Working Through Pain


Pain. That’s what blazed up my arm that cold January night when I accidentally rammed my elbow into the corner of a granite planter where all three angles met. The details of why it happened don’t matter. What’s important was that the pain never quite went away. Instead, it grew in intensity as pain that manifested itself gradually over a period of weeks. It impacted my writing, typing, and weightlifting, all of which keep me sane. By April, I had to stop lifting. I lost my endurance for writing. Finally, as vacation rolled around in late May, I told my husband that if I weren’t better by the time we returned from the beach, I was calling my physical therapist.

Guess what? I wasn’t better.

Talk about discouragement! I had no endurance in writing. I couldn’t lift weights. It even hurt to do my job.

What’s a girl to do?

The cause. I went to PT. Tendinitis in my right arm. My left arm was simply weak. Tendinitis can occur when the tendons in the arm get inflamed. It’s also called tennis elbow, but it can happen from anything: typing in the incorrect position, chronically gripping a pen too hard, lifting, tennis, anything with repetitive motion when it’s overdone. Problem is, without treatment, it takes an incredibly long time to go away.

The solution. This is why I went to PT. I simply couldn’t deal with the frustration anymore. I gather from my physical therapist’s lack of surprise that he sees a lot of it. The good news? He thought he had a solution, one that consisted of dry needling for starters, then lots of stretching and strengthening, followed by ice during the healing phase and heat during the strengthening phase.

The result. Eight months after injury and three months after diagnosis, I’m much better. Not all the way there, but I know it will come. I’ve learned a lot since then, like it’s okay to wear wrist wraps that I use for lifting for typing because they stabilize my wrists. I’ll wear them until I feel like the pain is mostly gone. And when weightlifting? My therapist is a lifter, and he gave me some good tips.

The lesson. I’ve also learned a lot about myself. I can persevere. I can also be what I joke is impatiently patient. I know that I will heal, but I want to heal tomorrow. Having tendinitis has also taught me that it’s okay to slow down. Since it sapped my writing endurance, I discovered that it’s okay to not write as much, hence why I took the summer off from blogging. And finally, I learned to lean into God rather than on my own understanding as I dealt with a series of life stresses that physical activity and writing normally eased.

The future. Gradually, I’m making my comeback. I have a new enthusiasm for writing. Matter of fact, I’ll be putting out a novel called Loose Ends after the first of the year. Stay tuned for more on that. I’m also going to get back to blogging. Starting in October, I’ll be doing a series related to what it’s like to be a writer full time.

When will I heal completely? Only God knows that. And as I heal, I’ll trust that He will sustain me.


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