in my personal opinion, but no one is certain. I've tried changing posture, moving my arm position, using cushions, and just about everything else that's been recommended to me but so far I still can't feel half my hand and arm and lately my two numb fingers keep getting stuck in a clasped position without me realizing it which is a new symptom. :(

Believe me, I'm definitely not gung ho about getting surgery done but so far that seems to be my only option due to the severity of the damage. I'm open to any and all suggestions of things to try in the next two weeks before my surgery though! :love:
 
Not being able to bend your arm must really suck! And how scary to have something this severe happen seemingly out of nowhere. Even if it is the result of repetitive strain and not a distinct injury, it must be so frustrating that you had no warning signs before it got this bad. I hope the surgery brings swift relief!
 

McGyver

Busy Bee
@Dream9Studios
I get on people’s nerves and statisically, I’ve probably killed a lot of people’s nerves solely by being as obnoxious as I naturally am... so I’m wondering if you know someone like me...
Do you have an exasperating acquaintance, neighbor or coworker who tells long boring stories, frequently expresses their unorthodox sense of humor in unique and ever confounding ways or hides in cupboards wearing a gorilla costume just to surprise you?
In their defense, it’s to cheer you up...
I hope...
They could just be crazy.
But either way, if you know someone like this, that could be the source of your nerve damage and possibly why that kitchen cabinet is coming off the wall.
I’ve found that if this is the situation, then it’s actually not as bad as it seems and it’s totally easy to remedy.
Try using larger lag bolts and making sure the cabinet is secured to the walls studs.
That’s probably not really helpful... I should have mentioned you’ll probably need a step ladder and some sort of drill and maybe a level too...
Depending how important it is to you that all your canned goods not slide to one side or cascade onto you when you open the cabinet door.
I know, I know... I got sidetracked...
You are probably more concerned about stopping whatever it is that’s causing the nerve damage.
I’ve got nothing...
If I could see the doctor’s report, I could offer advice like “Hmmm... they’ve got good handwriting for a doctor”... but that would be a lie... what doctor has legible handwriting?
Regardless, I’d be happy to look at the report, but legally, commenting on the handwriting is all I’m allowed to do anymore...
Apparently the authorities frown upon practicing medicine without a license... which is kinda stupid because they let you practice flying, driving and penguin wrestling without a license... how are you supposed to get good enough at it so you can pass the test or competition and win a license...
It’s not like they make a doctoring permit so you can practice medicine like you can drive with a learner’s permit...
Wait... do they?
I never actually checked.
I don’t really know how you become a doctor, but I figure there is a test or some sort of challenge... maybe like a surgery competition where everyone who’s patients survive gets a doctor license...?
I should look that up.
I probably won’t... I’m very easily distracted.
Which is probably why I didn’t bother to check in the first place...
Also someone left a doctor costume at my house after a Halloween party...
Which I just realized means they probably went home naked...
Huh... I guess I didn’t notice that.
Whatever...
I’m done being a “doctor”...
Besides pretending to be a doctor was boring after a while... pretending to be a astronaut was much more fun...
But that’s not relevant to whatever it was I was talking about...
Cabinet repair?
I should go back and see what it was...
Oh geez...
Yeah... oooh... the elbow thing...
Okay...
I think you can see what I originally meant... how obnoxious individuals can wear on your nerves and eventually everything goes awry.
Well... if that’s the problem the best advice I can give is don’t leave food out in open containers especially dishes containing pork...
That definitely attracts people like me...
Also consider a pest management service.
Anyway, I know none of this was helpful, but hopefully it took your mind off the problem for a while...
Then again maybe not... you might now be wondering if your doctor is a real doctor...
Hopefully they are... you did check to see if their stethoscope wasn’t just a couple of dark shoelaces with some marshmallows and an Oreo hot glued to the ends?... Right?
Also, a medical degree written in crayon is a big tip off...
I’m surprised nobody noticed any of that when I did it...
But anyway, I’m sure it’s fine...
You’ll be fine... I’ll stake my fake medical degree on it.
Actually, I don’t have it anymore... I don’t want to get into why, but that whole paper goods shortage at the beginning of the pandemic may have had something to do with it.
I think you know what I mean.
Anyway, sorry if this is making your nerves hurt... usually my writing is most stressful on the optic nerves...
Also, if at anytime someone popped out of a cabinet wearing a gorilla at your place of employment and that individual happened to be me... sorry...
It’s come to my attention that people don’t actually enjoy this as much as I was led to believe by the voices in my head...
They say stuff and sometimes I believe them...
Anyway, apparently people are afraid of gorillas leaping out of cabinets... maybe it’s some sort of Planet of the Apes thing...
I didn’t really research it, but that’s my guess...
I’m thinking of switching to something more benign... like maybe a clown costume...
People love clowns... right?
Wasn’t there that really adorable one with the red balloon who lived in the sewer from that Steven King movie?
I didn’t see it but he seemed real friendly and comforting.
Anyway....
Hopefully you are feeling at ease by now and anticipating the surgery...
Realistically, if you’ve read this far, you can handle the surgery with no problem... most people never even make it past the first dozen sentences...
Laboratory rats explode halfway through the first hundred words.
Which is a real shame because it’s really hard to teach rats to read.
Anyway...
I should go... this isn’t helping and you’ve suffered through this long enough.
Good luck and please let us know how it goes when you do have the surgery.
And sorry about the cabinets.

Cheers and good luck!
 

McGyver

Busy Bee
I just noticed I previously wrote in my first reply that one of the wrist bones is called the Ulnar... I‘m an idiot... it‘s the Ulna, not Ulnar... the long bones of the forearm are the Ulna and Radius... they are long bones not the wrist bones, the wrist bones are smaller... I think there are eight, and they have funky names I can’t remember, but I think one is called the trapezoid or trapezium or Tim... Tim sounds right...
I should remember the Ulna and Radius, I’ve managed to break both of them at some point.
Also disregard any medical information I may share, as I may be drunk or crazy and I’ve already admitted to pretending to be a doctor while wearing a costume that once belonged to a naked person.
I mean they may not have gone home naked... they may have gone home wearing someone else’s costume, but that probably means someone else went home naked... I hope it wasn’t my friend Jeff, his sexy nurse costume was disturbing enough as it was...
But, anyway, I hate making false statements unless it’s in court, and it was too late to edit the original post.
If my fake medical degree/substitute toilet paper is to be honored, I have to correct my mistakes.
 
Just letting you know that my surgery is tomorrow morning and I'll most likely be offline for a week unless I can manage to use my phone or laptop with my left hand. Given how addicted to the internet I am, I'll probably find a way. ;) So if anyone needs to contact me, go ahead and send any messages and I'll do my best to answer when I can but it may take me a while to reply. Thank you all! :)
 

Miss B

Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time
CV-BEE
Here's hoping the surgery goes well, and that you recover the full use of your right arm sooner, rather than later. :grouphug:
 

McGyver

Busy Bee
Good luck with your surgery...
You can definitely use your phone with one hand... you can type with your nose if you have to... I’m not saying you should, but it works... it’s just awkward...

I’m doing it now... on my iPad...

It makes me dizzy though... too close up for the eyeballs.
 
Hope the surgery went well and you're well along the path to pain-free use of your right arm!

On a phone or iPad you can tap the microphone icon and dictate rather than typing, but of course that won't help in all situations where you might have something to say. It's probably not worth getting a dictation app for your computer if they expect you to regain use of your right arm soon. But I bet you could probably do quite a bit in Poser with only your left hand!
 
The surgery went well and I'm now trying to recover. :) Still experiencing some pain and such but I think it's getting better. I can finally, as of tonight, get on my laptop and type left handed while my right handles the mouse while propped up on a pillow and ice pack. I'll get the compression bandage off next week. Still can't work on my desktop so no new art yet but hopefully that will change soon.
 

McGyver

Busy Bee
I’m glad to hear you are feeling better!
And I hope your mouse is feeling better soon too... usually with mice and rats, if you find them propped up on a pillow with an ice pack, it’s because they were out late partying and drinking with the other rodents.
Maybe I read that part wrong...
Well, whatever... I don’t want to bore you with any dumb suggestions or fake doctor advice this time (mainly because today I was pretending to be a lumberjack)...(or an astronaut... whichever one carries an axe)...
Anyway...
Get better and good luck!
 
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