• Brachial Girl

Update - 2 years later ...

So, it's been while!

Life has been challenging and I honestly haven't had any motivation to blog. But ... it's time!

To recap, my motorcycle accident was on 1 March, 2015 and my nerve transfer surgery was on 4 July 2015. 4 of the 5 brachial plexus nerve roots were avulsed (ripped from spinal cord).

Here's a bit of an update as to where I'm at:

Pain

Still horrendous all the time. I'm still taking 75mg of Lyrica in the morning and 150mg at night. My hand gives me the worst pain. I can use it, but I still have no feeling in the skin of my thumb, index and middle fingers so intricate movements and uses are really difficult.

The tingling, pins and needles, pressure and heat are hard to handle most of the time. The rest of my arm is bearable, except some days it goes as crazy as my hand.

I ALWAYS know when it's time for my pills .... my whole arm, hand and shoulder scream at me.

I get the most relief when my husband massages the whole thing right from the shoulder blade and neck down to my finger tips. When he first starts, I pull the weirdest facial expressions and feel like I'm going to be sick .... but after a few minutes, I can handle it, and when he is done, I'm relaxed and the pain is much less for a few hours.

Movement

I can do almost all movements, though they are jerky and unreliable. I'm still working on reaching up high. I can't swing my arm backwards either. I don't think that's ever going to happen, but I don't really need to be able to do that to live "normally".

So I can move my fingers and pick things up etc, but I have to concentrate so I don't squash things or drop things etc. I can bend my wrist, rotate my forearm, bend my elbow, swing my arm forward and sideways - but not higher than the shoulder, I can reach behind my back - with some fiddling, extend my arm out so I can hug people, extend my arm outwards from the elbow, cross my arms, wave, and I can almost reach up above my head, starting with elbow bent, not with the arm straight out - apparently with more strength training I should be able to do that too.

So BIG improvements considering 2 years ago I was told I'd never use my arm or hand again.

Practical Uses

I can do pretty much all the normal days to day activities of an adult, married female.

If I want to curl my fringe with my hairdryer, I rest my elbow on the bench top, squat down, and this allows me to hold the hairdryer with my bad hand while holding the curling brush in my left hand.

I'm very uncoordinated. I'm right handed, so now I kind of use my left hand for some things and my right hand for others. Neither follows my instructions very well hahahaha.

I can use my arm and hand do to most chores, like preparing food (I'm chopping with my BPI hand because my left one is not my dominant hand and is unsafe to use with a sharp knife. My BPI hand does a safer job of it haha).

I can put my hair in a side ponytail using both hands. I can put a clip in my fringe using my bad hand to hold the hair in place, and using the left hand to put in the clip.

I can write though it's very messy. I can kind of type using both hands though my BPI arm gets really sore really quickly. When I'm cooking I hold the pot handles with my BPI hand and stir with my left.

I kind of alternate between arms and hands depending on what I'm doing. It's really weird.

Emotions

Well, I guess my emotional state has improved dramatically over the last 6 months. My bad days are rare. I can now stay awake and be alert all day. I feel like I could go back to working full time and I am desperately hunting for a job (I'm currently in a very small town so not many jobs going). I'm sure there will be many challenges, but what I do is computer based, so as long as there's no carrying heavy things, reaching up high, or too many intricate tasks like paper clipping paper together, or carrying hot food or drinks to people, I should be able to meet the challenges and find my own unique ways to get things done.

I still feel ripped off. I still get really frustrated when I have trouble doing things, and I know that I still hold my arm in the weirdest positions without realising it .... my husband calls it the "barbie arm" cause it looks like a stiff mannequin arm hahaha.

I'm so grateful to my Surgeon, Alex O'Beirne, and my Occupational Therapist, Jaslyn Cullen for getting me to this point. But yeah, I still hate my stupid arm. And I wish it was normal again.

BUT ... life has to go on.

Here's a video of how it's going.

<3 Brachial Girl

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