Thursday, May 20, 2010

TOS and Other Irritations

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) consists of a group of distinct disorders involving compression at the superior thoracic outlet that affect the brachial plexus (nerves that pass into the arms from the neck), and/or the subclavian artery or vein (blood vessels that pass between the chest and upper extremity.

The compression may be positional (caused by movement of the clavicle (collarbone) and shoulder girdle on arm movement) or static (caused by abnormalities or enlargement of the various muscles surrounding the arteries, veins, and brachial plexus).
(in my case it's abnormalities and enlargement.

Symptoms include neck, shoulder, and arm pain, numbness, or impaired circulation to the extremities (causing discoloration). Often symptoms are reproduced when the arm is positioned above the shoulder or extended. Patients can have a wide spectrum of symptoms from mild and intermittent, to severe and constant. Pains can extend to the fingers and hands, causing weakness.

Treatment can include stretching exercises (which I already do several times a day, medication, cortisone, blah blah on up to surgery. Until this morning, stretching at home was my only option. One of the local free clinics just added a physical therapist. Awesome news. The only glitch is having to cancel youth so I can attend. We'll figure it out. Maybe I can unleash Charlie on them for a night. Bwuahahahaha

I sat down with the plan of listing the more irritating things in life right now, in hopes getting them out would help... I'm sort of stuck between self-pity and rage right now and it's an unproductive combination.

The TOS more than anything is frustrating right now. It affects EVERY THING in life. As I carry all my tension in my neck and shoulders, it's no surprise it's been triggered.

A good old-fashioned slobbery cry would help a lot but I've yet to find the key to unlock that particular skill. I'm sure talking is involved but I'm not up for ranting to a person... I've had some great conversations with God out in the garden but people keep wandering out and interrupting my time with Him. That and I seem compulsively incapable of being out there without pulling weeds, puttering or in other ways aggravating my shoulders. I'd love a quiet corner where I could be truly alone for a couple of hours. Considering going to the church to do this. With no secretary, it's often empty... It would be worth the effort to do, if for no other reason than to face that it's not the building but particular individuals I've allowed to make it hard to want to be there lately.

I know I'm where God wants me to be. Charlie and I both agree on that but... we need to talk with the pastor and he's practically avoiding us. God forbid we pop another one of his happy bubbles of delusion. oi... That had a lot more snark than I'd intended...

Actually, I'm not sure I'm where I'm supposed to be. Truth be told, the youth are the ONLY thing keeping me there. I can sing anywhere. Who needs a microphone? I can praise with greater freedom apart from the vague direction I'm getting these days anyway. Rachel and I can choreograph dances, perform skits or monologues anywhere as well... Heck, even our living room works if we feel we MUST perform or die. I don't need or want some BS title of leader of anything. I just want to be a part of ministry in Christ and that requires no title. It does benefit from accountability but it's hard to be accountable to someone unaccountable.

The youth. I love them so much it's a physical sensation. I want to see them grow. I think of them, pray for them and do my limited best to be a good example for them. I know how much some of them rely on our weekly gatherings and hate to think what would happen if we leave the church and they are left with no one who truly respects or even acknowledges them in a nurturing way. I can't see walking away and leaving them with no buffer between those who would make decisions on their behalf, without their input then hold them accountable for those decisions.

Between physical stuff... gout, disintegrating teeth, TOS, carpel tunnel and rampant osteo arthritis... all of which is aggravated by stress, I'm nearing my limits. I've been working on this entry 3 days now.

Hooking up to the mp3 player helps. The downside is it more or less shuts out the whole rest of the world. Okay, that's not really a downside but I can't live that way and it's getting harder and harder to unplug. It would be cool to get one of those little MP3 bibles. Holding the book makes my hands go numb. Sitting at the computer on biblegateway helps but it'd be nice to take it outside.

This is why I haven't written much lately. It all sounds like a massive whine. I've got to unload some of this garbage while there's still energy to chase down that joy I'm missing.

Enough whining. Time to turn up the mp3 player and take a nap. Maybe when Charlie gets home I can sneak up to the church where there's room to just dance in whatever clumsy way I can. It would be so good to dance... even a little.


  1. Maybe you should get some prayer beads. The reason why you're trying to garden is because giving the body something mindlessly physical to do can clear your mind. But you can't knit, or weed, or much right now. But rubbing the bead is such a small movement, it might not hurt.
    Maybe you could hopscotch and kick the rock. That seems nicely monotonous.
    Maybe you could start a "youth group" in your living room. Church is where the people are, it's not a building, and if you're being too restricted by people who forgot what Jesus stood for, perhaps just being a fun auntie would be best for all concerned.

  2. i have a rock with the word 'relax' etched into it. after several years, the word is wearing away. ;-) hopscotch and maybe kick the can... those i'll definitely try! thanks.
    still praying we will stay where we are... but either way, youth at my house is a standard and almost everyday thing so we'll keep on keeping on.


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