Seven months later it's a snow-day, and I am finally attempting to put this experience into words. It exhausted more sighs, tears and prayers than any other physical experience I've lived through so far. I smiled through much of it, laughed at myself, learned many lessons, kept confidence in its healing (according to God's will), and just kept going... but it's been 7 months; I am still recovering, hoping for the best, still learning lessons, still praying for relief and remembering pain.
I smile through everything. I am optimistic, think the best of people to a fault, laugh through my struggles, and generally heal quickly. I also have a very high tolerance for pain (maybe a redhead thing?). And when I do feel pain, I don't always know what to do with it. I'll unconsciously ignore it, or mask it, remind myself how many have it worse than I, wrestle through it, count my blessings, and then I move past it. I just wait it out and things work out. It in this case being an overuse injury, tendonitis, some ulna tunnel, definitely damaged muscles, inflamed tendons and irritated nerves.
The pain erupted to the point where I could no longer play a note on the piano. I flew home, and in one of my more desperate prayers, I received confirmation and comfort that God knew exactly what I was going through, that this ailment might not be text book, but that it was specifically given to me and that it would help me learn. That it would teach more patience, help relationships, and let me grow. I believed that, and still do, with all my hope and all my heart.
Three weeks into it, I was alone in the Chalet, sitting in a steaming bath full of epsom salts, essential oils, and my own tears, unable to lift my hands to wipe my face pr move a strand of hair ... or really do anything but sit in silence. There were so many books close by I wanted to study, phone calls I wished I could make, emotions to fill a whole journal I was dying to write, music I longed to prepare and practice, or at least a social media website I could browse! But physically, I couldn't.
Muscles hold memories, and most every day for the last 20 years has been composed of practicing the piano, harp, violin, conducting, teaching from the piano, coaching, typing, writing, and working. Even though I'd never felt real pain while playing piano or conducting, it really shouldn't have been so surprising to receive an injury. Honestly, it was long overdue--I'd never broken a bone, and never had an injury worse than bad knees and mosquito bites.
Each week that passed I would tell those who inquired after me how it was getting better, how I'd be playing again soon, how I could start my conducting doctorate program without delay. I felt directed from the Lord to continue with my plans to move and to continue with my schooling, so I also expected healing ... in whichever way the Lord had in mind.
The weeks quickly turned to months, and the ailment moved and morphed through different phases. I always needed help, and tried to ask for it, although even asking requires movement from your arms. I didn't look like I needed help, there was no cast, and I could always force movement when I needed. I somehow completed the move across the country (with a lot of help from close family), and started seeing new doctors more regularly. The excruciating reminders came less frequently as healing continued to happen, and I tried to incorporate better habits into my new lifestyle.
I'm still taking it easy-- lifting as little as possible, practicing only in short spurts, using heat and ice, sleeping with splints, and still praying. The pain no longer bothers me, and most of the therapy is over (although I have said that for months). There might be more help I can get, and it will take a long time to regain the strength I had, but I am doing well, and mostly I consider it a thing of the past.
Whether it was the 'would-you-rather' question game or simply empathizing with my heroes, as a child I had forced myself to imagine how I might live were I to go blind, deaf, or even loose my legs. And I had come to terms with each situation. I could live a happy life in any of those situations. For some reason, I never even imagined a situation where I might loose my arms. I didn't think that could happen. My arms symbolized everything God had given me-- the ability to touch, nurture, write a note, compose a song, make music, act, bless, decorate, help and create beauty.
To give up the thing with which God specifically blessed you is part of my story. Moriah, the sacred place upon which Abraham promised to give up his biggest blessing. And where he, in beginning to enact that promise, was finally able to fully receive that blessing. I promised God a long time ago that I would sacrifice and dedicate all I had to His kingdom. But promising that in my heart was different than actually enacting that promise. But part of that promise was put to the test, or enacted upon me, to a small degree these past 7 months. And as I continue to re-deserve, relearn and regain strength, I now have renewed desire to thank God for my gifts, to treasure all I am given, and to sacrifice to receive the blessings of Heaven.