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The Bump in My Wrist

As told to Shiri Newmark

“Basically, what you have there is a ball of fluid that doesn’t belong in your wrist. If you leave it, it usually goes away”

Thursday, March 09, 2017

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PERSPECTIVE SHIFT While I was in the hospital, I’d seen a number of young children who were seriously ill. Until that point, I was focused on my wrist and the fact that it was hurting. It’s hard to realize what there is to be grateful for until we meet someone in an even more difficult situation

I hardly noticed it at first. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recognized that my wrist hurt, but I attributed it to too much writing. It didn’t bother me very much, so I just hoped it would get better on its own.

It didn’t get better, though. It got worse.

Whenever I bent my right hand backward, or wrote notes for a few classes in a row, my wrist began to hurt and I needed to rest it until it felt better. I got used to it, though, and didn’t think of getting it checked out.

I soon found that whenever I bent my wrist forward, I could see a small bump on the back of my wrist. Since it didn’t hurt to bend it that way, I’d often examine and feel the bump. As the weeks passed, I found the bump would get larger or smaller, and also hurt less at certain times. I started to recognize a pattern; when I used my hand more, the bump would grow and my wrist would become more painful.

After a year, I could hardly remember what it was like not to have a bump in my wrist, having to always be careful not to cause it to hurt. It was almost like my wrist and I had an agreement; I would allow it to rest whenever it desired and avoid bending it the wrong way. In exchange, it wouldn’t bother me too much. 

However, my mother was concerned about the fact that a bump had taken up residence on my wrist, and insisted on an appointment with a hand specialist. Since she wanted me to visit a specific doctor who came highly recommended, the only appointment was a few months away. That wasn’t a big deal, though, because I’d been living with the situation for so long already anyway.

As I awaited the date of my appointment, I continued living my life the way I’d been living until then. The only difference was that I’d often think about the upcoming doctor’s visit, and wondered what would come of it.

It hadn’t occurred to me to daven for the aspiration to work; I had hoped the doctor knew what he was doing, but I didn’t ask Hashem to help. How could I forget about the true Doctor?! This time I wouldn’t make that mistake

When the day arrived, my mother and I drove to the doctor’s office. He examined my wrist and announced, “I believe it’s a ganglion cyst.”

“Okay,” I replied.

“If it hurts a lot, I can aspirate it when it’s bigger, to remove it.”

“It does hurt. What do you want to do to it?”

The doctor explained, “Basically, what you have there is a ball of fluid that doesn’t belong in your wrist. If you leave it, it usually goes away on its own after a few years. But if you prefer, you can come back when the bump is bigger and I can use a needle to drain it.”

Once I knew there was a solution, I definitely wanted to pursue that option. I’d have full use of my hand and wrist again! We returned home to wait for my next appointment. I wondered about the fact that the doctor hadn’t given a definite diagnosis, but my mother had picked this doctor because he was known to be really good at his work, so I didn’t worry too much… (excerpted)

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