As I promised yesterday in an email I sent out, I wanted to send out an update from my arm and wrist surgery. So many of you prayed for me and sent me wonderful messages and gosh, I'm just so grateful for all of you.
If you missed it - my diagnosis was Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (numbness and tingling in my little finger and ring finger due to a pinched/flattened nerve in my elbow in my cubital tunnel). And in my wrist - a TFCC Tear, Ulnar Positive Variance, and Ulnar Impingement Syndrome. Short version: the ulna bone in my right arm was too long and had crunched against the other bones in my wrist and torn the tissue in between. It was causing all the pain.
This pic below is from last Saturday - we visited the "Mississippi Grand Canyon"... also know as Red Bluff Park in Foxworth, MS. We didn't stay long or do any hiking but it was SO nice to get out in the sunshine.
Of course, my hand started to swell pretty quickly so we kept the outing short & sweet but this girl needed some fresh air and sunshine!!
Warning: I'll be including some post-surgery pics of my arm so if that sort of thing bothers you, I wanted to give you fair warning. They're not too gruesome, but still, I wanted you to know.
As of today (Saturday), it's been 16 days since my surgery and things finally looking up. I still can't do a lot with my right hand.
First, because it swells and hurts and second, because it's still healing and any weight-bearing work (pushing/pulling) is just not possible yet. Normal day-to-day use is okay, just not "work."
Example: I can type, but I can't push a grocery cart or roll out fondant. Cake decorating? Not so much.
Cubital Tunnel Surgery & Ulna Shortening Surgery.
These are the procedures I had: arthroscope right hand; ulnar shortening osteotomy; right cubital tunnel release.
First, Dr. Wegener did a scope in my wrist to verify damage from my ulna bone being too long. Because it was too long, there was not the needed (and normal) space between my ulna and the bones in my wrist.
So my repetitive work had torn a hole in the cartilage (cushion) between bones in my wrist because the bones were banging against each other when I worked. The torn cartilage caused a lot of pain and the bones banging together made my wrist "pop" and "crunch" when I worked.
After verifying the damage, he then made an incision in my arm, cut my bone diagonally and removed 4mm of length. It's put back together with a plate and screws. The new space will prevent the bones from banging together and hopefully eliminate the pain and "popping" in my wrist.
Last, I also had cubital (not carpal) tunnel syndrome. So I have another lengthy incision along my elbow (below) to release that impingement which was causing pain and numbness in my little and ring fingers on my right hand.
I guess because carpal tunnel syndrome is really common for cake decorators, I was misdiagnosed with carpal tunnel a couple of times. I was also told I had a pinched nerve in my neck and maybe arthritis before finally getting these correct diagnoses.
I don't fully understand how the nerve in my elbow was "fixed" (and don't care to) but he moved the nerve from the pinched space (the cubital tunnel) to another place in my elbow. He said my nerve was completely flat where it was compressed but hopefully now, things will be "right" again.
One other note - my hand surgeon also specialized in plastic surgery and he did an excellent job on my incisions. There was only one tiny (almost invisible) stitch at the end of each incision. I cannot tell you how much relief this brought me. Just the thought of stitches gives me severe anxiety so when I woke up without any, that was a very bright silver lining. And I'll barely have any scars when it finally heals. 🙌🙌🙌
After surgery - recovery time.
Those first pictures were taken about 4 days post-surgery. The scars look even better now and the swelling is significantly less. The bruises are also probably 90% disappeared 😊. These pics were taken yesterday (16 days post-surgery):
Note: It's really hard to take pics of the backside of your arm! I tried to get a kid to help but their pics were no better, so you get what you get 😊
Now, how was the recovery?
For the first 8-10 days, I was in a LOT of pain. Bone pain is the worst I've personally ever experienced. I had to keep my arm elevated above my heart at all times and I couldn't move my fingers at all without screaming in pain.
I can't say how many times I found myself
crying sobbing in pain - crying out like a child - just because I moved my fingers the wrong way. I couldn't sleep at all unless I was heavily medicated. My husband actually started setting an alarm to wake me up before my pain meds wore off so that I wouldn't wake up crying.
The pain in my forearm where they cut my bone was actually so excruciating, I remember telling my Mama that my elbow didn't hurt at all. Like, I actually felt like nothing had happened there compared to the bone pain.
But eventually, all that pain started to ease up and now I'm barely taking any pain meds. I'm actually typing this post with both hands on my laptop with very little discomfort.
The hardest part is, the incision on my elbow doesn't allow me to rest on my elbow (there's still a pocket of swelling there that is pretty tender) and the incision on my forearm is in the exact right (wrong?) spot for me to rest my arm on my laptop or edge of a desk/table when typing.
So I have to sort of hold my hand (arm) above the laptop to avoid any sore spots touching a surface and keep my elbow on a pillow (or raised up) at all times.
That leads to my hand and arm getting pretty tired, pretty fast, but it's not the end of the world. I carry a small pillow around with me when we go somewhere and now that I'm typing... I just type a while, rest, repeat.
I went to see my surgeon earlier this week and he said I'm doing great with my movement and pain levels. As far as limitations, he said my bone isn't going anywhere and basically I can do anything I can tolerate. So I've been getting out - riding with my arm (and feet) propped up so I can still do our normal activities.
My arm is still likely to swell (and then hurt) if/when I overdo things so I try to not use it too much but I'm also trying to get back to somewhat "normal" life after laying around doing nothing for 2 weeks.
So that's that... the first few days were the worst pain of my life (bone pain = 😭) but after getting over that hump, it's been tolerable pain (with some medication) and getting better every day.
As for my cake decorating 🧁️... I have two orders this weekend that Sarah is doing with my minimal help & oversight and next weekend we have a wedding cake!!
So please - keep praying for me and hopefully, I'll get back to my normal blogging and caking and sharing very, very soon!
Thanks again for all the love and prayers! My readers are the reason I keep doing what I'm doing! ❤️️❤️️❤️️
Until next time... happy caking!
Wishing you a speedy recovery! I know it will take a while but hopefully you will be back doing what you love. N. Tyrrell
Wow! My prayers are with you for a speedy recovery! I truly enjoy your blog and amazing cake decorating tips. Happy Healing
Glad you are healing up well. Take it slow and you will be 100% soon.
I am so glad you are healing well. I hope that soon you'll be back to working pain-free and that all the horrible bone pain you went through becomes a distant memory. Take it easy and allow yourself time to heal and know you have lots of people wishing you the best!
Hi What a journey you have, so glad you feeling much better, will pray for a quick recover and thanks for this post,all the best for you and yours
Omg i had no idea you had to undergo surgery, sorry I must have missed your previous posts！ Wishing you a speedy recovery and back to cake creations!
Wow... It looks sooo painful but what a blessing to have your family being so supportive. I will keep you in my prayers for a full recovery. Thank you for sharing and thanks so much for this wonderful blog.
Rose, thanks for the updates. Prayers for you and family. You all are a beautiful bunch. Btw, your book is fantastic.
Gina D from Texas
Thanks for the update. So glad you're doing better. I know bone surgery is the worst - well not from my experience but my husband had shoulder surgery where they had to cut down the bone and wow - he was practically totally incapacitated for quite a while. I guess to say ... I understand what your husband is going through and my husband understands what you're going through. Praying you continue to heal quickly and everything gets back to working the way it should.
Have a blessed day!
Happy to hear you’re coming along! Keep your spirits up. Having had this surgery years ago I know how frustrating it could be. We are so dependent on our hands/arms for all that we do...let alone all the creating we love to do! Be patient and think of how new you will be once recovered!
Glad to see you are healing quickly, Rose!
Continued prayers for normalcy to return.
You are AMAZING. I too am a native Mississippian married to a Mississippian now transplanted to Texas. I am a retired physical therapist so I especially enjoyed learning about your surgery.
I followed your recipe for petit fours recently and they were a hit at the bridal shower. Get well soon! And keep baking.
Awww...Praying for your full recovery and eventual pain-free wrist and elbow! I’ve been following you for several years now and enjoy your talent/cakes and blog!
Thanks for sharing your journey, Rose. Praying for a quick recovery and for you to be pain free.
That looks so painful, I pray that you get well soon, and get back in the kitchen.
May God be eternally praised for your correct diagnosis and corrective surgery. Your story is one of inspiration and strength. I love seeing your family in the photos with you. I am very happy that you are healing and working towards complete (as can be expected) recovery. You have the best support system in your family (blood and others) and bloggers. We love you and suffer, as well as, rejoice with you in spirit. To your family...much love and gratitude for your strength and love as you take this journey as a whole. Continue and know that God will always make sure all will work in His favor. In Jesus Mighty Name...Amen!!
Know you are glad that the surgery is over. Just don't try to do to much to soon!!! You could really pay for that. Thank you for explaining what was done as the whole thing was confusing to me when you told us about what you were going to do.
Lord I thank you for total restoration for Rose and healing from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet. Bless her to be able to utilize her creative gifts even better than before her surgery. Lord we know you can do anything but fail and we're trusting to show yourself through this situation In Jesus Name AMEN.
I know it takes it's own sweet time to heal,but hang in there. We are all here waiting patiently and praying for your healthy recovery. We know some things can't be done things can't be done in our kitchens without you. Take your time, let it heal. Your fans are still here.
Praying for a speedy recovery! Take care of yourself and be a good patient. ( When I’m not baking I’m an RN 😉 ). We are patiently awaiting your loving, giving and sweet personality to “get back at it” when your good and recovered.
So sorry that you are going thru this. praying that you will heal quickly and be able to return to the things you love to do.
Speedy recovery. I feel for you. I know the pain you have endured. Keep strong and let you family continue to help you. I will continue to follow your journey. Stay healthy and God Bless
Thank you for posting this wonderful account! I'm about to have an ulnar osteotomy and it's hard to find descriptions of the process from a patient perspective. I hope that, almost a year later, you're not suffering any further issues!
I just had my ulna osteotomy. How are you guys doing? Truthfully I'm still in so much pain i think something is wrong. I'm almost 4 weeks post surgery. I hope you both heal well. Love from Canada!
Honestly, it took MONTHS for my arm to start hurting. Just like you, I kept thinking something MUST be wrong. And my surgery was just a few weeks before coronavirus shut everything down so I couldn't even go to the doctor for a checkup for a while. But when I finally got back in, he x-rayed my arm again and assured me all was well. I think he originally told me it would take 12 weeks before I felt completely recovered but it was more like twice that long. Seems like maybe around the 6-month mark I started to have days where it didn't hurt. And now, more than a year later, I still have some bad days (especially when the weather changes - it KILLS me) but for the most part, I'm a lot better!!
Thanks so much for the reply! It's good to know about peoples healing stories . Love your site!
How are you getting on after your ulna shortening?
I also had my ulna shortened on 3rd march 2020 and it still hurts, i get a tingling sensation when i touch the incision area and i cannot lift heavy items, at gym the most i can lift is 4kg dumbbells and my arm feels like it will snap off 🙁
My arm still aches from time to time - especially when the weather changes or I overuse it. But it's not nearly as bad as it was before surgery.
Were you in a cast at all after your surgery. I fell and broke my wrist quite badly and now have a long ulna which is creating a lot of pain. I am waiting to see the hand surgeon but reading about the surgery as much as I can. I have had both knees replaced so understand the pain aspect. Am totally freaked out with casts.
No ma'am, I was never in a cast! I'm saying a prayer for you now!
Am just reading post this night.please am sorry for sending my own get well message late.May the ALMIGHTY GOD heal you .give you HIS special gift you have been praying for,and above all to(GOD) continue to love you and your family in JESUS name l pray.Amen